„That was the longest soundcheck I’ve ever done“, William Fitzsimmons sighs after coming back from the stage. But he is in a good, relaxed mood and it’s only late afternoon, so there is still plenty of time to record a couple of acoustic videos. We had been thinking about filming in the impressive, atmospheric staircase at WUK for a while. The fading light, the quietness, the beautiful architecture – it was a perfect match for the session with the Illinois-based William Fitzsimmons, and the rain outside didn’t leave much choice anyway. William and his band set up sitting on the stairs for a great take on „The Winter From Her Leaving“, which gently resounds from the old walls. After some joking and amiable making-fun-of-each-other they decide to play „Blood and Bones“ on the first floor, another track of Fitzsimmons’ 2011-album „Gold In The Shadow“. When we’re done the first people drop into the venue for the sold out show, and they can be sure that William is in the right spirits for a great evening.
Wuk is short for Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus (Workshop and Culture House) – is not only a venue for concerts. The brick building with its charmingly sleazy cobbled courtyard hosts 130 groups and initiatives, which produce all kinds of non-mainstream-art. The cultural center is subsidised by the City of Vienna, but the groups work autonomously and self-governed. Apart from the concert hall, studios and workshops there is also a café with a nice outdoor area in the WUK courtyard and a self-help bicycle repair shop. The 19th century building was originally used as a factory for train engines. In 1884, the Technologisches Gewerbemuseum (Technologic Trade Museum) moved into today’s WUK and turned it into a place of science, education and exhibitions with the purpose to keep the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy up-to-date in questions of technological development. The monarchy was more than half a century gone when there were still engineers trained in Währinger Straße 59. In 1981, the building was handed over to an association of alternative Viennese artist, teachers, students and other activists.