Events | Transit Lounge Else

Los Angeles | October 14, 2017 | 7:00 PM

© Else-Lasker-Schüler Gesellschaft e. V.

Transit Lounge Else is an international project of the Else Lasker-Schüler-Society (Wuppertal) in cooperation with the “Centre for Persecuted Arts” (Solingen), designed by the artist duo Astronautenkost. The focus is on the life and the marvellous work of the artist Else Lasker-Schüler. The actress Claudia Gahrke and the director Andreas Schäfer invite people to speak poems of the most important German lyricist.

40 renowned artists have already taken part, including Iain Glen, Bob Balaban, Elfriede Jelinek, Sigalit Landau, Tomi Ungerer and John Nettles.

The way in which a state treats its artists is a litmus test for democracy. The persecution and fate in exile of an artist is exemplified on the basis of the lyricist Else Lasker-Schüler.

In a mix of short informative presentations, readings of Else Lasker-Schüler’s poems and prose in German and in the local language, it initially takes place in cities such as Stockholm, New York  and Los Angeles (Villa Aurora), places where many artists had been in exile.

The project is a tribute to the great artist, whose 150th birthday is celebrated in 2019, and a sensual feast for the freedom of art.

Its patron is the actor Günter Lamprecht.

The fourth station will take place on 14th of October 2017 at 7:00 pm at the Villa Aurora, which is also a cooperation partner of the project.  With Claudia Gahrke, Andreas Schäfer and Dr. Doris Berger. Emmy Award and Tony Award Winner Lainie Kazan joins the production and will read the poems in their english translations. Admission is free.

The project is funded by the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.


Villa Aurora, 520 Paseo Miramar, Los Angeles, CA 90272

Admission is free
RSVP mandatory via 310.454-4231 or

Street Parking is available on Los Liones Drive. Shuttle service starts at 6 pm from Los Liones Drive, off Sunset Boulevard two blocks North East of Pacific Coast Highway. Please do not park on the Topanga State Park Lot!



On 23rd of November 1990 WDR-journalist Hajo Jahn invited a dozen Wuppertal citizens to founding of an Else Lasker-Schüler-Society, in order to cultivate the work and memory of one of the most unusual German-Jewish artists, and to initiate a new, contemporary form of memory culture: against anti-Semitism and xenophobia, for tolerance.

Else Lasker-Schüler, who originated from Wuppertal-Elberfeld, became famous in Berlin. Her fate is a metaphor for the way in which the intellectuals were treated during the Nazi dictatorship. In 1933 she fled from Germany; her books and plays were forbidden; she was denied filming, because she was Jewish. In Swiss exile, she was banned from writing. Later she was denied entry.

Else Lasker-Schüler, alias Prince of Thebes, Abigail, Tino of Baghdad, Jussuf etc, had given herself many names and identities. She was the first female performer and she is modern to this day.

The Else-Lasker-Schüler-Society recalls the fate of emigrated and persecuted intellectuals (artists, natural scientists and humanities scholar, journalists and writers, whose books were burned, whose works of art were censored and banned), in this epoch of great refugee flows by means of its international forums from Prague and Breslau to Catania and Jerusalem - 21 times by now; the 22nd Forum will take place at the culturally significant "Monte Verità" in Ascona, in October 2017. The ELS Society has around 1,200 members, including many prominent artists and politicians. More than a dozen almanacs document its activities in schools, as well as the premieres of theatre plays and compositions. The "Centre for Persecuted Arts" is now operating under the umbrella of the Kunstmuseum Solingen.

Centre for Persecuted Arts

The Center for Persecuted Arts, situated in the Kunstmuseum Solingen, was founded in 2015. Shareholders are the Regional Association of the Rhineland and the City Administration of Solingen.

This “Center” is the only institution showing German cultural history of the period from 1914 to 1989 with pictures, books and personal documents of artists. The central topics are the situation of art, literature and music during the two German dictatorships of the 20th century.

The bridge between the persecution of literature and visual art is created by the painting poet Else Lasker-Schüler. The Center shows 23 original drawings of this artist. Owner of the objects is the Else-Lasker-Schüler-Society. Some of these pictures were confiscated as “degenerate” in the Berlin National Gallery in 1937. It is the largest collection of her drawings outside Israel.


Claudia Gahrke, acting training in the master class with Actors Studio founder Robert Lewis, speech training with Günter Wirth. She was a scholarship holder at the Berlin Theatretreffen. Many Theatre roles, among others: Merteuil in Heiner Müllers „Quartet“ in London. Performances in Brussels, Cambridge and during the EXPO2000, amongst others: Ophelia in the Sound-Performance “Hamletmachine”, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin. “Kitty Hawk” in “I’m a Microbe” for the Fraunhofer-Gala “Fest der Forschung” in Dresden with Herbert Fritsch. Readings amongst others: “About the Eternities between the Many and the Few” - Alfred Döblin und Else Lasker-Schüler with Günter Lamprecht and „All is Jazz“, by Lili Grün, for the first „Festival for Persecuted Arts“. Performances, with Else Lasker-Schüler-settings, took place at the Jewish Museum in Berlin and in Wroclaw. Guest appearances with LIFE? OR THEATRE?, by Charlotte Salomon, in Vienna, Berlin and Tel Aviv. Many roles in WDR plays. In 2011 her CD “Die kreisende Weltfabrik“ (“The Orbiting World Factory “) appeared, with poems, prose and letters by Else Lasker-Schüler. 2014 recitation of Durs Grünbein for the opening of the exhibition SOCKS FOR LIFE in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Andreas Schäfer is a director and author. He attended the master class directing with Robert Lewis (Actors Studio). Productions were made in Israel, London, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, and at the EXPO2000. Schäfer writes an essay series on communication and art in the 21st century and reference book contributions. Interviews with Hellmuth Karasek, Prof. Michael Schirner, Bert Neumann, Denis Scheck, Tom Stromberg, Heike-Melba Fendel, Jan Hoet, etc. Since 2009 he is the executive editor of the magazine showcases. In 2012, an interview with the title „Durch den menschlichen Kosmos“ (“Through the Human Cosmos") was published. In 2011, he directed the CD production „Die kreisende Weltfabrik“ ("The orbiting world factory”) with texts by Else Lasker-Schüler. In 2014 he is curating the exhibition SOCKS FOR LIFE, among others with works by René Böll, Elfriede Jelinek, Robert Wilson, Ruprecht von Kaufmann and Andrea K. Schlehwein in the European Parliament in Brussels. He received an Euorpean Best Event Award for this.

Lainie Kazan is an American actress and singer. She was nominated for the 1988 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for “St. Elsewhere”, and the 1993 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for “My Favorite Year”. She had previously received a Golden Globe Award nomination for the film version of “My Favorite Year” (1982). Her other film appearances include “The Delta Force” (1986), “Harry and the Hendersons” (1987), “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (2002) and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” (2016). Kazan appeared in numerous supper clubs across the country, and she guested on Dean Martin’s variety series 26 times. Other television work includes a recurring role as Aunt Frieda on the Fran Drescher sitcom “The Nanny” and as Kirstie Alley’s mother on “Veronica’s Closet”, “The Paper Chase”, “Touched by an Angel”, and “Will & Grace”. She played the lead character's mother in the Nia Vardalos films “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”, and was also featured in “My Big Fat Greek Life”, a short-lived series based on the film. She had appeared with its co-star Kevin James in two episodes of his “The King of Queens” TV series as the once-renowned singer Ava St. Clair. She is a life member of The Actors Studio.

Dr. Doris Berger is an Exhibition Curator at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. She was previously a curator at the Skirball Cultural Center, a Getty Postdoctoral Fellow, and the director of the Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Germany. She initiated the Skirball’s PST LA/LA exhibition Another Promised Land: Anita Brenner's Mexico (2017), curated the touring exhibition Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950 at the Skirball (2014), and directed the video Here and There: Artistic Exchange between California and Germany in the 1970s (2012). Berger is the author of the books Light & Noir (2015), Projected Art History: Biopics, Celebrity Culture, and the Popularizing of American Art (2014), and edited books such as Sexy Mythos. Images about Artists (2006, co-editor) and In, With and Between Spaces (2004, editor). She published essays on the intersection of art and film, the cultural impact of movies, gender identities, and exile culture in the Golden Age of Hollywood.

ASTRONAUTENKOST | Es gilt das gesprochene Wort.
Andreas Schäfer, Kanalstraße 67, 42657 Solingen, Germany
Mobil +49 177 579 55 69,

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