Adieu 2010

Saying Goodbye to 2010 will be a catharsis for me and I will look back at the year with very mixed emotions.
Carrying me along throughout the year were numerous moments of pure excellence in arts scene in the city of Düsseldorf,  much of which I've been most fortunate to experience much of this up close and personal.

My most memorable moments of 2010 have been:

©Gert Weigelt

1. Rhine Ballet "Signing Off"  by Paul Lightfoot and Sol León. Part of Martin Schläpfer's b.03
Simply beyond amazing. A piece of passion, ripping farewell and beauty to remain with me always.

©Andreas Dommenz

2. Simone Kermes at the robert schumann hall in museum kunst palast.

A personality and voice to admire, what a thrilling performance!  Cannot wait to see her again at the robert schumann hall in June 2011.

3. Now that's a hard one - there were sooo many moments that I'd put into this position:

KiKiFe, the Children's Film Festival, where we introduced the first International Children's Jury with ISR has left me with many wonderful memories. The students were such a delight, I am proud of the work they did and the magic we made.

Buika and The Mozart Requiem from altstadtherbst stick in mind as does the extraordinary encounter at the concert given by Aki Takase at the Approximation Festival. This was such a passionate, unique concert and one I would never normally have visited had it not been for RhineBuzz. A true discovery.
It was also a privilege to be able to talk about and admire the exquisite, porchelain-like portrait of Isabella Rosselini at the Mapplethorpe Retrospective at the NRW-Forum. Such a mesmerising woman we met at the NRW-Forum in 2009.

Thanks are often boring to those not involved, so I'll apologise here and now. This is a an absolute must though as without the people who interact with us, RhineBuzz would be just another networking group and we all experience that, thankfully much, much more.

So my heartfelt thanks go to Tanja Brill, Frau Jokel and Herr Schmiedel at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein.
WoW! I'm in and out of The Opera House so often these days, now with three functions and I love each one equally. I knew when I took the first tour some 18 months ago, that I wanted to spend more time there and now, here we are!
The press conferences are quite different from those of the fine arts. Less formal, somehow warmer. I recently told a close friend, an opera singer, that everyone is just so very nice! He answered it could be because all the staff are out there night after night, live and spontaneous interacting with their audience. Front and back stage. It's a real calling to wish to work there and boy do you sense this! I really mean it. I've not encountered huge egos, I'm always greeted with a genuine, warm smile, and my often naive questions are greeted with such enthusiasm. 
The Opera for All events and Opera Scouts project are aimed at bringing new people to the Opera and I'm privileged to be such a part of this. My knowledge of the Opera was so limited when I received their first call in December 2008, and now I just cannot imagine RhineBuzz without this institution of such history, passion and longevity.

To Marina Schuster at museum kunst palast who welcomed me with the biggest smile and such a wonderful spark for all things new. Our Arts Sessions are just the BEST.  We all love them so and they have introduced a very different aspect of the arts to many RhineBuzzers. Sabrina, our lovely instructor, thank you. Our continued partnership with mkp is a treasure, the exhibition halls are monumental and the robert schumann hall offers a fabulous musical program, especially for young people; I look forward to working even closer with you all in 2011.

Also, very special thanks to:
Krista and Isabel at ISR
Steffi, Helma and Krista Konzok at the DMT
Kurt Helbig
Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk at the Glasmuseum Hentrich
Maria von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk who was very kind
Tina Adomako 
Daniel Fiene at Antenne Düsseldorf
Danielle and Rita at the NRW-Forum
Werner Lippert
Amina Johanssen and Barbara at KiKiFi
Colin Sinclair
Claudia Holthausen at altstadtherbst
Mike Woodiwiss
Bernd Ahrens
Andreas from Kwadrat
Mark and Dinesh from Meetup

To Nicola, Ann-Katrin, Eveline and John, my invaluable soundboards and all our admins on the facebook group
And to Feli, always Dear Feli, now loving it in San Francisco

Adversely to Diva_Girl. Thank you for bringing us John and Herbert. Such great, great guys!

Most of all to YOU, the RhineBuzz community. Each and every one of you who comes to our events, our readers and all of you who post and talk about RhineBuzz all over the place, spreading the word, helping others, especially the city newcomers, find a connection to us. 
You are such a diverse and enriching group of people. I'm so happy we have all found each other.
To my precious friends who help where they can, despite madly busy careers and often rigorous travel.

I'm very proud that RhineBuzz is not just about having a groovy time, as recent difficult situations have shown. When one of us needs help, we are all so willing to do what we can. A simple post brings in mountains of information. RhineBuzz is a trusted link to so many aspects in Düsseldorf, often when the formal connections are just too daunting to approach, or when family abroad are clueless as to how procedures work in Germany and need to fix things for their loved ones here. The community is quite simply brilliant. Thank you.

©Bernd Ahrens Photography

Happy New Year to you all, all over the world! 
To those who have been in Düsseldorf and are now elsewhere, 
we miss you and love hearing what you are up to now. 
To those who have yet to discover us and this wonderful city, welcome.
 And to those at home across the globe for the holidays, 
come back to us safely.
2011 will be simply brilliant! Roll on Eurovision!

To quote a recent, very special post, "RhineBuzz flows!"
 I just couldn't agree more. 

More Tickets for Eurovision go on sale December 16

The tickets for the final sold out in just a couple of hours on Sunday.
On December 16 the sales of tickets for the Jury Final on May 13 2011 begins. 
Prices €19.00, 39.00, 59.00, and 69.00

Tickets available from

12.12 at 12:12 Tickets for The Eurovision Song Contest!!!

So you can finally stop asking us!  
At 12:12, central European time, on the 12.12, the first 35,000 tickets will go on sale exclusively on the website.
Tickets for the semi-finals are expected to go on sale by the third week in January.
Good luck!

Levon Mitchell

Levon fools around at the museum kunst palast
and then he gets creative

There will be a funeral service for Levon at the Nordfriedhof on December 17 at 9:30am.

Today I have been in an exceptionally sunny mood.
Telling people of how wonderful RhineBuzz is because of the very cool people we meet.
Then in a single moment, I've just learnt that Levon Mitchell passed away this morning of a heart attack.
To say I am shocked doesn't say enough and the following words are not cliched statements, they are meant from the heart for the moment RhineBuzz and Levon came into contact we all knew we would never forget him.
We met Levon online just as we were planning our launch party in the autumn of 2008 in the manic, exciting early stages of RhineBuzz. He kindly fixed Mark's, much-needed, dropped laptop via an online forum. I said invite him to the party!
Levon arrived larger than life. Very tall and hugely smiling.
He was the first guy up on the dance floor, giving fellow American, singer Pamela Falcon, a truly wild and active dance partner. When Pamela asked 'Levon, Levon from San Francisco' to join her on the floor she had no idea of what she was getting into!
We had 160 guests at our launch party, not one has forgotten Levon I'm sure. We have the rubber man on film somewhere - I'll have to dig it out.
Since then Levon has sent me numerous contacts, tips and ideas to help with RhineBuzz. His ideas never just stopped! He even tried to get Julie Andrews (one of his 2000+ facebook friends) involved in our showing of Mary Poppins last year at the Children's Film Festival!
I was delighted at the success of his Smooth Jazz Festival in southern Germany for him and we swopped stuff about a similar idea in Düsseldorf.
Levon's mind never rested. Nor did his energy to help the less fortunate amongst us.
We last saw him at the museum kunst palast a few weeks back when he took part in one of our arts sessions. Immediately he was fooling around once again, he loved to be 'on' as he told me but he also loved the session with a passion and his raving facebook posts attracted the attention of his worldwide friends. He told us about his current inventions and how I would be given one to test!

He then sent me this:  'lots of thanks to your tireless efforts here, Caroline - you just make connecting -in person- work! Love it Love it!'

Now he is gone. I can't believe it. My heart goes out to his partner Sylivia and his family and dear friends. To say he'll be missed is such a silly phrase right now. But those that knew him know exactly what I mean. We are not the wealth we seem to strive to gain, we are what people think and remember of us and just watch Levon's facebook page as it grows and grows in tributes and love.
Good bye dear Levon and thank you - you really made me smile. x


I have received moving communications from Levon's sister in the USA in response to this piece. So I then sent the family the link of the launch party and it seems they enjoyed to see their brother leaping around entertaining everyone and himself - so here's Levon for everyone 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

So here it is again, that time of the year - nearly all the RhineBuzzers are heading home; planes, trains, automobiles ... and snow.
I wish you all the Happiest Christmas and a very peaceful New Year and so look forward to seeing you all again in 2011. Safe travels people.
It's been quite a year for me personally, full of everything life loves to throw at us. Enormous sorrow and great joy. My heartfelt thanks go to all who have helped to make RhineBuzz what it is today. Last week at the Christmas Meetup in the Altstadt I was able to tell everyone who asked, that RhineBuzz is truly doing great. Our city partnerships have grown and I am invited to more and more wonderful presentations and events and am more than delighted to let you all know what it happening here. I see stunning performances that I just would never have known of before and sometimes I even see complete nonsense, but it's all extremely enriching. There's a whole lot planned for 2011, it's exciting and very stimulating. 
But what makes RhineBuzz really, really special are the people we attract. They are quite simply extraordinary. I am privileged to know you all, you add fascination and  charm to my days in a way that few jobs can and you bring me a great deal to smile and think about and I am incredibly thankful.
The international community is transient. We are having leaving parties all the time and it's always sad to say goodbye; on the other hand new folks arrive every day and RhineBuzz never stands still. I am told again and again what has been created here is truly special and I'm incredibly proud of this. The feedback I receive is quite simply second to none. I thank each and everyone of you who have taken the time to write or tell me personally what RhineBuzz means to you. I have even received fan mail from people who have never been to Germany but would love to come! Fantastic.

I have thanked them before but simply must do this again. 
John and Ann-Katrin, two wonderful friends I am so grateful to have at my side and who helped to keep things going when I was unable to. What can I say? You know. 
Christmas Tree Extravaganza in Siegerland courtesy of the Messe Düsseldorf

©Bernd Ahrens Photography
A Very Merry Christmas to You All!