Gli Amici di Pippo, de Andre Tribude band




Another of my photo series, called Impressions. Enjoy!

Photos © Martina Mikulcikova (martinuenda), 2012


Alla Toscana in Slovacchia

Alla Toscana in Slovacchia

“Piccola porta per un vostro futuro viaggio”

Little door to your future travel journey

 Photos © Martina Mikulcikova (martinuenda), 2012
The idea is already on the paper. The new restaurant is expected to open by 2014. (Of course, expressed by Italians) so till then, if you ever want to taste a piece of Tuscany and not travel 300 km, you can try the current restaurant, Antica Toscana, that offers great homemade pasta, wine, and friendly hospitality of its Sienese owners.
Their official website can be seen here:

Life in a Bowl


A film shot produced by four Webster students may make it to the Diagonale

Like the fish in the bowl, we swim silently in our in bigger tank. Maybe we brush past each other, but otherwise, we are stuck. The fate of people who swim in such tanks becomes the main topic in the movie produced by four Webster Vienna students.

After discarding several story ideas, Gretchen Gatzke, Jackie Thode, Kate Kapuza and Lisa Walzel decided to use a short story by their colleague and friend Stefanie Rauchegger, titled “The Girl With the Goldfish”.

The story is about a girl who stopped loving her partner but can’t find the way out of the relationship. More generally, it’s about human’s capability to express and cope with emotions.

Though the video is only eleven minutes long, it took the group almost six weeks from the first discussion of the script to the final version of the movie.

For Jackie, it was the first experience as director and main editor. She calls the three days of actual filming the best they could have been, “also because everybody collaborated well.” Post-production was a bit rougher. Yet, she says, “the team members gave what they could and did what was needed when asked.”  Lisa’s role in the movie was taking care of the cameras, sound, light, and equipment.

Kate was in charge of the shot lists on the set and was taking notes during the filming so the postproduction would go smoothly. Gretchen tried out her acting skills in her first movie, apart from middle school plays in Aspen, Colorado. This experience, she says, was more enjoyable, but even more tough than she would have imagined. “Spending more than ten hours a day doing the same scene over and over is hard work,” she says.

Apart from the four Webster students, one more actor was needed to play the male part in the story. On short notice, Virginia Ernst, a friend of Jackie, was invited to play.  She agreed, with a double goal in mind: “I was thinking that every famous singer or songwriter has already been in one movie,” she says, “so I was really happy when Jackie asked me if I could be an actor and part of the team.” On top of this, she composed the music for the movie. The difference between the two jobs? “When you get into a role you have to become part of it. When writing songs, you are just yourself.

As the instructor of the video class, Holger Lang says: “They were collaborating well and used the strengths of each group member.” Holger also had the idea to submit the short to Austria’s biggest annual film festival, the Diagonale in Graz. This idea made the students work even harder. “We want to be proud of what we send to the Diagonale”, says Jackie.

It is not going to be easy. More than 500 films are submitted and over 25,000 visitors come to the Diagonale. In March 2013, we will know whether “The Girl With the Goldfish” will have made it. For more and earlier information, visit the website here.

Photos © Martina Mikucikova (martinuenda), 2012

Gretchen Gatzke (left, as The Girl), media communications major and editor of the Loop, and Gini Ernst, songwriter and singer (as the male partner in the movie).

The Girl With The Goldfish portrays a very real relationship between two people. “It’s not one of those unrealistic or utopian stories. It happens on a daily basis: people love each other and after some time their relationship falls apart due to diverse reasons,” says Walzel.

“It seems to me that we have forgotten how to express our feelings so we keep them to ourselves. In the story, the girl stops talking because she suffers from depression. Instead of communicating her feelings, she remains silent,” says Rauchegger.

Depression and (non)communication between people is what drove Rauchegger to write the Girl With The Goldfish.

The couple are like the two fish in the bowl; there is nothing left to say. They are stuck,” adds Rauchegger.

As it goes, also in the story one of the partners tries to save the broken relationship, and the other silently wishes to walk out unnoticed.

Gatzke (left): “We worked great as a team, there was definitely a lot of chemistry and I think we both felt like we knew each other even though we had only just met.”

The openending challenges the audience to take from the movie, the message they wish. Yet, it does reflect on the (dis)ability of humankind to express emotions freely.

Body never lies

Body never lies

Do you ever find it just a little hard to trust people? They had let you down before, and even if you try, you can’t really send those suspicions away. Or maybe it’s rather someone new that doesn’t seem to look any trustworthy, and you are not sure if to give him a chance. Of course, you don’t want to be that fool, who uses prejudice for reasons as Voltaire once wrote. You stop, and think. You might convince yourself that there is actually a reason why you should be careful and rather a bit suspicious. However, let me give you a hint now: Next time you’re on any doubts with person’s honesty and reliability, don’t fool yourself with your own biases. Just tell them to dance!

Not that long ago, even though nobody told me, I found all the courage in my body, and entered my first dance lesson. Little worried, I ended up with a class of other kids that were four years younger than me. Not only you could tell it was the first time I was trying to work with my own body, I was also awkwardly standing out, because of the age difference and height compared to the other girls. I felt somewhat like Billy Eliot, trying to embarrass himself when doing a pirouette among all those girls with pinkie-shiny tutus. I felt awkward, and of course, in the spotlight.Yet, this wasn’t all what Billy Eliot experienced. There is one more moment in that movie, coming right after the hundreds of bad attempts to perform a pirouette. There is a successful one. All the desire and effort turned into a single pirouette, you would say. But that was just the beginning. He rehearsed everyday, in the bathroom, in the room, on the streets; he was remembering the positions, the steps when falling asleep, and he strived for improvement so much, that he achieved it.

Photos © Martina Mikucikova (martinuenda), 2012

And so did I. am on the stage. Still standing in the spotlight – but there is no embarrassment. There is peace and anxiety. This time, it is me wearing the tutu. Not pinkie, though. A more mature one – black, reflecting not only the shiny glitters but as well the grace of the Dying Swan. Up on my points, honored to feel the majesty, I give all that I received and strived for. I dance until the very last tune plays. There is silence.I stand up to bow, and I suddenly look back to the beginning. My first pirouette. My first joy. I listened to every word and watched closely every move that was revealing the art’s technique. The rest was coming from inside. There is no age, color, size, or beauty limit when a body starts to move. One great dancer, Jânia Batista, once was told me that everybody dances. That people are born dancing, in front of TV, to the music on the radio – our bodies desire to be heard. And some realize, as they grow up, that this kind of expression has become their passion.I sometimes wonder how many people are aware of their own body and the power it has once we learn to listen to and communicate with it. It reveals the truths to you and to those who speak your language. As Martha Graham, the mother of modern dance, once said: “Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul’s weather to all who can read it.”My persistence and determination are paid back. I come back to reality, and the audience is responding to my soul. They understood.Oh, and one last thing, if you’re ever on any doubt, remember: Body never lies!

Hiding The Truth Does No Good

Hiding The Truth Does No Good

Zoriah Miller’s Photography Shows the Face of War

By Martina Mikulcikova

Eleven years ago, a news broadcast on the radio made him rush out to the street and see people jumping out of the towers. The frozen images got stuck in his head for years after. Today, after he traveled to over 85 countries, we find him back in New York City. With a camera in his hand, he is covering a feature story called Hurricane Sandy Aftermath. Meet Zoriah Miller, concerned photojournalist, often risking his own life to tell about those of other people.

“I mainly want to show people what it is like for others living in difficult situations around the world,” says Miller in an e-mail interview.
Miller, 36, started working as a humanitarian volunteer at the age of 16. GPS photo-linking, nutrition, wilderness search, rescue and shelter or survival techniques are some of the skills he acquired. His main equipment is his camera. He believes it is the right tool to present stories that cannot easily be put into words.


Photos © Zoriah Miller, 2012
capturing the disaster of Hurricane Sandy in New York

Even though Miller worked for various newspapers and magazines and his work has been featured in many publications and museums and has won awards in several contests, he still remains an independent photojournalist.

One motivation for him is the freedom to choose where to go and what to cover. The other reason to work independently is his disagreement with the media’s decision to hide certain things. As Miller says, “Hiding the truth does no one any good,” and as he believes, his work is different due to that – “it shows the truth.”

Focusing on what others ignore and dealing with stories that are hard to digest, Miller wants to change the lives of the victims and the perceptions of those who are not or do not want to be involved. Also, the experience of surveying human suffering changed him as well.

“It has made me a lot more compassionate towards other people,” says Miller and adds: “You can never know what someone’s going through just by looking at them.” It taught him that people who have nothing “rely on their families and friends,” which Miller considers a “blessing” compared to the “toys (computers, iPads) that we get caught up with and forget the most important in life.”

Covering disasters and wars in Gaza, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, and many more, Miller realized the difference in the state of mind of a person who loses someone close in a disaster or an attack. As he explains, “War tends to break people down while disasters tend to make them stronger.”

Following his judgment of what is important and what he is passionate about, Miller chooses to take pictures that are often in the middle of a dispute, seen as an exploitation of human’s pain. However, he believes that most victims know that his intention is to help them share their story with the rest of the world.

One example is a photo called “Lost,” made in a hospital, full of patients after the Great Pakistan earthquake of 2005. Miller was approached by a man who gave him a sign to follow him. He was called to a room where a Pakistani woman sang a mournful hymn for her husband who was lifeless in her arms. The doctor explained that they called him in to take pictures of her. As Miller later describes in his essay he was touched by their decision to “document what was likely the worst moments in their lives.” They believed that he was holding a camera in his hand with the purpose to share their grief.

Even though Miller knows that after seeing his images not everybody takes up the cause of justice, but at least he hopes to be presenting pieces of different lives that help the luckier ones understand the diverse situations people go through.

To the question what is the greatest need of people in their suffering, he responds that “the most important thing we can do as a human race is make sure that every single person has access to health care, education, food and shelter.  These are basic human needs that everyone deserves to have.”

To those who were touched by the stories of war or disaster, and want to help in making them more visible, Miller suggests to “try your hardest and do your best to follow your heart and try to help others.”

Webster Community Meets American Deloitte Partner in Austria


Jason Emmons visited the Vienna campus to give students advice on how to become global in their professional careers

By Martina Mikulčíková

Jason Emmons, Senior Executive in Risk Management at Deloitte, was the core speaker at a career lunch organized by Webster University Vienna on 26 November. He talked to students about the tricks of getting “a global career without killing yourself,” and presented his audience with words of advice and motivation.

“There’s a hunt for you guys,” he said, speaking about the recruitment of talents worldwide.

Emmons, also the co-founder and vice president of the first English-speaking Rotary Club in Vienna, and two of his colleagues from Deloitte Vienna, Michaela Frischauf and Anna Dunietz, demonstrated the six steps everybody can take towards the job they want. They repeatedly challenged students to develop their talents. “Companies love to see that students take initiative to go out and help the community, make an impact,” Emmons said.

Webster students were participating in short self-reflective activities that Emmons prepared for them.

Jason Emmons: Public speaking, running, negotiating entrepreneurship, writing non-fiction and snowboarding are just a few on his list of hobbies.

Photos © Martina Mikulcikova (martinuenda), 2012

His engaging personal stories caught the young Webster community’s attention. In 8th grade, Emmons revealed, he started to cry instead of giving a speech in front of his class. “That was 30 years ago,” Emmons added.

He repeatedly stressed that big companies are having trouble finding hard-working people: “I don’t care what you read in the papers, talent is extremely hard to find.” This was the second Career Lunch, a project of the Career Development Center on the Webster Vienna campus. Its organizer, Verena Karlsson, was satisfied with the meeting and said that Emmons’ personal stories are something that students will remember. Other Career Lunches are expected to take place in the future.

Students found the advice helpful. Eteri Gaiashvili, a former Webster student currently mastering in International Relations and International Management, also came to get tips on how to become global. She described the experience as “helpful and valuable”, particularly the advice on how to prepare for a job interview.

For Raoul Geck from Austria, graduating this December, the information presented wasn’t anything “fundamentally new” but it offered him something different. “The networking contacts were very interesting. I was looking for tips and tricks about how to get into South Africa, and one of the people here offered me his help, so it was very useful.”

Deloitte, with its headquarters in New York City, is one of the four biggest professional services firms, providing audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and tax services to selected clients around the world.

Some students are quite sure about their future. They only struggle to find the right way. “If you want it so bad you can grow any talent you want,” says Emmons.

After the lunch, some Webster students revealed their hopes for future jobs in short interviews. Watch the video by Kate Kapuza here.

This article was published in The

Palio 2012 – second race

Palio 2012 – second race

Ready jockeys, turning back to see the signal of the jockey in the back, that lets them know when to run.

Photos © Martina Mikucikova (martinuenda), 2012


After 22 years of waiting, contrada Montone earned their victory in the August Palio 2012.

With a bit of luck and a weaker horse, that never won Palio up till now, Lo Specialist ran around the historical Piazza del Campo three times in 1 minute, 16 seconds.

In the first round, six horses were left behind, one ended up in the hospital.

In the last round, contrada Tartuca got very close to Montone, but the determined young fantino (jockey) driven by the screaming crowd, got to the final first.

Nobody was expecting it, but everybody wishing it would come true. The Piazza filled with complete silence when the envelope with the order of the horses was being opened. Montone was to be second in the line. That was the breaking moment when it started to look promising for the contrada of Montone.

The joy, excitement, and emotions cannot be described better than in pictures.
This time, luckily, I’ll let the pictures talk:)

Walking inside the shouting crowd, all heading to the Duomo with the Palio (the painting as the prize), I am stopped by a woman, joyfully expressing her emotion: “Era ora,” she tells me.

– “It was time.” As in the 1990 this was The time for Montone to become the “padroni della citá, come era una volta” – “the lords of the city, as it once was.”

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