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Life Ball

The Life Ball in Vienna is the biggest charity event in Europe supporting people with HIV or AIDS. The event is organized by the nonprofit organization AIDS LIFE, founded in 1992 by Gery Keszler and Torgom Petrosian. AIDS LIFE supports aid organizations devoted to helping people who are HIV-positive or have AIDS; the team entrusted with the allocation of funds examines each petition. Moreover, it is an explicit goal of AIDS LIFE to raise public awareness; the Life Ball—one of the biggest and most spectacular annual charity events in the world—has attracted strong international interest and attention. The main priority of the Ball is, not only the exuberant celebration of the party people or spectacular live acts, but the fight against AIDS. To ensure that the meaning of this major event is not forgotten, the opening ceremony on Vienna’s city hall square includes moments of silence and speeches by international stars and partners, which focus on raising awareness for AIDS. Since the establishment of this society highlight, which has become a real tradition, numerous celebrities show their personal commitment to the issue with breathtaking live performances and send a strong signal of solidarity.

They make use of their position as role models for a good cause. The number of tickets for the Life Ball is limited to 3,780. To maintain the unique and extravagant style of the event, different ticket categories are available: a fixed number of tickets called “Style Tickets” are available at half price and are for those who meet the dress code of the Life Ball Style Bible; the costumes should correspond to the theme of the Ball. These are the only guests—besides the stars—who are allowed to walk down the red carpet, which leads from Ringstrasse Boulevard across city hall square to the main stage in front of Vienna’s city hall. In the run-up to the 2008 Ball, Gery Keszler voiced the wish that guests try to be less provocative and more creative; as Chris Lohner put it: "A penis is not yet a costume". Guests can apply for Style Tickets on the Style Bible webpage. Guests in normal evening attire pay the full ticket price. In 2001, a ticket sales system in which interested parties register in a raffle for tickets via text message was introduced.

As many as 60,000 ticket registrations are received within the two-day sales period. The lucky ticket winners in both categories are selected randomly from all applications. A small number of tickets is issued through various campaigns International guests can book Life Ball Packages including plane tickets and hotel as well as table bookings, which cost 4- to 5-figure euro amounts. In 2009, early table bookings slowed down due to the new Austrian anti-corruption act that entered into force in 2008; the opening gala features a wide variety of music, from operetta to pop, national as well as international stars, the fashion show on the huge Red Ribbon stage. Until 2008, it could be viewed free of charge on city hall square, which could accommodate 45,000 people. Guests can dance in the various patios and rooms of the city hall as they enjoy the offerings of the many bars and buffets; some of the international stars perform on stages on the Ball premises. This glamorous charity event is known far beyond the Austrian borders today.

By now, over 60 TV stations and a total of 500 national and international media representatives cover the event each year. In case of repeated accreditation, the organizers check whether the topic of AIDS was addressed in the coverage to avoid that only stars and celebrities are mentioned. Austrian public broadcaster ORF 1 has been covering the opening show live since 2007 as part of a “theme night” followed by interviews with famous guests after the opening, attracting around 400,000 viewers each year. Since 2007, the opening show has been broadcast on 3sat with a time delay. In 2008, Austrian channel Puls 4 had a live broadcast of the Ball after ORF's live broadcast; the new German TV station TIMM covered the event in 2009 in a 4-hour non-stop program, for which the ORF signal was used in part. Organizer and founder Gery Keszler is engine of the Life Ball, it is mainly his achievement that fashion representatives and celebrities of the entertainment industry such as Roseanne Barr, Elton John, Catherine Deneuve, Liza Minnelli, Sharon Stone, Dita von Teese, Heidi Klum, Naomi Campbell and Jenna Jameson attend the opening show.

Some play an active role in the event's program, others celebrate. Gery Keszler chose the Vienna city hall as venue, he felt that it should be part of the Viennese ball tradition, but be more provocative and glamorous. He was given the opportunity to present his project to mayor Helmut Zilk. Zilk gave it a try, he agreed to let Keszler have the festival hall in the Vienna city hall and supported him despite all opposition. Zilk’s stance was remarkable as support for this cause was not something that could be taken for granted at that time. There were doubts as to whether the event would be a success. For Keszler it was exciting and nerve-wrecking until the opening, because the first guests arrived rather late; the first Life Ball took place on May 29, 1993. In addition to the Vienna city administration, the event had only two sponsors; the ATS 1,100

Alan McCurrie

Alan McCurrie is an English former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1970s and 1980s. He played at representative level for Cumbria, at club level for Hensingham in Whitehaven), Wakefield Trinity and Halifax, as a hooker, i.e. number 9. Alan McCurrie's birth was registered in Whitehaven district, England. Alan McCurrie represented Cumbria while at Whitehaven in 1977, at Wakefield Trinity between 1978 and 1982. Alan McCurrie played hooker in Wakefield Trinity's 3-12 defeat by Widnes in the 1979 Challenge Cup Final during the 1978–79 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 5 May 1979, in front of a crowd of a crowd of 94,218. Alan McCurrie made his début for Wakefield Trinity against Batley in the John Player Trophy on Sunday 24 September 1978. Alan McCurrie is the father of the rugby league footballer. Statistics at orl-heritagetrust.org.uk

The Defense

The Luzhin Defense is the third novel written by Vladimir Nabokov during his emigration to Berlin, published in 1930. The novel appeared first under Nabokov's pen name V. Sirin in the Russian emigre quarterly Sovremennye zapiski and was thereafter published by the emigre publishing house Slovo as "Защита Лужина" in Berlin. More than three decades the novel was translated into English by Michael Scammell in collaboration with Nabokov and appeared in 1964. In the foreword to the English edition Nabokov states that he wrote The Defense in 1929 while he vacationed in Le Boulou and finished it in Berlin, he links the events in the central chapters to moves. The plot concerns Aleksandr Ivanovich Luzhin; as a boy, he is considered unattractive, an object of ridicule by his classmates. One day, when a guest comes to his father's party, he is asked; this encounter serves as his motivation to pick up chess. He visits his aunt's house to learn the basics, he becomes a great player, enrolling in local competitions and rising in rank as a chess player.

His talent is prodigious and he attains the level of a Grandmaster in less than ten years. For many years, he remains one of the top chess players in the world, but fails to become a world champion. During one of the tournaments, at a resort, he meets a young girl, never named in the novel, whose interest he captures, they become romantically involved, Luzhin proposes to her. Things turn for the worse when he is pitted against Turati, a grandmaster from Italy, in a competition to determine who would face the current world champion. Before and during the game, Luzhin has a mental breakdown, which climaxes when his planned defense against Turati fails in the first moves, the resulting game fails to produce a winner; when the game is suspended Luzhin wanders into the city in a state of complete detachment from reality. He is returned home and brought to a rest home, where he recovers, his doctor convinces Luzhin's fiancée that chess was the reason for his downfall, all reminders of chess are removed from his environment.

However, chess begins to find its way back into his thoughts. Luzhin begins to see his life as a chess game, seeing repetitions of'moves' that return his obsession with the game, he tries to find the move that will defend him from losing his chess life-game, but feels the scenario growing closer and closer. After an encounter with his old chess mentor, Luzhin realizes that he must "abandon the game," as he puts it to his wife, he locks himself in the bathroom. He climbs out of a window, it is implied he falls to his death, but the ending is deliberately vague; the last line of the novel reads: "The door was burst in.'Aleksandr Ivanovich, Aleksandr Ivanovich,' roared several voices. But there was no Aleksandr Ivanovich." Aleksandr Ivanovich Luzhin: The protagonist of the novel. As a child, he is misunderstood by his parents and mistreated by his peers, is sullen in complexion and demeanor, he has no friends. As an adult, he is corpulent inept, absent-minded, he has a nervous breakdown during his match with the Italian grandmaster Turati.

Luzhin's wife: She marries Luzhin after much protest from her mother and father. She is drawn to the air of mystery that surrounds the chess master and feels compassion for his social ineptitude, she takes on a motherly role in her marriage with Luzhin, makes it her occupation to amuse him and keep his mind off of his unhealthy obsession with chess. She remains nameless in the novel. Ivan Luzhin: Aleksandr Luzhin's father. A writer of novels intended for young boys; as he puts off beginning a novel based on his young son's prodigiousness in chess and the viperous character of Valentinov, he dies. Valentinov: A confident man with a competent understanding of chess who manages Luzhin's career through childhood, he uses the young Luzhin without much regard for Luzhin's personal development. Valentinov returns Luzhin to his father. Turati: The suave Italian grandmaster of chess. Luzhin has a nervous breakdown midway through the game with Turati; the character of Luzhin is based on Curt von Bardeleben, a chess master Nabokov knew personally.

Bardeleben ended his life by jumping out of a window. Nabokov said of this novel: "Of all my Russian books, The Defense contains and diffuses the greatest'warmth' -– which may seem odd seeing how supremely abstract chess is supposed to be." He described this novel as the "story of a chess player, crushed by his genius". The book was influenced by the Soviet film Chess Fever; the book was adapted to film as The Luzhin Defence. It was directed by Marleen Gorris, starred John Turturro as Luzhin. Daaim Shabazz, "In Search of Luzhin's Defence", The Chess Drum