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by Mary Nyiri

Sometimes  sitting in movie theaters all day becomes almost claustrophobic. Fresh air,  music and normal chit chat can be a welcome relief. During Filmfest Hamburg the  Studio Hamburg Lounge in the festival tent located directly across from the  Abaton Theater on Allende-Platz provided such relief with nightly entertainment  from 21:00 until 23:00. For example, on Wednesday, October 7, I was greeted  with a complimentary glass of Sekt and a table full of snacks (croissants, sandwiches, apple turnovers) from Le  Crobag. The tent was chock-full of mostly university students but people of all  ages (and walks of life) were hanging out, particularly close to the snack  table. There were several different entertainers but my favorite was by far  Victoria Hempel. Ms. Hempel played the guitar and sang softly first in German,  then French, then English. She had a truly lovely voice; it was just a shame  that most of the crowd paid more attention to the snack table. Ms. Hempel  explained that she sings for fun, since it just doesn’t pay. We can only hope  that “do what you love and the money will follow” eventually pays off for her.  On another night, a group I can only describe as rockabilly, cowboy hats  included, gave me the idea on how to cure the film critic numb bum – just shake  your booty!

Of course there are many opportunities around Abaton and Cinemaxx theaters  to relax. My favorite place this year was at the coffee bar inside the Abaton  Kino where Ignatio introduced me to his own signature drink: Yogiccino. This is  a mildly spiced chai tea topped with fluffy milk (soy/cow). A good choice if  you have already reached your caffeine limit for the day. There are usually  delicious baked goods from his wife Andrea. I could not resist having a brownie  which was extra chocolatey thanks to mini-chocolate chips inside. Prices are  very reasonable and the service is always very friendly.