From DIE ZEIT, January 14, 2010, German weekly newspaper
(Highly evaluated German newspaper- Austrian special edition)
Translated from German to English
HOLLYWOOD TO VIENNA WOODS
Californian in Austria
Donald Ellis Rothenberg 63,
Has written a novel somewhat about his life
I live with my wife, a psychotherapist, and my son in a wooden house next to the Vienna Woods. I was born in Hollywood, California. I grew up in a reform Jewish family near the beaches of Southern California. My grandparents escaped from the pogroms before the 20 century as they left Odessa and Russia, for Glasgow and later to New York and Vancouver, where my father was born. There is no surprise, then, why I ask myself the questions: Where is my home ? Where am I ? Vienna and Austria have antisemitic elements. The elections often show up to a third on the far right politically. Where then comes my own feeling of well being ? It took ten years to write my book, a novel, which in some ways reflects my own history. This past year, HOLLYWOOD TO VIENNA: A Trip and a Half, was released.
My history began in California where I grew up as a child living around famous celebrities and actors. My father worked in a related business to the film industry. We lived modestly in a rather rich area. Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 within five minutes walking distance from our house. I used to meet and talk with Chico Marx, of the Marx Brothers, as he walked his dog. I bought the first Sony color portable video camera and worked with a video collective as we made films about street musicians, a health food store or Joan Baez singing at the 25th anniversary for Amnesty International. My world evolved into the Counterculture, and protesting against the Vietnam War and studying Eastern religions. In Toronto, I studied Media Arts, with Mc Luhan. Later I helped start a health food restaurant in Flint, Michigan where I knew the then thin documentary filmaker, Michael Moore. I met Harry Chapin and Don Mc Lean, of American Pie fame, when they were performing benefits for Michaels social projects.
All this and more I have done and experienced. I like to be in nature, do photography and write poems and songs. I have released four CDs of original songs and music. My doctorate is in Transpersonal Psychology. I practice couples therapy together with my wife with bi-cultural couples. I also work with video as a biofeedback tool. The main job I have currently is as a teacher in a bilingual middle school and in a high school. Slowly I am anticipating my retirement in this profession. I continue my longtime practices of tai chi, eating healthfully, meditating and jogging in the Vienna Woods. Fairness and justice are important to me, specifically: human rights, ecological issues, the poor and disadvantaged and war and aggression in the world. But, I am also a realist and naturally I realize, for instance, that Barack Obama would not have been elected without the support of a lot of money and special interest groups.
From an interview by journalist Ernst Schmiederer