As part of her continuing effort to nurture the European cabaret arts in New York City, Karen and Robert Kohler conceived and produced New York’s first festival for European cabaret, Kabarett Fête, from January 23-27, 2007.
Nine performers from seven countries delivered the European cabaret songbook in the city’s first cabaret festival devoted to the European cabaret arts. These NY-based artists came from France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Canada, and the U.S. Several had been members of Karen’s cabaret ensemble, Kabarett Kollektif, winner of the 2006 New York Nightlife Award for “Unique Cabaret Performance.”
Two programs made their NY debut in Kabarett Fête: Swedish-born Olivia Stevens’ tribute to the controversial Swedish star Zarah Leander, a siren of the Third Reich; and Rebecca Fletcher’s exploration of the Yiddish cabaret music of Warsaw. Karen also secured the rights to screen the documentary Dance of Death: Cabaret in the Camps by Berlin film-maker Volker Kuehn in NYC for the first time. This film, which combines rare footage of cabaret in the camps with interviews of some of the surviving artists, has been described as “an especially stirring document of the Holocaust…. more forceful than any known commentary… a memorial for the more or less unknown hero of the concentration camps.”
In March of 2008, Kabarett Fête won the BackStage Bistro Award for “Outstanding Special Event.”