Any self-respecting American tourist visiting the German city of Cologne would want to pop into the cathedral, surely. But those wishing to visit Germany's largest Gothic cathedral would be better advised to don Hawaiian shirt and shorts than rock the Gothic look, if Marilyn Manson's experience is anything to go by.
The American shock rocker wasn't allowed into the cathedral when he tried to visit it during his current stay in Germany. "Unfortunately they didn't let me in, probably because I was wearing lipstick," Manson told reporters Wednesday in Cologne.
The 38-year-old rock star, whose real name is Brian Warner, is notorious for his use of dramatic white make-up and outrageous outfits. He has been strongly criticized by some conservative Christian groups in the United States, who object to the anti-religious sentiment evident on albums such as 1996's "Antichrist Superstar" and consider him to be a pawn of Satan.
However the controversial rocker did not seem particularly bothered by not being allowed in. He described the cathedral, which is one of Germany's top tourist attractions, as "one of the most beautiful places that I've ever seen."
Manson was in Cologne for the opening of an exhibition of his watercolor paintings at a gallery in the city. Thirty-three somber works are on display. Their subjects include the late actor and friend of Manson, Christopher Reeve, and Adolf Hitler, who is depicted as a transsexual creature with breasts.
"Either you like them or you don't," Manson commented laconically. He said that Germany, the homeland of the oft-gloomy art movement Expressionism, was a great source of inspiration for him.
Other aspects of German culture clearly appeal to him too. He has flirted with Nazi imagery in the past, and has recently incorporated elements of Weimar-era cabaret into his performances.