Around Berlin, small golden cobble stones mark the houses of families that were deported and killed by the Nazis. I noticed one on my way to university yesterday. Suddenly living in this city, leading a normal life on this enormous crime scene seemed like an absurd mistake.
This photo is of an ad for luxury apartments, "here you will enjoy the charm of the 30s." An older couple was looking at the advertisement, and I asked them what they thought of a living arrangement with "the charm of the 30s," but they only appeared to be bothered by the colour of the houses.Comments (4)
Happy Thanksgiving all my friends!
(I cut out all the sarcasm for you, I really do hope you all had a nice time, and someone to share a nice hot meal with.)
My new friend Tai and I went to Treptower Park, to visit "Igor," as we amicably call the unknown Russian soldier who freed the German people from Nazi terror.
We were wearing Igor pins on our jackets to give the event more importance.
I wouldn't speak of a movement yet, but the two of us made a conscious effort today to counteract our life-long submission to Western propaganda by visiting the Soviet war memorial.
We came to the conclusion that soviet propaganda, even after being jaded out of Western consumerism, isn't the thing for us either, although "Igor" really is quite impressively big. So we poked around at the granite a bit, took pictures and left the experience disenchanted, but feeling sincerely that we had gained a wholly new balance in our ideological influences.
(A few hundred people demonstrated against the destruction of the former Palast der Republik today. The plan is to tear it down, and rebuild a monarchic residence in its place. It seems like a huge waste of money and a horrible ideological play on symbols. They say they want to give the space back to the public, and create something like the Greek agora. The new castle is supposed to house a four star hotel, so like at the Greek agora, there will be a lot of money changing hands.
Besides a lot of demonstrators, there was Glühwein, and Bratwurst, and you could have your picture taken in front of a model Volkspalast.)
I did get to see Kimya play last night, after I had visited a flat in Prenzlauer Berg that I am not moving into because I decided on the other one on Danziger Straße, with nice roommates and a tiny room. I am very happy with the decision. I will move in with Philip, a singer from Austria, Franzi, who does animation, and Madelaine, a photographer interested in fog machines, who also took me to the Keiji Haino concert the other night. They are all very sweet. I chose good influence over the comfort of a big room and scenic view, and there will be an extra bunk bed for guests..!
So yes, after I had biked around for nearly an hour and was really sweaty I arrived at the place and Kimya waved me in and the guy from Tigersaw was sitting there stringing a guitar for Jason Anderson, and we all remembered the DAAC, it was lovely. Jason Anderson sang about watching clouds over factories in Ohio, and people and their girlfriends moving to Portland, Oregon. It was so familiarly American. I think I once dedicated a radio show to this anti-folksy feeling, it was called "the sweet, the beautiful United States." What in America had always felt like 'telling each other who we are,' reveling in the things we all know, really seemed like a mysterious, exotic thing when it was thrown so out of context, like how I had perceived Michigan when I first arrived there in the Fall five years ago.
Kimya was, as always when I see her, really exhausted from touring and a little distraught. I was sad that she didn't play "Hold My Hand," but I felt I would put another nail in her tomb if I would request another song, since she already talked a lot about us saving her life by not smoking. Most of her songs are very personal now, and lamenting about the world. I miss a little the irony and sad humour from "I'm sorry But Sometimes I'm Mean." Spelling things straight out the way they are can never have the same effect on you. I wish she could go back to her bedroom and discover her four-track and acoustic guitar all over again, but how will she if she keeps touring like a gypsy for years on end?
But yes. The show was like a greeting card from my sweet, sad United States.
I biked all the way home because I had missed the last train. Kreuzberg was wet with rain and the cobble stone gave me a sore ass. I called Michigan from a Turkish shop by my house and everything was fine, except the weather.
George has asked me to write a little more about what I do (I guess he meant that as instead of rampant social pseudo critiques of issues that concern noone), so I will try to be a good livejournal keeper for once.
Today I woke up with the clear determination to jump right out of bed and pick up "Critique of Judgment" and read it, comprehend it, put it back on the shelf and be a better person for it. That didn't happen, although I had a dream the night before that I had grasped it all and the world unfolded in front of me in a perfect system of cognizance. The snooze alarm went off 12 times before I was ready to shake up those blankets, put the friends-dolls back in their place on the down pillow, tug in the sheets and start the day. I had, as is my habit, extended breakfast until noon, and left the house with four cups of honey tea in me to make up for the kisses goodbye noone seems ready to provide since I left the states. I arrived at university soaked, which I blame on the fact that I have not yet acquired the sense of judgment to take natural occurences as more than mere tricks on my senses, until the cold rain actually begins to wrinkle up my skin and I have to conclude that it was actually a good day to take the subway, not the bike. It took two hours in an overcrowded lecture hall to dry my pants and another two to make my jacket wearable again. In the first lecture though I learned to differentiate between synthetic and analytic judgments (the first of which is based on experience, and, although it does not qualify as apriori, and therefore has no claim to truth in a mathematical sense), it was comforting to know that with the help of one of those I could avoid getting wet next time, if only by compromising the universal applicability of my claims to truth. I ate a meal for 1.50 € at the mensa, the public cafeteria where you can rub elbows with each other and talk about how bad the food is, although it's really not. More lectures, reading in the library, still feeling a little lost between all this architecture and great books, and after some minimal shopping (green beans and honey), back to the living quarters in Kreuzberg. My roommates care not for Antifolk, and I think I will go by myself to see Kimya Dawson play at the Lovelite tonight. Last time I went to the concert alone it was fantastical. I made a sweet friend in the ticket line, we went and had drinks and watched Coco Rosie, vowed to go shopping for shoes right the next day and I lost her number. Bad Judgment? Nothing protects me from being a simple slob. Yes yes. I think I might go back to politics for the next entry. Maybe I could try fiction. I cannot imagine this to be interesting at all!Comments (4)
Look, enlightenment is mass deception:
What went on at Alexanderplatz today?
I like seeing my favourite Berlin landmark illuminated by a large beam of light that seems to come out of nowhere (but actually has its source rather disappointingly on some street corner I passed on my way home). But as it appears, this is just a test-run for a much more grande project. I'm not sure if you will follow me with this, as it is hard to believe for myself. The TV Tower, that beloved symbol of the soaring peek and magnificent strength of the socialist enterprise (..), quite visible for anyone with eyes to see, a modernist spectacle of concrete standing erect, a perfect sphere of glass and steel, will soon be clad in pink and white, A PINK AND WHITE SOCCER BALL! Yes, for the upcoming world cup, Fernsehturm will be Soccerballturm. Why pink and white, I ask, now, that is just ridiculous? Because those are the colours of the German Telecom, this year's World Cup's official sponsor! Yes, Genossen, in the year that will see the dismantling of the "People's Palace," just down the street from Alexanderplatz, we will also see the trademark colours of the privatized phone company being displayed in shape of Germany's second other trademark symbol, way up there over all our heads, unsubmittingly illuminated by a beam of light in the night sky.
While following the controversy over the sacking of the Volkspalast, I had been wondering why they don't also get rid of the Fernsehturm. It would only seem consistent, following the logic of new regime replacing the symbols of old regime. Unter den Linden is being turned into a disneyfied museum district; ugly modern socialist architecture down, classical-imperialist architecture up, is the scheme. But why bother demolishing the TV tower, when it can easily be turned into a fantastical 3-d monument to our two favourites! Panem et Circenses rule the best!
The WG got dressed up for a party in Neukölln. Clemence here "supertrash," which is pronounced French.
"Ungovernable disorder begins when the shops stop getting looted before they are set fire to."
"What intimidates the citizenry of the middle class most is that they are now confronted with a rebellion without any symbols, without slogans, programs or leaders that would let themselves be persecuted by the government or pocketed and strangled by the unions."Comments (0)
Time to take out the scarves and gloves and miso soup. Or to stay really really close together, if your friends let you.Comments (1)
I think a yearpass for the Volksbühne would be just what I need. I can take my bike to amazing concerts like this one, and it only takes five minutes. Zeitkratzer made me realize that we are on the right track with scratching, not playing our violins. The sounds are so much more rewarding. But there is so much to learn. A whole new universe of strumming and squeeking, husking and droning sounds. And to play one of these tiny milk foam whisks on the cymbal! I will have to buy one for myself.
It was also a pleasure to watch Keiji Haino master a whole acreage of foot pedals, and to perform a shamanistic dance with two tambourines that he threw and shattered to the effect of little tambourine pieces flying all over and adding their sweet clinks and clanks. But like all good music, most of the concert was best enjoyed with eyes closed.Comments (2)
Christine (who was over on a visit from faraway Stuttgart!), and I went to see a play about Oscar Wilde at Maxim Gorki theatre. I dressed up fin de siècle and all the actors and stage props where 60s retro and glam. Oscar Wilde was played by a woman with Madonna looks and the mannerism of a puberescant boy, but it sort of worked. In the photo below Wilde is interrogated by the male establishment about his affairs with young men. While he takes his time explaining why morals for him have no place in art, and he as an artist has no concern for morals, the two interrogators start winding about in their seats and get really cramped up and fall to the ground. Then the stage is taken by a choir of adolescent boys in sport suits and everyone starts drinking champagne. It was very comical, but I'm confused about whether dandyism translates to the disco age, why a gay man has to be played by a woman, and if you do Wilde justice by portraying him as a ruthless egomaniac who only finds an excuse for his behavior in his art. Not questioning that what he does is immoral but instead finding an excuse for it in his art.
or if decadence is rather a legitimate way of subverting a repressive culture with fucked up morals.
I mean, while the play clearly put the established men with hats in a bad corner and had plenty of sympathy for disco and frivolity, it still was only that, frivolous, and it didn't do anything to reconcile Wilde as someone whose only fault was that he didn't live up to the skewed moral standards of his time.
I have to give a presentation about Wilde next week for a course titled Ethics and Aesthetics. I would like to dress up as Wilde and get my classmates to fall from their chairs, but I somehow can't see that happen. If anyone has anything to say on this topic, please let me be inspired.
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