I flew back to Tucson yesterday and got in at about 10:30 last night. Sadly, O was delayed in her own flight that was supposed to be Friday back from NYC, so the expected romantic reunion at the airport was not to be. She comes back tonite at midnight instead. I feel bad because I was off the internet for the last 3 days of my trip, which was unusual compared to the rest of the time, and O was worried. It's so unusual to have someone worry over me. I only realized the extent of her stress when I finally today read her blog entry about it from a couple days ago.
I have a lot of thinking about my trip and sorting of photos (here's a few I just uploaded to Flickr, i'll be doing a few at a time for a while, I think) and other materials collected to do. but here is a nice shot that seems relevant to my thoughts right now, as I wait for O to come back to Tucson and be with me.
One general observation about the last month that I think is interesting is that my trip was bookended by being in 2 different small German cities, one (Rostock) taken over by politics and activism and police (the G8 protests), and one (Kassel) taken over by art (Documenta). Very different motivations, but very similar in feel, I found. Which was odd.
Ok, time to go and feed O's dog.
Today I'm leaving Heilbronn after a fun week (went to the Bodensee, Bad Wimpfen, hung out at a local festival here in Heilbronn, and went to ZKM) in Baden-Wurtemburg with Allan and Jeannette, and heading up to Kassel, to spend a couple days looking at Documenta. Then Saturday it's back to Frankfurt to catch my flight home! I probably won't have time or connectivity to blog before that, so, I'll catch up once I'm back in Tucson.
I'm back in Germany, having travelled by train from Praha 2 days ago to Heilbronn, in the southern "land" of Baden-Wurttemburg (Germany is divided into 16 "lands," like states).
My brother and his wife live here and I'm staying with them for a week. Then my last 2 days in Europe will be spent at the huge contemporary art show called Documenta, which happens in Kassel only every 5 years.
This photo is of me up in the really tall, soviet-designed tower that looms over much of Prague. I uploaded it and many more to my Flickr account yesterday and today. And yet these are only a fraction of all the photos i've taken on this trip. To organize and sort them all it will be a big job that will have to wait till I'm back home. But these that are up now will at least be a very basic overview. Enjoy.
Yesterday I travelled via train from Berlin to Praha, Czech Republic (Praha is how they call Prague in Czech, and German for that matter. I'm told that the pronuciation of "h" used to sound like "g" in Czech, that's how the discrepency happened). The train ride was pleasant, the tracks following the course of the Elbe River for much of the way so the view was pretty. The border controls were rather thorough for Europe, I thought, with police on the train looking very carefully at all the stamps in my passport. What were they looking for? Perhaps if I'd ever been to Transniestria or Chechnya they would have taken me to an empty car to interrogate me? hmm.
Anway, I'm a bit culture-shocked. Prague is a very old and busy little capitol city. Lots of things are not "westernized" and "modernized" still here, whereas Berlin feels much more converted over to western, capitalized, american ways and looks (this is not a complaint, just an explanation for why it feels stranger here). The language is also really really different. But I'm staying with my friend, fellow Iowan, and fellow cultural recycler Lloyd Dunn, of The Tape-beatles, and he's orienting me pretty well.
Right now I'm sitting in Skolska 28, a small gallery in central Praha which is going to host a screening of my video work on this coming Monday. I'll be showing a mix of artist and activistic pieces, including excerpts from my Juarez film.
I should go now, get offline and see some more of this city. I think I'll head up to Pra
Here's another video I edited here in Rostock from footage shot at the G8 protests. This one is just sort of an impressionaistic glance at the blockades on Wednesday.
As before you can also download via bittorrent from v2v.cc.
Tonight is my last night in Rostock. There's a huge "finissage", a closing party for the Art Goes Heiligendamm exhibit. I've had a tad too much wine and I'm totally high on a video piece co-screenwritten by Geert Lovink called One World. It's basically all animated text with very simple animation graphics all about globalization and modern info-culture. So fucking cool.
Anyway, tommorrow back to the metropolis, Berlin.
I'm typing this as I sit in the dining car of a high-speed train from Frankfurt to Berlin. I'm not online as I type this, but I thought it would be nice to jot down some thoughts while I'm having them. Or re-jot, as I 've already been jotting in my journal. [I'm editing this, slightly, by the way, as I sit in my friend's apartment in East Berlin 2 days later].
This is train is fast clean and efficient. Germany seems like a very efficient, clean, but wet place, at least today. Germans seems very quiet, proper, well-mannered, and concious of others personal space and boundaries. Maybe I'm just projecting that after hearing the story my friend Jose told me yesterday about his experience years ago in Germany, getting scolded by a train conductor for having his walkman turned up to high. Jose told that story to me over lunch in LA, which I took with him because I had a 7 hour layover on my way to Germany. The experience ended up being extravagantly expensive, mainly because I had to take a shuttle from LAX to Beverly Hills and then a taxi back to LAX. But it was a good prelude to extravagantly expensive Germany ( I just spent about $1.40 to go to the bathroom at the Frankfurt train station, for example).
I'm definitely jetlagged. I'm on hour 26 or so of a 28 hour total transit time from Tucson to Berlin. But I don't feel much worse than if I'd stayed up too late and drunk too much.
Air India was an interesting experience and made me wish I was taking the plane all the way to New Delhi rather than getting off in Frankfurt. There was Indianesque food served for dinner last night, probably the most flavorful airplane food I've had, and cheesy (though with high-production values) Hindi movies playing on the screens, which also frequently reminded the viewer that the map of the plane's route that it displayed showed "physical features only. no political borders depicted."
Ah, it looks like we're pulling into Hannover. Another nice city surrounded by green.
I'm feeling frustrated....
I'm careening toward another cliff (it always feels like that) of long-duration international travel - a month in Germany and the Czech Republic. I'll be leaving Monday morning for Berlin and I've been scrambling to wrap up obligations, tidy my house (literally and figuratively), and gather together everthing I'll need.
Today I'm finshing up the last of about a half-dozen video projects I had to have done this week before I go, a rough edit of a piece Pan Left is doing for Wingspan.
More news as it happens or soon after. I think i'll be relatively wired, and I'll be "covering" the G8 protests, along with probably hundreds of other citizen journalists and media activists that will be there in northern germany June 2 thru 9 or so. so look for audio, video, fotos or text from me soon, full of exciting riot porn, i'm sure.
I'll also be showing some video work, including new stuff, and excerpts of my Juarez doc, at a gallery in Prague on June 18. More details on that when I get them.
In other news, the bike I've been building at BICAS is finally done and it rocks. too bad i just have this half-week to use it before i leave town.
another monday. another headache forming as i sit staring at my monitor.
interesting and fun weekend. Saw Yaqui tribal easter rituals, pretty fascinating stuff, amazing syncretism (mixing of catholic and native spiritual traditions) with crazy costumes, sacred clowns, fire, fireworks, music and dancing and parading, godparents beating off evil spirits with sticks, Judas burned at the stake in a pyre of garbage bags (yuk!), girlfriends crushing on teenage boys who dance like deers all night, old women chanting, water drums and scrapers.... and I have no photos or video or audio of any of this because recording, even sketching at these ceremonies is forbidden...
Earth First Journal annual pie party last night. yum. people/socializing overload.
amazing friendships. art, music, food, drink, dogs, love, lovemaking; coffee and juice. virus hoaxes. missing spreadsheets. need to go get groceries really badly.
and i would write more and more cleverly and clearly than this cursory stream-of-concious acccount if i could just not have this headache right now. sigh.
I have to remember that things are still really great. I'm mentioning a little bit of multiple bad luck events that kind of converged, and realizing that i tend to blog or journal more about misfortunes than good things. It will leave a wrong impression, I'm sure...
But anyway, yesterday I both lost my hat and my bike became unridable. Not at the same time, but now I have the unpleasantness of needing to walk somewhere sort of far, in the super bright sun without a hat to shield my eyes. Yeah anyway, it was crazy about my bike, I was setting off to cross a busy street and soon as I put weight on the left pedal the whole crank just broke off. just snapped. It was lucky I wasn't right in front of speeding traffic.
Anyway, at least I have a friend who i can borrow an extra bike from.
I better get going.
Lately I've been making lots of espresso with my stove-top espresso pot. It's really good coffee, even though it's decaf (whatever, man, I saw that sneer - i'm taking care of myself the best way for me, ok?). Anyway, I tried a neat experiment recently that turned out pretty good - I put a few cloves and a few cardomom pods in with the coffee grounds. Of course the trick with cardomom, always, whether in tea or whatever, is to crush the pods with the flat of a knife, so the seeds inside are exposed.
The results, something chai-like but also very much espresso. Delicious. There's all sorts of other possibilities for other spices to put in too, maybe even making tea that way (like, no coffee, just steamed spices). hmm. I'll report back on future successes. The power of steam... btw, I just talked to the proprietor of my favorite cafe in town, Shot in the Dark, and was complimenting her on how they always have liquid sugar to put in your cold drinks so it dissolves easier. A lot of cafes just are not that thoughtful. She said it's because they dont know the easy way to make it - with the steam spigot on the espresso machine! I don't know quite what that means but it sounds promising. yay, steam.