For the second time on this magical journey I have succumbed to illness, this one more ferocious than the last. Four days were wasted laying on the couch looking whistfully out the window, wishing I could be well and wandering my beloved city. I leave for Turkey tomorrow so there was no way another day would be lost on lung chunks, and queez. In broken english I managed to negotiate with the apotheke for some miracle nasal spray that makes me feel half alive again, but is probably killing me a little too. No more than all the cigarettes I've smoked over my lifetime I suppose. Anyhow, I managed some good park sitting and solo wandering today. I went to my favorite fountain, the neptune fountain I think, and did some drawings. It was the magic hour and the light was golden and shinning off the domes of the churches and I felt young and in love. My drawings no matter of what, always end up looking like my drawings. These beautiful bronze women sitting around the fountain are reduced to my big handed googley eyed freaks. I guess thats what you call style. Im looking forward to Turkey, but am secretly wishing I could skip it and have another solid two weeks here. Secretly Im only going for the food, the lamb to be more specific. So officially the trip is half over. I feel like a cheap rubber ball, bounced too hard on the ground. I've reached the apex of my magical ascent and now its a swift downward trajectory, greeted by the reality of cold cement. I don't want to go home. This coming from the asshole who cried all the way to the airport that she didn't want to leave. Time changes when you're traveling, slows down. If I kept moving forever maybe I would never die.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Berlin is so hectic and full of art bleeding from every corner, I am forgeting to make some of my own (save for some drunken sharpie misshaps in bathroom stalls and sides of buildings). I always put off doing the things I like most. Pleasure delaying or sheer laziness? Im going to kareoke to atone for my sins.
Friday, September 23, 2011
As you may know, the Pope is here in Berlin to address parliment. People aren't so excited about it. So yesterday there was a large protest. People dressed up as varying gay dead condom toting incarnations of the Pope, saw one arm in arm with Hitler (nod to popes nazi youth?). Its about the seperation of church and state and the catholic churches notoriously backward ideas on alternative sexualities and contraceptives. I think my favorite sign said something to the effect of "I'll fuck who I want, my hole is not holy." It was amazing to be there, feel part of something where my body faceless in the crowd is meaningful in a way, helping to take up that space, to show solidarity. It is something new to me, to see people upset about something...and then get together in such great numbers to make it known. I thought you just sit on the couch and bitch about all the injustice out there.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Did a solid wander around the big B today. Saw some churches and this crazy bombed out squat palace where people go to spray paint shit. In another life where I am unaffraid of arrest I would be a graffiti artist. Maybe Berlin will help me grow a pair. Went to my first crypt today, saw a lot of dead princes and princesses. I am slowly learning how to navigate the subway system, with the patient guidence of Karen, a seasoned New York subway vet. I saw this old man owning the flute on the ride home, I was enchanted, however the natives looked annoyed. When the flautist wandered up and down the car waving a dirty cup in everyones face I realized his motives for entertaining us were not so innocent. I did what Anthony Bourdain suggested and tried some currywurst, sausage with katsup and curry powder. A delight for any carnivor. I will try as many different street vendors as I can until I find the perfect currywurst! Can anyone tell me why my pants are feeling a little snug? I don't feel scared of Berlin the way I do other big cities. Its easy to navigate, and filled with nonstop rad shit to see and do. Its cheap too, at least compared to Holland. I would magic wand myself a cute little flat and a hot German lover before you could EVEN blink an eye. EDIT: The internet here is shite so blogging has become a dream of the past, Ill try and slip it in where I can. Saw the Berlin wall, its so real. Went to a sweet little bar and then a raging dance party. The danger for a night creature like me is that the club NEVER CLOSES. Next thing you know you have to take a cab at 4am, because the trains stopped running and you're too drunk to figire out the night bus. Im going to find a way to never leave. Also the pope is in town (not kidding) and people are rioting in the streets because they dont believe in the catholic churches policies on homosexuality and contraception. Good for you Berlin.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
I left all my sadness back under the grey blankets of Holland. Listen to some Pixies, draw some pictures, and now I'm ready to fuck Berlin sideways. The white bark of the birch trees from the train window is killing me. They look soft like skin, like the way Klimt painted them. Branches weeping gently downward. The landscape feels familiar this way...There is an undue amount of babies on this train. Ive been watching Jan beat the poor girl in front of me with his stuffed rabbit for the better part of an hour, I think he might laugh all the five hours more we have to go...And there is this little girl hugging tightly to her dads neck as they walk up and down the aisles, and she looks at everyone with her big doleful brown eyes. Maybe I have baby fever, but Im pretty sure they're ten fold cuter over here. Maybe its the water, or the welfare state. I like moving, awaiting some new city, now in this moment I feel free and unafraid. If only I could bottle it up for the lean times. AAAAAND a few hours and one good train nap later, Im here in Berlin. We had dinner all together, and picked our homestays. I am with Ahnka and Evera, two lovely women, and their two lovely cats and one tiny dog. The apartment is a luxury (especially after two weeks of hostel living). Nice balcony and dream of dreams...I can smoke inside, which is half the reason I came to Europe in the first place of course. Good art on the walls too, that means good people. Pictures will follow after I smoke a few rollies complements of Ellie, drink some tea, eat my pillow chocolates, shower, sleep and go to school for eight or so hours....
Friday, September 16, 2011
I've been away for about a month now. I think part of the novelty has worn off. I am still pleased to be here, but these past few days it wasn't quite enough to fight off the sadness. I miss my friends and my bed and my plants. I could stand to hold on to something familiar, even just for a moment. I keep having tearful reunion dreams which probably doesn't help, goddamn subconscious. I wandered the streets of Utrecht quietly crying, half in wonder that I am here and half in desperate longing to be back on the couch where I came from. I know this is to be expected, and will pass as quickly as it came. We are moving to Berlin on Sunday. I think the change of scenery will revive my flagging spirits. Holland has been kind to me though. I felt very comfortable here, I got to know my way around the city pretty well, ate some good food, spilled a few drinks with some good people, even ran into old friends and kissed cheeks on the street like I belong here. I haven't been drawing as much as I promised myself I would, which might also be contributing to my feeling soggy in the soul. Aside from a few shitty doodles in the margins of my lecture notes, I have had an artistically dry week. I've been spending a lot of time on the bottom bunk listening to the New Yorker Fiction podcast and wondering how the hell I got here. I have been compulsivley telling everyone how great it is, but it is that great, no joke. I suppose its much more romantic to be sad wandering the wet cobblestone streets of Europe, than feeling kind of dumpy in my cluttered apartment. This too shall pass. I don't regret coming here for one second, its still the best thing Ive ever done, and Im still learning new and amazing things everyday...some of those things are harder than I thought, some of them are about being home where ever I go, or being able to soothe myself when shit gets real. As important as all the critical theory that is being stuffed in my skull. There is an art to everything and I will slowly master this like I learned to weild the pen and brush. Or maybe I need a good hard slap to remind me what a privelage it is to be able to travel at all, and it is. I shouldn't lose sight of that.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I couldnt stand another stoned horror show, so this time I went to Amsterdam with a plan, hit the museum district hard and fast. Upon the endless urging from Erin and Steve I started with the Van Gogh. He is Hollands pride and joy, I didn't even know he was Dutch...is that bad? It is a true delight to see his work up close, it is so much more expressive than you know. I stood in front of Almond Blossoms sketching and weeping softly in to my notebook. The collection is really expansive and nicley currated. Interesting little asides about the work the museum has done with archiving and analyzing the hell out of every single piece. You can see xrays of the paintings under paintings. Its a lot to take in. Next stop was the FOAM contemporary photography institute. Real cool, some real freaky shit in there. Lovingly rendered photographs of organs and body parts from forensic files on accidental deaths, suicides and murders...along with the autopsy reports. The scarriest was a heart ripped in two by a bullet to the chest, self inflicted. Same photographer, next room...landmines from every country along with what they're made of and how they will fuck you up. The FOAM is a labyrinth and in every nook and cranny there are visual and interactive delights. If you ever find yourself in Amsterdam I would stop by. It was a long day...So as a follow up Max suggested we go sit somewhere pretty and read, thus weed ferry. Very cool if you can hold your shit together when you're stoned, but I can't. The boat is all wood inside and filled with beautiful plants and big windows that look out on the canal. We got a spliff and some tea and set to relaxing, only I started to lose touch with reality and realized outside of the symbolic order is in fact MADDNESS! Had to watch Glee 3D just to get right with the world. Later on Max cooked some horrendous steaks and then there was a really crazy lightening storm and then we all went crazy and then we went dancing. That pretty much sums up the week.
First art excursion of the trip (finally). Karen and I explored all that Utrecht has to offer, which is suprisingly much considering its not so big. Went first to BAK a contemporary art space where they are commited to "artistic research." Showing currently Irene Kopelman presenting part of her doctoral thesis, which she defended publicly a few days earlier, sorry I missed that. Cool that she did it in public insted of locked in the academy. Does that make her an art doctor? In theory I suppose. The exhibit is titled "The Molyneux Problem" which refers to some question John Locke posed about a blind person being taught to discern the difference between a cube and a sphere by touch, if he was then magically able to see, could he then recognize them by sight also? Thats a lame summary of a complex philosophic idea. But it was interesting to look at her work with this question in mind. She painstakingly observed glaciers in Antarctica, and was thinking about how we visually interpret the world around us and stuff. She asks "after you have felt and heard about art, can you still see it?" Whoa, you are an art doctor Irene. It was interesting to see art approached from a research and theory oriented perspective instead of my willy nilly ideas of intuitive line vomit.