Tuesday, November 29, 2005
last days in Berlin
I thought I'd submerge myself for a day in cafe culture while in Berlin, but mostly I want to get on with my life. Partly a homesickness, partly an impatience to return to the things waiting for me. I try to sit and write, but without a computer, it seems too slow a process. My handwriting can't keep up.
Berlin is enchanting, haunting, creepy and beautiful. The more I learn about this city, the more I feel for it. The last ten or fifteen years have been the most stable that the city has seen in a century and a half. It has constantly been torn at, upset by revolt, divided from the outside. When I was here with Bea about two years ago, we stayed with my uncle in a lovely coachhouse on the banks of the Wannsee -- a lake in the southwest of the city. I just learned the somewhere in that area, in 1941, Hermann Göring put together his outline for a "final solution" to the "Jewish question" (i.e, the Holocaust). The day before yesterday I walked down a set of streets that saw, in the 1840's to the 1860's, a series of workers' protests that became the birth of the Communist movement -- the white bedsheets that covered dead protestors became drenched in blood, which someone then tied to a broom and waved as a red flag signifying their solidarity to the cause. Yesterday I visited Potsdam, where in the mid-1700's Voltaire was a common guest of King Frederick the 2nd (I think it was Frtiz II -- there's a lot them and I get mixed up).
We have as much history back home in Canada, but those who lived it didn't write it down so often. I also think we confuse a history with the story of statehood. Though maybe, in the end, we just don't care about it as much in North America.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Doing a lot of walking around these days. The picture above I took a couple of days ago while on a big walkabout aournd Kreuzberg's Turkish area. Today JP and I took our second trundle from our hotel, through the Mitte to Prenzlauer Berg - that's like going from Queen and Shaw to St.Clair and Yonge in Toronto. All for really good cocoa. JP's great to walk around with. He approaches the things he loves in life with a gourmet's sensibility.
We've been deep into show issues and the practicalities of getting around Berlin. I'm hungry, though, to think about bigger issues. Right now I feel I’m too much in the moment. All these fucking zen movies and books that tell you to "be in the moment" – kung fu movies are the worst for that – are dishing out great advice for people fighting or boozing or performing... but to write or just think about life you need to jump out of the moment and into the fiction, or the place and time, the other-thing you’re chasing with your imagination. So my new rebel mottto is "fuck the moment." Be in the state you need. Wide-minded.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Walking and working in Berlin
We're loading in "Revolutions in Therapy" to the Hebbel am Ufer (HAU 2) in Berlin. It's going really well, despite the fact that my brand new laptop computer got RIPPED OFF right out of my fucking hotel room. CAN'T say I'm happy about that, but we have backups of our lighting control software and the show files, and we managed to get a local computer to do the job for us here without too much fuss.
I keep popping out with little Spanish words while I'm here, saying "si" to German waiters, or "Buenas" instead of "Guten Tag" -- can my brain not support the learning of two different languages? If I stuck around for more than a week I'm sure it would. Until then, I just laugh. There are more socially embarrasing mistakes to make. (Like yesterday, when I was trying to get the cheque at n Italien restaurant, but asked for the 'exam' instead).
Looking forward to being through the push here, tomorrow is fairly full, but after that, I have my days to play stoopid toorist.
Monday, November 21, 2005
departure lounge - Munich
We are sitting on the hard tile floor in Munich -- our connecting flight to Berlin has been cancelled -- "annuliert" on the display -- so JP and I are flashing our chill-ability for 4 hours in the airport. Working our style in this bastion of modernist architectural hubris. In this limbo.
Surround yourself with people who are better than you.
I'm a little under the weather, so I was worried about massive headaches and weariness. It actually helped me to pass out on the 8-hour flight over.
Keep your promises.
It's always lovely wandering around European airports -- so many varieties of people. Bronzed Aryans returning from Majorca, a team of Spanish soccer players literally lying all over their departure area. Three languages for every announcement, sometimes four. And free newspapers and coffee -- not fabulous coffee, but okay.
Commitment beats talent.
We got a 10 Euro voucher each for food within the terminal because we're stuck here. That makes it a little easier, though with the coffee we need to sustain ourselves, it isn't quite enough. The free coffee was not, in the final count, worth drinking, so we caved. Latte for JP, Milchkaffee for me. With this cold or bug or whatever I've got, I've avoided coffee and alcohol for a couple of days, but the airport just makes me crave it too much. Sooooo gooood.
We're off to put up "Revolutions in Therapy" in The Hebbel (HAU Zwei) theatre in Berlin this week. Come see.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Moving through autumn
The other night Bea said something like:
"I feel a lot of the time like I've missed having a normal life. That other people have normal lives which I can't have because it's too late or something."
Common thoughts as the season chills the rain and we begin to hide under layers of insulation. I feel a bit like hiding. Maybe it's the cold I just picked up.
I'm going to Berlin tomorrow to do the lights for "Revolutions in Therapy" once again. It's going to be nice. I've gotten over the rush to see everything when I travel now -- what I see, I see. I'll still look for things and walk a lot, but I can't get into making plans. Not now. Don't know why.
Got to put a good mix together for the flight -- maybe some podcasts, some ambient stuff...
I am going to miss home -- I think I already do. Again: don't know why.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Made a couple of visual discoveries lately. Excited to try a couple of lighting things, maybe at a festival or something. Some of them are inspired by the kind of thing going on in this picture.
I start nurturing the flora that clings to our home, watering it religiously, seeing it bloom -- because it's not just a bit of grass and moss on the surface of the house, but the house itself that is becoming alive. However, I neglect the garden and backyard, which dries up into a hard dusty lot while the house flourishes in vibrant greens.