Archive for June, 2011

Photo diary: a stroll through Berlin

June 24, 2011

Sebastian took the train down from Hamburg to spend the day with me -- we had breakfast under a bright red umbrella during a torrential rainstorm at a biergarten across from the zoo

 

we walked through the Tiergarten, past the talismanic Siegessäule

admiring the Reichstag and other bits of monumental architecture

along with a fair amount of new construction

we walked along the Spree

to Museum Island, specifically the Pergamon Museum, which Sebastian had never visited (to my surprise) and which was a highlight of my first trip to Berlin in 1987

especially the recreation of an entire street from ancient Babylon

the walls and murals populated by mythological figures

and fierce animals of every description

many ancient pieces survive amazingly intact

but I also enjoyed seeing how fragments were displayed

many of them strikingly homoerotic

from the Pergamon we wandered over to Alexanderplatz, past the Dom and the Altes Museum, and spent some time in the ruined splendor of Oranienstrasse, the main drag of Kreutzberg

which reminded me of Soho in the '80s, or Williamsburg in recent years, or the Mission District in San Francisco

Kai joined us for lunch at Max und Moritz, and LeRouge came by with his handsome ex-boyfriend Misha

in the early evening, Sebastian headed back to Hamburg

and I wandered back to Kai's house through the multiculti splendor of Kreutzberg

Playlist: iPod shuffle, 6/20/11

June 20, 2011

I love how the shuffle feature gives me the opportunity to congratulate myself on the extreme eclecticism of my music library……

6/20/11:

“Introduction to Romeo,” Craig Armstrong (William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet OST)
“Mercy Street,” Richard Shindell
“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” Hank Williams
“Don’t Gonna Work It Out,” Fitz and the Tantrums
“I Don’t Know What to Do,” Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johnasson
“Corridors of Power,” Grails

“Talk to Me Like the Sea,” Everything but the Girl
“Campfire (Hisham Bharoocha & Rusty Santos remix),” Grizzly Bear
“Right As Wrong,” Inara George
“Girl I Love You (She Is Danger remix),” Massive Attack
“Undo,” Bjork
“Tko Se Bregom Sece,” Braca Kapugi Tamburica Orchestrar I Pjevacki Zbor
“It’s in His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song),” Linda Lewis
“Taxi Cab,” Vampire Weekend
“Ich Atmet Einen Linden Duft,” Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
“I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face,” Diana Krall

In this week’s New Yorker

June 20, 2011

I had the luxury today of sitting on my veranda for several hours this afternoon reading the entire issue of the New Yorker the day it arrived in the mail.  Unprecedented! A slightly guilty pleasure but a reward to myself after a period of many days hard work without a break.

Some good stuff I might have skipped on a busier weekday: Rebecca Mead’s profile of Alice Walton, the Wal-Mart heiress who’s building an American art museum in Bentonville, Arkansas; Joan Acocella’s profile of American Ballet Theater’s new artistic director, the Russian emigre Alexei Ratmansky, whose work I now feel compelled to check out; and Adam Gopnik’s personal essay about taking drawing lessons, a humbling experience for a seasoned art critic.

And then there’s Alice Munro’s short story, “Gravel,” as deft and light-handed and remarkable as any Munro story (with the ultra-casual introduction of the central character’s lesbianism a typical Munro touch). I would love to know which editor matches up the New Yorker’s fiction with the photographs that illustrate them — it’s almost always a mysterious and perfect selection.

And Margaret Talbot’s commentary in Talk of the Town, in contrast to most of the media whirl, speaks sensibly about l’affaire Anthony Weiner: “If you were Anthony Weiner’s wife, you’d have your own concerns. But if you were his constituent, and thought he was doing a good job representing you, maybe you’d just as soon ignore his Internet amusements. That’s different from saying that what a politician does in private is never our business. It’s more a tacit acceptance that some of the qualities that launch people into public office—self-regard bordering on narcissism, risk-taking—can also launch them into risks of a more personal kind, and that this doesn’t inevitably reflect on their ability to govern. Maybe it’s an acknowledgment that sometimes there are more important things to talk about. “

Photo diary: Berlin portraits (the ToonPaint remix)

June 20, 2011

LeRouge and Kai

Horst Kindler

Ben Haggard

Andy Saich

Sebastian Schwerdtfeger

Mr. David Zinn

Quote of the day: PRAYER

June 20, 2011

PRAYER

“A Prayer for the Self”

Who am I worthless that You spent such pains
and take may pains again?
I do not understand; but I believe.
Jonquils respond with wit to the teasing breeze.

Induct me down my secrets. Stiffen this heart
to stand their horrifying cries, O cushion
the first the second shocks, will to a halt
in mid-air there demons who would be at me.

May fade before, sweet morning on sweet morning,
I wake my dreams, my fan-mail go astray,
and do me little goods I have not thought of,
ingenious & beneficial Father.

Ease in their passing my beloved friends,
all others too I have cared for in a travelling life,
anyone anywhere indeed. Lift up
sober toward truth a scared self-estimate.

— John Berryman

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PRAYER

“A Prayer for the Self”

Who am I worthless that You spent such pains

and take may pains again?

I do not understand; but I believe.

Jonquils respond with wit to the teasing breeze.

Induct me down my secrets. Stiffen this heart

to stand their horrifying cries, O cushion

the first the second shocks, will to a halt

in mid-air there demons who would be at me.

May fade before, sweet morning on sweet morning,

I wake my dreams, my fan-mail go astray,

and do me little goods I have not thought of,

ingenious & beneficial Father.

Ease in their passing my beloved friends,

all others too I have cared for in a travelling life,

anyone anywhere indeed. Lift up

sober toward truth a scared self-estimate.

— John Berryman

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