I just painted this, thinking of a sunrise that Franziska and I saw in northern Guatemala in late August of 2008.
I had a very nice evening with Franziska. We went to a place called Karma for dinner and then mosied our way across the street to the City Theater where we took in a Franz Kafka piece called “The Trial”, a existentialist tragedy in realist absurdism. Originally a book, it is about a 30-year old guy finding himself arrested but he doesn’t know why. He goes and meets various people in this building wherever he is and thinks it’s all part of this great injustice in his life. Yet they let him out to work at his job. Exactly a year after having been arrested, when he is 31, he might be arrested again and he kills himself.
The stagecraft definitely enhanced the performance which for me was often difficult to follow in German because of the purposely confusing speech by increasingly wacky characters, people half their heads shaved and a long green ponytail on the other side, and 10 people on the stage at one time dressed in white tights. In the beginning the stage was at an angle tilting towards the audience. It gave a sense of distortion and was unnerving as a beginning. Later, when the tilt was slowly, mechanically corrected, on the rest of the stage behind it is in a few inches of water with a steady light shower of water on the stage in one long line. They could put characters in the back of the water and when not lit, they were most definitely secondary and yet part of the rhythm of the piece.
The theater was full of teenagers from nearby towns who apparently all at 16 have to read the book, like in America we had to read “The Red Badge of Courage” or “A Separate Peace” or “Grapes of Wrath”, ya know?
We had good seats, in the 5th row in the middle but the acoustics weren’t so good and were uneven and with the discordant speaking made for a play that came out you in waves and pulses but not always as they’d intended.
i’m going to get the last immunization shots before my trip to central america today, not to mention an overdue dental check up. tomorrow will be our last day in the States for 6 weeks, an adventure is beginning.
We went to the pageant of the masters last night, an “tableau vivant” art exhibition with real people in famous paintings standing still so it looks like the original. It’s been going on for 75 years now and is probably one of the oldest art exhibitions in the world (one of, I said).
Today Franziska will finally get a chance to see what my local dive bar looks like and hopefully meet some more of my friends before we take off.
How are you?
2008 is half over. What are you doing with your lives? Seriously, a half of a year is gone and what do we have to show for it? I had one measley photo exhibition in Romania, have done no writing virtually with the exception of journaling, and have done some travelling. Ok, well, maybe more than a little but… And I do have a new girlfriend, that is definitely something. I have a new job (a private company that signed up for 6 weeks at 40euros/hour).
But what, really? In a way, I totally wasted the first half of 2008. In other ways, not at all. If I had no artistic inclinations, I think I would feel even more satisfied about my life but there is this constant quiet nagging (no, not the girlfriend, haha) saying to me things like:
*hey dude, why aren’t working on “A Humorous Guide to Leaving the Country”?
*hey dude, why don’t you finish “Selling to the Norwegians”?
*hey dude, when are you going to get all your negatives organized and make a portfolio?
*hey dude, when are you going to try and send some of your photos in to be published in magazines?
*hey dude, why aren’t you taking pictures of Freiburg and the area in order to practice technique?
Those are just some of the questions that keep coming into my head but here we are, 2:26pm on a Tuesday and I have the rest of the day off, here’s what I want to do:
*watch some WWII documentary
*drink something with ice cubes in it
*have dinner with my girlfriend
*go to bed at a reasonble hour because I have to get up early tomorrow
But hey, I enjoy this moment, it’s necessary, I need the downtime because often I’m on the go A LOT and it’s nice to being here and relaxing. God knows this summer I’ll be on the go enough…
10 years ago today…
So on http://www.blackcrowes.com/ they have an online radio. And today they put on the show from exactly 10 years ago today. That was a very strange time for the Black Crowes and their fans. After a hiatus of a year and losing their lead guitarist and bass player, the summer of 1998 was filled with hope and uncertainty. They started their tour with the new guys a week before this show and because of the internet really starting to catch on in summer of 1998 (for me, at least), I was able to find out almost every day what the setlist the night before or 2 nights before had been. This was a wondrous thing for me because in the mid-90s the only way for me to find out what setlists were being played on a tour, it would come from me collecting tapes and seeing what was written on the tape and thinking wow, so this was the setlist for the show in say, San Antonio in early May 1995. Now of course people at the concert send text messages to people at home who post onto the internet what the current freaking song is!
And this is my point a bit. 10 years ago today. I was just starting to use the Internet more often, going into chat rooms and finding tour dates of bands and ebay. It was at the beginning of the nadir of the internet boom of the late 90s. Think of how things have changed in 10 years. 10 years ago I was amazed at the idea of someone putting up the setlist onto some website thingy that i could access from my desk at home in my boxers. Now I’m not amazed at the idea of people sending text messages while they’re IN the concert still and before people even get to their cars in the parking lot, me, on the other side of the world now, if I’m still up, can find out what the setlist was. I can wake up tomorrow morning at 7pm and look at the stats of the just finishing Dodger game.
I have flown across the Atlantic about 20 times since then. I’ve written 4 books, had a fashion show, a music festival and photo exhibitions in 5 countries. Half of this time I have lived in Germany. That in and of itself is insane to think about. There is no way that I could have predicted in the summer of 1998 that I would ever live in Europe. In fact, that summer is memorable also because it was that fall that I moved to West LA where I lived for about 18 months. That year had an enormous impact on my life. Really, it is the last 10 years that have have the greatest impact on my entire life. I have become an adult, albeit immature and barely responsible, in this time. I have travelled the most, experienced the most, learned the most, more than I ever learned in the ages 14-24 in school. I have really learned things, like how to open a bank account in German, how to get a permanent residence permit in another country, another language, a new job that is good work for my lifestyle.
I have lived in 6 places since then (LA, OC, Toronto, PA, 2 places in Freiburg). I have made a lot of new friends but the old friendships are still strong, you know who you are, Clog, Roman, Moondog, Borrevik, and of course others but you know that distance cannot penetrate our friendships completely. I’m glad to know that all of our lives are continuing and growing.
My parents moved 6 years ago and it was probably one of the smartest things they ever did themselves and their marriage. They could barely afford it and it just skyrocketed in value right after purchasing it, and they have put a lot of money into it, buidling a huge terasse and now I hear a freakin’ waterfall somewhere next to the horseshoe pit I have yet to see as well. That house has become party central and my parents have built a 5-star resort in their backyard, I couldn’t be happier for them. My parents are still healthy, thank god, my mom has a bout of cancer 2.5 years ago but she beat it back and they’re doing great. And from this distance, it makes me feel so lucky because I can still afford to be so far away from my folks, they are both lively and fun people, in their prime of their lives.
So a lot has changed in these 10 years and basically most of it for the positive. The rest can be chalked up to growing up. Now the song “Wiser Time” is on, and the lyric that defines a lot of can be summed up: “you ask why another road song, funny but I bet you never left home, on a good day, it’s not every day, we can part the sea, on a bad day, it’s not every day, glory just beyond our reach”.
ps The Black Crowes more or less officially opened their 2008 summer tour with two shows near Boston. In the 2-hour shows, only one song was repeated and it happens to be their single on some radio stations. It’s called “Wounded Bird” but the cool this is that it was the first song one one night and the last song on the other…