Now that Julie’s buddy has flown back stateside, I’ve had more time to focus on stuff I needed to get done. For example, turn in all my stuff to the Uni so all my kids can get their scheins on time.
Said visit was a tense rollercoaster at times, but you know, fish and visitors… Despite his big city sophistication, substantially greater wealth, and his claims of having a midlife crisis, he was just a kid like me in his early 30s and his presence enriched my life. I do hope to run across him again someday.
It was a nearly tearful adieu between me and Julie and Mr T after couscous at the Moroccan place yesterday. Mr T is off back to Libya for a month or so, for an important meeting with his bank and also to finally meet the woman he is to marry sometime in the summer (yes, Julie and I are invited). But that dinner was subdued, despite his best attempts to be a good host: he learned earlier that day that his cousin, a dashing man of 21 and in the police force back home, was stabbed to death in the line of duty.
This evening, I got a call from a number that broke off before I could answer. After checking the country codes, it turns out it was Libya; most likely Mr T, who promised to call me as soon as he landed safely back home.
We’re back from Berlin
Actually I’m back from Berlin; Julie and Jakeyboy will return tomorrow night.
I got some nice pictures that I’ll post in the gallery section soon.
One place that I liked the most was the new Holocaust Memorial, a vast, rippling sea of quadratic stone blocks. It is in form with a lot of Jewish themed architecture here, like the Dresden Synagogue, combining massive blocks with smooth curves — the symbolism not hard to decipher — and also reminiscent of the courtyard memorial in Paris (the name I forget) close to the Louvre with its chopped down stumps of columns memorializing the executed royals and end of monarchy. Also, the Vietnam Memorial comes to mind.
It is a pool, a city, or forest, of blocks — first slabs, then sarcophagi, then tombstones, then as the ground gently declines in wave, as if in a grave, a realm of the dead surrounded with souls — individual all as the monoliths sway a-kilter.
The symbolism is minimalistic but multi-layered, still it was the personal experience of walking through the memorial that effects you most profoundly.
It is not a labyrinth per say, it is all rows and columns. But as you see the other visitors briefly intersecting your path and vanishing like ghosts, the become part of the memorial experience. Visitors from all different countries, colours, languages drift past your line of sight in the gaps between the blocks. Not a labyrinth, but also very easy to lose your companions all the same; the halls intermittently echoed with mothers calling for their children in a dozen different languages.
From the edges, you observe it and it seems an easily navigated field of barley. But as you pass through, the ground declines and you are swallowed up whole, buried alive. The memorial gently demands your attention and you can’t help but comply. On the other end you come out safely and undeniably changed. With that, and with its straight rows and columns, it’s really impossible to stay lost from your companions for long.
Originally, I was against Terence’s wishes of going there — I didn’t want to get depressed. As it turns out, you won’t. Even at the heart of the lake, you see and hear children giggling and playing hide and seek (we grown ups had to exhibit a great deal of self control not to join in). Julie suggested that maybe the presence of children laughing and playing at the Holocaust Memorial was a good thing. I agree. Maybe that was the best part of all.
Valentine’s Eve has a sour meaning here in Dresden. It is yet again the yearly memorial demonstration to commemorate the bombing of Dresden.
Jackbooted, mostly unemployed guys march over the bridge, presumably met by others — many also unemployed, but also probably with more college educated — to tell them to fuck off. The cops — disliked by both sides — will be there to make sure no one kills anyone.
It’s a charade carried on from year to year, each year with more, not less, fervor.
It’s a tense, dangerous feeling day. Yet despite all the years I’ve witnessed it, I still haven’t truly been able to fathom where the bottom line lies.
This is a cultural play where many platitudes are propped up and absolutely nothing is learned.
When I got my copy of Plush-O-Rama, there was an interesting section on “felting” wool. So, I’ve finally had a chance to buy some wool sweaters for dirt cheap at Humana, fashion for the poor.
I must admit, I had to think for a second about the ethics of buying up sweaters mid-winter from a charity shop for destitutes just for the sake of making a wooly three-eyed plush creature making an obscene gesture. But there were plenty of other sweaters there, so now those suckers are in the wash machine getting the heck boiled out of them.
Can’t wait. Meantime sitting here trying to learn the peeks and pokes of Premiere, which has a much higher learning curve than the Ulead Studio I have been using up to now. There’s something rendering right now — a short monologue about TP, and footage of a recent outing to the Zwinger with Julie, Owen –who believes that the new carvings are just poured concrete– and Jacob, and old pal of Julie’s from New Yourk.
He’s on vacation from his highly stressful and overpaid job in Manhattan, but hopes to “aussteigen” to another place. Lots of irons in lots of fires, he’s also produced an indie film called Skyjacker, a dramatization of the D.B. Cooper caper.