Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day... Memories of Shea

Pull the road jersey out of the closet...

Practice middle reliever stare...


Mets @ Florida Marlins 10:10 p.m. local time in Kassel...

say it with me, MOC'ers...




(Ruffin, Selmo, I can't HEAR you...)

Last year, knowing that we were headed out of New York for the foreseeable future, I made sure I got to a gang of games at Shea Stadium... A bitterly windy Opening Day behind the left field foul pole with Karl (Mets win! and I can't feel my feet anymore), Mets-Yankees with the Brothers Wurst and Marites (Mets win!), Mets-Cubs with Quito (I'll humor a Cubs fan... Cubs win!), Mets-Reds field trip with Pearl, Gregg, Kathy, Karl and Erick (Mets win!). Money quote: Pearl declaring, while "Sweet Caroline" blared over the loudspeakers, "Baseball is SO CORNY!" Maybe she isn't aware of the Bobby Womack version.
Also, a photo op on the shadowy ramp...

And in the last days before we fled the city, Mets-Braves with Lily, Isadora and Joe (Mets lose)...

Most of these trips to Shea were coupled with visits to the amazing Sripraphai Thai restaurant in Woodside, Queens. Sublime eats.
This is the Mets' last season in Shea Stadium, before heading across the parking lot to a new ballpark named after a bank. Sigh. The sightlines will be better, the action closer, and the ticket prices painfully high. Here's a great Article from the Times about Shea and what a dump it is.

Not to mention the Mets have the lamest mascot in baseball history...

Mr. Met is just a guy with a baseball for a head. Hell, I coulda thought of that.

So why love the Mets? I tell you, it isn't rational. I blame/thank Karl, who got me hooked when I moved to Brooklyn in 2001. Since we didn't have a TV in New York, I would usually click on the little clock radio in the kitchen to listen to the games while I worked around the house.

Last year, after moving to Germany, I could only follow the games on the internet, which was a safe distance, as the Mets staged an epic collapse in the last month of the season, falling out first place on the last day of the season and missing the playoffs.

Not this year... Not this year...

This year we paid $15 to listen to radio broadcasts streamed on the web. Most of the games will start in the middle of the night, but we'll be able to listen to east coast day games and if I set my alarm, catch night games from the west coast. Not perfect, but as Lily said to Jason last night, "listening to baseball on the radio gives me heimat feelings."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Neue Heimat premiere party

Be sure to read Lily's serious post (below) before watching this goofy movie of the afterparty. You'll feel better about yourself...

Premiere: Neue Heimat

What does homeland mean to you?


or war?

sitting in the sun....

or shopping at the mall?

folk dancing....

or the earth itself?

what you put on your body...

or something on the inside?

In the process of developing this piece, we went out into the streets and shops and train stations of Kassel and interviewed over 100 people to ask them this very question. Then we went into the studio and answered it ourselves. Our process has a lot to do with asking questions. Not that Johannes or any of us is looking for a single answer. It is the questions themselves, as Rilke so famously wrote....

Am I proud of my homeland?
Do the actions of my home country's government reflect me personally as a citizen?
Does the caged animal feel the cage is its home?
Is Germany my new homeland?
Is homeland something inside me or outside me?

We come from Germany, Italy, Turkey, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Sweeden, Greece, America, Columbia, Georgia, Peru, Khazakstan. But here we all are, in Germany. The piece we premiered on Thursday night is a very personal piece, filled with individual characters and voices. Everyone speaks - and everyone sings. We play music - a guitar, a harmonica, tinkling bells- and yes, we do a folk dance in those German drindel outfits.

Before every premiere there is this feeling of not knowing what a piece is anymore. This used to worry me. But now I realize how necessary that is. To let go of what we have made, so that we can give it away. If I hold on too tightly, and try to make you see or feel something, how will you have your own experience? Over months, we accumulate all of this material in the studio. We work in a very isolated room, with a small group of people. We make something that means a lot to all of us. But when they open the curtain, it's not just ours anymore. It's yours too.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dressing the Part

It's been a week of stage rehearsals, costume fittings, light cues, sound checks, quick changes, and late nights.
The cast of characters includes:

Elvis and his Girl

A Monk

A Former Sweedish Porn-Star and an Angry Girl

A Carpenter

A Soldier and a German Tourist (and a Dramaturge)

A Swinging (as in Playground) Addict, the Information Booth Lady, Elvis again

A Lonely Girl

A Mermaid (left)

A Cross-Dresser

and a Shopping Addicted Ex-Soap Opera Star

Wish us luck tonight on our premiere.....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Setting the Stage

One week to the premiere of our new piece about homeland, Neue Heimat, at the Schauspielhaus.

The front half of the stage represents reality. In the corner stands an Information Booth that is an exact replica of the one at Kassel's mall, City Point.

Reality is a meeting point, a place to get your questions answered, a place to sell and buy, to explain why you're here, or to meet a soldier.

The other half is Utopia, covered in grass.

This is where alternate realities play out. Where time slows down and speeds up. The place where the fantasies, nightmares, figments of your imagination play out. A giant oak has fallen...

pulled up by the roots.....

and a hole leads underground.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


so singular...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

If 6 was 9

Whenever we throw a dinner party, we always try to keep Amy Sedaris' list of Dinner Guest Combinations to Avoid in mind:
1. Astrologer and Astronomer
2. Fraternity brother and anyone else
3. Psychologist and Psychiatrist
4. The newly divorced couple
5. Director and Out-of-Work Actor
5. A girl, her boyfriend and his secret girlfriend

Last night, dinner for 6 became dinner for 8 became dinner for 9. Four invites and 3 wild cards equaled the perfect mix. Fred and I have a theory about dinner parties that we refer to as "The Wild Card Rule." In order to throw a good one, you need a Wild unexpected guest, a new friend, an old friend, a 3 year old, someone's mom....just to mix things up a bit, add a little intrigue. Last night, we had 3.

But first, the reason for the season. Since their engagement in November, we've been wanting to throw down in honor of Lisa and Cesar before they tie the knot this June.

And to celebrate Chris and Brea, who successfully navigated the Auslanderbehorde for the past year and finally secured a long-term residency permit for Chris to stay in Germany.

Enter Vinnie.

Vinnie is back in town to dance a solo in an opera at the theater. Newly married and living in Koln, it was her first time back in her old apartment - our apartment - since she left Kassel last June. The cats treated her like she owned the place.

Thusnelda drove up from Wuppertal to visit Lisa and Cesar, and came along.

Turns out, the dinner wouldn't have even happened without Thusnelda. Our table, which was Vinnie's table, used to be Thusnelda's table back when she was a student at Folkwang in Essen.

I loved listening to her and Vinnie chime in as Lisa and Cesar told the story of how they fell in love. All four of them were dancing in a piece together. The task: make 10 ways of holding a person, Lisa and Cesar are coupled up. Next thing you know, they're having their first kiss in front of a light that Thusnelda said "saw so many kisses..." and Vinnie's reluctantly telling the choreographer why Lisa isn't in rehearsal: she's costume shopping. And why Cesar isn't: he's with her.

We pulled the table up to the couch

And Fred served up a Senagalese chicken stew.

When we were having coffee, Wild Card #3 rolled in. Ben, direct from the Therma, looking all exfoliated.

For the next few hours we listened to music. (The Ghetto Ark Serious Times mix killed the crowd by the way Knox)

A little dancing

Lots of wine...

My "artistic" camera settings...

And a long and funny conversationa about "how we fight." For those of you who can't see in the dark... in the video below, first Lisa describes Cesar hiding under his pillow to avoid a fight, then Vinnie describes how Josef pretends to read a book to avoid a fight. Chris brings it home by giving us the secret to getting under Brea's skin.