Tuesday, March 31, 2009


With us, for now.

Monday, March 30, 2009

White on White

Taking an idea from this project, I will be blogging more frequently about some of the things around me in the coming weeks.

Today, detail photos of a piece of paper I put into the typewriter behind the piece I type on, as a kind of padding against the dried out 50-year old rubber of the platen roll. After 10 or so passes through, there is a cool pattern to the impressions, a blind embossing with occasional ink echoes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


One winter in the early 1980s, my home town in Southern Indiana got hit with a big snowstorm. Being enterprising young bucks, my friend Joe and I grabbed a couple shovels and started ringing doorbells, offering to clear sidewalks and driveways in exchange for a bit of legal tender. We finished the day sore and tired, splitting what we thought at the time was hefty bank. Our first stop on the way home was at The Ross...

The Ross was an old second-run, $1 neighborhood movie theater by our house. It was not a pretty place - a low-slung yellow brick hulk built right after World War II for Evansville's quickly growing East Side. It was originally a single screen house, seating about five hundred, with a giant plaster "whale" shape in the ceiling. The theater had gone downhill after the opening of several multiplex theaters in the late 1970s, was closed temporarily, and had recently changed ownership, re-opening as a two-screen house (the main theater and a second, tiny screen with seating for maybe sixty, in what felt like a coffin). It was strictly low-budget: it smelled pretty bad, your feet stuck to the floor, the popcorn was not recommended.

What drew us in that snowy day was not the feature, but the fact that the new owner had expanded his business by installing a VHS movie rental kiosk in the lobby. I think at the time there were probably fifty movies to choose from. I got a membership card and rented "Excalibur" with Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren and Gabriel Byrne. I was hooked on the movies.

In the years following, the Ross took up a special place in my life.

Summers were spent cooling ourselves in the iffy air conditioning, taking in repeat helpings of the 2:00 p.m. matinee of "Ghostbusters" (five times in two weeks), "The Karate Kid" (which, by chance, I caught on German television Sunday afternoon. Wow.), and other long-forgotten B-movies. We would scrape up a buck or two (begging parents usually worked), stop by the pharmacy or the convenience store across the street to load up on candy, then get our afternoon mind melt on... If we didn't have a buck, we discovered we could send one kid from the group into the theater to push open the emergency exit behind the screen in the big theater, then we'd slip into the house and "poof!" four for the price of one.

I remember later, when I was probably sixteen, my brother and I sneaking beers into the theater in the pockets of our army shorts. Also going on a couple dates there, making out in the back of the little theater when I was fourteen. Ah, youth.

The year I started high school, as I skateboarded past the Ross daily, I noticed new announcements on the left side of the marquee -

LIVE BANDS! Some local musicians had talked the owner into turning the key late at night, after the movies were over, and giving Evansville's young and angsty a place to rock out. Three bucks got you in. Bands started about midnight and played until they ran out of material. Eventually, the first six rows of theater seats were removed and a real stage built. We had ourselves a scene.

Friday nights we would start congregating on the sidewalks outside the theater around 10:30. Leaning against the salmon-colored stainless steel, vying for the little curb around the I-beam that held up the marquee, stealing each others hats, skating around the parking lot grinding the bike racks, making mischief, etc. Once the movies got out, we'd take over the house and dance all night, or stand around and look bored, or chat up girls, or sneak little bottles of vodka into the cry room...

The Ross scene
included a bunch of friends (and my infamous sister "skunkmeat") who took the stage to sing and play, thrash out, get together. They had a haunted house and a movie premiere for "Sid and Nancy." They had midnight drag shows and "Rocky Horror." For a conservative town in the middle of nowhere, it was a kind of safe haven for people who didn't quite fit the mold imposed on them by school, church, family. It hung on for a few years, then the owner lost his shirt and closed the place in 1989, my junior year in high school.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Premiere: ...und raus bist du!

...und raus bist du! premiered Friday at the Opera House here in Kassel. I am still spinning from the ride, trying to catch my breath. It's an incredible piece to perform, and I enjoyed every minute of it. It's dark, urban, funny, brutal.

The piece deals with the theme of mental survival and the music is Bert Kaempfert's "feel good" music of the 70s, mixed with a live sound-design from the DJ, who's perched on top of a hanging glass box. More on the piece later - but in the meantime, here are a few photos and an excerpt from the first review.

"Just as DJ Christian Düchtel at the director's desk of sound mixes and feeds the World-Healing-Music of Bert Kaempfert, Wieland combines the misery of this world with secondhand luck. In his open, cinematic storytelling structure, one image hunts the next. Oppressive societal obligations, manipulations, a despairing life-greedieness, and gender roles filled with desire turn themselves into a wild, dancing explosion in the air: once as a solo, once as a duet, and still even in the last attempt, one lets the others fall. Closeness as fight.

Between crisis reports and emotional sensitivities, everyone finds his way alone, while still wanting to be caught up in the group. This is the dilemma of modern people, at which Wieland
takes aim. Better, preciser, more exact than ever before.

The 14 performers, in everyday costumes by Evelyn Schönwald, are virtuosos throwing themselves into the splits - animated creatures, trumpet players, fitness disciples, and down-at-the-heel dreamers who ask, as Elisabetta L. does, "Everyone is breaking apart, and I don't understand why." Ryan M. is brilliant in a solo of stored-up aggression, as are the playful and virtuosic duets of Evangelos P. and Brea C. / Meritzell E. and Esteban F., and all are glamorous in a Samba to the Kaempfert-Sound from a long forgotten world. Ah yes, life could be so beautiful - as long as one short dream."

-- HNA, 22 March 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bad Taste Party



Throw the dishes in the sink.....

...and Party! 

Nachdem superleckeren Georgian abendessen delivery service, Jason, Ekaterine, Fred & I headed to Jens's place for the Bad Taste Party.   

Ryan and Esteban were there...

And Dennis and Dirk and Julia and Brea....

And Chris and Chris and my girl Bettina.

So bad....and yet so good.  

Georgian Dinner

As a belated birthday present to Lily, Ekaterine "Georgiantanzer" and Jason treated us to a special Georgian meal...

It starts in the kitchen...

With a large amount of lamb.

Little Russian candies with pictures of foxes, polar bears and little girls on the wrappers. I mistakenly thought the pictures identified the candies' flavors. Mmmm, polar bear.

A massive cheese and bread loaf... pretty heavenly.

And plenty of wine.

Including this bottle, which appears Russian...

but if you look closely...

The Georgian language has its own alphabet. Cool.

Dear Ekat's Relatives, Please send Georgian script typewriter.

Then we tucked into this lamb and round rice stew, which was delicious. The not-so-secret ingredient in Georgian cooking... walnuts ground into a paste. The secret ingredient is a spice Ekat guards with her life.

The greatest gift of all? Today we eat THE LEFTOVERS!