Running a personal best at the Frankfurt marathon this Sunday. 2:39:20. RESPECT.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
The root where life and death are equal...is where freedom really begins: the freedom that cannot be guaranteed by the death of somebody else. The point where you become free not to kill, not to exploit, not to destroy, not to compete, because you are no longer afraid of death or the devil or poverty or failure.
The working title of our upcoming dance evening is Breitengrad, which in German means latitude. There are nine dancers in the company at the moment here in Kassel. Kassel has a latitude of 51; we came to Kassel from latitudes ranging from 64 (Finland) to 4 (Colombia).
When Fred and I moved to Kassel we brought a 20 pound English language dictionary with us. It lays open on a shelf at our new apartment, where it has become a point of fascination for Luca, our landlord's 9 year old. Luca misses no opportunity to come visit our apartment, and it was like that even before I brought the Silly Bandz back from New York. She's obsessed with the cats. And the dictionary. Who can blame her? It has color pictures.
According Webster's New International (unabridged, second edition, hella expensive to ship overseas) Dictionary, latitude is defined as the following:
1) the extent or distance side to side; breadth; width
2) extent; amplitude; scope; range
3) freedom from confinement or narrow limits
4) deviation; laxity; looseness of morals or conduct.
Celestial latitude - deserving of mention based solely on the way it rolls off the tongue - refers the angular distance of a celestial body from the ecliptic. And a latitudinarian is an individual who is broad and liberal in his standards of belief and conduct; one who indulges freedom in thinking. Which brings us back to the dance evening, the topic of which is personal freedom.
On Friday we had final rehearsals for Johannes' piece before the guest choreographers Linda and Josef come on Monday. The piece takes place at a border crossing, like those that existed in Berlin before the wall came down. A curved slide, like half of a half-pipe, rises up at the back of the stage, 6 meters high. Two guardhouses frame the front of the stage and are manned throughout the piece by two extras who, like all of us at the beginning of the piece, are dressed in clothes made out of the same wood grain as the floor and the houses.
Everyone, that is, except for two rock and roll figures with guitars. Popping off of moving stages like action figures, they at times catalyze and at times embody the illusive and slippery freedom driving all of us.
Over the course of 50 minutes - don't forget, this is a piece by Johannes Wieland - this world erodes and transforms. Costumes get peeled away. People slide down out of nowhere. A beautiful blond throws knives. Chocolate and whipped cream get smeared everywhere. Distorted guitar music alternates with music from the Balkans, driving the dancing forward. And backward. And sideways. The search for personal freedom drives us in 360 degrees.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
This time through the German countryside...
to the Mosel Valley,
Where hills rise up on either side of the riverbed, lined with vineyards.
And in the valleys, towns filled with fachwerk houses and old churches and tourists. Like us.
On one hill, ruins of a castle...
In one valley, another being restored.
In the river and on the banks, swans.
And in the hotel room next door and across the dinner table, the dynamic duo in from the 55446...
It was a celebration. There was drinking in the afternoon. There was pumpkin gnocchi and forellen and pork tenderloin in chantrelle cream sauce and afternoon sauna time. There was a personal tour of vineyards (more on that later) and a group tour of an old castle. There was driving 140 on the autobahn and still getting passed and a night walk along the river listening to the swans squak at each other. It was a get-away. We were in good company.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
So many last days this fall. Days when you think: this is it, the last beautiful day, and you drop everything and head to the woods or the cafe with the courtyard or stretch out the yoga mat on the balcony or stroll around a decrepit neighborhood and find it all so inspiring, darling, don't you think? You think it can never last, the ivy so red and the sky so blue. This must be the last dry and sunny day before the wet German winter sets in. There've been so many of them, and in every city we've been in over the past month - Berlin and Köln, Düsseldorf and Kassel and Magdeburg and Göttingen.
One of the best of them I got to share with my sister, cooking food from the Markthalle and eating on the balcony in the sun. We were missing our men - R was holding down the fort in Berlin, F was racing the half in Cologne - so we made them this guided tour to brunch in the village with the sisters.