Wednesday, June 24, 2009
In the last months I have been traveling around America, South America and Europe. During this stretch of time, I have been making lots of pictures of my adventures and have been introducing the readers of my blog to different people, places and things. I recently realized that maybe the pictures are not enough to tell the story of my adventures and in the future will try to tell better stories to accompany the pictures I have been making. I am a good story teller when I am talking to people, but for some reason I have a hard time telling the same story in text.
Currently I am sitting in the flat I have rented in Berlin. There is no internet here, so I will write this and take it to the internet shop around the corner and upload it when I get the chance. The flat is in Prinzlauerberg in east Berlin. This area was once home to the first punk movement after the fall of the wall here in Berlin. Now it is sort of like a mix between Soho and Williamsburg. Shops selling high end clothing, little cafes and art galleries sit next to old squats that are being turned in to Co-ops and left wing restaurants. Its an odd mixture of money and punk-yuppies.
I have found that like in most major cities, Berlin's "hot" neighborhoods are shaped by the artists and punks and then monetized by those who wish to develop a sense of cool in order to sell it to those that want to be cool. Not unlike the Lower East Side in NY or the Montrose in Houston. After Prinzlauerberg came Freidrichsein, then Mitte, then Kreuzberg and now Nuekolln. These places are at first a little off the beaten path, so the rent is cheap attracting artists and the like, then they become the beaten path and the rents go up so the people that made it cool move to the next place where the rent is cheaper.
I've found interesting places in every neighborhood I've gone in every city I've been in. I tend to attract a certain type of person and they in-turn show me the reasons that they love a place. I sometimes stumble upon a weird little place because I like to explore an area and see what little treasures I find.
Currently I am hanging around with a group of really great people that are showing me the beauties of Neukolln. That area is rife with cool spots that are in general very underutilized, attracting people who want to figure out what the building or area wants to be next. Take for example this brewery that my friend Brian from Coppenhagen is living in. It is a wild place that houses many people doing many things. Its about 40,000 square meters of awesomeness that sometimes gets used for big parties and other times is used as a paintball course or has a weird go-kart track or some artist studios or galleries in odd little spots. Its hard to describe the multitude of things that happen there, but I think you get the general idea...
The tank Nathan is standing in is one of the wildest places inside that brewery. You can stand at one end of the tank and whisper something and the person on the other end hears it like you are standing next to them talking into both ears.
I know I have posted pictures of Nathan on many occasions, but I have never adequately described him to those of you that do not know him.
I met Nathan here in Germany. He came to an Indian Jewelry show when we were on tour in October/November. I had heard about Nathan through Nane and Polly when they were visiting New York. They told of me of "these New York guys hanging around in Hamburg."
Nathan is an artist, musician, creative type like me. He was here going to The Universität der Künste Berlin as part of his graduate program at Hunter College in New York. He is a soft spoken man that happens to say alot, but some people just don't hear him. Like me, he has been living in New York for the last several years and is interested in seeing the world. Immediately upon meeting him, we became fast friends. He helped us with the exhibition we did at POW Gallery and performed as part of Terrible Eagle at that show and at the show we did at Glasslands in February in New York.
When I am with Nathan, we tend to get into loads of crazy situations because we are both very similar in our desire to meet new people and take risks.
This picture above is of Giovanni Marks (Gino AKA Subtitle) and Nathan at some random spot we found on our way home from the Glass Candy show the other night.
I met Gino in Geneva when we played with Anavan and Sword Heaven. He just randomly appeared and we immediately hit it off. He is truly one of the funniest men I know. At the time when we met he was living in France somewhere. Now he lives here in Berlin.
As per usual, I ran into him randomly. I was sitting here in this flat recording when I happened to look out my window and see him walking past. I jumped up and ran to the window and started hollering out his name and since then we've been hanging around together a bunch.
We went to this old squat here in Prinz called Gift Laden after said Glass Candy show. There we saw a cool little gypsy band and Gino was given a bag of raw meat. WTF?
The next day, Nathan and I went to a party down in Kreuzberg. It was a bit insane. We decided to take a bottle of whiskey to the party, which we proceeded to drink pretty much by ourselves. Nobody really wanted any of what we had.
This is the statement we made as we left.
After leaving there, on bikes, we decided it was a good idea to stop and get another bottle before going to the next party near Hermannplatz. There was a cool little exhibition going on and we met up with a bunch of our friends, and in quick fashion we finished the second bottle. Which was OK for a while. At some point though I looked over and saw this.
Right then I realized that it was time to split so I grabbed Nathan and we headed for our bikes.
Mind you the trip down to the first party, which is about 10 minutes from this party, took us 25 minutes to ride. And we even stopped once to take some pictures of some things, which I didn't post because they're kinda boring. Once we left the party, which ostensibly is 35 minutes from the flat, we decided to get a little something to eat in order to fuel our ride home, where we were planning on meeting Gino. And, like idiots, instead of getting water to go with our pizza, we got Augustiner.
OK, so now we're back on our bikes and headed home. 2 bottles of whiskey, 2 Augustiners, 1 pizza. We call Gino and tell him we'll be there in 45 minutes. But oh man, there's that cool bar we like whose name escapes me... Maybe we should stop in there and get another beer real quick. 2 bottles of whiskey, 2 Augustiners, 2 Astras, 1 pizza.
2 and half hours later, I realize I am falling off my bike in slow motion for the second time while stopping at a shop to get some beers to bring back to the flat to share with Gino, who has been waiting patiently for 2 drunk dudes that are totally lost somewhere in the city of Berlin clueless as to where they are. 2 bottles of whiskey, 4 Augustiners, 2 Astra, 1 pizza and 3 unopened Staropramen.
Finally home 3 hours later, Gino is there waiting. We bring in the beers and every thing is cool. We decide to go down to the Gift Laden where the police were supposed to come close down the spot. Seriously like a couple hundred black hoodies were there to meet the police when we arrived at 6:30.
In the end, nothing ended up happening. 2 police people and a fat guy came and then left after some short conversation with the people. It was pretty mobbin.
Later on that same day, after waking up, I went to Hamburg because on the following day I was flying from there to London for the weekend, but we'll get to that in a minute.
This is the tunnel that runs under the Elb River separating the two sides of Hamburg. Its a pretty interesting place, this tunnel. There are these strange ceramic tiles in the wall that have these weird little pictures of like fish and things. This one below is my favorite.
So the next morning I was hanging around in Susi's kitchen with Polly and Rimma. Polly has recently moved into Susi's room while Susi has been down in Bavaria for the last couple months.
Before taking off to the airport, that I have to take a bus to get to, we were listening to Falco and eating these awesome cookies that Rimma made. She was also baking a cheesecake when I got there and then made a quiche. That girl is an amazing cook. Love that drunken sleeping Russian...
Oh yeah and Polly had some cool ass fake tattoo on her breast. Why? keine Ahnung.
At the bus station I saw that there is a bus that leaves from Hamburg and goes to Czestochowa, which is the name of the little town in Texas where my ranch is. Obviously it was named after the city in Poland that this bus is bound for, but in the future, I am going to take that bus in order to see that place. Pretty excited about that idea.
So Friday night, after taking the bus to the airport, I got on a plane and went to London. Nice flight. No problems, then I get to the customs/passport check in London.
I am not going to tell the whole story, but essentially, the woman I initially talked to (who wrote down everything I said to her) did not like me. At some point during our conversation, she decided not to deal with me any more and pressed some button and had me go with two gentlemen dressed rather officiously to a white room where they interrogated me for 45 minutes. At some point, one of the guys, the one that was clearly in charge, looked at me told me he was going to deport me back to America and not let me in the UK.
At this point, I got irate. I couldn't fathom the ridiculousness that I was dealing with. I told them as much, then they got up and told me they would be right back. At that point, I was sure I was fucked. I was beginning to figure out where I would have them send me. Texas? New York? San Francisco? LA? New Orleans? Pensacola? Hell, I began to think I would be getting a cool thing out of this. I would get flown home for a couple days then get another cheap ass flight on Air Berlin and head back here. In fact, it gave me a good idea for getting home...
Anyway, they came back in the room with my passport and a stamp that says that I could be there for the duration of my stated stay time, then when I left I was not allowed to enter the UK for another 6 months. My plan for cheap return to America is coming together...
Saturday, I wandered around London with my friend Marta. I ran into this cool piece of graffiti.
Saturday night, Marta and I met up with her friends and we went to Shunt.
Because Sunday was the Summer Solstice, there was a great party there. We made some wishes and placed them into these little bags and then took them to the park in Shepherd's Bush and burned them.
(Notice the monster up there eating that pound...)
The girls of Giggle House are going to New York for a couple weeks, so on Monday they threw a little party. It was a complete blast. New York, look out for these young ladies. If you see them, take them where ever you are going. You'll have a ball.
The mask that Phil is wearing is Melinda Belinda turned inside out.
Alright, so there you have it. After not sleeping on Monday, I got on a train on Tuesday morning at 4am to catch my 6am plane then took the 1 hour bus to Hamburg and then the 3 hour bus to Berlin.
Now I'm done.
Please tell me if you like it better this way or the other way. If this is what you want, this is what you get.