Commemorating 9/11 in Berlin

I spent last weekend in Berlin, the main purpose being to perform at the 9/11 Commemoration Service at the American Church in Berlin organized by the U.S. Embassy there. Along with Andreas Boelcke (who is head of the Piano Academy Berlin and is my partner in the Amitayus Duo), in the middle of the service I played “Prayer” by the Jewish composer Ernest Bloch. The … Continue reading Commemorating 9/11 in Berlin

North Korean Metaphor War: Whether Adrift or Storming Forward in the Post-Cold War Epoch, the DPRK Remains Not So Much an Enigma as a Deep Cultural Bunker Into Which One, Generally Speaking, Can Only Enter By Pounding on a Piano

If I had a nickel for everytime I read the words “according to Kim Jong Il’s former Japanese chef” I could buy enough rice to feed entire boatloads of squid fishermen in the sea whose name was called Korea by an Italian in Mongolia in the 1250s. Which is to say that the repetition of data, after certain repetitions, becomes not data at all, but … Continue reading North Korean Metaphor War: Whether Adrift or Storming Forward in the Post-Cold War Epoch, the DPRK Remains Not So Much an Enigma as a Deep Cultural Bunker Into Which One, Generally Speaking, Can Only Enter By Pounding on a Piano

Inside North Korea: French Edition

I found this French film, apparently shot in spring 2010, to be better than most treatments of the North Korean tourist experience.  Among other things, a young North Korean “rapper” is encountered in an amusement park (at 12:31), North Korean rallies are accompanied by music by Philip Glass, and the piece benefits from the use of some selected extracts from North Korean film archives. In … Continue reading Inside North Korea: French Edition

The Dalai Lama in Toulouse: On Soft Power, Le Pen, and Unfallen Shoes

Back in July, while on a late-night stroll through the 5th Arrdondisment looking for Rue Oberkampf, I chanced upon an announcement of the Dalai Lama’s mid-August trip to Toulouse, France, a city which appears to have become a kind of new Buddhist heartland. To follow up: The Dalai Lama indeed went to Toulouse, and a short clip from a French television station captures very well … Continue reading The Dalai Lama in Toulouse: On Soft Power, Le Pen, and Unfallen Shoes

Democratic/Thought Reform in Tibet

Man liveth not by links alone, but I did want to make note that, as of Labor Day, this blog will very likely be turning its attentions with greater regularity toward the issue of Tibet and its historical relations with the (maternal and adoptive, or coercive and abusive? but unquestionably Chinese) motherland. These attentions will likely take the form of broader pedagogical inquiries, guest posts … Continue reading Democratic/Thought Reform in Tibet