transmediale buzz

The Berlin transmediale is, to my knowledge, one of the very best annual conferences (a “convergence” is more the appropriate word) which exist on Planet Earth.  I was very fortunate to have been able to attend the 2011 sessions, where, among other things, I was able to learn about “book sprints” (whereby a book, having been researched, is collectively authored and printed by 5 or … Continue reading transmediale buzz

Transmediale Infusion

One of the beauties of living in an existence torn between the 19th century (hemmed by Prussian systems, Schumannian aufschwungen, the epistolary desire) and the 21st century (all the while examining the positive wreckage of the 20th century) is that occasionally you can show up in the 21st century — in the present! — and just be there.  And, perchance, to dream about the future…to … Continue reading Transmediale Infusion

Berlin Performance

By way of apologizing for a recent lack of attention to German-language sources on this blog, I should like to mention that I will be appearing in concert with my collaborator, the pianist Andreas Boelcke, at the American Church Berlin on Sunday, February 6, at 11 a.m.  The program will include Schumann, Tchaikovsky, and Shostakovich.  Dr. Boelcke composed some bios, and as always I love … Continue reading Berlin Performance

Berlin Tales: Zyklus, Takt 1

What follows is the first of what I anticipate will be a series of stories from my time in Berlin in June and early July, 2010. Generally, I anticipate pairing shorter independent stories — such as the “Prelude” below — with fragments from a longer and multi-part tale which is currently being called “Mohammad: Skirmishes.”  It’s a slightly different mode of writing (creative non-fiction, I … Continue reading Berlin Tales: Zyklus, Takt 1

Kim Il Song//North Koreans in Berlin

Yesterday I ordered and got into my hands a pile of letters from Kim Il Song to the East German leaders from 1955-56. The man has a quirky signature, and his typewriter is epic, leaving little corona of ink around each hangul.  It was nice to finally find the great anti-Japanese guerrilla himself on paper. North Koreans arriving in Berlin, 1952 Finally, on North Korea’s … Continue reading Kim Il Song//North Koreans in Berlin

This Ain’t Dallas: NYT on Seattle Teriyaki

This is, sadly, no food blog, but the following article from the New York Times has been giving me a great deal of joy lately and I thought I’d share: “Seattle has a thousand teriyakis,” Mrs. Ko said one afternoon. Her tone was dismissive, as if explaining the looming presence of the Space Needle to a not particularly bright child. “No Americans do the cooking. … Continue reading This Ain’t Dallas: NYT on Seattle Teriyaki

Postwar Meditation: Berlin/Tokyo

Postwar is post-nothing: it is the beginning of something.   “Ach!”, trained instinct cries, “but what of ‘tragen’, to carry heavy burdens, of its simple past  trug?  Do not ponderous and blackened memories determine future projections?”  No {we say, affected with blithe mannerisms}, because the burdens have been bombed away.  Digs, belongings, spouses, families, pensions: the war wiped it all away, and one has to begin … Continue reading Postwar Meditation: Berlin/Tokyo

Remembering Tiananmen and 1989 in Europe [1]

June 4, 1989 may lay buried under new epochs already, but the meaning of that date for China and its observers is clearly going to continue reverberate for decades. The Germans, perhaps most of all.  China was, and remains, highly sensitive to commemorations of June 4, 1989, but for Germans, the inspiration of the Chinese student movement of the 1980s, and the violent end to … Continue reading Remembering Tiananmen and 1989 in Europe [1]