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Posted By Sandra Alland
More on The Jewish Museum: it's designed by the amazing architect Daniel Libeskind, and just moving through the building is an experience. It's more like sculpture than architecture, or more like what architecture strives to be but often isn't. I was especially affected by The Holocaust Tower, which is a dark and cold concrete room with only a sliver of light from a crack in the roof. As your eyes adjust to the lack of light, you see faint impressions of writing on the walls, and just out of reach -- a ladder.

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Intriguing art pieces dot the museum. I was especially drawn by a bizarre sound project that involves walking back and forth in front of a dark wall in order to pick up bits of information playing on radio frequencies. I also dug the pomegranate tree, which features a realistic tree sculpture, with miniature video screens showing pomegranates waving in a breeze, and also paper pomegranates written on by visitors. You can walk up a ramp that leads through the branches to the top of the tree.
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Speaking of walking -- some of the museum wasn't so accessible, argh.

I also caught the Frida Kahlo Retrospective (on 'til 9 August) at Martin-Gropius-Bau. It's the largest gathering of her work in history and well worth seeing, despite the crowds and the cranky staff who make you wear your coat even though it's boiling and carry your backpack in your hand even though you have fibromyalgia. I was a bit disappointed that there was a large overlap with the works from the recent surrealist women's show in Manchester, and that there were none of Frida's larger works, but you can't have everything! One really nice touch was that a whole room was dedicated to portraits of Frida. I took naughty, illegal photos; they aren't that good because they were shot on the sly, but still.

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More soon!

 
Posted By Sandra Alland

I will get back to telling you about Berlin soon. But first I'm going to post these links to information about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico -- which is way bigger than BP and others are pretending. And which could potentially fuck us forever if they don't let scientists and governments know what's really going on.

Much of the oil is below the surface, so we can't see how bad it is. news.discovery.com/earth/why-dont-we-know-how-big-the-gulf-oil-spill-is.html

Here's some info on just how bad things are, and how unprepared BP was: blog.al.com/live/2010/05/bp_told_feds_it_could_handle_o.html

And a worse spill could happen just off the coast of Canada, with no plan in place for clean-up... www.vancouversun.com/news/Chevron%20warns%20couldn%20clean%20Canadian%20coastal%20spill/3049169/story.html

Tick-tock.


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

I've been showing you some cool stuff from The Jewish Museum, but now I'm gonna take a break and show you The Gang... After the divine food, coffee and music at the Turkish Market, we wandered the streets of Berlin in search of tea and beer. We were ultimately successful.

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The awesome Will with his awesome bike basket
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Nine and Scout scope the menu
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Beer appears - delicious German beer mmm
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Scout makes postcards out of everything in sightsign
I like this sticker. It says something like Sexist Crap or Sexist Fuckwits.random

I also dig this random graffiti

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Inside The Silver Future
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Scout, Federica & Nine form a boy band -- note Nine's disdain for you
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The boy band in their "seductive" phase
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The adorable Svenja and Valentin... Germans!
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Nine looking hot...and then we carried her home.

 

 
Posted By Sandra Alland

More pics from Berlin's Jewish Museum...

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A great documentary on the 1954 U.S. censorship laws (wherein comics were blamed for "juvenile deliquency"), by Canadian Ron Mann!mann
Robert Crumb gets explosive in explosive times...goddman

The first women's comics...
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graphic novels

The above brought to you by... Art Spiegelman, Will Eisner, Trina Robins, Diane Noomin and Aline Kominsky. Read more in yesterday's post...

 
Posted By Sandra Alland

There's much to say about Berlin's Jewish Museum. I'll start with the current comics exhibit, on until 9 August. It's called Heroes, Freaks and Super-Rabbis and is stunning in depth and scope.

Comics and graphic novels were pretty much invented by Jewish artists, and in the 30s and 40s their characters were often overtly fighting the Nazis. Captain America, Superman, Batman, Daredevil, check it out...

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I especially like this quote from Superman: "I would like to land a strictly non-Aryan sock on your jaw, but there's no time for that!"

In the 1960s, Jewish artists created Hulk, X-Men and Fantastic Four -- all of which had characters with Jewish backgrounds. The exhibition chronicles the history of Jewish comics from before the 30s and after, and follows the 1950s U.S. censorship that led to the banning of comics with the words "horror" and weird", and also led to the awesome creation of Mad Magazine (which saved Jewish-run, anti-racist EC Comics). 

The exhibit also traces the beginning of the graphic novel, and discusses Jewish women in comics (though Alison Bechdel is oddly absent). It's so extensive and well-produced I have nothing bad to say, except that the film that greets you when you enter mocks blind people. Okay, the times, the times…but still.

If you're interested in comics, graphic novels, and/or Jewish history, you won't be disappointed.


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Berlin is awesome because it's home to my dear friend, Number Nine. It's also awesome because it brought the lovely Rebeca Pla all the way from Prague in a crazy journey of almost-futility (more info later).

In Berlin, the architecture is generally horrible, as in it might hurt my soul to live among such ugly buildings. But this is understandable considering the times at which the city was rebuilt. I won't show you pictures as it might hurt your eyes.

On the plus side, Berlin has many trees and green things. From the plane I was shocked to see forests, a phenomenon I had quite forgotten about since moving to Scotland. I like forests.

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(a band in the Turkish market with evidence of green things behind them)

Berlin is much cheaper than Dublin. I like cheaper than Dublin.

You can still smoke in bars in Berlin. I'm not sure if I like this, but it gave me a strange and beautiful nostalgic kind of feeling... Berlin has the single best queer and trans bar I've seen outside of Goodhandy's in Toronto. It's called The Silver Future and the door says it all (it says it better in German but if you don't read German I'm sure you'll get it anyway).

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And they really *will* throw out terrible people, trust me, I'm a magnet ;-)
Near Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie, which makes the United States out to be everyone's saviour, they sell small pieces of the wall in plastic globes for 25 Euro. Ick, Berlin, this is nasty behaviour.
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Plus, I can name at least two walls currently in use, one of them built by Americans...

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(only a medium-ugly building)

Berlin has a great Jewish Museum, where I ended up because of a person from Edinburgh who I ironically got to know in Berlin even though we should've known each other in Edinburgh but didn't, and she said, "Let's go to this Jewish comics exhibit" and I said "Okay!"

My crappy blog doesn't allow me to talk for  longer so I'll have to talk about The Jewish Museum in the next instalment...my gawd, I haven't even gotten to the Frida Kahlo Retrospective! This could take years.


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Yesterday I witnessed my first uberviolent football standoff in Edinburgh. Two groups of about 20 men were not just fighting but truly trying to kill each other with all manner of materials: their belts, pieces of wood, garbage cans, fists and feet. They were smashing the windows and doors of a pub to get at those inside (who were desperately trying to hold the doors shut). One group of five men threw another man to the ground and kicked him repeatedly in the head (while holding onto a pole for extra leverage) until finally a brave woman drove up and chased them off. The injured man couldn't stand, and fell into the road. The animal pack mentality was utterly terrifying and depressing to witness.

Naturally by the time the police arrived everyone was gone. No ambulances came and the very injured man was left/allowed to walk home. Not only was he probably brain-injured but he was also an aggressor and should perhaps have been questioned... the police were quite useless... honestly one of the most horrific things I've seen, with also no clear "bad guy"... and all for football? Or?

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photo blurred for obvious reasons...

In brighter news, I visited a lovely friend in Dublin last week. It was delightful to spend time with Sir Valliard, philosopher extraordinaire. Sadly, Dublin is perhaps the most expensive city in Europe: a crap bottle of wine costs 7 euro and a glass of wine or a pint is about the same in a pub. Speaking of crap haha, Krapp's Last Tape cost 30 euros on the cheap day, so there was no Beckett for me or any other person not middle class... The new SoGo Festival was also too twee for us, and seemed to have spent more money on advertising and forming partnerships with posh restaurants than on quality events. Nonetheless we amused ourselves immensely, as we had the comfort of the wonderful Irish faces (and the stellar collection of books and music) at The Secret Book and Record Store... plus the pure joy of excellent conversation.

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Posted By Sandra Alland

Hi there,

I'm too tired to write to you about my travels in Dublin and Berlin, but I'll do it soon I swear. In the meantime, for those of you who live in Edinburgh, Saughton Skate Park is now open and it is awesome. Sadly it is full of boys and men -- I have yet to see a single girl or woman skateboarding, rollerblading or cycling. Hopefully this unhealthy imbalance will end soon... I am currently too exhausted to go take pictures, but here is a link that at least shows you a wee bit...

In other news, Queer Mutiny is tonight at The Forest Cafe, upstairs. Starts at 9pm and it's free and there's also free food. BYOB. Zorras are playing!

xo


 

 

 
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