Monday, June 30, 2008

I don't understand how Berliners do it. I stayed out until 6 in the morning last night, and I want nothing to do with life today.
*The reason I stayed out so long is because the trains stop running at 12:30 and only resume at 4:30, so my friend and I decided to wait it out on the streets.
There were many amazing things about last night:
The fooseball game was boring. Deutschland lost and I felt very sad for those hundreds of people who had dyed their hair yellow, black and red as a presumptuous sign of solidarity.
There was some renegade rock show inside of a truck that happened on Oranienstrasse. The band/person's name was "Henrick" and they only played for 5 minutes before the frightening German polizei shut it down.
But there was a giant mob protesting and shouting "Henrick! Henrick!" Then, Henrick rode off, waving his giant police fine like a flaccid little badge of coolness.
Then my friend Meredith and I went to this bar called "Roses," which it must be said is one of my favorite bars in Berlin. It's completely lined with pink fur! And there are cheap ass lovely chandeliers everywhere! And a mounted deer head made of glass! And a rotating silver gun with angel wings! Seriously, the decor was like a dream for me. Plus, they played 80's classics like The Smiths and stuff all night.
Then Meredith and I shared a shish-kebab and waited for the trains.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Christopher Street day was awesome. Actually, as I was there, I was thinking it was one of the top 10 experiences I've had in my life. I don't know why I have constant lists running through my head, but I do--I blame it on blogging. Soon, it will be the 3 year anniversary of my stupid blog, and I can't believe I've been cataloging my life for that long. Why doesn't this self-discipline trickle like a little stream into other areas of my life in need of some consistent moisture.

Here's why CSD rox:

Caiprinha stands on every corner.
Rhythmic Turkish music blasting as people gel together, getting durrty in the streets.
A Parisian burlesque troupe performing a naughty teacher act to the Dresden Dolls (one of my favorites).
Drag Queens singing New York, New York (except they switched it to Kreuzberg, Kreuzberg), Highway to Hell and Coldplay?
A silent anti-gentrification type passion play starring a dreadlocked man feigning bourgieness in a necktie.
So much gender-fuckery. I've never felt so essentialized and conservatively dressed.
So many rainbows.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Gaaah, time to go to Christopher Street Day. Still so tired from pre-Christopher St. Day. The opening last night was fun, there were LED lightning bolts attached to a cardboard triumphal arch.
Sitting in an abandoned park with rocks and a bonfire, LED lights and towering office buildings made me really happy to be in Berlin. I hope Christopher St. Day is just as fun, but I have a feeling it will just be lots of people pushing me into other people.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Well I have a very promising job interview on Wed. Herr Boss man asked if I could start right away and implied that he would write me a letter so I can get a Visa. But perhaps posting it here is bad luck, maybe Blogger is Lucifer's failure-inducing online trident; shooting out blasts of hellfire and weak handshakes, molten lava and poor posture.
The reality is that I should really stop advertising possible opportunities before I've been afforded the proper time to f shit up. Cuz I f a lot of shit up.

And why am I blogging incessantly anyway? I think it's because I don't have a television. Or a phone. Or a committed and enthusiastic pet with which to share the daily challenges of expatriate life.
"c'mere lil' Uncle Sam, let me tell you about starting an account at Deutschebank today, I know you'll listen, you always listen," (Ali creepily strokes an embalmed cat)

I agreed to be part of Artpace's "2 to Watch" series, so it looks like I'm flying back to Texas in November whether I'm in the states by that point or not. *There was a joke here about San Antonio, but it was in poor taste, so I left er' out.

Tomorrow night I'm going to this thing, which sounds kind of amazing:

8:30 PM Friday, June 27th
Skulpternpark Berlin Zentrum
Abby Donovan "The Arrival of Meaning"

A temporary, one twilight installation of the "Meaning Tor"--one of Berlin's missing gates, a portal of sorts that will only be open one evening at dusk. A crazy scaffolding triumphal-not arch will serve as a proscenium for 2 meaning machines that will be suspended between the columns, to be approached from either side. From one approach a dynamo-powered LED lightning bolt, from the other, a dynamo-powered LED rainbow. There's no real correlation between how long one spins the dynamo and when a lightning bolt or a rainbow appears. Oracles of a sort, or brief symbol flashes that might give significance to the moment and context within which they appear. Or they might not. A sort of sad lonely magic. Temporary construction of meaning.

The whole works will be bundled up and disassembled and beginning at about 6:30 PM we will follow a route from 1 Gruenbergerstr to Skulpternpark Berlin Zentrum--kind of like a bedraggled troupe of medieval players. Have you ever had a carnival drive past you on the highway in the US? Kind of like that.

Then afterwards I'm going to a dance-battle at the SO36. Y-es.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I will say that it will be interesting if Germany plays Russia in the finals. Hello Cold War occupiers, howz it going?
Whew, Deutschland won against Turkey.
Not that I hate the Turkish, I just think there would have been riots and manfights if upstart Turkey had beaten Germany.
I went to go meet my friends Willi and Nikki at the Himmelreich to watch the game, but the streets were full of hundreds of people, all wearing Deutsch/Turkish colors and I just felt weird and sham-like and overwhelmed. As I was walking, people were singing the national anthem alongside the tv and I just felt so...not German.
Right now people are playing the kazoo and hurling fireworks outside of my window. I don't know if there's an American equivalent to the Europeans' craziness over fooseball, I can honestly say that I've never seen such widespread fervor in my life. It's like a country of Tammy Faye Bakkers or something. Heads bobbling, eyes bulging, tears flowing, money laundering (in bars?).

I almost cried myself, and I don't even give a shit. But there's something kind of beautiful and emotional about everyone in Berlin partying communally.

*Sidenote: I must say that in general, the Germans are quite staid and reserved. But not in fooseball.

*This is the longest and last entry I have written/will write about sports. Unless Germany wins the final, in which case I think every Berliner's head will implode and a bunch of wundershokolade will come out.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Well, I did end up going to the Lady DJ ladyfest, and it was awesome.  There were cabaret dancers with pasties dancing in the street!  It made my Minelli.
Well, I'm still kind of traumatized from the w.n.e. (worst night ever) but am trying slowly to chip away at my self-loathing and newfound paranoia about Berlin. There's something called frauenbuhne tonight, where lady djs play and I might go...or I might just surf the internet for prison dramas and leer suspiciously out my window. I don't know.

I started writing my long-procrastinated graphic novel, which is what I think I'll be working on for the next couple of months. It's totally meta and combines my experiences firsthand in Berlin with Sad Little White Girl's living with her grandmother. I'm totally over building things at the moment, as it is too fucking hard without a studio. I started on this ornate rug for my room, but I don't know that I'm going to see that one through.

I forgot to mention that I went to Peres Projects the other day and saw a pretty good show by Dan Attoe. I could've done without his Nauman neon-sex ridiculousness or his self-indulgent graphite ramblings, but he paints like a champ. I am rarely impressed by painting-paintings, but Attoe has an amazing way of capturing light and holding my interest.
Here he is:

Monday, June 23, 2008

My friend Nikki took me out for debauched times, which was fun, but then I lost him, then I took the wrong train, then I lost my wallet, and then I was molested on a train platform. Worst night ever.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

P.S. Turkey and Germany will be playing each other in the world cup this week. I am honestly terrified to think about what this could mean in terms of judo-street fighting, schwarma flinging and fireworks. Honestly though, based on the citywide response when Germany and Turkey are playing separately, I can't imagine the kind of chaos that will become Berlin on Mon.
Honest to blog (Juno!), I have so much to report:

I went to some art openings last night in these warehouses behind the Hamburger Banhof. It was pretty cool. The art was a little predictable, very much what you would expect to see from high-end "edgy" galleries in Berlin. But the spaces themselves were awesome, and one gallery screened The Five Obstructions, which I was very excited to see, although I left early and so only saw the first "obstruction." There was a nice, chill vibe with people drinking beers outside. Surprisingly not crowded...lovely really. And while you all are sweating ballz over in the states, I am enjoying the Alpine winds tugging at my long-sleeves. Lovely.

I got tipsy at said openings, and hung out with Mike Ruiz and his ladyfriend Ann. I also met this girl from Bavaria who looked exactly like Heidi, and not the Montag one.

Today I went to a "traditional" Chinese soup restaurant. I realized my gastronomical ignorance right away: I have never had "traditional" Chinese soup. It was very, very not delicious for little hung-over Ali. And there was no soup! Only those weird shrimp with eyeballs, tofu, and a mysterious (shudder) deep-blue gelatinous sea creature. The girl/waitress kept eyeing me so I had to eat it in order to be respectful, although I put some of it in a napkin in my purse when she wasn't looking (for serious).
I was about to leave (because I thought the soup was it) when she gave me a second course, which was great and redeemed the whole experience. Then, something even weirder happened:
I thought she was staring at me because I was stupid and American, but she came over to ask me if I was part Chinese. Wtf? I started laughing because no one's ever confused me for anything other than a goopy pile of Anglo before.
Then she was like, "you really look part Chinese, maybe you have some and don't know it." Then she asked the old chef man who nodded that I looked like I had a little Chinese in me. So weird. Mom, am I part Chinese?

Friday, June 20, 2008

One of my favorite things about being in a city is the subway. I love the subway.

Here are some things I saw on the subway today:

-Spanish-speaking twin boys with matching Nascar backpacks and German flags painted on their faces. It was like the U.N. exploded all over their little bodies.

-Some beautiful German woman sharing her pickled herring snacks with like the entire subway car. It was tender, but more than a little gross.

-Two GIANT men dressed like Sid Vicious sat next to me. I kept stealing glances, not just because of their punk'd out attire, but because they were GIANT. Like, where do you find subgenre clothing like that when you're huge? Big, Tall and Unafraid of Death?

-I also saw a man about my age playing a gameboy circa 1992. It made me so nostalgic for the days I wasted with my square, gray friend. I named him gameboy.

-There are several smells distinctive to Berlin, one of them was wafting everywhere in the subway today: it is the smell of warm croissants, cheap soap and piss.

To clarify my anti-beauracracy rant:

-I can get a job freelance teaching English (quite easily as a matter of fact), but I need a Work Visa to do so.

-I need a freelance English teaching job to get a Work Visa.

-I want an apartment, so I can get a residence permit.

-I need a residence permit to get an apartment.

See the Dilemma? It's like a fucking riddle. I feel like I'm in Labryinth inside that giant Fucking peach/bubble dancing with David Bowie while he speaks nonsense and rubs his Euro-manbag all over me. What fucking baby, David?!!! What fucking baby?!!

*If only.

A private Berlin School wanted to hire me to be a 3rd grade teacher, but informed me that the Berlin Senate would have to look at all my English-teaching courses and approve me. Um, the Berlin Senate? Wtf Germany? I'm cute and American! I'm entitled to do whatever I want! Give me things!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

List of things I like/dislike about Berlin:

Likes: Cheapness, good artness, schwarmas, strong coffee, former communists, gay ballroom dancing, the subway.

Dislikes: German bureaucracy, and everyone thinking I'm stupid.

Monday, June 16, 2008

P.S. I finally made a website!
*With the help of a website-maker, as recommended to me by Lozano.

Anyway, I'm still working on it, but here's what I have now:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I guess Turkey won some kind of fooseball game or something, because Berlin (a.k.a. "Little Istanbul") has erupted into mass shitcraziness.
I was almost impaled by a group of Turkish/German youths brandishing wooden sticks with little Turkish flags on them. I mean, it's nuts here right now. People are screaming, cabbies are popping wheelies, everyone is two Warsteiners away from making out with each other, and the fireworks have returned.
Last night I reunited with my bartender friends Willi and Katja. There is also a new bartender at the Himmelreich who is Danish and wears bow-ties. Man, I heart Berlin.

At about midnight, I stumbled to the party (mentioned below) and was not disappointed at all. It was just as I pictured an international break-dancing loft-studio party for 300 people would be. It was inside some hotel and there were like 5 djs and free liquor flowing everywhere and model beautiful people and a giant rooftop terrace where 20 drunks were dangling precipitously off the edge.

There was a separate "viewing area" where a bunch of art was displayed in this crazily overblown fashion. The whole time I was there (which was only about half an hour) I just kept snickering to myself about how cliche this whole thing was, but at the same time, I am very delighted to know that parties like this actually do exist.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My new friend Meredith told me about this party tonight, which sounds like some cinematic climax I would replay in my head, and not a real event. And oh, god yes I'm going.

*I know I'm probs breaking some privacy laws (I removed the address tho), but this is too good. The following is an excerpt from the lengthy, dual German/English email invitation Meredith forwarded me.

Celebrate with me on a Berlin rooftop:

Saturday, June 14th, starting 8 pm till late the next day

Meet da funky bunch:
I'll be pleased to welcome 200-300 friends, family & companions from the world of art, sports and culture; break dancer, bballer, graffiti heads, young or mature, writers, party people from all over Germany, Istanbul, London, Miami, Milan, Moscow, New York, Paris, Stockholm...... Are you coming?

Home-cooked food
Bar: Andre, Phil + Robat the Kid Berlin

Music: Da Hils, Don Brazo, Joseph Kratzinger, Noshe, Nushitzu & friends, Phonosapienz, Mc Veit

Breaker: Jerome the Metronom & Ko Crew

*I might also try to see this performance by the kids at Rhizome and AIDS 3-D, but really this party is my priority.

Dilek Pinar + oversized ship steering wheel

Also, I watched this music video today in a falafel place as I was eating. Totally nautical.
One thing Americans do better: Hamburgers. The hamburger I ate last night tasted suspiciously similar to the falafel I had earlier in the day. Wendy, I miss you.

Summary: I went to Mike Ruiz's gallery as stated and was impressed with how transformed/legit the space seemed (it is in his apt.). More later.

Was too tired, and had little "Sexi-Time" really.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Btw, I didn't mean to get rid of all my linx, Blogger took them away when I tried to change my template to something more light-housey and harboresque like this:

So, eventually I will redo all my hard-won typed efforts (sighs exasperatedly as she wipes the sweat off her lethargic, unarched eyebrows).

Tonight! Opening at The Future Gallery! Then Drunk! Then SexiTime!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

oh man, I am drunk but had fun meeting with Cauleen's friend, Meredith who has lived in Berlin for a year now. We went somewhere on Oranienstrasse, which is my favorite strasse. Afterwards, I tried to drag her to SO36, but again, it was closed.

My foot is quite a bit better tho, so that's good. Like Nina sez (that's Nina Simone), "ain't got no shoes, ain't got no feet, ain't got no money, ain't got no class, ain't got no...." it goes on...but the finale is: "ain't got no rhythm... but I've got a life! I've got my life, and I'm gonna feel it."

the end.
I just went and saw this girl about an apartment in Prenzlauerberg, and it was fucking beautiful. It was such a cool and big apartment and I really want her to choose me as her roommate, but after a few dashed hopes I am reluctant to invest myself emotionally in anything anymore. I also applied for a job at Peres Projects, and would love that very much, but again, big cities are hard and rat-racey and eat up little girls with sprained feet and sweater vests.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I am so pissed at my foot. It's the same foot I drunkenly fractured in undergrad and never got properly fixed. Fuck you left foot. Berlin is not a good place to have a foot injury as everything is incredibly far away and cobblestoned.

Reasons why my foot is getting worse:

Instead of relaxing last night, I trekked to this Biennial performance on the "Death Strip." I must say, it was pretty amazing and almost worth the pains now rocketing through my body.
The artists had about 6 BMW's tied together and drove in circles around a fire (which tumbled at some point) while some spooky version of "This Land is Your Land..." played. It was like a weird, overpriced wagon circle inside a shitty overgrown commie park, very cool. They also encouraged people to ride in the BMWs, the resulting vibe being one of a punk rock state fair or something.

And there was this fascinating mix of people: high-class curators creaming themselves about how "raw" and "offbeat" this was, mothers playing with their children, crazy German artists, pretty American gallerinas. It was in this deserted park and I just sat on one of the rocks and watched all the people.

Afterwards, I tried to go to the SO36 (partly to meet up with my German lover), but it was closed. I guess I'm not going anywhere until my foot gets better. Suck.

*I made a homemade splint out of undies(see above), which is how I was able to get around last night. Some of you may remember the thong eyepatch I made for myself during eye-infection 06.'
I am so fucking handy it's ridiculous.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Shit. Foot.

Went to Kunst-Werke today to see the exhibition up for the Biennial. Not bad, although frankly not mind-blowin' neither. This guy PushWagner's stuff was pretty cool though (see below).

*On a horrible note, I've injured my foot pretty badly and can barely walk. I've known something was wrong with it for the past couple of days, but ignored my body's pleas and now I really can't get around. This sux for many reasons.

I lost my sitetracker so now I can't stalk people. I am sad but it is probably a good thing.
Tonight I'm going to a performance on the "Death Strip" by American artist Dan Seiple as part of the Biennial.
Tomorrow I think I am going to see Joan Jonas perform if I can rustle up 15 euro and figure out where it is.
Fri. I am going to the opening at former Austin person Mike Ruiz's The Future Gallery.

Addendum: I reinstalled my sitetracker, so now I can, once again, stalk you.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Today I looked at an apartment, bought art supplies and ate at an all-potato restaurant. I ordered the Potato Budapest special, which had a lot of cabbage, cream and potato. It was delicious, but I will admit to feeling a bit sick to my stomach. Who knew cream and cabbage were such volatile dinner companions?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Here's the haps:

-After studying for a few months, I'm actually pretty good at German, but I still get hopelessly embarrassed when speaking it. I almost died at this crepe place yesterday when the waiter treated me like I had a touch o' the downs and made overly telling hand gestures about the contents of my crepe.

-I went around to a lot of galleries on Sat., but they were mysteriously closed. I was like, "wtf?" Then, I realized that it was 7:30 AM, and that only crazy people are up that early on a weekend.

-My sleeping fahrplan is totally off (see above) and I want to schlafen like a normal human again.

-I have a new favorite magazine:
It was started by ex-village voicers for English-speaking expats. EXcellent.

-I saw a man holding a basket with a tiny puppy above the Spree River. I couldn't tell if he was going to throw it in or if he was sweetly trying to give his tiny puppy a waterview. It made for a really weird picture, I need to get some batteries for that brokeass digicam of mine.

-I went to my fave bar, the Himmelreich, and I got to see my bartender friend Katja, but I also had to see a million old ladies wearing playboy bunny ears because the bar was packed with them. What was that about do you think?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Also, here is a picture of Adrian in Berlin. She is 60, and looks like a wood nymph.

Adrian Piper sighting a sign of my impending dementia?

This morning, I saw Adrian Piper in the subway tunnel underneath Rosenthaler Platz. It was just the two of us walking toward each other, which was incredibly strange.
And it is also weird because there are like 3.4 million people in Berlin with 3.399999999999 million of them not being Adrian Piper, my artheroine and one of the many reasons I began to think seriously about moving here.
She looked alarmingly dapper and had this weirdly blissful look on her face. I couldn't decide whether to sycophantify myself and run after her and tell her what an amazing speaker/artist/person she is, or just let it go. I decided to just let it go.

Then, I decided not to let it go, so I turned around, tripped in my excitement, and made some giggly German girl very giggly. I tried to find Adrian again, but she was lost in the mist of people crossing the street. Was she a Gucci sponsored mirage? Either way, I am going to frequent that subway stop in hopes of drinking from her bespectacled oasis-like visage again.

I keep thinking about her happy, satisfied look. She looked like a woman who really enjoys life, even after piling into some hot ass subway car with 800 French tourists*. That leads me to another shocking thing about her appearance: she was wearing wintry clothing. It is very hot here. Much hotter than I expected. And a/c is like unheard of, so those subway cars are basically little shag-carpeted George Foremans.
I mean, the woman was wearing a pantsuit, coat and scarf. But she wasn't sweating. I however, was sweating profusely in the cotton homemade robot shirt my assistant gave me. Is Adrian Piper immune to sweating and other base human functions?

I find this whole encounter mystifying.

*French tourists have taken over Berlin, Le gross.
Is it Bastille Day?

I sketched inside a graveyard for like an hour today. I sketched some headstones and weird altars and stuff. I realized that I really miss purposeless sketching. For a while now, I've been using sketchbooks to diagram installations plan sculptural forms to be used later. But I think for a few weeks I'm just going to record weird stuff with no ulterior motive.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Made it to Berlin. And one of my first sights? A girl in a fucking longhorn shirt. Seriously? Didn't I escape the burnt orange iron curtain?

Speaking of iron curtains, I cannot believe how different Berlin looks in the Summer. It is like Berlin is finally lifting up her gray walled skirt to show me her splendid underoos. And boy are they much prettier than her winter leggings.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I just had my first phone-in studio visit. Not fun.
You know who is fun? Annie Sprinkle.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Last night Andie made me go to Femme Fest in Charlotte
Lotta cell-phone holsters and aviators and tears and Miller Lite at that one.
I liked The Moaners because they turned Flannery's famous phrase, "you can't be poorer than dead" into a song.
Andie and I are watching Cutting Class, which is like Sleepaway Camp only more boring. Currently, the Math teacher is solving a quadratic equation to figure out which door to escape through.