Thursday, July 31, 2008

Today I went back to the Auslanderbehorde with my friend Nicky. Not to get my work visa but to get an appointment to get my work visa. We saw the inside of a multitude of waiting rooms. I'm beginning to like watching the screen, it's like a numerical lava lamp.
In between the floors there was this netting that looked like it was supposed to prevent people from jumping and killing themselves. Either that, or the Auslanderbehorde is taking a tongue-in-cheek approach to the convergence of playground materials and suicide.
It was so perverse and "Kafkaesque."
While we waited, Nicky played Sonic the Hedgehog on his phone and I fidgeted nervously, imagining all kinds of German FrauDominatrixes that would slice my body with papercuts using giant thick folders imprinted with outstanding rules and loopholes.
*I also envisioned a lady with one of those commie mullets (think Billie Jean King) and a large branding iron that incised the German equivalent of "You're Going to Prison!" onto my chest.

Anyhow, it went fairly well. There was one woman who was nice and one guy who was kind of an ass. They looked at all my documents and said that I would probably get the work visa on the 18th of August (when my appt. is) as long as I get....private German health insurance.
Fuck me. I know this is the last thing I have to do, but what the fuck. I have insurance firstly (at least until sept.) and it works abroad. Nobody alerted me to this particular rule.
Anyway, this has been such a hassle that I am definitely going to do it and stay.

Germany, you will have me as your sassy, slightly amoral wife--whether you like it or not. I will eat your bratwurst, I will drink your bier, but I will not let you "slither into my ass" (this is a direct translation of an expression in Germany, one that my friend Willi used when describing Obama's speech: "Obama slithered into Berlin's ass").

*Also, I got a more permanent residence in what's called "Kreuzkolln," which is on the border of Kreuzberg and Nuokolln. My roomie is a Parisian/Italian woman named Ana Lucia, who is in acting school and has a few stories to tell I think. My new apartment is so "Berlin." It kind of looks like an old-timey submarine. There's a balcony. And some fake marble. And no furniture. And the ghost of a one-eyed seafaring man.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I got so depressed today. I went with my Norwegian friend Julian to the Auslanderbehorde, which is the Foreigner's Office. It's soooo far away and it was so fucking hot. By the time I got there, the magical elixir of wet bodies, apfelsaft and doner kebabs that comprise "subway steam" had smothered my brain.
Yes, Texans, I know it's hot there. But the difference is that you have a/c. There is no a/c anywhere in Berlin except for malls like the one I went to yesterday that carry quasi-American brands like "New Yorker" and have pharmacies called "Bong."

Anyway, when Julian and I got there it was closed. It was only 2 o'clock. I would have known they close at 2 if it had been anywhere on their website. Which it wasn't. Anywhere. I was so upset. Then I came home and shed sum tearz because I am a baby and I want this to be done so I can stop boring my friends with lame stories about bureaucracy. And then I wondered if it would ever be done, and if my job would still be there, and if I should really stay in Berlin, and when exactly my money was going to run out etc. etc.

Basically I had a breakdown based on inescapable heat, which was very "Camus" of me.

Ugh, power of positive thinking, relinquish my stone of negativity:

Good things:

I'm meeting a lot of amazing people, here are some very cursory descriptions:
I met:
A novelist from NYC
A cokehead from Britain who basically read me his dissertation (at great speeds) for an hour.
A Parisian/NYC artist who had the most incredible accent ever.
A bar owner from Oldenburg who dated the girl below.
A nurse who works at the Charite Hospital (where the Medical Anomaly Museum is!) who is obsessed with American television and insisted that I talk about "Rock of Love II" with her for...well, an excessive amount of time.
A personal trainer from Brasil who looked like a really, really handsome inmate from a handsome prison.
A trio of British brothers who opened a clothing store (mentioned below) and deal in exceptionally witty repartee.
A former North Carolina boy who has something to do with Peres Projects and speaks perfect German and wears shortieshorts.
2 guys from Oakland.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ok, lemmesee I really have no new developments. I went to Peres Projects for an opening last night, which was fun, if somewhat mellow. Then one of my roomies, Simone took me to an opening at this clothing store, hosted by a bunch of brits in dandyish clothes; the event had something to do with an interactive experimental music-making machine, although it was turned off by the time I got there. Here are pictures of some of their wares:
Leggings, screen-printed tees and a lopsided haircut, these are the things that comprise the social experiment that is Berlin fashion.
Then we went to the after-party at this British guy's apartment. It was fun, although incredibly hot and haseeshish (second time I've used the "ish" suffix....does it really make everything funnier, or does it just dilute my prose?...who cares).
At around 3 or 4, we went to a park and looked at the stars, which was lovely even though I got dirt in my tweener parts.
Then I ate a cheeseburger. Of course.

Friday, July 25, 2008

So I went to see Obama in the Tiergarten Park with Willi and his two German friends, one of whom is a former speechwriter for the German Defense Department. It was really interesting to hear her take on Obama's speech. She thought it was good, but actually predicted the points he would make like 20 seconds before he made them.

Ok, I love Obama but his speech was disappointing. He didn't seem all that impassioned, and what's worse, he spoke about the history of Berlin using this really patronizing tone. Berlinners are very well-educated and they don't need an American (however handsome and charismatic he may be) to remind them that there was an airlift in 1949. They know that shit.

This made Obama's real mission---to channel JFK with a well-timed Berlin blockbuster that he can use as his "campaign backdrop" as German chancellor Angela Merkel commented--very obvious. Because he was really educating American viewers about German history, and using "the wall" as a metaphor for....I dunno...different walls.

It was a good speech, but it certainly was not a great speech.

It did feel incredible to be there, with over 200,000 people going nuts and wearing all kinds of Obama what-nots. I kind of cried at some point because I really do feel some kind of shift, a new hope. What else could make that many people see one man? And in Europe? I really think the world is excited and ready to support him, which is great.

Here are some interesting things about political events in Berlin:

*Uh, there was no security. Like none.
*People smoke doobies.
*There are beer stands everywhere.
*I only saw one helicopter the whole time we were there.
*There was a "cruising area" nearby.
*People climb on top of lamp posts and trees. And the police don't hassle them. Weird.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama at Brandenburger Tor. I feel as though I'm part of history.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Since my last post was a depressing diatribe on artists I don't give a shit about anyway, I think I'll devote this next entry to amazing things I've seen/done over the past few dayz:

-There was a man in a Batman costume accompanied by a girl in a Robin costume, and a man in black (?) and they jumped in some kind of military armored vehicle which was playing riotgrrrrl music and drove off. I really have no idea what this means.

-My roommate Caris and I went to Morgenland this morning and ate a hearty Deutsch breakfast that is growing exponentially in my stomach like a Germany-shaped nerf football. Or a sea monkey made of omelette.

-My friend Nicky and I went to the Bierhimmel last night for drinks and wound up being interviewed by British journalists for the brit magazine the New Statesman about cultural life in Berlin. Hawt. I told them about Adrian Piper.

-I am going to see Obama speak at Brandenburger Tor tomorrow with Willi. Uhmazing.

-There was this amazing fight outside the Bierhimmel involving two men trying to sell newspapers. One was very old, one was very young. The old man was ridiculously drunk and had this voice that sounded like gravel and bitterness (I can only describe his voice, not his words since they wuz in German). Eventually Nicky told me that the young man screamed, "Don't make me hit an old man!" Anyway, it was amusing and frightening to say the least.

-I saw the tiniest puppy today, it was seriously as small as my fist (and I have freakishly small hands). I almost killed him with my oversized orthopedic shoes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Today I went to Jablonka Galerie and Galerie Barbara Thumm, both of which I expected to be interesting. Neither were. Here is the snarkiest synopsis ever, complete with venom and an unwarranted sense of superiority:

Jablonka: Ugly, macho Clemente paintings coupled with super-slick photographs of young, nude Asian women engaged in Japanese Rope Bondage (there were also a couple Richard Prince and David LaChappelle prints). Something about it just reeked of pretension, exclusion, and misogyny although I guess that's a very slippery thing to describe.

*The only time I liked Clemente was when a young Ethan Hawke pretended to make his paintings in Great Expectations. And that had more to do with seeing the artist mythos transfered so cheesily to screen opposite Gwyneth Paltrow.

Galerie Barabara Thumm: It would be easy to say that this show is the opposite of "macho," considering it's a lady making portraits of unknown women and scribbling quotes from Gloria Steinem and the like in the margins. But they were really terrible, gross and were not at all any kind of system...or anything....or anyone. In one painting, she likened selling her work to selling herself. What an unknown and original fact. And you paint that into your painting! How meta and incendiary!

Omg, I was so shocked that this woman was showing at a reputable gallery. Her paintings looked like Kippenburger if Kippenburger had painted on quaaludes and taken himself too seriously. Sigh, here's a link:

Monday, July 21, 2008

No frills data blog.

I finally got what I wanted (no, not my Work Visa yet, just a baby paper) from the dreaded Burgeramt. Lemme explain the process:

I went to get an appointment. That was 2 weeks ago. I went back today at my appointed time and received a number. That number was 419. I had to go to a waiting room to find out the next room I should wait in. Then I went to that room. Then I waited.
There were so many Germans and children, and all the chairs faced the same way, which doesn't sound weird, but actually was seriously weird. Everyone was sitting in this really stiff position, and I began to wonder if Germans have some kind of specially fused spine that allows them to appear so pencil-like.
Of course, I slumped in my chair with my legs billowing sideways like a true renegade North Amerikaner. Then I placed my spitoon underneath me and dribbled tobacco and beef jerky and arrogance.
Then, it was my turn, and thank god, the woman who helped me spoke English. Then I started sweating a lot because these types of things scare me. Then she grimmaced when I said I was from Texas. Then she stamped a little piece of paper and it was all over. Then I listened to Jay-Z's "Brush Your Shoulder's Off," as I walked home and finally felt like a pimp again. Then I started writing this blog.

Last night my roomate Caris ( and I met up with her Russian friend at Monsieur Vong's, which is a famous Vietnamese place in Mitte. Then we went to the Bierhimmel, then we met Nicky at the SO36, where there was gay ballroom dancing. Then Caris and her friend went to Bar 25 while I stayed behind and danced to "Bootylicious" encircled by gay men. Then we went to Roses. Then I realized the trains weren't running and I needed to go home and sleep so that I could be Germanically punctual for my appointment. Then I went to my appointment, see above.

This blog entry is so anachronistic eh? Like that Seinfeld episode that unravels backward. Except not as funny, or as smart.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Also, I've been here one and a half-months now, but it feels like so much longer.
I keep chastising myself for not accomplishing more, but in reality, it hasn't been the meandering epoch-like passage of time that it seems. I guess. Or I'm still lazies like bumz.
I don't really have much to report.
I saw some good shows, and some sub-mediocre shitty shows in Mitte. The shittiest was this giant xeroxed diorama of a leafy enclosure. It was so dumb and looked like a science fair project executed secretly by some third-grader's overly concerned florist/mom.
No, no actually through the window the other night I saw a shittier show that consisted of word paintings with sayings like, "you can never be too thin." They made me want to puke up my Thai Red Curry, although not in a fit of cultural outrage, but out of sheer disdain.
Sometimes art is so stupid.

But there were some good group shows at Petrowski, and Geoff + Rosenthal. I also went to an opening at ExtraRaum, which is a quirky and interesting space with an amazing bookstore behind it.

Life is more exciting than art:

Yesterday I was hanging out at the Himmelreich drinking coffee and smoking cigs outside with Willi and I started talking to the owner of Paule's Heavy Metal Bar and he told me crazy metal stories about famous frontmen and Elvis impersonators jumping out of coffins. He had long hair in a ponytail and mysterious sweat stains on his all-black ensemble. And he told me about a famous metal guy who posed in an issue of "Playgirl" and then had a book signing at his bar. The punchline was that only gay men showed up and the pages were all "sticky."

I've been having 3-4 hour lunch/breakfasts lately, which, while amazing, can be quite frustrating. Considering how rule-abiding and upright the cogs in the German bureaucratic machine can be, I don't understand the "Pauly Shore, let's smoke a doobie we're on Deautsch Break" mentality of this country's waitstaff.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I forgot to talk about this amazing and amazingly weird dance performance I saw on Sunday. The title was something I can't pronounce or understand. But it was so strange. It was in this old warehouse that shows experimental theatre/dance etc. called "Dock 11."
It consisted of a huge boxing ring filled with water and ladies wearing boxing gloves in their undies, and slow motion fights, and topless things, and lab coats and a weird synth soundtrack. It was so fucking awesome. Except I got all wet and one of my roommates commented that it was like "Gallagher." Except it was awesome. It was one of those times when I am really, really grateful to be here.

P.S. Cathy Horyn was here a mere 10 days ago. I'm so sad.
sneeze. Trying to finish an ornate rug. Didn't get to say goodbye to my friend Meredith.
Don't know when my visa appointment is.
But enough emoting (it's totally not German), I am in Berlin and having a blast. Berlin Fashion Week begins soon, and I really want to sneak into sexy parties and steal Amaretto Sours and hair contraptions.
I am going to email Ms. Cathy Horyn to see if she's in town for the festivities and if she can snip me a piece of Karl Lagerfeld's hair for my black-clad Karl Lagerfeld marionette, which will dance and smoke and be a genius.

Some of you may remember Cathy as the NYTimes lady who I meshed names with, resulting in "AliCat." Which she then read about on here! Oh, my blogging hijinx!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jesus Christ I need to stop living this way. I stayed out until 6, woke up at 3 and am very adamantly hating life right now. I need to start my job before I turn into a giant red-faced man whose liver plops out and sings songs like that singing bass. Singing liver.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Remember my W.N.E. (worst. night. ever.)? Well, today I had the W.A.D.E. (worst. animal. day. ever.)

Episode 1.) This morning (or noonish if you want to be specific) I walked into the subway at Frankfurter Tor and saw a dismembered bird wing lying on the ground. I came this close (makes pinching motion with fingers very close together) to puking chocolate croissant all over the other commuters. I don't know why this affected me so much, except that it was just gross and sad made me remember this really poignant Calvin and Hobbes comic strip about a dead bird.

Episode 2.) I was walking on Brunnenstrasse and czeching out the galleries there and saw a group of wasted punks and their dogs (the punks here, as everywhere, always have large dogs). Anyway, one of them picked up his dog by the collar and literally started beating it up, the dog yelped so loudly and painfully and I had this incredible heart-wrenching chest pain---it was a really disgusting sight. It reminded me of a time in Spain when I saw a gypsy couple kill a puppy to elicit sympathy.

Episode 3.) I was waiting for the train in Rosenthaler Platz (where I saw Adrian Piper!) and I spotted a mouse/rat scurrying near my feet. I almost jumped onto the tracks in a fit of pure fright. If my Adrian sighting was a sign that I was meant to be in Berlin, what does a rat mean?

I don't want to see any more animals today.

Friday, July 11, 2008

In lieu of another overly personal entry misrepresenting the power of Neil Young, I am going to post a pic of my friends Willi und Nikky.
You thought I was stretching the whole Cabaret thang, didn't you?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I am, once again, totally infatuated.
Sometimes I think I prefer massive, painfully calculated and infantile infatuations to real, lasting relationships. Actually I don't think that, I know that.
But man, those first few moments and kisses are heart-breakingly awesome and feel just like Neil Young's Harvest Moon or even Lionel Ritchie's I Call It love. I always thought I was a pessimist about zee love, until a friend told me the other night that I was the biggest "closet romantic" she's ever known. So, maybe I am. I fucking cry at rom-coms ok? And I came close to crying just reading about the robot-love in Wall-E.

The only thing is, after a couple of weeks I get bored, the Neil Young luster is gone and then it's just another humdrum techno beat, giving my ears relationship tinnitus.

Maybe I'm not so romantic after all.

*My new love interest also loves Neil Young.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I went back to the evil place this morning with my friend who has a baby inside of her only to discover that those German Quasi-Stasi are on "streik." Fuck. At least I know their reluctance to help me wasn't limited to my Americanness, and that my coy eyelash batting and tasteful yet suggestive cleavage might have worked under different circumstances.

Last night I smoked a joint for the first time in 6 months or so and ate the following in roughly 30-90 minutes:

-loaf of bread with cream cheese
-3 pieces of cake given to me by a bartender. Later I found out he had made the cake for someone's birthday in his night class. How sweet is that? People here--*who do not work in a governmental capacity*---are extremely nice.
-A giant dish of mushroom orzo.
-A good part of my friend's gnocchi dish.
-A chocolate bar.

It's noon, I haven't eaten anything today and I still can't suck in my gut. Spring Break 08' ! Woooooooo!!!!!!!

*Pot is legal here as long as you don't have enough to "sell." Anyway, for this reason I do not feel bad divulging that I smoked a little doobie. I would say "sorry mom," but my momz was the biggest pothead ever and told me about crazy naval parties where she and her pilot friends would fly a plane from Sicily to Ibiza and eat pot brownies and get jiggy with it. So mom, at least I'm not operating an aircraft vehicle. You are the one who should be ashamed!
(My new strategy=preemptive shaming).

*My friend Antje showed me this form to fill out when I finally do register my address, which states that the government cannot follow me or keep tabs on all my personal information. Unless you fill this out, the government does that or something. Kuh-reepy.

*Antje told me she has already been to the Burgeramt 3 times to register her baby. To register her baby!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Today I went to the Burgeramt (can't do umlauts, but please insert like 15 there) to register my address so that the Stasi can keep track of the amount of mucus I release as compared to the general European allowance for mucus release.
Anyway, the guy basically told me to fuck off, after I went there twice to fill out the stupid registration forms. He was old and judging by his moist nose/mouth area is definitely is in violation of over-mucusing.

I want to slip Germany a national Valium or something. I'll put it in a giant Weissbier and just wait.

So tomorrow I have to go back to the Burgeramt and see that guy again. Wtf.
Luckily I bribed my pregnant German friend Antje to come with me because nobody fucks with pregnant people.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Titus O'Brien's blog about Kara's show at the Modern is pretty right-on (even though I haven't seen said show, curse you Texas for having the ballz to show her after I leave you for sluttier terrain). Anyway, I heart Kara for the same reasons I heart my therapist: calculated emotional manipulation.
Jussssssst kidding. I don't have a therapist. Just a conscience and a little calendar with puppies barking affirmations at me.
Well, I went from being innocuously hungover and periody to being a fainting barf-robot.

I was talking to this girl outside when I started feeling incredibly dizzy, then I woke up in a concrete doorway to the sounds of her crying "help."
Now I have a bump on my head and everyone thinks I'm a narcoleptic or something. I've never fainted before, it's so weird. My diet here, consisting mainly of schwarmas, pastries, cigarettes and vodka tonics apparently does not do my body well.
I've learned so much about health and safety here in Berlin, I just wish I could have learned it in a brochure, instead of on train platforms and concrete steps.

Friday, July 04, 2008

This is a song my Grandpa taught me:

"Oh Thunderback, oh Thunderback, how could you be so mean?
To ever have invented the sausage-meat machine,
now alley cats and gutter rats are nowhere to be seen,

Ok, I forgot the rest of it, but in the end Thunderback gets made into sausage by his sleep-walking wife. I've just been thinking about meat a lot lately and thought I would share.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

I had to laugh at myself twice today already:

1. I woke up slightly hungover and periody and went to my nearest Turkish Imbiss and ate a whole rotisserie chicken at like 10 in the morning. It was gross, my face was covered in grease and a couple of people marveled at my ability to eat an entire animal before noon.

2. I had a sex dream about Martin Lawrence. How amazing is that?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

K, still drunk.

Two things:
I programmed my new German celly to play TATU's infamous "They're Not Gonna Get Us" as a ringtone, which became very embarrassing on the subway today.

Katalin Hausel is visiting and we went out to Oranienstrasse to get nasty tonight, and by the end the trains were gone and I had to walk home despite my newly found fear of Berlin. But I made it without incident, and so I am no longer afraid. I am like Jodie Foster in The Brave One except I am not a vigilante. And I am not buff. And I was not a child star. And my cheekbones, while amazing, are not made of granite and magic.

Also, a dog peed on me today. And a man spilled his apfelsaft on my new purse. But I got a job bitches! Nothing squirted, spilled or otherwise will wash away my pride.
I got a job! Now I'm going to stay in Berlin forevers.

*If I get a work visa.