…won’t you meet me at the gates to the garden

And I always thought: the very simplest words
must be enough. When I say what things are like
everyone’s heart must be torn to shreds.
That you’ll go down if you don’t stand up for yourself,
surely you see that.     Bertolt Brecht


Wendy and i placed red carnations on the grave of Brecht, which is the tradition…. And Wendy poured “Club Mate” (very strong mate soda) on his grave hoping he would wake up and have a conversation with us….  and magically it worked!….b-cemetary2

We talked of art and theater, and both got totally inspired… she studied theater at university and knows a lot about it. Did you know that Brecht used what he called the 4th wall in his plays? Its something like when the performers break with “the performance” and turn and talk directly to the audience. I know all you theater folks already know this … so im not telling you anything new.. but I am relatively new to theater, having only been a lowly punk rock star in a former life, so its new to me.. and really exciting!

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so now I’ll break the fourth wall…. and turn to you and say….

Brecht was called before the house un-American activities committee (HUAC) in 1947 to testify about his communist allegiances. He was blacklisted along with about 40 other writers, directors and actors. Brecht initially said that he would not testify about his political affiliations, but later, on the advice of his attorneys and the fact that he had a flight booked back to east germany.. decided to testify.

The story goes, that he made a theater of the proceedings by wearing  workers overalls and smoking a very smelly cigar. He also slowed things down a bit by speaking English very poorly and giving the translator a hard time… anyway, he did testify that he was not a member of the communist party and was thanked by the chairman for his testimony.  He was criticized afterwards for breaking with the others who stood strong in their conviction to not testify and were cited for contempt……

…. was this another case of the bourgeois artist looking out for number one? ….. or of another Marxist, yet again selling out his sisters and brothers ….. or a brilliant spoof on the “new fascists” in America? ….  ?????



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If all people want is to see something they understand, they shouldn’t go to the theater. They should go to the bathroom.     Bertolt Brecht.



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die moritat von mackie messer    LISTEN!



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dragi friends……

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rude eva… this is not the amazing eva, but a photo of nick from rudimentary peni. .. for some unknown reason i dont have a photo of eva… which is sad… besides being our wonderful host..we sang “three quarters of the world are starving, the rest are dead” as we cleaned house together….. thank you!

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hvala! danke! gracias! dzieki! grazie! multumesc! faleminderit! nais tuke! thank you!

tu casa es mi casa

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Spent an oh so lovely day with wendy at the graves of Bertolt Brecht and Heiner Muller.! Which is a dream come true for me! We made a quick stop at Tacheles,p10304482 a former squat turned tourist attraction/nightclub/ beer garden… it has that certain esthetic that is still popular here of “faux squat”. A kind of post-industrial artist warehouse, without the artists. The walls aren’t fixed, bricks exposed, there is “grafitti” in the bathrooms, … but the drinks, and the lighting are really expensive  … it was closed when we arrived. The art that still gets shown here is similar to what you would find in soho in N.Y.C. …the music/performance are people like mark e smith from the fall, or the drummer from sonic youth on solo tours.. a kind of nostalgia for a former time when sonic youth or the fall actually played here. Wendy and I were both here in the 90’s (before we knew each other) and the place held some kind of attraction for both of us then, (which I think is sweet)…. It still had some of its “squatiness”, and artists/activists then…..now its just sad.

The gentrification in berlin is everywhere and like everywhere there are similarities in the ways the process unfolds and in the ways in which it destroys communities. Berlin is interesting in that it is still one of the cheapest European capitals to live in, and although ive asked why this is true to pretty much every Berliner I know, no one can tell me why. A few theories ive heard so far: there is a glut of available housing in berlin, this was more true in the first years after the wall came down, but still true today. There was unused housing in the former east, which was either squatted or renovated for rent or sale after the fall of the DDR. As the capital was moved to berlin from bonn, a lot of housing was built and or renovated in anticipation, but the mass influx of people they expected never happened.

Another theory is that there are neighborhoods in Berlin that have primarily Turkish people living in them, (who came to berlin as “guest workers” in the 70’s and 80’s)  and since a majority of them come from Anatolia in Turkey, which is a rural region in turkey, that somehow they have a different relationship to land, to ownership, to family and to thus to capitalism…. I don’t quite know the logic in this theory, but I think it has something to do with the fact that many of these folks from the first wave of “guest workers” are now owners of property and they keep the rents down so that family and friends can also emigrate to Berlin… ??? this is a fascinating theory and I would love to know if anyone knows anymore about it…..

Wendy and I went flyering with our dear friend veronica for a meeting that is being organized to discuss/ take action against the gentrification in krueztberg. Flyers in german and in turkish… one of each for each door in the neighborhood…..

Many folks I know recently saw the movie “BOOM the sound of eviction”, a movie that was made in san Francisco in 2001. It tells the story of the dot com boom in s.f and the resistance organized against it. I love it when art lasts and inspires folks to action…..

ich bin ein berliner… i am a jelly doughnut

Tonight while walking the “countryside” in berlin (a long walk around kruetzberg, that includes part of the old wall and a park where a canal from the Spree river was diverted long ago), my dear friends Bergit, Martin and i talked of our lives in the past 2 years…. I learned that martin is a real Berliner as in he has lived here his whole life…

The end of autumn is here and in the fading light and growing cold, we talked of trauma (personal and community), and we talked of change and our work in various projects. A lot has happened in 2 years in our lives and I realized how much I have missed them. These amazing people that I visit again and again who have dedicated their lives to changing this rotten ass system. The last part of the walk Bergit and I took alone to gorlitzer park in the dark. She said something that really struck me… something about how we (anarchists, punks, leftists, queers etc.) are reluctant or scared to talk about personal trauma yet we all have experienced it on some level… while at the same time, many of us work on these projects that have trauma (personal and community) at their root. We tend to work on trauma in the abstract, trauma is something that happens over there to the less fortunate. She told me that she respected me so much not only for sharing my life with them so honestly, but also for being so open to listen. She said that the work of buildingbloc, (when we were here 2 years ago), changed her life in some way…
… the last part of our walk I told her how much I feel she has to offer her community here… bringing her own personal experience to share.. how much hope and strength I get from knowing them… it’s a lot really… not abstract in the least… I feel really lucky to have these people in my life.. all of them!… berlin is becoming a second home of sorts…. “ich bin ein berliner” (i am a jelly doughnut)

erinyen anarcha-feminist collective

check out this amazing collective from berlin!

erinyen anarcha-feminist collective

Although anarchism is, in theory, inherently feminist, the reality is often quite different. Erinyen was created out of a need to bring issues of dominance, alienation, lack of control and masked hierarchy more into the anarchist sphere as well as for creating a place to share information, struggles and ideas. We hope with this platform and the magazine we contribute to more solidarity, understanding and change on all levels, regardless of gender, sex, age, ethnicity … and so on.

CESTA! undercovered…

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hey all you artists.. wanna apply for an amazing collaborative arts festival in the
beautiful hansel and gretal forest of Bohemia cz republiki. heres your chance!
CESTA

CESTA’s 13th Arts Festival of International,
Interdisciplinary Collaborations
August 2009

Hidden and naked. Protected and endangered. Forgotten and targeted. The duality
of undercovered is inescapable – the concealed to the unveiled, the censored to the
recognized. The current unprecedented access to information encourages
discovery, yet we attack the conspicuous. We guard our histories, and suffer as the
ignored. We pursue knowledge to achieve progress, yet illumination creates
shadows, and definition creates margins. When do we seek protection through
visibility and when through anonymity? In our quest for recognition and
representation, what do we discard or overlook, and why?
For UNDERCOVERED, CESTA invites artists in all disciplines to collaborate in
creating works implicating this duality through their choices of artistic content,
process, or discipline.

CESTA’s festival themes and parameters of cross-national interdisciplinary
collaborations represent the center’s commitment to improving communication
through creative expression. We base our selection of artists on a review of
applications resulting from our annual open call. Applicants request CESTA to
connect them with one or more collaboration partners or apply as a pre-formed
collaboration group .

For UNDERCOVERED all final festival collaboration groups must be:
1) Cross-national: more than one nationality
2) Interdisciplinary: more than one artistic medium
3) Collaborative: conceptualizing and creating interdependent artistic work
AND must contain work created exclusively for UNDERCOVERED.

Festival Application Deadline: December 19, 2008
(postmarked)

UNDERCOVERED festival schedule
On-site collaborations in
progress:
August 1-26

Presentations of participants’
past work:
August 13-18

Seminars, workshops and
educational programs on the
festival theme:

August 13-18

Final presentations of the
collaboration groups:
August 28-30

Daily reviews of the
presentations:
August 29-31

Festival closing forum:
August 31

LAST RAMONE STANDING WINS!

Deuschtland is a place where obscure punks can still make a living….. where punk drummers can still make a living..

Marky Ramone is a d.j?…. who knew? ……… john langford of the mekons, (one of my favorite bands of all time)  once said in a radio interview, something like…. marky-ramoneit was the era of “the least common denominator” the conservatives and the fascists had Reagan and Thatcher and we had THE RAMONES!