Friday, November 14, 2008

Christoph Keller @ art101

"Launching a tornado", Christoph Keller, 2008

Photoshop? Nein danke! Was hier zu sehen ist, existiert zwar nicht. Aber zu sehen ist es dennoch - genau so, what you see is what you get, unverfälscht durch Softwaretricks. Der Schriftsteller und Fotograf Christoph Keller, St. Gallen und New York, stellt derzeit seine neuesten Fotografien aus, und zwar in der Galerie art101 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.

Das St. Galler Tagblatt zeigt einige seiner Bilder und bietet dazu Kellers erhellenden Essay "Mit Licht schreiben", der zu den Bildern unbedingt zu empfehlen ist.

Als Schriftsteller und Journalist ist Keller im deutschen Sprachraum eine feste Größe, er verfasst Romane, Erzählungen und Theaterstücke; daneben übersetzt er aus dem Russischen. Nun schickt sich Christoph an, mit der Übersetzung seines beeindruckenden Buchs "Der beste Tänzer" auch auf den US-Markt zu gehen. Ich drücke meine Daumen and cross my fingers for you!

Home Is Where Your Heart Is 2

"New York is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal, its politics are used to frighten children, its traffic is madness, its competition is murderous. But once you have lived in New York and it has become your home no place else is good enough!"

Autobiography: Making of a New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, 02/01/1953

By the way: Here is my first photo book. Guess about what?

Home Is Where Your Heart Is 1

You know you're from New York City when...

1.You say "the city" and expect everyone to know that this means Manhattan.

2.You have never been to the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building.

3.You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park at 3:30 on the Friday before a long weekend, but can't find Wisconsin on a map.

4.Hookers and the homeless are invisible.

5.The subway makes sense.

6.You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multi-lingual.

7.You've considered stabbing someone just for saying "The Big Apple".

8.The most frequently used part of your car is the horn.

9.You call an 8' x 10' plot of patchy grass a yard.

10.You consider Westchester "upstate".

11.You think Central Park is "nature."

12.You see nothing odd about the speed of an auctioneer's speaking.

13.You're paying $1,200 for a studio the size of a walk-in closet and you think it’s a "steal."

14.You've been to New Jersey twice and got hopelessly lost both times.

15.You pay more each month to park your car than most people in the U.S. pay in rent.

16.You haven't seen more than twelve stars in the night sky since you went away to camp as a kid.

17.You go to dinner at 9 and head out to the clubs when most Americans are heading to bed.

18.Your closet is filled with black clothes.

19.You haven't heard the sound of true absolute silence since the 80s, and when you did, it terrified you.

20.You pay $5 without blinking for a beer that cost the bar 28 cents.

21.You take fashion seriously.

22.Being truly alone makes you nervous.

23.You have 27 different menus next to your telephone.

24.Going to Brooklyn is considered a "road trip."

25.America west of the Hudson is still theoretical to you.

26.You've gotten jaywalking down to an art form.

27.You take a taxi to get to your health club to exercise.

28.Your idea of personal space is no one actually standing on your toes.

29.$50 worth of groceries fit in one paper bag.

30.You have a minimum of five "worst cab ride ever" stories.

31.You don't notice sirens anymore.

32.You live in a building with a larger population than most American towns.

33.Your doorman is Russian, your grocer is Korean your deli man is Israeli, your building super is Italian, your laundry guy is Chinese, your favorite bartender is Irish, your favorite diner owner is Greek, the watchseller on your corner is Senegalese, your last cabbie was Pakistani, your newsstand guy is Indian and your favorite falafel guy is Egyptian.

34.You're suspicious of strangers who are actually nice to you.

35.You secretly envy cabbies for their driving skills.

36.You think $7.00 to cross a bridge is a fair price.

37.Your door has more than three locks.

38.Your favorite movie has DeNiro in it.

39.You consider eye contact an act of overt aggression.

40.You run when you see a flashing "Do Not Walk" sign at the intersection.

41.You're 35 years old and don't have a driver's license.

42.You ride in a subway car with no air conditioning just because there are seats available.

43.You're willing to take in strange people as roommates simply to help pay the rent.

44.There is no North and South...

45.It's uptown or downtown.

46.When you're away from home, you miss "real" pizza and "real" bagels.

47.You know the differences between all the different Ray's Pizzas.

48.You're not in the least bit interested in going to Times Square on New Year's Eve.

49.Your internal clock is permanently set to know when Alternate Side of the Street parking regulations are in effect.

50.You know what a bodega is.

51.You know how to fold the New York Times in half, vertically, so that you can read it on the subway or bus without knocking off other passenger's hats.

52.Someone bumps into you, and you check for your wallet.....

53.You cringe at hearing people pronounce Houston St. like the city in Texas

54.Film crews on your block annoy you, not excite you.

55. People from other states cant tell a polar bear from a peanut, but they know you're from NY the second you open your mouth.

56. When you are able to make a right turn at a red light.. you think it's the best thing ever.

57. Rather than waiting safely on the sidewalk to cross the street, you wait inches away from speeding traffic waiting to cut through it.

58. Your local news is national news.

59. You walk a mile in 13 minutes and think that everything should be open 24/7.

60. You know who Dr. Z is...

61. You think you know better than everyone else in the world.. when in reality.. well.. you do.

62. Yellow light means speed up.

63. Red light means speed up because you know have that 1 second pause until the other light turns green.

64. Communicating with people on the road only takes one finger.

65. You order your dinner and have it delivered.. from the place across the street.

66. You cross the street on a greenlight, and if you get hit by a car you blame the driver for "not watching where they're going.

67. You can tell a gunshot from a firecracker and not get scared, but when you go to the burbs you get scared of hearing a cricket.

68. You know the lights above the skyscrapers is the closest thing we have to stars.

to be continued...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dancing In The Streets

Skepsis on election day's morning: Will he make it? The expectations are high - also on 2nd Ave on Houston.

Since I was not (yet) allowed to vote, here I just hand over to my beloved wife Kate (I took the pics though):

"With these pix [(c) Janko Puls] I hope you get a sense of the ecstasy we were experiencing in the wee hours of the morning after (no drugs, but perhaps a little wine was imbibed!;-) - and we felt the rest of the world dancing with us. After Obama's acceptance speech, I was on my way to bed...but I could hear out our bedroom window people cheering, so Janko and I decided we had to check out the scene.

The East Village comes out to party!

Dancing in the streets!

People were pouring into the streets to celebrate. Almost everyone was smiling, hugging, shouting, jumping up and down, and generally rejoicing - and yes...dancing in the streets. It seems they spontaneously started to congregate near the intersection shown here (First Avenue and St. Mark's Place, just around the corner from where we live).

1st Ave is shut down by a huge street party.

Slowly it became a crowd that swelled out into the avenue, taking over the intersection and stopping traffic, until the police gently corralled folks into St. Mark's, the smaller side street, and left them there to party, though with their presence on the sidelines (as we saw on our way home two hours later - the last albeit blurry photo).

Make noise! Show your appreciation! Shout out your relief and excitement!

It looks like it was a little hairy for the drivers, as the crowd really did slap on each car that managed to crawl through all who had descended, but everyone - including a poor older Indian cabbie who even had someone stick their hand in his window to rub his bald head - was smiling and shouting and honking / making noise along with the rest of us. You'll see one woman driver was even video taping *us* as she drove by!

Self referential: Yes, we did it!

You can just make out there's someone on top of the bus, who, when it finally made it through after being blocked by this crowd - traffic was stopped for what must have been an hour - the driver had to be warned that he had an "unpaying passenger" atop, and to let him jump down before proceeding uptown.

Ride with MTA!

There were people banging pots and pans, bodhrans and drums, and this woman with her bugle. It was amazing - like a dream (come true! hurray!) - a really incredible, and immensely moving, experience to be a part of, and such a wonderful and fantastic piece of history to have participated in.

World, can you hear us???

Here's to what finally promises to be a brighter, safer, more peaceful future. WE DID IT!"

2.30 am. Dancing crowd on St Marks Place between 1st Ave and Ave A. American flags waving and hanging out of windows, everybody is dancing and singing. A rare view in the East Village... :-)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Self Irony

Isn' it remarkable, that parts of the battle about the next presidentship take place in a comedy show? Not only would the US system of selling a candidate on TV be unthinkable in Europe, this year's campaigns go to the extreme. Never was so much money spent on the campaign. Hardly ever so many Americans will probably cast their ballots, hardly ever this election is seen as a crossroads for America. And certainly never we had so much (involuntary) fun with the candidates.

John McCain is still fighting, but certainly doesn't lack a self irony. After Sarah Palin he also stepped onto the stage in Saturday Night Live. Is this is a qualifying statement for president wannabes? You decide. On Tuesday. Anyway: Enjoy.

McCain sells us some stuff on a shopping channel

McCain unveils his change of strategy just the weekend before the elections

Some last good ones

Well, Sarah Palin had a great start - as comic/tragic figure in comedy and on the internet. Just some days before the elections here some nice links. You don't have to be an enemy of Palin to enjoy the craze about her person - but you might turn into one.
A really nice Flash animation about, well, what if... and if...

Language isn't Palin strongest skill, you betcha. The New Yorker reports about Verbage. The Republican war on words. In addition to this article you might enjoy the following two websites:

Interview Palin
The VP candidate often gets lost in the linguistic welters like a flying dutchman. Read Palin's answers on the fully automated answer generator. Did you get what she said?

Remix Sarah Palin
Help Sarah Make Sense! Quite similar to "interview Palin" but this time with mp3 files in a meshup. Très funny. Listen to mixes or make your own.

SNL Videos
Often copied never topped: The Saturday Night Life Opening Skits with Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. Check them all out on the NBC/SNL video website.

Is McCain Palin's Bitch?
One of soo many satires on - good starting point, just follow the links.

Sarah Palin's Facebook Page
A fake - for sure... :-)

Two serious links towards the end: Adam Brickley "invented" Sarah Palin as VP candidate with his blog Maverick, maverick, maverick, hahaha. More about the interesting backgrounds of Sarah Palin's quest for Washington you'll find in Jane Mayers article in the New Yorker The Insiders. How John McCain came to pick Sarah Palin.