Monday, October 17, 2016

signal: a festival of light

St. Ludmila's
There are many ways to waste electricity. You can keep the lights on all night, you can keep the television on while you cook, you can run the heaters all day and night long. Or you can spray billions of watts into the air to make a cathedral pulse and glimmer or a Baroque building shatter as a snake comes bursting out. In Europe, it's clear there's no lack of the the enigmatic electron. In some countries around the Continent, they’re running so well on alternative energies that some months, they might even pay you to use energy. So the extra watt or thousand really isn't a big worry anymore. Maybe it was from this notion, this celebration of man's pioneering galvanism, that the Signal Festival was created, a truly modern blend of art and technology, on display to everyone.


Friday, September 30, 2016

pineapples, umbrellas, and all

Prague a cappella festival
Life could be an empty hollow mess if the word “yes” were never uttered. The other night I was thinking that to myself as though it were a mantra, when my wife told me about an a capella festival that was going on here in Prague. I’ve loved music since my birth, but I’ll be honest here and say that I’ve always been a bit tense when it comes to white folk scatting and doing the jazz hands. That’s the image that is somehow burnt into my mind after one traumatic incident of watching Cats when I was a child. Though to think of it, every time I’ve seen Cats, it’s been a traumatic incident. I could never watch Thundercats again after Cats ruined Cat People for me. I could never put that fire out with gasoline, I'll tell you what.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

we are cocktail legion

A cocktail is either a medicine or drug
Anonymous is many things. He’s a writer. He's possibly Shakespeare. He’s an artist. He’s that public masturbator that lives down the street. He’s an internet activist group. He is that guy who got arrested for revealing the identities of a ring of rapists. 

Anonymous is also a coffee shop in Prague. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

a city at war

Gabriashidze Square in old town Tbilisi
Tbilisi is a city at war. At war with pedestrians, at war with cars, at war with good sense. A walk down the side of the street is akin to an acrobatic obstacle course, where one must lunge past opposite walkers, over roots, under branches, around cars. A drive through Tbilisi must be accompanied by the sign of the cross, a blessing from a priest, for the dead die before they know it. It’s a demolition derby of Ladas, Mercedes, and Land Cruisers, where no one leaves alive but some just might enjoy going down and taking a few pedestrians along with them. 


Thursday, September 1, 2016

it's the little things

Ukrainian Airlines, photo from
Ukrainian International Airlines. Their motto should be: “It’s about what you can expect from the name.” Now I’m not saying Ukrainian products or services are bad, it’s just that they’re not very well known for them, and the airline stands as a clear example. Starting in Prague, we sat one hour in the plane. Now, I thought this was just a fluke. We arrived in Kiev for the transfer and were already thirty minutes late on a 2-hour layover, so there wasn’t much room for error. We ran to the transfer security desk, where they were calling out for other flights, trying to find other people who were in a similar and worse situation. But the line moved okay, with Ukrainian airport staff barking orders in Russian, while Americans and British seemed to be a bit confused at everything. “She said go over there, there’s another security line behind that wall,” I let one older couple know. “But where does it go? There are no signs!” they replied. Indeed, where did it go…


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

the museums of Orlik and Zvikov

Orlik Castle

It’s surprisingly cold in the newly re-branded country of Czechia. The climate has been on course for the change, though to something slightly more comfortable than all the warming mumbo jumbo. Last year, I remember sitting up in my attic apartment at night, soaking in sweat, unable to do much but drink water and breathe heavily. This year, I’m quite happily relaxed in blue jeans on my balcony, sipping coffee while I watch all the plebeians pass me by down below. But summer isn’t over yet, as there are still some things to be done and castles to be seen, and truly some borderline summer spirit to take you there.

Monday, August 1, 2016

the church of bones

Kutna Hora

I first visited Kutna Hora nearly six years ago, during my great trek across Europe. I went for a day trip from Prague with some mad Greek. We explored the ossuary and the two main churches, and then ended the day hidden in fog at the train station—I was trying to figure out which of those ancient electric trains to jump on to get home while he was trying to figure out how to score some weed from some neighborhood kids that were huddled nearby. Many years later, weed was decriminalized and I moved to Prague (the two are not actually related). It’s one of the most premiere tourist sites in Czech Republic and really, if you’re in Prague for three days, then you should take your time on one of those to visit the village. Why? Because there’s an ossuary there that’s filled with bone sculptures.