Tuesday, September 1, 2015

a grey city, a colorful city

Tbilisi's one exception from the car
Coming back to Tbilisi is for me always a strange feeling. Even with the free bottle of wine handed out at passport control, I still feel like a stranger or perhaps like an old acquaintance - a person you hadn't had time to call for some time, not that it was your fault, you had lots of things on your plate, but you're not quite sure how the other person feels about your absence of contact. But then, they didn't call you either, so you think there wouldn't be any hard feelings. But like that friend, I want to see Tbilisi doing well, growing, and succeeding. Riding through the city in a car or a marshrutka though is depressing. You see all the worst and terrible parts of the city and with a first-person-shooter view of the traffic and you become convinced that your friend is in trouble. 

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

escape to country castles

Orlik Castle
There's not much room for comfort these days in Prague. Every spare inch of shade is taken by someone in yearning for a cooler place. The bars and restaurants are sweltering, unless you find some multinational corporation like Costa or Starbucks that took the expense to put in some air conditioning. All the old white trash "herna" bars that were always stocked with air coolers were shut down in a popularly suspected anti-money laundering action and nobody's house has anything remotely resembling a reasonable air conditioning system. This wouldn't be a problem in normal years, but this past week - as the BBC reported - was the hottest week in Prague's history. Ever.

Monday, August 10, 2015

from the bayou to the Castle

Dr. John on stage
Dr. John rattled the white keys with such an intensity there seemed to be like a Hurricane rolling through the stage. With an impeccable sense of rhythm and a style for flourishes, Dr. John rocked on. If you haven't heard of Dr. John, you've missed a life long career of weird voodoo antics, amazing piano playing, and some psychedlic jazz blues rock that not even the highest of Deadheads could ever reach. It's all the hoodoo magic that does it, and to convince you, the doctor always puts a skull on the piano and dresses in the most flamboyant of Cajun styles - purple suits, gator skin boots and black hats lined with gator teeth.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

a Tale of Two Strudels

Kavarna Adria
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of industry, it was the age of waste, it was the age of wealth unheard of, it was the age of the basest poverty, it was the age of really amazing strudel, and it was the age of abominatory things made from apple. I have tasted the delicacy that is strudel across many a land - and by delicacy I mean some sugary apple slop plopped between two sheets of dough and baked on high. Really, not an overly delicate thing, kind of hard to mess up. Strudel was always a basic desert for me, nothing to get a craving for, until venturing into Kavarna Adria on Jungmannova Street. And then I realized what truly I had been missing, what the ideal of strudel and its heretofore introduction of the reality meeting said ideal. Upon walking into Kavarna Adria, I had left the cave of what I had known to be strudel, and emerged a changed man, a strudeled man.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

the Czech superbowl of American football

Clearly a Superbowl
It was a feast of vultures, the carrion birds picking the flesh of the fallen would-be heroes, if they could have ever succeeded. But one by one, they were blocked, pommelled, thrown down, until at last, only the swift strike of a sword into the stomach in the commitance of seppuku could have been an honorable end. But there wasn't even allotment for that. Even Stalin was known for giving a follower who had disappointed him some time to go into the next room with a pistol and allow for some honor, to allow their face to be saved in at least a metaphorical sense. But not with the Prague Panthers. They were a merciless bunch, straight out of a sports movie, the team in the black uniforms dominating the game, crushing all opponents, until at last, after a locker room speech, there was a tremendous come back and defeat of the all-ambitious and arrogant all-stars.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

on the hypercube and not dancing

I hate clubs. Besides my personal preferences against flashing lights and loud bass, I see little reason to ever go to a club. The only reason for a man to go to a club is to either go with a desperate friend who's under the mistaken idea that he'll hook up there. What most men don’t realize that most women just go to clubs to “dance away their stress” or whatever strange that it is that involves shaking one’s booties, and that many a girl are dressed up to knock out the other girls - not for the guys. So there’s that bad reason for men to go to a club, or maybe you can just do the creepy wallflower and check out beautiful women who look at you with disdain and disgust. Not a fan of being looked at with disdain and disgust, and anyway I’m already a possessor of one beautiful wife, so I don't care for clubs. They have covers, they're overpriced and there are no seats and did I mention, they’re overpriced? In addition, there really isn't much dancing going on in clubs in Czech Republic. Mostly it's just full of people looking down at the beers pondering the existence of emptiness and the miserable lightness of being.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Prospero's fancy

Protection from the bureaucratic rain
In the last blog, I introduced the Prague Quadrennial and the main Georgian exhibit. The Quadrennial is the Olympics of theatre set design, a showcase held everyone four years for performing artists and designers across the world to celebrate their love and dreams and to show off the hard work that they’ve done. Yesterday I went to Kafka’s House, where most companies that were presenting were associated with schools or governmental grants, since those were the only groups that could afford to come and make such presentations. Some governments and companies cared more about the production, others didn’t, and that could be seen in what they displayed. Some presentations were simply pictures or videos of what they’ve done, others were transformations of the room and the space, yet others made the viewer part of the performance. Indeed, the best displays were the ones that provided the viewer with a unique artistic experience, that, whether through interaction or emergence, provided a link between the viewer, the artist and the art.

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