Monday, May 31, 2004

**** Dance, Let's Art

Boy, was that a bad gig last night. If there were seven non-staff people in attendance at any given point, I'd be amazed. But these were the same two gals who'd done this once before, in a location so remote that once I found it I couldn't figure out how to get in -- and I was the DJ! This time it was a big, echoey hall with theater seats in it -- it's a part-time experimental theater -- and a bunch of projectors set up showing "art." What this had to do with protecting all races I can't tell you. The projector over my shoulder was showing what seemed to be the DVD equivalent of glitch electronic music, squiggles ditzing around the screen, profoundly uninteresting. On purpose, of course. Nor did these two gals have any idea about scheduling, so I showed up at 7:45, started getting into it at 8, and was told to quit at 9, but to come back for 11:15-12:15. I told them the first hour was free, but the second wasn't, so they agreed to pay me €50. So I went back. And avoided the "Tiger Chili." And had a Döner Kebap from the guys around the corner for dinner at 12:30.

It made me wonder if there's any good art left here. The interesting galleries were all chased out of this neighborhood a couple of years ago -- Barbara Blickendorf, David Hockney's German dealer, and a swell person, was the last to go, earlier this year, but Mehdi Chouakri, whose exhibit of a shag-carpet-covered rocket ship was the single event that convinced me I'd moved to the right neighborhood at last, lo those seven years ago, is long gone to a hard-to-find hole in the wall, and the quality of the art in the underground spaces, which I guess Theaterdiscounter last night qualifies for, is really awful. Lotta style over substance, lotta what Judith Stein calls "one-liners." I didn't even bother with the Berlin Biennale this year, not only for a lack of somewhere to write it up, but because I knew it was going to be as dreadful as the reviews finally proclaimed it to be.

This isn't to say that, as the center of town becomes more unaffordable, as it panders to the non-existent luxury shoppers and tourists, things might not have gone further out, towards Friedrichshain or maybe Pankow. But reports haven't reached me yet, and I'm on the verge of not caring, especially if the new art partakes in the city's studied boredom, its painstakingly-rendered negativity. Been there, done that, thanks.

Hell, at least I missed the vegetarian chili and made fifty clams.

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