One problem with the stated purpose of these posts -- to write, edit, and publish them in 60 minutes -- is that sometimes I get distracted while chasing down links and so on. That certainly happened last time, and I wondered why I had this vague sense that there was something missing until this morning, at breakfast, when I found a blue flyer. Then I remembered: the story of my wanderings through town on Saturday were going to end with my getting to Hackescher Markt, where a new organic market sets up on Saturdays. I'd wanted to wander through this for some time, and finally got my chance, although the pickings were slim: there's just not that much grown around here, and there was nothing I wanted. I was, however, cognizant of a large woman seated behind a tiny old typewriter, busily typing something. A number of young women were circulating through the crowd handing out blue leaflets describing a project called Wenn Ich Kanzler Wäre (If I Were Chancellor), which turns out to be a spinoff of Sheryl Oring's I Wish To Say project. I'd seen Oring's Writer's Block project displayed in a number of storefronts on Friedrichstr. when she first moved here to be an artist in residence at the Jewish Museum and couldn't help but be impressed, of course.
Having no fantasies of being Chancellor, though, I passed up my chance to immortalize my thoughts in this medium. Anyway, that, as much as anything, is what the blog's for, right?
I also mentioned that I'd seen a little table with some NPD guys sitting at it by the Atomic Clock in Alexanderplatz, and mused that I thought they'd been banned. Frisco Mike was onto that like a shot, probably because he'd just published an excellent piece in Salon about them. In fact, I was partially right: they had been banned for a short while, as he notes in the article.
I don't think it takes anything away from this fine piece of journalism when I say it also is one of the reasons I'm so anxous to get out of here. No,not because these boneheads have a prayer of taking over, but because this is the only kind of story you can sell to the U.S. media from this benighted city. Americans want nazis and Jews, and nothing else. They honestly don't care or see any difference between Schröder and Merkel, or care about the new left-wing party, or any of that. They just want their fears and prejudices confirmed: ooooh! The nazis are rising again! Well, they're not, the tiny victory for the NPD that Michael notes notwithstanding. But Americans don't get to read about anything else.
One thing I really, really regret about the crash of my computer a few months ago (besides the loss of hundreds of e-mail addresses) is that all the photos I'd taken of Berlin graffiti went with it. Not only the sprayed and painted stuff, but also the amazing paper graffiti and the now mostly vandalized works of the great naive painter Nike. There is, however, a DVD on the subject just out which I saw in a store recently, and this morning I left the house to see, posted on a pole in the alley by my house, an invitation to a group exhibition starting Sept. 1 over in Friedrichshain that looked interesting. There was a URL attached, but the show itself, Schattendasein, isn't there yet.
I'm wondering if it has something to do with a couple of quickly-vanished pieces of paper graffiti I saw about a month ago. The artist painted a wide black stripe across the sidewalk from the curb, ran it a few inches up the wall, and then attached his piece, a black silhouette. I only saw two, and one had been ripped to shreds before I even got to see what it was. The other was a guy with a top-hat, who may have been a chimney-sweep (seeing one is considered good luck here), and it was gone in 48 hours -- the stripe, too.
Anyway, I'll try to make it over there to see what's up. Watch this space.
Incidentally, according to the statistics I gather for this blog, I now have a couple of regular readers in Israel. I find this both cool and puzzling. I also have a reader in New Zealand, but I know who you are, young lady! (Send me the URL if you're still doing your blog).