First, a word to regular visitors that I'm off on Sunday morning for a trip to New York, Montreal, and Philadelphia, among other places, and won't be back until the evening of the 28th. My newly-repaired (and, seemingly well-functioning) laptop will be making the trip with me, and I may add a word or two while on the road. Or not.
The main aim of the trip is to push ahead the acquisition of my book, which got rudely interrupted when my "agent" turned out not to be one this summer. I've rewritten the pitch, and it's already been turned down with a great deal of snark by one publisher. But I figure over ten million people hear the words "Ed Ward lives in Berlin" on Fresh Air with Terry Gross each week, and if one percent of them ask themselves "Why on earth?" and are willing to spend a little money to find out, I'm in good shape.
Plus, it's, like, a good read.
I splurged a few Euros for something to read on the trip, and thus went to the "culture department store" Dussmann down on Friedrichstr. Interestingly, the new hotel on Friedrichstr. whose construction has blocked the sidewalk and imperilled foot-traffic for well over two years is open at last, and you can walk on the eastern side of the street without a Berlin driver trying to pick you off. I walked past the place and it looked like, well, another high-end hotel. Just what we need, with almost no tourism and virtually nothing in the middle-price business-traveller class.
But its gift shop had a sign in the window advertising a perfume called Berlin (no, not the Joop fragrance; it apparently has no web presence) for men and women, each variety of which comes in a bottle shaped like the Fernsehturm. Its motto is priceless:
"As diverse as its city will never be
But always will be becoming."
Get back to me when you've got that figured out, okay? And no, it doesn't make any more sense in German.
More news of NIke! The torso of the woman on all fours which I blogged last October vanished overnight. It had already been defaced days after I shot it last year by some idiot with a sharpie showing off. I suspect this disappearance, though, was intentional. The former White Trash club location has been taken over by one of Berlin's worst art galleries, one which professes feminism while showing art which seems to prove that women shouldn't even think of becoming artists. Honestly, if junior high students did this well, they'd be called "promising," but adults should be held to a higher standard. I suspect that Nike's torso (which I'd begun calling Ostrich Woman because of her weirdly elongated neck) was so much better on both a conceptual and technical level that the jealous gallery folks decided it was showing them up. I don't get to meditate, now, on the mysterious inscription ("You mustn't think...") every time I pass it.
I occasionally get criticized for never saying anything positive about Germany. I think it's more accurate to accuse me of never saying anything positive about Berlin, but I was quite amused by this cartoon in Salon the other day. Our own Sauerkrautmeister (in his "Steven Augustine" disguise -- and no, that's not his real name) comments and plugs this blog, but I think the cartoon's got some points.
Anyway, time to hope my meager packings meet the latest standards of the security guys and it's an uneventful flight. After I get there, that's another matter.