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European tour with andco, 2007

My roomates are kind of corny people but it was good to see them again after so long.

Dagan in the subway car. A ponderous young man.

Hanging out with some of my friends in the East Village. I had a welcome home drink but forgot to take a photo (to show the world that I do in fact have friends) until the end of the night.

The New York art scene: abject art is always cool.

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That's me with Oliver, my soon-to-be-former-gallerist, and the team that works at the gallery.

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So badass...yet conservative.

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New York art November 2007: one part Kippenberger, one part Ryman, let's see if it sells.

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Welcome back to the art world.

Notice how the art object is always colorful.

First evening back in New York: that's my twin brother, Aron.

Me and Dagan go out to our favorite Sushi restaurant: Geido. Much cheaper than sushi in Berlin! Dagan pays.

Now that I'm a blogger, I mechanically take out my camera to document the moment that I turn the key to open the door of my house after 4 months away.....

Look back to the first photo from this blog: it;s the same spot. I come back with a new bag, it's colder, but not much else has changed.

ON the flight from Dublin to New York the in flight tv was advertizing Irish-owned pubs in New York. A friend told me that there are only tow countries that have a special relationship with the US: Israel and Ireland. New York is certainly very Irish an

We flew with the setting sun.

That's the steel-clad ship that will fly me back home.

Do they make airports dramatic on purpose? They are indeed strange spaces- not quote part of life.

Amazing light in Dublin on the bus ride to the airport.

That's Slava in his office at Trinity College where he teaches in Political Science. He and Anna were great hosts.

The Guiness factory in Dublin is the largest in Europe, but their largest plant is in Nigeria. But New York Guiness comes from the Dublin distillery.

Ireland is experiencing a tech-boom. Tech booms mean many clever logos.

What's impressive about Dublin is the austere, working class bleakness.

Anna in her and Slava's really nice apartment in the suburbs of Dublin, accessible to the city by the Dart train system, built by the English.

Slava takes me out to a touristy but really nice part of Dublin: Temple Bar.

That's a real pub- everything there is "proper" a word my hosts use a lot.

Let us not forget RELIGION.

Here I am over the cricket greet at Trinity. I stop into a student bar which overlooks it and have an excellent Guiness which is so perfectly made that you are a bit sad to drink it...and some Irish beef (no mad cow) flavored with the famous brown sauce

Things are translated into Gaelic, but I didn't hear anyone speaking it. Well, then again I wasn't hanging out with the locals really.

The book of Kells looks fake. It looks like it's made of plastic. (This is a different book- you can't photograph the actual book of Kells)

I found it strange that this man's poetic plea for spare change included corporate logos. Was he being funded?

I had a lot of problems because of my passport which went through the washing machine back in Graz. The Dutch detained me and put me into a room with some dejected looking Africans who looked like they had been there for a long time. They had also been d

Amsterdam sky

Dutch light looks great- even in a commuter train.

This is the final resting place of Big Mama. She made it as far as Amsterdam, then died. I like to think of her sitting near the window in the Dutch light, like a Vermeer woman. Looking peaceful.

I had the bright idea to ride Jana's bike across the city (twice) with Big Mama in tow. We were going like 10-15 mph over cobblestones and overloaded bags are not made for that. Well, Big Mama's wheels broke, rendering the bag useless. I bought another

Sad moment of packing up all of our set. Since it;s going next to Switzerland, we have to make a tax list of every little detail of the set-all numbered as you can see here.

Niki does some careful numbering.

Adine Mansholt, old friend of the families' from the Zen monastery comes to our second show. She lives in Haarlem, Netherlands but arrived here last night from a long period of intensive Zen practice in the Black forest in Germany.

The night after our first Amsterdam show we had a lot of fun playing darts till late. Nothing to be ashamed of: good clean fun. Also good since I won the dart game.

Me with some new friends: Blaz, Marieke, Jana, (friends of Wills) and Lucas.

After our show, Marijke Hogenbloem who co-edited a new book with our Alex on Theaer Science introduces the book which came out today, hot off the press.

Moments after our show.

Warm-ups before the show. This hour of stretching and warming up our voices is a familiar practice while on the road.

Lucas

Serjoscha

Bini and Vettka in yet another dressing room.

wonderful cord collection hanging there like little soldiers in the theater Gasthuis in Amsterdam.

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Sascha

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Bini

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Some of our parents who read this blog look at these pictures and get the impression that all we do on the tour is drink. well, that's not true, not at all! But a little biertje does bring the group together at times.

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Hanging the lanterns in the last theater Time Republic will play in this year.

Only a stoner would make a sign like this.

I could have these real giraffe head for only 10,000 euros.

Real Polar Bear Skin I saw in a dead animal shop in Amsterdam. Enthusiastically shown off to me by a member of the family who owns the show. This family goes off hinting big game all over the world. Some animals can only legally be gotten from zoos. Th

This devilish guy was in the soup I ordered. You never know what life will bring- second time a crayfish pops up in my soup in a month!

Me and Sascha ate at this big restaurant in Amsterdam that's a former synagogue. Don't have more information about the history.

See the remaining Hebrew letters on the wall?

Helped Sascha move his apartment from Amsterdam to Berlin today. Good excercize.

Warhol exhibit at the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam: boring because Warhol was so right. (This is the gift shop).

Painting by Lithuanian artist Ricardas Vaitekunas of a Soviet era mental hospital for artists who didn't choose to paint in the Socialist Realism style.

Naim June Paik's Buddha- an 18th century atatue looks in into the video camera...but the coolest part is the 1980s star warsy Japanese television.

My friend Bianca Vooges confronts a piece of sculture.

I grab and hug the Schwarte Pieten every chance I can!

As promised...photos from the (pre-celebration of) Dutch Holiday Sinterklaas- the traditional and offensive form of Christmas practiced here in the Netherlands.

This is Sinter himself. Since the pictures are in reverse chronological order, he rides last in the parade. He always rides on a horse after the hordes of "Zwarte Pieten" or "black Peters" on foot. They are like Santa's helpers, only in blackface. Basic

I spotted this one genuine "Zwarte Piet" in the parade. He didn't need any black face, he already has one! How must it feel like to be a black person living in the Netherlands during this season. Strange I would think.

Schwartze Petes are troublemakers- they tease children and whip them if they've been bad (so be good for goodness sake). IN the weeks before Sinterklaas (December 5) they give these dogfood-like cookies to kids, here the cookies are places on the head.

The fact that the one country in the world built for bicycles and boats and trains as much as the automobile, where prostitution

I'm pretty sure that we are seeing the last years of this tradition. Seems just too embarrassingly naive about race and history to exist much longer in the globalized society of the Netherlands. But maybe I am wrong about this because if this is true, I

The Zwarte Petes are supposed to be dressed up in 16th century Spanish clothing. Not sure why, all I can think of is the history of slavery. Apparently Zwarte Petes were known as Sinter's slaves until the 1950's.

The story that the Dutch tell about Zwarte Piet to hide the obvious fact that he is a ghost from the Dutch slave-trader closet is that he represents an elf who got black from the soot of the chimney when trying to deliver the presents. well- tell that

This is a particularly Dutch cultural remix and I think an interesting one. I hear that the skinheads in Berlin are now wearing the Palestinian scarf, kuffiyeh, as main identifying symbol- but on the other hand it's become a fashion statement of the Euro

Another particularly Dutch visual fragment- from the window of a supermarket. Guess what Holiday it is...Sinterklass! More on this inappropriate custom coming up soon!

Dutch hot water. You see here the understanding that they have in the Netherlands of THINGNESS.

I arrive in Amsterdam and stay at this nice apartment of Jana, a friend of Will's. A cosy place!

I've been on the road for three and a half months now and have grown travel weary- but at the same time have developed skills of navigating through foreign cities with Big Mama. This is in front of the back of the ReijksMuseum

The euro-train is an amazing thing. You zoom by the countryside so fast- crossing national borders like no big deal, looking out at a mixture of the heavens and the euro-design of the cars.

I sat in the last car and was able to take this photo (looking back)

Train station in Hamburg. Wow- very big.

In Hamburg we stayed in the Brennenhof which is where either all the rock bands passing through Hamburg stay or (lore likely for the big famous bands) all the groupies for the bands stay. So we felt official.

"Just another hotel room bed"

As you realize by now, the picures are all chronologically backwards so this is really the end of the night- 3:00 or so we were so hungry and in Hamburg a gas station is where we could find food. I had cheese flavored cornchips.

Sascha and Katrin who is a dancer based in Hamburg and has been touring at some of the same festivals as us.

Alex and Niki spent the evening talking to this white haired distinguished looking gentlemen- apparently an important intellectual. He gave Alex a hard critique on our piece- not revolutionary enough or something like that- but a fellow has got to put so

Bini holds court after the show. She has a lot of fans here i Hamburg. If I haven't already made it clear, Bini is a star author of two books- Communismus and Gestern Morgen which just came out. Both deal critically with the legacy of Communism. She read

We are getting quite famous I think. many people showed up for our after-party. People got drunk, Fights broke out.

Oliver is a great guy who wears cool galsses, works as a tech at the Kampnagel theater in Hamburg and also started a LED light company called Stageled.

Walter dealing with Sascha's station. It was great to tour with Walter- he gets the job done and was the only one who could save us when we got into big group dramas.

The melancholy moment of watching the set disapear.

Niki's blood on the floor.

After our show, we had to do "speed dating" with the audience when each has tow minutes to ask us questions. It was actually fun and especially cool for the Germans since apparently two German pop stars were in the audience and stayed for the s

The four of us are in the "War Room" Scene and have to get into it a bit before the shows.

I went to the big fanct Hamburg Museum, and saw some familiar work in it...like a big mural from Dasha Shiskin.

Andy Warhol's portrait of the American Indian. I think it's actually an amazing work somehow summarizes a lot of American history in a snapshot. Not sure if it was how Warhol meant.

The Kunsthalle has an original lead throwing installation by Richard Serra.

"I like America and America likes me"- the famous performance by Joseph Beuys where he spent time wrap[ped in felt with a apparently wild coyote in a New York gallery. This type of pseudo shaminism doesn't fly as well today as it did in the 197

And fascinating drawings from the turn of the century imagination. All those tiny figures are, or course chaste virgins.

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An example of that famous German macabre sensibility.

no comment possible- wish I had this on my wall.

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The dressing Room- a place I never thought I'd be spending time. For the performer, this is a home away from home, sort of.

Here in Hamburg we play in a big black box. Certainly there is something to a black box as it makes the set more graphic, and focuses attention. But I had a problem with the space because my projectors didn't work, so we couldn't make use of Plato's sha

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Huge theater complex of Kampnagel- formerly the most important theater in Germany, now again on the ascent under new directorship.

Arrival in Frankfurt and we're off the the cafe Paris where Hemingway used to hang out. This is truly a Bourgeoise city.

Lucas takes me out on the town for Saturday night to experience the squatters dimension of Berlin. We travel to a few squats in the east where he and his girlfriend live, then to a party at a famous artis building, Tacheles, that I remember well from my

At the party we see this S&M inspired circus act where spider-people who move around on a web of chains make a suggestive attack on bug-bondage man. Somehow just what you expect from the Berlin underground.

Hapless bug man was set on fire (but he was ok).

Great bar at the top of the Tacheles squat where you have a big open window over the coolest part of Berlin.

Lucas was a great host- driving me around the city in his big white Volkswagon van.

We stop to view the remaining part of the wall. Seems that the city made a mistake tearing so much of it down- the wall is of major interest to so many tourists they probably should have left it up. Plus it was covered with artwork.

In the evening Sascha and I go out to see some performances. A Berlin dancer named Martin Nachbar performed a very sweet piece with his father, Claus. They sort of danced a dance about their relationship but it remained pretty formal. His father was no

The Jewish Museum designed by Daniel Liebeskind.

The best part of the museum was the architecture. Really a new experience with space.

besides the architecture, the most impressive thing I saw at the Jewish museum was the exhibition-craft. Like this Heinrich Heine with kangaroo pouches for his books.

A little obvious, but you walked on heavy chunks of metal cut into simple human faces in this installation by Kadishman. Made a haunting echo around the concrete space that sounded raw and industrial.

Al Gore converted into a blue screen robot. On Youtube they are talking about Gore-bots (people who go around repeating almost word for word the fact of the Inconvenient Truth.

Me in the Jon Kessler piece.

I pop into a hip gallery near Checkpoint Charley, and see a big show by my professor Jon Kessler.

Me and Alex with a Communist in front of Checkpoint Charley on November 9th- a famous day in German history (fall of the Wall, Kristallnacht, etc).

The ever pervasive TV tower on Alexanderplatz- a truly impressive piece of Cold War propoganda.

Berlin Scene: the TV tower from the Greek inspired buildings and Baroque Churc of museum island.

Otherworldly handicraft by the Greeks.

The American Embassy in Berlin is an embarrassment- as US embassies are around the world. Nothing inviting about it- many policies for blocks around, dangerous looking fence, nothing else like it in Berlin- announces the aggressive paranoia of the country

The new Holocaust memorial in the center of Berlin is the most impressive city monument I've ever seen. A full city block filled with cement blocks! The surprise is that you walk between them and the ground drops down and they rise about your head like

Wandering around the city by myself, which is mostly what I did this week when not sitting at my favorite internet cafe, I came upon this Nazi air raid bunker. It had been converted into...a haunted house! By an elderly white haired lady who told me her

This is the kind of scene I was treated to inside. I nearly had a heart attack when one of these statues jumped out at me. Turns out that a teenager was employed to do this, and he followed me around through the whole haunted house. Was most unpleasant

They had some stuff on display that they had found in the Bunker like soft core Nazi porn.

The technical Museum in Berlin: a study in the complex ethics of technology. It's not specifically a military museum actually it's about German technological innovations in general from many centuries past- but every time you get the the mid 1930's- thing

The light blue one is a menacing V1 missile- which made a terrible screaming noise as it rained down on England, with absolutely no aim.

Amazing plane- It was big, but the upright stance made it looks even bigger and somehow menacing. I think one of the very earliest many passenger planes.

The enigma code sending machine during WW2. The machine that was able to crack the code of this mechanical machine was the first computer, built by Alan Touring.

I'm standing in front of a one man U-Boat. The thought of driving one of these low tech looking things into the ocean during a war is totally terrifying.

2 big torpedoes are attached to each side.

German art today

Katrin, on the left, who runs the FFT theater in Dusseldorf is a great friend of the group. She stayed out partying until 7:00 with Alex, Niki, and Sascha (I went to bed at 2:00). Berlin actually makes me feel like an old man- every morning there's a com

Da crew packing up the set from Sophiensaele. We had 4 great shows here.

Final night party shot.

We went to the Berlin zoo today...and this is it's most famous animal- Knut the "Little Ice-Bear" Well as you can see, he's no longer little and has in fact grown into a strange shape. I felt sorry for him and hope that his early fame (type knut

They built a theater-set for these strange animals- one of which must be an ant eater. Yes, they are real.

It was gross watching this old stinky Rhinocerous chew its cud.

I thought animals like these were extinct. I think it's called a Bug-Pig

There is only one word in the English language that describes Chimpanzee butts: obscene.

Look how much the old lady on the right looks like the Gorilla. They are relatives.

This is Bini monkey. She hangs from a tree and sleeps all the time. She can't be bothered about almost anything.

Little Sascha is learning how to swing from ropes.

Serjoscha

Clearly a Star-Wars inspiration

Alex and Niki

The giraffes exist in an Orientalist set in the Berlin Zoo

Still can't come to grips with the green German police cars. Screeeech! Hey mister-Halt! is there anything GREEN going on here that we should know about?

Saw a great video by the late artist Jason Rhoades- king of "splatter art" and not afraid of humour- at a hip gallery in the east.

Some Germans continue to process 9-11 through the lens of their own past....

This is more what I remember of this neighborhood last time I was in Berlin in '97. This big artist squat -Tacheles- is still here although it was rebuilt.

Installation in the theatre

Pictures don't tell the whole story here, I would need a video. Sascha was doing a kind of Soviet Charlie Chaplin inspired DJ-dance. You would turn around and he'd pop up from behind a table with a new pose. What a night!

Sensing my growing anti-communist sentiments (I would never join a group that would have me as a member...or has so much blood on its hands), one of the andcos snapped this picture of me dancing in front of the old hammer and sickle. So I can never be pr

I was dancing my best move:
"the robot"

Mara and her friend arrived from Graz.

girls love DJs.

What does it take to be a good DJ? Guesses from watching Sascha work: rhythm, experimentation, the ability to time conversations with cute girls to records so you don't miss the social or audio moment (social rhythm), you must be in tune and in temporar

Till pours a drink for Niki. Till is one of the few who grew up in the GDR. This makes you "cool" and I think, understandably so. It must be confusing, especially for the young, to have the rug pulled out from under you like that. Anyway, Till is the

Vettka and Esther discuss something serious.

Dressing room prior to the show. By the way, this is an original GDR dressing room. Really cool vintage furniture, but it seemed like something had died in the toilet. I'm not positive, but I think it was the revolution.

Tonight is our Berlin premier at the Sophiensaele.

It's an old brick complex used for speeches, weddings, and bureaucracy during the GDR.

Tonight after our performance, Sascha aka DJ Sulimann is going to spin some records, in a matter of speaking. Here he polishes off his skills first thing in the morning.

Old radio from the GDR in our apartment has a wonderful warm sound. You just believe everything is says.

The courtyard of the Sophiensaele (out of the window of our apartment). I remember that in 1997 I was traveling by myself to Berlin and walked into this courtyard, as many tourists do. I was talking to someone working at the theater maybe a performer or

This kind of scene is common during our tour and now its more common because there is an internet connection INSIDE the theater. Dangerous.

Some Germans love Israel.

The wiring of the set is getting more and more refined. IN Berlin, Lucas and Walter have constructed an AC superhighway with a sweeping curve across the front.

For the first time, we all sit together and watch a video of...ourselves. We analyze the performance from Muenster and decide that it's basically pretty good but could use some work.

Majestic old crumbling theater of the Sophiensaele. Rosa Luxemburg, founder of the German Communist Party, spoke to the workers in this room.

It was time for a haircut. I got a little nervous when all the other people getting haircuts were having peroxide applied in tinfoil layers to their long blond straight hair. Number one rule of haircuts: make sure the barber understands you hair. My barbe

During the process...

Before. It looked pretty good but had a strange shape. It was all flat on the back.

remixing a cultural DJ.

Could you could say that Alexanderplatz is uberkitsch? I love it.

Alexanderplatz is the biggest city square I've ever seen...but that's only because I've never been to Beijing, Moscow, or Pyongyang. Socialists need really big squares to...feel that sense of unity and empowerment that so characterizes their faith. Capit

The World Clock at AlexanderPlatz. It's actually much less impressive than it looks on this photo. Its interest lies in the fact that it tells you what time it is...all over the globe. The subtext, I think, or maybe it's just over theorizing, is that a

The Neue Synagogue in Berlin- majestic Moorish building. It suffered desecration at Kristallnacht 1938, bombed by the Alies 1938, demolished by the GDR 1958, reconstructed 1995.

The German interpretation of Halloween: this is a time to celebrate American Horror Movies.

West Germans must have been so mad/jealous when the GDR built the TV tower, visible all over the city.

Arrival in Berlin!

Pulling into the central station of Berlin... you can already feel the aura of a troubled history.

Walter has an undeniable style.

Bini at sound-check.

Serjoscha loves microphones. When he finds one he likes to speak into it- usually taking a stream of consciousness approach. Since he is using a microphone, his voice is amplified and all can see exactly what is on Serjoscha's mind.

The Uber-Frau by Tom Otterness- one of the world's most prolific (and probably rich) public sculptors. He's American but I've seen major installations by him in the Netherlands and Israel as well as, or course, the NY city subway and Battery Park.

detail of UberFrau. Funny story about capitalism and public sculpture: Otterness started his career in the 1970's as member of Colab. a group of artits trying to figure out how to buck the system. He was casting wax sculptures that he could pose in diff

We ate at a 400 year old restaurant in Muenster. This is what I ordered.

Smiling group in Muenster with our hero, Henri.

Niki does some directing.

Try to see what's different here.

no comment necessary.

I love watching German TV and trying to figure out what the fuck is happening. Seems like this is a left wing politician who was speaking to a large audience about something, not sure what. He kept using the word "genossen" which I know means c

We stayed in an artist building right next to that smokestack on the Rhine river. the road I biked down to go to the flat was the old Roman road from the regional capital of Cologne during the Roman Empire, to Meins. Bonn was a Roman army fortress along

Foreboding monument to the "Iron Chancellor" Otto Von Bismarck. Apparently he wielded his political power so skillfully that noone could figure out how to continue the balance, and Germany slipped toward World War 1 after his death.

More public sculpture in Bonn: a totem pole replica. This must be the ultimate form of sculpture.

A lot of UN agencies are in Bonn. Near one of them was this clay hut.

This sculpure was placed last year in front of the DHL skyscraper- the tallest building in Bonn. This is what contemporary public art looks like. Figurative, colorful, naive, painterly.

This was my favorite piece of public art- a yellow concrete ball. Not sure why, but it really worked for me. Maybe art is easier than I think it is.

Mark DiSuvero Sculpture in front of the One-World-Government building. I think that DiSuvero is great and I can see the connections between his work and the art-povera artists. I'm sure at the time they were first made, working with I-beams was radical.

Construction along the bridge in the center of Bonn reinforcing it after what happened to the same sort of bridge in Minnesota.

I love the Rhein!

The first time I passed by this old Jewish Cemetary (1623-1957) the gate was unlocked since some people who apparently had the key were in there. Today though, I had to peak through the foliage to try to get this picture. An old tree (chopped down)had g

Putting a small stone on a Jewish gravestone is an ancient custom, so I had to go looking for a stone. It wasn't easy to find in this grassy marshy area near the river but finally I found this big one.

Strange garden roof complex near where we are staying.

Strange to take the set down after only one show... Here I remove the Robot's nose.

Sascha carefully packing up the glockenspiel as he has now done many times. One thing about Sascha: the man has a work ethic.

Bini's family (plus me). They drove out for the show from near Frankfurt but would not comment on it yet right after the show- they needed more time to consider its merits. You can really see Bini in both of her parents- a good looking family indeed.

Sascha is much better looking that it would appear on this picture. That's why I usually don't use flash- the "face-smasher."

The Nord family, who brought us our wonderful director Nicola, who looks a bit psycho in this picture only because I had to use a flash at a slow exposure. Mr. Nord is an avid reader of the Tour Blog, and I hope that he likes his picture.

Bini sings the blues

Here is a snapshot from our pre-show rehearsal. Niki is at here station trying some new detail out- and Bini (and me) are looking in from the outside, trying to give advice. It can be really hard to know what the performance looks like when you're in it.

The planetary lamp installation looked great in the intimate theatre of Bonn.

Before the show I used this metal plate to repair the stool that I usually smash during the show when I get into my OM trance.

The Ballhaus theatre in Bonn in older that the others we've played in so far- and cuter.

That's the price of gas in Germany...those of course are liters.

Back on the iron steed, loaned to me by the good people of Bonn. Amazing how landscapes open up when you are on a pair of wheels. In this case, I was able to really enjoy staying near the Rhine river.

Suspension bridge and the only non blurry photo I got.

The bike path along the Rhine the first exhilarating night that I rode through Bonn trying to find the place in the outskirts where we were staying.

I found this catapult-like structure and wondered why it was there.

Setting up the set, Hila's masks in the foreground.

Lucas is traveling with us while Walter is back in Berlin. He's a great tech and a great person. From Vienna based in Berlin works at the Sophiensele theatre where we are going to perform there.

Setting up takes some to work and some to watch.

Big Mama on her way to Bonn.