Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
When Xenia and I came to New York from
Chicago, we arrived in the bus station
with about twenty-five cents.
We were expecting to stay for a while with
Peggy Guggenheim and Max Ernst.
Max Ernst had met us in Chicago and had
said, “Whenever you come to New York,
come and stay with us. We have
a big house on the East River.” I went
to the phone booth in the bus station,
put in a nickel, and dialed.
Max Ernst answered. He didn’t
recognize my voice. Finally he
said, “Are you thirsty?” I said,
“Yes.” He said, “Well, come
over tomorrow for cocktails.”
I went back to Xenia and told her what had
happened. She said,
“Call him back. We have
everything to gain and nothing to lose.”
I did. He said, “Oh!
It’s you. We’ve
been waiting for you for weeks.
Your room’s ready. Come right over.”
A look at Germany's terrorist group, The Red Army Faction (RAF), which organized bombings, robberies, kidnappings and assassinations in the late 1960s and '70s.
Overlong, but cursory overview of the events, very well restaged and avoiding any political bias.
The events depicted in the movie have very much been an essential part of my youth, especially from the events the Olympics 1972 on. Therefore, I did have a strange feeling watching this. The events are there, and everything is staged in a very fast pace like ticking off a list. Where the movie does fail is trying to show the motivations of anybody involved, not even the state's actions are really explained, and essentially you get a few theoretical statements, both from the gang as from Horst Herold. But those statements only outline the basic standpoints of the opposing sides.
What is missing is the atmosphere of fear and dread that was prevalent in Germany in the 70s, and there was a real threat of the country turning into a police state.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
One Sunday morning,
Mother said to Dad,
“Let’s go to
When they drove up in front,
showed no sign of getting out of the
“Aren’t you coming in?”
I’ll wait for you here.”
- John Cage
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
At work there was a young female colleague who sat at the desk next to me. One day I heard her talking to a friend on the phone. She was complaining how much she hated the movie Lost in Translation she recently had seen and even went into details with her disgust.
Since I love the movie and consider it to be a masterpiece I kept my mouth shut.
It was maybe a year or two later I heard her again complaining about the same movie, she must have watched it again. I asked her: "I knew you hate that movie, why did you watch it again?"
She replied: "I thought I might have been wrong the first time, but now I know I wasn't."
(ph: Robert Frank)
Muriel Errera’s house is next to the Royal Palace in Brussels.
She said she’d like to give a dinner party and would invite
whoever I wanted her to, plus, of course, her friends. Since I
was staying in the country south of the city, I asked whether
she’d like me to bring along some mushrooms. She said certainly.
I arrived at the party with several baskets. I forget what all
I had found, but one basket was nothing but Lepiota caps fit for
the people next door. I was taken in an elevator four flights
up to a small improvised kitchen. After making certain that
everything I would need for cooking was available I went back
downstairs. I met the guests and had some drinks and then, after
the first few courses, went upstairs again, this time to cook
the mushrooms. It didn’t take long. I got myself and the pans
into the elevator and pushed the button. I no sooner left the
fourth floor than the lights went out and the elevator stopped
running. I lit a match and looked for an emergency button, but
there wasn’t any. Feeling hurried, I began beating on the
elevator door and shouting. After quite some time, I heard some
voices, and after that the voice of my hostess. She said that
word was being sent to the contractor who had installed the
elevator and did I want something to read? I said that it was
quite dark and that I didn’t require any reading matter. The
contractor never arrived, but eventually all of the servants,
including the cook, the chauffeur, and the doorman, went down
to the basement and by their joint efforts sent me inch by inch
back up to the fourth floor. The first thing I did was to reheat
the mushrooms. As we walked downstairs together, Muriel Errera
asked me not to mention the incident to any of the guests. When
I arrived with the frying pans in the candle-lit dining room,
everyone was eating dessert.
- John Cage
Monday, September 7, 2009
After recently having seen 79-year jazz legend Ornette Coleman in a triumphant concert at the Austrian Saalfelden jazz festival I was reminded of another concert I had attended here in Regensburg in 1995.
Don Cherry was Ornette Coleman's main accomplice, when he introduced his revolutionary free jazz in 1959/60. So Ursula and I were thrilled to hear that he was giving a concert here in town. The concert was well attended, and the audience was excited, when the band started off before Don Cherry entered the stage. But when he did appear it was quite a shock!
This man was visibly an old man and obviously quite ill. He needed help from his musicians to step up the stage and he wobbled around disorientated while they were still playing. He searched and found his trumpet and laboriously tried to fit on the mouthpiece. He let it fall, then fell on his knees to find it, until a fellow musician picked it up for him.
This went on for the rest of concert. Although he was magnificent as soon as he started playing his trumpet (and occasionally the piano), Ursula and I felt very uncomfortable, since we had the impression we were watching a dying man. In the middle of the concert there was a short break, so we left and went home, it was just too painful to watch.
A few weeks later we heard the news that Don Cherry had died on tour in Spain due to liver failure caused by hepatitis. He was 58 years old.
Once when Lois Long was on a mushroom
walk led by Guy Nearing,
a mushroom was found that was quite
rare. Guy Nearing told
Lois Long that it was Pleurotus
masticatus. They then
walked along and Lois Long,
realizing she had already
forgotten the name of the mushroom,
said to Guy Nearing,
“I just can’t get the name
of that mushroom into my head.
I have a terrible time remembering
any of these Latin names.”
Guy Nearing said,
“When you don’t know the name
of a mushroom, you
should say it first to the
person in front of you,
and then to the person
in back of you.
find, you remember it.”
- John Cage