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Friday, March 11, 2011

Went to breakfast with Ulrich Ziemons the handsomest man in all of Europa the other morning at the little Toughstein Café around the corner from my Cheese Endique Trifecta in Rote Insel. The menu of this restaurant has gone through some major changes incorporating a Spanish flavor which is making it very popular at the moment. Toughstein has always been pretty good but now its most excellent in every which way but loose. Mr. Ziemons who is a junior curator with Forum Expanded at the Berlinale also works for Arsenal Institute fuer film und video kunst, and is one of the most delightful of young Germans in the city. He ain’t bad eye candy either, so getting to spend quality time with him is always a true pleasure.
I missed seeing Zaldy and Desi Monster (nee Santiago) when they were in town doing costume fittings for the Bruce La Bruce stage production of Shoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. Zaldy and I go way back to when he was a young fashion student at Otis Parsons in Los Angeles back in the 1980s. He was one of a couterie of androgynous kids from that school who were huge Afro Sisters fanatics and went to see my shows on a religious basis, getting very dressed up and showering the stage with Vaginal Cream ointments and suppositories. Upon graduation a gaggle of them moved to New York and became part of the Susanne Bartsche world of New York Club denizens. Zaldy along with Mathu’ created the look for Rupaul when he went mainstream with Supermodel of the World. Besides working on costumes for Michael Jackson’s illfated last extravaganza. These days Ms. Zaldy is the designer for Circus de Soleil where he oversees 100 assistants and has a 5 million dollar budget.
One of the beautiful boys from Otis that hung with Zaldy was this tall fashiony child named Alan who i had a major crush on. Alan went out with this guy named Robbie who wasn't the nicest person in the world. Robbie had briefly dated the singer and former fashion model Christian Farrow, who had the club hit "Should I Love You Forever". One time Robbie told me that i had a habit of intruding on peoples personal space. I think both Robbie and Alan died of Mrs. AIDS.
Wednesday I went to see Pierrot Lunaire again. Hanging backstage with make-up designer Tan Binh Nguyen, who is a superstar artist in her own right who now is beating face for the Paris collections. Tan Binh has the figure of a supermodel and is major Ms. Gorgeous. Hair Stylist Michael Forrey who is one wonderful good time Sally popped a bottle of bubbly and we were drinking, stinking and living it up in the dressing room. Mr. Forrey who is the lover of fagademic Damon Young has created some luscious hair looks for the cast of Pierrot. Michael & Tan Binh will work with Susanne Sachsse and I on our next piece The Communist Bigamist which goes into production this summer.
Sitting in the audience in the first row I got to see a different perspective of the show and the superlative performance of Frau Sachsse which is so riveting and explosive. Pole dancer Luizo Vega face fucked me with such passion and strength during the performance that he almost broke my eyeglasses, but it was well worth it.
I have to give Judy LaBruce credit for his casting of the beautiful Maria Ivanenko as Columbine,the charismatic Boris Lisowski as the capitalist pig father and handsome Krishna Kumar Krishnan who does a fine job in the stereotypical Indian cab driver role who gets his pecker whacked. Mr.Krishna is the hot lover of the genius Serbian conductor Premil Petrovic who has certainly made the haunting music of Arnold Schoenberg more accessable to a younger audience.
After the performance we were all off to Silver Future in Neu Koelln for the birthday of HAU production coordinator Anna Muelter. Ms. Muelter was in a happy go lovely mood, and it was great seeing this hard working young lady letting her hair down in the confines of the comfy bar setting. I am not much of a bar fly, but I have to admit I always have a wonderful time whenever I stop by Silver Future. Joining in on the birthday celebration the entire cast and crew of Pierrot Lunaire along with HAU big bossman Mattias Lienthal with HAU’s number one beauty woman Katrin Dodd, artist Liz Rosenfeld, the Lewis Clan art dynasty of New York, Olga Damnitz and a sorong of KreuzKoelln movers & shakers.
Last night I celebrated the belated birthday of Little Alex of Chocolate Grinder Film Kollective with his humpy Israeli lover Assaf Hochman at the Mitte Asian fusion restaurant Transit. Then I scurried back to HAU 1 to see the closing night of Pierrot. This being my third time and it’s the kind of piece you need to see more then once. Actually there were a lot of people who came multiple times including Empress Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, film historian Marc Siegel, Tim Blue, Senol Senturk, German filmmaker Harun Farocki and his gorgeous wife and Wolfgang Wesener’s 21 year old lovesexy son Anton.

Monday, March 07, 2011

British performance artist Oreet who teaches at Queen Mary College in London along with Dr.Dominic Johnson who hosted my birthday soiree a few weeks ago came by the Cheese Endique Trifecta this afternoon with her lovely English posse. The other evening Oreet,was one of the many international luminaries at the premiera of the BLAB production of Pierrot Lunaire at HAU I.
After having luncheon in Mitte they came by my studio and we drank some ginger tea with honey and ate dainties while constantly giggling and having a girlish hoot of a time.
One of Oreet’s sweet galpals Irene, is in an all-girl noise band called Woolf-as in Virginia Woolfe and she gave me a autographed copy of her latest EP which I can’t wait to add to my playlist when I am behind the Spinderella Wheels of Steel as a DJane. Ms.Oreet’s other bff Stephen Wilson is living in Berlin for a a month on an art residency.
Now that Spring is approaching I expect that we will be visited by a horde of guests wanting to partake in that special madness that only Berlin provides.
For those of you visiting Berlin and wanting to experience something cultural. Check out the info below from ArsenalExperimental. Scroll to the bottom for the info in English.

Retrospektive Pere Portabella
11. bis 28. März 2011

zu Gast: Pere Portabella

Der katalanische Filmemacher Pere Portabella (geboren 1929) gehört seit fünf Jahrzehnten zu den wichtigsten Protagonisten des spanischen Films. Zunächst Produzent für Carlos Saura (Los Golfos, 1959) und Luis Buñuel (Viridiana, 1961), drehte er ab Ende der 60er Jahre selbst Filme, die in einem künstlerisch wie politisch radikalen Umfeld entstanden. Künstlerische Avantgarde und Opposition gegen die Franco-Diktatur sind denn auch die Spannungsfelder, zwischen denen er sich bewegt. Die Erweiterung der Möglichkeiten des Mediums Film steht im Mittelpunkt seiner Arbeit: Die Dekonstruktion und das subversive Unterlaufen von ästhetischen und narrativen Konventionen, die Beziehung zwischen Bild und Abgebildetem und die Kritik von Repräsentationen. Ausgangspunkt sind oft Genres (Werbefilme, Horrorfilme), deren Strukturen einer gründlichen Prüfung und Neuinterpreta-tion unterworfen werden. Dazu gehören auch die komplexen Beziehungen zwischen Bild und Ton. Er verwendet dokumentarische wie fiktive Formen gleichberechtigt nebeneinander, wobei die Genregrenzen oft aufgehoben sind oder ineinander übergehen. Seine atmosphärisch dichten Filme zerlegen Bilder und setzen sie wieder neu zusammen und konterkarieren damit beständig Zuschauererwartungen. Portabellas erste Filme beschäftigten sich hauptsächlich mit filmischen Formen und damit verbunden Fragen der politischen Repräsentation. In konkreter Weise mit Politik befasste er sich in dem unter klandestinen Bedingungen entstandenen EL SOPAR (1974), der am Vorabend der Hinrichtung des katalanischen Anarchisten Salvador Puig Antich eine Gruppe von ehemaligen politischen Häftlingen beim Gespräch über ihre Gefängniserfahrungen beobachtet. Der 1976 entstandene INFORME GENERAL war eine filmische Bestandsaufnahme der politischen Situation in der Umbruchphase Spaniens.
Nach dem Tod Francos und der Phase des Übergangs zur Demokratie ging Portabella in die Politik und war über zehn Jahre Abgeordneter im katalanischen Parlament, bevor er sich wieder dem Film zuwandte. Seither findet er seine Themen auch außerhalb Spaniens.
Wir freuen uns, Pere Portabella am 11. und 12. März zu einer Retrospektive all seiner langen Filme im Arsenal begrüßen zu dürfen.


Fr 11.3., 20h: in Anwesenheit von Pere Portabella & Fr 25.3., 19h
UMBRACLE Pere Portabella Spanien 1972 OmE 85’
Ein Film über Frustration, Repression und Paranoia unter Bezugnahme auf Bild- und Tonstrategien des Horrorfilms. Ein Mann (Christopher Lee) spaziert durch ein unwirklich scheinendes Barcelona, besucht ohne Ziel Geschäfte und Museen, während sich eine verstörende und alptraumhafte Stimmung über die Filmbilder legt. Andere Bilder unterbrechen die fragmentarisch bleibende Handlung: Szenen aus der Filmgeschichte, Christopher Lee, der ein Gedicht rezitiert, drei Filmkritiker, die über die Bedingungen des Filmemachens in Spanien diskutieren. Was bleibt, ist ein Gefühl von Fremdheit und gestörter Wahrnehmung.

Sa 12.3.,19h: in Anwesenheit von Pere Portabella & Di 22.3., 19h
EL SOPAR (1974)
In der Nacht vor der Hinrichtung des militanten Anarchisten Salvador Puig Antich treffen sich fünf ehemalige politische Gefangene zu einem Essen, um über die Bedingungen von Gefangenschaft zu reden. Portabella konzentriert sich ganz auf das Gespräch, das sich darum dreht, ob und wie es möglich ist, im Gefängnis den Kampf weiterzuführen, Widerstand zu leisten, eine Haltung zu finden, den Bezug zu einer wie auch immer gearteten Realität zu behalten.

Sa 12.3., 21h: in Anwesenheit von Pere Portabella & Sa 26.3., 21.15h
VAMPIR – CUADECUC Pere Portabella Spanien 1970 OmE 75’
Der Film enstand während der Dreharbeiten zu Jess Francos El conde Drácula/The Count Dracula und ist eine delirierende Reflexion über die Konventionen des Horror-Films. Zweifach zerlegt Portabella Francos Film: Zum einen eliminiert er die Farbe zugunsten von flackernden Schwarz-Weiß-Bildern, zum anderen ersetzt er die Tonspur mit einer das Bild angreifenden Tonlandschaft von Carles Santos. Eine Analyse der Mechanismen des dominanten narrativen Kinos im Spanien Francos und eine radikale Infragestellung desselben.

So 13.3., 20h & Mo 28.3., 20h
DIE STILLE VOR BACH Pere Portabella Spanien 2007 OmE 102’
Portabellas bislang letzter langer Film, den er 2007 beim Filmfestival in Venedig präsentierte. Eine Reflexion über Bach-Inszenierungen und Bachs Einfluss auf die Welt der Musik. Gewohnt fragmentarisch, oszilliert DIE STILLE VOR BACH zwischen historischen Szenen aus Bachs Leben, seiner Rezeption im 19. Jahrhundert durch die Augen Felix Mendelssohns und der Wirkung, die er heute auf die verschiedensten Menschen hat. Ein Experiment über die Vermittlung von Musik im Film.

So 13.3., 20h & Mo 28.3., 20h
MUDANZA Pere Portabella Spanien 2008 20’
Der Film beobachtet, wie das frühere Wohnhaus des spanischen Dichters Federico García Lorca, 70 Jahre nach seinem Tod, von allen Gegenständen geräumt wird. Während Bilder und Möbel sorgfältig eingepackt und abtransportiert werden, durchmisst die Kamera in fließenden Bewegungen die Räume. Zum Schluss bleibt eine mit Vergangenheit und Erinnerung aufgeladene Stille und Leere.

Di 15.3., 20h & Mo 21.3., 20h
INFORME GENERAL SOBRE ALGUNAS CUESTIONES DE INTERÉS PARA UNA PROYECCIÓN PÚBLICA General Report on Some Questions of Interest for a Public Projection Spanien 1976 OmE 173’
Eine groß angelegte, dreistündige Erkundung der politischen Lage Spaniens zum Ende des Franquismo. Nach dem Tod Francos 1975 begann eine Übergangszeit zur Demokratie, die 1977 in den ersten freien Wahlen mündete. Der Film verwebt die Stimmung auf der Straße und Interviews mit Politikern, Gewerkschaftern und Aktivisten, die alle um eine Frage kreisen: Wie lassen sich in einem Land, das 30 Jahre lang eine Diktatur war, demokratische Strukturen aufbauen?

Do 16.3., 20h & So 27.3., 19h
PONT DE VARSÒVIA Warsaw Bridge Spanien 1989 OmE 85’
Portabella untersucht in diesem Film die neuen gesellschaftlichen Strukturen Europas. Dabei erzählt er von drei Personen, deren Wege sich kreuzen: ein Schriftsteller, der einen Preis für einen Pont de Varsòvia betitelten Roman gewinnt, seine Frau und ein namenlos bleibender Mann, der Barcelona mit einer nostalgischen Sehnsucht nach einer revolutionären Vergangenheit durchstreift. Der Mann kommt schließlich bei einem Tauchunfall ums Leben und seine Leiche wird von einem Löschhubschrauber über einem brennenden Wald abgeworfen. In einer äußerst präzisen Ästhetik, die dem zeitgenössischen kommerziellen Kino nachempfunden ist, wirft Portabella einen Blick auf ein fragmentiertes Europa, das durch die Rückkehr der Geschichte erschüttert wird.

Do 17.3., 19h & Di 22.3., 19h
NO COMPTEU AMB EL DITS Don’t Count With Your Fingers Spanien 1967 OmE 26’
Portabellas erster, knapp halbstündiger Film entstand in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Schriftsteller Joan Brossa, dessen wütende Wortspiele den Tonfall des Films vorgeben. In 27 autonomen Sequenzen versucht er die Strukturen und Diskurse von Werbefilmen zu demontieren.

Do 17.3., 19h & Do 24.3., 19h
NOCTURNO 29 Pere Portabella Spaniel 1968 OmE 83’
Portabellas erster langer Film. Der Titel bezieht sich auf die seit 29 Jahren bestehende Herrschaft Francos in Spanien. Eine Abfolge von Szenen, in den Worten Pere Portabellas „super-realistische Fragmente, die die Irrelevanz des alltäglichen Lebens bloßlegen.“ Mosaikartig, weder narrativ noch psychologisch motiviert, folgt der Film dem Leben einer verheirateten Frau (Lucia Bosé) in ihrem großbürgerlichen Umfeld und porträtiert durch sie eine Klasse in einer speziellen politischen Situation.

Mit Unterstützung durch die Spanische Botschaft in Berlin. Dank an Pere Portabella und Films 59.

Pere Portabella Retrospective

For five decades, the Catalan filmmaker Pere Portabella (born 1929) has ranked among the most important protagonists of Spanish cinema. After first producing films by Carlos Saura (Los Golfos, 1959) and Luis Buñuel (Viridiana, 1961), at the end of the 1960s he began making his own films that originated in a both artistically and politically radical context. Artistic avant-garde movements and resistance against the Franco dictatorship are the poles between which he operates. His work focuses on expanding the possibilities of film as a medium: The deconstruction and subversion of aesthetic and narrative conventions, the relation between image and that which is shown, and the critique of representation. He often starts off with existing genres (advertising films, horror movies), the structures of which are then thoroughly examined and newly interpreted. This also includes the complex relationships between image and sound. He makes use of documentary and fictional forms in an equal way, often crossing or blurring genre borders. His atmospherically dense movies take images apart and assembling them anew, constantly evading the audience's expectations. Portabella's first films predominantly dealt with cinematic forms and the related questions of political representation. He then examined politics in a concrete fashion in the clandestinely produced EL SOPAR (1974), a film observing a discussion between a group of former political prisoners about their experiences in jail, on the evening before the execution of the Catalan anarchist Salvador Puig Antich. INFORME GENERAL from 1976 is a filmic stocktaking of the political situation during the phase of radical change in Spain.

After Franco's death and the transition phase to democracy, Portabella went into politics and was a member of the Catalan parliament for more than ten years, before returning to filmmaking. Since then, he has come upon his themes outside of Spain as well.

We are delighted to be able to greet Pere Portabella at Arsenal on the occasion of the retrospective of all his full-length films.

UMBRACLE (1972, March 11, in the presence of Pere Portabella & March 25) is a film about frustration, repression and paranoia, drawing from image and sound strategies of horror movies. A man (Christopher Lee) walks through an unreal Barcelona, aimlessly visiting shops and museums, while a disturbing and nightmarish mood descends upon the filmic images. Other pictures interrupt the fragmentary plot: scenes from the history of film, Christopher Lee reciting a poem, three film critics discussing the conditions of filmmaking in Spain. What remains is a feeling of foreignness and disturbed perception.

VAMPIR – CUADECUC (1970, March 12, in the presence of Pere Portabella & March 26) was made during the shooting of Jess Franco's El conde Drácula / The Count Dracula and is a delirious reflection on the conventions of horror movies. Portabella dismantles Franco's film in two ways: One the one hand, he eliminates the color in favor of flickering black-and-white images, on the other, he replaces the audio track with a soundscape by Carles Santos that attacks the images. An analysis of the mechanisms of dominating narrative cinema in Franco's Spain and a radical questioning of it.

EL SOPAR (1974, March 12, in the presence of Pere Portabella & March 22) In the night before the execution of the militant anarchist Salvador Puig Antich, five former political prisoners meet for dinner to talk about the conditions of captivity. Portabella is entirely concentrated on the discussion revolving around whether and how it is possible to continue the struggle in prison, to offer resistance, to take on a position and maintain a relation to reality, no matter what it is like.

Portabella's first, almost half-hour film, NO COMPTEU AMB EL DITS (Don't Count With Your Fingers, 1967, March 17 & 22), was created in collaboration with the writer Joan Brossa, whose angry word games determine the tone of the film. In 27 autonomous sequences, he attempts to dismantle the structures and discourses of advertising films.

The title of NOCTURNO 29 (1968, March 17 & 24), Portabella's first full-length movie, refers to Franco's rule of Spain that spanned 20 years. A sequence of scenes, in the words of Pere Portabella, "super-realistic fragments that expose the irrelevance of daily life." Like pieces of a mosaic, motivated neither in a narrative nor psychological way, the film follows the life of a married woman (Lucia Bosé) in her upper middle-class environment and portraits a social class in a specific political situation through her eyes.

INFORME GENERAL SOBRE ALGUNAS CUESTIONES DE INTERÉS PARA UNA PROYECCIÓN PÚBLICA (General Report on Some Questions of Interest for a Public Projection, 1976, March 15 & 21) is a large-scale, three-hour investigation of Spain's political situation after the end of Franquismo. Following Franco's death in 1975, a phase of transition to democracy commenced, leading to the first free elections in 1977.
The film interweaves the atmosphere in the streets with interviews with politicians, labor unionists and activists, all revolving around the question: How can democratic structures be established in a country that was under a dictatorship for 30 years?

In PONT DE VARSÒVIA (Warsaw Bridge, March 16 & 27) from 1989, Portabella examines the new social structures in Europe. He tells the story of three persons whose paths cross: a writer who wins a prize for a novel titled Pont de Varsòvia, his wife and a nameless man roaming Barcelona and nostalgically longing for a revolutionary past. The man dies in a diving accident and his corpse is thrown into a burning forest by a firefighting helicopter. With an extremely precise aesthetic, modeled on contemporary commercial cinema, Portabella casts a view to a fragmented Europe that is shaken by the return of history.

Portabella's latest full-length film, which was presented at the film festival in Venice in 2007, is DIE STILLE VOR BACH (The Silence Before Bach, March 13 & 28), a reflection on Bach stagings and Bach's influence on the world of music. Fragmented, as usual, DIE STILLE VOR BACH vacillates between historical scenes from Bach's life, his reception in the 19th century through the eyes of Felix Mendelssohn and the effect Bach has on the most various people today. An experiment in conveying music in film.

MUDANZA (2008) observes how the former house of the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca is emptied of everything inside 70 years after his death. While paintings and furniture are carefully packed up and transported away, the camera gauges the rooms in flowing motions. What remains in the end is a silence and emptiness charged with the past and with memories.

With the support of the Spanish Embassy in Berlin. Thanks to Pere Portabella and Films 59.

Für weitere Informationen:

Nanna Heidenreich & Angelika Ramlow I arsenal distribution

030 269 55 -110 / -250 oder

Kino Arsenal 1 & 2 | Potsdamer Straße 2 | 10785 Berlin |

Das Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst wird gefördert dur
The skies above Berlin have been lovely,clear and blue.Its just very cold at night with temperatures dipping into the early 20s. I am not going to complain as it could be steal grey, dank and depressing.
Last night was a granada evening for the premiera of the most talked about new piece of the season Pierrot Lunaire starring the sensational Frau Susanne Sachsse in the role she was created for. The intoxicating music of Arnold Schoenberg was conducted to perfection by the great Premil Petrovic who looked so wonderful on stage wearing a trackybottom tuxedo outfit designed by Zaldy of Mathu & Zaldy fame. Zaldy's clever costumes evoke the Cabaret Voltaire and early silent cinema with utter panache.
The chamber ensemble of gifted musicians included Chloe L’Abbe on Flute and Piccolo, Miguel Perez Inesta on Clarinette, Emmanuelle Barnard on Geige-auch Bratsche,Andreas Voss on Violin/Cello, Adrian Pavlov on Klavier.
Judy LaBruce has directed her most sustained and elegiac stage production so far with all the elements coming together very nicely. See what can happen when you lay off of the booze and the pills. Opera won’t put up with drugs and alcohol.
The piece opens with a genius and very long makeout session with La Sachsse as the butch dandylion and her femme paramour played by the intriguing Maria Ivanenko.I’ve always known that Frau Sachsse has the perfect voice--deep resonant and beguiling, and in Pierrot Lunaire that voice gets to shine and soar acoustically which was clearly the right choice for this exciting work. As I was watching I kept harking back to how thrilling it must have been to be at the premiere of The Three Penny Opera here in Berlin in the 1920s.
Judy LaBruce found the perfect contrast to Susanne Sachsse in the knotted muscular form of Luizo Vega who plays her shadow and ideal masculine self. Many times I thought the entire scaffolding set was going to collapse from the vigor of his manly ardour.
The gymnast Mr. Vega who LaBruce found via Facebook had suffered an injury during rehearsals and arrangements had been made to replace him with dancer/choreographer Jeremy Wade and a female Balyrus pole dancer named Natallia Baturova, but I am so happy that didn’t happen.
I’ve never seen a Jeremy Wade dance piece, but I am told he has a certain interestingly spastic speed freak quality in his movement work. Just on body type alone Wade’s dimunitive childlike pigeon chested frame would seem wrong for this role.
Senor Vega’s musculature has its own persona, and in the roid rage scene he and La Sachsse’s male bonding and roughhousing was not only humorous but erotically charged. Susanne is not only a great beauty but she also possesses a boyish masculinity that this piece exploits quite nicely and to charming affect.
Cyril Duval of item idem’s set was Caligarianly off kilter especially with the fractured tile video screen. Also complementing the overall effectiveness of the production the crack cocaine lighting of the brilliant Hans Leser, Tan Binh Nguyen’s Sleeze Sister makeup design, the ill hair styling of Michael Forrey, video animation by Marius Roth and the fertive soundscapes by Felix Knoke.
At the after party at the WAU café all of Berlin art society was present: The Blue Bros Tim & kJohnny, Mad Kate, Salome Gersh, Anne Kohl,Nanna Heidenreich, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus,Joel Gibb, Enrico Dallman, Richard Gersh and Miss Vicki, Constantine Berger, Hannah Hurtzig, Nadja Talmi, Ulrich Ziemons, DJane Olga Damnitz, Evie Europa, Travis Jeppeson, Juliane Rebentisch, Assaf Hochman, Little Alex of Chocolate Grinder Film Kollective, Alessio, Theodora of bbooks, Trixi Cordua, Vassily Bourakas,Diedrich Diederichsen,Daniel Hendrickson, Hans Scheirl, Jakob Lena Knebl, Felix&Johanna, Oreet,Javier Peres of Peres Projects,Fagademic Sean,Anna Muelter&Stefanie Wenner.