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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Die Neue Sachlichkeit

Haven’t seen for a coons age that crazed older black busker that usually haunts the Yorkstrasse U7 station with his big keyboard and erratic behavior. He looks like a cross between a spinster Rick James and Peaches from Peaches & Herb fame. I can’t remember if he wears his hair in dreadlocks, cornrows, a gherri curl or some combination thereof. A lot of Americans who long for a mainstream career in the entertainment arena come to Germany where I gather they think there is less competition and lower standards. I guess they rationalize if mediocre types like David Hasselhoff can become household names in Deutschland so can they. This poor man in the U7 singing maudlin, histrionic renditions of the lamest pop hits becomes downright psychotic if those passing his music station don’t give him a tip. I guess he is so deluded he thinks that people aren’t there to ride the train but to hear him perform. His occasional outbursts have been recorded into urban lore and most likely have resulted in him becoming persona non grata on the Yorkstrasse platform. Now if only the subway adverts of American expat cabaret singer Gayle Tufts frequent performances could also get the same treatment. In all fairness I have never seen a performance of Ms. Tufts and her Dinglish shtick, but I have been told that  the creator of such hot buttons titles as Some Like it Heisse and Love appears often on German television and is quite cheesy in a bad way and not anyones ideal of a guilty pleasure. One ItalioGerman pal who has been living in Berlin for over 25 years and is vaguely aquainted with the Gayle Tufts orbit told me she is married to a German man is financially independent and popular with a certain middleclass Deutche element, but my young German students share my eyerolling disdain of her very visage lurking in the metro.

Received a cute little new years missive from someone who is actually a true talent the electro soul diva Billie Ray Martin who use to be my Rote Insel downstairs neighbour a couple of years ago when she moved back to Berlin from Hamburg. From what I can muster she is inviting a select number of fans to witness a studio recording session. Check out the links below for details:

Hi all.

This very special event is now open to the non-subscribing public.
Join, get involved, comment, share, share, share.

facebook event for all updates:

Thank you.

billie ray martin
disco activisto records

That milkman of human humpiness The Love Camel aka:  Andrea Novarin had sent me two rare film titles that I have never heard of.  The strange 1969 incest tale In Search of Gregory starring Julie Christy, John Hurt(pre Naked Civil Servant) and hot-to-trot Michael Sarrazin as the title character, and 1968's trippy Wonderwall starring a gorgeous Jane Birkin.
With my Rising Stars, Falling Stars partner in grime Daniel Hendrickson the Scandinavian Muzlim we had a very fruitfull meeting with the lovely Arsenal Empress Stefanie Schulte Strathaus at her gorgeous spacious compound overlooking Gorlitzter Park. Rising Stars will move in the spring from Arsenal Institut fur film und Videokunst in Postsdamer Platz to the new cultural institution of the Silent Green Kulture Quartier the former crematorium in Wedding. I playfully refer to the Silent Green as the Soylent Green. When we move to Silent Green which already houses the Arsenal public film archive and is headquarters to the Music Board Berlin, the label K-7 Records and other productions and projects we will screen from the archive a quarterly program of sweet 16 milimeter films. I’ve been presenting RSFS now for 8 years at Arsenal so moving to a new locale is very exciting.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Saftig & Kraeftig

So many celebrity deaths lately. Just heard from Scandinavian Muzlim Daniel Hendrickson that David Bowie who shared his birthdate of January 8th died Sunday Jan 11th after turning 69. I was never a big fan of his not owning even one of his many albums. But when I was in New York recently for two months I would walk down 4th Street every day on my way to the 80 WSE Gallery past the theatre with his photo on the front advertising his most recent theatrical endeavour. I did love Mr. Bowie in the films The Man Who Fell to Earth, Absolute Beginners and The Hunger where he co-starred with Catherine Deneuve and my friend the performer and actress Ann Magnusen.

As a friend of his former wife Angie Bowie and also the legendary Jayne County I never really believed in the cult of David Bowie like so many of my generation and younger kids who shared an affinity through so called “alternative culture” a term which of course doesn’t really mean anything anymore. Was having cafĂ© & kuchen with Piero Bellomo of La Collecione and we walked by the flat that Mr. Bowie lived at during his Berlin sourjourne on the Hauptstrasse and it was flanked with young girls with bad hair and make-up crying, candles and flowers ala the death of Princess Diana.

The French fashion designer Andre’ Courre’ges who also died at age 92 was more of a hero to me. I adored his futuristic 1960s work and 1980s new wave comeback. One of my former Weissensee Art Akademy art students Lydia Hamann inherited many Courre’ges outfits from the 1980s that belonged to her stylish mother. Courre’ges also designed the costumes to the 1960s films The 10th Victim and Barbarella.

Had a lovely reunion the other day with that mega beautiful NewYork treasure Lia Gangitano of Participant Inc. who came through Berlin working with her lovely and very sweet Bard colleague Ms. Jeannine Tang. Lia along with Wolfgang Tilmans will put out a book on the late great artist Greer Lankton which I am really excited about. Lia curated a show of Greer’s work in New York which was the talk of the town and generated universal press kudos. Wolfgang brought Lia to Berlin last year to do a version of her Lankton exhibition at his gallery here which was also a huge hit. There is no one on the planet smarter or sexier then Miss Lia and so I was excited that La Sachsse--Susanne and her boyfriend Marcuse Siegelstein hosted a little private intimate dinner party for her. The food was heavenly, and the gossiping went on until the wee hours of the evening. Yes your ears were burning for a reason as we were most likely badmouthing YOU.

I am not one to gossip so you didn’t hear this one from me, but I was gagging on the lovely extravaganza when I was told by a young LA curator recently that he has had it with a certain vanity gallery in Hollywood and its owner who he calls “Grifty Gertie”. The things he was saying about this supremely icky person had me cackling so loud that we were getting dirty looks from the other patrons of the restaurant he took me to for brunch. I am constantly being asked by people if I miss Los Angeles. Yes I sometimes do but not certain people who shall remain nameless who give the town its bad rep.