Thursday, February 10, 2011

Parks, James, and Photography

The past few days have been great.

On Tuesday, I basically just walked more. I took the train out to Ostkreuz, then checked out Treptower Park, Görlitzer Park, and various little things on the way. The memorial at Treptower was just as shocking as I had remembered it (Frau, if you are reading, know that I did not roll down anything this time). Yesterday, I went to the Berlinische Galerie. This was probably my favorite art museum I've seen so far in Berlin.

The highlight of the gallery, for me, was an exhibit by a photographer named Nan Goldin. She's American, but did some work in Berlin and other places in Europe. There wasn't anything specific about her work that impressed me; she just seems to have a gift for capturing some of the most real portraits I have ever seen. There was one photograph of a friend of hers sitting on a bed, with that recently-crying but now just sad, wet-looking expression. Good stuff.

There was also an exhibit of photography by Arno Fischer, which was awesome. His work is black and white, with some really awesome shots of Berlin. Upstairs in the museum, they had various post-Wende architectural proposals on display, mostly that never happened. It was sort of crazy to see what they could have/might do to Alexanderplatz.

Yesterday afternoon I went to meet my friend Lilly so she could show me around her neighborhood in Schöneberg. It was cool; West Berlin has a super different feel to it than East Berlin. I liked to see the differences. It was much quieter, with a lot more old people. Also just "prettier," for obvious reasons (nobody in West Berlin had architectural plans like Stalinallee).

After we parted ways I sat down and read the entirety of Washington Square by Henry James. I was impressed with myself, because I don't usual consume literature at that speed, but something about being in a foreign country makes English Lit seem so great. Plus, it's a great book, even though I found it extraordinarily frustrating and problematic. Something to look forward to discussing with my English teacher parents (does one capitalize languages in English? I don't think so...oy vey).

Today I visited Brecht's grave (and Hegel's). Not too exciting, but I felt I should pay homage. Then, falafel and more pick up soccer. Berlin. The way life should be. (doesn't have the same ring to it as Maine)

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