Sunday, May 1, 2011

Berlin4. Rock Me Amadeus

The greatest gift a person can give to me is time. While travelling, my friends and acquaintances had been very generous with their time. I'm very grateful for all of you, who didn't leave me alone and dry. I hope to reciprocate to those who visit my city.

Here is the log of Berlin Day Four.

I woke up early for a brunch with wonderful Pauline of Hylé Subtle Materials. Pauline constructs walls with socio-environmentally conscious building materials. 

Before leaving for brunch, I stood in front of the window, watching the streets. The guys in black windbreakers, are they public transit ticket enforcers? As soon as I arrived at the airport, I bought a 7-day Berlin public transit pass. I later learned that a lot of people just don't pay for the public transit. There are no gates, nothing. And I've never seen a ticket-checking people. When I told people that I bought the 7-day pass, someone told me, "wow, you are a very honest person." No, that's not true. If I knew they don't really check... I'm kidding. 
How can a public transit system run like this?? 
I feel bad for the ticket checking officers. I kept thinking about a Hungarian movie, Kontroll.

Berlin public transit was amazing. Everything was connected extremely well. There were subways, buses, streetcars and 2 trains. They all worked like clock works. I worship you, BVG (Berlin Transport Services).

A store show window at Mitte

 Eve & Adam was a wonderful salad place with very cute swing chairs. I've never eaten a salad/lunch there, but I bought some desserts. Their desserts were heavenly. It was right beside the Pictoplasma venue, so I got desserts here a couple of times. I also loved their club card design. (I'm too sick to take a photo of it now)
Eve & Adam

Eve & Adam flyer
I thought I won't have time to go to Liquidrom, but I got to go! I had a little bit of time left, so I quickly head over to this great swimming pool. It has heated salt-water pool, different kinds of saunas and a hot tub. After I paid for it, the front desk lady looked straight in my eyes and said, "You are to wear bathing suit in the pool. There are saunas, but you have to be completely naked in the saunas." Hm... Is she stressing the point because I am an Asian? Or is it because I speak English? Probably both. I looked straight back and said, "Yes."
Everything would be fine as long as I don't know anybody there. If the building catches fire while I'm in the sauna, I just cover my face and run outside, right?
I went into the change room. There were separate doors for men and women. I don't know why they bothered because inside of both change rooms were completely open and connected. Naked men just walked around in women's area. I thank Sheridan College for all the life drawing sessions. I remember the first year life drawing class in Sheridan. On the first day, I had to work very hard to keep cool. Since the first day, I quickly became numb about nudity.

At the change room, I bumped into a friend's friend. I made awkward joke about how it'd be weird to try sauna. She was on her way to leave, so I was relieved. I do not want to be naked with people I know! The salt water heated pool was so nice. You get floaty noodles and just float around, while listening to the sound under the water (they play music under the water). It's a little dark in the pool, and they shoot abstract light shows on the concrete dome ceilings. It was very relaxing and meditative. Salt water stings eyes and was a bit irritating for my skin, but I didn't care much.

 The subway station at near Liquidrom, Anhalter Banhof was in blackletter type. I love blackletters. They are so impractically beautiful. And I'm all for forms over function.
Liquidrom is at Anhalter Bahnhof station. Note the blackletter type
Few days prior, I saw a subway advertising about Mozart's Requiem Japan Benefit Concert. I was staring at that advertisement. Mozart's Requiem is one of my favourite music, but I've never heard it live. TSO (Toronto Symphony Orchestra) never plays it. I'd love to hear Lacrimosa in person... my heart was pumping fast with excitement. But the concert time conflicted with the evening Pictoplasma events. \( ; o ; )/ Oh god, why! I contemplated skipping the conference for Mozart's Requiem. Painfully, I head towards Pictoplasma. Keita Takahashi (a game designer who made Katamari Damacy) was speaking that evening, and I just could not miss that for the world. Also... I don't know... is it okay to go for the enjoyment of Requiem, when Japan is going through a tragic time?

Photos of Pictoplasma:
Crazy-creepy paintings by Jeremy Dower

Ben & Julia is a crazy film maker couple. They had a giant rat sitting in a sofa on the stage. Ben guy talking about how much he loves Julia was quite sweet. Their creations are completely crazy and awesome.
Ben & Julia
 KEITA TAKAHASHI! He was a very funny guy. He'd draw things on Photoshop while he talks. What an oddball. I absolutely loved his talk.

Keita Takahashi's room. Look at his table

The table can be transformed into a robot. Keita Takahashi made it

Keita Takahashi's new project, Suponuts. He didn't show us much because it's still in progress
I was still carrying around swimming supplies, so I had to run to my hostel to drop them off. When I made it to the Missing Link show, the cinema was packed. It was held at historical Volksbühne theatre. It was HUGE. I sat at the very back, nose-bleed seat. People in front of me were taller than I, so I couldn't see much. Jet lagging and general lack of sleep (I had to bring work to the trip. So during night, I'd be on Photoshop, falling in and out of sleep) got better of me. Motomichi's wonderful DJ show was going on, but I could not keep my eyes often. I normally never fall asleep in theatres. I finally abused my body enough for it to give up.
 After that, a starkly beautiful-sounding Berlin musician, Maximilian Hecker sang his heart felt songs with a piano. A woman beside me cried.

Dancers - please marvel at the amazing zoom power of my point-and-shoot camera
After the blur of Missing Link show, there was a closing party. The parties were in 3 (I think?) different places within the theatre. I felt increasingly isolated, felt like being under the water. Again, everyone else was drunk except me. People were playing ping pong. I joined and made an ass out of myself. I was oblivious of the rules. 

It was especially cold in my hostel room that night. I brought disposable hand warmers that I bought from Mountain Equipment Coop (I bought some weird ass stuff from MEC for this trip, and hand warmers were the least weirdest). It was small, but it helped me fall asleep.

Sorry, it was a magical/weird night. My writing is all over the place as I'm coughing and falling asleep from flu medicine. Good night, and more to come.

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