Exploding Art Mimbulus Mimbletonia style

A blog by Julia Felix about experiences on the CAMS New Media in NYC and Europe study abroad program.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Kraut Rock

I have yet to do my last post about how awesome Amsterdam is, so I guess I'll do that right now.

Absolutely nothing has gone wrong since we got here. We arrived sometime in the afternoon, so we weren't cranky and tired for the rest of the day. Our program guy, Mark, seems pretty cool, our hotel, while slightly ghetto ("is that blood on the curtain???"), is pretty nice and has excellent beds, and the city is awesome. Even the exchange rate isn't that bad. This place is already a million times cooler than London.

Today we got up to find a really really good, free breakfast on the second floor (they call it the first floor here). Then we took the tram to go to our IES orientation.

The tram was so much fun. There's a stop only about a block away from our hotel, and it's just as interesting as the subway except it's above ground. This morning, there seemed to be some kind of kindergartener field trip going on, so there were about 15 really small children, all with names like Rojtr and Ingmar (I'm not joking!), and they were very entertaining. At some point we passed some kind of mural with semi naked people on it, and all the little kids started yelling something that sounded very much like "naked butt!!" So it was a good morning.

When we got to IES, we took a tour of the building and then learned all about drugs and getting pick-pocketed. There was more than that, but those were just the highlights. Then we got more free food of really odd gourmet sandwiches (I can now recognize the word sandwich in Dutch, by the way. I have no idea how to say it though.). Mine was goat cheese and (raw???) ham. Yeah. It also had pine nuts. It was weird, but kind of good in it's own way. It was about 80% cheese though.

The best part of the orientation though, was when Mark was telling us about "Kraut Rock" concerts, and how they play on a stage that's below the audience so that "it's like you're looking into a hole to watch them." Everyone started cracking up at this because at our first meeting in New York, we all remember John saying something about how "going to Berlin is like lifting up a manhole cover and looking in, and inside there are a bunch of people dancing in black." So this basically proved he was right.

Afterwards, we had a free afternoon, and then we met at the Music Theater to see the ballet "Carmen." I liked the whole experience a lot, just because if I've ever been to a ballet, I wasn't old enough to appreciate it. The main feature was preceeded by two other short ballets that were more modern style. The first one was really interesting, partially because I wasn't expecting anything like it. The music wasn't actually music, it was more like noises arranged to be like music. And the dancing was like some mixture of modern dance and ballet, but it was still awesome.

Towards the end of the first dance, I started falling asleep. The ballet wasn't boring or anything, but I think I just stayed up too late and got up too early. I didn't see the second ballet almost at all because I fell asleep almost immediately, but I was wide awake for Carmen.

Oddly enough (coming from my family), I didn't really know the story of Carmen. But I could tell what was going on, just from watching the dancing. There's a hot girl, and some army guys, and they all are molesting the other women. Then one of the army guys "falls in love" with her. She gets captured by the army guys for some reason, then they dance around and he accidentally lets her go. Then the army captain gets mad at him and so the guy quits and runs away. Then there's this other hot guy who dances around (in a purple tank top) and Carmen is all like "ooooh, I want me a piece of that." So she "falls in love" with him too, but then the army guy convinces her that he's better, and they're going to get married, but her friends are like "no! stay with us!" then the army guy tries to beat one of them up. Carmen gets mad and runs off with the other hot purple shirt guy, then the army guy gets mad at her and stabs her with a knife that comes out of nowhere. Then he gets shot and dies. The end. It was really well done.

Tonight really has changed my whole perspective on ballet though. I think it might actually be one of the best things a person can do with themselves, mostly because you have to use your body to it's full potential to do it. And in that way, you're making use of yourself completely, and doing something beautiful for everyone.

Afterwards, we took the tram home. Overall, it was a good day, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I don't know what we're doing, but it's probably going to be fun.

By the way, our radio program for Resonance FM in London can be found here. Luckily, mine and Stacy's got in and stayed almost exactly like we left it. Hopefully, I'll make another version of our discussion, "The Director's Cut," as we call it, and I'll post it.

Otherwise, I've got a short project I'm thinking of doing of a day in the life of me...I don't know what it's purpose will be. It might just be an excuse for me to run around doing fun things in Dam Square. Who knows. It needs to be thought out more.


Anonymous Mararrrr said...

Dam Square? Is that a God Dam?

Sorry, Beavis and Butthead warped my brain.

Is Kraut Rock a bunch of crazy Germans, or perhaps some WWII era old soldiers yelling about the "damn Krauts"? I wish. We should start a band like that. With Eric. When we're old men.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, to complete your cultural education, you need to know that the two fellows that Carmen was seeing were a policeman and a toreador. She wasn't just grabbed by a bunch of soldiers, she was arrested. (To this day, policemen in Spain look like soldiers.) The policeman was persuaded to release her and he knew he was getting in a whole lot of trouble for doing it, but he loved her. Then she screwed him over by taking up with the toreador. It's very sad.
- YoMama

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