My latest creative endeavor has been making jewelry from altered versions of photographs I took on various jaunts. Twice the fun for sure and several of the pieces are also my new favorites to wear. Lots more to come I’m sure. 🙂
But most people, including the legions of hipsters, dress like slobs in Berlin and I’m tired of it. Vanity may be a cardinal sin,….
Maybe Berlin is still more exciting, in both good and bad ways, but Munich mag dich. Better weather, better food, a Hauch of Mediterranean flair. Conservative yes, but so many gorgeous old buildings and that adorable Bavarian accent (so much better than Berlinerisch, ey….) Am I going crazy, or is it, in a lot of ways, the better place to live?
I studied classical singing and also played violin for 8 years and piano for 3, so classical music is by no means foreign territory. At some point though it just started to seem, well, uncool. Although I still listen to opera sometimes, I’ve mainly drifted off into the land of jazz, somtimes sprinkling in a little bit of blues, latin and classic country. Berlin unfortunately is not a good city to hear great jazz, but with three opera houses, a ballet and several orchestras (including one of the world’s best, the Berlin Philharmonic) it is a fabulous place for classical. Have been rediscovering some great pieces recently that I’d like to share here:
Even if you know next to nothing about classical music, it’s pretty likely you’ve heard this piano trio by Franz Schubert in some tear jerker film at some point. So beautiful.
I doubt I could ever get tired of listening to Pergolsi’s Stabat Mater….
Nothing like a true contralto, such a rare voice type (probably close to 70% of all women are sopranos with another 25% mezzo sopranos leaving a true contralto voice at around 5% at most…)
Glenn Gould may be the most famous for Bach’s Goldberg Variations, but I personally prefer this to his version.
So very, very glad I discovered Claudio Arrau. Don’t know the first thing about piano playing really, but I love the intimacy he creates. Thanks YouTube!
When I was studying music, Beethoven’s late sonatas were amonst my very favorites. Opus 110 still makes me cry.
Have heard versions I like better, but you still can never go wrong with Satie.
Just took my daughters to see a ballet of the Wizard of Oz that used Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite No. 1. Fantastic!
Love Granados. Here he is playing his own music in 1913.
Just realized this is all heavy on piano which has always been my favorite instrument. Maybe it’s time to take lessons again….
I read recently that people used to not smile in photographs because it was a formal occasion….
…this was not the day of the point and shoot. Getting your portrait taken was expensive……
…..something you would likely only do once or twice in your entire life.
You also had to sit very still because the exposure took so long. Holding the same smile for a long period….
…was not so simple. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I still prefer portraits where a person is not smiling. My husband does too. In photographs, our babies only grin if they feel like it which seems so much more natural, like they are being themselves in front of the camera though both of them do so love to pose….
It’s late May, but it was freezing and rainy all day in Berlin today. To keep myself from going stir-crazy I went for a wallk with my camera….
Everything seemed so dirty, so neglected and forlorn….
This dog, peeking out of the window of a basement tattoo parlor no one ever seems to go into, is the saddest one I’ve ever seen.
One door down I found this Stolperstein in remembrance of a woman named Elsie who lived there until she was sent to her death in Theresienstadt….
But this little boy was having fun in the rain….
…while his mother made a phone call…
And I went on taking photographs, only a few of which I’ve posted here….
These earrings that I just posted at Augenblick Photo reminded me of a funny experience I had recently that reminded me I’m, well, getting old.
I took my daughters to the Kommunikation Musuem a couple of weeks ago. If you are ever in Berlin I highly suggest this museum by the way, especially if you are traveling with children. The museum is dedicated to communication in its many forms and has very innovative displays and even talking robots. Since it is also in an absolutely gorgeous old building and only costs 4 Euros (!) to get in with kids under 6 free, there is simply no reason to stay away.
My five year old daughter Mia loved a display with old rotary phones that ring at random but at first she was confused by what in the world they could be. “Mama, what’s that thing there?” she asked and hardly believed me when I said it was a telephone. I still remember the old yellow rotary phone we had when I was a kid. We even had a party line. My sister and I loved to annoy the old ladies on there by butting in on their conversations. My, how times have changed!
I recently used this little blue dog as a prop for some vintage photo earrings at Augenblickphoto, but no one who sees the photographs will know that I have a guilty little secret surrounding this dog……
Back in the late 1990s, I studied music at Mills College. In order to not rack up horrendous student loans (or at least keep them to a minimum) I lived at home and both studied and worked full-time, first at a bookstore and then later at a children’s shoe store. Once, on a rare day off, I walked down College Avenue in Oakland and wandered into an antique shop I had never been to before. Although the shop mainly had antique furniture there also was a small shelve of home decor. On that shelf was this little blue dog.
I instantly fell in love with him, with the color and the little details like his exposed ribs and the curve of his tail. My love must have been obvious because the man who worked there soon came over and talked to me about the object. The dog was from pre-war China and was being sold together with the little statue of a Chinese woman sitting beside it. The price for both together was $20.
I told him I was really only interested in the dog but he said he was only willing to sell them together. Afterward I mentioned that I also didn’t have 20 dollars on me. Would it be possible to put the set on hold? As an answer to my question, the man said the most amazing thing. “You seem like such a nice and honest person. Why don’t you take the figurines and bring me the $20 some other time.” I took him happily up on that offer and planned to come back sometime soon.
I did mean to go back and never doubted that I would. I’m not really sure why I didn’t do it right away because I thought about it often. Maybe it was because I was working and studying full-time (something I still don’t believe I had the energy to do!) and College Avenue was a bit off the path from the places I usually went. Maybe it was because, at the time, $20 was actually quite a lot of money for me. I may have been working full-time and living at home, but a lot of my money went towards voice lessons and I was constantly broke. Either way I never did make it to the shop to pay for my little dog.
When I moved to Berlin a year or so later I still thought about the nice gesture the man had made and about how I wanted to make it right. I definitely felt guilty not to mention embarrassed, but something had to be done. Maybe I could send the money anonymously or send by a family member or friend. One day, when I was visiting California I decided to finally get it taken care of. I went to College Avenue, $20 in hand, not caring if the man got angry (not that likely) or didn’t even remember me (more likely) or didn’t even work there anymore. But when I got to where the shop had been I saw that it had gone out of business. I hope the reason wasn’t because of the man’s naive kindness to strangers. Either way, this post is a small gesture to say I’m sorry. For what it’s worth, I still love that little dog and take good care of him.