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yes & no | 3 june | setlist

goldfrapp - believer
austra - lose it
OMD - souvenir
klaus nomi - total eclipse
kate bush - hounds of love
the clash - straight to hell
iggy pop - the passenger
the birthday party - release the bats
joy division - transmission
the blow - the love that i crave
health - glitter pills
ladytron - the reason why
scissor sisters - harder you get
simian mobile disco - cruel intentions (feat. beth ditto)
tiga - far from home
janelle monae - dance or die (feat. saul williams)
beck - clap hands
lady gaga - alejandro
patrick wolf - time of my life
mirah - the garden
the ting tings - that's not my name
morrissey - last of the famous international playboys
mark ronson & the business intl - the bike song
kriss kross - i missed the bus
alien sex fiend - i walk the line
sisters of mercy - lucretia my reflection
joy division - she's lost control
beyonce - single ladies
naughty by nature - OPP
dj jazzy jeff & the fresh prince - summertime
pulp - common people
duran duran - the chauffeur (remix)
james - say smoething
wolfram feat. holy ghost! - hold my breath
jesse ruins - dream analysis
jai paul - BTSTU
la roux - bulletproof
debbie deb - when i hear music
fanny pack - camel toe
major lazer - pon de floor
yelle - je veux te voir
yaz - don't go
annie - heartbeat (MSTRKRFT remix)
felix da. housecat - money, success, fame, glamour
morrissey - national front disco
depeche mode - strangelove
q lazzarus - goodbye orses
vanilla ice - ice ice baby
nirvana - smells like teen spirit
cut copy - need you now
rihanna - S&M
l'trim - boom i got your boyfriend
crystal castles - not in love
kim ann foxman - creature
austra - beat and the pulse
beth ditto - i wrote the book
patrick wolf - the city
the human league -mirror man
lil' cap'n travis - get wise to yourself
wham - careless whisper

fez ballroom | 13 may | setlist

heaven 17 - let me go
hopt chip - my piano
i am x - kiss and swallow
jai paul - BTSTU
austra - lose it
cut copy - need you now
david bowie - queen bitch
the smiths - handsome devil
pulp - seconds
the clash - guns of brixton
patrick wolf - time of my life
the human league - mirror man
fabienne delsol - laisse tomber les filles
serge gainsbourg - initials B.B.
yelle - ce jeu
the thing things - great DJ
yacht - the summer song
simian mobile disco - it's the beat
the bird and the bee - fucking boyfriend (peaches remix)
kylie minogue - can't get you out of my head
debbie deb - when i hear music
salt n' pepa - push it
tone loc - wild thing
prince - pussy control
bjork - human behavior
revolting cocks - if you want my body
franz ferdinand - no you girls
imperial teen - yoo hoo
bell x1 - flame (chicken lips remix)
another bad creation - playground
inxs - i need you tonight
le tigre - viz
erasure - a little respect (future retro mix)
peaches - stuff me up
when i'm rome - the promise
stevie b. - spring love
beck - clap hands
gwen stefani - hollaback girl (jan/reverso a+b mix)
robyn - dancing on my own
scissor sisters - comfortably numb
young mc - bust a move
janet jackson - rhythm nation
lene lovich & nina hagen - don't kill the animals
violent femmes - add it up
iggy pop - lust for life
rihanna - s&m
depeche mode - personal jesus
eurythmics - sweet dreams
le tigre - deceptacon
m.i.a. - paper planes
outkast - b.o.b.
boys ii men - mowtown philly
bell biv devoe - poison
salt n' pepa - shoop
lady gaga - bad romance
the gossip - standing in the way of control
depeche mode - people are people
morrissey - last of the famous international playboys
prince - little red corvette
justin timberlake - sexyback
blur - song. no. 2
beyonce - single ladies
vanilla ice - ice ice baby
new order - age of constent
lady gaga - teeth
joy division - love will tear us apart
erasure - chains of love
robyn - fembot
wham! - everything she wants
patrick wolf - the city
beth ditto - i wrote the book
cut copy - lights and music
daft punk - harder, better, faster, stronger
beastie boys - make some noise
major lazer - pon de floor
pulp - common people

wherein cut copy is OMD

new cut copy single is the jam.

finally

this was so awesome. can't wait to see it again.

time for possibly over-reactive el-jay external backups, kids.

tweed ride: vice

this was my day yesterday.

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tweedpdx02002

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tweedpdx02007

tweedpdx02005


full set here.

sundance 2011: my top 3 films

no. 1
title: submarine
director: richard ayoade
category: spotlight
rating: 5 out of 5



no. 2
title: we were here
director: david weissman
category: u.s. documentary competition
rating: 5 out of 5



no. 3
title: page one
director: andrew rossi
category: u.s. documentary competition
rating: 5 out of 5



film reviews forthcoming who knows when; it occurred to me that some of these films might be premiering at festivals/theatres now, so i wanted to put the word out that these are incredible pieces of filmmaking. if you have the opportunity, see them.

fez ballroom | 25 march | setlist

the lords of the new church - russian roulette
eurythmics - love is a stranger
lightning seeds - pure and simple
morrissey - suedehead
icicle works - birds fly (whisper to a scream)
erasure - always
prince - little red corvette
inxs - don't change
--
bell biv devoe - poison
hall & oates - i can't go for that
billy idol - dancing with myself
new order - age of consent
depeche mode - strangelove
q lazzarus - goodbye horses
soft cell - tainted love
joy division - she's lost control
flock of seagulls - wishing (if i had a photograph of you)
morrissey - hairdresser on fire
--
dolly parton - 9 to 5



(please watch for the dancer who emerges at 0:05, far left!
and of course, my dearest j.w. in the white belt, front & center. <3)

erasure - a little respect
when in rome - the promise
young mc - must a move
noel - silent morning
stevie b. - spring love
tears for fears - mad world
blur - girls & boys

Mar. 20th, 2011

title: circumstance
directors: maryam keshavarz 2011
category: u.s. dramatic competition; audience choice award for dramatic feature
rating: 4 out of 5



set in modern-day iran, circumstance portrays an affluent and liberal iranian family under schism. while teenage atafeh is exploring her sexuality and the subcultural underground of tehran, her brother, mehran has returned home from rehab with new priorities. once a classical musician and drug addict, mehran renounces his former life and devotes himself to faith and state: as a strict muslim, and as a member of the morality police, respectively. mehran begins spying on his family, and discovers his sister's budding romance with her best friend, shireen.

with a layered, complex plot line, circumstance explores faith, culture, and family with authenticity and style. maryam keshavarz drew from her own personal experiences with repression and politics as it affected people that she knew in iran, and the film conveys a sincerity and truthfulness as the story unfolds. imperfect but compelling, circumstance was the audience award-winner for u.s. dramatic feature, and was the last screening i attended during the 2012 festival.

--

all that remains of my film reviews are my very favorites from SFF 2012: submarine, week one, and we were here; these are the only three films i gave a "5 out of 5" rating.

yes and no | 17 march | setlist

ruth - polaroid
gina x performance - be a boy
sparks - angst in my pants
devo - (i can't get no) satisfaction
austra - beat and the pulse
beth ditto - i wrote the book
kim ann foxman - creature
--
tiga - love don't dance here anymore
jogger - nice tights
a certain ratio - shack up
soft cell - memorabilia
the clash - rock the casbah
catherine ferroyer - tu fais le malin
peaches - diddle my skittle
the slits - i heard it through the grapevine
--
bush tetras - too many creeps
nick cave - deanna
sioxsie and the banshees - dazzle
patrick wolf - the city
james - sometimes
suede - trash
yaz - don't go
debbie deb - when i hear music
ELO (jeff lynne version) - xanadu
heaven 17 - temptation
hall and oates - i can't go for that
robyn - dancing on my own
scissor sisters - any which way
beck - clap hands
hot chip - over & over
justin timberlake - my love
prince - raspberry beret
khia - been a bad girl
--
the golden filter - solid gold
snoop dogg feat. robyn - sexual eruption
new order - bizarre love triange
thieves like us - drugs in my body
flat back - sweet child of mine
new york dolls - looking for a kiss
gang of four - damaged goods
notorious b.i.g. - big poppa
the cure - close to me
of montreal - your magic is working
love and rockets - mirror people
florence + the machine - dog days are over
gary glitter - do you want to touch me
yeah yeah yeahs - y control
death from above 1979 - little girl
nirvana - rape me
wolfmother - new moon rising (yacht remix)
bryan ferry - love is the drug
t-rex - 20th century boy
clap your hands and say yeah - skin of my yellow country teeth
outkast - players ball
glass candy - geto boys
joy division - transmission
omd - electricity
visage - fade to grey
q lazzarus - goodbye horse
the cure - the caterpillar
health - lost time
crystal fighters - in the summer
scissor sisters - invisible light
prince - little red corvette
new order -ceremony
leonard cohen - chelsea hotel no. 2

collecting music for summer

co-hosting a summer-themed dance party this weekend, which includes making the playlists/DJing. i should've checked through the coffeefortwo "five for friday" archive. here's what i gathered last night:

animal collective - summertime clothes
bananarama - cruel summer
crystal fighters - in the summer
dino - summer girls
eddie cochran - summertime blues
flying lizards - summertime blues (cover)
beach boys - surfin' USA
jesus & mary chain - surfin' USA (cover)
jens lekman - a sweet summer's night on hammer hill
placebo - english summer rain
yacht - summer song
the champs - tequila
the cramps - bikini girls with machine guns
the surfaris - wipe out
lovin' spoonful - summer in the city
bobby darin - splish splash
the b52s - rock lobster
katrina and the waves - walking on sunshine
beach boys - california girls
katy perry - california gurls
big gipp - hot
the cure - hot! hot! hot!
buster poindexter - hot hot hot
erasure - too darn hot
foreigner - hot blooded
nelly - hot in here
t.rex - hot love
uffie - hot chick
richie valens - la bamba
go sailor - ray of sunshine
dj jazzy jeff & the fresh prince - summertime
montell jordan - this is how we do it
mongo jerry - in the summertime
the weather girls - it's raining men
harry belafonte - day-o
harry belafonte - jump in the line
patrick wolf - the city
the lonely island - i'm on a boat
bob marley - jammin
jimmy buffet - margaritaville
jimmy soul - if you wanna be happy
rupert holmes - escape (pina colada song)
echo and the bunnymen - blue blue ocean
dead kennedys - california uber alleys
mamas & papas - california dreamin'
phantom planet - california
fabian - heatwave
martha reeves - (love is like a) heatwave
the go-gos - vacation
todd rundgren - bang on the drum
beach boys - fun, fun, fun
bryan adams - summer of '69
stevie b - spring love

--

am i missing anything?
from "street haunting: a london adventure," by virginia woolf:

But what could be more absurd? It is, in fact, on the stroke of six; it is a winter’s evening; we are walking to the Strand to buy a pencil. How, then, are we also on a balcony, wearing pearls in June? What could be more absurd? Yet it is nature’s folly, not ours. When she set about her chief masterpiece, the making of man, she should have thought of one thing only. Instead, turning her head, looking over her shoulder, into each one of us she let creep instincts and desires which are utterly at variance with his main being, so that we are streaked, variegated, all of a mixture; the colours have run. Is the true self this which stands on the pavement in January, or that which bends over the balcony in June? Am I here, or am I there? Or is the true self neither this nor that, neither here nor there, but something so varied and wandering that it is only when we give the rein to its wishes and let it take its way unimpeded that we are indeed ourselves? Circumstances compel unity; for convenience sake a man must be a whole. The good citizen when he opens his door in the evening must be banker, golfer, husband, father; not a nomad wandering the desert, a mystic staring at the sky, a debauchee in the slums of San Francisco, a soldier heading a revolution, a pariah howling with scepticism and solitude. When he opens his door, he must run his fingers through his hair and put his umbrella in the stand like the rest.

fez ballroom | 11 march | setlist

patrick wolf - the city (richard x remix)
beth ditto - i wrote the book
kim ann foxman - creature
simian mobile disco - cruel intentions
alexander - truth
--
jesus & mary chain - just like honey
kate bush - cloudbusting
nick cave - the mercy seat
violent femmes - gone daddy gone
sisters of mercy - emma
sparks - i predict
the young gods - did you miss me?
erasure - hideaway (remix)
icicle works - birds fly (whisper to a scream)
the smiths - that joke isn't funny anymore
adam ant - strip
inxs - beautiful girl
iggy pop - nightclubbing
the chameleons - soul in isolation
siouxsie and the banshees - red light
austra - the beat and the pulse
joy division - she's lost control
--
jesus & mary chain - who do you love?
shreikback - nemesis
soft cell - sex dwarf
the normal - warm leatherette
joy division - love will tear us apart
revolting cocks - if you want my body
tones on tail - go!
peaches - two guys for every girl
depeche mode - master and servant
the normal - warm leatherette
sisters of mercy - this corrosion
--
lene lovich & nina hagen - don't kill the animals
nine inch nails - only
duran duran - the chauffer
depeche mode - i feel you
die form - rain of blood
portishead - machine gun
alien sex fiend - i walk the line
q lazzarus - goodbye horses
the bolshoi - lindy's party
morrissey - every day is like sunday
omd - so in love

--
unrelated: perfect vegan banana bread. ridiculously easy. i sub'd cinnamon apple sauce instead of butter, and it's as moist as cake. now to get the sugar content lower...
title: becoming chaz
directors: fenton bailey and randy barbato
category: documentary premieres
rating: 3.5 out of 5



chaz bono is a charismatic human being, who, with his longtime partner sara(h) at his side, undertakes gender reassignment, deciding to document his transition on camera. for a child who grew up literally in front of the camera on the sonny & cher show during the 70s, it's little surprise as to why he feels comfortable with the intimate, sometimes reality-TV style of this documentary. the film focuses on the "everyday," with ample screen time for domestic quibbles, meals, pet affection, family, and friends.

directors fenton baily and randy barbato document the transition with judicious care, and still the primarily heteronormative and close-minded audience at a prestigious film festival made their discomfort audible. while i enjoyed the slice-of-life film, what stands out to me after a few months away from utah was the experience of watching the screening surrounded by people not altogether ready to witness a transman shaving, receiving testosterone shots, or eating sandwiches. apparently.

though becoming chaz was one of the first films picked up by oprah winfrey's network (OWN)--which will feature a documentary club in the spirit of her book club--it is clear that middle-america has transphobic (and, unfortunately, sizeist) leanings, even when the stories are handpicked by oprah, presented by rosie o'donnell (literally. she was in the audience), and handle the hard questions like an after-school special. but if any film has the opportunity to increase visibility of the trans community for a mainstream audience, maybe this will be the one. 

upward over the mountain

title: meek's cutoff
director/screenwriter: kelly reichardt
category: spotlight
rating: 4.5 out of 5


in this delicate historical retelling of the traditional western, director kelly reichardt wants us walking along-side our wagons on the oregon trail. the authenticity of this film--even the first twenty minutes, which featured no dialogue just, simply, the act of crossing a shallow stream--was astonishing. filmed in eastern oregon, meek's cutoff tells the tale of stephen meek, a guide who offered assistance to pioneer families seeking the bounty of oregon in 1845. with painstakingly authenticity, reichardt shadows three families, who have entrusted meek but are losing confidence as supplies dwindle, and meek seems to be less and less reliable.

this film was breathtaking, recalling a time of manifest destiny and the western mythology of auspicious pioneers and opportunistic fur traders. reichardt likens meek's deception to the misleadings of a certain current-day politician: "just following a leaders who doesn't know what he's doing, who's maybe ignorant or stupid, that can happen at any time."

the film was scarcely praised nor positively talked about during sundance, but seemed to have received a better reception at the venice film festival this year. (and just look at this gorgeous poster.) regardless, the film haunted and moved me, transplanting me to 19th century western america. it is quiet, understated, and simple, but this is a directorial choice. the stillness, the minimal dialogue, the simplicity all are key players in the storytelling, and, in my opinion, the strength of the piece.
when i was volunteering at bitch magazine a couple years ago, one of the perks was access to the bitch bookshelf. mostly it contained books--often first printings or bound galleys--submitted by authors and agents, titles hoping for review in an issue. in my constant effort to read every book that i own (an uphill battle, as my collection continues to grow monthly), i finally picked up jill talbot's memoir, loaded: women and addiction.

though flawed, it was a well-written book, like the kind of piece you'd expect to read in a workshop from a writer you know is going to make it. her perspective, whether talking about her addictions or just describing her life, resonated with me; i underlined a lot of passages. amazon reviews criticize her use of "addiction" in the title, as talbot doesn't resolve her addiction (read: she still is drinking red wine with dinner, despite a stay in rehab). personally, i don't think abstinence is the only road to recovery.

--

"happiness, for adults, is as fleeting and surprising as a waiter dropping a tray in a restaurant. so, we create things to look forward to: the after-class cigarette, a drive to a remote place that feels like an escape, the glass of wine after dinner, the out-of-state trip to spend time with someone we trust. we live for the fleeting moment."

"[virginia] woolf articulates what i have always known, that only the unsettled want to go; only the dissatisfied look back to the past for answers."

--

albertamae, i'm mailing this book to you next week.

Tags:

the cool kids are calling this genre Witch House; it's a delicious mix of goth and indietronic. this song is fantastic.

Austra The Beat & The Pulse from The Glitoris on Vimeo.

matador | 7 march | setlist

t. rex - the slider
fleetwood mac - the chain
neil young - southern man
america - horse with no name
robyn - fembot
bjork - i miss you
brian eno - baby's on fire
peter bjorn & john - amsterdam
the beastie boys - sabotage
kriss kross - i missed the bus
florence + the machine - kiss with a fist
jens lekman - opposite of hallelujah
dump - the beautiful ones
erasure - always
rolling stones - mother's little helper
bob dylan - don't think twice, it's alright
iggy pop - nightclubbing
david bowie - boys keep swinging
justice - D.A.N.C.E.
lcd soundsystem - dance yrself clean
lady sovereign - love me or hate me
blur - girls & boys
the gossip - heavy cross
depeche mode - people are people
hot chip - shake a fist
justin timberlake - my love
le tigre - viz
new order - age of consent
boys ii men - motown philly
robyn - don't fucking tell me what to do
--
new young pony club - ice cream
chaka khan - i feel for you
n.e.r.d. - hot n' fun (yeasayer remix)
ladytron - evil
berlin - the metro
duran duran - the chauffeur
the knife - heartbeats
peaches - two guys for every girl
m.i.a. 20 dollar
css - ahlala
joy division - disorder
the cure - primary
pixies - caribou
altered images - happy birthday
passion pit - the reeling
stars - one more night
lcd soundsystem - someone great
--
discovery - swing tree
bear in heaven - lovesick teenagers
edwarde sharpe & the magnetic zeroes - home (arpline remix)
kanye west - stronger
MGMT - kids
joy division - atmosphere
the cure - charlotte sometimes
jarvis - black magic
low - sunflower
the smiths - some girls are bigger than others
the raveonettes - aly, walk with me
the national - all dolled-up in straps
the magnetic fields - let's pretend we're bunny rabbits
mazzy star - fade into you
this mortal coil - song to the siren

Writer's Block: Dear LiveJournal

How long have you been on Livejournal? What major life changes has LiveJournal witnessed?


since august, 2002.

at that time i was a few months away from completing my bachelors degree. i had never left the united states, only seen southern and southwestern states (and ohio.).

since that time, i have switched jobs, graduated from college, experienced hurricanes, changed relationships, acquired new pets, bought and sold new houses, started dancing, moved cross-country, had surgery, won a fiction award, visited eight countries, started voting, flown to visit family and friends, lost pets, stopped writing, started taking pictures, been diagnosed with asthma and anemia, witnessed snow, grown incredibly close to my sibling, started using a bicycle as a vehicle, read hundreds of books, stopped eating meat, started DJing, fallen out with numerous friends, gained numerous more, become the person i had hoped to be (who is in no way fully-formed or "done" yet).

before this river becomes an ocean

title: higher ground
director/screenwriter: vera farmiga
category: u.s. dramatic competition
rating: 3 out of 5



higher ground tells the story of one woman's awakening and growth, woven on the tapestry of spirituality and the school of hard knocks. director and screenwriter vera farmiga also stars as the lead, a woman named corinne. she "gives yet another richly nuanced performance, [tackling] complex issues with sophistication and graceful insight, crafting a moving story about the transformative powers of faith and doubt." (source.)

while it is obvious farmiga is skilled--the script, direction, and pacing were impeccable--i found my interpretation of the storyline to be impressively biased: that embracing faith is the antithesis of being an interesting human being. the film portrays faith as an inevitability, an easy solution, a consolation prize for living life. hallelujah? by the end of the film, i felt strongly that the characters' enlightenment was more of a plot fail, a dead-end, than a solace.

the audiences loved this film, though. but there is a strength to farmiga's story--either her story, or her storytelling--that felt palpable, honest, beautiful. flawed, but beautiful. many scenes felt candid and raw, autobiographical. in all the ways that good cinema can be, i found higher ground polarizing: a film that read, to me, like a manifesto for atheism far more than a testament to how awesome god is; others (like those many behind me singing along with the closing credits hymn, for serious) undoubtedly felt buoyant, connected. walking out of the theatre that night, i ruminated on this, and wondered if this open interpretation was indeed the intention of the director. maybe i'd know more if i had stayed for the Q&A.
title: codependent lesbian space alien seeks same
director/screenwriter: madeleine olnek
category: park city at midnight
rating: 4 out of 5



in a galaxy far, far away, the ozone of the planet zots is being depleted because of Big Feelings. three lesbian space aliens travel to earth in search of awkward first-dates, heartbreak, and disappointment, the obvious cure for their over-active emotions, and the only way to save their endangered planet.

one such space alien meets and falls in love with jane, a lonely and over-eager stationery store clerk who has been unlucky in love. jane doesn't seem to mind that her new girlfriend, zoinx, is a space-alien: in fact, jane doesn't seem to even notice. their unlikely romance, as well as the dating antics of fellow citizens of zots zylar and barr, propel this quirky tale into action, using the touchtones of sci-fi camp, and 50s b-movies effects. equal parts plan 9 from outer space, go fish and men in black, director and screenwriter madeleine olnek's debut feature is smartly written and charmingly portrayed by a terrific cast.

with impeccable timing and charming style, the film delighted the audience at the festival. so maybe chrissigrl and i were guilty of only squeezing in the film after meeting the director and promising her and her crush-worthy "producer" we'd attend. regardless, codependent lesbian space alien seeks same ended up being one of the most enjoyable films i screened at sundance 2011.

a thousand kisses deep

The "Marriage of the Adriatic", or more correctly "Marriage of the Sea" (in Italian, Sposalizio del Mare), was a ceremony symbolizing the maritime dominion of Venice. The ceremony, established about 1000 to commemorate the Doge Pietro II Orseolo's conquest of Dalmatia, was originally one of supplication and placation, Ascension Day being chosen as that on which the doge set out on his expedition. The form it took was a solemn procession of boats, headed by the doge's nave (ship), from 1311 the Bucentaur, out to sea by the Lido port. A prayer was offered that "for us and all who sail thereon the sea may be calm and quiet", whereupon the doge and the others were solemnly aspersed with holy water, the rest of which was thrown into the sea. The pope drew a ring from his finger and, giving it to the doge, bade him cast such a one into the sea each year on Ascension Day, and so wed the sea. Henceforth the ceremonial, instead of placatory and expiatory, became nuptial. Every year the doge dropped a consecrated ring into the sea, and with the Latin words "Desponsamus te, mare, in signum veri perpetuique domini" ("We wed thee, sea, in the sign of the true and everlasting Lord") declared Venice and the sea to be indissolubly one. (source: bucentaur)

venice009

the house we never owned

my boyfriend's new single/video! i somehow missed this release during all my travels. lupercalia is out in 2 weeks! totally smitten.



Patrick Wolf - The City (Richard X Remix) - thepopsucker.blogspot.com by the Pop Sucker

besides, in spain don juan's to blame

barcelona028


i walked the streets of barcelona alone for about eight hours. it was the strange-but-attractive layover between flights out of venice and to new york (via madrid, another post, or have i blocked the whole affair out?). during that time, the best estimate i can make is that i walked about 5 miles, a small portion of which was overlap. i saw daylight escape into nighttime, both muddled colors and cool breezes. spain still had foliage on all their trees. the whole affair wasn't all that unlike my day trip to prague in 2009, except this time i was alone, and carrying all of my belongings in two messenger bags. and of course, barcelona is like, a thousand times bigger than prague.

upon landing in barcelona, i found easy transit into the city center, and my minimal research had suggested that my best bet for such a short stay would be to sightsee the historical gothic architecture center, as well as a survey of gaudi's work, of which i have been a fan since i was still an art school student. but i saw from the air that barcelona was a bonafide City, not just a city, and i worried accordingly about a thousand things that might present an issue in such a short stay (language; dietary restrictions; getting lost; safety; solitude). both thankfully and unsurprisingly, i did OK.

the beautiful RENFRE train took me directly to passeig de gracia, where i walked streets without purpose until i accidentally caught sight of the tips of the sagrada familia. a structure i had studied well over a decade ago, walking towards this fantastical creature was an intense experience of revelry, nostalgia, and synthetic faith.

barcelona004


dusk came quickly, and with it, barcelona's tropicalia cooled by breezes. i walked for hours, literally, in and out through la rambla. near churches and retail centers. by metro stops and parks and sculptures. the oldest part of the city a complex juxtaposition of old stone and big-city commerce.

more gaudi at my every turn.

barcelona032


approaching midnight, i resigned myself to a commute back to the airport. the taste of barcelona i experienced definitely an enticing one: to return, with ample time, to really experience the city, the nightlife, the food and culture. but for this time, my "day" in barcelona was a taste of something different, and an added bonus to my venice trip. with travel, sometimes, you take the layovers, the intersections, the unexpected wrong turns through small towns, as the gemstones that they are.

i wrote this a week ago.

well i made it. half-way, at any rate, as i write this from the barcelona airport. this makes the third time i have been here. i hope i don't regret this layover 12 hours from now.

i am sipping on a miniature bottle of spanish/catalunya wine. not sure if that is even allowed in an airport (though they sold it to me), though it is quite the medicine after 8 hours on my feet. but i am getting ahead of myself.

--

venice was stunning. but it was also extremely easy to exhaust.
i suppose, then, it was the perfect fit for a long-weekend get-away; i would have had to leave the island to cook up anything new, had i stayed even one extra day. charmed as i was, i was also pretty much done by the time the third day rolled around.

venice011


arriving in venice was a bit of a dream. as usual, airport-towns ain't exactly loveable, but a short bus ride later, the landscape shifted drastically, a sort of time travel only possible in old cities. and at that bus stop was where all modern transportation stops: trains, buses, cars, motorcycles, even bicycles are forbidden in venice proper. i decided to brave it on foot, first, knowing that 1) venice is an island (OK, a series of islands, technically speaking), so there's only so lost you can get 2) my hotel was by a major landmark, the piazza san marco and 3) i had a map in hand, courtesy the fine folks at the currency exchange.

--

i came to venice forewarned of the old, winding streets, the anonymity of canal-and-bridge crossings. though i consider myself a pretty strong navigator, surprising to no one, i got hella lost. which is a half-truth: i actually instinctively went, and continued to go, the correct direction. i meandered for about an hour and a half, following my belly and my compass of "south," but it was the details that messed me up (e.g., that parallel streets are capable of going very different directions). once i surrendered to the map, i ended up even more turned-around, relying on waterways and alleyways that were serpentine, labryinthine. i have never experienced anything like it. it was fun until it wasn't.

3 beautiful italian hours later, i found piazza san marco, and rejoiced a little, a funny mix of jetlag, triumph, and revelry at the man-made beauty all around me. my quaint italian hotel was just around the corner, which i found pretty quickly despite not writing down the address or directions. on the second level, my little room facing out to the church of san zaccaria, whose bells divided my days into quarters.

that first day, i slept away the entire evening, and awoke groggy and disappointed. i decided to stay up and watch the sunrise, as a compromise, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences i could ask for. the creeping morning light, the range of blues undescribable, playing off the water of the lagoon and all the ancient shapes. i was one of many photographers out for dawn, an eerie juxtaposition to all the hullaballoo of daytime at san marco: we few as vampires, lone explorers.

it looked like this. but more incredible, because i don't know what i'm doing with photography:

venice007


i spent the rest of my second day walking. i wandered until i reached the rialto, stumbling upon schools and museums and churches and squares. finding my way back (just this once) without a map, though i never saw those streets a second time.

saturday evening, tamisevens arrived from florence, which is pretty crazy (myself via portland via nyc; she via amsterdam via florence). crazy as in THE WORLD IS KIND OF SMALL ONCE YOU CONQUER IT, if that makes any sense.

t. and i went out in search of appertivo, which apparently venice, unlike the rest of italy, does not do. we settled on a glass of wine and then a nice dinner at a place we both regret going to. walking back, t. and i tucked into a little locals-only bar, with 1€ wines. we ended up back at the rialto bridge--and a little turned around directionally--so we let two waiters from bangladesh escort us back part of the way, which meant we all ended up drinking wine, right on the water facing the piazza san marco. it was cute until they started asking about our ages and marital status, during which point free wine got kind of unexciting and we called it a night. as you do at 4am on a saturday in venice.

on sunday after coffee and pastries, t. departed. i took the day to be one of rest, mostly, knowing uncertain and lengthy conditions awaited me for the following day. i watched bad italian sitcoms and gameshows, walked in the delicate rain in search of food and diet coke, strolled to the academia area to get pictures i didn't take when i was lost that first day.

monday i took a boat back to the piazzale roma, which unsettled my poor stomach enough to know that the (intensely pricey, and horribly touristy) gondola ride would have been a terrible idea. as i deboarded, i watched men pull parcel after parcel of imported goods--soda, crackers, paper towels--off boats for delivery into the city. the sheer amount of it astonishing, it sunk in that everything in venice, except the seafood and native goods, has to be imported in. and seeing as there are no roads for vehicles, these imports have to come via boat. crazy.

--

i liked venice, a lot. i get the impression that it is not representative of italy as a whole and that is fine; i reveled in the architecture and intensity of this little town built on thousand year old fortified wood, submerged. the beauty of the canals, the charm of the gondolas gliding down them. if i don't step foot in venezia again i am fine with that, but i am humbled by the time i got to spend there.

--

this is one of my favorite pictures i took. mostly, it is the intensity of the lagoon water; the light that has passed through the buildings like a lightning bolt. i stood at this crazy little "dead end" for something like fifteen minutes, staring in awe and trying to figure out how to capture the intensity of the tiny debris floating in the air, floating in the water. that perfect beam of light; that impossible shade of water. this picture was taken with my new point and shoot--likely in the wrong setting--which is to say it really looked like this, only 1,000 times more intense.

venice037


next up...barcelona.

Feb. 27th, 2011

this video was edited by a good friend of my sister. the song is great, the visuals are out of control incredible. i watched it twice in a row just to take it all in.

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this really happened. (sorry about the weird thumbnail/offsite clicking, the embed option isn't working properly.)

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