Monday, February 23, 2009

A German Holiday

This past weekend had a cultural theme: Germany. Germany has always been of special interest to me, largely because of it's musical/historical significance. In college I tried to pursue German culture beyond what I knew (or was learning) of it musically, and was in heaven. I took a history course as well as a romantic literature course. The history professor was a beautiful old German man and we shared a love of Robert Schumann. My TA for the literature course was known as the creepy TA among friends and was creepy for 3 simple reasons: 

1) pale, lonely, black trench coat wearing graduate student 
2) office in the basement of the library (which rumor had it was sinking, thus making him even creepier day by day) 
3) he confessed to me once that the only music he could listen to was that of Scriabin.

I digress. 

German culture has been on my mind lately, largely due to the book I'm reading, "The Rest is Noise" by Alex Ross. Anyone with a passing interest in 20th century music should read this book as it's truly fascinating. Additionally, with Wagner's Ring Cycle being staged in LA and an exhibit at the LACMA about Berlin during the Cold War I feel like Germany has been calling my name non-German name. Alison and I therefore decided it was time to jumped in the Rhine.

The photo with all the street lamps above actually has nothing to with Germany (although does it not seem vaguely German?). It's an installation piece called "Urban Light" on Wilshire, right in front of the new Broad Contemporary Art Museum. It made me happy, unlike the literally gridlocked-all-day traffic 20 feet to the left of the photo. 

Following "Art of Two Germanys - Cold War Cultures" we dined at Wurstkucke (LA's equivalent of Suppenkucke), hence the sausage picture. If you check out the menu online, you can see this place offers "exotic" sausage: alligator, buffalo, duck, snake, rabbit, etc.

Exotic sausages, fine beer, Belgian fries - what more could you want? Our answer to that, oddly, was drinking Sapporo and singing karoke at a hotel in Little Tokyo.

But back on the train to the Rhineland we got as Sunday, we went to see the Reader.  I love Kate Winslet so much, and I'm so glad she won the Oscar. Of all the actresses out there, truly deserving an Oscar, I was actually happy to see Penelope Cruz and Kate win. And what an amazing film - beautiful, heart breaking, and a good score. 

The synchronicity of reading Ross's book, the exhibit at LACMA (seriously, some of the images at that exhibit seemed to appear in the movie), the delicious sausage - and well, I don't know how karoke ties in, but thus ends our German Holiday.

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