Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 12 - Berlin

Day 12
1.Quote of the day, Bob comes to Berlin
2.THB is no longer cheap (he’s still stubborn)
3.What does an art consultant know about food?

That he is mad, 'tis true; 'tis true 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But farewell it, for I will use no art.

The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense.
Take what you have gathered from coincidence.
The empty-handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets.

The weather is so foreboding THB brings a jacket along for the first time in the trip. Of course, all that means is I carry it all over town without ever putting it on because (yes, it’s true) the only time it is raining turns out to be when THB and DB are in a taxi.

On our first S-Bahn transfer of the day, there is a young Bob Dylan (hey, his voice REALLY was a lot better at this age) singing:

Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
Try hard, get barred
Get back, write braille
Get jailed, jump bail
Join the army, if you fail
Look out kid
You're gonna get hit
But users, cheaters
Six-time losers
Hang around the theaters
Girl by the whirlpool
Lookin' for a new fool
Don't follow leaders
Watch the parkin' meters

Particularly apt song to be singing in the subway, by a guy clearly 5,000 miles away from home...

THB is no longer cheap! I agreed to hire an art consultant to show us around to various galleries. This is not inexpensive, with two taxi rides (see above) the total comes to $300 for three hours. Miriam from Go Art!, had taken a bit of information on what we are interested in, where we’ve already been, and set the meet-up right around the corner from Checkpoint Charlie. Sure enough, we are finding galleries that we didn’t know existed (next to a Turkish supermarket, down the street or behind car repair shops, in the back of construction sites, etc.). We even see galleries close to where we’ve already been, and some that are close and practically invisible unless you knew where to look. Another great schmuck store (see pic).

We have a list for tomorrow; it’s going to take some creative logistics (DB’s forte) to get us around efficiently on our last full day in Berlin (Note added: considering how we feel, it's gonna take a superhuman effort to both plan and execute Day 13).

While on tour, Miriam takes us behind a construction site and through one of the houses behind the houses and introduces us to Willy (pronounced Vullee), an artist that now runs one of the hidden restaurants of Berlin. We agree to come, 8pm, four course meal plus wine pairings, all for $65 per person. Of course, Willy doesn’t take Visa (neither did Miriam! Makes you wonder how many of these people are running off the books, even with receipts provided) and thus we make another trip to the ATM.

Off to dinner, we don’t take our jackets; we’re so close to metro stations on both ends. At the transfer stop, Alexanderplatz station, we step outside to take a close-up pic of the big TV tower visible from anywhere in Berlin.

Dinner is at This is a Work of Art, aka Zagreus Projeckt, and we are one of 4 couples dining that night. One couple is getting married in a few months and Willy is the caterer. One couple is a friend of Willy and his date, she owns a performance gallery in Barcelona. The last couple is a young woman journalist that is doing a story on Willy and her friend, a dancer from Venezuela/Trinidad who lived in Brussels for five years and now Berlin for five years.

Dinner is on a Thursday night because the journalist could not make it on Friday. We start with a glass of champagne (the others are smoking when we arrive, and then stop, don’t start again until the evening is wrapping up) and a questionnaire to fill out on what is art, rankings, etc, part of a project Willy is doing with a couple of artists from Spain on where do art, design, music, all intersect. There are two videos playing non-stop, one a series of charts showing results from the survey, the other a series of products mixed in with famous art pieces (arghhhhh, more Hirst and Koons pieces).

Sample question: would you buy a urinary device as a piece of art? (Bonus points, what is the signature on this piece? Double bonus points if you remember where the world’s largest display is.)

Is cuisine a work of art? You’d think so from the plates (see pic).

Dinner starts with a glass full of a deconstructed starter: kartoffel foam on top of caramelized onions, terrific if a bit salty, accompanied by a French white burgundy. Much conversation, some in German, some in Spanish, some in English. The future newly weds looking very happy!

Second course: pieces of fish and fried artichoke (not like Salinas Valley chokes) in a bowl and another communal bowl of consommé to add on top (consommé is a bit salty, otherwise another winner). Accompanied by a German chardonnay, a bit over the hill.

Third course is goulash, made of organic (“bio”) pork, which does not come with any vegetables, no onions, carrots, potatoes...just pork! At this point, another couple, two women, arrive to share a dinner. Apparently they had arranged to come and got caught in a memorial service and Willy allows them to share a meal as they catch up to the rest of us. German Pinot Noir, very good.

Dessert consists of three different soft tastes of raspberry, elderberry (the odd berries we bought at the farmers market), and blackberry. German dry reisling, the best wine of the night (though I almost turned it down, this is a bit more to drink than I am used to, my partner, I think her nickname is DB, takes all my unfinished white wines and I get the pinot noir, a great swap, if I can only remember that is what happened).

Dinner is 90 euros, Willy turns down the extra 10 euros I offer. He and his friend give us a list of the 4 best places to try on our last night. The Barcelona gallerists offers us a house exchange. I have the written list, so it clearly happened.

Back to the apartment at 12:30am and hangovers today.

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