Breakfast! Laundry! Conference in a civic building named for JFKennedy. Presentations about Gender and Identity in Jazz. Among four topics this afternoon were Sexual Desire, Eroticism, and the Construction of the Jazz Tradition (that’s one) and “Alright for a girl” and Other Jazz Myths about two British saxophonists, generations apart. (Note to Sally: I told the group about the Ina Rae Hutton play we saw recently in NY.) Visit to Jazzinstitut Darmstadt tonight followed by beautifuldinner. Eight more papers tomorrow and I am really looking forward to all.
Tuesday night now .. Today was social! Earlier, after lunch near Templehof with Stefanie — who was next to me on the plane last week — I hustled over to a nearby school to watch Tanja, who used to work at the jazz station in Berlin, teach back to back vocal jazz classes. Tanja’s employer Jazzschule rents classroom space in a multi-building, artsy, garden-y commune yes a commune that dates from the 1970s. It’s called ufaFabrik Berlin and physically, it includes a beautiful grocery store, a cafe, one or two theaters/performance spaces, and housing which I did not see. Most of the buildings are low to the ground or slightly below. Today for a special event, friendly Buddhist monks were hanging out in the leafy pathways and courtyards. And in an amazing coincidence, tonight at the club A Trane, I discovered the jazz fan next to me had been an architect and designed the buildings of ufaFabrik. He said the residents now include a second generation.
Here she is counting off the tempo for one of her students. Great finger snap!
These classes are focused and fun to watch. The singers are working standards and the band was good. And finally at sunset here is the former Tempelhof Airport. Now it’s a park. I’m told that Berlin has decided to wait five years before developing it, and many hope the city will never develop it at all. People ride bikes on the erstwhile runways etc. It’s green space under open sky!
I walked to the Jewish Museum Berlin. Google maps routed me along a bike path that happens to pass this mural on the side of a several-story bldg. How about that sky? To the right outside the frame there’s the message REFUGEES WELCOME.
The museum is not to be described in a few words or a photo. One observation: the design by Daniel LIbeskind admits no sunlight. I hope to finish the exhibit tomorrow night.
In the evening I went to a most interesting production of Turandot at Deutsche Opera Berlin. Here’s the curtain call.
It’s a mediocre photo but a great big cast and I wish you could have seen the staging — Act One especially. Singing Liu, Ellen Tsallagova was wonderful.
Passed the the two jazz clubs A Trane and Quadimodo as I walked toward home, and I hope to get to AT on Tuesday. We’ll see about all these hopes.
After watching so many concerts online, my dream came true as I took a seat in the real hall with real music in the real air. The sound is sublime! I stretched my eye muscles (yoga reference) to look everywhere. The program was Korngold and Saint-Saens with violin and organ soloists. Total beauty and engagement.
And after the concert, here’s the studio team of Robert and Thomas with guest, then Peter from Copenhagen, and Ina from the media team on the right. Hanna not in photo and Holly’s the photographer. I spent the two previous nights watching them set shots and rehearse. Another dream.
Marathon is everywhere today!
My hotel is near where the route almost crosses itself, just below center of map. Just now the winner is running through the Brandenberg Gate! There will be many photos and here is mine from two days ago, during marathon preparations.
I’m seeing preparations for the livestreaming of this concert, Saturday at 7pm Berlin time, 1pm New York time, and far beyond. Especially cool to watch on the phone. So beautifully done by this Berlin Philharmonic team. Gil Shahame is guest violinist, concerto by Erich Korngold. Zubin Mehta conducts.
A great seat mate – the mother of four who with most of them was returning to Berlin after three weeks in California – made my flight enjoyable. One of the attendants was on her last flight; she was retiring after 42 years. We landed in the morning so I bought my one-week subway/tram/bus pass and navigated to my hotel. Other commuters helped me figure it out.
Berlin is quiet! Subways are quiet. Streets are full of people, there is traffic, but it’s quiet. It’s a miracle.
Wittenbergplatz and my hotel are chillingly near where Eichman’s offices were, as commemorated by a detailed story on a sign. It’s of the first things I saw while walking close to my hotel.
In the evening a concert opportunity jumped in front of me. It took place in a contemporary church next to one of the oldest and partially destroyed ones. Legendary pipe organ. Then after a good sleep, I went to a yoga class led in German, so I twisted my head around to see what others were doing and it worked out. At Spirit Yoga thanks to a recommendation by Tanja Siebert, who teaches jazz here in Berlin. I’m listening to jazz now on 106,8FM. Want more pictures, less talk. Forgive typos, I’m writing on my phone.
As I pack my bag to visit Berlin next week, I think of JFK declaring “Ich bin ein Berliner” to >100,000 people west of the wall and some furtive souls to the east. The text of his historic speech is here, thanks to WGBH. And amazing to see the video from CBS here.