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nice try…

i am in berlin composing on a german keyboard so forgive any punctuation today that may prove even more annoying than my usual punctuation. its taken me some time to get settled here but i shall return to regular blogging form starting tomorrow.

neil young once said of a town in north ontario All my changes were there…i could say the same about berlin…maybe not all my changes…but some big ones…i used to say i became an adult in berlin…i said that cuz it sounded cool and because i thought it was true…but it wasnt… perhaps the more accurate sentence would be in berlin i stopped being a kid…what went on between then and now can best be described as a long day in limbo…

im thrilled to be taking a passing strange brain break for the remainder of the year and there are a multitude of things to distract me from it. the usual large number of compelling exhibitions which i plan on attending and writing about here. plus im going to be taking in a bit of theater here which im very excited about. heidi and annie join me here in about 3 weeks. it will be really interesting to work on the play while in europe. heidi and i have cruised berlin before and played here…she loves it here…annies been here too… but im excited to show annie all the old PS related haunts…

berlin is still its wonderfully complex self. that will never change. if you dont have mixed feelings about berlin yer not paying attention. its both a pain in the ass and the most important city in the occident. if you think you know a western city that has been the nexus for more darkness and light meet me in a bar and i will set you right. and i dont mean the pageantry of capitalist triumphantilism that passes for culture…stop spreading that news…i mean the long blurry walk home from the bar when history sneaks up on you in the dead of night in the shape of a looming facade and you get scared…scared because here even the all night decadent hoopla cant distract from the fact that history has you in its vice grip…its punking you…history as airborne virus…history as an outbreak on your skin… ugly, pretty, elegantly bruised…when history checks it look in the mirror… it looks just like berlin…somewhere george grosz is painting us clutching our cell phones like zombies…buy a jar of face cream…apply it liberally to your skin…now stand before the mirror…nice try…you still look like berlin……


  1. Johnny B wrote:


    Congratulations! You sound as though you’ve reached a new exciting place artistically.

    I have not been to Berlin but it sounds as though the past is lurking. I’m looking forward to reading your blogs while you’re there. Please write as much as you can. I can’t wait to see Passing Strange in NYC. Give my best to Heidi, enjoy Berlin, and have a wonderful time.

    Johnny B

    Friday, December 15, 2006 at 9:36 am | Permalink
  2. Dave B. wrote:

    There is something about your ‘Berlin’ blog that instanty haunts me….I was recently in New York City for the first time and had that ‘mixed feelings’ experience….but what you are referring to here is on a much deeper level related to history past & present….and what still remains with us. I think maybe the answers, or at least many of them, actually may still exist…if you look along the corners in Berlin late at night.

    Friday, December 15, 2006 at 4:46 pm | Permalink
  3. Jane in E'ville wrote:

    We saw Passing Strange at the Berkeley Rep right before it closed — what an amazing show! Now I’m telling everyone I know in New York that they have to see it at the Public this spring. I too will try to make it back there to see it once again. I was wondering about its ending, whether it was given the ending it has because it’s Musical Theatre. Have you read Jim Salter’s masterful short story “American Express,” which is about the ex-pat experience in Europe? The ending there floats off and is canted or sideways, rather than pointing.
    I’m so excited about you work.

    Sunday, December 17, 2006 at 8:41 pm | Permalink
  4. Sam wrote:

    dearest Stew,

    heading to Berlin next year. going to try and write some plays. and other such shit. soak up the culture. try and meet Hedwig. thanks for the inspiration. and the music. it will make the plane ride much more palatable. passing strange changed my entire perception of theatre (yeah bitch, that’s theatre with an re) and for that I thank you.

    Now i whittle the hours away stalkystalky on your blahg.


    pee ess, was at the joe’s pub show. epic epic epic.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

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