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Monthly Archives: July 2012

M-Maybe

A visit to the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective at the phantastic Art Institute of Chicago gave me the opportunity of a close-up encounter with one of my favorite paintings.

In the meantime Tish studied the details of another classic American work of art:

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Many years ago the band Television Personalities released a song called “Lichtenstein Painting” that I have always loved:

State By State (20/21/22): Michigan, Indiana + Illinois

“Pure Michigan” – what is that supposed to mean?

Michigan, our second state in the Midwest, saw a wonderful Tish concert at „The Ark“, a great club in Ann Arbor. For the following day we had planned a trip to nearby Detroit, but then we literally forgot about it and hit the road instead. Most people I talked to told me that we didn’t miss a lot, but I would have preferred to find out myself.

Like with West Virginia or Maryland, we didn’t get to know Indiana at all. All we did was drive through its northern part for about an hour. Our stay in Illinois, on the other hand, lasted for three days, but it was strictly confined to visiting Chicago, so I don’t have a lot to say about Illinois as a state either. At least we took decent pictures of all three state lines …

Das Herz von St. Pauli

I promised you a while ago that I would write more about a new element that Tish has integrated into her shows, so now I’m pleased and honored to be able to tell you that this new element actually includes my participation. Ever since Tish’s show in Columbus, Mississippi, we have been performing a duet of the German song „Das Herz von St. Pauli“ on stage. For some reason, audiences everywhere just seem to love it, sometimes to an extent that seems a little exaggerated.

For those of you who are not from Hamburg: The song „Das Herz von St. Pauli“ („The Heart of St. Pauli“) talks about the neighborhood that Tish and I live in. It’s a very colorful part of town, characterized by the nearness of the harbor and the huge river Elbe, with hundreds of bars and clubs, many of which are open 24 hours a day. St. Pauli also hosts Hamburg’s red light district, and on top of it all it’s the place where the Beatles used to live and work for long periods during the years 1960-1962, before they became famous. „Das Herz von St. Pauli“ has been made popular by the Hamburg-born singer Hans Albers in the 1950s. Nowadays a lot of people identify it with our local soccer club, the FC St. Pauli, because the song gets played at the stadium before every game. Tish and I added a verse in English, which talks about a few of the things I just mentioned.

This video recording was taped at a house concert in Westerville, Ohio. Nancy Tomei and Roy Stein were the perfect hosts and made sure that Tish’s concert in their beautiful garden was one of the most enjoyable events on our tour. It wasn’t our best performance of “Das Herz von St. Pauli”, though, we definitely had it worked out much better by the end of the tour, but this is the only decent video recording, so you’ll have to put up with some flaws. I hope you will enjoy our little number anyway.

(Written in Hamburg, Germany, July 31, 2012)

State By State (19): Ohio

This was bound to happen at some point: We missed out on the state line sign, both on our way into Ohio and on our way out. The first time I was asleep, the second time I was on the phone. And Tish as the driver was rather concentrating on the traffic than looking out for state signs.

Sign or no sign: We finally managed to leave the Northeast and enter the Midwest, a part of the USA that I had barely visited so far. Our first stop was Cleveland, which is not known to be the most exciting city in the world, but we had a good time, picnicking on the grounds of our cheap motel.

Behind The Falls

Although Niagara Falls is in the state of New York and thus technically in the Northeast, taking off from NYC that day felt like finally getting out of the four week Northeastern limbo that we had been in.

What can I tell you about the falls themselves that is not too obvious (yes, they are gorgeous and fascinating)? Maybe this: Starting out on the US side of the falls, then walking over to the Canadian side (my first visit to Canada, by the way) seemed like the right thing to do, since that way the excitement rises throughout the tour. The only bad thing is that once you go back to your car, you can’t help but feel sorry for the US side …

As for the title of this blog: If you ever visit the falls, don’t pay 15 $ for the tour that takes you behind them. All you get to see is this:

New York City Hotels, Part 2

From Brighton Beach we headed for Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where Tish’s second NYC concert was going to take place. Once again we stayed at quite a remarkable hotel, only this time is wasn’t exactly cheap. Our room on the ninth floor of the „Thompson Hotel“ on Allen Street was quite swankily designed and had the most incredible view of Downtown, with the window reaching all the way down to the floor.

Tish liked the room so much, she decided to stay for another day – not the best thing possible to happen to our budget, especially since unfortunately Tish’s show at the “Rockwood City Music Hall” had a rather disappointing turnout -, but it gave me the possibility to explore the neighborhood in detail – and to try my first canoli in Little Italy. As often as I eat Italian food, I had never had this desert before, that they mention so often on the “Sopranos”. Seems to be more an Italian-American than an Italian thing. But whatever – it tasted great!

(Written in Austin, TX, July 27, 2012)

На Брайтон Бич

Due to my deep affection with everything Russian, I had been wanting to go to the New York neighborhood Brighton Beach, also known as Little Odessa, for a long time. So on our second visit to “the City”, as they say in New Jersey, we decided to go on a long drive through Brooklyn and find out, how Russian the place really is.

Well, I can tell you that it’s very Russian: For a few blocks on Brighton Beach Avenue, you will find nothing but Russian stores, Russian restaurants and Russian speaking people. So that was already a great experience for me. What turned our afternoon at Brighton Beach into one of the highlights of our trip, was the fact that Brighton Beach, as the name suggests, is on the seaside, and that we picked a perfect summer day for our visit. And so we got to have a Russian dinner, all with borscht, pelmeni and of course a carafe of vodka, on a lively boardwalk, overlooking a sunny, beautiful beach.

From Brighton Beach, it’s only a short walk to Coney Island Beach, so we got to see that legendary part of New York as well. The amusement park near the beach certainly isn’t what it used to be in former times, but it was still interesting to check out.

I was glad to find the Coney Island Steeplechase that the Velvet Underground once sang about:

(Written in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 24, 2012)