Friday, May 30, 2008

black ink

this is now part of me:

my first tattoo. an archimedean spiral. after about 18 years of "i would like a tattoo, but ...", i decided on this design on wednesday and had it done today (at mona lisa studio). and i am very, very happy with it!

song of the day: la frontera by lhasa.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

vienna & persepolis

i. am. back. in. the. game. yay! ;))

lovely evening yesterday. i am keeping mum about my guest (a girl needs her secrets), but this was me (yeah i know, who would have guessed!):

i also made it to the cinema for the first time in ages, thanks to my colleague and friend daniela. she suggested the matinee at votiv kino and i am so glad i came along. if you have not seen persepolis and you have a chance to, don't miss it. it's an animated film based on the graphic novels by marjane satrapi, about a girl growing up in tehran. through her eyes we witness the transformations as the fundamentalists gain power, we mourn her executed family / friends, and with marjane we experience joy, sadness, confusion, loneliness, the feeling of not fitting in. the filmy is lovingly, beautifully made, with funny and heartbreaking details throughout. i loved the parts set in vienna - they really brought some of the locals to life ... especially the weird woman with her dog! :)

lunch, a walk, and lots of girl talk - very nice afternoon.

and this is me right now:

henna girl

song of the day: dance me to the end of love by leonard cohen.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


walking home along prinz-eugen-strasse, photo-hunting at suedbahnhof (southern train station) and the nearby building site early on sunday morning

very quiet prinz-eugen-strasse

too early for trams

against everything!

05:07:29 a.m.

waiting to be taken away

platform 19

more sleepy vienna pictures

second song of the day: cigány himnusz by i-have-no-idea-who-does-this-version.

the end of time

steve gander's gig "the end of time" @ TIME, 17 may 2008

steve, pre-gig

we are the band!

wherever i [hang] my hat ...


more photos of the end of time

song of the day: get to leave by howe gelb.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

sex. music. dance.

sex - the erotic reading II @ labfactory on friday: i spent half of my afternoon shopping & wondering what clothes to wear, but i did find something. i got nervous, of course, but that is all part of the fun, gives you that extra edge. it was lovely to see quite a few familiar faces: my colleague & friend daniela, nathan, jean, harold, alina, ronnie, one of my students and her friend, oxana (from the lit fest), kirsten (a new addition to the kafka crowd), lilly (from the book presentation 2 weeks ago), and it was cool to finally meet gerald ganglbauer of - my first online publisher, over ten years ago. all in all there were about 40 people, not bad.

we kicked off the evening with a poem by felix mendelssohn, threnody - and each of us poets plus musician steve gander read a stanza. and then it was already my turn: i read Meet My Breasts and then Meet Mr Johnson. straight after that, i read a text together with horst prillinger (author) and pete waugh.

the other poets were evelyn holloway, sylvia petter, victoria slavuski, janus zeitstein, hillary keel, homemade gordon banks. i particularly enjoyed hillary's poems and sylvia's very hot vichyssoise short story, and i loved what the musicians - martin schönlieb on guitar and sandro miori on sax/flute/harmonica - did.

the other poems i read were between two sips of soda, after dessert in the bathroom, cabin fever (with music by martin and sandro), another entry in the bedroom book of lies (with martin on guitar), four two-liners (reports), ain't misbehavin' (with martin on guitar).

steve gander
played a few songs before and after the interval, and at the end of the programme - a nice little tune called copulate and populate, and he made us poets sing along. :)

i enjoyed it - and i think i did a good job. funny how i have come to really love reading over the past one and a half years!

ronnie took lots of photos with my camera during the reading, and i kept snapping away afterwards. here are a few of those pics, but if you want more - follow the link to flickr.

that's me reading

daniela and michaela, vienna's most wonderful english teachers

mms: martin, michi, sandro

change of perspective: michi, martin, sandro

girlpower! michi, hillary, alina

* * * * *

i had a very slow day yesterday - got a bit of work done, cleaned up a little, and then went out again at night. steve gander & his band played a gig called the end of time, at time, which is closing down very soon. ronnie, peter, harold, evelyn, oxana, bruno and bob were there, and i really enjoyed the music.

funny: when i went to the restroom, a woman was waiting there and she turned around and said "oh, hey! you are the poet!" now you see, this does not happen every day. (not yet. haha.) so i asked her how she knew that. and she replied that she had seen me the previous night. turned out that kat is a friend of oxana's, which of course explained things. :)

bruno persuaded me to go dancing with him and ruth, so off we went to ostklub - where i had never been, but wanted to go. they had live music, and wow, was i glad i decided to join r&b! a spanish band called nomhadas played, and they were fantastic. strange combination of instruments: didjeridu, bass, percussion and sitar (played by their singer, a lovely young woman). very interesting music, so do check it out. very danceable, too. but of course we did not go home when the band stopped playing, we continued to dance until 4.30-ish.

i walked towards südbahnhof (railway station) and took photographs of sleepy vienna along the way (along the belvedere) and at the station. i bought freshly baked white bread with melted cheese and a chocolate croissant ... aaaahhhhh! i got home at 5.45 ... these late nights are becoming a habit! :)

photos of last night and this morning will follow soon.

song of the day: yo las alas by nomhadas.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


i'm really sad that my favourite female tennis player, justine henin, has announced her retirement. this really came as a surprise - henin had been ranked number 1 for over a year now, and she's only 25. i will miss her stunning backhand.

oh and just in case you are wondering about what is going on in austria: we do not all keep people locked up in our basements, nor do we normally (plan to) kill our entire families with an axe.

dress rehearsal for erotic reading tonight - we had one on tuesday, which was sooo much fun! i decided to have martin and/or sandro accompany three of my poems on guitar/sax. i really am looking forward to the reading, and i am also getting a bit nervous now ...

song of the day: smokers outside the hospital doors by the editors.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

another late poetry night

i'm really getting good at this ... staying out way later than i intend to, that is. :)

on friday i received an invitation to some sort of "spontaneous open mic" sat evening at a placed called "time". (i like that. "a place called time".) when i got there at 9, peter waugh was there setting things up, and the musicians for the night were there, too: martin schönlieb (guitar), sandro miori (sax, flute), and steve gander (guitar, vocals). the only one i did not know was poet/singer leila thigpen. ronnie showed up, also oxana from the lit fest, harold, a few friends of martin's, and a handful of other kafka people. so, not a big crowd. but it was a lovely evening. i only regretted not bringing more of my poetry, because i was asked to read twice - 3 poems each time, half of them from my first chapbook, and a few erotic poems for practice. peter also asked me to read two sound poems with him and leila. i had never done anything like that before, but it went really well, i think.

i enjoyed the performances, the musicians were excellent. martin and sandro played a few things together, also something with steve, and they accompanied some of the poems, even one of mine! i could not believe that it was 1.15 by the time we finished, time went so quickly!

the oddest thing that happened was when this (drunk) guy at the bar stopped me on my way back from the bathroom to ask about the event, and eventually asked me whether i was a member of "that group, that club or whatever it is". and i explained that we were not a club, but that we met at literary events and read together and such. and then he asked me whether i was their groupie, and which of the guys i sleep with. i was speechless, otherwise i would have said "all of them".

we hung around a while, peter, steve, martin, sandro, christian and i, and then decided to go and eat. good thing there are places like salz & pfeffer where you get really nice food from midnight until 8 am. peter and steve were supposed to join the rest of us but never showed up. anyway, we had a good time, and i did not get home until about 4 am! :)

i look forward to working with martin and sandro at the reading on friday, and listening to more of their music. we are having rehearsals on tuesday and thursday, one with the musicians. it should all be good fun!

* * * * *

now for something completely different: if you have not seen the austrian academy award winning film die fälscher (the counterfeiters) yet, make sure you do. it is really worth seeing. after our recent visit there, it was also interesting that a part of the movie was set at mauthausen concentration camp.

song of the day: quedate luna by devendra banhart.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Älgar i Österrike & adiós a un mexicano

my wonderful swedish friend lotta and her husband janne came to vienna for a few days on 27 april. we spent what was left of sunday evening together, because janne had to start sampling austrian beers and of course we had some chatting to do.

on monday we got a little sunburnt while having lunch at museumsquartier, and planned our day trip to mauthausen.

tourists in the rain:
lotta, janne, me, valerio

i had long wanted to go to mauthausen to see the former concentration camp where more than 200 000 people from all over europe were imprisoned and about half of them killed. lotta and janne were interested in seeing it, and valerio joined us for the day. janne was our driver, and i his co-driver - and i hardly ever got us lost. *g* the weather was quite horrible - rainy, windy and cold, and in a way that was appropriate.

i still cannot quite find the words to describe what it was like to be there, to walk into the cells, the gas chambers, the crematorium, to stand on the spot where countless people were shot in the neck. everybody went absolutely quiet in there, even the groups of students, and everybody seemed to want to be by themselves. i felt this pressure on my chest - and lotta described it the same way. as if breathing got somehow more difficult. as if it were a little more of an effort. a few months ago i could not have gone there, i would have panicked. even now, feeling so much better and with the medication, i felt a little claustrophobic.

yes, i cried. and i was not the only one. and in such a place, it is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. but of course, even at the actual place where these unspeakable things happened, it still remains a bit unreal. it is impossible to imagine what it must have been like. and the whole thing is so massive, it is certain pictures, details that really hit home. there was one photo in particular that i cannot get out of my head: a dead prisoner hanging upside down in barbed wire, as if caught in a wobbly backflip.

the grey grey grey of the place, the barbed wire, the rusty locks, the dirty windows, wingless flies, trapped spiders - haunting.

gas chamber, mauthausen

wall, mauthausen

lock, crematorium, mauthausen

greyness: mauthausen in the rain

for more pictures, see my mauthausen album at flickr.

* * * * *

wednesday afternoon i took lotta and janne to my beloved central cemetery, where we strolled around in the old jewish section, had a look at the church and visited the graves of famous austrians. then i rushed to the supermarket and home to get everything ready for the party at my place.

and it was a great party, so thanks to lotta, janne, valerio, birgit, babs, andi, tom, ulli, ruth, bruno, ronnie, harold, daniela, tarkin, and hillary for coming along and making the night special and helping me get rid of the beer and wine and food. ;) it was lovely to see how my friends from so many different places (united states, italy, germany, mexico, peru, sweden), who had never met before, chatted away and laughed and danced.

who's the weirdest of them all?
valerio, ronnie, hillary

having fun, are we? lotta, valerio, me

beer addicts bruno, ruth, hillary

for more party pics, follow the link to my flickr party album.

* * * * *

on thursday, i met up with my two swedes after their tour around schönbrunn. we did quite a bit of walking, visited the sphinxes at the belvedere, then had a bottle of wine and pizza at my place, before it was time to say goodbye again, as lotta and janne left on friday, and i had to work. i hope they come back soon! :)

* * * * *

friday evening i went to the kafka, and valerio joined me for the second half of the open mic. i read three of my naughtier poems towards the end. then, one last late-night walk with valerio, and an adiós to el caballero for a lot longer than just a couple of days, as he left for mexico on saturday. i *do* miss the guy.

song of the day: spooky by dusty springfield.

sex - the erotic reading II

i will be reading alongside peter waugh, evelyn holloway, sylvia petter, vicki slavuski, horst prillinger, homemade gordon banks, hillary keel, janus zeitstein and felix mendelssohn next friday. and yes, it *is* about what you think ... and i have around 10 mins to read my naughtier poems! there will also be music by martin schönlieb, sandro miori and steve gander.

"sex - the erotic reading II"
@ labfactory
praterstrasse 42, 1020 wien
16 may 2008, 20.30

do come (pun possibly intended) and bring your friends!

i have been addicted to my song of the day for a while now:

song of the day: mi vanidad by lhasa.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

life still goes on ...

yes, i am still alive. yes, i have been having a good time. no, i haven't been at home much. yes, that's perfectly alright. and yes, it means i seriously need to get you up-to-date on this blog.

i have spent today translating (websites about animal feed are generally underrated. not. *g*), editing photos, and being a little sad (not too much, caballero, don't worry) because valerio left for mexico today - he's become such a good friend that i know i will miss him a lot.

here is - finally! - a link to the lit fest pictures on flickr. enjoy.

more about the partying, lotta and janne's visit, the day trip to mauthausen concentration camp, and poetry readings - including lots of pictures - some time soon.

for now - a few pics of hillary's party last week can be found on flickr.

and today's song of the day has actually been the soundtrack of the week since tuesday:

song of the day: united states of whatever by liam lynch.