Saturday, August 29, 2009

The bat in my room circled tirelessly for what seemed like hours but was really about 20-30 minutes. It was beautiful and terrifying. It was about 3:30 am. Juniper sat on the floor by the lamp, seeing if turning the light on or off would make a difference. I huddled behind in the doorway with a scarf around my head, while zoe, cloaked in a sheet did bat research on the internet.

"They are harmless," she quips from the kitchen. "They only eat insects."

Following internet instructions, we opened all the windows as wide as possible and closed the door to allow the bat some privacy to find it's way back out into the night.

I tried to not think of it snuggling up in my curtains and then deciding to fly around my head in the middle of the night, balancing compassion for the trapped animal with an uncontrollable fear brought up by wildlife penetrating my seeminly safe manufactured environment. The idea of sitting on the white leather couch, staring out the beautiful large windows into the courtyard with the crumbling empty building across the courtyard suddenly equated to sitting naked in a dark cave.

The bat left a few minutes later and I laid my tired head of of hair smelling of stale smoke on my pillow to sleep with the windows closed.

Yesterday was a real budapest day. This meant that outside of our rehearsing at Florian and hanging out at our house we went out and did something with other people. After a late night dinner and espresso, we loaded onto the tram and crossed over to Buda for a glimpse of the local nightlife on the river. Judit met us at A38 where she had a friend DJing at this party that again had an amazing english description:

"The best music DJs félóraikban put one after the other: warm-up hip-hop discs stick, Johnny Drama, and DJ Holwan Cadik ládáiból, get a lesson in funk DJ Shuriken university professor, and then after végigriszáltunk every corner of the disco music, dawn of the Colombian Cumbia, Dermot farmers szeletelhetünk favorites house half hour, during surprise: screened of spent bulbs, accompanied by a saxophone Vázsonyi John MC mikrofonozik JZA The Magnificent, and his only dance well esik.A entering Euro 1000, of which HUF 500 megiható, arriving there in the real mustache and the entrance is free."

Surprisingly, there were not many mustaches. There was, howerver, a really terrible band that played at the end fusing rock with reggaeton and bad white rappers.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

This always happens. High hopes of blogging overruled by how audacious it seems to spend any time on a computer or getting lost in the world wide web instead of narrow old streets, tiny cafes and ornate buildings. But alas, it's day 8 of the z |j Trafo residency and some things should be documented.

Here is the basic architecture of the Crack in Everything Set. Because we are spending so much time working everyday, things progress pretty fast in the creative process and by day four Juniper was filming the new phrases we've been working on with Zoe and I in the buck (no pictures here suckahs!). Projected back on to the white marley, we look like little frogs scittering about and zoe now refers to that section as the tadpole section. Aside from frogger, we've tried a dozen iterations of a few different ideas filmed in various stages of being costumed. Phrases that accumulate, phrases from Old Girl, and ideas that have no phrasing yet. The days have been long and exhausting, even though we are surrounded by nothing but inspiration and take breaks to walk over ancient bridges and soak in thermal baths.

The day after Independence Day (August 20), we went to the Gellert Baths and it was quite literally like bathing in a intricately tiled cathedral. The swimming pool looks like something out of greek mythology, a ceilingless hall with classical columns and huge potted palms and lots of cherub little cupids running around. There was definitely something in the water that took the pain away beside the heat.

Zoe and I both have had two massages from a masseuse that works out of the basement of a hair salon. Bence puts the radio on the smooth jazz station while he works and about the time I was trying to figure out the first language of the woman doing a smooth jazz cover of "holiday," he was digging into my trapezeus muscle, like no one ever has. This little upper back shell is something that my mom and I both have and I wonder what it would be like to lose it. Would I be more like an owl and less like a turtle/teddybear?

Anyway, after the massage, I walked down the street to a cafe zoe recommended and when there were no seats I asked the loud british guy if I could sit at his table. I realized quickly that writing with english being spoken around me was going to be much harder than the lilting hungarian background noise that I've become accustomed to when I'm outside of Trafo.

It then became apparent that this guy was an actor, an actor on TV and I couldn't help but be intrigued and want to figure out who he was. I tried very hard to block it out and keep writing, but his personality was taking up more space than existed in the tiny cafe and I succombed to the game of pretending to be doing something else while trying to figure out who he was. Nothing he was talking about rung a bell until he mentioned being the John Adams HBO series (yes, I'm enough of a history geek to have voluntarily rented this) and I could finally see his face framed by a wig. Rufus Sewell, is his name. And he's very photogenic. In person, his face is broad and blue eyes look a little crazy. Hunger and my internal moral compass that tells me to not pay more attention to famous people than to anyone else, made me stand up and walk out of the cafe to find some food and a few extra shirts to sweat through everyday.

Back at the Fiktiv Pub on Krudy, the cafe right outside our apartment building that sometimes serves salmon (!!), I just had a pork burger and am now trying to block out what appears to be an entire karaoke sing along to the Mama Mia soundtrack at the pizza place next store. More english.

Two nights ago after blistering heat for days, thunderheads gathered and let loose on budapest, like a high pressure shower on the city washing away the holiday's garbage, the smell of pee in the subway gutters but tonight its back to outdoor living, with no memory of their being anything that could keep people from dining on the street.

After 8 days of dance/video brainstorming, we'll move out of the theater and to a rehearsal studio across town, adding a daily subway commute to our already seemingly settled experience of having jobs and a place to live. I definitely feel like I instantaneously set up a different life here.

I love the individuality in style in Budapest. I love the sound of hungarians speaking hungarian and hungarians speaking english (hearing my hungarian friend Zolee's accent come back to haunt me every time a man says hello). I love buying fresh bread and cheese to eat everyday and zooming past all the buildings that are painted orange on my way to rehearsal (is it some sort of communist throwback. I wonder). That said, I think I have to peace out from the sound of "papa don't preach" being sung from some very cute hungarian ladies underneath me.

Oh! On the holiday, zoe, juniper, and I were invited by Judit to go to a party at a club with this description:

Tarantino film latest demonstration of the strange raffle prize Ashram became a national holiday (mustbeat) electronics, hiphop, soundtrack, bootiebass, electrobreaks, audio. The window view of the street fighting, but during the night, and convince them of the importance of peace, we will dance together in the early hours of Stephen King, DJ Amotz (ISR) by remixére.

sounds fun, I think.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Budapest Day 4.
Z | J got here late Saturday night and Sunday morning we were up and off to Trafo Arts Center by 10 am to meet everyone, have production meetings and talk about scheduling. What ensued for the next 8 hours was like a crash course in communication and work styles. From what I could tell people would stand around for while all talking at the same time, switching subjects, saying we were not going to talk about something and then talk about it anyway, and then at some point something would happen and the meeting would be over.

Zoe and Juniper's main contact at Trafo is Judit. Judit has nerves of steel and is taking care of everyone and everything. We spent a couple hours walking around with her as she tried to help us find a supermarket open on Sunday before retuning to Trafo for more "meetings."

At 6pm we were able to get on the stage to dance and zoe and I spent the next four hours trying to break through the travel-induced lethargy to access the dancing body. After my strung out four days, that fact that i was a dancer seemed like ancient history. At 9:30pm we decided to try shaking for 25 minutes. At 10:00 we tried to shake just in our rib cage, trying to figure out how to initiate shaking from our solar plexis and this made me gag, and zoe threw up. We called it a day and went home to eat more bread and cheese, inadvertantly locking ourselves in the apartment (pinko locks!)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

First thing--the site of ancient bikes crowding one another on railings always makes me feel a little dizzy with joy. Holland charms me everytime.

Second thing--there is no pandora in Europe. there are licensing problems or something.

Pleased to have pirated an internet connection in the apt in Budapest so that I might stream some music, it turns out I can't. I do have my iPod but putting in my ear buds seems like a extreme way to shut out the experience of being somewhere new. So for now it's the clacking on the keyboard echoing through the empty rooms, the faint conversations in hungarian at the cafe below my window, and someone's very loud phone with a shrill that pieces the silence of the dark courtyard. There is something, I don't know what yet, that is very eastern european, post-communist about it.

But its funny how comforting the internet connection itself is though. Zoe and Juniper aren't here yet and in a country where I have yet to learn hello, goodbye, please (and I just learned thank you. . ."kozonam"), once I was able to get online, I felt more at ease, like I had a bunch of friends around or within grasp.

I woke up at about 2pm today. I slept more than 12 hours after not sleeping at all for two days and barely sleeping in the last four days besides a 30 minute nap in vondel park in Amsterdam (ps there is a homeless population in tolerant/benevolent Amsterdam, we were all sleeping on the bank of the duck pond together) on my day layover there.

When I made it to Dam Square on my 4 hour meander through town, things started to get really strange in my head. I felt my grasp on reality slipping and started to think about how weird it is that everyone sleeps at night for certain number of prescribed hours and eats at certain intervals. Was it really necessary? What if we didn't need to? What if it was some sort of conspiracy to make us spend half of our precious lives with our eyes closed or distracted by gestation. I mean, here I was in Amsterdam, functioning properly, able to make my legs move one in front of the other and discern street signs and bad deals on shoes, and I was only a little bit off. I put my head in my hands for a few minutes, looked up blinking in disbelief at my surroundings and decided I should keep myself moving, trying to stay ahead of this train of thought.

At 2pm in Budapest the next day, my body finally accepted that it was in fact daytime and I should be up and about (thanks to the stumptown and french press I brought across the globe with me --I'm not ashamed to admit it!) I talked myself out of staying inside all day just because I was a silly american tourist that couldn't communicate with anyone and I wasn't sure if I knew exactly how to get in and out of the apartment building. I needed cream for the coffee, so I went out looking for a supermarket, which was literally about 20 steps from my front door, and ran into this (baroque?) theater.

And tomorrow. . . dancing at Trafo shall ensue.