You’ll always find the most recent additions at the top of each category – my last update was 22 May 2013.
On an S-Bahn (train)/U-Bahn (subway) car:
- NEW! Another first! While the instrument was familiar (accordion) and the playing was only so-so, the musician bearing said instrument was not only completely aggressive in his demand for money (leaning over the seats of my visiting parents for a full forty or fifty seconds while pushing his plastic cup for donations practically in my poor jet-lagged father’s face — a behavior I’ve never before seen in Berlin — yet somehow still continuing to play), he also cursed at me and then gave me the finger after I gave him a firm “Nein, danke” in an attempt to get him to leave. While some of the musicians we see on the trains aren’t very “good” in a technical sense, they do follow a fairly established etiquette of moving on after just a second or so if you don’t make eye contact or start to reach for money. I suspect this (not quite a) gentleman figured we were a sure thing since we were speaking English and I was showing my parents a map of the transit system when he walked up. At least my parents now have an exciting story about their first full day in Berlin, and I now know to get up and switch cars if I ever see this particular accordionist again…
- A very talented trio whose instruments included an accordion, a violin, and — a first for me on a train — a cello! Their rendition of Johnny Cash’s I Walk the Line was fabulous and I happily added an Euro to their outstretched cup.
- Melodica with egg-shaker/amplified recorded music (My all-time least-favorite performance ever – both lazy and derivative, and the two “musicians” were part of a roving pack of similarly outfitted buskers hauling small amps on luggage carts from one subway car to the next at each stop in a clearly organized strategy to score the most amount of coins with the least amount of effort.)
- Accordion (a few too many times, but only because that’s one loud instrument in crowded quarters!)
- Spanish Guitar (only once but so beautiful – one of my favorite performances yet)
In an S-Bahn (train) or U-Bahn (subway) station:
- Country Western Guitar (once)
- Harp (only once so far, sigh)
- Classical Guitar (once)
- Blues Guitar (once)
- Electric Guitar (once)
- Accordion (a few too many times)
- Keyboard (a bunch of times)
- Violin (too many times to keep track of)
- Cello (once)
- Banjo (once)
- Flute (once)
- Saxophone (at least twice)
I should add this category while I’m at it…
Musical-y sounds I’ve heard from our apartment window:
- NEW! Car horns, from a procession passing by (a wedding, it looked like)
- Recorder, being played by either a young neighbor or a student at the Montessori school nearby (hard to tell because of the way our building echoes)
- Church Bells (daily at 8:15 am, noon and 6 pm, Sundays off and on all morning, lucky me!)
- Trumpet (almost every Tuesday, mid-morning)
- Operatic singing (just once so far, coming up through a basement-level apartment building ventilation grate)
Posted in Music I Love, Things I Love about Living in Berlin | Tagged a good reason to leave the windows open even on cold days, art lives, Berlin Loves, Hark how the bells..., music from afar, surly accordion players | 1 Comment »
Do you see what I hear?
An answer to my Tuesday morning musical mystery!
I’ll save you the suspense right now and say that none — that’s right, not a single one — of my theories was anywhere close to correct. I’ll save you even more suspense by telling you that I found the answer to my question as soon as I stepped out of our courtyard gate the following Tuesday morning. It turns out I didn’t need to walk down the block to investigate after all!
While a small part of me was disappointed that the quest I’d been anticipating all week was over mere seconds after it began, the rest of me was at first gobsmacked (how obvious!) and then delighted by the truth I at last found.
Have you guessed what I was unable to figure out on my own, even after posts like this?
Continue Reading »
Posted in Music I Love, Things I Love about Living in Berlin | Tagged a good reason to leave the windows open even on cold days, art lives, Berlin Loves, best present ever, Deutsch Epiphanien, music from afar, troubadors, who knew? | 1 Comment »
Looking for something fun to do this sunny Saturday in Berlin? Check out the Rüdi-Net LESEFEST in the Rüdesheimer Platz neighborhood in Wilmersdorf!
You can find the entire program with a list of authors and presentation topics here. I’ll be giving my talk — What an American Author Loves about Living in Berlin — at 4, 5, 6 and 7 pm in the IBZ Clubraum. A local bookseller will have books from many of the participating authors available in the Clubraum between my presentation times, and I hear there will be cake and coffee, too!
There will be are a ton of other authors speaking through the neighborhood on topics for both kids and adults, so don’t miss out…
Posted in Books I Love, Things I Love about Living in Berlin | Tagged Berlin Loves, bookishness, break time!, Tasty Treats! | Leave a Comment »
The Berlinale, Berlin’s spectacular film festival.
The Berlinale screens films ranging from traditional Hollywood blockbusters (Les Miserables, this year) to small documentaries. Tickets can be rather cumbersome to acquire – they’re only available three days in advance of each screening and the online allotments sell out in literally minutes.
Thanks to a tip from our German tutor, I ventured off to one of the three official box offices where I could compare the list of films with tickets still available against the list of films we wanted to see, then plot the possibilities on a calendar to avoid overlaps. While this entire process took more than an hour, it was an exciting hour and I left the theater with tickets to five films showing over the next few days.
The first we attended was for director Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown. Remember my post about the hardiness of German tissues? This film is what cemented my fervent admiration for these Taschentücher. I ended up needing almost an entire pocket pack of tissues thanks to the high emotions and tragic happenings in this beautifully acted film from Belgium. I suspect American tissues would have had a hard time keeping up with the multitude of my tears. Continue Reading »
Posted in Movies I Love, Things I Love about Living in Berlin | Tagged art lives, Berlin Loves, Berlinale, kino, music from afar | 1 Comment »