Eight Days a Week

I have 8 days left in Dessau, maybe less if I leave for Berlin over the weekend to see it before my train leaves from there. :( I don’t want to go… I feel like being dragged kicking and screaming away from here! As Abe pointed out though, all good things must come to an end.

Friday night I went to see Marquis de Sade with Janine and Micha. The three-act show was performed at three different stages set up around an old coal factory about half an hour from here. The setting was amazing, with pipes, bars, and catwalks everywhere, and it wasn’t just a set constructed for the show, which made it infinitely cooler. Although there was some minimal talking (in digitized and highly distorted German), the show was mostly ballet-ish dance. The first act was staged vertically along a wall across from the seating, and reminded me of the Cell Block Tango from “Chicago” (in fact, the whole show’s art direction and dance style was similar to Cell Block Tango), albeit much more disturbing. The second was staged more traditionally but still in the round, on a regular stage with lots of candles around the edge. The third was staged with three different sets around the audience, with dance going on in the aisles between us as well.

I think if I’m sitting in an aisle seat, I have to start expecting performers to start interacting with me… at least this time it was just dancers coming and staring at me from six inches away, instead of getting slapped in the face with a wurst like at Viel Lärm um Nichts… The first two were weird, but the third act was where I thought it actually got sick. Between the acts, mutes in black and white leather with riding crops chivvied us along and brandished their riding crops if we looked like we were having fun. Despite their manner, I think they were enjoying it. :P The music was well done for the most part, sort of what you might get if Radiohead wrote a Requiem. The whole thing was awesome, very well done. The art direction was great, it seemed like a really inspired piece.

 

Saturday I went to Dresden with Janine’s mom, and once again it was a chilly gray day like when we went to Potsdam. I also forgot to switch my camera back to autofocus after working in the studio on Friday, so half the pictures I took were horribly out of focus. By the end of the day it warmed up a little and there were some limited patches of blue sky peeking through the clouds.

We showed up early and snagged tickets for the very-limited-access Green Vault, where treasures collected by rulers of Dresden were on display. It was incredibly impressive. Entire rooms devoted to works made from amber, mother of pearl, ivory, rock crystal… the list goes on. It was a little ridiculous that people had the resources for all these decorative goblets and chests and things.

After that we went to an art gallery and spent most of the afternoon there. I liked the artist they were featuring, Carl Gustav Carus of Leipzig, a lot. Although I didn’t really take the time to look at the written materials they had on display in addition to the art, it seems he was quite the renaissance man. His work reminded me some of Hudson River School style Romanticism paintings, only without the American Expansionist message and more intimate, rather than so grand. I’d say he’s probably one of my favorite artists now…

The Old Masters Gallery’s pride piece is the Sistine Madonna painting with the two cherubs looking up at her from the bottom, by Rafael, which we saw, and then we bugged out… it was a long day with lots of art, and we wanted to make sure we got to the Frauenkirche before we left Dresden.

The Frauenkirche was beautiful. I was terribly disappointed there was no photography allowed in the house of God… maybe they were worried we’d catch him showering or something. I think it’s an amazing testament to the human race that people from all over the world sent money to rebuild it after it collapsed in the firebombing of Dresden. The incredible altar made me understand better how a tiny mystery cult was able to grow into such a powerful organization capable of fueling countless undertakings and inspiring great works. It truly earned the title of a house of God.

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