At the Ref Desk (1/22/20): Student came over this evening and thanked us for all the help we gave him. Nice. [more...]
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Berlin

In Berlin When the Wall Came Down

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 11/9/09 (8:57am)

I was in Berlin when the Wall came down. In fact I had been living there since 1984.

I had just woken up from an early evening nap when one of the people from the Wohngemeinschaft where I was living told me the Wall had come down.

This seemed strange since it looked perfectly intact only an hour before when I had gone to sleep.

Of course my room-mate was exaggerating. In fact, the Wall hadn't come down -- it had simply opened up. You still had to show your ID to get through. There was one or maybe two cross-points. These are important distinctions which I'll get back to in a moment but at that point it really didn't matter. I like everyone rushed out to welcome the incoming East Germans at Checkpoint Charlie, buying a bottle of Sekt (German sparkling wine) along the way.

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More Berlin Stories - Stew and 'Passing Strange' on NPR

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 8/30/09 (7:17pm)

So I'm listening to NPR's 'All Things Considered' and they start talking about an old pal of mine from my days in Berlin, Stew. The segment is called, "Wondrous 'Strange': Spike Lee Makes A Musical" and it's about how Spike Lee produced a film version of Stew's musical 'Passing Strange' which won a Tony last year (see my write-up).

The musical is about Stew's experiences growing up in L.A. and then going to Amsterdam and Berlin. Since that's when I knew him (we were in the same group called the 'Wonderful Guise'), I look forward to seeing the film. Below is the trailer.

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Anthony Millionaire

Submitted by Leo Klein on Fri, 7/4/08 (2:22am)

I caught up with old pal and former Wonderful Guise Anthony Millionaire while in LA.

Currently, he's working on a tv show for Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" based on his comic strip, "Maakies".

Old Friend Mark Stewart Up For Tony Award

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 6/15/08 (7:57pm)

Finally someone I know is famous!

In the 80's in crazy Kreuzberg, West Berlin, a bunch of us belonged to this good-time group called the 'Wonderful Guise'. Mark Stewart Stew was one of the lead musicians.

Well, Mark Stewart Stew is now up for a Tony award as "Best Musical" for his show 'Passing Strange'. According to a write-up in the Village Voice, this Bildungsroman in musical form "takes him to Amsterdam and then to Berlin, where he's indoctrinated into hardcore bohemian life."

Hardcore bohemian it was! Above is a shot from a concert we gave at the venerable SO36. Mark's on the left, followed by Enrico, Freie Freya, Art and me. Not pictured were Marek the drummer and Anthony Millionaire (of Maakies fame) who did the costumes and sets.

UPDATE: Results are in. 'In the Heights' won out over 'Passing Strangely' 'Passing Strange' for Best Musical which kind of makes sense considering the subject and location of each show. 'Passing Strangely' 'Passing Strange' did get the 'Best Book' Award which is still pretty good.

UPDATE (5/27/2013):The content of this page is available for modification and reuse under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License and the GNU Free Documentation License.

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Berlin 1987: Summer of Hönkel

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 6/3/07 (1:38pm)

With all the talk of anniversaries, I thought I'd mention the "Summer of Hönkel" which happened in West Berlin twenty years ago.

It was a hectic period of cultural ferment and turmoil. "Hönkel" -- which I think was a beer -- was supposed to represent this vast chaotic mix.

I was reminded of it most recently by this picture in Flickr. The picture is of a supermarket that went up in flames in the course of a riot on May 1 1987. My house was across the street from the supermarket.

[more after the jump...]

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