Archives for the month of: October, 2011

I always find this view of the Deutsches Technikmuseum fascinating. 

I always find this view of the Deutsches Technikmuseum fascinating. 


It’s Halloween time and here are 13 of my favorite scary movies:

Alien (1979)
Ridley Scott directed this sci-fi and horror classic about a spacecraft crew dealing with an alien invader. The scene with John Hurt is unforgettable!
The Birds (1963)
Although the special effects are dated, this Alfred Hitchcock movie, based on a Daphne Du Maurier short story, is timeless. It’s Tippi Hedren versus the Birds. You can still visit the school house (located near Bodega Bay, Ca.) that was used in the movie. It’s a private residence, but there are tours.
Carrie (1976)
I literally jumped out of my seat during the final scene! Piper Laurie as Carrie’s mother gives a near perfect performance as an Evangelical Christian you don’t want to cross paths with. Brian De Palma at his best. 
Dressed to Kill (1980)
Brian De Palma’s cautionary tale about the dangers of causal sex in the pre-AIDS era. Surprisingly prescient. Angie Dickinson doesn’t have a line of dialogue during the museum scene, but her eyes convey fear, lust, and sexuality! She is the only actress who could have played this part.
The Exorcist (1973)
A controversial film with stomach-turning visual effects: a twisting head, spinning bed, and green vomit. A tormented priest tries to exorcise the devil from 12-year old Linda Blair.
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Glenn Close is SCARY! Extra-marital affairs do have consequences.
The Innocents (1961)
Based on the Henry James novella, The Turn of the Screw, this movie is either a psychological study about Victorian repression or a ghost story. It’s never clear.
The Omen (1976)
Damien is cute and evil; but for my money, Billie Whitelaw steals the show as the nanny, Mrs. Baylock.
The Orphanage (aka El Orfanato) (Spain, 2007)
A terrific movie from Spain. It stars Belen Reuda and Fernando Cayo. A child disappears. What’s a mother do to?
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Roman Polanski’s movie about witchcraft in NYC. It stars Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes and the chilling Ruth Gordon.
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
I love Anthony Hopkins’s line: “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. [Hisses]
Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
A bed-ridden women (Barbara Stanwyck) overhears a plot for murder on her party line (remember what that was). A film noir classic with Burt Lancaster. Turn off the lights and enjoy this thriller.
The Vanishing (aka Spoorloos) (The Netherlands, 1988)
A woman vanishes without a trace. Surprisingly, this happens everyday. A cerebral mystery. The American remake was terrible.
At the entrance of some buildings in Berlin are small cobblestone memorials. These markers or “Stolpersteine” (The German word for “stumbling block” or “obstacle”) commemorate victims of the Nazi Holocaust who onced lived in these dwellings. Most of these memorials commemorate Jewish victims, but some Stolpersteine also honor gypsies, homosexuals, members of the Communist party, resistance fighters, and the mentally disabled.


This Stolperstein reads,
“Here lived Arthur Rosenow, Born
1894, Deported 1943, Murdered in Auschwitz.”
Some owners of the memorialize buildings have objected to these daily reminders of Germany’s dark past because of depreciation concerns. However, the vast majority of people approve of the Stolpersteine. In fact, Berlin has three full-time municipal employees responsible for them.  

In some respects, I find these small markers more poignant than the impressive Holocaust Memorial near the Brandenburger Tor. They’re more personal, less grandiose. 
At the entrance of some buildings in Berlin are small cobblestone memorials. These markers or “Stolpersteine” (The German word for “stumbling block” or “obstacle”) commemorate victims of the Nazi Holocaust who onced lived in these dwellings. Most of these memorials commemorate Jewish victims, but some Stolpersteine also honor gypsies, homosexuals, members of the Communist party, resistance fighters, and the mentally disabled.


This Stolperstein reads,
“Here lived Arthur Rosenow, Born
1894, Deported 1943, Murdered in Auschwitz.”
Some owners of the memorialize buildings have objected to these daily reminders of Germany’s dark past because of depreciation concerns. However, the vast majority of people approve of the Stolpersteine. In fact, Berlin has three full-time municipal employees responsible for them.  

In some respects, I find these small markers more poignant than the impressive Holocaust Memorial near the Brandenburger Tor. They’re more personal, less grandiose. 
Primo Maggio ist ein Juwel in Sachen Kaffeekultur. Im Primo Maggio ist der Feinschmecker dagegen gut aufgehoben. Auch sehr lecker sind die vielen kleinen Köstlichkeiten– Pannini, Kuchen, Croissants, und Kekse. Wer es deftiger mag, hat auf der aktuellen Tageskarte eine solide Auswahl von 5 bis 10 Gerichten. Das Frühstück ist sehr italienisch geprägt. Die Preise sind super. Hier gibt es es den Cappuccino noch für 1,80 Euro.


Die Bohne wird einer kleinen Privatrösterei in Neapel gefertigt und direkt ins Primo Maggio geschickt. Authentische Zubereitung und Fachwissen der beiden Inhaber lassen den Kaffee genau so schmecken, wie man aus Italien gewöhnt ist.



Ever since my favorite cafe, Il Barista, closed, I’ve been trying to find a good cafe near my apartment. I’m picky, and it takes a lot to satisfy my high coffee standards. The Double Eye in Schöneberg is wonderful, but it’s across town and there‘s no indoor seating. An acquaintance, recommended Primo Maggio, a cafe in Kreuzberg.

Primo Maggio is a jewel. This is coffee brewed the Italian way. It‘s rich and savory. The beans come directly from a small private roaster in Nepal, and the result is a unique type of coffee that keeps you buzzing all day. Primo Maggio also has a great assortment of cakes, panninis, croissants, and cookies. The owners are warm, and the customers are a blend of young professionals, students and retired hippy types. Sitting inside Primo Maggio is like being in Italy.



Primo Maggio ist ein Juwel in Sachen Kaffeekultur. Im Primo Maggio ist der Feinschmecker dagegen gut aufgehoben. Auch sehr lecker sind die vielen kleinen Köstlichkeiten– Pannini, Kuchen, Croissants, und Kekse. Wer es deftiger mag, hat auf der aktuellen Tageskarte eine solide Auswahl von 5 bis 10 Gerichten. Das Frühstück ist sehr italienisch geprägt. Die Preise sind super. Hier gibt es es den Cappuccino noch für 1,80 Euro.


Die Bohne wird einer kleinen Privatrösterei in Neapel gefertigt und direkt ins Primo Maggio geschickt. Authentische Zubereitung und Fachwissen der beiden Inhaber lassen den Kaffee genau so schmecken, wie man aus Italien gewöhnt ist.



Ever since my favorite cafe, Il Barista, closed, I’ve been trying to find a good cafe near my apartment. I’m picky, and it takes a lot to satisfy my high coffee standards. The Double Eye in Schöneberg is wonderful, but it’s across town and there‘s no indoor seating. An acquaintance, recommended Primo Maggio, a cafe in Kreuzberg.

Primo Maggio is a jewel. This is coffee brewed the Italian way. It‘s rich and savory. The beans come directly from a small private roaster in Nepal, and the result is a unique type of coffee that keeps you buzzing all day. Primo Maggio also has a great assortment of cakes, panninis, croissants, and cookies. The owners are warm, and the customers are a blend of young professionals, students and retired hippy types. Sitting inside Primo Maggio is like being in Italy.



For the past month, I’ve noticed what appears to be a large red cargo container located near the U-Bahn Hallesches Tor with the words “Route der Migration” (Route of Migration) printed on its side. This bright red box is a Gedächtnisbox (Memory Box). There are four of these red boxes located throughout Berlin (Ostbahnhof, am Oranienplatz, Hallesches Tor, und Tempelhofer Damm). 


These boxes are part of a small exhibition concerning immigration to Berlin. Each container tells a specific story. For example, at the Ostbahnhof (Eastern Train Station), early 20th century Jewish immigration is chronicled. There are exhibits and stories of people fleeing Tsarist Russia and coming to Berlin where they faced the hurdles of integration. Likewise, at the Hallesches Tor location, Yugoslav civil war refugees from the 1990s recount the problems they faced in dealing with German bureaucracy and discrimination. 


The “container” was selected as the medium to tell these stories partly because it symbolizes globalization, and partly because it plays an important role in illegal immigration worldwide as people squeeze into boxes and containers seeking a better life. The exhibition is part of a national effort at understanding the complexities of migration and the consequences of legal and illegal immigration.  


Immigration is a hot topic in Germany with opinions coming from those seeing it as a necessity for a robust economy to those seeing it as harmful to cultural identity. However, unlike the USA, where migration is viewed negatively, and where the discussion is punitive in nature, Germany sees migration as a multifaceted subject with no simple answers. When I read how the U.S. State of Alabama is seeking to deny basic education to its migrant children, I wonder if the Statute of Liberty is located in the right country.

For the past month, I’ve noticed what appears to be a large red cargo container located near the U-Bahn Hallesches Tor with the words “Route der Migration” (Route of Migration) printed on its side. This bright red box is a Gedächtnisbox (Memory Box). There are four of these red boxes located throughout Berlin (Ostbahnhof, am Oranienplatz, Hallesches Tor, und Tempelhofer Damm). 


These boxes are part of a small exhibition concerning immigration to Berlin. Each container tells a specific story. For example, at the Ostbahnhof (Eastern Train Station), early 20th century Jewish immigration is chronicled. There are exhibits and stories of people fleeing Tsarist Russia and coming to Berlin where they faced the hurdles of integration. Likewise, at the Hallesches Tor location, Yugoslav civil war refugees from the 1990s recount the problems they faced in dealing with German bureaucracy and discrimination. 


The “container” was selected as the medium to tell these stories partly because it symbolizes globalization, and partly because it plays an important role in illegal immigration worldwide as people squeeze into boxes and containers seeking a better life. The exhibition is part of a national effort at understanding the complexities of migration and the consequences of legal and illegal immigration.  


Immigration is a hot topic in Germany with opinions coming from those seeing it as a necessity for a robust economy to those seeing it as harmful to cultural identity. However, unlike the USA, where migration is viewed negatively, and where the discussion is punitive in nature, Germany sees migration as a multifaceted subject with no simple answers. When I read how the U.S. State of Alabama is seeking to deny basic education to its migrant children, I wonder if the Statute of Liberty is located in the right country.

Brandenburger Tor

Every October Berlin illuminates its prominent buildings during the Festival of Lights. At night Berlin takes on an entirely different character as the city is transformed into a massive work of art. For 12 nights a year, you forget the dirt and grime of the city. Berlin seems almost beautiful.

“Faces” at Posdamer Platz
Berliner Dom
(Chameleon Facade) 

There’s a party atmosphere along the streets as scores of people are taking photos and commenting on the lighting effects. This year the work of Teresa May was impressive. She has transformed the staid 19th century Berliner Dom into a sort of reptilian chameleon. Equally impressive was the “Faces” installation that projects a series of changing faces. Even the illuminated trees along Unter den Linden (one of Berlin’s major streets) become magical. No wonder this event attracts 300,000 visitors. It has something for every artist taste: Kitsch to High Art. 

Unter den Linden
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin