Thursday, January 26, 2006


Here I am. A first time blogger... feeling way way behind and a little unsure of myself.
The idea here was to track the current tour that Nilan and I are on: Dance Roads 2006 to Montreal, Berlin, Ljubljana, Luxembourg, and Cardiff.
As many of you know, we have been on the road for over two weeks already and I am now sitting in a cyber cafe in beautiful Ljubljana. I have received a couple of irrate e-mails from people who have been wanting to hear from me sooner here, so I will try to catch us up.
But because it's foremost on my mind, I will begin with where we are now.
We arrived in Ljubljana yesterday morning, learned how to say "please" (prosim) and thank you (hwvala) - probably not how either of these two things are actually spelled, changed our relatively small per diems from euros to Tollars ( 1 euro is equal to 250 tollars - so i am currently loaded, and spend thousands at the drop of a hat), and drove to our hostel which is part of a big anarchist sqat compound called Metalkova.
I almost forgot to mention that part of what makes Ljubljana so beautiful is that it is set in the midst of snow-capped mountains.... memories of the Canadian rockies and Lijang in China. Will definitely be hitting the mountains on our day off... going up to Lake Bled... how can you not love it?
It is also very cold here.... as in Berlin... arctic weather off the Russian Steppes is pursuing us on our journey, even beginning with the last two days in Montreal.
Anyway, I digress...
The hostel we are staying in is quite incredible. It is an old prison and each of the rooms has an inner door of prison cell bars and is also designed uniquely by an artist.
Swaped with Gareth and Meg (our Welsh contingent) because it felt a bit small for Ga.... although really all the cells are quite small. The swap was perfect for me because I was coveting their room from the moment I first saw it.
Painted blue like underwater
Bodies floating amoungst bits of paper maché and bits of sparkly glass
rays of blue and white glass tear drops inlaid in to the window frame that catch the sun's light
Leonard Cohen's "tower of song" swimming across the walls
and best of all....
a circular loft bed above with circular duvet, sheets and pillows to go along with..... truly a dream!
Of course these art-piece cells are missing some very basic comforts, like shelves, closet space, and sound proofing.... but I really don't mind.
And there's even a small mediation room at the end of the hall, with wood sitting blocks and shrine pieces for all the major religions.
Wandered the cobbled streets last night with our touring family that becomes a stronger unit daily. Pink sky reflecting on the facades of ornate old buildings. Ate at a true Slovenian-cuisine restaurant.... They are really into game meat here. In fact there's a whole section.... will have to go back for their mixed platter of wild boar, stag steak, venison and maharat-cherry sauce.
Supposed to be in the theatre today... a little delayed. Our dear Johnny (tech director) is dealing with a crew of stage techs who hadn't looked at any of our materials/requests ( so no lights up when we got there this morning) and also each of them has a specific job dealing with just one element and no one can trespass into another's job. John looked a little hairied when I left him and will need much kindness this evening, I think.

On a personal note, I am finding touring a strange world to adjust to, although now that the jet-lag has passed, I am finding my feet in it. It's like constantly being in transition. A truly liminal world, making it extremely challenging to keep any sense of focus on my other continuing reality at home. At first I found this unbearably frustrating and there were some "who am I? I'm so lost. I don't even know how to use a fucking phone. Oh wo is me... weep weep weep...." moments. I am flowing with it much better now. And as a group I think we are figuring out how to be both part of a unit and individuals.... breathing in and out of each other, laughing hysterically and singing and drinking into the wee hours and then retreating into quiet bubbles as we trundle through unfamiliar city streets together.

And there has been a lot of trundling through the streets.
I am now moving backwards to last week, in Berlin.
Quite a roller-coaster of an experience..... what became a predictably unpredictable unstructured structure.
And I would be lying not to say that there wasn't everyone's fair share of frustration and disapointment.... but.....
Let me go back to the beginning...
First off.... no show in Berlin. Frederike and I tried to get us something, somewhere informal, but it was far too late... though it was lovely to meet some of the people in small venues who weren't able to help us... this time. Also, one just can't predict how hard it's going to be to get what one would consider to be the simplest thing done in one's own city when in an unfamiliar city while jet-lagged. You kind of have to succumb to being like a child with no real influence on the world around you..... I had some very desperate encounters with my extremely strong-willed inner controle freak. As with anything, I eventually learn to let go into the chaos and then my sense of humour can kick in.... thank buddha for meditation and suzuki roshi for "zen mind, beginner mind"... not to mention my dear and faithful ally and friend Nilan.

Alright, back to the account...
So, we were all set up for a workshop with Daniel Belasco.... a visual/performance artist who works with GPS systems and who was going to lead us into the world of mapping (mapping our journeys through Berlin, through our memories, through our minds) as a starting point for creation.
And as fate would have it, on our first journey out into untypically snowy/icy Berlin, Daniel fell and broke his ankle and was in the hospital for the rest of our time, sending us letters when he could.
This event, this accident, the state of accident in general, became the theme for our time:

Accidents are frustrating, unpredictable, jarring, uncomfortable, but they drop you into the present in the most immediate way and they inevitably lead to the new, and ultimately this is good..... though I think it will still take me a couple of months on home turf to absorb and understand all the layers of this experience.

So we continued, and where we could we took the creative ball into our own hands. We met Heimo Lattner (one of the handful of artists that Daniel had wanted us to meet on our journeys) and he became our new guide for part of the time ( the other part of the time Heimo was busy expecting his first child at any moment).

As a little aside, if anyone of you reading this is in touch with Darren O'Donnel (or, Darren, if you are reading this) please tell him to check out the web-site for Heimo's main project of several years: I think there are some really interesting similarities with "Diplomatic Immunities" and plus Heimo is a fascinating and intelligent artist to get to know.

Alright, so Heimo, who bless his soul has a slightly warped interpretation of time and distance, lead us off daily through the sub-zero streets of Berlin past bits of the wall, no-man's land, artist squats, pointing out things and stories you would simply pass-by unawares without the very dry-humoured hand of a local artist.

To be honest, the cold often felt like torture, especially when just another 15 minutes turned into an hour, and there was more than one day when I couldn't move my fingers to lock the bathroom stall when we had finally arrived at a warm destination. But every evening ended in a cozy setting full of good food and lots of beer. And as we travelled through all of this, vascillating between fascination and bitching we actually became a group. And I think it became really apparent to us, just how much creativity is available and brewing between us.

ok. I have more to say (who knew), but I need to go back to the theatre to see if they have actually hung the lights enough to do a bit of something.

I promise to come back sooner.
To all those I love, you know who you are, I love and miss you.
To all those I haven't yet met, I hope this is all vaguely interesting or enlightening, and if not, well there are many other things of interest on the internet.

be you, it's always best