Mommy & Me

As you may have figured from my other posts, Mama Tang came to visit me in Berlin. We traveled together (twice, to Amsterdam & Frankfurt/Wiesbaden), ate together, walked together, drank together (that was quite entertaining), slept in a hostel together, took pictures together... did lots of things together. All in all, good mother-daughter bonding.

highlights: hostel, red light, van gogh museum, canal after canal after canal. generally, i just loved just wandering around the streets at night, people watching.

Den Haag
highlights: great museusm (vermeer paintings & modern art), quaintness.

highlights: eating a home-cooked chinese meal (with some quirks, naturally), watching my mom gawk at how döners are prepared, walking down unter den linden at night, having my mom nudge me about how slow my german learning was going.

highlights: stayed with my dad's cousin Yvonne and her family (and feeling like one of five asian people in the entire city), cable car ride over rhine valley, vineyard after vineyard after vineyard, four-hour dinners over wine and apple strudel that entailed crazy stories about the tang heritage. how i heart family.

(note:I promise to post photos from dresden/prague/italy at some point...)


Ready, Able

So tonight was a special treat. Instead of spending the usual Wednesday night studying for my weekly quiz, I saw Grizzly Bear + St. Vincent at Postbanhof. The old train-station-turned-venue was (surprisingly) full. I knew Grizzly Bear had a big following, but this was jam-packed full. The I-can-smell-my-neighbor's-breath full. The amount of people that attended tonight put a smile to my face, although I could have used more room for those powerful sways I built up...

Needless to say, it was great. St. Vincent was surprising, and I appreciate her live performances so much--it captures the layers of her sound so much better than through listening to her singles. She's a one-women force-of-nature, and she's got this shy mystique to her. She didn't really say much in between songs, but just let the music do the talking for her. The lights definitely helped add to the songs, and for a couple tracks, she would fade out with the lights as fog filled the void. Like a magician, she was gone. Charming.

And Grizzly Bear... sigh. Beautiful. I caught myself closing my eyes one too many times. I just wanted to soak it all in. It wasn't a dance-till-my-feet-hurt show, but that's not what you expect from GB. One asks for mellow musings, for passion, for simple lyrics that don't make sense but somehow do... the harmonies, the melting of the voices... so lovely and eerie (jordan axt would kill me for using this word, but I really don't know how else to explain it!) Eerie because it seems so unreal. But all at once, I felt so at peace with the world. "Knife" was great, "Two Weeks" was fantastic. But I think the highlight was "Deep Blue Sea." Great song to begin with, but add voice layering to the acoustics... and I die. They played a lot of songs from Veckatimest, expected and appreciated. I like the new album, but after seeing it live, I can enjoy it more. I've been listening to Horn of Plenty a lot recently... the older stuff is so different but I love the simplicity of it all.

Fun Fact: Ed Droste apparently lived in Berlin for one year back in 2001. He whipped out some German, which was so adorable. See, this is why I need to come back to Berlin to live. Because I could start the next great... Brooklyn Band. Clearly.

I'll repost their newest music video so you can enjoy some Grizzly Bear fantasticness.


20 Years

Twenty years ago this day, I was probably lying in my crib, sucking my thumb and trying to make sense of... well, senses. I am not quite sure how a five-month-old baby's brain functions, but I want to say not too much was going on in life. Just me, with my thumb, having a good time. Oh, and maybe a stuffed animal was involved. So that made two of us in my world.

But 20 years ago today in Berlin was a whole other story, one I can only piece together from old documentaries, newspaper retrospectives, and first-hand accounts from those who have experienced it. I don't want to get too deep or sappy because this day doesn't quite hit home for me, but living here for a little over 2 months now... you are inevitably faced with the presence of what Berlin used to be. Divided. Torn. And now, rebuilding. Stronger and more refined, but the edginess and the scars are still present.

I thought it would be appropriate to pay tribute to the 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Pretty spectacular, I must say. By the Brandenburg Gate there were 1000 "Dominoes" set up along the path of where a part of the wall used to stand. Each domino was hand-painted by school children and local artists. The Domino Effect is what they were trying to get at... Berlin loves this type of stuff (refer to my last post about giant puppets roaming the city). It's cute, but then again, does it take away from the significance of the commemorated event itself?

I somehow managed to break my SD card (hot mess moment #837), but the image I reposted was better than the ones I took anyways.