Tuesday, April 04, 2006

04.04.06 Germany: Dresden

Last night was one of our most prestigious screenings in New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It's the first big screening where I have not been present, but fortunately Steve Lerner was there to represent, along with my best girl Heather, who was planted in the audience for strategic question-asking. ("Are there DVDs available online?")

Obviously, I couldn't make it because I had my own screening to attend here in Dresden, where the contrast between East and West Germany is striking. Unlike in Munich and Nurnberg, many things here, expecially in the "New City" are dilapidated, outdated and covered with grafitti. There are many buildings that still have the uninviting, utilitarian feel of the Socialist era. In a way it kind of makes sense that this city has the most vibrant alternative youth culture of any we have visited so far.

The grayness of our surroundings is not helped by the rainy, gray skies here. Poor ol' Dresden was very hard hit in the European floods a few years back, and we arrived to encounter the results of a brand new flood just this past week. The newer part of the city is not as affected and we were able to have our screening here, but at the bridge over the Elbe River, only the tops of trees and bus stop signs were peeking out of the water.

The screening itself was small and relatively uneventful. The interesting part is the venue itself, which is another collectively-run leftist youth center like the one in Bregenz. Apparently, these centers are all over Germany and Austria, and they are pretty amazing resources with gig venues, kitchens, sleeping quarters, computers and libraries or info-centers containing political literature. This one even has a kindergartern for the young parents who helped found the center. It's the "Punk Rock Academy" that Atom and his Package always dreamed about!

We found out that at least 2 bands from the movie played here on their respective European tours (Va'adat Kishut and Soon in Here) and that made it all the more special to screen the movie at this venue. Today, we are off to Berlin and I am really excited, as I have only heard good things about this cultural capital.

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