Berlin’s river design

Winter Badeschiff
It’s still cold in Berlin, although the snow showers seem to have stopped for now. That doesn’t mean it’s not time for a bracing swim in the river. Design blog Inhabitant writes about the Winter Badeschiff recreation area, created from a sunken cargo ship off the banks of the river in East Berlin, and designed by Berliner artist Suzanne Lorenz. A swimming pool is constructed at near-river level, so you appear to be swimming in the river itself. In the summer it is uncovered, but now delicate white tents cover it, glowing like ice in the evening. It’s open until midnight, with a sandy-floored bar next door.

Links: Making a big deal of Minimalism

The LA Times remembers what a shock minimalism was in academic music circles in the 1960s. The writer carried an album of Terry Riley’s “In C” into class, prompting an outburst from his Berkeley composition professor:

‘”He betrayed Berkeley,” my red-faced professor shouted. ‘He betrayed music. He betrayed Gedalge. He betrayed everything this department stands for. I will not allow that album to be brought into my classroom. This has nothing to do with Vietnam. It is about preserving civilization.'”

The article notes that 30 years later, after the shock of hearing the music is long gone, minimalism is still controversial in some ways. Orchestras hate playing it, and in the U.S., the upcoming “Minimalist Jukebox” festival put on by the Los Angeles Philharmonic is one of the first large-scale performances of the style to be staged.

Reily’s “In C” can still be heard here, as part of Public Radio’s American Mavericks series. My favorite version is by Japan’s Acid Mothers Temple, which I’m not sure if they’re following the rules laid out by Reily, but it’s psychedlic droney bliss anyway.


help me, i’m surrounded by whales

I didn’t get any pictures of the whales. But they were everywhere off the coast of Maui this weekend, more of them than there were sparrows darting and chattering in the palms above Aimee’s parents’ condo.

The whales are birthing now, we were told. Or have, recently. They spend their days showing off to each other in the straits between Maui, Lanai, and Molokai. Our first sign was a tremendous whale jumping wholly out of the water, arcing its huge body though a jump that seemed impossible, or might at least require a cannon and anti-gravity waterwings, falling back with a huge splash white against the blue water.

Then they were everywhere, a few sightings a minute. A white puff of spray as one comes to breath. A splash as another appears to beat the surface with a fin, or a tail. All day.

Turtles too. Fish in iridescent yellow and blue. Tropical Iao Valley shrouded in mist, cliffs looming  on every side, cracks in the mountain worn by trickles of water. Kameamea’s forces attacked the Mauians here, and made the streams run red with their blood. The soon-to-be king had cannons. That’s cheating, if you ask me. Just think what *I* could do with a cannon.

Hawaii is a stunningly beautiful place. Maui is domesticated, landscaped to look exactly what the pictures of Hawaii look like. That’s recursive reasoning. A way of saying I like the wildness of Kauii better; but give me another week on Maui beaches, and I sure won’t complain.