Ladies and gentlemen, I am hurting!! My muscles are PISSED. Partially because of the workout I mentioned in my last blog post, and partly because of what I’ll get to in a minute.
But first, VoKü! I decided to go on a little adventure. While researching artists squats (having found out from Henriecke that this building used to be one back in the early 80′s) I stumbled across information on Volksküche, called VoKü for short (also called VolxKüche for what I can only assume are reasons of badassedness). So some squats and other alternative-type places have, due seemingly to their anarchistic or socialist ideologies, dinners where anyone can come and pay a pittance for a hot meal, usually vegetarian or vegan. Like, 2 Euros. And the beer is cheap, too (my Berliner was 1,50). Anyways, it sounded like a fun adventure, so I determined to try it, and Monday I had the night off anyways. I asked a friend along but he was busy, so I had to go by myself.
Basically there are a lot of different VoKüs at different places in the city, all on different days and times. I went to the one that had one every weeknight, instead of just once a week, as I figured it would be better organized and stuff. The place was called Sama Cafe, and as you can see from the website, it has not just VoKü, but also free Fussball. It was, as most hip things are, wayyyyy out in the East. But easier to get to than some of this other East Berlin stuff I’ve been doing.
So, the bar was a very punk-rock looking place, like so many of these places in Berlin. You know, ridiculous amounts of flyers and graffiti and stuff. Inside was dark with a really really high bar that if you stood next to it made you feel 10 years old again. Off to the side was a really nice room where they have events. There were a few people at the bar (you could never really tell who was working there and who was a customer- I feel like everybody in the room was behind the bar at some point), and they asked if I wanted a drink, and I asked about the dinner, and they pointed me towards it. I introduced myself to the cook, a girl about my age sitting in the kitchen reading a book next to a pot of some sort of Indian food type of thing. So she explained to me what was up, dinner would be ready in 5 minutes, she’d tell us when, so I went back to the bar to have a drink.
Berliners are, I’m finding, very like Parisians in their closed little circles. They are not as rude, but they are also slow to welcome strangers. Even as a beautiful girl alone at a quiet bar I have to make an effort to not be ignored (or at least not be ignored by everyone except sleezeholes). So I did, I talked to the bartender and the other patrons.
The food was not bad, it was a vegan polenta and it was filling and warm, a good veggie meal. I ate in the corner where the lunch tables were, where you’re supposed to eat, but I was the only one- most other diners found a spot at the bar, and the teens playing Fussball in the room basically ignored me (they looked like they were having a killer time, though). I ate quickly and went back to the bar, talked to some more people. They were playing obscure European metal from last.fm, including a band with bagpipes. They were having movie night in the big side room, where they were to be showing episodes 4-6 of a former East German TV show from 1980. I was actually pretty intensely curious to see it, especially after my visit to the DDR Museum, but it was getting late and I lived so far, I didn’t want to get sucked in. So I headed home after all. But that was my VoKü adventure, I recommend you try it- it’s edgy in that you don’t really know what kind of place you’re going to end up in or how things are going to work, but it’s a harmless and yummy little outing.
Yesterday I had my first aerial silks class in Germany. As you know, it’s a hobby of mine from NY. I had gotten in contact with a girl I was going to train with, but she was out of town the first week, and preparing for a show this week, and I wanted to find a way to get started on my own. I decided that if I was going by myself, I’d be better off in a class than in an open workout, which is what it seems most people here just do. So, I found a place with a class schedule online.
(PS I didn’t have time to finish this last night so now it’s the next night, so please push everything so far back 1 day, and also I am not as sore anymore.)
The website for the institution- which is called Vüsch which is the most brilliant name ever because it stands for something along the lines of “Institute for the Overcoming of Gravity” and also sounds a lot like “Whoosh!”- had email addresses and phone numbers for the teachers of each class, so I wrote the lady who had a silks (called “Tuch” or “Vertikaltuch” for long) class the next day (there were only two silks classes a week) to explain my situation and ask if I could take part in class, but she never wrote back. So I decided to just show up.
The place was freaking impossible to find; I had to ask directions more than once. It was in one of these sort of complexes they seem to have out East where there is one entrance gate for like a half-dozen freaking little barnhouse-like buildings, good luck figuring out which one is yours. But I did stumble upon it, and managed to find out who the teacher was, and she said yes I could be in her class.
I didn’t have a watch on but it seems to have started late, and for warm-ups we played tag, except instead of just running, whoever was it had to pick a different movement, like crab walking or skipping. It was kind of annoying but it definitely did get the whole body warmed up and was more interesting than running in circles or doing jumping jacks (I hate jumping jacks, they are just bullshit exercise teachers make you do when they have no better ideas but want to keep your cardio up). Then we did some pretty normal stretching.
The weird thing is that we then did a strength training exercise, which is not usually what you do at the beginning of silks class, it’s usually what you do at the end. Because you need all your strength to actually do silks. As opposed to a regular dance class, where you could do all your working out at the beginning because you don’t need too much brute force to do a floor routine. But you do to do aerial acrobatics. Anyways the exercise was a simple one, one my training partner had shown me and I tried it once and was like “I don’t need to do this exercise, I can already do this kind of movement well,” but anyways it was class so I did it. The first thing I noticed was that I was way stronger than the other students. Wayyy stronger. Like I didn’t even see anyone else in class who could invert with their legs straight, let alone over and over (which is kind of what the exercise was). So anyways I kind of did an excessive amount of reps- equal parts self-discipline and showing off, I guess- and was wiped out for the rest of class. I mean, I still participated fully, but I was like shaking the whole time. For the record, I wasn’t the best aerialist in the class, there were a few people who knew what they were doing better than me- it was just the strength thing.
Oddly, the first move we worked on were windmills, which are exactly what I needed to be working on. As I had not really learned them in my earlier education as an aerialist, and had only learned how to do them for the first time in my last training before I left for Germany. So it was a great thing to work on and I feel like I made some progress, though would have done better with some individual attention- the class was big and the teacher couldn’t spend much time watching each of us, there were like 5 silks going at once and a lot of the students were beginners (who were not working on windmills).
The teacher spoke good English and apparently I wasn’t the only person in the class whose German was on shakey ground, because she went into English quite a few times. When I told her I was from New York she asked if I had trained at Streb (not so much but most people in NY have at some point), so I wonder if she had ever trained there herself, as she seemed to know the English names for everything.
After windmills we did hip keys, which I know how to do very solidly, so showed off by doing a salto every time. The teacher then tried to show us some other move we could do from a hip key but I must admit I didn’t really get it. My classmates were telling me I was doing it right but it didn’t feel stable to me so I never really got it down.
We did some other small things but that was basically it. Anyways between my hard workout the previous day and this one, I was completely spent. I had really overdone it. I was in so much pain the next day I had to go to the Apotheke and get some ibuprofin, and I still spent much of the day lying in bed not wanting to move. Today I was still badly sore in a few places but not nearly as bad as yesterday. But I’m going to Paris tomorrow, and then Köln, so I’m looking forward to a few days of not working out at all besides long (knowing me, potentially very long) walks.
Love to all!
A little distraction for us all as I get ready for my big trip to Germany–
As many people know I do/did aerial silks; I trained for a couple years, stopped because I needed shoulder surgery (partially related to silks, partially to other extreme sports), started again, stopped because I was plum broke and couldn’t afford classes, and then started again, this time just training with a friend. I’m trying to re-learn everything I had learned over the last several years, and eventually get back into a class I can afford without having fallen too far behind.
Anyways my training partner Sonja has been bringing a few photographer friends by, and one of them put the pics up on his website. There are only a few of me, but they are really fabulous! I thought I’d share them with you so you can see what I do for fun.
Here’s me setting up for a drop! ^^^
Here’s me flying through the air! ^^^
FWOOM! This is all the same drop ^^^
It’s not technically supposed to go like this ^^^ I realized my fabric was getting in my face so I caught it mid-drop and threw it.
Landing ^^^ That was about 2 seconds worth of movement- fast camera, huh?
Hope you like!