Berlin Symphony: Fantasia or Fantasy

Walther Ruttman’s Berlin, Symphony
Image from: GHDI.

A cinematic fantasia? A salute to modernity? A hyper-kinetic montage of Berlin life, circa 1927? What is revealed and what is hidden in a seemingly naturalistic rendering of a modern city?

A train appears out of nowhere and I am immediately filled with a sense of dread. It is an eerie feeling—an emotion at the opposite end of the spectrum that I imagine the filmmaker hoped to stimulate in his audience. I could not separate the images on the screen from a flurry of others that simultaneously rushed my mind’s eye. Images recalled from countless feature films, documentaries and photographs. This made it impossible for me to share in Ruttman’s delight in acceleration—toward what are we accelerating? Nor could I sit back and equate the speed and power of a locomotive simply with new perceptions and sensations of modern life. I could not read the train’s (and with it the audience’s) passage from rural to suburban to urban center as a metaphor for the civilizing power of industrialization. No. German trains of that particular era, hurling through space, can only have Auschwitz as their ultimate destination. Continue reading “Berlin Symphony: Fantasia or Fantasy”

Berlin Symphony: Fantasia or Fantasy

It Was the 60s and New York City was the Epicenter of Change

Photo: Girl on Limbo's stoopChange of cosmic proportions. The center of that center was St. Marks Place, and at the Center of St. Marks Place was a store called Limbo.

Marty (Limbo) Freedman and I have toyed with the idea of telling this story in various media and recently had conversations with two sets of TV and movie producers. They were excited by the idea of a show built around Limbo, and its cast of authentic characters, who individually and collectively define the mores and practices of the 60s. There was serious talk but also disagreement about how to proceed.

These “meetings,” not to be confused with happenings, led Marty and me to believe the time to tell this story has come, and we want to reach out to producers who have a passion for the 60s, the most passionate decade of modern times.

We want to tell a true story, in an episodic format, about some very funny, sexy, brilliant, curious, serious, strange, far-out, wasted, obscure, and also celebrated people who wanted to change everything, starting with the clothes on their back.

Curious? To learn more, visit Limbo St. Marks’ Facebook page here, or its Wikipedia page here, and if something clicks, contact us here.

 

It Was the 60s and New York City was the Epicenter of Change