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Adalbert is a forum for me, to post ephemera, photography, poetry, occasional travel notes, and various spontaneous motions. Cover photo: Parsonage where my great-grandfather spent his early years. Taken near Liegnitz, Silesia, ca. 1870.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Dachau

On a marrow-chilling, wind-blasted day, I took the S-Bahn and bus to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site.  A tremendous way to learn about the ineffable reality of the place. In the museum, I learned about the many groups singled out for imprisonment, torture, and death, or all three -- political prisoners from Yugoslavia, for example.

Wind savaged my umbrella, which flapped like a kite. Rain and hail fell viciously on the assembly ground and before the barracks, but a sliver of sunlight appeared as I left the grounds.





Saturday, March 28, 2015

Gustave Moreau Museum and Centre Pompidou

Combining the Gustave Moreau Museum and the galleries in the Centre Pompidou made for a potent, if seemingly disjointed, artistic combination. Climbing into the upper stories of the Moreau Museum, I was enraptured by viewing paintings such as Jupiter et Semele, just as Huysmans described in À rebours (with reference to a different Moreau work). Just walking around in the house, with its impressive spiral staircase linking the upper floors, and old paneling and ballroom ceilings, is worth it. Of the Pompidou's offerings, I especially found the scale and humor of Jeff Koons' pieces especially appealing.


 Pompidou Centre


Interior, Gustave Moreau Museum

Gustave Moreau Museum

Friday, March 27, 2015

10 Rue Nicolas-Appert


Today, outside the site of the Charlie Hebdo attack, 10 Rue Nicolas-Appert, Paris.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Catacombs of Paris, Montparnasse Tower

I plunged down spiral depths and traversed the Catacombs of Paris. My previous mental image involved mounds of bones far off in vaults. Instead the wreaths and fractals of skulls and femurs and armbones, slammed together without heed of station in life or other individualities, lined the walls of the vaults, pressing in very close. Other oddments jumped out, basins, springs, memorial slabs, concrete-encapsuled ceiling collapses, or "bell collapses." Memento mori," vanity of vanities, always shards of hipbones and clutter in the vacuum atop the neatly and grimly-assembled bones.
I walked by Montparnasse Cemetery too late to locate any of the famous dwellers. A gatekeeper furiously rang a bell, a warning closing was nigh, as I desperately worked the outside lanes of the tombs. Then I ascended to the top of the Montparnasse Tower, and saw the cemetery, and Paris, from high above.

And encountered a talking toilet capsule. My one year of high school French availed me little as I punched buttons, causing the door to open repeatedly, with a robot voice issuing injuctions. I finally figured it out -- don't press any buttons. After use, the toilet recedes into the wall, and an automatic system washes the whole interior.We could use more of those in other countries -- and it was free,  unlike potties in many other European nations.


Catacombs of Paris


 

Montparnasse Cemetery, seen from Montparnasse Tower -- De Beauvoir, Sartre, Beckett, Baudelaire, you're in there somewhere. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tate Modern

Yesterday I walked through the Tate Modern, paying considerable attention to the surrealist portion of the Poetry and Dream exhibition.  I also sighted the Thames for the first time.  Later, at night, I absorbed the crescent moon, the Globe Theatre, Tower Bridge, the Shard, and St. Paul's from the center of the Millenium Bridge.


Collage by me. Photo of a portion of the Tate Modern, with St. Paul's in the distance; and Max Ernst's The Elephant Celebes and René Magritte's The Reckless Sleeper.



Monday, March 23, 2015

The British Library and the British Museum

I found myself at the British Library one day, and the British Museum the next, on my first-ever trip to the UK, having arrived via Brussels and the Chunnel, emerging surrealistically into the English countryside from the nighted depths. The Magna Carta show at the British Library, including two of the surviving four copies of the original (actually King John sealed rather than signed, as explained in the exhibit) agreement, thoroughly explained and contextualized the document. Seeing the two originals (even the mangled, charred, archivist's nightmare remains of the Canterbury copy), with their intricate, tiny writing, as well as later accords and variations, and other related items such as two root-dangling teeth and a thumb bone from King John, revealed the Magna Carta's vast sway over history in the past 800 years. I also examined other items in the "Treasures of the British Library" gallery including some handwritten lyrics from the Beatles, and, according to the placard, what is the only surviving medieval copy of Beowulf.

 The British Library

I was able to reach the British Museum in a half-hour or so walk from my central location, and found it a transcendent experience, with the vast galleries containing such treasures as the (controversially-located) Elgin Marbles, the Rosetta Stone, objects from the Sutton Hoo ship burial, and an incomprehensible number more items.


Photo of me, by the Elgin Marbles


The Moon and Venus over the St. Pancras Hotel, 3-22-15

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Stedelijk Museum and Heineken Experience, Amsterdam

I was able to visit these two attractions, which I missed on my first visit to Amsterdam. I spent about three hours absorbing the collection and exhibitions at the Stedelijk art museum. The Rijksmuseum's gables floating in argent mist as night falls. The Stedelijk possesses a gamut of artists, including modernists such as Piet Mondrian, from Amersfoort, to conceptual artists, and pop artists such as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg. The special show on the museum and the Second World War possessed some illuminating and sobering documents and artwork, with a creepy film loop of Anton Mussert, the Dutch Nazi party leader, examining a show at the Stedelijk.

The Heineken Experience was an entertaining trip through the brewing and marketing process, including a walk through titanic old brewing tanks and pipes with stained glass behind, while music soared like something from a Wagner opera, smell like the streets by Henry Weinhard's brewery in Portland in the 1980s.


Part of the Stedelijk (the actual museum is on the right of the photo), with the Concertgebouw in the distance.

 Heineken Experience

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dutch Resistance Museum


I located and went into the Dutch Resistance Museum, the third such resistance museum I have attended. The others were in Trondheim and Copenhagen, on previous trips. I barely made it in the collection at Copenhagen before closing and dashed through, taking note, among other things, of Himmler's eye patch, worn as a disguise toward his end. The Dutch Resistance Museum enthralls with its sobering galleries of items including a poem written in prison with blood, depictions of the different strata of Dutch society prewar, microfilm which at one time nestled hidden inside a safety razor handle, a real jail cell door, unsettling posters from the Dutch Nazi Party and leaders, and a beaten-up statuary head of Hitler, 

Street stickers, Amsterdam

Statue garden by the Resistance Museum


Monday, March 16, 2015

Rembrandt House




Visited the Rembrandt House in Amsterdam, peering at its paintings, etchings, "art cabinet" with curiosities such as a large snake skin, a dried lizard, pelts; high ceilings, and cabinet beds. Left as the northern sun dwindled over the spire of the Zuiderkerk. Negotiated my way, for once using one of those annoying explanatory headsets, weaving past other customers, looking at sheep entrails in a painting, ascending narrow stairs. As in Rembrandt's time, street life shot past the door, on the ground floor. Ate duck and rice at a Chinese restaurant, accompanied by a shot of oude jenever (Dutch gin).



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Amsterdam Part Two


Picture of me with Lovecraftian podcaster and illustrator Axel Weiß in Amsterdam, on the 78th anniversary of H.P. Lovecraft's death.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nebraska, Three Decades Apart


Photo of me, Nebraska, March 1985


Nebraska State Capitol Building, Lincoln 

Visited Nebraska 30 years, almost to the day, from my first trip there. Omaha's Old Market district, explored after a walk on the Missouri's frore shores under the heat of the morning, yielded a couple copies of  Stuart David Schiff's Whispers. Cinnamon sake and pork belly ramen in Lincoln, and a view of the wind and trains and plains from the top of the capitol building. 


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Edgar Allan Poe Cottage




Pictures of me at the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, The Bronx, New York, April 1997. Photos by Roman Scott.