“It is not a crime to steal a book,”

said the man hovering by the book-selling table. He was clearly at least half-way to having a laugh, or telling a good story. Something about the eyes and twinkling. Very Dumbledore-y in that way.

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The only image of Milos Bicanski I captured. Here he is looking comically concerned.

I was in the process of buying a book. Specifically, The Itinerary, during its release party on June 7. And the man was one of the creators of that book. His name was Milos Bicanski. Apparently his wife would have been there too, but she was busy accepting an award in Washington D.C.

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The man behind the counter. Fotis Plegas, busy writing the receipts and taking the money.

Now I found this a funny thing to say. So I continued the conversation with him for a bit, and it was entertaining. Photojournalists are interesting people. He even told me a story. I’ll get to that later.

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Mike Beaudet gesticulating and talking to Nick Paleologos.

I talked to a number of the other creators of this collection of photojournalist accounts of the refugee crisis and the peoples going through the migrant pathways. Of the 11 contributors, I believe I talked to 6. I got my book signed by 3. And I got pictures of a couple.

It was a fun release party. They had the best mango juice, and also large quantities of free wine. And Mike and Theo were my American company. I felt like I was adulting.

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Theo Malreas and Mike Beaudet, in front of some of the seating left open after the presentation.

The party was held in an art gallery (the Trii Art Hub) and we arrived late, catching only the end of the oral presentations. As part of our speaker schedule, our Northeastern class had actually already heard from Dimitrios Bouras and Nick Paleologos as well as Menelaos Myrillas.

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Audience members watching the presentation.

 

Those of us from Northeastern stuck around and chatted for quite a while. It was pleasant. And the art of the exhibit was fun to appreciate.

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A horse head lit and in blue.

When Dimitrios Bouras talked to our class a couple days before this party, he quite memorably called people out on their blogs. He quoted a question of mine in response to Olivia’s post about poverty tourism as well as the thoughts and errors of several other people. It was terrifying to think that people actually read these blogs.

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Dimitrios showing off the book to some German guy I think is important.

 

This event is now in the past. But the book and its images are very much still relevant. The people that you see while flipping through its pages are just like you or me. But they’re often in situations which are far from ideal.

The refugee crisis is not over. People are still left bereft and option-less. People still see the hope that lies in Europe. They still leave their war-torn or (for whatever reason) unfriendly countries to seek out a better life. Now there are regulations and rules in place meant to control the flood, but the flow will not be stopping anytime soon.

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Pictured is a close up of a face made of twine, one of the pieces of art on display.

This flow is made up of humans, not water. Every flood-gate that is put up, every barrier in place has an effect. The pressure is increased for those stuck behind the barrier and lives are lost. People hire smugglers to traffick them to refuge. Some of them are reliable, and others are not. Unaccompanied minors especially disappear into the sex trade, often to help pay their way.

These images are the faces and the footsteps of this crisis—this migrant phenomenon. The Itinerary is a book that is worth the buy, because you wouldn’t see these faces otherwise.

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This post was getting rather dark. Here’s a picture of a man drinking wine and holding a dog.

The story that Milos Bicanski told was one from his youth. When he was 12 or so, he stole a book and someone caught him. They saw him steal it and they stopped him, but then they let him go, with book in hand. The exact details escape me as I’m writing this account a week later. But what was important was his moral. It is not a crime to steal a book. One cannot steal knowledge. One can only learn.

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Dimitrios in the midst of presenting some photographs from the book.

It is not a crime to steal a book. Especially this one. I have it from one of the authors.

But I’m sure they would appreciate payment. Photojournalism isn’t exactly a lucrative field for most.

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The book, set up in front of a now empty seat with a microphone (hint: the book speaks for itself).

Germany is picturesque as all hell

Seriously. I don’t even understand what just happened. I got on a plane in Athens, which has this urban grime aesthetic that permeates every public space, to Munich. Munich is not like that. Munich as I saw it reminded me of the placid beginning of many a World War Two movie. Specifically Inglorious Bastards. It looks like cinematic rural France. At least the part of Munich that is visible from my route on the S-Bahn, their train system.

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This was practically the first thing I saw upon setting foot off the plane.

Some of the same graffiti is on the walls of course. I saw “denk” painted a couple times in Athens. Come to think of it that is pretty strange, as it means “think” in German. It must be a thing though, because I’ve already seen it once or twice here. Might’ve even been the same artist—who knows.

Anyway, I flew with our group to Munich and have since made my goodbyes. I’m in Germany for the week, and I’m excited. I dropped off my luggage in an airport storage locker (limited at 20 kg to get those cheaper rates) and carried off everything else I have with me.

I headed straight to an information/ticket booth man who explained my options vis a vis train travel pretty succinctly. I had some idea that I would take buses around Germany to get places and planned to buy tickets. Instead I bought a 5 day nonconsecutive day German Rail pass and the possibilities therein are endless. I can go to Copenhagen and Prague and basically every big German city, and even into Austria if I wanted. I can use the rail on 5 different days. And seeing as I have no definite plan as of yet besides a wish to visit a couple cities and see some friends while I can, this seemed the best option.

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Some people in front of a bunch of ICE trains in Munich Central Station (aka Haumbaflogenyogenfaufner {sic}).

First on my list is Hamburg. The friendly man behind the train-station counter printed out an itinerary and I boarded the S-Bahn.

Of course I had half-an-hour to kill and I was hungry so I found a random Turkish place and bought a donner-kebab and a beer. Then I walked around for all of five minutes before getting on an Inter City Express (ICE) train north. These are ridiculously nice and smooth and air-conditioned and reasonably fast. I’ll arrive in Hamburg a little before 2 a.m. (around 800 km away according to a bewildered Christoph Waltz sound-alike manning the desk of an airport information desk). They also have free WiFi, which is a huge win.

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A meh image, shot from my table at the donner place.

It’s very different from Greece. And don’t get me wrong I love Greece. But the German public transport system and scenery leads me to believe that the German stereotypes are real. They’re clean. Their voices sound ridiculous (I literally choked back laughter when the train announcer came on the loudspeaker. That’s sort of a sad reflection on me as a human, but it was still extremely comical). And they’re organized (a random ticketer printed me out a schedule for crissakes).

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Seen out the train window. ‘S got some greenery to rival anyone’s conception of a European village.

 

That’s about all I got for Germany right now. Will get back to you later. Also stay on the lookout for my five bajillion incoming Greece blogs and stories. They’re a comin’.

I met a version of me from next week

Calm down. I don’t mean that literally. No time travel here folks.

Just now I was talking to my friend Isabelle while going up an escalator and a man asked us for directions because we were speaking English.

His name is Roy. He’s Lebanese. And a student.

He’s doing a beer tour of some stretch of lands. Today is his first day in Athens and he’s had a bit of an adventure asking random people on the street for directions. I had him look at the map saved on my phone, but when we got outside the subway station he got reoriented.

He invited us to a bar nearby with a wide selection of Greek beers called Beer Time. He’ll be there at around 4:00. I said I might swing by. I probably won’t—I have things to do.

But that’ll be me in a week. A man sort of aimlessly traveling through some part of Europe.

I’ll be in Germany of course, but I have more a set of guidelines than an itinerary.

He looked a little lost, a little frustrated, a little on edge, a little tired. But he looked like he was living.

That’s good I think. I wish him luck.

We’ll see how I like it.

Header Photo: Two cats seen eating food someone left out.

The last few days have been not so good; now is better

I’m not sure why exactly. I think it’s the impending feeling. One of my stories (on Turkey and Greece) is in the editing room (after being shut in the writing room for far too long) and one of the other two things I’m working on (the Athens and Epidaurus festival video) had a frustrating day of shooting. The third thing I’m working on I don’t even plan on pitching for this dialogue because I don’t think I’ll have the time to write it fully while I’m here, but I plan to write something about the music that I’m finding in Greece. It’s way too much for one blog post, so I think I’ll make a series of them aiming to walk the reader (and listener) through some of the cool stuff that I’ve found. I have a bit of video that I want to use for that, and as a very peripheral part of that whole shindig I will finish and submit the street musician video for this dialogue. I aim to interview some artists while in Athens as a bit of reporting to stick into the blog series. Or who knows, maybe I’ll have enough for a whole ‘nuther video. <Throws up hands in the air>

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Rumored houseboy-owner Isaac Feldberg taking a phone call outside Hades’ waiting room.

Oh yeah, and I am working on a refugee video story starting the 7th with Hsiang Wu that I’m alternating between feeling comfortable with and totally unprepared for. I’ll know more about that whole project soon.

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My mental image of what the story will be like. Also some BAOK graffiti. Honestly I’m a fan. I’m also an APHS fan. Not so much with Olympiacos.

All in all, there’s just too much stuff. There’s not enough time. And I took today (a Sunday) just to unwind a little.

I don’t like being somewhere awesome and staying inside a hotel. But today it was necessary. Saturday was spent on a ferry and a beach, and it felt like travel to me.

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Pictured: Me hating travel.

I hate travel.

But I love being abroad.

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Pictured: Me, in a constant state of figuring stuff out. A positive image.

So now that I’m here—there’s no more transition feeling as I’ve arrived mentally—I can be productive.

I’ve slept.

Now it’s time to get stuff done.

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Let’s go.

 

Epilogue:

please note the massive paragraph followed by extremely short sentences. I’m so artful I know. Look at me, writing pretty and all that. Self-congratulations are in order for that meaningful formatting.

<Pats self on the back>

<Looks intently at audience, waiting for the claps>

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<Never gets the claps>

Header Photo: Spotted on a building in Athens I believe? Symbolizes my never-ending half-hearted quest to see a modern rendition of Repediko. Street musicians are the closest I’ve gotten. Still waiting on the full experience in a taverna.

A-Teaser; my attempt at free-form poetry

Dirt moundThis is only the beginning.

The Beginning.

of a vast repository of thoughts, deeds, inclinations and facetious oddities.

That limps out of my mind.DSC_0150.jpg

I write this to post.

Content.

Post Content.

Post-Content content.

Contextualized in a dearth of content.

To reveal meaning.

The meaning is that I’ve been putting off posting.

Putting off completion.

Putting on the mull.DSC_0264.jpg

 

The mull isn’t straightforward, but

Rather like chili post-preparation, needs a day or two to leave the best taste.

Let the mull have you, or the chili, and your mouth becomes thick, your fingers

Sticky

It’s hard to throw out chili.

But food does go bad.

But the meals I’ve made, the meals that others have given me lately.

They’re preserved.

And the meat is about cooked.

Slow cooked to be sure.

And there was many a Kodak moment (what a phrase, what a reflection of this society, this capitalist place, this time defined by incorporation and organization and did you know that a drunk Greek kid talked to me on the bus tonight? and he asked me where I was from and I said Ameriki like a person from America would say and he laughed a pained laugh that was truly funny and wheezed and said the word businessman and that made me sad and I tried to tell him no no not a business, man its personal and that I am a thimiosografia or somesuch a writer of well-repute, a teller of truths and an english lady had to act as relay, and then he and his friends wobbled off the bus into the city after one stop or maybe two and you know they didn’t pay for a ticket. They shouldn’t have. And I got a handshake and a laugh, and so did he.)

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A food picture never rots.

A picture never rots.

And if it hasn’t rotted, and it won’t soon.

Well, that’s some useful food for thought.DSC_0185.jpg

 

 

Heh

Thot

<Life’s crazy yaknoe, what with the t33n hip slang and uage (that’s a slang sandwich) for hips and lang and uage (that’s a lang sandwich). Think of these both as lame sand witches.>DSC_0246.jpg

 

 

 

(Ewe can interpret this as a part of this poem or apart from that verse or whichever or whoever you think is appropriate to appropriate. But not lamb. Lamb cannot.DSC_0199.jpg

There is more to come. Of a more traditional addition to the risen prison of word. Now this is just self-indulgent.)

Adventures in Abstract Art

Sometimes when you have access to a cool camera, mucking about with it for the express purpose of destabilizing the capitalist system is, well, necessary.

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This is my favorite pic I got of protesters as they gathered in Kamara square. This was from a smaller demonstration limited to only extra-parliamentary groups. Antarsya is a small communist party that more closely resembles the Occupy movement than Soviet-style communism. Other groups (including anarchists) were present for these smaller protests as well.

Or maybe I’ve been hanging out with anarchists and communists too much lately. Lets just say that cameras are fun, especially when you set them to low shutter speed and swing them about. Here are some especially good shots in that vein.

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I found a random Greek telenovella but I don’t speak Greek

Help me audience. I needed to decompress a little and watch some content, but I recently got up to date with American Gods (awesome show). I was searching online for some genuine content that a bored Greek might watch, but I found this instead.

The show seems to mostly consist of people being stressed at each other and talking very fast in Greek. It’s funny because every once in a while a random English phrase or word pops in. I think it’s a fish out of water “dramedy” but I could be way off.

Give the intro a whirl and tell me what you think. Honestly, I’m a fan. I’d recommend fast-forwarding to 15:50 or so as well as 20:20. Remember to comment but also tweet your thoughts and prayers to @nihilist_arbys. Give me a full plot transcript if you can. I only skimmed through it.

Update: Check in around 41:30 for some classic comedy.