and it's long workdays, and either tired or full evenings (though not late ones) so there's been less journal-writing than i'd hoped. but here are some highlights, at least.
the crew: an amazing bunch of weirdos, as expected, but even more so. from the two londoners i spent part of this evening around the piano with (from improvised 6-to-8-handed piano to a scabrous invented song about one of them and her eating and hair-care habits to a mildly demented "over the rainbow" to "silver dagger" to "spring hill mine disaster"...); to the early-music violinist whose self-introduction mini-performance involved playing, vocalizing, moving objects around the floor, talking about/to the table, &c; to the production-liason-turned-full-participan
the work work: we spent the day working on a set of 24 appliqué banners that together will be a cantastoria of the plot summary of the bovo-bukh. medieval-ish, but patterned using bleed-over-the-edges-size stars of david (in the persian-miniature star+hexagons pattern mode), with the story images inside the stars (some crisp and modernist, some overflowingly maximalist, some kids-book-y, some heraldic), and fringe and sequins. later, they'll be procession banners gayly out of the jew-y-est renaissance ever... it's exhausting - three of us coordinating/facilitating/supporting 13 participants, each with different skills and learning areas, as well as different visual styles that lead to different technical questions and approaches. and also a lot of fun.
the other work: night before last, N (one of the local-ish participants) invited greg and abigail and i to dinner at his friend L's house. which turned out to be in the former school building where L has been living since arriving 5 months ago from afghanistan. for most of that time, the building was holding 600 or so - 6 or more to a room that most u.s. universities would think was a crowded dorm room at 4 (and have partitioned into separate sleeping spaces). now it's down to 60 or 80, with much fewer families - some folks have been refused status, others moved into scattered-site housing, others have piggy-backed with friends into the scattered-site situations.
L had cooked a feast of small plates: stewed chicken with kidney beans; tomato/onion/yoghurt salad; fresh greens; cherries from a tree down the road; bread... which is strictly forbidden. refugees are only supposed to eat at the cafeteria at the housing site, which serves awful slop (which isn't necessarily even halal: merkel was in the paper that morning talking about the cafeterias under a headline that translated "eat what's put in front of you"). which means that they're actually eating on the about 5 euro a day, that's supposed to be for all their other expenses.
and we ate and drank wine and talked for hours about food, about our scars (cut achilles tendon; bike crash; cookie-sheet; many more), about migration, about music and dancing (listening to afghani music and reggaeton and such on L's telephone), about toasting/drinking cultures, and families, and free-fighting, and such. at some point we were looking out the window over the old playing fields, and N pointed out that you can see the buchenwald tower from the refugee housing. (i don't know that i have anything to say about that, but it's part of the flavor of things here: the streetsigns i bike past on my way to work have "buchenwald memory-site" on them, with a little tent-and-winnebago icon next to it. i don't know if i need to vist the gedenkstätten, but i might have to go see what the buchenwald campsite is like.)
the hang: it's always nice when the russians (or ex-soviets, to be accurate) take over the yiddish open mic / jam session / zingeray. things get weird, and new verses crop up in various languages (last night, for instance, for Djankoye, which is a whole new song given what's been happening in crimea...). and the bunch of us who've turned out to be committed to eating lunch outdoors have been having lovely shmoozes, and learning all sorts of things: N2 and S, for instance, both turn out to be from kurdish backgrounds; R would rather be eating a steak with her bare hands; N has been thinking about why somatic practices get boxed into separate dance- and vocal-technique worlds...
and perhaps that's it for this report.