May 23

This morn I found out the reservation at the hostel in Munich I’d tried to book the night before didn’t actually work.. So I cancelled the rideshare I planned and decided to trek it out in Vienna one more day.

These long weekends in the high season don’t leave a lot of room for spontanaity! (Now Budapest was still calling, I’ve heard it’s setting up to be ‘the next Berlin’, and I found an inexpensive busline to Dusseldorf as well, but didn’t have time for such excursions… thay’ll have to wait for next time!) Plunking myself down at the piano a bit, I picked out some classical pieces and JT came along and had a listen. By now I figured out my day, and decided to head down to the Belvedere Art Museum and see some of the Klimt and Shiele works they had up there.

Modern Art probably has my favourite styles in art. I can look at Modern Art museums over and over, through and through. The Belvedere was pretty good, but needed a bit of an update in its curatorial style. It was still leaning towards the sentimental and over-contextualized the pieces, not necessarily letting them stand on their own two feet. There was also an -what can now be seen as trite and self-conscious- additional collection of African masks in the basement, with a write-up on how they influenced the style of the times with excerpts of Sigmund Freud.. Animalism, the unconscious, etc..

I was really blown away with the work of one artist though, Albin Egger-Lienz.. I’d previously seen his work in textbooks and not thought much of it, but seeing the brushworks in the flesh – what a change!

He worked with Social Realism, depicting anonymous figures of workers and farmers in almost expressionist landscapes. Very earthy colours, beautiful brushstrokes, and high attention to form and shadow… The hands of his figures are astounding… Earlier works of soldiers laying in the field of WWI are among the best I’ve seen for, well, getting the point across. Some later images are religious depictions of christ and the like.

Outside the museum, I got out in time for a rainshower. Not wanting to get my feet wet, I spent the next 20 mins running a hugging path along the walls of Mariahilferstrasse – stepping lightly as I could in the small dry avenue afforded by the walls and awnings of the shops.

Back at the hostel J had emerged and was settled down with a coffee, working on some new songs. I plunked down with him and did some painting and it was a pleasant hour or so. The song he was writing was really beautiful, and it made a natural atmosphere for art! JT came along and they were off with his son to the Prater amusement park, and I stayed back for some time on Skype. At the net cafe, some sort of cafuffle occured, and a man was forcibly ejected from the space, amidst some thrown words and shoving. It was all in another tongue, so I don’t know what it was all about.

When I left, I headed over to the amusement park to see if I’d run into the crew, but it was getting on late so I just roamed and took in the surreal atmosphere and funky rides. Many people said the Prater Park was a must-see in Vienna, and I’d have to agree. It made me think of the history of these places of entertainment and pleasure… it would have been amazing to see Coney Island back in the day…

Back at the Ruthensteiner my buds were just arriving back when I did and I believe from there we just went ahead and had another jam. Later on L. the djembist joined in and swooped J and JT off to a party of some sort. I stayed up and talked to another Canadian, then went about travel arrangements for the next day. By now I had decided I would have to give up the stream and continue from plans, back to the everyday reality. These journeys are always much more difficult – imagine paddling upstream a river instead of floating down it! So I decided to save a few dollars and bus back up through Prague back to Berlin.