“Street Cop” by Robert Coover and Art Spiegelman
It’s a crazy new world, technically upgraded, but complete chaos reigns. The city comes from the 3D printer and changes its topography every day, which is why there are hardly any buses and city maps have to be downloaded every day. Everything is monitored, but no “big brother” uses this knowledge. Robot cops arrest blacks who are executed in the patrol car. In the sky, drones delivering goods and self-flying cars. And amidst the chaos and madness, an old-fashioned patrolman on the hunt for a body.
Art Spiegelman, perhaps the best-known living comic artist and author of “Maus”, turned 75 this Wednesday, and a book he illustrated was published in German at the same time as his birthday. The science fiction thriller “Street Cop” by US author Robert Coover (S. Fischer Verlag) is completely crazy, not even the time in it runs linearly. Only the titular character is a cop straight out of a Raymond Chandler novel, goofy but nice. And who wanted it this street cop also resent that he no longer knows his way around this insane dystopia? One only has to look at the Chandler characters, such as Humphrey Bogart, to feel its anachronism. During his investigations (the word should actually be in quotation marks) he stumbles street cop through the dingy corners of the city, into the “nudie night” of a run-down bar, a pet shop that sells the undead as pets. And he feels something like love or infatuation when he takes the AI out of his phone who gives him instructions and is named Elektra – like the special offer from the undead shop. This is all very funny and evil – parallels to the present are of course purely coincidental. Art Spiegelman has contributed the appropriate, poisonously colorful illustrations to the comic dystopia, in which there are plenty of nods to icons of comic history: There are houses on legs like those by Winsor McCay, Ignatz Maus from “Krazy Kat” is at the nudie party, a naked security man looks a lot like Robert Crumb’s Mr. Natural. They’re nostalgic references that fit very well with this cop and his nostalgia for the “old” world, while also having something comforting about them: in the midst of the madness (the book came about during lockdown, which is why a few green coronaviruses also make a cameo appearance). still familiar. With this in mind: Congratulations! Martina Knoben
Podcast: The Syria Trials
The images coming out of the earthquake-stricken areas of Syria are heartbreaking – and that’s why they are used in politics: the Assad regime is using them to push for an end to the sanctions. The fact that these were introduced for reasons is slowly being forgotten, the war in Syria is hardly noticed anymore. The English speaking one podcast “The Syria Trials” gives depressing tutoring in recent history: He traces the efforts of torture survivors, activists, journalists and above all lawyers to hold the Assad regime accountable for its crimes against its own population and tells a lot about Its perfidious techniques of rule are showing up again: while the US has suspended sanctions to allow aid for earthquake victims, the regime is reportedly blocking shipments to areas not under its control. Moritz Baumsteiger
CD: Paul Dessau’s opera “Lanzelot”
It’s hard to believe that this opera could ever be performed in the GDR: a dragon rules over the people in a totalitarian manner, but they love him because they have food to eat. Here comes the ambitious freedom hero Lancelot, but he doesn’t meet with much approval, which in the end leaves the question of how much revolution people can withstand. Paul Dessau’s opera “Lanzelot” was released in East Berlin in 1969, based on the Soviet poet Yevgeny Schwarz, was once banned by Stalin, but the opera saw three performances. Then she was gone until the end of 2019, when the Nationaltheater Weimar, the conductor Dominik Beykirch and the director Peter Konwitschny rediscovered her. 1000 sound quotes, agitprop, jazz, baroque, nonsense and wonderful rattling. Fabulous stuff, crazy stuff, now on CD for the first time ever (audite). Egbert Tholl
Fritz Lang’s life as a comic
A naked couple having sex, surprised by a woman, shortly afterwards a shot is fired. It starts dramatically in “Fritz Lang – Die Comic-Biografie” by Arnaud Delalande and Éric Liberge (Knesebeck Verlag, 25 euros). The lovers are Fritz Lang and his screenwriter Thea von Harbou, they will become famous with the silent film “Metropolis”. But first they are caught by Lang’s betrayed wife, who dies shortly thereafter. Was it suicide? The year is 1920, spiked helmets appear, inspectors investigate, in the French original this great graphic novel is called “Fritz Lang Le Maudit”, the cursed one. Starting with tragedy, the whole life of the great director is told in great, unbelievably detailed, hardly colored drawings – which repeatedly submerge in cinema images, not just Lang’s own. Tobias Kniebe
Berlin Philharmonic Biennale
This is Berlin: politics in chaos and culture in abundance.
Now, at the same time as the 73rd Film Berlinale, there is even a classical music biennale of the Berlin Philharmonic for two weeks. One looks for the “search for a new modernity” in the musical art of the 1950s and 1960s: Adenauer times, socio-political restoration, “leaden times”. But artistically, right after the world war, the heyday of innovations. A composer in the focus of the Biennale, whom Stanley Kubrick made into the sound magician of his space in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey” – György Ligeti with “Atmosphères”, the orchestral micropolyphony brought to glow in 1961.
“Exalted, hyperdramatic and unbridled” is what Ligeti, inventor of the soundscapes, called his “Requiem” from 1965 for soprano, mezzo-soprano, mixed choir and orchestra. Ligeti’s extremely dense cluster surfaces sound like electronic music, as intricately structured as they are sensually present. Berlin’s Philharmonic and Radio Choir, conducted by the composer Matthias Pintscher (Simon Rattle had canceled), played with ecstatic devotion. Ligeti composed only four parts of the Latin requiem mass, all the harsher, more powerful is the “Dies irae” sequence, a terrifying vision of the apocalypse with outbursts of violence from the percussionists, escalating tumults in the vocal collective, the whispering and screaming of the soloists. The prelude: Bohuslav Martinu’s “Rhapsody-Concerto” with violist Amihai Grosz gives the answer of virtuoso appeasement to Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s cheeky percussion-wind exaltation “Musique pour les soupers du Roi Ubu”. Without making up for the complete absence of the most experimental in the Biennale program: Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, Luigi Nono.
Despite two pieces by John Cage and Luciano Berio, the festival with around twenty modern events (until February 26) remains classically retrospective – at least with the mixed doubles in the concert of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester conducted by Robin Ticciati: Two great avant-gardists far distant epochs are performed alternately with their finds of the new, fighting for our attention: György Ligeti and Joseph Haydn. Wolfgang Schreiber