Nina, the behind glass artist, invited me over for dinner to her amazing Charlottenburg apartment on December 11. I am just realizing how lucky I am to have met a true artist and long-time Berlin resident here and not just the expat party crowd. Nina has a perspective of this city that is deep and wide, and she is willing to share that with me, which is a gift of insight that I would not otherwise have.
I did not even ask to take photos of her fin-de-siècle, art-filled place that she has lovingly and sacrificially restored over the years, with two ornate balconies facing two different courtyards, art-nouveau ceiling stucco and ornaments, turn-of-the-century kitchen stove, and hundreds of other details, out of respect for her privacy. She has put in the work, and she has managed to own that place by her own sweat and blood.
I had to eat and run, because I was due at the Deutsche Oper, where I’d booked a great seat to see La Traviata, which happens to be my favourite opera. When I saw it was playing in Berlin while I’m here, I just had to buy a ticket.
Speaking of the Berlin party-vortex, here is a link to a fascinating New York Times article on an Australian would-be band who came to Berlin to produce an album but ended up getting sucked into its expat party scene. And the ensuing discussion about party-artists vs. hard-working artists is interesting as well. Nina is definitely the latter. And how little do these partying kids know about someone like Nina? There is a huge difference between wanting to be an artist vs. actually being one.
As the German saying goes, “Von nix kommt nix.”