Friday, August 10, 2007

Beer and Bach

The first time I went to a party in the States I took a long time to get ready. I dressed up and did my hair and make-up. Wore heels and made sure I smelled nice. I was taken to a frat party, where everyone kept asking why I was so dressed up. I was so confused that I couldn't even fake a decent response. I later learned that college kids in the States, unless the situation demands otherwise, prefer to be comfortable and casual to dressed-up. Any time.

I will always remember that sense of sheer confusion and stupor I experienced as I walked through the doors of the frat house. It felt like I was in a movie and it was only a matter of seconds before the fat foreign kid threw up on my red pumps. I also thought it was pretty damn funny and promptly entered the bathroom to laugh it all off and compose myself.

The reason why I am bringing this up now is a K-G outing that took place last night and produced a very similar combo of confusion, stupor and delight at the total randomness of the event. See, we read about the Herbert von Karajan festival a little while back and were very much looking forward to enjoying the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra LIVE in Sofia. I mean, it was going to be a MAJOR event in the middle of what’s been a mostly peasant summer (all social activities have been limited to consuming massive amounts of food or liquor or, most often, both). It was our chance to do something that required a little more brain, something cultural…something that would make us feel less like we live in Europe’s underbelly (hate Churchill for saying that about the Balkans, by the way) and more like we inhabit a vibrant European city that I hope Sofia will become some time soon. So, we planned for weeks and then last night got a little dressed up and grabbed food and drinks and hurried to the garden of the National Theater…to find out that there was no orchestra in sight. Only a big-ass video-screen. Airing Mtel commercials between classical acts.

OK, OK…had we thought a little bit about it, we would have figured it out earlier. I mean…Mr. Karajan’s been dead for many years now (RIP) and the announcement did mention that the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra would be conduced by him, so we should have guessed there were no way in hell that it could all happen LIVE. But come on, people, the organizers could have done a slightly better job at providing clear information on what exactly it was that they were trying to do. For one, I wouldn’t have worn the world’s most uncomfortable pants and would have sported jeans instead.

All confusion and mild embarrassment aside, however, it was an awesome evening. The selection of pieces played was amazing and the sound was surprisingly good. Also, the combination of classical music with the super low-key venue was fantastic. Felt super relaxing and romantic and summery and we didn’t feel completely out of place with our sandwiches and cheap beer in hand.

They are showing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons tonight, which always reminds me of airline commercials, but we might be going again. Nothing can make a falafel taste better than a little bit of violin in the background.

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