What’s Shakin’ at the AAR?
Alice Waters was at the Academy this week to celebrate the first year of the Rome Sustainable Food Program. She spoke to us at our daily five o’clock tea about her new book, The Art of Simple Food. Later, she blessed Lucia, the newborn baby of AAR fellow John Ochsendorf and his wife Anne, anointing her with olive oil.
Everyone is busy planning our President’s Day party. We are inviting all the academies in Rome (there are 32 of them) for a night of drag queens (Wonder Woman, Tina Turner, and of course Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President”), hot dogs, pop corn, video installations, an Italian noise band, and DJs. We’re focused on celebrating a theme of gravity and suave, somber coolness—a sort of revamped Truman Capote Black & White Ball. As the invitation reads, “Attire: formal with tragic notes.”
Tim Davis, fellow in photography, will be leading us in a rousing chorus of Randy Newman’s “Political Science”:
No one likes us—I don’t know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let’s drop the big one and see what happens.
One of the videos we’ve made for the evening will feature a few fellows down at Piazza Navona interviewing Americans and Italians answering the question: What do you know about President’s Day? We’ll also have a “Suggestion Box for America” that we’ll intermittently have our MC read aloud from.
Not much dramatic news this week. I am working on a soundscape for fellow Daniel Bozhkov’s March 2008 Berlin installation on the First-German-in-Space-Meets-Turkish-Kebab-Seller. I’m combining music by Germans and Austrians that looks myopically at Turkey (Beethoven and Mozart’s Turkish marches, racist German music from the ’80s and ’90s) and Turkish music that does the same towards Germany (mostly rap and hip-hop by German-Turks in from last decade).