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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Frankfurter Weekend

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I move back to America if Obama takes office (couldn’t miss a black man in the White House), but I’d always planned to return sometime around 2011. And so with only three years to go, I’m on a mini-mission to see more of this side of the world while I’m here; the airfare is a lot cheaper from France than New York City. This past weekend, courtesy of some free Air France tickets I’m not at liberty to explain, I spent two days in Frankfurt, Germany. I’d have to say the highlight was the “Anime! High Art – Pop Culture” exhibit at the Deutsches Filmmuseum along the south bank of the Main River.

I’m not a fan of anime; mostly I was upset that I missed the Filmmuseum’s retrospective Stanley Kubrick Exhibition, but it was something to do. The coolest thing that popped out to me was the wall devoted to Japanese artist Yoshitaka Amano. This is a guy thing to be sure, but as a kid in the 70s, I was glued to my afterschool boob tube transfixed by cartoons, including Battle of the Planets with its excellent opening-credits score by Hoyt Curtin. The show was vaguely Star Wars-esque: a superhero team called G-Force centered around Mark (more the Luke Skywalker) and Jason (closer to rebellious Han Solo), and their adventures were narrated by an R2D2-like robot named 7-Zark-7. I was regretful at the time that there were no G-Force toys, which naturally now there are, I see them all the time at my favorite Parisian comic-book store Album, they’ll be for my sons I guess. So the point being, Yoshitaka Amano used to draw Battle of the Planets, and now he does all the Final Fantasy videogames. And it turns out my beloved cartoon was only the bastardized American version. The real shit was called Gatchaman (or technically, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman).

The Deutsches Filmmuseum also had a room restricted to under 18, kitted out in kitchy pink fur like Lenny Kravitz’s bathroom, devoted to anime porn; which I’d naturally never ever seen before, I was absolutely shocked. (nudge wink) On the rest of my Frankfurt sojourn, I caught a sightseeing boat down the Main River, saw the weekly Kleinmarkthalle wholesale market on Saturday afternoon, and trolled the nearby retail district. My man Matt Diehl emailed me about a techno club called Robert Johnson (of all things), but he hit me up too late. Next up to satisfy this Eastern Hemisphere wanderlust: Douala, Cameroon… Africa!

Oh, and… happy birthday Dad!!

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