My two paintings and I, looking splendid all in bright blue, at the R3.

Happy Black Friday. Happy Pre-Cyber Monday. Happy Post-Thanksgiving, and for God’s sake…Happy Day 2 of Hanukkah. It’s funny being in Germany during an American holiday; all of the stores are open. We went to a beer store yesterday. You can buy beer in the supermarket but there are “drink markets” too. We found a gaggle of new beer to try…just in time for the holidays. Our latest treasures included this gem of a beer.

Our first German I.P.A. brought to us by Maisel Brewers.

Stefan’s Indian Ale, from Maisel brewing company. It was yummy; not quite IPA-enough for Phil, but the closest thing we’ve found in Deutschland thus far.

I’m getting off topic.

I’m not trying to knock them; but the two clerks at the beer store had never heard of Hanukkah. Strange, right? It reminds me of a time when Phil told my grandpop we were celebrating Bob Marley’s birthday. My grandpop’s response was, “Bob Marley? Never heard of him.”
Similarly; the guy in the store says, “Happy Thanksgiving.”
I say, “Yea. Thanks. And Happy Hanukkah.”
The guy says, “Hanukkah?”
I say, “Yea. Jewish holiday. Menora. Seven days of light…and presents.”
The guy says, “Ramadan?”
I say, “No. That’s Muslim, not Jewish. Hanukkah. Never mind. Thanks for the beers. See you later.”
Phil and I laughed (about this guy, about my grandpop, about our own knowledge pot-holes) the whole way home.

Phil and I did not cook a big dinner yesterday. We did not watch football, or eat turkey, but we did celebrate. We celebrated me having paintings hanging in a gallery in town, and we also celebrated the opening of the Ansbach Christmas market. Of course, Ludwig and Katharina celebrated with us.
It was Phil’s first Christmas Market. I was excited for him. He hadn’t the slightest idea of how sweet the experience was going to be. We strolled around the streets of our familiar city transformed. The normal cobblestone was covered in fresh woodchips and lined with miniature log cabins. Some of the cabins are full of hot beverages, some are full of sausages, some are full of roasting nuts, others are full of handmade ornaments and sheep skins, and still more are only full of tables and chairs so friends and lovers can cozy up by a fake fire and sip their Glühwein. Phil consumed six sausages, three rolls, two cocktails….and a par-tri-idge-in-a…Just kidding.
I drank my usual Glühbier. (It’s hot Belgian beer.) The others drank something called a Feuerzahngebowle. Literally, it translates to Fire-Pliers-Cocktail. Last night, for us, the literal translation of Feuerzahngebowle came with a lesson in how it is made. I got my translation in German, but you can look it up.

Before we frolicked through the Christmas markets I had a bit of business at the Reitbahn 3 art gallery in town. As I said; I participated in our members’ art show and last night was the celebration for the opening of the exhibition. All of our members submitted three pieces of work on Monday. The entries were juried and selected works were arranged around the gallery. Works that were not selected were to be picked up before the opening party began yesterday evening. I had to go to pick up my painting of a chairlift in Colorado. It was not accepted. I’m not surprised. I submitted three, and I expect that they probably shave one entry off of everyone’s three. My other two submissions were portraits of chairlifts in Europe. It makes sense to me that Europeans would want to see paintings of European landscapes.

During the drop-off process on Monday those of us participating in the art show were encouraged to sign up for a day to work in the gallery. When you work the gallery, you basically unlock the door, turn the lights on, and then sit at the desk for three hours so the public can come in and view the work. If you don’t want to give up this time you are required to pay 15 euros. Well, I’m cheap. I prefer hard work, to spending money. So I was inclined to sign up for a day of art babysitting. I wrote my name down for Thursday, December 19th, from 15:00-18:00. Then I froze and (thought and) spoke out loud, “I don’t think I know enough German to work here.”
“Of course you do,” everyone said. I’m not sure if they believed it, or wanted to help me push myself into the next zone. At any rate, I’ll be there. I joked that I was going to make it a Facebook Event and invite all the English speakers I know. I joked; but I will.

Sorry. I just distracted myself again.

In case you missed it the first time; here’s me. With my paintings. In a real gallery. In Germany!

After some drinks and dinner we went to the gallery to celebrate the exhibition with the other participants. As it turned out, attending this event wasn’t the best idea I ever had. I was happy to be there, but it was a bit of an entertainment stretch for the rest of my party. Initially it was fine; we all walked around together viewing, and discussing, the art. About 15 minutes into our stay the lights went down and the projector went on. (This is where the evening went sour.) There was one artist (who appeared to be a photographer that loves photoshop) that made a photo-montage video set to new age music. To be polite; I’ll say that the video was long. Too long. Too long for even me. By the time the lights went back up, my friends had “had it up to here with modern art.” We breezed through the rest of the artwork (a bit too quickly for me) and headed for the door. As we were walking out, I decided to ask everyone what their favorite art piece was. Like the comic that he is; when I asked Phil he reached in his pocket, pulled out the remains of an empty chestnut shell (from a fresh roasted chestnut that he tasted at the Christmas market) in his palm, and proclaimed that it was the most fabulous art he’d seen all night. We all chuckled. I punched him. Ludwig couldn’t help being tempted to participate in this joke. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a tissue. He ripped it into pieces and threw it into the air, thus creating his own performance art, and proclaimed that that was the best art of the evening. We all laughed again. I did not punch Ludwig.
Needless to say; that may have been the last time the four of us go to an art event again.

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