Archive for the 'anne frank huis' Category

Throwback to 07:

You might remember my earlier post from Amsterdam about the multiple graffiti images of Anne Frank in keffiyeh. I still don’t know what to make of it. I feel as though all the responses I’ve heard to it are either extremely passive or extremely aggressive; both emotions feel uncomfortable in a discussion of Anne Frank. Now the image is available on a free postcard from Boomerang. Of course, there’s a lot of controversy. More here.

Verworpen Mooi

Dutch Word of the Day
verworpen:
rejected
Waaroom was zij verwopen?

Why was she rejected?

OK, so Ms. Anneliese Marie Frank is a very obvious choice for any Monday or in this case, a Sunday Mooi Vrouw; widely published Dutch writer (yup, the original book was in Dutch, NOT German) and all around thoughtful person living at a terrible time. I also had the distinct privilege of living down the street from her house for four months. I miss that.

But here’s another reason to love her: big time publishers, with the exception of Doubleday, freakin’ hated her. Apparently, the book was “a dreary record of typical family bickering, petty annoyances and adolescent emotions.” It took about 16 rejections until someone figured it out. And the rest is canon.

That’s the funny thing about rejection. Most of the time, the critic is seeing something problematic in there that needs some sorting out. Sometimes, that something is utter crap. In this case, the adolescent tone was caused is because the author was 12. C’mon buddy.

Then there are erroneous critiques stemming from weird misunderstandings about the U.S. book market and just flat out racism. (Although for The Good Earth example: I hated that book. So many Asian stereotypes it made my skin crawl.)

Usually it is up to the author to locate what generated the critique, objectively evaluate the validity, and act. The danger of this New York Times article is that potential authors can be lulled into a sense of not having to change and revise. “But I’ve been working on this for 12 years! How could it possibly be called trite? Oh, well. Anne Frank wasn’t published in a day!”

This is dangerous ammunition in the hands of people who get so “emotionally connected” to their work that they can barely seek any outside help, especially when they need the most help. I’ve been around people like this. It hurts.

They’ll talk on and on about the process and finally, after a long period of drama, insist on showing you their work. Then, after you’ve been subjected to their little Crapsody in Blue, you try to say something nice, but you can’t. Then you take a deep breath and try the constructive track, carefully starting with the “It’d be cool to see more of this” comments before you get to the “Maybe you should cut this” comments. But by then, it’s too late. You’ve questioned their opus and the friendship is over.

See, this is why I love Anne Frank. She’s one of the very few writers who can pull off a “I got rejected a million times and it didn’t mean a thing.” It leads to a great story behind a great story. Here’s to her.

Since I Packed the Dictionary Away: PartIII

Things I’ll Miss:
Biking
Walk to Wok
Hearing Dutch everywhere
Pannekoeken aan elke hoek!
Evil Dutch Professor (for real. he’s hilarious!)

Things I Won’t Miss:
The Euro
Bad Internet
Lack of a campus feeling
Drug/Anne Frank tourists (the only thing they have in common? the nuisance they cause)

More like "Heineken BOO-ery!"


Dutch Word of the Day
druk: busy, crowded
De Heineken Brouwerij was veel druk.
The Heineken Brewery was very busy.

Sorry it took me so long to back to this. I don’t know why, cause I’ve been meaning to hate on this place all week.

So my brother Martin (aka Martlock, cause he’s a lawyer now) came to visit me this past weekend. It was Pentecost and everything was closed so it made it difficult to get around, but we managed. We went to to Pancake Bakery first, which was amazing as usual despite some sloooooow service. Then we decided to go to Heineken Brewery.

I thought the Anne Frank line was serious. Nope, the Brewery was even more special. But with the 11 euro entry you get three beers and a free gift (which you, thankfully, won’t get at the Anne Frank Huis). So we waited and eventually got in. It’s a very Disney looking place, all things considered. There were brightly colored displays and exhibits, and something that looked like a scene from the Haunted Castle, except involving the scientist who helped develop some kind of yeast. Basically, it’s for beer nerds.

Things were going great until we got sucked into this inexplicably long line. It was supposed to be a quick five room walk through showing the different elements that go into beer, but it was packed. We stood on it for what felt like a half hour. Turns out that there were two lines: One for the rest of the exhibit, and the other for a “ride.” Since we stayed on the line for long enough, someone (Martin) suggested that we might as well go on the ride.

OK. So this ride was supposed to mimic what it feels like to be a bottle of beer in the factory. We had to stand in a small movie theater looking room, hold some bars for safety and watch a screen, while the thing we were standing on rocked, simulating the movement of a bottle on the conveyor belts.

I was angry within seconds of getting on this “ride.” This was embarrassingly bad. This terrible music was playing in the background and none of the shots were even trying to be continuous. My brother and I just laughed the entire time. It ends with you, the “bottle”, getting put into a box and shipped somewhere. That box is then opened in a bar, and the tune “Celebrate Good Times” by Kool and the Gang plays. That’s when we really lost it.

At least we got beers at the end. But honestly, if they wanted to make us feel like bottles of beer, they should have filled us with alcohol first.

Special Guest Star, two fronts

Dutch Word of the Day
Groote-Brittannie: Great Britain
Ik heb gisteren Groote- Brittannie.
I was in Great Britain yesterday.

(Bear with me and the chronology)
But before I went to London, my friend Alex visited me for a few days. It was finally warm enough for a canal cruise and we even saw IJburg on a class field trip, a new series of manmade islands that you can find above Centraal Station to help ease the housing shortage. You can see one of the plans here. (Including a “breeding center?” Yeah, that woman’s English wasn’t on point.)

Insert Queensday.

Then I was in Islington (part of London) visiting Ashley at SOAS. I wasn’t there long enough to get the full feel of the city, but I liked what I saw. I went to The British Museum, Harrods, and saw a bit of the VA, but I feel like I have to come back. You can get a full flavor for Amsterdam in a shorter span of time because it’s much smaller, but London’s quite big. The Tube system’s very nice, though. But the train itself is very tiny, much smaller than the trains in New York. And the Body Shop is everywhere. I had some pounds remaining when I got to the airport so I went nuts and got so much Body Shop stuff.

Remembrance Day was today, and Liberation Day is tomorrow (both Holocaust related). It’s strange to be spending so much time in a country where the Holocaust happened. Even with the Anne Frank Huis and Homomonument down the street, it is still hard to fullly wrap one’s head around the horrible things that have happened here. On the one hand, I live in America where slavery was everywhere. But as a New Yorker, even as a black New Yorker, I’m not in a place that’s still as visibly scarred as other regions of the U.S.. I’m not used to being in a place where evidence of a terrible place is so close to the surface.

Today Albert Heijn closed early, there was something going on near the Westerkerk, and Dam Sqaure had a huge TV screen that I was too far from to really get a good look at. Aside from tomorrow’s Cold War Kids Concert, we’ll see how Liberation Day feels.

Looking like a Dutch De La Vega

Dutch Word of the Day
tweeling: twin
Het is de da Vega’s Nederlander tweeling broer!

It’s de la Vega’s Dutch twin brother!

Not exactly, but close. Laser 3.14, which looks like it could be sci-fi bible verse, is an artist who spray paints these cryptic sayings all over the place, especially on scaffolding other temporary stuctures around construction. Since there are no Guiliani-esque graffiti laws here, he’s not going to get arrested (like New York artist James de la Vega). And after doing a website to website comparision, one can conclude that he has more funds than de la Vega.

I finally broke down and got a Wallpaper guide to Amsterdam and I’m glad I did. Things look so different in the guidebooks. The Wallpaper picture of the Anne Frank Huis makes it look like a cool modern fortress on the edge of the water. There aren’t any boats in front of it, so it stands alone.

The picture probably isn’t doctored or anything, but’s just taken from an angle that you aren’t likely to come in from. Probably from a boat in the the Prinsengracht. The canal/narrow sidewalk situation makes everything look different. I didn’t know what the building I live in really looks like until I was across a bridge. (It’s kind of ugly. Oh well. It’s beautiful on the inside and that’s what counts.)

Speaking of buildings, there are no Rem Koolhaus works here. Since he’s Dutch I expected to see something in Amsterdam. That’s somewhat disappointing.

It’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from going under

Dutch Word of the Day
duwen: push
Niet duwen mij, daar ik ben vlakbij de scheperte…
Don’t push me, ’cause I’m close to the edge…

Like many of their Western European counterparts (i.e. the English, the French), the Dutch often labor under the delusion that they are living in New York in the 1980’s. As a result, there are random spots of graffiti around town. I found a wall containing this keffiyeh wearing Anne Frank near the Jordaan.

Not quite sure how I feel about this one. It’s hard to tell whether they’re commenting on how the scarf is an overused fashion statement around here, or statement about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Kind of weird to put her in the PLO, isn’t it? Um, she’s 12.

Special Guest Star Edition

Dutch Word of the Day
schoen: shoe
Dit schoen es mijn, wijfje!

This show is mine, betch!

Well, this shoe isn’t mine, but it was on the street near Dam Square, so I got to take a touristy picture near it cause Ashley’s visting me. The wooden shoes (usually lined with some kind of cloth) were worn by farmers because Amsterdam gets very rainy and muddy. It’s the most practical thing they would wear. Hideous as hell, though. I love when they sell delft porcelain versions of it.

We saw the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Prik bar, and the Anne Frank Huis. The Anne Frank Huis is very well done. Extremely sad and moving. They don’t offer student discounts, but it’s more than worth the 7.50 euros. They use the right combination of video/media information, and real life objects. The steps are unbelieveable narrow and steep on the way in, so don’t even try it if you’re on crutches. Despite the moving nature of the exhibit, people will still try to cut you in line as if there are free concert tickets waiting at the end.

Living down the street from the Anne Frank Huis has really made me despise the tourists here. A lot of them stand on the sidewalk staring into space without giving a damn about other people (often holding groceries) trying to walk around them, so they force you to walk in the bike path, nearly getting killed. I don’t blame the Anne Frank Huis people for that, they did their best with such a narrow street. The tourist are just dumb. I know it’s a very special once in a lifetime experiece to see the house were Anne Frank lived, but that doesn’t mean that every else has ceased to exist.

At times like that, I wish I knew how to pickpocket. Not for the money, just to teach them a lesson.

However, you can numb the pain of slow moving foreigners with a glass of red wine in class. There was a reception after a talk at ISHSS and they served wine and cheese. I had class after the reception so a bunch of us just showed up with wine. The EU’s a special place.

In case you didn’t know-

Dutch Word of the Day
atheïst: atheist
De Netherlands heeft veel atheïsten.

The Netherlands has a lot of atheists.

In fact, they have one of the highest populations of atheists, about 35-40%. It’s not present in the in the somewhat militant Richard Dawson Dawkins “God Delusion” manner that this sticker in my hallway suggests, but they just don’t have any use for religion. (Wonder why this sticker is in English?)

I live in the Jordaan, a neighborhood near the Westermarkt, the tallest church in Amsterdam. If you are on the corner on Radhuisstraat and Prinsengracht, you’re basically on the corner of the Westermarkt. Turn left and you’re facing the Homomonument. Turn right and you’re facing the Anne Frank Huis.

Mmm… city planning with a wink.

Dutch Word of the Day gracht: city canal Dit is m…


Dutch Word of the Day
gracht: city canal
Dit is mijn gracht.
This is my canal.

This is what the Prinsengracht looks like near the Anne Frank Huis, which is a block from me.

Quick language note: the canals within the city are called grachts, the ones outside the city are simply canals. I bought a ton of things today, including a cellphone, a toaster, textbook, notebooks and some groceries. I walked a whole lot cause I didn’t want to waste my strippenkaart (their equivalent of a metrocard, though not as effiecient as ours. Some kind of party tonight sponsored by the ISN. I don’t know if I’ll go. I’ve been a lameass about parties and orientation events, but I’m still a little jetlagged.

I won a bike lottery so I’m getting one soon. That means I can join the citizen run roving death squads that patrol the streets.

Nap time!


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