Sunday, March 20, 2011

David Sedaris Reading in Berlin

third row back
12 euro got us into a reading by Sedaris. Glorious. He started off talking to people in the lobby and signing books. We got the inscription:

"To Porterballs" with a German man throwing up a pretzel
the picture was his idea

His reading was from his new book Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary. I wasn't sure about this new form of animal fable, but all fears were assuaged by a thinly cloaked story about airport security, a sad sack bear, and a cheating spaniel. Genius. His first story was also accompanied by bunny ears and he told us in German, he was proud to have purchased them for "neun und siebzig", "nichts fuer mich"! ("nothing for me"!). Very good!

At the end of the reading, he told us a bit about trying to learn some German. He has previously learned French (as he spends time there with his partner), and Japanese and these have far and away been my favorite stories. His personal experience & the language CDs offered some interesting cultural cues about Germans.

David Sedaris's take on Germans:
  • 2 newspapers side-by-side in Munich: one announces "APOCALYPSE" with news about the tsunami. The other, "Frühling ist Heir!" or "Spring is here!"
  • In the Japanese language CDs, a man finds out his wife wants to go shopping, and after asking how much she has, he gives her more. In the German CDs, the same scenario is laid out, but the husband says "Das ist genug!" (That's enough!)
  • The German CDs also laid out a bizarre scenario where you would pay the doorman to get a beer for you, but he stiffs you on the change, and accuses you not of speaking German.

It was an awesome experience. See? Check out the smiles:

outside Babylon theatre


Jen said...

Awesome! I know some people who were sitting in the front row. :-) I saw Sedaris speak in the U.S. once and it was so cool. He was also in Cologne last week, but sadly I was sick and just couldn't get the motivation to go. His observations about Germany are, well, so true. ;-)

ianandebe said...

Bummer you missed him this time, but at least you got to go before. Obviously- we had a great time & I actually didn't embarrass myself (I have a bad history of being a total dork in front of any level of celebrity- i.e. Rick Steves).

We're Back in Berlin Ja!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!
ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008