We’ve done some crazy stuff on this program but in Germany we beat the band! Let’s lose the easy ones shall we? First there was Chess Boxing. A sport growing in popularity every year in Allemagne. With alternating rounds of chess and boxing, it’s the biathlon of new age sport. And it’s counterintuitive for the human body. The adrenaline needed to compete in the ring is the wrong chemical needed for concentration in chess. Then we went to beer spas, salt caves, spent a day in Maremotos experimental kitchen, toured Tacheles, started the Glockenspiel, spent the day in Berchtesgaden parading around in lederhosen and eating sour lung soup and of course ate plenty of wurst. But all of it pales in comparison to two of our favorite all time Bizarre experiences.
First we spent a night on the streets of Berlin with El Bocho, an underground artist whose work is some of the most compelling I have ever seen. His series of Little Lucy posters are simply amazing, but the massive works we hung with him late in the night were even more impressive. El Bocho positioned these 20 foot tall posters across the street from each other, portraits of a man and a woman, separated by physical and emotional distance. They were breathtaking images, but even more thrilling was the brazen manner and speed with which El Bocho works, a fact made even more fantastic considering that technically speaking his work is illegal to mount as a civic exposition. Create the art, great. But the government frowns on the public nature of his posting. Check out his stuff at http://streetart.berlinpiraten.de/el-bochos-tape-art/ or http://streetart.berlinpiraten.de/tape-art-berlin/.
Then there was the annual World Bodypainting Championships in Seeboden, Austria, an event that I have long been fascinated with but had never been able to attend. This is the largest Bodypainting festival in the world – drawing a crowd of more than 20,000 people. A public park in Seeboden transforms into a “bodypaint city” with 120 tents set up for 200 artists from 35 countries to paint nude and semi-nude models before they strut their stuff on the catwalk in hopes of becoming the 2009 World Bodypainting Champion.
But we came to be painted by Wolf Reicherter. He’s a world famous German bodypainting artist and expert in UV 3-D design. Wolf is quite the character; he’s known for painting some of the most bizarre designs worldwide — think 3-D effects, skeletons and tribal designs. But before I got painted I had to be shaved head to toe. Completely shaved. We mingled with the other models all day as the different divisions were evaluated, remember it takes up to six hours to achieve their look. Finally we got to appear on stage with 80 other contestants in a live art installation. This is the kind of event that has to be seen to be believed, so be sure to tune in and also you can check out the event at http://www.bodypainting-festival.com/.
Oh, almost forgot about surfing … yes, you can surf in landlocked Munich despite being 600 miles away from the nearest ocean. In fact, metropolitan Munich has become a surfing hotspot! Any time of day you’re likely to see a line of surfers waiting their turn to surf a perpetual swell at the Isar River right in the heart of the city. It’s even a draw for all the big names in surfing to catch a wave at the annual Surfing Open held the last Saturday in July.
River surfing involves riding standing waves or tidal bores that naturally occur in rivers although many are man made as well. Techniques and maneuvers were adapted from surfing in the sea and tricks like aerials, 360s and floaters are common on the river wave. However, the wave, if left in its natural state, is unstable and can disappear for months at a time. So the local community has added planks of wood to shape and stabilize the wave. These planks are “hung” in the flow itself, suspended via ropes attached to the bridge arches. We watched a crew of advanced surfers at Haus der Kunst, the pro-surfing spot where the Isar flows out of a tunnel, right in the center of Munich. Beginners are strongly discouraged from surfing here due to dangerous rocks in the riverbed but you can watch it all on tonight’s episode.
Anyway, I am German by heritage, so this show was extra special and I encourage everyone to visit Germany soon.