The Casual Artscast 016

Recorded, once again, in the Funk Doc's apartment in Berlin.

February 2006

Back me on up against that cultural wall.

The Berlinale.


Sometimes the mere cricket-like whirling of a mini disc player is enough to get our cultural nostalgia going. Well, that and a quality American film.

We saw Dave Chappelle's Block Party at the 2006 Berlinale, Berlin's International Film Festival. Being exposed to humor that is actually humorous is hard to come by in these parts, and this documentary gave us just that. Chappelle's a funny man; plus the hip hop artists he got to perform at his shindig were unbelievable.

The movie especially got us thinking with our American hats on again:

  • How can non-native English speakers find this film funny? Or American humor in general?
  • Do block parties exist in Germany?
  • Why is it that Germans don't want to talk to hard-working, sweaty construction workers?
  • Why is small talk and this American style of friendly social interaction perceived as superficial everywhere else in the world?
  • Why do people in Germany not like to be recognized as human beings?
  • Are social class structures more heavily entrenched in Europe than in the U.S.?




But more importantly, the film imbued Old Man J and me with a genuinely positive feeling. And that ain't bad.


All of our musical selections this time were influenced by Block Party. Mos Def and Erykah Badu both performed in the documentary, and the last song (originally by Thelonius Monk) is a favorite of Chappelle's.


By the way, if anybody has ever heard a cricket in Germany, please tell us the town and time of year you heard it in.

Who dat walkin' on by?

Potsdammer Platz. The only thing in Berlin that even begins to look like a skyscraper.

Timetable and Playlist:

0:00-1:00 - Crickets

1:00-4:00 - German patches / Confederate Flag

4:00-7:00 - Right wing extremists

7:00-9:00 - Dave Chappelle's Block Party9:00-12:00 - Positivity

12:00-15:00 - Authenticity / Hip hop movies

15:00-18:00 - Us & them

18:00-22:00 - Grant Green - "'Round About Midnight"

22:00-23:00 - Chappelle & German MTV

23:00-25:00 - Do Germans get it?

25:00-29:00 - US comedy & US MTV programs

29:00-32:00 - Why y'all here?

32:00-35:00 - Spontaneity

35:00-36:00 - Grant Green & Mos Def

36:00-39:00 - Mos Def - "Love"

39:00-42:00 - Question - Classless society

42:00-48:00 - Politeness, small talk, egalitarianism

48:00-55:00 - Imagine this

55:00-56:00 - Erykah Badu & Chappelle's movie

56:00-59:00 - Erykah Badu - "Back in the Day"

59:00-1:01:00 - Meeting Germans

1:01:00-1:02:00 - Let's go

J needs his mic in a bad way.

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