Brother Tombo left this afternoon, and I have a train to catch to Warsaw in six hours or so, but I can’t sleep so I reckoned I may as well write a little something until I can . . .

The other night, after he and I watched CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, we decided we ought to watch something a little lighter, so I put on EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE. I have been evangelizing this film for years. Clint is a blue collar dude who also happens to be the undefeated bare-knuckle boxing champion of Los Angeles. And for reasons that are explained in two or three sentences of expository dialogue, Clint’s best friend is a full-grown male orangutan named Clyde who lives in the shed behind his house. (Clyde is not the point of the movie—he’s a character treated like any other character in the movie.) So Clint and Clyde and their friend / neighbor Orville hang out at the local honky tonk every night and pound beers. To be clear, Clyde the orangutan also drinks with them. And one night, Clint becomes enamored with a blonde country singer who plays for the bar crowd. The rest of the movie turns into a hang-out buddy road trip movie. Somewhere along the way, Clint and co. are pursued by a biker gang of bumbling Neo-Nazis. Listen, if that doesn’t do it for you, I don’t know what will.

Somehow EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE was the fourth highest grossing movie of 1978. It cost $5 million dollars to make and grossed $105 million. Adjusted for inflation, that’s nearly $500 million in 2024. Can you even imagine something like this happening today???

Anyway: We had a real good time watching it. We laughed our assess off. I don’t know how anyone could feel cynical about a movie where a heartsick Clint Eastwood hangs out with his best friends, one of whom being an orangutan, as they search the country for a woman who turned him every which way but loose. We certainly didn’t!

Next day, Tombo went out exploring, and I stayed home to work. He wandered around for hours just looking at the city, what with nearly everything being closed because of the holiday. He came home and told me he had got something for me along the way when passing an outdoor flea market. I could hardly believe my eyes when he took this from his bag:

ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN is the sequel . . . it came out two years later and was the fifth highest grossing film of 1980. The whole gang is back and it’s a real good time at the movies. How this record of all records made its way over to Berlin, and how Tombo came to unearth it is pure serendipity. Praise the Lord. Both movies have great soundtracks, and even theme songs! Now all I gotta do is find its sister album . . .

In other news, the strawberry stands are going to open soon:

. . . and Tombo and I explored Museum Island on the first Sunday of the month when all the museums are free:

We also streamed HOLLOW MAN with McCune and his son (and my baby brother), Tower McCune:

This lead to a Paul Verhoeven kick in which Tombo and I spent the next two nights watching ELLE and BENEDETTA, both incredible. During the latter, I was blown away that I was watching a movie from 2021. Good lord, the dude is a master. Anyway, if you have a chance to see them, you absolutely should! What the hell else are you going to do? Sit around and grow old?

FINALLY: As part of my ongoing descent into a sort of Howard Hughesian madness, I bought a 40-pound bag of jasmine rice. Now I never have to leave the house again:

I really ought to sleep. I’ve got to wake my ass up in less than five hours and travel 360 miles across Germany and Poland to visit a city I know little about. I have decided that I will learn all about it by simply being there. Isn’t that always the best way to go about anything in life??

Sweet dreams~ ☆彡

Tombo and I watched CRIMES OF THE FUTURE tonight. It is one of the most insane movies I’ve ever seen . . . I can’t think of anything else like it. Damn.

It also marks the 100th movie I’ve watched since January 1st. Wow! My goal is to watch a hundred by the end of the year. I’ll bet I can do it.

Anyway: I have written so many long posts. Why haven’t I published them? I wrote about LOVE, for god’s sake, and how it’d be nice to know someone in that way again. Ultimately I’m a romantic. Didn’t you know that? The rest of the things I wrote are something else altogether . . .

FINALLY: I’ll publish at least one of them before I leave on Saturday to go see my cool friend in Warsaw. I’m real excited. OK??

And now a haiku before I sail away to Starland, which is where I get my beauty rest~

Today it was nearly 80 degrees . . . and for those of you in a more civilized part of the world, that’s about 26.5 C. I went strutting through my neighborhood around 5 and got groceries on account of it being a public holiday tomorrow, so all the stores will be closed. I stocked up on fruit and oat milk and church candles. I go through a lot of that stuff.

Anyway, no matter how grim I may grow about the mouth from time to time, I always feel all right again, at least for a little while, when I step out from my high tower and mix with the animals. Not since Austin have I truly had an honest-to-god neighborhood like this, one where I can walk to Stuff, and have my own Places, and so on. I have my own coffeeshop and bar and corner store (called “Lucky Beetle” in English), and three grocery stories, one of which being a 24-hour one, an essential asset for a hopeless nightcrawler freak like me. I even have four whole train lines which will take me to the city center and the farthest reaches on the Berlin Ring within 15-20 minutes. Wow!

And I know a fair amount of my neighbors, and recognize all the people who live and work within a five-block radius of my building. It is though they operate on a sort of track . . . they have daily Truman Show routines. I find this comforting. And unlike, say, Kreuzberg or Neukölln or Friedrichshain, and I have lived in all three, there are practically no tourists to be found, and there isn’t chaos everywhere. I’ve never even witnessed a crime here, which I came to be absolutely numbed to in Oakland, what with my bearing witness to at least one every time I left the god damn house.

There are TREES and ANIMALS all around, including foxes (!), which I often see at night by the cathedral in the square across the street—the square where, every weekend, there’s a huge market full of stalls selling flowers and chocolate and fresh honey and any kind of food you can think of. God help me, we also have PARKS, and they’re all really good. I gotta have a good park nearby, somewhere to get stoned and go strolling through at night, or else I’ll bust.

What I’m trying to say is Schöneberg feels like a town from EarthBound. To wit:

Nice, huh???

The other day, brother McCune inquired thusly:

. . . to which I replied: “Come on in, brother, the water is fine.”

Later on, back at home and once the sun had gone down, I was sitting at my desk working on who even knows, and I had my windows popped open at the top, and smelled a bonfire and heard people talking down below. I went out onto my balcony, which overlooks tall trees where little red squirrels live, and saw a group of people encircling a fire beneath a thicket in the neighboring yard. Everyone was just hanging out and feeling good. It looked nice as hell. I took a picture with a long exposure, which ended up looking like an impressionist painting:

They do this sometimes . . . you can count on it in the evening of any warm night here, and most holidays. I love it when my apartment smells like a bonfire, so I let it in. Sometimes I get a strange notion to join them, but I don’t know if that would be imposing or not.

Once, nearly ten years ago now, when I was on a bust assignment in Los Angeles with my cousin Jack, we parked our decommissioned police car, our Halloween costume of a car, on Ocean Boulevard in Santa Monica. We downed some mushrooms and walked down to Santa Monica Beach, and passed through the gloom beneath the pier with the lighted ferris wheel to get to Venice Beach. The stuff had kicked in by then, and we lay on the warm sand at midnight and looked up at the undulating pink sky and listened to the ocean for a while. Eventually we started to get thirsty, so we made our way up the beach to get back onto Ocean Boulevard to find a corner store. And I remember there was a group of people sitting quietly around a little beach fire. I was of course on a different planet inside my head just then, and feeling more affable than usual on account of that, I approached them to say hello. I remember them being so kind to me, and not treating me like some weird freak who had come to bother them. After a minute or so I told them to have a good night, and they said the same, and then Jack and I ambled back onto the main throughway to chug a liter of water each before moving on to a nearby park.

Though yeah: It would probably be all right if I went over there, but it wouldn’t be like I was passing through or anything . . . I’d have to go behind their building to get there. And maybe they would feel the pressure to switch to English to accommodate me. Often Germans will speak to each other in English when I am around, even when they aren’t talking to me directly, so that I don’t feel alienated. My friends in Turkey did this as well when I visited Ankara. I always appreciate this. But no matter: I let the Bonfire People be. It is nice enough to be in proximity to it, to hear them down there and to have that smell in my apartment for a few hours. Some days my life is a complete disaster, and I suppose that it’s over, that I have been cursed and cursed again, and then other days the hex seems to be temporarily lifted or else paused, and I remember the bad neighborhoods where I have lived and despaired, and feel lucky as hell that I have exchanged them for this one, hopefully once and for all. I’ll take sun or fire through the leaves any day. You know?

Good-night~ ☆彡

nicholson and dennis hopper and michelle phillips at an oscars after party in LA, 1970

i love it . . .

My old friend Tombo is visiting later this week . . . I haven’t seen that son of a bitch since summer 2019, when he was heartbroken over some girl and crashing on my couch in Northern California. He and Jackson and I spent all of June watching movies and playing Final Fantasy Tactics and going on walks at night. Lord, Jackson got us pizza from Sliver twice a week. It was a beautiful time. Maybe that was the last good summer I ever had, now that I think about it.

Anyway: The guy’s never been to Berlin, so I’ll show him everything I know during the Dracula Hours. He’s on his own during the day. I reckon we’ll get stoned to the bone and watch movies as well. How could you stay at my place and NOT expect to have a real good time once the sun sets??

After that: I will go to Warsaw. I have been meaning to go to Warsaw for years, and so now I will finally do it. I want to see that place though I don’t exactly know why . . . I guess I just like the Poles is all, and I think Polish sounds cool. Is that a good enough reason? It’s a five and a half hour train ride from here, which is not too long and just long enough at the same time. I know exactly one person in Warsaw, and it’d be real nice to see her. You know?

OK, I have about two hours of night left before the sun comes up, so I gotta do what I can with it. And then . . . .

i miss judy so much. she was the only other person i knew who stayed up all night like me. i remember we went on night walks during the pandemic when the streets in berkeley were completely empty. judy has been dead for over two years now. i’m still haunted by the fact that i did not drive over to her house when my texts went undelivered . . . i remember feeling like something was off. it would have been too late anyway, but i think about it from time to time.

this is the last thing she ever sent me, and it was in the middle of the night. she never got my reply. rest in peace, judy