Susie Asado


Yesterday I went postering with my friend Jakob Dobers. He is one of my favorite Berlin songwriters. Brilliant, smart, funny and a great dancer. He has also been altering the streets of Berlin by mounting posters of many of the independently organized Berlin shows. I’ve often seen him pulling a cart of posters, bucket of sticky paste in hand. He knows all the spots on the main strips and the windows and walls of bars where posters can be hung. He knows the importance of posters too. He’s played a zillion poorly promoted shows and a zillion well promoted shows and knows the job of letting people know abut events, especially events on the fringes of programming, is paramount. So yesterday I got to add my posters to Jakob’s batch of posters and walk some Berlin streets visiting his favorite spots. Playing shows the last 12 years has made me acutely attentive to flyers and posters and I’ve often attended shows, readings and events that I found out about by reading the altering landscape of city walls. Sometimes it feels like secret messages left just for me. Or a reminder, not to forget about a certain shows. When I come home from travels I am relieved to see so much postering in Berlin that is not mainstream advertising. That is not bought space. Where I know a band walked these streets, or a Jakob walked these streets leaving messages for events you might not even find out abut otherwise. Berlin is still a city where the messages on the walls will lead you to new experiences and new friends. Of course many of these messages get taken down or pasted over, sometimes even within hours, so there is a kind of fluidity, there is chance and your best bet is to just pay attention. I love the music video “Posters” by Jeffrey and Jack Lewis. It is a story many bands know. You poster all day. Next day your posters are gone. Then you play in an empty club in front of two hard-core fans who are probably your friends or relatives. When you are not part of the sanctioned main stream machinery, where huge money takes up huge space, you sometimes feel on this Sisyphean mission that is probably stupid and in vain. But, when you are part of the language of the walls of your city by paying attention to the language of the walls of your city, things grand and mysterious will reveal themselves. I truly believe this. Anyways, just in case you didn’t see one of our posters that Jakob and I put up yesterday, on Monday the 6th of June Susie Asado will play with Martha Rose at the classy Roter Salon. We will sing songs. We will tell stories. We will make something you will not find elseplace. Hope to see you there.

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In 1985 I went to the movies by myself for the first time. I was eleven years old. I had recently started to hang out by myself around the city. Take an extra long time getting home from school, go to McDonalds, eat a hamburger or chicken mc nuggets and leave with a vanilla sundae smothered by warm melted carmel. I would walk around Hauptwache in Frankfurt, sit on a park bench, watch pigeons, watch clouds, watch people. Going on excursions on my own felt exhilarating and grown up. Especially on that gray Frankfurt day when I went to see Purple Rain. I remember waiting in line to get my ticket — nervous they wouldn’t sell me one and a wave of adrenalin when they did. It was an afternoon show and the cinema was pretty empty. I was transfixed by Prince. I was in love with him. Every coy smirk, every guitar solo was for me alone. I studied his moves, his tantrums, his pain, his pleasure, his costume. A week later I went back to watch the movie again. It was even better not being in the blur of excitement, but being a more relaxed knowing voyeur. The movie sealed my love for Prince. I waited for his songs on the radio so I could record them onto my pink stereo tape deck. I memorized his words and played guitar solos between my legs. I knew he was a genius. I knew he was larger than life, fictional and costumed as if a futuristic romantic poet. And there was something utterly sexy and lonely about him that was intensely comforting. As if sexyness and loneliness could go together and they do. When my family and I moved to Chicago a year later, I felt like I walked straight into Prince’s songs. I started to properly understand the words I had mostly phonetically memorized. When “Sign o’ the Times” came out in 1987 I listened to it over and over and over. I remember when my friend James and I discovered we were both Prince fans. We started to listen together, he played me hard to find recordings, he played me his own versions. The image above is of a Prince mix tape he made for me in 1993. In college he became my boyfriend and our love was drenched in our love for Prince. He was a musician in the making and already writing beautiful songs. I wanted to become a poet, I didn’t have an inkling that I would become a musician. That wouldn’t happen until much later. Perhaps because it was a thing for geniuses. Prince confirmed this belief. I would be in love with him, screech along to his voice, and sing every word of “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” but I would stay a voyeur. In the early 2000s, living in Berlin, I stumbled into songwriting and into a community of musicians where genius wasn’t the driving force, although there certainly were geniuses. This environment nurtured my awkward attempts at songwriting and I grew into a lady singing songs. And even though you might not hear it in my music, Prince’s songs have deeply shaped my understanding of the journey a single song can take you on. Yesterday James called me from Chicago to tell me Prince died. I had just gotten off the U-Bahn in Mitte and was standing on Münzstrasse. I’m glad I heard this unreal news from him. He would be the one I would want to talk to. He understands. I can’t imagine my sense of song and dance without Prince. I’m in total love loss and gratitude.

“Sometimes it snows in April
Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad
Sometimes I wish that life was never ending,
But all good things, they say, never last”

- Prince

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Feeling Shy

Hello you abstract friend out there. I’ve been hiding. Was it the winter? Can I call it hibernation? First it was too cold and now there is the pollen. Not to mention detective novels. Yes, detective novels. Sometimes I wish I were a detective. Or at least married to one. Or both. Anyways, there are many reasons not to leave the house. Songs, for example are a good reason to bundle into corners. Or poems. Especially now that I am a proud owner of reading glasses. Turns out I am getting older too. Did you see all that gray hair!? But that’s not what I want to write about (perhaps another time!) I want to write about being shy. There are those that are obviously shy. I am not one of them. I am so shy you wont even notice how shy I am. I have good social skills and I have red lipstick. I also stand on stages and sing songs, which is not very shy thing to do. I might even walk up to you after a show and introduce myself.

But I promise you I am shy. It is when I hide that I am shy. Like this winter I was shy. I knit lots of scarves, did homey things and sometimes had to resort to red lipstick so I could leave the house not feeling invisible. There is magic in lipstick. Maybe it’s because people can tell better when you are smiling. They can also read lips better, follow words better. So I imagine. It’s hard to write about being shy. And yes, we are probably all some kind of shy. We have all stood in rooms not knowing where to look while everyone else seems to know each other. We have all left a party without saying good-bye. Well I have. Often I wish I smoked, so I could walk up to a stranger at a party and proceed to watch the traffic with them from a little balcony while we blow perfect clouds into the air.

Then there are these moments when I am in costume and there seems to be no trace of shyness. Susie Asado is a costume. I dress up as a lady, as a chanteuse, as a Josepha, as a Josepha wanting to be a chanteuse. For a long time I felt no one noticed I was a woman unless I wore a skirt or make-up. Not that I would easily pass as a man, but maybe you know what I mean. When we toured in December I experimented with there being less of a change between off stage and onstage. I tried to worry less about costume and yet still look like I put in some effort, so no one would think I took it lightly. I want people to know how excited I am about performing for them. That I practiced, prepared. So I think I was less protected in a way, which resulted in feeling all that shyness and awkwardness and oh! Can it be that costume is so powerful as to transform shyness into something else? Is costume a way of hiding? Am I still me when I am in costume? What is not costume? Can lipstick alone be magically transformative? I know having something to do in a social situation also helps with shyness. Having a reason to be somewhere. Collecting ashtrays or bottles. Getting someone a drink. Selling merch. Dancing! If one can get to the dancing part — ah! So here I am writing about shyness and wondering what it is going to be like when Alicja, Robert and I head out to play shows at the end of April and beginning of May. Is this shy thing going to get worse? Will I have to write more about it? Will I have to read books about it? Talk to professionals? Maybe next time we see each other we could have a conversation about it? Perhaps we can make plans. If you are still reading, can you go look at our touring schedule and see if we are coming to your city, town, neighborhood? You could come out? We play some songs. I feel shy, you feel shy and then we have a conversation?

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The following is a conversation with my sister, Anja Conrad. In February 2015 she shot the footage of the “State of Undress” video in her hometown of Oberursel. We plundered her closet, which is more like a costume department, and ran around town taking portraits of fictional employment. These portraits are loosely based on a series of photographs of my sister’s called “Men at Work.” The images are of men in all kinds of working situations: construction workers, ice cream vendors, balloon salesmen, and window washers.

JOSEPHA:
How long have you been working on the “Men at Work” series?

ANJA:
Seemingly all along. I was sorting through my old negatives around 2007 and discovered these portraits of men working, and it made me remember what it was like to photograph in the street back in the nineties. Cheerful construction workers would kid around with you and start a fun conversation and eventually ask to be in a picture. But in between these posed images of workers, there were also the ones that caught them in some private moment, not confronting the camera. These were the portraits I started to get interested in and continued to shoot with intent. I like the idea that the workers called for my attention, and now they’ve got it. In 2009 I started to exhibit “Men at Work” and in 2013 I made a portfolio of 15 prints. I still want to do more with this project.

JOSEPHA:
You told me you are calling the stills you took for “State of Undress” “Susie at Work.” How do these images relate to your “Men at Work” photographs?

ANJA:
“Men” and “Susie at Work” are about seeing work as an identity. The “Men at Work” series are portraits of men that I do not know anything about and attach their momentary activity to a work-related identity. By calling them balloon salesman and street cleaner, etc. I am pondering questions about labor, immigration, and the socioeconomic landscape men navigate today. And “Susie at Work” is about your identity, your ideas about work. A personal and psychological journey that is also part of my history. The depth of what we were doing started to dawn on me while we were working on your video. We, sisters from a house of similar dreams, now middle-aged, noticing what we have not become, and what we have.

What was your experience of this? Did you think of my “Men at Work” while you were writing “State of Undress”?

JOSEPHA:
The idea wasn’t there when I was writing “State of Undress.” The song wasn’t much of an idea when I started. Just a list of the things that I wanted to be. I didn’t think it would really work as a song. But when we recorded it, I knew it needed visuals, for the humor to come through, for the tragedy to come through. It was then that I thought of “Men at Work.” I love your images of these hard-working guys. They have changed the way I perceive people at their jobs. Especially the people working out in traffic, cleaning, fixing buildings or selling things at street corners. I guess I started to see myself that way too: loading up the car with gear, packing and unpacking before and after shows, putting on makeup, being a Susie secretary sitting at her desk answering e-mails. Imagining me inside one of your photographs made me work harder. Seriously. So then to actually get to star in all these images of yours is really amazing.

ANJA:
Yes, images can be powerful and influence everyday situations! For example, when I descend large staircases I think: “I am ready for my close-up,” imagining that insane look on Gloria Swanson’s aging face in Sunset Boulevard.

JOSEPHA:
I guess for me the real difference is that “State of Undress” is a list of future dreams and wishful employment and that “Men at Work” are not fantasies. These are documents of men doing their job, although your photographs of them seem highly fictionalized. How do you create this sense of fiction? That a street-flower-salesman in the rain seems like a fantasy job? And some of your construction worker shots: they look like portraits of heroes.

ANJA:
I get to live out my romantic and slightly morbid side with this series. I adore men and I am especially enthused like a proud wife or mother when they work hard. This desire might make these photographs look fantasy-hero-like, wishing for them feelings of pride and that they know that they are needed and greatly appreciated. This adds a bit of glitter and fairy dust. Do you identify with these working men? If yes, in what way?

JOSEPHA:
I always wanted to be hard-working. I liked the idea of getting dirty from work and I imagined myself a kind of hard-working dude when I grew up. I liked the idea of power tools and driving trucks. I didn’t turn out to be one of those guys though. It remained a fantasy. Even power tools are still a fantasy, I am utterly afraid of them. But I love driving and I can get nerdy about my instruments and gear. We only grew up with seemingly traditional gender roles. Our mother always made us aware of gender being a construct and of breaking out of imposed roles. Talk about someone who was never afraid of power tools or getting dirty from work. When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?

ANJA:
At art school. I discovered that I liked the method of photography. I was able to take pictures like sketches, until a picture emerged that interested me. This way I was able to find my way into a series, or make painting-like singular works without having to deal with a blank page. Blank pages gave me “writer’s block.” Working in photography also seemed exciting back then and more contemporary. Learning about film and photo theory and what happened once humans were able to fix “reality” in a photograph was completely mind-blowing to me and still is. Also, using equipment and chemicals back then and computers today are a challenge. I want to know how that stuff works.

JOSEPHA:
Are there other things you really wanted to be? Want to make a list?

ANJA:
Groundbreaking architect, film director, painter, scientist, thinker, composer, athlete. The groundbreaking part is key here. Another part of me wanted to be pretty and seen, like a model or an actress. But the need to be masterful with equipment, and be the author of my work, dominated.

JOSEPHA:
In what ways do you think our upbringing shaped the things we wanted to be when we grew up? Clearly the “groundbreaking” comes from our megalomaniac lineage, our privileged upbringing.

ANJA:
Yes, but it’s more complex than that. Our parents came from extremely modest backgrounds and made something grand of their lives. Our mother is from a mill in the countryside of Austria and our father a refugee of former East Germany. He had no consistent secondary education, not to mention a university education. I think he started working when he was eleven. On both sides of our families there is a code of working hard. Of millers, cooks, of fabric merchants and lumber workers. At night we would hear our mother’s sewing machine motor on and our father coming home late from work to continue with the clicking sound of the typewriter. There was always a restlessness, a busyness, and an endless doing and fixing of things.

JOSEPHA:
Yes, I think the image of the hard-working dude came from our mother and her brother. They were always moving things around and our uncle was always using power tools and losing fingers roofing and doing construction work. All the adults around us were also making everything up as they went. Selling china, selling antiques, fixing houses, and our father with his totally made-up career as an advertiser. Ingenious and brave.

ANJA:
Yes, everything was about working hard and being brave about it. No one complained about working, and was too proud to admit that it was existential. Mom as hairdresser, seamstress, electrician, minor surgeries were preformed at home, etc. It was normal to do things ourselves, and there was a general mistrust of professionalism. Maybe not mistrust, more a belief it was a waste of time and money. Why pay for things we can do ourselves. A “problem” I still suffer from today. Time passes with constant busyness around the home instead of freeing time for “masterful art creations.” Also, the notion of relaxing was a no-go at home.

JOSEPHA:
When I look at the photographs and video footage you took for “State of Undress,” in many of the shots I feel like I look like you. Of course there are the direct references of me playing you as the “photographer” or as the “mother” posing with your kids, but I feel like in the other shots I’m also playing you in some way. Do you think that is mainly because we were plundering your closet? Or is it because we are sisters and simply look alike?

ANJA:
I experience this often when I work with people. At the end of the day, when I see my reflection, I am shocked that I do not look like the person I just photographed. Something happens when people work together, and we have worked together a lot! Remember when I made you repeatedly throw your pants up in the air in a Colorado laundromat? The final image I chose of you was about my feelings about laundry. In a way I use the bodies of others to express my feelings about things. It seems normal that images I take look like me, or at least like a wishful me. But you are right, as sisters we started out very different. You blond and blue-eyed, me dark and black. But as we get older, with our gray hair we have started to look like proper sisters. I was shocked when viewing the material at first as well. An out-of-body experience.

JOSEPHA:
When I look at the images I love to see so much of you in me. Damn, now I feel like we should have re-shot that Gloria Swanson Sunset Boulevard moment. We should still do that. Write a song about becoming one in our aging faces and then shoot each other being Gloria Swanson. Something like that. Another question: what about your closet? I feel like your closet is a collection of costumes much more than a typical closet of clothes. Everything looks like it is used to dress up as characters. When you get dressed in the morning, are you dressing up as a character?

ANJA:
Oh yes, let’s plan our next project, I am ready for our close-up. About dressing up, it depends. I do try to choose situation-appropriate clothing, and choose a bathing suit over a raincoat to go swimming. Most of all I prefer clothing I can work and move well in. When photographing, for example, it is helpful to wear something comfortable, flexible, and sweat-absorbing. And it is important that the clothes stay in place when bending around. When photographing in the streets it is also helpful to not look too flashy, so people do not notice you too much. And when photographing a client, it helps to look clean and professional, or even a little modern. Then they trust that you can handle the technical aspects of photography and come up with a contemporary look for themselves. So all this requires a lot of specific clothes.

But yes, you caught me, I love to be different characters and I am a mad collector of clothes. Dressing in pastels, snuggled into the dream of ice cream, wearing shades of off-whites, thinking of white doctor shoes and Catherine Deneuve. And then dress like a surrealist thinker-man and then as the angry villain-queen. This passion has often made me look out of place. I have kept most of the clothes that were given to me by my family even though I rarely wear them, and keeping all these clothes clean and organized is a time- and space-consuming hobby.

I also dream of designing the ultimate outfit. A uniform-like ensemble that crosses all desires and memories. A perfect uniform to work in, dance in, go out somewhere fancy in and sleep in. Then I could get rid of all the clothes and only keep this one.

How do you feel about clothes and wearing them? Is there a difference in how you dress on stage to how you dress every day? Are there situations where you wear costume-like clothes in real life?

JOSEPHA:
Yes, there is a difference between what I wear on stage and what I wear every day. On stage I try to go for the fictional, something I would not put on every day. In the beginnings of Susie Asado I even wore high heels, but then I hurt my ankles and I got too scared to wear them. I did love the alien feeling of them, how they instantly postured me into someone else, something quite artificial. I also wear makeup on stage, which I don’t often wear during the day. But all of this is changing, I’m having more fun dressing up in general. I am also having fun undressing. I don’t mean that literally. Being simple about wearing less. Something to mirror the skeletal pop, the stripped-down songs. I certainly wish I was one of those ladies always taking off her clothes and owning it. I have also dressed up as Susie secretary in the hope I would quit procrastinating and answer my e-mails. It worked! Maybe there is less of a split now between who I am on stage and who I am at the supermarket.

When you take pictures of me, I always feel like you are playing the photographer and I am playing the model. Maybe this comes from having played stuff like this as kids, but I wonder, are you performing the photographer?

ANJA:
Yes, I feel like I am acting the role of the photographer. You have been my muse since childhood and I made you into my subject and object. I used you to represent my feeling. As the photographer I assume the active and director-like role, and you are my submissive beauty, following my instructions, being made into my art. It makes sense that it developed that way, since I am your older sister and often had to take care of you. Maybe becoming the photographer and you the model was the next step to our childhood roles.

And you really do have amazing magic powers that can get caught on film and drug the viewer. Like in Roland Barthes’ Mythologies where he describes the face of Greta Garbo: … “that moment in cinema when capturing the human face still plunged audiences into the deepest ecstasy, when one literally lost oneself in a human image as one would in a philtre, when the face represented a kind of absolute state of the flesh, which could be neither reached nor renounced.” You definitely got much of that Garbo face effect!

JOSEPHA:
I’m not sure about that, but I certainly like becoming something else in an image, and drugging the viewer is an interesting idea. We’ve been doing these “photo shoots” since we were in high school, so since the late eighties / early nineties. How do you feel about documenting me as I’m getting older? I secretly hope we will be doing this forever and at some point we can have a huge retrospective. Oh megalomaniacal dreams.

ANJA:
Yes, I am aware of the years and how the dynamic between us changes and continues. And I am mostly so happy that I have an ally in the creative process. I am really looking forward to doing this forever with you. I do think a lot about aging these days and I am secretly very happy that we still have some youthfulness in us. I am not ready to be older yet, but since we both do not color our hair, we seem to be open to it, maybe even shaping it. I do think that both of us will maintain bright sparkling eyes. I love that in older people, when you can still see the child in them.

How do you feel about the stage and how did you start to integrate it with your writing? I often envy you for being able to use your body in your art.

JOSEPHA:
I guess it was the stage that integrated my writing with my body. I didn’t think about it so much when I first started performing songs with Philipp. We were just singing songs. But being up there in those stage lights did something to me. It let me become larger than I initially imagined myself. Suddenly I was doing weird stuff with my body. Becoming more artificial, more playful in my movements and performance. I would let myself act out whatever impulses I was having. That has stayed with me and I keep building on that. I love the unpredictability of performing. That strange moment where you have to run with your mistakes and the audience. And yes, the utter physicality of it. The sweat, the nerves, the heat of the stage lights, and the weight of the instrument.

This takes me back to your photographs though and the video “State of Undress” that we made. I love how the physical gets tangled with the music. I feel like the photographs complete the music. Thank you, Anja!

– If you would like to see the video for “State of Undress” go to the video section of the website . . .

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Suddenly trees are green. Suddenly there is an album at the printers. Suddenly here I am back from a trip to Canada and the States and I haven’t said a word about it. Hello! There is so much to write home about, you being my home. Last you heard from me we were just laying down tracks. It all seemed impossible to finish an album that was barely written in January and now it is done. Mixed, mastered and at the printers. There are even photos and a couple of videos. Because of this blur of events I am a little exhausted. And yes, proud. I can’t wait to share all the details of what we have made. There will be a release date announced very soon and a timeline and then at the end of the year we will go on tour. The new songs are catchy and weird and I feel like I have finally grown into this Susie Asado chanteuse. It is funny setting out to do something with no idea where it will lead. And then there are plans and adventures and growing and suddenly I look in the mirror and I see this grown up lady with gray hair, knowing smiles and electric blue eyes. There is also a voice that sings me; I’ve learned to let her do her thing. Sometimes all she wants to do is watch TV. Lately she has taken up watercolors. Sometimes she keeps the neighbors up all night. Sorry neighbors! Anyways, please write me or Sebastian from Paper and Iron Booking if you want to be part of our release tour. It will be very special. It will be in December. I will have my double AA with me (Ariel and Alicja) and we will sing cool lady harmonies and bring our bass pedals, percussion, violin, clarinet, bass, ukulele and guitars. For the tour we are teaming up with the duo version of The Burning Hell from Canada which Ariel is also a part of. This is an epic double bill not to be missed. Ok, this is it for now. Did I write you the name of the album? It is called “State of Undress”. Seriously. And yes, there will be some undressing, so stay tuned. Don’t miss a thing!

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Wanted to send a message from the depths of my Winterschlaf. My winter-sleep, my state of hibernation. Of course I am not sleeping. At least not all of the time. There are plans brooding and songs taking shape. There is a plan to record at the end of February. You can see me with a butterfly net jumping around trying to catch some of the ideas that are flying around my room. There is little distraction. There is no sun. Berlin is still in its gloomy depths. I am trying to do my Susie job and pull songs out of my mouth, my guitar. I am listening to low hums and the tick tock of the tail from my kitchen kit cat clock. Some days are easier than others. New songs seem rough and frail and bad in ways; they don’t stand up to the tour-weathered songs that have accompanied me for years. If it weren’t for Ariel, Alicja and Marko helping me sound out the details, I would just give up on these baby chicks. But they are growing and there are choreographies and melodies that are ear worming through my day. Earworm is German for a tune that gets stuck in your head. Ok, back to plans. Plans are to make a new album. Ok, I said it, it’s official. It will come out sometime in the late summer. That’s how it goes with albums. They take time. And then at the end of the year we will pack up the car and come visit you. Please write us if you would like to be part of that plan. We would like you to be part of that plan. I will try and do my best to post as other brooding plans take shape. For now, I hope you are all having a lovely winter. Snow sun and songs. Your Susie.

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We are back in Berlin. I can still feel the Autobahn in my bones. A motor rattle. I feel strangely calm. What does it mean? I will try not to think about it and just enjoy the misty Berlin air and the pleasure of clean clothes. Coming home from tour is an art form. To do it gently. To rest, but not crash. To watch some TV, but not fall apart on the sofa with a catatonic stare into a flickering laptop. Or become obsessed with the lady bugs that have hatched in the cracks of my windows that crawl around on my floor. I’ve written down the numbers for the tour and Ariel and I cleaned the car yesterday at the local car wash. We power vacuumed the crumbs from the the road snacks using two giant vacuum tubes going at it from each side simultaneously. I took a long bath this morning and shaved my legs. Are these things you want to know about? Alicja says “Home is where you can take a shower”. Ariel says “Home is where the dirt on your sheets is your own dirt”. I tried to remember the bed where I slept on the first night on tour in Poznan. I can’t remember it. Not the sheets, not the bed, not the room, not the hotel, not the road. I do remember the venue Troche Kultury very well. I think I can remember the other beds I slept in, but not the sheets. I remember arriving in Vienna. Hanging out with my brother Philipp in front of Fluc. Our wonderful show that night. Getting to play Crazy for Jane songs. Crazy for Jane is the band I have with my brother that is all about and for Jane. It is a desperate serenade. It is funny and very sad and well, very desperate. I remember my heart in Passau. The sweetness of returning to a city I haven’t played in for some years. I guess I have been touring for long enough that you see time pass in the cities and in the people. Like seeing our promoter Petr in Strakonice after not having been there in 8 years. Our most playful audience was there. We were all cold in a kind of castle cellar, pretending stage lights are heating lamps and hoping our fingers move anyways. And then this awesome audience sets fires to the songs and they go off like little bombs. We shared the night in Strakonice with an awesome band from Prague: Oswaldovi. Oh Oswaldovi! Now I am sitting at my desk, watching the traffic on the bridge. The tour already has this sense that perhaps I made it up. But there are still the bags with the cables, pickups and CDs and on Sunday we will play a last show at Weserstrasse 58 in Neukölln. Excited to play in my neighbourhood. So things are coming home.

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Last night we drove through a midnight fog to the outskirts of Opole. Roman from the Opole Songwriter Festival drove ahead of us and Berlin’s Sorry Gilberto behind us. A caravan of red flickering lights. Everything appeared too close and too far away. This sense of being in the thick of it. Only a few meters ahead of you visible. No sense of the future, no sense of the past. We arrive at a country mansion. Pehaps even a kind of castle. We unload and stumble to our rooms. We fall a sleep. We snore, we dream, we wake up. Still fog. The colorful trees strangely luminious. Fogy luminous. The misty air smells woody and earthy. The mansion we stayed in right in the middle of a beautiful garden which seems to continue through some rolling hills. I would have liked to stay and explore, but we keep to our tour fog. We pile into the car. We drive to a roadside restaurant and eat perogies and watch truckers eat their morning soup. In our tour bubble fog, this seems to be a proper polish Sunday morning. The place and the people very real. I hold onto this short moment as we keep driving through the fog. We are on the way to Budapest. We have already driven through Czech Republic and are now driving through Slovakia. We have bought the respective vignettes to use the local highways. We watch the languages on the signs change. Trees are trees and roads are mostly roads. The first three shows are behind us. Alicja translated us through all awkwardness of being in a foreign country. I wish we spoke Hungarian, spoke Czech. I wish we were prepared for all countries. Could wink and play between the borders, could properly flirt and order food and ask all the necessary questions. Touring certainly always makes me want to learn languages. To feel less in the tour fog bubble. In the fog everything feels fragmented. The sun has come out. Flickers through the trees. I think hypnosis. I think strobe. I think seizures. We are listening to music in our bubble. Today was going to be the longest drive covering the longest distance and the most countries in a day. It actually feels like the shortest drive so far and we will arrive with time to spare, perhaps eat some local food and watch the light change over the Danube.

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There has been traffic. There has been a whirl of nights. Visits to gothic churches and castles. Everything is mixed up in English and Spanish and I am reading the subtitles to our movie we call the Asado Dacal tour. I am learning new words. I have to learn them again and again each day. Pablo is patient. We play each others songs. I am singing in Spanish. I feel very Asado. My back has been funky, some vertabrea knotted. I walk as if a pole keeping me upright. Somehow it fits this feeling between languages. Yesterday we met up with The Burning Hell in Zürich and I got to dance my body to their amazing songs. Yes, it is possible to dace with a pole. There is a panik that this tour will be over before I have properly settled into songs and the rhythm of packing, car, unpacking, plugging, tuning, eating, packing, singing, walking, unpacking, sleeping. When I first heard Pablos songs I was terrified by their elegance and rhythm. I imagined this Argentinian cantautor surrounded by an orchester, by dancers, by everything that glimmers and glows. But my name is not for nothing and so I guess it was meant to be that Pablo and I go on an adventure. And so we are. Sherlock and Watson deciphering the codes of our travels. Four more shows to go: Schaffhausen, Freiburg, Frankfurt, and Düsseldorf. I feel lucky.

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On our way to Prague. Alicja is driving and I’m sitting in the back contorting a bit to write on my miniature keyboard. We are wondering how many kilometers we have put behind us. As of right now perhaps 3200. That seems like a lot when you don’t think of it in bits. Every part of the tour being a bit. Like bites. Everything has been so well paced and just the right amount at the right time. Like when I started to get overwhelmed we ended up in Augsburg at the ambitious Grand Hotel Cosmopolis. A collective housing 60 refugees, offering spaces for artists and running a hotel. It is grand and inspiring and I was moved visiting the house and meeting the people involved with this awesome project situated right in the city center of Augsburg. I wish every city would make room for such an inspiring project that truly creates a space for dialog and brings together people who would otherwise not meet. We stayed in beautifully constructed rooms of the hotel. Each with its own story, its own design. I stayed in the “Frauenzimmer” which is a room inspired by women in crime stories, by female detectives and little feet who got away. It’s hard to explain the little feet, but the legs of the desk each had a little shoe on its foot. It all felt very Susie Asado and I would have liked to spend days there reading the collection of detective novels on the shelf and spending more time to meet the people of the house. Yesterday was another day of entering a strange space and being transformed by it. We had a day off in Vienna and went to see the “Leiblichkeit & Sexualität” exhibit at the Votivkirche. We got a tour by the curator David Rasaf and a whole world of magical symbolism opened up. The contemporary art pieces installed are playful and disturbing dialog with the objects/symbols and spaces of the church. My favorite was a piece by called “Erdapfel”, a solid yet delicate dome-like structure made out of wood. We all climbed into the sculpture and huddled like children in a tent. I got to sit on a chair and felt a little bit like holding court. David Rasaf joked about the piece being perhaps mass produced so people could have such a dome like safe space at home. I certainly would like one. But even being in there for a while was enough to put a sense of quiet in my touring heart and now on the way to Prague it seems strange that this will be the last show before heading home to Berlin tomorrow. Tomorrow. This tour has been grand with my double AA ladies that I’m a little sore about driving home tomorrow. At the same time I am especially excited about playing tonight in Prague and our homecoming show in Berlin at Grüner Salon on the 22nd of May. So still plenty to look forward too and some sweet new plans taking shape in our imaginations and in conversation. To be continued hopefully very soon . . .

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