29 July 2011

Lithuanian Animation

It's not Animation Week, but the popularity of those posts have prompted a new addition since I didn't have anything more interesting up my sleeve.  I was able to scrounge up some interesting animators from the small country, and even found some from one of my blog followers, Ruah Edelstein

28 July 2011

Bombing of Poems

I came across this on Calypso Edition's website months ago (the lovely cooperative press I have collaborated with for several months) and decided it was time to feature it.  I have spent the past few weeks writing more about politics while neglecting the cultural and artistic aspect of CEE.  This project, however, is a lovely conception of political connotations and artistic vision.  It is a healing and beautiful way to reconceptualize past events into a modern event of exuberance.  A Chilean art collective, Casagrande, has been running the project "Bombing of Poems" (Bombardeo de poemas) since 2001, when they bombed Santiago with poems.

27 July 2011

Balkan News

My RSS feed reader is slowly becoming larger than the newspapers I read.  I recently made it worse by adding Balkan Insights, which will supplement the six I was reading before.  I can't even keep up with some of them, so I simply browse headlines to keep myself sane.  This website is great and a fantastic addition to my feeds because I need some more Balkan news.  I give a full review after the jump.

26 July 2011

Kosovo cont'd.

I came across this Eastern Approaches article today.  I found this development arresting considering my recent spotlight on Kosovo and this European Voice announcement last week.  It makes me wonder if perhaps canceling the talks was such a good idea.  The rationale behind canceling seems solid enough, but perhaps they could have made headway on the stamps and avoided a possible border showdown.  I can only speculate from my seat thousands of miles away, but the two events seems suspiciously correlated.  There's a lot of moving pieces in politics, but why has Kosovo taken such an interest in taking over those border controls mere days after the talks were canceled?  Was it to convince Serbia that it may not be the one in power, but rather economically dependent on Kosovo taking their exports?

20 July 2011

A Bit of Fun

I came across this link to Jacek Yerka's work.  He is a Polish artist.  I love the fantastic elements, very magical realism (which I am deeply in love with).  You can find more of his work here.

This was just to give you all a break from the stiffness of political discussions.  Pretty images always soothe the troubled soul.

19 July 2011

News Bites

Today I'm looking over 2 news articles and offering my 2 cents.  There's not a whole lot else to explain, so let's get to it!

18 July 2011

Balkan Book Review

Today's feature is How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Saša Stanišić.  I actually found it through a fashion blogger I occasionally read and the name was a dead give-away: I had to read it.  This was my foray into Balkan literature.  Saša, while Bosnian, has lived in Germany since he was 14 and the novel was originally written in German.  This article on the Goethe Institute's site discusses Saša's feelings about being an example of "exemplary integration".  This background information makes reading he novel an interesting debate on art and its reflection on the author, but I will discuss that later on.

17 July 2011

Friends In Need

My friend Christine, who has been featured twice, is looking for funding for her project, featured here.  The money is being raised through Kickstarter and they're shooting for $7,000 in total.  For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, donations are promised, but are only given if the project meets its goal.  If the $7,000 mark is not reached, no money is given out.  Donations are rewarded with special thank-you gifts, but depend on the amount given.  Check out their page for more details on the project and what you will receive for a donation.  The video is very cute.  (Otherwise, check out her blog, Half Day Around, which is listed on the "Featured Blogs & RSS" page.)

For my regular readers, this is a great opportunity to support projects about and in the CEE region.  Their project covers a lot of topics the world has largely forgotten and that I am trying to reawaken.  If you put money where your hobby is, it will begin to flourish.  Money talks.  This money won't be wasted because I can attest that she has integrity, both artistically and otherwise.  So donate what you are willing and able for her project.  We care!

14 July 2011

Other Problems to Worry About

I've been following the eurozone crisis from a distance because I cannot summon enough economic knowledge to fully understand this financial crisis.  The CCGA panel was helpful, but I still feel like I don't understand the complicated world of imaginary money.  Does anybody really understand it?  I always get the sense it's morphed into a complicated beast no one knows how to tame.  So now I need something else to talk about, which is difficult since most of the news outlets are freaking out about that.

11 July 2011

Reviewing Books Again!

It's that time.  The time when I pontificate on the latest book that I have loved, hoping someone, somewhere reads it and finds my review inspirational enough to look it up on the web.  Hopefully that leads to reading it and loving it, but the least I can do is entice someone to look it up.  Today's lucky son of a gun is Best European Fiction 2011 edited by Aleksandar Hemon.

I bought this book while browsing Borders, where I seldom shop, because the words "best", "Europe", and "fiction" get me all hot and bothered.  I bought it new, which means I was really hot and bothered (and on vacation).  I couldn't even wait to browse Amazon's used books!  That's pretty much the source of all my books.  Suffice it to say, my initial expectations were unusually high.  I wanted this to be the best book I had read all year.  I wanted it to blow my mind.  I wanted to cry or sit in amazement or feel like existentialism was being ripped at the seams.  I wanted epic.

06 July 2011


Kosovo, while not technically a country yet, does deserve some attention during Country Spotlight Week since I hardly highlight the region, mostly because I find the many Balkan wars befuddling.  As Christine Armbruster beautifully captured in her project, war is not a simple right vs. wrong historical event (her project took her to Sarajevo).  In the wake of Mladić's capture, there will be more international discussion of the Yugosphere and how it's progressing.   The problems of Kosovo are not over even though the age of shrapnel and land mines are (or should be).  I am in the midst of a lengthy queue of books written by Balkan writers, so I may have more insight on the region afterward.  Enough about me, more about Kosovo!