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A Postcard from Paris

Traveling around Europe in the midst of all this, conducting dissertation research on the Czech interwar avant-garde and its relationship to other major artistic centers of that period, I could not but think about renewed border controls in the EU territory within the context of, and in comparison to, travel in the period between the two World Wars. At that time, Europeans (as well as travelers from further afield) enjoyed a newly open, post-war terrain. The physical movement of bodies, facilitated also by new and faster modes of travel, helped to open up an unprecedented level of exchange between artists and intellectuals of diverse backgrounds and languages. In that brief window of freedom of movement between the two World Wars, Paris was a hub of such traffic, and many visitors came from Prague.

Home Visits

Many of my friends live all across the continent from me, in San Francisco, in Cambridge, in New York and Philadelphia. They live in places that are built for visitors, with landmarks and historical sites and an actual nightlife. So when they choose to visit me, I get anxious. Ann Arbor is a lovely place to live, but to visit? To do what? I can hardly take my guests to Costco, where I spend my weekends, treating myself to a hotdog and a drink for a dollar fifty. I can’t take them to Kroger and scour the manager special aisle for deals on stale cupcakes and irregular bacon. I get scared that my friends, coming from their cosmopolitan cities, will get bored. They will start to wonder, like I already was, why they spent the time and money to visit. And why all of my favorite activities involve discounted food.

The Real Peterman: Poetics and Persona

* Gina Balibrera *

“He who wears this burgundy velvet vest possesses an energy that cannot be adequately described in words. Photography, yes, for sure. And when you study it, this photograph of your holiday soirée months later, you’ll realize it wasn’t the vest that made him. He made the vest.”