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Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category

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As with all the places that connect me with special people and H.R. Giger, I think I left a piece of my heart in Ljubljana. Reason to visit: Kurja Polt Genre Film Festival, where I had the utmost pleasure and honour to give a lecture on his art through a cognitive-linguistic lens, thus contributing to the homage to H.R. Giger on the second day of the festival, April 14.

plakat_FINAL_KP20161-726x1024How did it all came to be? Marco Witzig, curator and Giger collector (and my dear friend who has helped me tremendously with the corpus for my PhD thesis) put me in touch with the festival organizers in order to do something regarding their homage to H.R. Giger (which included the screening of the „Dark Star“ documentary, short films and music videos). In a matter of hours and some email exchange later – it was all set: I was to present a lecture under the title „H.R. Giger Alienscapes: The Secret Language of Biomechanics“, which is derived from my research so far. Suffice to say – I couldn’t sleep that night from the excitement!
Kurja Polt festival (appropriately named „Goosebumps“ in Slovenian) is run by some of the most talented and interesting people I ever had the opportunity to meet, spearheaded by the incredible Maša Peče (pictured above with me). From the first email, to our encounter on the day of the homage, to our parting (for now), there was a great amount of energy between us – two horror film enthusiasts and art lovers – that we basically hit it off from the get-go, and I cannot wait to see this fantastic lady again.

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Also, the rest of the Kurja Polt gang: Neža, Nika, Ondra, Kaja, Varja, Matevž from Kraken Short Film Festival, and all the others I’ve met (their professionalism and hospitality knows no boundaries), including other festival guests (Francois, Dolly and Bernd), made this an unforgettable experience in the alluring darkness of Kinoteka and Kinodvor cinemas.

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Yes, we went on a boat ride, too! Also, we were treated with great lunches, a ride with the funicular to the Ljubljana castle, along with many interesting activities in and around the venues. For example, after the screening of the Indian blockbuster „Baahubali: The Beginning“, the foyer of Kinodvor was filled with Indian-style snacks (including mushrooms with curry, mmm!); after the H.R. Giger day, Kinoteka was decorated with crushed ice fog (à la Debbie Harry’sNow I Know You Know“) and sangria; before the midnight screening of „I Spit On Your Grave“, encouragement in the form of whiskey shots was served at the entrance.
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As for my lecture, I was incredibly happy and honoured to have so many people in the audience, considering that it was mostly from an academic point of view and that it wasn’t so interactive. After the lecture, I had many visitors coming to me and complimenting me for the insight into the visual metaphors and metonymies in Giger’s art (including a colleague who is doing a Master’s thesis in linguistics at the moment), and I even had a pleasant conversation with students (I believe from performing arts, who were doing a workshop in film criticism) and their professor, on the allure of Giger’s creations.
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My dear friend Claudia was also there with me, making this a complete travel! We had such fun with this trailer (and kept quoting things like „Why haven’t you checked the children?“, or „Oh, really? Did she like it?“) throughout the festival and later as well:

My love for „Suspiria“ was ignited again after finally seeing the film in all its glory on the silver screen (and the soundtrack is a masterpiece which I must own on vinyl too), and we discovered some gems like „La Morte Vivante“ and the original „When A Stranger Calls“.
Kurja Polt Genre Film Festival is a horror film fan’s dream come true, and next year this fantastic event will probably see me as a visitor. Ljubljana is a lovely city, filled with vegan restaurants and friendly people, that I simply cannot wait for April 2017 to come and to see what Maša & Co. have in store for the next edition.
Thank you, Kurja Polt!
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www.kurjapolt.org
Photos courtesy of Matjaž Rušt/Kurja Polt

Dear readers,
finally a new travelogue! From Switzerland no less! Read & enjoy the photos right here (note that the Bosnian translation will follow very soon).
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The concert highlight of the year belongs to the Rolling Stones in Vienna! Around 60,000 people were positively on fire during the two hour show at Ernst Happel Stadium in the Austrian capital. I mean, just watch the intro below!

This is the greatest rock band on the planet, hands down. From the iconic hits such as “Sympathy for the Devil“, “Gimme Shelter“, “You Got Me Rocking” to the huge, flashy stage, and of course, the four Englishmen who took the world by storm ever since they first rocked together, and are taking it again on every tour – you’ve got it all. A feast for the eyes, ears (legs too – I danced them right off!) and spirit, and one I definitely didn’t want to miss. Thanks to the concert travel agency SviKoncerti.eu, I had the time of my life with fellow Stones fans, plus I got to meet some cool new people while en route & there – cheers, Hrvoje, Biserka, Albin & Edvin! ;)
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Also, check out the whole gang here (courtesy to Tomica & svikoncerti.eu):
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What I especially liked (next to those sexy visuals on “Honky Tonk Woman“) were the outfits that Mick & Co. chose for the show – so stylish and cool! In love with Ron’s jacket (photos by Matthias Hombauer):
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Of course, I splurged a small fortune on the official merchandise, grabbed a lángos on the way back to the bus, and spent the time travelling back to Zagreb in thoughts coloured with pure rock’n’roll!
Now, even though I’m ecstatic to have seen them live again after so many years (Zagreb ’98, anyone?) and probably on their last tour, I actually wish they have a new album and tour soon, because this is a concert experience like no other! I can’t get no satisfaction! ;)

For those of you not familiar with the title – it was actually the Rolling Stones tour this year where I managed to see one show (more on that in the upcoming post), so I thought it’s a nice way to describe the whole summer. ’14 on fire, indeed!

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The unofficial start was all business. The long awaited conference at the Burch University in Sarajevo was an event I anticipated ever since I got the presentation acceptance letter back in February. This was an effective strategy to both research political metaphors in our surroundings, get much needed ECTS points for my studies, and test whether the idea will hold water in the long run (basically, will it be of interest to me to my PhD thesis on it) – and test it I sure did. This was my first solo presentation at a conference, but I had my faithful companion and dear friend Nizama with me, so I was simply „positively“ excited to present my work. Not only her, mind you, but also my professor from Osijek, Prof. Tanja Gradečak-Erdeljić, along with her colleagues, my PhD colleague Ružica, my colleagues from the faculty in Bihać… Their presence meant a lot, and I still can’t thank them enough! Just imagine the situation – the colleague who presented before me just ended his speech, which was taken as cue for the bunch of people to open the door of the hall and enter it – for me! So cool! The hall was full, and even though I didn’t have the planned time to present everything (due to all first-round presentations being late since prof. Langacker prolonged his keynote speech), I was pretty satisfied with how it all went. I prefer presenting on the first day, because I can relax after my speech and just hang out with my friends and colleagues, checking out interesting presentations or mingling at the buffet. In that aspect, it was like the lovely organizers at Burch read my mind.

Overall impression from Burch – it was like a rockstar show, only for linguists! Not only because they had some pretty big names of the academic world (aforementioned Prof. Langacker, then Professors Pinker, Mackey, Ellis and Schmidt), but also due to the fact that they had that special event vibe going on – and with 600 presenters and who knows how many visitors, it was a true academic beehive! As for Nizama and me, we loved buzzing around and we’re already planning our speeches for next year. Hopefully, we’ll finally get to see and meet Prof. George Lakoff, who was announced, but in the end couldn’t come or hold a video conference this year (he’s up on the 2015 poster though). We’re totally gonna fangirl over him and have him sign our copies of „Metaphors We Live By“, right, Nizama?

After we came back home, disaster struck our country (the May floods), so we were all, in one way or another, influenced by the whole catastrophe. For a while it was also touch-and-go for my third conference this year, organized by TETA – Tuzla English Teachers’ Association that currently dubs as the organization for the whole country, and does a pretty good job at it too. By then (second week of June), I was entirely spent by the exhausting work year behind me and ready to call it a day – or in this case, a year. Hence me being extremely tired at the conference and the days preceding it. I also had a solo speech there, and in the presence of several colleagues – English teachers there (Nizama too), and a couple of my students from Bihać who were helpers at the conference, I presented my research on the cognitive dimension of early acquisition of EFL, and was once more able to relax after that. I think my brain went officially on vacation the minute my speech ended. After that, it was mingling time again – and at the dinner TETA organized for us at an Irish pub in Tuzla, I actually won a pretty nifty tablet! How cool is that! The rest of the evening I spent in a very pleasant company of fellow English teachers from all across Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. The late evening was blank, as I basically fainted and slept for close to 12 hours. Tomorrow held another journey for me, but more on that and the four Englishmen in the biggest rock band in the world soon! Until then, enjoy my gallery from Burch, with TETA being added soon as well!

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My presentation (as you can see, I love to plug my fave horror movies in them – and “They Live” is a masterpiece!):
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With colleagues Hakan and Nizama in front of Burch:
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At the House of Sevdah in Sarajevo:
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With Ružica at the Pope John Paul II statue in Sarajevo:
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Where’s Waldo? :) (last photo courtesy of Burch University)
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Deathstars_Andreas_Salzburg_01Things often happen in my life that have an obvious serendipitous nature. While Claudia and I were waiting for the Hurts gig to start (past Sunday), we were talking about Deathstars and their upcoming album – five minutes later, I saw the announcements for future events in Gasometer, one of them being the Deathstars gig on my birthday next year! My love for Deathstars marked a big part of my life, especially after I met Andreas and the gang on EXIT Festival in 2006 (remember that night, Olga?) Their particular brand of darkness always suited my palate, so to speak. Time to enjoy old memories of hanging out with the guys with two of my favourite songs by them, “Syndrome” and “The Greatest Fight On Earth” – until spring, my darlings!

(Andreas and I, Salzburg, Austria, April 2007)

/Such a violent syndrome tapped to your spine
It’s a virus storm and it’s about to be born

Such a violent word that wants to be heard
You got me deep within and under your skin

I’m gonna touch you inside
I’m gonna be your little child
Right where your blood runs wild
Inside, that’s where I’ll hide/

/Absorb all their fears, Collect all their minds
We’ll be the snakes wherever they’ll play
And we’ll be the demons whenever they’ll pray
…It’ will be the greatest fight on the earth

Snatch the wings of a fly
Spit on them and nail them to my spine
Say ”little insect now fly away”
But I’ll be the demon in every psalm you pray

The disease, the love, the claws, the blood
The empty clinics of savaged hearts
The rusty nails in lidless eyes
…And the skin won’t ever be cleansed from the dirt…

Come here
Now come here
Let me smell your fears/

Since summer really seems to be gone, all but calendar-wise, the best thing to do is to remember great moments of the passing season (paying an homage to A-ha with the title at the same time) – so, here it is – Best Of Summer 2013 Visuals:

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Interview with HURTS (Theo Hutchcraft & Adam Anderson) – with Claudia – VOLT Festival 2013, Sopron, Hungary, July 4th

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Interview with Tony Palermo (Papa Roach) – with Claudia – VOLT Festival 2013, Sopron, Hungary, July 5th

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With Michael “Moose” Thomas (Bullet For My Valentine) – VOLT Festival 2013, Sopron, Hungary, July 6th

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In the VIP Lounge of VOLT Festival 2013, Sopron, Hungary, July 4th

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With Bazie and Jyrki69 (The 69 Eyes) at Masters Of Rock Festival 2013, Vizovice, Czech Republic, July 12

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“Before Midnight” in Munich, June 2013 – Now I not only have to do Paris tour, but a Greece tour as well!

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Munich Train Station & in my favourite club “Titty Twister” with Veldina, June 2013

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In Munich’s Café Katzentempel, August 2013

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Munich, near the Glyptothek, August 2013

The trip to the Netherlands and the gallery are under Travelogue & Gallery, respectively. The interview with HURTS is right here, the interview with Tony from Papa Roach can be found here, while you can read the report on VOLT Festival following this link. The report and gallery from MOR 2013 are all on The69Eyes.ba.
Munich is in my verses…

dsc04425What could I possibly say that doesn’t fall short of the amazing performance Hurts gave just a few nights ago in Vienna? I’ve tried my best in my review for Venia Mag and that is all I can offer, beside a heart that beats to their songs and spirit that calls out “Evelyn” for years now… And the meeting with Theo, oh, the meeting with Theo… His embrace and words took my breath away…
And now Theo and Adam have my book too! Even now I can’t quite grasp the notion, but I was even less myself in the presence of this man, this poet. He was so pleasantly surprised by the gift that he gave me an embrace right away, and his words could’ve melted the deepest ice…dsc04439 Another connection happened minutes later – Claudia and I were wearing my fan-made t-shirts with my favourite lyrics from “Evelyn” and Theo, spotting the inscription, said they were his favourite lyrics! You could’ve killed me right then and there and I wouldn’t be able to remember even my name, let alone something else… We then talked about how they “describe the band perfectly” and remembered the hotel sign in Berlin Theo tweeted about not so long ago. The smiles, the photos again… the embrace.
And now all we can think of is July and seeing them on a summer festival in Hungary. Hopefully the same crew again on the Exile: wereinexileClaudia, Sabina, Ivana, Vesna and moi! And Theo, the orchestra that played in my mind in “What if” is from “Evelyn“… I will never mind, the lullabies from the machines…

(Borgo Pass, at the Castle Dracula Hotel, Halloween 2008, photo by Claudia Lang)