Thursday, October 20, 2005

J! and I have been looking forward for months now to the Frankfurt International Book Fair. Frankfurt is just a short train trip away and the Book Fair is, I believe, the largest in the world. You can imagine how exciting this is for a poet and a literature grad student. So, we get to a lonely looking conference center Sunday afternoon, only to discover that we’ve actually come a week early. Probably the worst part is that we’d been telling everyone we know about our impending trip to the book fair, so now for the rest of the week we’ve had to admit that we have difficulty reading the small print.

Well, since we couldn’t go to the book festival, we decided to visit the Museum for Modern Art. I don’t know much about their permanent collection, but the current exhibition is great. The curators bought a ton of objects off of ebay and put them in the museum, complete with the original descriptions posted by the vendors. The exhibit ranges from old postcards and photos to a lock of Napoleon’s hair. My personal favorites were the “Vintage Shakespeare Glass Minnow Trap: Patent Pending,” a small vial of “NIAGRA FALLS WATER! WEDDING ANNIVERSARY GIFT SOUVENIR. WATER GUARANTEED TO HAVE FLOWED OVER NIAGARA FALLS!” and a pair of “mysterious batteries.” Also, the building itself is really beautiful. It was designed by an architect named Hans Hollein, who I think must have been a fan of M. C. Esher.

The description for the “mysterious batteries”:

I acquired these batteries while on a trip in Japan 6 years ago. I had originally bought them for my camera, which I used during the entire trip. About six months after returning home, not thinking of it at the time, I finally realized that I had never replaced the batteries in the camera, which was still in frequent use. I took them out of the camera, & put them in my Walkman. I couldn’t believe they were still working. Over the next 5 years these batteries have become a mystery to me, my friends and family. I have used them in the TV remote, flashlight, mp3 player and many other things. To everyone’s amazement, they are still at full charge. I have 4 of these batteries, but I can only part with 2. I can’t guarantee that they will last forever, but they have seemed to amaze my family and I over the years. I hope they can give you what they’ve given us.

They're so mysterious!

The enormous poster that finally clued us in.
Notice the date, “writ large.”

A few of the many staircases in the museum.

Downtown Frankfurt.


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