Festivus

Well folks, Chatsilog is up and running which is nice, and the holidays are upon us, which is nice. Christmas and New Years the P and I will be out of Prague, then back again for a bit in January, and then I leave again in mid-January for a few months, so things are about to get a little hectic. This week, I’ll post some recent photos and stray GHOTCZs, for your entertainment.

First off, I’ve been working on a photo book, which I’ll be publishing via Lulu: don’t know that it will be print-ready for Christmas, but I’ll keep you updated as to when it’s available and where you can order it:

This publication may be of no use to anyone besides me and 3 other people, but that’s probably enough for now. For those who may have missed it earlier in the year and who could use some clarification, you may enjoy going back and reading this post or viewing these photos.

Anyway, I’m all fired up about yet another photo series I’ve just begun, at present titled “Worst Souvenirs of Prague” or “Poorly-Crafted Matryoshka Dolls” or some such. Haven’t quite got the title down, but the subject matter speaks for itself.

In my estimation, they’re not so much bad as good, of course. (And what is value, anyway? Go ask Robert Pirsig.) Mediocre souvenirs are a dime a dozen: I’m a rather exacting connoisseur, so it takes a lot to impress me. What I think I’ve identified that I enjoy so much about the novelty matryoshka dolls are these factors:

1. They’re incredibly poorly-made. Like slapdash, someone’s-mentally-ill-cousin-chained-in-a-basement-closet-made-these, poorly-made. The art brut aspect fascinates me.

2. Sloppy geography. Matryoshka dolls are not really a Prague thing: they’re a Russian thing, but are still lumped into that generally fuzzy touristic-geographical category of post-Eastern Bloc whatevercloseenough.

3. Surrealist Dinner Party. They’re often grouped indiscriminately, which is how you end up with Che Guevara next to Obama and Berlusconi but below Dirty Dancing and Madonna but above Kate&Will. It’s a lot like the way I used to love going to Longs Drugs in Oakland and finding the rubber dragons next to the american flags next to the japanese bread crumbs next to the Tupperware next to the hot dog stand. Juxtaposition makes everything fun and new again!

4. They’re disposable indicators of culture. which makes it really fun when they become passé. There’s something very poignant and abject about the matryoshkas that have outlived their relevance, and go on sale: the P just bought a set of discounted Cleveland Cavaliers nesting dolls (LeBron James edition), as a bittersweet remembrance of what might have been. And I just got John Kerry, at 80% off! (I almost bought John McCain too, but the dolls nesting inside him were not more sad John McCains or Sarah Palins, but rather, a rogue’s gallery of Former Great Republicans, which was neither desirable nor abject enough).

Sigh.

Poor John Kerry.

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