From Lucerna to Louvre
In any case, following the late-afternoon consumption of coffee, beer, and mineral water at the kavárna (I think that covers all any of us ordered), Nathan, Jesse, and I proceeded to a party at David and Chris’ apartment in Vinohrady. Since David is sufficiently fluent in Czech to teach entire courses in the language, most of the guests were Czech (or Slovak) and the rest of us (except for Peg and a visitor from Norway) were able to carry on some manner of conversation without lapsing hopelessly into English. I enjoyed getting to talk about art and literature rather than groceries or political history, although I was painfully aware that, as usual, my passive vocabulary was considerably greater than anything I could actually formulate to say myself. Still, we did get to discuss surrealism and its relation to the subconscious, even if I wasn’t able to say anything remarkably intelligent about it or provide any new insights on Nezval’s surrealist works. In the English language, I learned some interesting things about deaf culture from Peg, who used to work at Gallaudet. And I entertained our Norwegian visitor, who apparently had not only just visited the floor of the Veletržní palác featuring works by Toyen but had also heard all about the presentation on Toyen that I gave at the Velké Bílovice conference. (I hadn’t thought I was so renowned yet. Or perhaps the word should be infamous.) I assume that Nathan, Jesse, and Dawn were also engaged in spirited conversation primarily in Czech, although I suppose it is remotely possible that they sat in a corner and napped instead.
Around eleven, the livelier members of the group headed over to the Lucerna’s basement Music Bar, which was having its weekly 80s/90s night (every Friday and Saturday from 10-3:00). It was a seething mass of dancers, so I was alarmed that we immediately lost Jesse in the crowd, but as he had our shared coatcheck ticket and was supposed to stay at my place, I could only assume that sooner or later he would turn up (this proved true). We all threw ourselves into the dancing with great abandon, which is not entirely suggested by these photos from the Lucerna web site, as they mainly capture the layout and crowds of people.
Perhaps the photos were taken on a night with less energetic dancers than our group. Certainly we were a little cramped for space and one often found oneself dancing in greater proximity to the stranger behind one than to the person or persons one was ostensibly dancing with. Some of these people seemed to think they could just keep backing up into our space and perhaps cause it to disappear, but we managed to maintain something of a circle (oval, figure eight, line) with our six or seven.
After a time, Megan joined us with Alex’s friend Ken in tow, but at that point my feet were rather sore and the music was quite unappealing. Somewhere around 1:30 or 2:00, David and Chris departed with their entourage. From this point on, there was a certain comic aspect, as while I was willing to stay or go, Jesse and Megan would alternately suggest we leave and then get interested in the next song. The music took a more 1980s turn, which pleased us more than the 90s music, and the crowd lessened slightly, so our group continued to dance until closing time, Jesse and Megan and I caught the night tram, and in a short time we were sitting in my kitchen drinking large quantities of water and devouring all the rolls I had bought that morning.
Considering that we didn’t get to bed until 5:00, I think we were very early risers to sit up and look around at 10:00 the next morning. As is my custom, I made an enormous omelet, we sat around the kitchen and talked until overtaken by the desire to shower and start the washing machine, and then, after some overly technical discussion of the niceties of blogging (I am sure Megan was ready to hit us before long since her interest in blogs does not extend to Technorati, del.icio.us, or RSS feeds), we took a leisurely walk up to Café Louvre. The weather was springlike, the sky was blue, other inhabitants of Prague were also promenading along the Vltava, and all seemed well. True, Nathan had some difficulty getting over to Café Louvre before we had finished our lunch, and Hubert proved unavailable, but we all felt that a very fine weekend had been had.
And no, I don’t lead a life like this in the United States.