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  • I was in Azerbaijan and I flew to a conference in Washington DC to present a paper. On the flight back, I had a ten hour stopover in Vienna. I had never been to Vienna, so I looked on the internet and saw they had a direct airport-city center train in about fifteen minutes. I contacted my friend Julia, and we made plans to meet up.

    It was December, and the center of the city was all done up with gorgeous Christmas decorations and lights, though I didn’t get to see the full nighttime effect. I walked around, wishing I had a copy of Schorske’s Fin de Sicle Vienna, which I swore when I first read it I would have with me when I would one day visit Vienna, but that was back in storage in Santa Barbara. But I knew that goal number one for Vienna was to see some Klimt. I made my way to the Museum Quarter.

    Seeing actual Klimt paintings right in front of me was amazing, but what ended up being most memorable about my Vienne museum experience was an exhibition of Raymond Pettibon at the Museum of Modern Art. This blew me away, not simply because of his art, but because of the connection this guy has to my youth, and how surprised I was he had a large, major exhibition at a major European museum.

    For those who don’t know him, Pettibon was the original LA punk rock artist, who art graced album covers by Black Flag, Minutemen, Sonic Youth and others. As a teen, I had put those albums on my wall, as well as flyers and zine art of his I had collected. I remember when he had his first real gallery showing in San Francisco, I had read about it in the weekly and went. But when I saw the massive banner proclaiming his show on the outside walls of the museum I was dumbfounded. I had stopped following his career years ago, and I had no idea he had become that legit. In the gift shop, they were selling the Black Flag and Minutemen album covers as art. My War, Paranoid Time, there was my suburban LA punk youth for sale at the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna.

    I jumped on the metro and met up with Julia when she got off work. This allowed me to see a bit of Vienna outside of the center, if only for a meal. Plus, it was very cool to be able to fly into Vienna for a few hours and have somebody to hang out with. Of course, she took me to a Turkish restaurant, because we didn’t get enough of that when we were in Azerbaijan.

    We hugged our good-byes, I got to the airport, and flew back to Baku. Sometime during that day in Vienna, I got this snow globe.
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