There has been so much progress since the earlier days when I would cross the border between Turkey and Bulgaria. I used to like to take the train because of the sleeper cars. But then being woken up at 1am and kept awake for 3 hours for the border crossing just started to seem like bullshit. Now, here I am, on a comfortable bus, in the middle of the day—connected to the internet!!! How’s that for civilization?

Even with Bulgaria having been part of the EU for a couple years, the immediate differences on both sides of the border are still apparent. Where Turkey has built 20 shiny new Passport Control booths, installed x-ray customs inspection equipment, and raised a well-lit, slick Duty Free emporium, 20 yards later Bulgaria’s welcome center is still an understaffed corrugated metal shack surrounded by weeds, rusty outbuildings, and begging gypsies.

I have made no posts for a long time, I am aware of that. It’s not for lack of news—but it is the kind of news that is too overwhelming and confusing to put to ‘paper’. It has been all I can do to make decisions and stick to them during the measly 24 hours in a day. Any down time that I’ve had has usually been spent in unconsciousness.

Now that we have cleared the entire border area, Bulgaria has opened up into the beautiful countryside I fell in love with the first time I came here—was it already 10 years ago? Flat praries of dead grass have been replaced with sunny hills of sunflowers with green mountains in the distance. The buildings may be crumbling and the roads full of potholes, but it is still one of the most wild, beautiful places on earth.

I’m on my way to the Water Tower Festival in Sofia. I will be doing an installation/performance in an old ottoman bath house, which required the painting of 20 crappy but colorful circus banners. I painted them a while ago, but I think I’m still high from the paint thinner fumes. I will also be performing for the opening party as well as unveiling a ‘sculpture’ which is a tribute to chalga. This will also be the debut of my career as a chalga singer! I’m a little nervous, but ecstatic to finally have some work out of the way and to hang out with friends.

I won’t let so much time pass between postings this time, as I will have photos from the festival to show!


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