Skip to content

REBECCAH DEAN Posts

Fucking Wagner

The other day I randomly came across this interview with my former voice teacher, Blanche Thebom. It was so strange to hear the voice of someone who had such an impact on my life all these years later. I would have recognized her voice anywhere. A lot of the stuff she mentions in the interview are things she told me when I was in her studio, ableit the nicer, more diplomatic version. I remember her mentioning the excellent musicians who came to the US after the war, but she also blamed the newcomers for ruining voice technique in the country.…

1 Comment

Kurt Elling in Berlin

The jazz singer Kurt Elling played in Berlin a few nights ago at the relatively small club Quasimodo. I knew about the concert, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to go because it started late and it was way across town, blah blah blah, excuses excuses. Luckily it took place on the same night as my jazz class, otherwise I probably would have been too lazy in the end. I talked one of the other singers into going over there to see if we could get a last minute ticket at the door. We got one of only nine they…

Leave a Comment

Dead Fish And Beautiful Women

Dear Phantom Reader, As I’m sure you know from your oh-so-diligent reading of this blog, I’m first and foremost a writer who likes to dabble in all sort of side hobbies because I’m one hell of a hobby person. Music is my hobby numero uno, but I’ve gone through jewelry making and photography phases. For around five years, I ran the shop Augenblickphoto on Etsy, just for fun really, although it did bring in a little money (in my very best month I  earned 800 euros, but on average I made from around 30 to 100 bucks.) Sometimes people would…

Leave a Comment

Charlottenburg, Ich Hab’ Dich Gern

An old expat friend of mine had this theory that the part of Berlin you first move to is where you eventually return if the city becomes your permanent home, not just a year-or-two passing through until you go back to where you come from or, if you’re a millenial, move on to Barcelona or Lima or Koh Tao or wherever your little digital nomad heart takes you. (Sometimes I envy the selbstverständlich free roaming spirit of millenials, but that’s probably just me being your run-of-the-mill angsty GenXer). I’d say her theory works somewhat in practice, at least when it comes…

Leave a Comment

Say Hi To God For Me

In early February, we went to Bavaria for the winter school holidays like we usually do. My husband and daughters went skiing and I hung out in the vacation apartment on a working farm in the tiny village of Winkl where I read, wrote, and took a long walks through the snowy woods. Whenever we go to this part of Bavaria I always ask myself why the hell we still live in Berlin. Sure, Berlin is exciting, but the city can also be incredibly unfriendly and downright exasperating. The weather is dark and damp and cold a good five months out…

Leave a Comment

Back To The Drawing Board, But At Least I Can Be A Tourist In Berlin

I’ve been a little glum these past few weeks because 2018 is starting out differently that I hoped it would. Last fall I applied for two things I really wanted: a fellowship at A Public Space and the sexily named Working stipend for literature other than German. I’m an optimist by nature and I had a good feeling about both. The APS wanted three fellows (beginning and/or emerging writers) whose work “takes risks,” and what is my work if not risk-takey?  Plus their offices are on Dean Street in Brooklyn and, I mean, come on, the street is named after me.…

Leave a Comment

My 25 Favorite Books And Then Some

  I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I locked myself in the bathroom on Saturdays with a stack of books and didn’t leave until I’d finished all of them (luckily we had two bathrooms, or my sibling would have probably broken down the door.) Trips to the Nanini Library were something I got excited about. I spent many an hour in this cave in the Haunted Bookstore with a pile of pop-up books—I was pretty sure they were magic. Both of my daughters have inherited the reading bug, which is great. My older…

Leave a Comment

With Love From A Berkeley Girl

About a year and a half ago I wrote the following personal essay and started sending it out to see if I could get it published somewhere. It has since been rejected ten times and I stopped sending it out a while ago, just letting it sit for a bit. I re-read the piece today and realized the first six pages had to go. It was a lot of backstory about my parents, my upbringing (or lack thereof), which might be vaguely interesting for someone to read who doesn’t know me, but the real story only took off on page…

1 Comment

The Mittenwalder Boys and X-Berg Schooling

When American friends and family come to visit me, the first thing they always say about my street Mittenwalder Strasse is: Wow, there’s a lot of graffiti here. They always say “a lot of graffiti” like it means something, and the something it means isn’t good. For the most part, I don’t really notice the graffiti and I don’t think it means much of anything, at least not anymore. What I do notice is our street isn’t particularly beautiful, but then again, what is beautiful in Berlin other than the woods, a couple hundred Treppenhäuser in Charlottenburg and maybe Prenzlauer…

Leave a Comment