by Helena Hartmann
From “Orange Colored Swim noodles" to “German Bread” and “Coffee Addiction" and “Magic Pączki Experience" and a little journey through Hamtramck....
Please forgive me for any spelling or grammar mistakes, English is not my native language!
It’s September the 1st and it’s „Labor Day Weekend" so “Hell Yeah” the first month of my Residency at Hamtramck Disneyland past already.
So I’ve found these orange colored swim noodles (see photos at the bottom) at Dollar Tree and started cutting them into circles and then I attached them with burlap ribbons and whilst doing this for a little while it looked like a dress. I developed this Idea about making a dress for a Performance which I will present in my Final Event at Hamtramck Disneyland later on. I am still working on this dress right now and I am curious about where it will lead to.
So as you all don’t know yet:“what could be the reason, that I came to the USA?” of course you didn't get it! “American Donuts”. So my idea "visiting the most American town of the United States - called Hamtramck in Detroit - and spending there 2 month of my life to find the perfect American Donut” failed already in the first week. There is no reason to find it anymore. I’ve found already another baked specialty which you can’t top anymore.
If you are still excited enough about hearing “my full story" please continue reading now!!!
In the following part I will tell you why:
In my first week of my Residency I went down Joseph Campau Avenue and discovered this place called "New Palace Bakery”.
I wanted to pass by very quickly and then there was this huge window and millions of beautifully baked goods were grinning to me.
Now I had to go inside the bakery and I couldn’t take any decision, so first I decided to get my proper bread (I am from Germany and as you all might know already: the only good thing which I can truly say about my country is, the quality and variety of “Bread”).
Finding good bread in the U.S. is quite a difficult task and I am addicted to Sourdough Bread! I asked the woman in the bakery if there might be a small chance to get Sourdough Bread? And yes, the fortune smiled to me, because the Lady’s answer was: “Of course, we do have several kinds of Sourdough Bread - like white or brown, with caraway seeds or even pumpernickle!”. I cock-a-hooped like a child and ordered a "Caraway Seed Sourdough Bread!"
At this point I have to mention to you, that my knowledge about German bread or bread in general is quite impressive, but a Sourdough Caraway Seed Bread exceeds my German imagination and is hardly to find in Germany.
Since my last residency experience in Latvia I can truly say, that one of my newest addictions is “Caraway Seed Sourdough Bread”. But where should I get it in Germany?
I paid and said: “Thanks, you made my day Lady behind the counter!” and I wanted to leave the bakery fluting...but then it happened: I did a 180 and discovered this “Golden Treat" in the window. The Golden Treat stared at me and I peformed another 180 and the woman asked me already, if I would like to order something else and I directly agreed and told her about the Golden Treat in the window. It looked a bit like a German Berliner, but way better!
I asked the woman about it. "It’s a Polish Pączki!" the woman told me “filled with strawberry jam!”.
My day couldn’t be better and I went back to Hamtramck Disneyland happy like a child with my “Polish Pączki and Caraway Seed Sourdough Bread" in my bag.
At Hamtramck Disneyland I brewed Coffee and to be honest “Coffee" is another addiction of mine (since living in the Netherlands, I started drinking at least 7 cups a day, the last one always around 11 pm).
The coffee was ready and I started unpacking my Polish Pączki, putting him on a plate and chopped the first piece carefully with a knife and then the miracle happened:
My Polish Pączki turned into Magic Pączki!!!
This is a poem about my experience:
It started snowing
Powdering Sugar everywhere
Taking a fork
Taking a knife
Taking the first bite
This is the final destination
Back to my statement above “my decision spending 2 month of my life in the most American town of the United States” was of course a joke.
Hamtramck obviously is the most non-American town of the U.S. and I can deeply recommend it to everybody who hasen’t been there yet!
The History of Hamtramck (very short version), there is no need to explain and these quotations say everything:
“Across more than a century, from the French to the Germans to the Poles to the African-Americans to today's Yemenis and Bangladeshis, the makeup of Hamtramck has changed. It will keep changing. And the occasional fevered commentator who yelps about "Hamtramistan" doesn't know his Conant from his Caniff."
"We've had every ethnic group here, starting with the Indians," says Kowalski, a founder and chairman of the museum. "As far as we know, we're the most diverse city in Michigan now, and one of the most diverse in the nation."
(quotations taken from: firstname.lastname@example.org/ Twitter: @nealrubin_dn https://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/columnists/neal-rubin/2018/07/09/hamtramck-history-museum-mural-orlowski-kowalski/761813002/)
And please visit the Historical Museum of Hamtramck at Jos Campau Ave. and you will find the History back in the huge Orlowski Paintings covering the walls of the Museum! (doors are open weekends from 11 a.m.-4 p.m)
Beside that, you will find Orlowski Paintings spread throughout Hamtramck!
Go for a walk and have a chat with people around.
I am going for a 1 hour walk everyday and every second day I am having a conversation with residents from Hamtramck like Josh and Jo who will tell you that “you look like Shirley Temple" and give you compliments like “you are not as dump as you look"or artists from Hamtramck who will invite you for a spontaneous studio visit, lovely and kind neighbours inviting you for a BBQ or provide you with garden beans or for example the Intellectual who is walking down the streets with his books and reading the books out aloud!
And there is the Residency Coordinator who will pick you up from the Greyhound Station at the day of your arrival and treats you to a Pop-Up-Meal at Bumbo's Bar and not to forget the Visitors who will knock on your door from time to time to visit the Backyard Art Installation “Hamtramck Disneyland" and asking you if the artist "Dmytro Szylak" is still living at Hamtramck Disneyland and unfortunately you have to inform them, that he died a few years ago, but luckily enough the "The Hatch-Hamtramck Art Collective” turned his house into a wonderful and bizarre Artist Residency-Hamtramck Disneyland!!!
Let's display here a few pics which might show you a bit what I’ve been working and researching on during the last weeks: Pics Pics Pics