Dragan Klaic (1950-2011), RIP

dragan_klaic_by_robin_van_der_kaaVery sad news. The cultural analyst and theatre scholar Dragan Klaic has passed away at age 61. I knew him as a host with the most. He was also perhaps the most freakishly productive person I ever met. Yet he always had time to answer any silly questions that this Canadian boy had about ‘Europe’. During his memorial at Amsterdam’s Felix Meritis this past Sunday, a video compilation was screened. In one clip, he was particularly hilarious as he mocked populist politicians who imagine a loss of national identity through outside forces. ‘Identity is not something you can lose! It’s not like a wallet or a shoe!’ Below is an interview I did with him a few years back that aspired to capture his bouncy brain in action. It doesn’t do him justice.



The FSTVLisation of everyday life
Amsterdam Weekly, 31 May 2007
By Steve Korver, Illustration by Robin van der Kaa

There’s one incontrovertible explanation for the explosion in the number of festivals over recent years: festivals can be fun and people like to have fun.

Amsterdam-based cultural analyst and theatre scholar Dragan Klaic, however, has a deeper view. Among his many activities as a Central European intellectual type — lecturing here, leading discussion groups there — he is chairman of the European Festival Research Project (EFRP), and plans to lead a workgroup at the University of Leiden’s Faculty of Creative and Performing Arts to research what he calls the ‘festivalisation of everyday life’.

In short: he’s a festival professor. Continue Reading…

Posted: September 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm.

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Unfold Amsterdam hits the streets

Unfold_Vol01_01_COVERUnfold Amsterdam has officially hit the streets. Every two weeks, Amsterdammers will be able to pick up this free English-language poster/mag highlighting the work of local artists/designers and covering the best of what’s going down around town. Hopefully it will fill the gap left since the demise of alternative weekly Amsterdam Weekly. In fact, Unfold Amsterdam arises from the luminous efforts of some of the more luminary ex-Weekly staff and freelancers. So I dig it indeed. Especially this edition’s poster by Simon Wald-Lasowski. So check, check, check it out — or at least put your finger on the pulse by checking regularly at their sweet-looking website.

Also keep your eyes out for the Unfold special edition covering the mighty Klik Amsterdam animation festival coming up on 15-19 September.

Posted: September 15, 2010 at 10:00 am.

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Unfolding Election





For those who want a, um, concise view on the national Dutch elections, my pal Floris Dogterom is writing a series of reports on the still very-BETA website of Unfold Amsterdam. This web/paper  publication is a very welcome endeavour to fill the void left by Amsterdam Weekly‘s demise and includes a lot of Weekly alumni. They won’t be truely kicking off until 1 September but meanwhile the website already features a savvy choice of what’s going down in town. Check it out! It will rule! Support!

Posted: June 3, 2010 at 11:53 am.

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San Francisco Panorama

panoramaYesterday I bought a Sunday paper that should last me quite a few Sundays. It’s the one-off San Francisco Panorama brought to you by the always inspired folks behind McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern. It’s pretty old already but I think it took until their third run until there were enough copies leftover to make it to Amsterdam’s Athenaeum. (But I guess I could have also just ordered it here.)

Anyway, it’s pretty mindblowing. Basically they wanted to present the relevance a paper newspaper can still have in our internet world: so it’s all in-depth journalism by amazing writers complete with high quality art, photography and design. They even give a run-down of the budget to inspire others to come up with their own daily newspaper. It actually comes across as a cross between a (really really nice) Sunday paper and a  (really really nice) alternative weekly. And certainly, if I was still the editor of an alternative weekly, I’d definitely steal — I mean, get inspired by — some of their ideas. It’s really, really that great. Gotta bless those paper products!

Posted: April 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm.

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img_2119The fine artiste Aquil Copier, friend and cherished ex-Weekly collegue, has just started  a pamphlet about painting: PRESENTeert.

Track down a copy (he’ll even send you one…) and check it out.

I interviewed the artist  Pieter Paul Pothoven who has just returned from the caves of Afghanistan where he visited the mines  supplying the  Lapis Lazuli  that formed the basis for Vermeer’s blue. What a story!   And a story I will probably post here once the hard copies run out…

Posted: December 1, 2009 at 2:01 pm.

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Klik Animation

klikteethy1Animation fans should definitely check out the Klik Amsterdam film festival that is taking place 17-20 September. One of the organisers Luuk van Huet was  a writer for Amsterdam Weekly, and as such I sometimes had to work  to calm his smartass tendencies (my older friends will recognise the absurdity of such a situation). It’s the festival’s  third edition and is screaming with ambition.  A related exhibition, Animation Chiellerie, has already opened with prints and animations by the inspired locals likes of  Erik Kriek,  Lamelos, Martin Draax and Jeroen Blankert

Posted: September 14, 2009 at 8:08 am.

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Under Construction

But meanwhile…


After years of travel subsidised by carpentry and B-movie acting, writer Steve Korver came to Amsterdam in 1991 to reverse the journey his parents made as immigrants to Canada. Soon he was a columnist, copywriter, editor/writer of guide books, and contributor to the likes of New York Times, Guardian, Time Out, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Condé Nast Traveller and The Globe & Mail on such subjects as food/drink, design/architecture, Yuri Gagarin, Serbian gangster kitsch and all-things-Amsterdam. He finally got his first real job in 2005 as editor-in-chief of the cultural paper Amsterdam Weekly. But after 175 issues and 14 European Newspaper Awards, it was time to return to his freewheeling and freelancing writing roots. OK, but  first maybe a vacation is a good idea…

Recent samples:

The New York Times magazine feature ‘Holland Days’.
The Guardian article ‘Streets Ahead’.

Posted: January 12, 2009 at 7:45 pm.

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