Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Lovely Spooky Night at Jama Michalika

Jama Michalika, Michael's Cave. Source

I'd planned to go to Jama Michalika, Michael's cave, a famous Krakow literary cafe. This trip has been so busy I had not had time to do so. My departure date is drawing near (Boo Hoo!) and I thought I'd never make it. 

Last night, after dinner, one of my favorite fellow students here said, "Does anyone want to go to Jama Michalika? My mother used to go there and she wants me to check it out."

And so we went.

We went to Wierzynek first, allegedly Krakow's oldest and most expensive restaurant. I reminded my friends that they didn't have forks in the fourteenth century, when the restaurant, so it claims, first opened. 

We moved on to Jama Michalika, and it was as I remembered it: sort of like my Aunt Tetka's house: busy, over stuffed, dark, moody, aromatic of former meals, guests, and pets, very, very mitteleuropa.  

There are puppets and paintings and dusky mirrors and Persian carpets and art deco lamps and hairpin lace tablecloths and stained glass.  

There were four of us. Adam is a very nice young man from Winnipeg. I asked him if he were familiar with Pier 21's notorious film. He said that he had seen it with his father, who was upset by it, and who declared that it was "horse---t." I asked for permission to quote Adam on that. 

By chance, we sat directly across from Karol Frycz's famous depiction of Rachel, the Jewish woman who "unleashes the mystery" in Wyspianski's "The Wedding," or "Wesele." You can see that illustration here. Jama Michalika was a famous hangout for the Mloda Polska or Young Poland literary movement. Stanislaw Wyspianski, who wrote "Wesele," or "The Wedding" hung out here. 

In our small group, I was able to unload about some thornier aspects of Polish American politics (basically, we don't unite, support, and organize with each other) and even thornier aspects of Polish Jewish relations in a post-Holocaust world, material too difficult to talk about on the blog.

We wound up the evening with card readings. I have Kat Black's Golden deck with me, consisting of collages of medieval artwork, just perfect for Krakow. One of my querents said, after I read him, "This is the first time in my life I've been mind-f---ed." Which was positive feedback.

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