The next few weeks seem to come with that pesky (read: lovely) problem of having too much fun stuff going on. In addition to the huge Amsterdam Dance Event Festival & Conference, it seems like everyone I know is having a party, or inviting me to a party of someone they know.
For me, this time of year has always been anxious preparation for Halloween - excluding the years I spent living in Europe. However, unlike the year I spent sick with food poisoning in Budapest, this year in Amsterdam I am determined to celebrate! The program at the Filmhuis Cavia is showing some scary movies, along with the OT 301 and the Nieuwe Anita and probably a few other places I'm forgetting. Halloween is a very American holiday that is creeping into Europe slowly, but in my opinion, it's happening in a very lame way. There might be a few bars or clubs that do Halloween parties, but unless you grew up trick-or-treating and having a whole Halloween month, it's hard to understand. Halloween isn't just dressing up in a scary costume (costumes don't have to be scary!), it's about carving pumpkins, hayrides, haunted houses, trick-or-treating (or if you're too old, handing out candy to trick or treaters), attending or participating in a parade, scary movies, decorating your house or apartment - the whole deal. In the states, it's not just a one-night celebration, it's the entire month. It's not just for children, it's for everyone.
So I have to say, the fact that there are a few extra zombie movies in Amsterdam during the next few weeks is pretty nice bonus. There are at least two costume-mandatory parties that I know of, and I have a bunch of friends here that are pretty excited. Ok, by "pretty excited" I mean they know when Halloween is (31 October) and understand it means dressing up in a costume. For Europeans, that's pretty good. :) And in addition to Halloween, next weekend is also Museumnacht. On Saturday, 1 November, tons of museums and other venues will stay open until 2am, transportation will be free, and there will be tons of other events and parties going on. The website recommends to get your tickets in advance and warns that it was sold out last year.
Also important to remember to set back your clocks this Sunday if you live in Amsterdam, which is always fun. An extra hour of sleep, and if you happen to be out at 2 or 3 in the morning, that extra hour is cause for celebration. "Sure I can stay out longer, it's not 3am after all, it's only 2! Let's get another drink!" So let's not focus on the fact that daylight savings time also means more darkness and the inevitable arrival of winter... I would rather just look forward to an extra hour of partying.
Last night I discovered another wonderful new gem in Amsterdam - the Moskito Film Lounge. I'm not even sure if that's the right way of saying it (I'm adding the word "Lounge" myself), but I went to see a short film that some of my friends were involved in making at a venue that felt like someone's living room. It bought me to a neighborhood that oddly, I've never been to before. I say "oddly" because the first six weeks that I spent in Amsterdam, I went everywhere. I was lost all of the time on a variety of different borrowed bikes, and I used to ride for eight or ten hours a day. I still find myself saying upon arriving in a new neighborhood "oh I know this place, I was lost here once!" But the area above the Westerpark (I was on the Zoutkeetsgracht) was totally new to me. It was very Amsterdam - boats, canals, small bridge - but there seemed to be something particularly charming about it, and I rode around for a while exploring when I headed out. Before leaving, I talked to a a friend about doing a short film project together. When I left, I felt inspired, and very lucky to be exactly where I am.