I was very glad to attend a new debate about Bucharest, as part of the project Bucuresti 2021, that took place at Hanul Gabroveni, a very nice friendly place with a lot of history within every brick, stair and door. Perhaps one of the most interesting cultural places from the Old Town of Bucharest, apart from the theaters, of course.
The debate was called – The seen and unseen Bucharest – and the speakers were writer Corina Bernic and journalist Liviu Mihai. The fiduciary of the debates that occur every Wednesday at Hanul Gabroveni is Svetlana Cârstean.
Svetlana Cârstean explained briefly that the title of an European Cultural Capital meant a huge responsibility. Any of the cities taking part into this competition must engage to organize events daily for one whole years. It takes more than a great festival to become an European Cultural Capital. It can also be a way of changing the way things function – from the infrastructure to the way people work or get together.
I have just realized that since this spring I had covered cultural events hosted by writer Svetlana Cârstean all over town and I must point out her outstanding working ability that should be a positive example for us, the all time complaining ones.
During our debates from Hanul Gabroveni I was so happy to find out new things about Bucharest that I hadn’t even thought about since then. I heard stories about the interwar Bucharest, the communist Bucharest, the urbanist Bucharest. I think Bucharest it is a very interesting subject that may interest us all.
Liviu Mihaiu: Bucharest is a continuous surprize from the patrimonial point of view. I may say that Bucharest is the last love of a backwoodsman like me. The cultural memory reestablishes itself like the lizzard’s tail. There have emerged these ancestral customs of deserted houses from Bucharest. It is a will of doing cultural things by a such an osctracized and underfinanced class of cultural hipsters and the civil society that is so profesionally organized. They seem to occupy all the derelict spaces. I have even heard about cases of university teachers who take their students to patrimonial houses and do their classes there.
At first, Mr. Liviu Mihaiu seemed a very tough man to me, but his sense of humour wiped a little of the apparent rigidity. I also noted a quote of his that really suits my own observations as well – In Romania until you do something nice, you live in a nightmare for years and years. If I may add, you live a nightmare while doing something nice in Romania, but after you have succeeded in doing that thing you aimed to do, who is the one living the dream? And you, yourself, are an example in this sense.
I also had the opportunity to cover the book signing event of writer Corina Bernic this spring. Her opinion about Bucharest is divided between her journeys and the perception : I keep coming back to Bucharest after I live for almost a year in Berlin. I have noticed a positive change in the open spaces from Bucharest. There have appeared more gardens where take place shows, book signings, exhibitions, cultural events. At the same time looking at Bucharest from the eyes of the one from Word Alliance, they told me it feels like Havana. You know why? Because after they visited the Old Town they got to this expensive club and nearby there was a field where some boys were playing football. That contrast between sights made them compare Bucharest to Havana