|"Mistress of Con Fusion" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)|
Expect the unexpected in Budapest.
The heaving sounds of Hungarian folk music fused with hard rock bounced off the thick and raw concrete walls of the Godor Klub in central Budapest.
After the Soviet empire imploded, Hungary's political right and left fought for control. Each brought its own vision for a brighter future.
|Godor Klub arts space Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)|
After years of bickering, one ruling party decided to build a new national theatre on the Pest side of the city at Erzsebet Square, razing the central bus station.
With only two levels of the theatre's underground parking ramp completed, one political party kicked out the other.
|Godor Klub: the happening place Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)|
The newcomers, infused with a sense of territorial identity, abandoned the site for another, leaving a huge hole in the ground, a monstrous and ugly pothole: in Hungarian, "godor."
The pothole in the center of the city, however, soon morphed into the Godor Klub, the "most liberal place in Budapest," a Hungarian friend told me as we entered the site, which still looks like you could park there.
Instead, there are two music stages, a lounge and bar plus a generous arts space.
In the summer, every night there's live music from bands playing hard rock, jazz, fusion, experimental music, techno, Romany rap.
Although I claim no role as art or music critic, what I saw and heard convinced me that indeed, we were at Ground Zero of Budapest's underground scene.
|Godor Klub Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)|
While Godor isn't the only happening place, surely it's the largest and perhaps most permissive.
"You can smoke here (marijuana) and no one really cares," Akos told me.
There's plenty of room to chill, to take in the music up close and personal in what turns out to be an intimate venue that spills outside where hundreds of people sit, talk, drink and enjoy the out of doors.
The first night I'm there, a UNHCR-sponsored large format color photography exhibit is up showing poignant peopled scenes of a Somali United Nations refugee camp, works by Hungarian artist, R. Klenk, shown wearing a UN blue helmet and blue flack jacket, armed only with her camera.
|UNHCR-sponsored photo show at Godor Klub Photo by Stefan van Drake (2011)|
|"Spanish life stilled," photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)|