Berlin during winter is inspiring in its bleak scenery. Sitting here, breathing there – existing, like a child that was told what to do. There is no way to live it right or wrong – if you’re dressed up well, it’s going to be fine. It’s going to be fine. For myself, coming from the warmer climes, the winter here has been harder to go through than I expected. It’s colder than I can take, but that feeling when the brain freezes – that’s a true wake up! And if it’s too cold and work allows so, I can stay at home and make music in bed, pretending I’m Virginia Wolf, during a downfall. No matter what I ask for, the city can bring me. The city will accept my doings. The city will let me be who I feel like being without judgements and assumptions. The city understands it’s cold during winter, the people understand it’s cold during winter. They don’t expect much, but appreciate it when you do. So privileged we are, here in Berlin.
Christmas: the time of year, when buying, consuming and eating reaches the frequency of breathing; all this accompanied by an often neglected essence of religion in the background. It is the time of year, when you look back at the last twelve months of your life thinking how many of last year’s resolutions you failed to achieve and set a new array of brand new unrealistic goals. On a more positive note, Christmas is the time of year, when you are surrounded by your loved ones exchanging gifts and appreciating having them in your life. If you are still contemplating what to get them this year, check out the following suggestions of presents, that are all made in Berlin and neatly curated by the awesome of berlin platform for stylish local design products that make excellent gifts and Berlin souvenirs.
If you’re an expat like me, you’ll probably agree that while living in Berlin might equal a lot of things, becoming a part of the German community definitely isn’t one of them. Quite the contrary – it is actually quite likely to live surrounded by the members of international or maybe even your native community, shifting every day from your WG to a foreign startup you work in, and not having to speak a word of German. Ultimately, the only considerable encounters with the culture of the country you presumably chose to live in might be limited to YouTube ads and an occasional Tinder date.
Another fact you might acknowledge when you’re an expat is that one should try to broaden their horizon, venture somewhere off your usual paths and beyond the reach of the basic Spati vocabulary. At iHeartBerlin, we’ve always been trying to help on that quest, offering advice on both the linguistic and cultural issues.
Today we’re back with a combined force: brush up your Berlin trivia and hear some of the most endearing German attempts at being funny with the 70s short film: Rundflug über West-Berlin (flight over West Berlin)!
photo: bronx. / CC
I spent 29 nights under the same roof with a German tap dancer. In the spring of 2014. In the heart of Berlin. In my artistically-starved senses.
It started with a simple Craigslist search. I was looking for an accommodation with a limited budget in a week’s deadline. The reason? I had been offered a tremendous job opportunity at a startup in Berlin.
The money was mouth-watering. Given my absolute lack of ambition, I had already started dreaming of retirement in five years. Ergo I jumped at the opportunity and packed my bags, which were only two at that time. And moved to what I call the Bohemian Silicon Valley of Europe.
I was enthused to work among respectable professionals during the day and schmooze with pretentious artists in the evening. That was my plan. But finding an apartment in Berlin was like finding a steady boyfriend on a dating site. You had to go through a series of bizarre/eccentric/not-so-right ones to be able to meet a half-way mediocre one.
photos: Sascha Kohlmann / CC
There are these times – especially when adulthood seems to be overwhelming and I am supposed to pretend to be an adult among others who are trying to fake it until they make it -, when I reminisce the old days, when I was a child unaware of the grown-up world and its tedious complexity; when my deepest frustration would revolve around my aversion to the lunch my dad had prepared for me that day and my biggest joy would be Santa’s advent with his presents. I am inclined to believe that it is a universal tendency to look back at the past with nostalgia and think how beautiful it all was back then. This kind of nostalgia is the feeling that takes over when I see Sascha Kohlmann’s pictures of old gumball machines. I automatically have to think of my mom bringing me home after kindergarten and me stopping her on the way to ask her if I could have a gumball, which back then meant the world to me. What memories do gumball machines bring up to you?
We already enjoyed the illustrated version of infamous Kottbusser Tor by Nicola Napoli a lot. But now there is a new illustration out there by Vidam, created for Muschi Kreuzberg in the style of a game carpet for children. Apparently it is actually going to be available to order soon on their website.
As child-friendly as the carpet might appear at first sight, the devil is in the detail: It’s probably a nightmare come true for every Prenzlauer Berg mom to see their kid play between syringes and dog poop, but hey, that’s just the reality of Kottbusser Tor…
We’ve already mentioned Ashkan Sahihi as the author of the captivating and personal portrait series of women in Berlin. Born in 1963 in Teheran, the photographer grew up in Germany, and today he lives in Berlin, shooting pictures for publications like “Zeit Magazine”, “New Yorker”, and “Vogue”.
His most recent project, however, references to the time back in 1987 when the author, still pursuing his artistic identity, moved to New York. There, as he recalls in the foreword of the new photo book, he met other young men, like him searching for their own ways of fulfillment, forming a community that encouraged all forms of self-exploration.
Another stressful week comes to an end, another weekend awaits us to discover new places around the city that will make us forget our hangover from the day before and start, thus, our day with irresistible food porn. Here is the third edition of our district breakfast guide, which explores Friedrichshain this week. Once again, feel free to let us know about your favorite breakfast places located in this area of Berlin.
The profession of the photographer has changed dramatically with the rise of digital photography and especially with smartphone cameras documenting our everyday life snap by snap. The ability of creating images has become somehow secondary. Nowadays outstanding photographers are rather conceptual artists that know how to translate the medium of photography itself into an outstanding piece of art by deeply analyzing social and anthropological dynamics.
More and more photographers became interested in creating work reflecting social media and especially dating apps where everybody uses photography as an act of self representation and key selling point on the meat market. Photographer Andrea Lavezzaro caught our interest with her project “It’s a match”.
Over a year she scouted Tinder users in Berlin. No matter the shape, size, gender or if they were strange, sexy or surreal. Her focus was on capturing the diversity of our city. Every picture was taken at the location where she met her matches (all aware she was doing a photography project of course). The only rule her subjects had to follow while taking their portrait was: no posing allowed. The results are now featured in an exhibition at Gallery Ori in Neukölln that runs until this Saturday. We had a little chat with Andrea about her project and how it will continue in the future. Read on after the jump.
If modern politics were a telenovela, it would definitely have lots of avid fans, but also sworn detractors, who would wish to live just to see its cancellation. Yet, all of them would agree that the plot is not by far predictable or uneventful. Indeed, what is happening in the last few years in our privileged microcosmos called the West, is both scary and thrilling in the same way a traumatizing horror film would keep you at the edge of your seat or make you want to protect yourself behind your pop-corn. As fascism – or rather far-right conservatism to put it mildly – emerges steadily in countries that used to stand out for their respect and love towards life and its thrilling diversity, a gloomy pessimistic futures seems to lie ahead.
The most hurtful repercussions of this phenomenon seem to be three. Starting with divisiveness, we are all unconsciously grouped into squads based on our beliefs on social and political matters. We prefer standing exclusively next to the like-minded ones and right opposite the ones we disagree with. We constantly, proudly and fervently claim that there are way more differences than similarities among us. We have no love to give, only rants in support of our beloved “ideology”. This is exactly where the second consequence of the current affairs arises: powerful hatred and the urge to scream at everyone that might provoke us. To top that, fear lurks around the corner and renders us inactive and unable to cause any change that goes beyond the social media.