The Stories behind Berlin’s Icons

camilla-bundgaard-55986

photo: Camilla Bundgaard.

Perhaps one of the main thoughts when thinking about Berlin, at least for young people that is, are its popular nightclubs, music venues, events, clubs and techno parties. In fact, Berlin has been gaining a reputation of this wild and sleepless city where the party never ends. However, Berlin is much more than just an endless rave – not to mention that it was the capital of Nazi Germany and it was also infamously divided during the Cold War – and its historical landmarks are a crucial part of what makes Berlin such an interesting city. So, although we usually try not to write about mainstream tourist sights, through the big urban icons listed in this piece you will get to understand a little bit of the history behind them.

by Guest Author
on October 23rd, 2017
in Mitte, Museums, Stories

Berlin’s Special Relationship to Drugs

ricardo-mancia-370524

photo: Ricardo Mancía

People do drugs in Berlin, and not just a few to be honest. Drugs, drugs, drugs… I could easily dive into the discourse now, stressing the risks, debating labels like legal and illegal. And, paint dreadful pictures of needles, white powder, pills… But, let’s just focus on the fact that people DO it, and not just in nightclubs since the early 80’s, people have been using substances to change their state of mind since the beginning of time. Even if it’s just these four glasses of wine on a Friday night or that good old nicotine shock, still, we’re using a drug.

People could just sit together and have a cup of tea, right? But, they don’t. Where human logic comes to a sudden end, there must be some ‘higher’ need. But, why is it that people in Berlin appear to desire this change of mindset so much, more than in other cities? When people come staggering my way out of overcrowded bars at Oranienstraße, when I take in the scent of burning rolled-up leaves, walking past Görlitzerpark, and staring eyes with big, round pupils pass by at Ostbahnhof, I can’t help but ask myself: If you all need to alter your consciousness in Berlin, is there something wrong with Berlin?

Andy by Andy
on October 20th, 2017
in Stories

Humans of the U8 – A Berlin Subway Portrait Series

People of U8 by Leon Kopplow FB

photos: Leon Kopplow

It will not come across as any revelation that the U8 is my favorite U-Bahn line. And I’m not alone in this claim: your response to the profile of U8 we featured in our article What Does Your Ubahn Line Say About You? proves that you too have a high appreciation for this crazy train that can take you all across Wedding, Mitte and Kreuzkölln. And this sentiment is strongly dependent on all the passengers of the U8 – each of them has a unique story, often reflected in their bold outfits. Just who are they exactly?

The photo series by Leon Kopplow, previously covered on Notes of Berlin, is a simple yet quite wonderful homage to the great many colorful people that take the U8 every day. For whatever reason – whether to get to work, uni, party, or a tinder date. As you’re scrolling through the pics, you might be wondering about their various purposes, but one thing remains clear – they all constitute a beautiful in its diversity image of Berlin.

Michalina by Michalina
on October 19th, 2017
in People

Pornfilmfestival Berlin: Exploring Alternative Sexual Perspectives

Below Her Mouth

Below her Mouth

It’s been a year. A year, in which we shut up about our love for movies showing naked skin, pleasure and lust. But, these days are gone! And, we’re out and proud again, unapologetically screaming: I LOVE PORN! Because, the Pornfilmfestival Berlin is back, showcasing other visual presentations of sex and love that are not degrading, insensitive or only representing one niche of the sexual spectrum. We can’t wait for one whole week fueled with films, panels, readings and performances that explore sexual perspectives outside of social norms, construed identities and morals.

Andy by Andy
on October 18th, 2017
in Movies

Sleeping with Bears – John Irvings short story becomes a dark theatre piece

Adversity_makes_strange_bedfellows-gregori-maiofis-1024x1053

What do Berlin, John Irving and gay men have in common? Right! The love for bears. No other author has so many great bizarre books with bears either as protagonist or as great sidekicks like the American novelist. As if it would be yesterday I remember how I got the novel Hotel New Hampshire as a present for my 17th birthday. Just a few days later I finished the entire 500 pages book and could not wait to read it again.

Based on the short story “The Pension Grillparzer” by John Irving the creative Team Lisa Buchholz, Rob Kraatz and Konstantin Bucholz created a dark twisted theater performance piece called  Die Pension that premiered last week at Ballhaus Ost. Between Musik, monologues and dramatic chaos you will enjoy a world that tries to escape the corset of society. The final performance for now is today, so go and see it. Check out the trailer after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on October 17th, 2017
in Theater

Why are all the Gay Men Straight?

Berlin Party Photos-9522

Location: Berlin. Display Name: I should delete this app. Edit Profile. About Me: Could you ask me before you send me photos of your dicks. Thank you. Looking for: A conversation that does not go like “Hi”,“Hi”, “Horny?” for a change (?). Ok whatever I’m deleting this. Relationship Status: Single.

I did it. I’m off the Grind. I’m out in the real world and ready to get to it. So, just be confident, out-going and it’ll get so easy from here. Who am I fooling? The world is there to complicate things. So, once more, scene entrance: Berlin, this major side character, wanting to add some drama to the narrative. Berlin might lure thousands of suitable gay candidates into town. But, it’s also that catalyst making half of the male population pretty metrosexual. What’s the story’s premise: All men seem so pretty damn gay! Everyone is either ‘Berlin-Straight’, with an abnormal sense for fashion, ‘bi-curious’, and actually more curious than really bi, or ‘hetero-flexible’, which is an absurdity of a name anyways. Hooking up with a straight dude – mmh mmh that fantasy. But, mostly that fantasy only gets real juicy once, … or really not at all, ever.

Andy by Andy
on October 16th, 2017
in Stories

How Berlin influences Celebrity Artists from around the World

10. Nadja Sayej and James Franco, Berlin, 2011_Photo_NadjaSayej

Nadja Sayej has interviewed them all: From Susan Sarandon, to Yoko Ono, Dita Von Teese and James Franco. In seven years she found her way into the worlds of the rich and famous, and listened to extravagant stories told at VIP parties over champagne glasses at pool bars. But, despite all these quirky talks about glamour, life philosophies, and bizarre scenarios some celebrities took their time to mention the German capital and what role it played in their life or for their work. Nadja Sayej’s new Celebrity Interview Book, a collection of 21 interviews of some of the world’s biggest stars, will be published on October 26th and we have already collected a few Berlin anecdotes for you…

Andy by Andy
on October 16th, 2017
in People, Stories

The Most Dreaded Moments in Berlin

auslenderbehorde

illustrations: Berk Karaoglu

With Halloween coming up in just a month, we thought we’d embrace the everyday spooky scenarios we are constantly exposed to in Berlin. And while the standard Berliner does not get intimidated by darkness, demons, or ghosts, and, as a matter of fact, is usually rather encouraging of experiencing any amount of supernatural visions, there are still some things that make us freak out. We’ve selected 5 top examples for both your reading pleasure and party inspo – I personally can’t think of a cooler way to boost up your Halloween game than arriving dressed up as a letter from Waldorf Frommer.

Michalina by Michalina
on October 13th, 2017
in Stories

How to be a Successful Creative in Berlin

BORSHCH1

photo: BORSHCH

In recent years Berlin has become an international hub for creatives from all around the globe. Affordable living costs, creative freedom and living a life of the beaten track made the German capital an attractive moving destination, chosen over buzzing cities like London or New York more and more. And where there is creative energy, there are people coming together to start new and exciting projects whether in music, film, fashion, or something completely different. But, starting something new is oftentimes easier said than done. So, what do you have to reckon with when you start a “Do it yourself” project, and what role does Berlin play in that process? We met up with two “DIY” experts who know.

Andy by Andy
on October 12th, 2017
in Art, People, Stories

Glitter Porn – A Music Video as a Wild Berlin Sex Fantasy

glitterporn_berlin_bar25

”We drift in the glitter age.” That’s how iconic Berlin director Ralf Schmerberg captions his erotic music video called Glitter Porn. And you should definitely take this title literally. The inspirations are without a doubt coming from Berlins intense nightlife where glitter parties are not uncommon. I remember back in the days of the Bar 25 how a bag full of different types of glitter was not unusual to bring. And still today at certain parties or open airs and street parades glitter is a welcomed accessory.

What surprises me every time I have it with me, how much of a social catalyst glitter can be. And to be honest, some kisses with strangers I had in the last years where exchanged thanks to glitter. So even though I never had a glitter porn fantasy so far, I can totally relate to the shiny sparkly narrative of this music video for Tiefschwarz which is part of a longer sequence called Lunacy’s Children.

Claudio by Claudio
on October 11th, 2017
in Party, Videos