photos: Andi Weiland / CC
Berlin is a city that has suffered through a lot of difficult times. Just think of all those people that starved to death in the years of World War I, the terror and loss during the Nazi regime, the devastating destruction by bombs and fire in World War II, the years of the devision, the heartbreak of separation and all those killed trying to cross the Berlin Wall. The scars of these times run deep and are still visible. When times are tough Berliners will surely complain, be grumpy, be stubborn. But they always keep on going. They stick together.
Especially the re-unification, even though it was a process that took much longer than just the fall of the Berlin Wall, created a sense of togetherness that you can feel now more than ever. No matter how different they are from each other, if it matters they stand together, strong and unapologetic.
What does it mean to become an urban observer? What makes you notice things from a distance that others won’t see even up close? With this questions in mind I was thrilled when we had the chance to join Instagrammer Liz Vega on a photo shoot on a Berlin rooftop.
Liz has a particular talent for urban exploring and observing the city from high perspectives. As if she would be able to touch the invisible texture of the atmosphere beneath our beloved city with her fingertips and slowly bring it up into the light with her photographs.
Unfortunately, one of us had to stay behind during this photo shoot because we wanted to be as few as possible on the roof to minimize the risk to get caught. But thanks to the magic of modern technology we found a way for our remaining team member to join us on the roof, virtually. We had the chance to use the new Panasonic Nubo camera as a special equipment to help us out in this particular production situation.
photos: Matthias Piket
Lately, I’ve been totally into workshops. I like the feeling of learning new crafts and perfecting already existing skills. So I was more than happy when Huawei invited me to a mobile photography workshop by Paul Ripke. If you haven’t heard of this man, you should definitely google his name. He rose to fame with his book One Night in Rio where he captured the German soccer team up-close and personal at the World Championship in Rio back in 2014. But he’s not a typical sport and event photographer. With his work he comes so close to the action and the main protagonists that it almost feels like being right there between the athletes celebrating their victory.
With someone so accomplished of course there is a lot to learn, so after he introduced himself to us I was really curious what secrets of his success and profession he would share with us during this workshop. Much to my surprise, in the end the most valuable insight that I got beside a lot of technical stuff, was something quite more personal and inconspicuous…
When you visit one of the many abandoned places of Berlin you will most likely find traces of previous visits, or even habitation there. Squatters, ravers, sprayers, vandals, urban explorers. They all left their marks on these forgotten buildings of Berlin and contribute to the decay of what these places once were. If you’re lucky you might even find some traces of creativity there.
When I first stepped into the abandoned railroad yard in Pankow last summer I was amazed by the spectacular light inside the circular building that came in through the panoramic windows in the ceiling. The place itself was completely empty and pretty much devastated by vandalism. But within all the debris and decay I found golden confetti and feathers on the floor like a little glimmer of hope and joy. It looked like someone had a good time there not too long ago. Maybe a small party, or an euphoric photo shoot. Either way it was another trace of life in an otherwise dead place.
When I stumbled about the contemporary dance video titled “Ephemeral Rooms” by Ruben Reniers and Nora Vladiguerov that was shot in this location earlier this year I was reminded of my visit. Just like whoever left the golden confetti the two choreographers and dancers breathed some life into this abandoned place with their beautiful performance.
A new, exceptionally nice speakeasy bar called ROOK opened a few weeks ago in a place where you, dear readers, would probably least expect it: in an old water tower in Cologne. Yes, you’ve read it right – it’s not about Berlin today, but about a thing that we in Berlin are especially crazy about: secret bars in hidden locations.
In a world of the Internet and smartphones, where all information is constantly accessible, the concept of speakeasy bars is more attractive than ever. It’s no wonder, since nothing tastes sweeter than a secret that you only share with a few people. We’ve known that this rule applies to the club and bar scene for ages.
That’s why it’s totally understandable that also the ROOK team decided in favor of such an idea. A few months ago, Luisa und Rike entered the Shape Your City competition organized by the international premium beer brand Heineken with their own bar concept. They managed to win over the Jury, composed of, among others, the restaurateurs Philipp Treudt and Tobias Mintert, as well as our Berlin blogger-colleagues from Dandy Diary. ROOK is the result of a cooperation with Heineken and celebrated its opening on the 18th November 2016. This coming Friday, the Dandy Diary members of the jury are going to throw a party in the location that they’ve helped to single out. More about that later in the text!
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…
One of the major aims we have here on the blog is to find ways for you to have an amazing time in Berlin. Regardless if you live here or if you are just visiting, we want you to make the most of this amazing city and have an unforgettable time here. With our guides and reviews we’re offering a lot of recommendations on what to do here – with our recent collaboration with Priceless® Berlin we have also introduced you to a whole new spectrum of unique experiences from culinary delights to fun adventures.
But what makes an experience really unique and unforgettable? It’s not really as easy as it sounds. We thought a lot about this, because we wanted to create our own “priceless” event for you. As the season of cosy nights at home and lovely holiday dinners is approaching we decided that we wanted to do something related to amazing food. So we sat down with someone who really knows something about excellent food: our Blogfabrik colleague Sophia Hoffmann, who recently published her second amazing cookbook “Vegan Queens”. Together we developed a dinner event of a different kind. “Harvest Muse” turned out to much more than just a dinner party. For the delight of our guests Sophia created something that could almost be described as an altar of the fruits of Autumn – a beautiful food installation that was first admired and photographed and than later devoured by the attendants. In a short interview Sophia explains how the idea came up and what other advice she can give to our readers on how to host an unforgettable dinner.
Their name fits Berlin’s quality of being a playground for grown-ups. Here you can try out all your crazy ideas and it doesn’t matter if you succeed or fail, it’s all about living it out. For the street art crew TOY this is true in the most literal sense.
Just last week we chuckled about their live intervention with an S-Bahn train that received some flower pots glued to their windows. And this week we received yet another, even more spectacular one: They filled up a wagon of the U-Bahn with Autumn leaves and played around in the fun mess. But how do you get dozens of huge garbage bags full of leaves into the train without being noticed? Their latest intervention video shows how it was done…
photos: Marcello Zerletti
We speak so much about the diverse population of Berlin that comes together here from all over the world. At the same time we have often neglected to give some of those inhabitants of the city some attention that have been living here much longer than we do. And I’m not talking about the Urberliner, I’m talking about the wildlife of Berlin that despite the urbanization of Men still secretly coexists here with us thanks to the fact that Berlin kept a lot of green spaces inside the city.
So without noticing us we are surrounded by cute fluffy creatures that live in the park behind the block, the overgrown piece of land next to the trail tracks or the gigantic Tiergarten. There we have fox families, squirrels, rabbits, hedgehogs and other kind of little critters; and of course lots of birds, the expats of wildlife. Of course most of these animals are quite shy, only come out during night or keep to the quieter parts of town away from human life. But if you have patience and know a little bit about their behavior you will get to see them.
I have the utmost respect for people who are skilled in traditional crafts. I think such a large part of our work is done by computers these days and in a way that’s great, but we also loose a lot of motor skills because of this. I remember times when I was so tired of only working on the computer that I started side projects that required my hands and my brain in different ways and it felt so good to finally create something physical with my own hands.
I think a lot of people share this desire to use their skills in different ways these days because I see that traditional and even new crafts are trending right now. The rise of maker spaces, DIY projects and workshops are proof of this.
With our guide for creatives, workshop list and review of up-cycling design we already shared a few opportunities in Berlin with you were you can get your hands dirty. Today we introduce you to another one: glass molding and blowing. We were invited by Berlin Glas e.V. to try out one of their glass blowing workshops to learn more about this highly sophisticated traditional craft and even create our own simple glass objects.