Another Excess: Photos Exploring Queer Life & Hedonism in Berlin

Another Excess: Photos Exploring Queer Life & Hedonism in Berlin

Spyros Rennt’s intimate and voyeuristic images archive an excessive queer reality. He flashes his very personal light on brief moments in between Berlin dance floors and bedrooms, on silly fucks, hard dicks, and cold fries.

Hailing from Athens, Greece the self-taught image creator made his way to the German capital in 2011, inspired by the city’s hedonistic lifestyle, brutal architecture and, for a Greek, unusual grey skies. “Of course, Berlin has changed since the first time I visited in 2005 as a young tourist. But it still attracts interesting and open-minded people from all over the world and offers them unique creative opportunities,” Spyros explains in our interview. Coming from a background in engineering, the now 34-year-old seized these opportunities and turned his own passion for photography into a profession.

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Get Drawn into the Berlin Life by Xuehka

Get Drawn into the Berlin Life by Xuehka

This female artist makes Berlin come to life in thick black lines and vibrant colors.

From Bogota to the Big B, after stops in Firenze Italy as a child, studies of fine arts and illustrations in Bogota and Madrid, Xuehka, or Xueh Magrini Troll, moved to Berlin to study visual communication at the Weißensee School of Art. Artistry runs in Xueh’s blood, she follows into the creative footsteps of her mother and grandmother as a female artist. Xueh, who calls legendary painter Frida Kahlo one of her biggest influences, has made the German capital the main source of inspiration for her lively cartoons, drawings, and sketches.

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#Unteilbar – Berlin Marches Against Hate and Xenophobia

#Unteilbar – Berlin Marches Against Hate and Xenophobia

242,000 people marched against the right-wing last Saturday. The iHeartBerlin team took part and has some pictures for you.

“Solidarity, not exclusion – for a free and liberal society,” the unifying motto of the “Unteilbar” (inseparable) initiative lead a massive crowd of people out on the streets six kilometers across the capital from Alexanderplatz to Siegessäule. “Tens of Thousands Protest Racism and Discrimination in Berlin”, “240,000 demonstrate against hate and xenophobia”, “March against far-right draws huge crowds in Berlin”, “It’s finally a united movement”, headlines like these popped up all over the world the last few days. It’s a symbol of hope during otherwise gloomy days that not only Berlin needed, but the whole world. And we want to say thank you. Thank you, Berlin. We all needed that.

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Because We Love You: Naked Interventions in the Subway

Because We Love You: Naked Interventions in the Subway

photos: Abdulsalam Ajaj

Meet the Berlin-based artist creating his own, undressed version of the BVG’s ‘Because We Love You’ campaign.

Deliberately provocative, Mischa Badasyan is known for unusual art projects in photography, film or performance art. The Russian-born multidisciplinary artist is stepping over graphic, ethical and legal lines to move his viewer to reflect the society and the politics we live in. After moving to Berlin in 2013, his project “Save The Date” (2014) put him on the critics’ map, raising the age-old question: What is art, and is this art?

During his project, in between self-experiment, performance piece, and social study, he slept with a different man every day for a year. The project dealt with the absurd ways we seem to seek a brief feeling of proximity in blind dates and one night stands, that’s only followed by painful emptiness. “Only through pain we are able to learn something truly honest,” Badasyan told MAZ during the project.

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The Sexfluencers of Berlin: Meet 10 Influencers Fighting Censorship

The Sexfluencers of Berlin: Meet 10 Influencers Fighting Censorship

photo: Sam Morris

These ten women and men aren’t afraid to expose their naked bodies to fight against stigmas around sex, gender, and sexual orientation.

It’s a struggle for freedom of expression on a slippery slope. With their work these brave ten blur the lines of art, pornography, sex work, political activism, or what’s considered “professional” work. They face the dangers that come with the openly sexual nature of their work or digital persona. Their explicit representation on and offline is not a green card to sexual consent, what sounds like a no-brainer is something many people do not understand. “I’ve found myself in some very dangerous, and uncomfortable situations,” our cover model Sam Morris told Gay Times, “I have been sexually blackmailed, assaulted, verbally harassed, and raped. These situations have involved photographers, prolific magazine editors, and other gay men I’ve met along the way.” Physical harassment, slut-shaming, and tensions in personal relationships are something all of them have encountered but they found ways to deal with these situations. For erotic filmmaker and performer Anarella Martínez-Madrid, it’s as simple as this: “If being a slut means being able to enjoy your sexual life, and get to know yourself better, then I am a slut”.

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Here’s What You Can Do To Fight Against Racism

Here’s What You Can Do To Fight Against Racism

Political activism made easy: Sassy YouTuber and witty digital activist Tarik Tesfu picks five social projects against racism and xenophobia that need your financial support right now.

Tarik has been bopping around the web since 2015. As a self-proclaimed “gender-messiah” and “do-gooder” the young Berliner vlogs about gender equality, LGBTQI*rights and racism in Germany in weekly shamelessly spot on and self-ironic videos. As a German gay man of color his politically incorrect, razor-blade lingo served with a charming smile on top does, however, not only gain him fans.

Let’s just say, the comments on his YouTube-channel can get pretty ugly. Apparently, it’s: love Tarik or hate Tarik and nothing in between. Take the hate and turn it into a “Weil wir dich haten, Tarik-Heul-Mimimi-Hymne” (the “Because we hate you Tarik-Whine-Mimimi-Anthem”), is Tarik’s response to that. Even if you don’t understand German, that’s pretty hilarious.

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Berlin, We Have A Problem – It’s Time To Stand-Up Against the Far-Right

Berlin, We Have A Problem – It’s Time To Stand-Up Against the Far-Right

photo: Dominik Pascal

While right-wing populism is spreading over Europe like a virus, we have to ask ourselves, is Berlin still the liberal and international safe haven we thought it is? Do we keep on doing what we’re doing or is this our wake up call?

Berlin doesn’t have a nationality. My next-door neighbor is originally from Slovenia. The flower shop in my house is owned by a lovely Korean lady. My Späti is run by a quirky mid-forties guy who was born in Romania and I buy my favorite Döner from Muhammad who grew up at Kotti but still visits the rest of his family in the East of Turkey twice a year. Every time I jump on the U1, I hear five different languages, but that never made me assume they were spoken by foreigners. These people live here. Nationality: Berlin(!?)

While knowing that I live in Germany, that’s what I always liked to tell myself…

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The Essential Berlin Dance Floor Playlist

The Essential Berlin Dance Floor Playlist

Electronic music seems to pulsate through Berlin’s veins like a never-ending energy flow. A rhythm that has been pushing the city and its people forward for decades, four-to-the-floor, one bass drum at a time. Berlin is a place where raves are endless, where nights become days, and you can lose yourself between beats and lights. Often, the music on the dance floor becomes an energetic swirl. And, already the next day, we forget what the DJ made us move our bodies to all night. What we do know is: We were living for it!

iHeartBerlin to the rescue! Luckily, we are pure dance floor enthusiasts who can’t get enough of House, Techno and everything in between. In the last years, we have spent some time dancing, listening, researching and, with the help of some useful mobile applications, we curated a list of tunes that have fired up many Berlin dancefloors night after night. So, here is a selection of 40 timeless evergreens, recent dance floor hits, and aspiring newcomers – a four-hour pre or post party delight for all electronic music lovers. Enjoy the trip.

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Exploring Kreuzberg: A Guide to Graefekiez

Exploring Kreuzberg: A Guide to Graefekiez

photos: Amanda Artiaga

When you make your way from Kottbusser Tor down to Hermannplatz, you’ll get Kreuzberg as you imagine it to be: Loud, busy, weird and colorful. You pass Doenershops, Spaetis, and stores that sell so many cheap and unnecessary things you start questioning what they actually make their money with. If you walk straight down Kottbusser Damm, you wouldn’t necessarily guess that one of Kreuzberg’s most beautiful “Kieze” is just to your right. But as usual in Berlin, you can just turn around one corner and the whole scenery turns upside down.

The Graefekiez won’t be your new go-to hotspot for activities after nightfall, due to strict noise regulations after 22h in this neighborhood. However, all its lovely cafes, delicious restaurants, cute little shops and streets where one beautiful old building stands next to the other, make Graefekiez the perfect destination for a relaxed ‘lil Saturday or Sunday afternoon excursion. We picked a few spots that you should definitely check out.

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How to Enjoy a Sunny Day in Berlin

How to Enjoy a Sunny Day in Berlin

Berlin summers can be everything. They can be this steamy, sweaty, never-ending fantasy covered in a golden, glowy filter. They can, however, also not happen at all. So, you spend that first 26+ degrees day in late March or April inside thinking: “Well, summer’s only getting started, I’ll get my chance to tan. No worries”. And then you end up in late July looking at 14 degrees max, and clouds, clouds, clouds, plus thunderstorms, possibly. “Yeah, thanks Berlin!” Eyeroll. This lady is never to be trusted. What do we learn from this? In Berlin, we have to stick to very basic postcard philosophies and: “Carpe that diem!” When there’s sunshine and blue skies outside of our bedroom window we got a “Drop everything situation” going on. If this puts you in a state of shock and you’re catching your breath, we prepared a step-by-step plan of action for you.

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