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Black Mountain – Sven Marquardt and Peaches in Artistic Short Film

Black Mountain Gruppenbild Cast

How can an artist be totally underground (whatever this means) and internationally famous at the same time? What might seem like a contradiction in Los Angeles, London, New York and Paris, is totally possible in Berlin. It is not unusual to meet pop star Peaches eating a snack at Kotti or stumble upon the world’s most famous doorman Sven Marquardt in a small gallery at an opening of an exhibition. So far, all these underground stars have been working in different fields. Of course, some of them have collaborated already, but the project I am about to present to you is more than that.

Initiated by the Audi Zeitgeist Project, dedicated to support experimental art and creative disciplines of all genres, an alliance of exceptional artists from Berlin has come together for a creative masterpiece called Black Mountain. In this experimental short film the artist collective „Like a wild beast fur“, composer Moritz von Oswald and Artistic Director Jan Engel reinterpreted Richard Wagners Opera Parsifal. On the 3rd of July you can watch the whole short film will be released online on Audi-City starring famous Volskbühne actors like Alexander Scheer, Volker Spengler and Jasna Fritzi Bauer and famous performers like VER.u.s.c.h.k.a., Peaches, Sven Marquardt and many more.

This contemporary take on the opera is revitalizing the traditional piece, setting it inside a dark Berlin techno club. Apart from the movie, which you can watch online on the web page of Audi-City, there will be an immersive exhibition open to the public at Gallery Ebensperger from the 6.7. to 24.7. There you can walk through the installation of Hauke Odendahl, which offers a deep immersive experience into the concept of the art piece. During the shooting of the film, one of our favourite Berlin photographers, Florian Kolmer, took individual portraits of the actors and performers. The installation and the portraits can be visited Wednesday to Saturday from 14-20h.

Check out the trailer and some preview pictures of the exhibition after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on July 1st, 2016
in Art, Movies

Exclusive Studio Visit with Michael Michalsky

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For the collaboration between Spanish sparkling wine brand Freixenet and Michael Michalsky, we were invited to visit the studio and working space of the famous Berlin-based designer.

Sitting around in comfortable couches (also designed by him) we were introduced to his newest collaboration with the Cava brand. Freixenet is a family-run business rooted near Barcelona. One of its best selling products, the Carta Nevada, that is now celebrating its 75th anniversary. For the occasion Michael Michalsky was commissioned to redesign the bottle of their anniversary edition: A slick and modern look for a classic brand. If you want to know more about this collaboration, read on after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on June 24th, 2016
in Fashion, Party

Design in Berlin: Samsung AddWash Store brings the Future to our Homes

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The future is not as complicated and overly technological and dehumanized as predicted in all the sci-fi movies we used to watch as kids in the 90s. On the contrary: the technological innovations of our daily lives are user-centered, human-friendly and resourceful. You can observe how the future becomes a glimpse more simple every day. At least if you follow the vision of high-tech design brand Samsung.

On the occasion of the launch of their newest home product, the Samsung AddWash, the brand just opened a pop-up shop with a unique concept in Berlin. From outside the Samsung AddWash store looks like the fanciest laundromat in town. But on display is not just any washing machine. The Samsung AddWash is redefining the design and functions of your usual laundry with innovative features, like an extra door where you can add on products during the cleaning process. With a Smart Home-App you can also always check the status of your laundry.

The exclusive pop-up concept store was curated in cooperation with iGNANT, and will feature products from acclaimed design brands like Lyon Beton, a French studio that specializes in the design and production of concrete furniture, the interior design studio 10119DESIGN, who create a crazy mix between 20th century furniture icons and young design from Berlin, and Italian bath design studio Boffi. We are super curious to see what the teams of Samsung and put together and look forward to get in touch with this special home design revolution. More impressions of the shop and the opening times after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on June 24th, 2016
in Prenzlauer Berg, Shops

10 Things a Perfect Bar in Berlin Needs

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photo: Natalia Kepesz

At a certain point, you know the difference between sitting at a Späti, at a Kneipe next door and at a nice bar. All three of these places demand a certain willingness to let go of your everyday routine but in a slightly different way. The Späti-night will first seduce you with being totally unpretentious and only a short term affair, a temporary solution. But after spending all night there, you know how your head will hurt like it was hit by a „Bierbank“  the morning after. The adventure to a Kneipe is a more serious challenge. The funny Kneipenlady you’ve heard rumors about will get all of your attention with all her dirty secrets, but while you are there, sitting at the counter, you realize that you are trapped like in the rabbit hole of Alice in Wonderland. You can’t escape as long as her shift or your finances end.

Last but not least, entering a fine bar is a nightlife pleasure of a special kind. A bar and its bartenders are a place of illusions and fantasies. And where fantasies and nightlife meet for a drink, I want to be there too (just to write down my experiences for this blog of course… ;-) )

Therefore I was more than happy to represent the digital media world as a judge at the World Class Competition 2016 in Berlin. Hosted by the Diageo Group the event took place in several locations in Berlin. 17 Bartenders from all over Germany competed with each other for one spot to go to Miami to the World Class Global Final competition. I had the pleasure to not only observe their skills from up close but also to taste some of the most fantastic drinks in my entire life. Being the judge of the hospitality challenge, I had to pretend to be a guest at a bar for a whole day and try out drinks from all 17 different bartenders. What sounds like a funny theater play was quite the intense job where a lot of accuracy of observation was required. But as each of the bartenders made their appearances in front of my judging seat, I had to wonder:

What are the special ingredients that make a bar a place of such magic and enchantment? My deep insights from this dive into the bartender world in a not-so-serious listical after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on June 23rd, 2016
in Stories

Berlin for Orlando – A Memorial Under the Rainbow

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photo: Andi Weiland:

It was one of the quietest Saturday nights of my past 12 years in Berlin. Without any particular expectations a friend and I drove with the bikes from Kreuzberg to Brandenburger Tor while the sun light slowly started to decrease as the evening went on. As soon as we were there I felt my heart change in speed. The whole place was packed with men, women and kids. Some faces seemed familiar from late nights, parties and bars spend in the queer scene. Others I recognized from my everyday life in offices, cafes, bakeries or pharmacies. Does it matter who the people are who mourn for the victims in Orlando? Does is matter if they are young, old, gay, straight, black, white, trans or cis? For me it didn’t. I saw a place filled with heartfelt sorrow. With tears and cries and shattered minds, not able to understand and not able to forget the latest attack.

Nightclubs are a special place in the LGBTI world. On the first look they just seem to be a place for easy flirts, pumped bodies and shallow excitement. An arena of hedonism and a vanity fair. Where broken hearts and sucked dicks exchange numbers just to never actually call each other. But beyond the surface you might find out that nightclubs are a unique place for self exploration. Where first kisses are exchanged and drag stars are born. They offer safety and comfort under the shine of the disco lights to the ones who get discriminated and mistreated in their daily life just for not fitting in.

The shooting in Orlando hit the LGBT communities all around the world by attacking this safe haven. As Berliners we know the power and magic of nightclubs and could feel the horror on our skins, while reading the news about the deaths of the Orlando victims who just wanted to spend a night out with their friends or lovers.

On Saturday night the Brandenburger Tor for the first time in history was illuminated in the colors of the rainbow. But what matters where the radiant hearts of the Berliners that came. Under the collective mourn I felt a community that was not necessarily connected by the same experiences of discrimination or shared sex preferences. Berlin showed the world that its inhabitants are out and proud. Not afraid of hate and not afraid to love.

As the gathering slowly dissolved I felt so happy to be part of this community and at the same time so sad that it took such horrible event to bring us all together. Our impressions of the memorial after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on June 20th, 2016
in Photos, Stories

Barbara. at Boxi – Streetart Notes Against Racism

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I have to start this article with saying that I was super excited today. A friend wrote me on Facebook saying that my favorite street art poet Barbara. created a little exhibition of over 100 of her street art pieces exactly at my doorstep, at Boxhagener Platz. Since I have been living in Friedrichshain for 12 years it never happened that something that I am passionate about happens so close to my home. Just for this I am deeply grateful to Barbara.

For all of you who do not know Barbara., her exhibition “Das Kleben is schön” is the perfect occasion to get to know her funny, sad, poetic art that interferes with public places on a different level that you might know from traditional street art. The impact of Barbara.‘s work is not limited to the urban spaces where her little notes and jokes might disappear after a short while. Her fame began when her art went viral on the internet. Last year the refugees crisis and the neo-right-wing movement in Europe created a lot of controversy which made me really sad on a personal level.  But seeing the little art pieces of Barbara. shared by thousands everyday on Facebook and on Instagram always made me believe in a world where there will always be people opposing a narrow minded and racist society.

If any one should get a price for keeping the morals high in the last year of political change it should be Barbara. Her smart criticism and wit always embrace humor and lightness, but at the same time they point the finger directly where the shit is stinking. Don’t miss the exhibition that is hanging around Boxhagener Platz since yesterday. So far I everybody I saw was  very respectful with the notes hanging around the square, not taking down anything. But let’s not be too optimistic. It’s Berlin in the end right? If you can’t come by you can check out my best of in the pictures after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on June 10th, 2016
in Art

Behind the Scenes of Staatsballett Berlin

Behind the Scenes of Staatsballett Berlin

photo: Jule Müller

Every big master piece that goes on stage at one of the three opera houses in Berlin should not only be credited to the director, choreographer or main dancers and singers. Behind the scenes of these huge productions numerous people work day and night to create the temporary and therefore precious magic that only performative art on stage can bring to life. Before falling in love with contemporary dance, I was passionate about classical ballet. So being able to experience the process up close behind the creation of a ballet piece by a big company like Staatsballett is something really special on a personal level. Gladly, I can now share this experience with you readers in form of a little photographic journey inside the costume workshops of the Staatsballett and into the rehearsals of the production Jewels which premiered a couple of weeks ago.

Jewels is a three part choreography by one of the biggest Russian masters of choreography who brought neoclassical ballet to the States and made it famous all over the world. According to legend, it must have been a dark winter day in the late 1960s, on which George Balanchine was swept away by sparkling jewelry that he saw in a shop window on New York’s fancy 5th Avenue. And what did the successful choreographer do? Rather than simply buying the beautiful diamonds, rubies, and emeralds he took inspiration from their splendor and created a new ballet piece which he named “Jewels”.

The costumes I could examine up close definitely reflect this very romantic (and a slightly kitschy) story. If you want to see the jewels sparkle under the bright lights of the spotlights check out our raffle for 2×2 tickets and our photo after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on June 7th, 2016
in Theater

Berlin Design Highlights 2016

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This upcoming weekend is all over the radar of design. Multiple happenings lure product and fashion designers from all over the world to our beloved city. Design has become an important creative field in this city – 10 years ago, making a living in the creative industry was fairly impossible. Nowadays tons of small studios, ateliers and design manufactures build businesses in town. This weekend not only do you have the chance to visit the spaces of these small studios, but you can also discover international design coming to Berlin for the DMY fair. This and three other design highlights in our little design guide for the weekend.

Claudio by Claudio
on June 3rd, 2016
in City Guide, Products

aviv – A New Magazine from Berlin in German and Hebrew

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photo: Christian Werner

Independent print magazine projects seem like a relic from another era. Of course print magazines look great as accessories on Instagram pictures and on our coffee tables. But is there still the habit of READING things on paper? Well maybe the habits are changing but the curiosity and the openness to a diversity of experiences is not. So even though I think more and more people will read and consume all kinds of content on digital surfaces, others will still cherish the experience of reading on paper. Maybe it is the crisis of print publishing that pushes journalists and makers to think of magazine concepts that dare more than ever and explore new possibilities.

aviv is a new magazine made in Berlin that dares with something really unconventional. Printed in Hebrew and German, the bilingual print-magazine focuses on literature and the arts and wants to renew the relationship between the two languages and cultures. For me, having been in love with languages and their power of identification all my life, this project is a good example of building creative bridges. Publishing from a young and autonomous perspective, the founder Hanno Hauenstein and his co-editor Itamar Gov focus on less illuminated content between these languages, and highlights the underlying historical and political complexities. I think that especially here in Berlin such a project is very important to create a dialogue between Israelis and Germans living here.

Tonight on Mai 13th aviv is celebrating the launch party of their first Issue at Berghain Kantine with numerous acts, dance performances and a reading. Don’t miss it. Some impressions of the magazine and the two creators after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on May 13th, 2016
in Products

A White Circle Illuminating Berghain

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My Gallery Weekend started with an artistic installation that actually has nothing to do with the official Gallery Weekend (but has some good chances to become my favorite installation anyways). In celebration of its 20th anniversary, German record label raster-noton presents a ‘white circle’, an acoustic-architectural space designed as an audiovisual installation inside the hall of Berghain. On this occasion four of the label’s musician were invited to develop and contribute an exclusive composition: Alva Noto, Byetone, Frank Bretschneider, and Kangding Ray.

The four pieces are all very different but play with the full spectrum of light and darkness in visuals and sound. I was really impressed by the intense atmosphere this installation created. Suddenly I felt transported to a foreign galaxy where an Egyptian god of techno is ruling the world. Don’t miss to visit this place over the weekend. After the jump I created a couple of animated GIFs to give you an impression of the art piece, but of course without the sound it’s only half the experience.

Claudio by Claudio
on April 28th, 2016
in Art, Music