Berlin is a crazy bubble in terms of diversity. Nowhere else in Germany are there so many different spaces, places and outlets for the members of the LGBTQI Community. Of course Berlin is not perfect in terms of safety for the said community. We still have harassments of transsexuals on a monthly basis, and I would not always dare to kiss a man at Kotti at night because you never know how the surroundings might react. Despite that, I am more than happy to call Berlin my home, since I feel that no other place in Germany has the same amount of freedom, tollerance and possibilities for people of different sexual orientations or gender identities.
The biggest celebration of this diversity is definitely the annual Christopher Street Pride Parade. Since I came to Berlin at the age of 18, I have been visiting the parade regularly. Some years I remember as stressful because of the heat and too many drinks. Or I felt that the event had turned too commercial, so I decided I’d rather visit an alternative demonstration instead. Other years the weather was a bit tricky. But nonetheless every parade has had its highlights and stolen kisses to tell of afterwards.
My personal highlight of this year was to bring along my little sister to Pride. It was her first big Pride parade and as I wanted to make the experience as memorable as possible, I showed her all the typical Pride rituals.
Berlin wouldn’t be the melting pot brimming with inspiration that we love if it wasn’t for the international influences from expats that never cease to shape the city with their artistic vision. The time has come to highlight the creative masterminds in the Portuguese community in Berlin. Get ready to meet a diverse crew of uninhibited artists – photographers, writers, digital illustrators, musicians – who aren’t afraid to experiment and venture beyond the conventions. By the way, we’ve asked around and got the top recommendations on where to get Portuguese wine and their famous Pastel de Nata – make sure you scroll to the bottom!
It’s already been three years now that iHeartBerlin is part of Blogfabrik, the fun content creator community and workspace in the heart of Kreuzberg. It was a great three years and I am still super happy and proud to be part of it, surrounded by like-minded people from the digital world and the lovely Blogfabrik team that supports us all every day.
On Thursday our second digital conference – the Content Creation Week – came to a close and this was also the perfect moment to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of this unique and amazing place. We were really happy that so many of you came to have a drink with us and dance the night away. Special shout-out to the party baby that came in the early evening to break the ice on the dancefloor. We can already see him being a future Berghain regular…
Coming from the queer black and latin underground culture of New York over 50 years ago the Ball Culture took a long time to finally arrive in good old Berlin. Thanks to the famous Paris Is Burning documentary and – yes, maybe also because of that one Madonna song – the Ballroom Community and more specifically one of its disciplines – Voguing – have surfaced from the subculture into the mainstream, also spreading the concept into many major cities in the world. Learn more about the history of voguing in this earlier iHeart feature.
In Berlin, one of the major independent theaters has embraced the local Ball Culture inviting it onto its stage. Together with the Berlin Ballroom Community, the Hebbel Am Ufer manages to successfully melt the intimate world of Ballrooms with the extroverted world of performance art. It’s a fantastic spectacle that let’s a wider audience get a peek into an otherwise quite private world, encouraging people who are curious about Voguing to join a House or even form a new one. Berlin already has a couple of “Houses” which is how a group of Voguers is called that form a fabulous little family.
This past Saturday we had the chance to join the Opulence Ball at HAU2 and of course, we wouldn’t miss the opportunity to take a couple of photos and animated GIFs. Enjoy the show!
This Sunday saw the longest queue ever and for a change it was not in front of Berghain. After a three year hiatus the Ngoro Ngoro group exhibition in Weißensee was back and it was again a huge success and magnet for art enthusiasts and the art-curious. Full disclosure: the place had a pool – so every other exhibition didn’t really stand a chance that weekend…
Jokes aside, the group exhibition is one of the biggest, independently organized ones that we have seen here and the diversity of the works and artists presented alone made the whole event worth a visit for pretty much everyone. The hidden backyard that is a shared space of gallery owners and artists also managed to create a bit of a festival atmosphere with drinks and food, and it was a quite family-friendly, which was embraced by the visitors.
The ultimate hot spot of the Gallery Weekend Berlin is Potsdamer Straße where many well-known galleries have settled in over the last years. The art scene has become buzzing and vibrant between the odd contrasts of Kurfürstenstraße and Wintergarten Varieté. Sometimes though, I am a bit upset that the whole artsy society is quiet elitist and closed towards an interested but maybe not so involved public.
I wonder: How can we deal with contemporary art in a more participatory and open-hearted way? During the upcoming Gallery Weekend Mumm Sekt is trying a new approach. The German sparkling wine company opened a pop-up Art Yard on Potsdamer Platz in collaboration with artist Daniel Egnéus. Egnéus, who is best known for his watercolor illustrations, has designed three Mumm Art Editions this year.
I admit that finding something positive about being in Berlin right now with the temperatures so low is really, really difficult. But we wouldn’t be “I Heart Berlin” if we wouldn’t be able to deal with this little problem, right?
One of the very few upsides of these temperatures, and in fact one that is absolutely exclusive to it, is that we get to set foot on parts of Berlin that we normally never can: The canals, rivers and lakes of the city that are now frozen shut and create new spaces to spend time on, for instance ice skating, playing ice hockey, or watching our dogs clumsily slip on the icy surface. Such fun!
The weekend pretty much exploded with your impressions of places such as Landwehrkanal, the Engelbecken or various lakes with lively activity on them. Also the Spree is a magnificent sight these days with the broken pieces of ice floating around. We collected some of our favorite impressions on Instagram and put them together here in a little gallery for you. Make sure to follow these Instagrammers linked below each photo to see more of Berlin.
Lycra, lights, DJs, sweat and slings. This could be another night at Berghain, but instead we find ourselves at the Velodrom at the 107th Six Day Berlin race– the world’s oldest six-day bike race- thanks to the kind invitation of GASAG who is one of the sponsors of the event. Do you want to experience it as well? We have tickets for you to win!
Berlin is a city of bikers. We use bikes to get around town and to work more so than most people in other large cities. And, most of us have a close relationship with bikes. They can be a fashion accessory. They get you where you need to go. And, they are generally more reliable than the last person you talked to on Tinder (just don’t park it near Kotti, otherwise it will also disappear).
It’s the Berliners’ favorite long drink: the Gin & Tonic. It’s so simply and pure. But after being the number one for so long, isn’t it time to mix it up a bit?
That’s pretty much what the Tanqueray Drinks Club hosted by the boys from Salt & Silver at the lovely Infarm space was all about – finding ways to bring your own special flavor to this classic drink. Mixing a Gin & Tonic certainly doesn’t have to end with the gin and the tonic water. The possibilities to create a more refined version by adding more ingredients while maintaining the freshness of the classic long drink are basically endless.
As we learned from award-winning mixologist Atalay Aktas a whole range of herbs, berries and exotic fruits offer themselves as natural components. It does make sense because gin is already infused by herbs, why not add fresh ones? And the fruits create the perfect counterpart for the strong herbal flavors to bring a bit of sweetness to the mix.
What really made a difference to me in the end was the addition of liquors or bitters. They really bring an originality of taste to the Gin & Tonic that almost elevates the long drink to a cocktail while still being fairly easy to mix. It was certainly an experience that gave us a better understanding of the versatility of the Tanqueray & Tonic. To wet your appetite we have some impressions of the evening for you!
photos: Robert Kleinfeld
Of all the things that people say about Berlin, one thing that I can hardly argue with is the fact that it’s not exactly the prettiest city I’ve ever seen. There are obvious historic reasons for that, but it doesn’t excuse that Berlin lacks a certain amount of color, expressiveness and playfulness when it comes to its appearance. It’s a shame really, there would be so much potential for it. But the architecture and city designs stays quite tame, plain and low-key.
There are a few examples that bring a bit of excitement into the cityscapes such as the many street art murals, some hidden architectural gems, a few iconic sights and a couple more interesting buildings. I’m glad we have those. But they are surrounded by so much grey it’s sometimes just hard to see them. The beauty of Berlin really often lies in the details. And for those we have to look more closely.
Photographer Robert Kleinfeld did just that for his new photo series Minimalist Architecture. With his photographs he brings out some vivid colors, fascinating textures and strong contrasts that might get lost in the bigger picture, but totally stand out when you put all your attention to them. I especially enjoy the contrasts of the bright buildings with their sharp lines and the almost stylized blue skies. It’s a pleasure for the eyes to see Berlin with such majestic blue skies after we’ve seen mostly grey in the last few weeks.