photo: Denitsa Ruseva
The independent theater scene of Berlin is unique and reknowned all over the world. Nowhere else you’ll find so many different kinds of theater makers and enthusiast like here. A great festival to get to experience a good portion of it is the upcoming 100° Festival of Independent Theater that takes place from Thursday to Sunday. Partiticipating stages are my three favourite independent theaters Sophiensaele, Ballhaus Ost and HAU. Four days, several stages and hundreds of perfomances and pieces make it impossible to see them all. This is also because the 100° Berlin has no borders – everyone can apply, productions of all genres and content are considered. The culmination is the award ceremony held in the Sophiensaele with a final party I definetly recommend you to join. You can read the full program if you like or just jump from one crazy perfomance to another and enjoy the unexpected. More information here.
photos: Bettina Stöß
While growing up in East Germany but coming from Italy, I had quite the strange childhood experience. I was the first kid with a “migrant” background at my school and everybody treated my like some sort of alien (even if my father is German). I remember one of my teachers touching my hair and looking into my eyes and saying: You are like the “little Muck” from the fairytales from Thousand and one Nights. She had never seen a kid with my skin and hair color before. Personally, I was always a little attracted by the ancient Arabic world, the beautiful illustration and wonderful symetrie of the architecture. Also, I know from several sources that sex was not always a tabu topic in the Arabic culture. I think the famous book One thousand and one Nights is actually the most obvious proof that there where once more playful sexual behaviours then nowadays in the Arabic culture.
The recently premiered ballett The Nights by the Staatsballett Berlin is showcasing several choreographies inspired by One Thousand and One Nights by the same choreographer who chreated the amazing Snowhite Ballet. Read my impressions of this ballet after the jump.
photo: Enrico Nawrath
Sometimes a dance or theater piece is simply so amazing that it seems impossible to write a review that would measure up to the experience of seeing the piece. Still, I will try to make the effort, because I have to recommend to you the Open Square, a piece by Itzik Gallili at the Staatsballett Berlin.
The whole piece is a post-modern celebration of lights and shadows reflecting on the human body. I never saw a choreographic work that would use the postures and movements of ballet and was capable of creating a different context. Open Square is not just a dance piece, but more a ritual. A magic that demands to bend the limits of the human body and leave the constraints of our mind. The world premiere by the Israeli choreographer is a fierce move for the company in a more unconventional direction and it proves to be the right step to take. Everyone who is usually afraid of girls in tutu and boys in leggings should venture into the ballet world by seeing Open Square. It will open your mind like a box of Pandora and make you forget all prejudices and retentions you might have towards this form of art. More impressions and dates after the jump.
photo: Pablo Derka
I think nearly nobody from the younger generation of Western Europeans has a concrete idea of what war is all about. It’s quite a different case in Israel where war is a constant threat and alone the three years of compulsory military service have an influence of the young generation’s mindset.
In the fresh new theatre piece of my good friend Santiago Blaum that will premiere this Friday at the Sophiensaele the story revolves around Elik Niv who is an Israeli elite soldier who left his homeland to establish a career as a contemporary dancer in Germany. On the stage he encounters the devil, like in Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat, and must enter into negotiations with him: reality and fiction, a biography and historical facts melt into one. Like an ego-shooter Elik takes us through video simulations, personal war experiences and beyond borders. Tatiana Saphir, star of our fashion parody Tati the Fruti Salad, is contributing to the piece in the role of a fabulous actress. The dates and more information after the jump.
photo: Dario Jacopo Lagana
For great contemporary dance you do not only need amazing performers but also a good space. Luckily our favourite independent theater Sophiensaele has probably one of the most central and beautiful dance stages in town. In terms of dancers you can be sure that inhouse curators like Peter Pleyer (whom we already interviewed before) know where to find the craziest and most talented characters the international dance scene has to offer.
These are just some of the reasons I am excited about the current Tanztage Berlin Festival that present a diverse program full of surprises from January 4-14, 2013. The focus of this year’s edition are the “wild children” of dance in town, meaning the dancers and choreographers that don’t have a typical university degree in dance or choreography but are coming from another context which obviously influences their work. I think this already shows how open-minded the Sophiensaele work. The whole festival is suited also for a Non-German speaking audience. Some recommendations after the jump.
I’m actually not really the type who would reminisce about the past. But when I look back at the year 2013 I have to admit that this year was in many ways special for me. Special because of the things I did and that happened around me, but also because of some personal realizations about myself and my life that ultimately make me a very happy guy. As you guys are somehow part of this life I would like to share these special moments along with some highlights of the blog in 2013…
photo: Dan Hirsch
We all know that living together in a 35 square meter studio apartment in Berlin did not bring eternal love and happiness to the young couples of the city. And still I see more and more people moving together in tiny apartmens, losing their privacy in the name of love and money. But what does all this saving money bring you in the end if you will wreck your relationship. Maybe love just can’t be a bargain.
The economy of love and relationships in Berlin is also the topic of the upcoming piece Save Your Love by Israeli director Ariel Nil Levy and performers Hila Golan, Niva Dloomy at Theaterdiscounter. A basic berlin relationship will unfold in front of your eyes with all the problems love can have of living in a big city in a small apartment. The piece is suited for an English-speaking audience. Furthermore during all of December there will be performances around the topic of love at this little theater which now is fighting for its existence, since the state will not support it in the future. Let’s hope for the best and let’s get some love there this month. The dates and the address after the jump.
photo: Rolf Arnold
Maybe you have already heard about the literature contest we launched together with the Sophiensaele theater. The reason we ventured in this new editorial direction is the upcoming international theater festival Strange Magic that will start tomorrow. We are really much looking forward to it not just because our first printed booklet comes out of the press and will be presented during the festival but also because there will be so much interesting theater and perfomances going on. The overall topic is the magical and illusionary in theater. How can stage magic be combined with performance know how? Visibility vs. invisibility, knowledge and power, illusions and disillusions are the focus and point to the current social debate: who is manipulating and fooling whom? In my opinion very interesting questions, which will be hopefully answered in part by the presented pieces. But if you can’t visit the festival, you can still follow our Strange Magic of Berlin stories which we will publish, one by one here on the blog. My recommendations for the individual perfomances after the jump.
photo: Eylül Aslan
Without being too much New-Age-esque and yogi-like, I think we all agree that Berlin is a magical place. But unlike other metropolises that have per definition spectacular sites and magical corners such as Rome, Paris or New York have, Berlin’s magic cannot be described with another word other then strange or odd. The only way to capture it in real words is by telling the singular stories of our everyday life and exclaiming in the end: this is Berlin.
Exactly this stories we would like to hear from our readers. Together with our favorite independent theater the Sophiensaele we are curating and editing a print booklet entitled The Strange Magic of Berlin in which we would like to present stories by our readers and followers telling their experiences about the life in Berlin. This booklet will be available at the upcoming theater festival Strange Magic by the Sophiensaele. Please send in your short story of a maximum of 800 words in English or German to email@example.com until November 14, 2013.
Together with the team of the Sophiensaele we will edit 10 stories to be printed and presented to the audience of the festival. Every participant will receive a copy and have the possibility to visit one piece of the festival for free. Also the stories will be presented online during the festival on here on I HEART BERLIN. We are very curious about your submissions!
For this year’s special I HEART BERLIN live event Claudio and I chose something that we feel particularily excited about: Halloween. Bringing together creative minds from the worlds of theatre, perfomance art, fashion, publishing and music we created the House of Haunted Hearts that opened its doors on Thursday with a DIY costume workshop, a haunted house with artistic performances, an outfit contest, a haunted porn booth and of course a big Halloween party.
It was a huge success for us as so many people came with amazing costumes and great enthusiasm for Halloween. In fact I took so many photos that I have to split the set into several posts starting today with a look behind the scenes and into our Haunted House that was created by set-designers Buchholz&Kraatz in the huge basement of our venue the Naherholung Sternchen. Inside was not only a creepy labyrinth but also performances of Israeli artists Gal Naor, Moran Sanderovich with sound scapes by Inon Peres, as well as choreographer Patrick Faurot. See for yourself after the jump.