photo: Berlin Scrapbook / CC
What kind of relationship can you have to this city when your own family had to flee from Berlin?
A really difficult question to answer from my perspective. Even though we all have dealt extensively with the Holocaust and its consequences, having a real encounter with descendents of parents or grandparents who had to leave Germany can become an emotional tour de force.
The author Andrea Stolowitz is such a descendant. Her great-grandfather, Dr. Max Cohnreich, had to escape from Berlin in 1936 and started a new life in New York. For his children and grandchildren, he wrote a diary about his life in Berlin.
In 2015 Andrea visits Berlin to explore the life of her great-grandfather through his diary. An exciting and true story that has now premiered as a theatrical play on the stage of the English Theater Berlin. We talked to all the people participating in the creation of the piece. Each one has given us a piece of their personal Berlin Diary…
photo: Berliner Stage Company e.V.
I think one of the most peculiar symptoms of this digital era of self-representation are flash mobs. It does not matter how talented in acting, dancing, and singing the performers are. From the moment on they are willing to sacrifice their last bit of integrity to perform to an involuntary audience we can not stop watching. It’s like being the spectator of an incredible stunt that could turn every moment into a horrible (and by horrible I mean horribly embarrassing) accident.
A favorite place for those public flash mobs (or flash tortures) is the Berlin subway or train stations. I guess the idea is to turn an everyday boring situation like a subway ride into a magical eye opening experience. Sometimes the results are close to that description. But it can also happen to be a deadly trap for the poor innocent Berlin souls who just wanted to have a chill ride to their workplace.
After the jump I collected some of the funniest and some of the weirdest U-Bahn flash mobs that you can find on Youtube for your amusement.
photos: Carrie Schneider
Nudity is nothing a Berliner is particularly shocked about. In contrary, I think that Berlin is the city with the most public nakedness in the world if you consider all the nude beaches and public sex parties. It is also a different nakedness than in a tropical or Mediterranean city because the weather is not actually inviting to take off your close. The Berlin nudity is a public statement to the liberation of the human body from all the social, political and gender oppressions. At least that is what I like to read into it, even though I doubt that all of the half naked 19year old kids at the Pornceptual parties would agree.
But I am losing track here. Let’s discuss Berlin’s political intentions on nudity another time… I actually just wanted to recommend a damn sexy contemporary dance festival starting today: Tanz im August. Scrolling through the pics I saw some naked flesh popping up in the press folder and I was wondering if a conservative audience would claim that the dance world needs sex to get more attention from the younger audience. This could not be more wrong. Dance is not automatically sexy when the bodies on stage are naked.
But there is an element of contemporary dance that I find extremely sexy (which is why I also used this alluring headline). It is the intensity and the ability to control, perform and present yourself and your body that intrigues the spectator. A contemporary performer is always in a constant dialogue between his own body and the audience and is within this dialogue able to create tension and persuasion. From my point of view, most of the times the nakedness of a performer is actually not erotic but rather a narration of intimacy and disclosure.
We selected several dance pieces from the festival taking places in some of our favorite theaters including Sophiensaele, Hau and Volksbühne, that we think are promising and worth visiting. Our recommendations after the jump.
What the fuck is this thing called capitalism? And why it is actually messing up all our lives instead of making them better? As simple as these questions seem at first, as complex are their answers. To take a look at one aspect that is going completely wrong with capitalism let’s reflect one moment about the Berlin start-up bubble.
Our beloved Berlin is a fertile ground for start-ups of all kinds. Low rents and many smart international people as potential employees are great resources to start your company. With the right investors, you can literally create any kind of business in this town. But as genius some start-up concepts can be, as stupid and absolutely useless to humanity the others are.
With their new theater game Monypolo the collective Prinzip Gonzo is reflecting about all the absurd aspects of hyper-capitalism and über-entrepreneurialism. With 60 other players you create a fictional career and play for success inside an abandoned supermarket at Kudamm. Between luxury boutiques and high street brands you enter a desolate mall to find a giant playground for adults waiting for you to be explored. More about our experience, the dates and some photos of the exciting game after the jump.
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.
photos: Yan Revazov
Can contemporary ballet express a clear political message? How to express clear opinions of the status quo with such an abstract art form as dance? It might be a crazy challenge, but I am very glad that the new director of the Staatsballet Berlin Nacho Duato is once again going on a creative journey with the dance company to create impact on society and culture with his new piece “Herrumbre”. With it, he tries to elaborate on his own experience of the 2004 terrorist attacks in Madrid. Nacho Duato lived only a few hundred meters away from one of the four bombing locations. 2004 was also the year in which photos of tortured prisoners from the US prison camp Guantanamo went around the world.
Under these impressions, Duato decided to create a new work based on his experience with terror. In his choreography he wants to show the pain caused by terrorism and the brutality of war. With disturbing images of brutal humiliation, he wants to make us explore the darkness of our times. At the same time, he also wants his production to be a call for the respect of human dignity. After the jump we show you intimate images of the rehearsals. We are also giving away tickets for the upcoming shows.
photos: Natalie Mayroth
When you think of theater, what comes to mind? Does the term ‘Digital Age’ pop up somewhere? Probably not, right? But don’t worry: since staged theater is widely perceived as more of a traditional medium, it’s just natural that we do not think of this right away.But the theater is a place to depict current subjects and social discourse. And one ongoing and very current topic is the Internet and Social Media. Obviously. (Hi, this is a blog.) Which is why the theater network cobratheater.cobra and the Theater an der Parkaue created Haus der Digitalen Jugend (House of Digital Youth) and decided to put together PRISMA – The digital Kick-Off Festival that is “kicking off” tonight.
Berlin loves trash. Especially when it is on the interdisciplinary intersection between performance art and club culture. This Friday is the premiere of a A Lovely Piece of Shit, a dance theater performance at the club Mensch Meier by the Swiss theater company Extraleben. This piece is all about a fairy tale land called Wummerland where unicorns eat techno bass, the mirror always smiles back at you and nobody ever thinks about tomorrow. I don’t know about you but this setting reminds me a bit the Fusion Festival, where everybody escapes once a year to have a colorful peter pan experience. In any case we are really looking forward to this attempt to combine theater and party experience. Also I think that it is a wonderful opportunity to check out this new club that everybody is speaking about right now. Check out some photos and the trailer after the jump.
photos: Olga Khristolyubova
Big business is a big game that nobody in Berlin really wants to play. The big players of German economy are only visiting town for a chitchat with their creative agency filled with hot interns all hoping for a spectacular career or at least a spectacular Instagram stream. But true fact is, that the real money business is not happening in Berlin. Or maybe we just don’t see it very well.
Creating visibility and an understanding for the mechanics of the dirty business world is not always easy. Therefore I am looking very much forward to the theater game Monypolo in Summer 2016 from the makers of Game of Life. Until then we can prepare our self to play. In a short theater prequel series at Ballhaus Ost several topics around the strategies of business life will be presented during the year. Tonight is the premiere of the third episode. The topic evolves around consultancy companies. Find out the dates of the play here and check out the photos of this trash glam spectacle after the jump.
photos: Anna Agliardi
Working as a contemporary dancer is incredibly hard. You need an amazing passion (and talent) to have a real shot at something called a career. But even with all the attributes that might define you as a perfect dancer getting jobs in Berlin is not easy. Fortunately there are places and events that have so much dedication for contemporary dance that I might have some hopes for the future for this discipline here in town.
Once a year the festival Tanztage Berlin at Sophiensaele brings together all the passionate people and the most enthusiastic newcomers the city has to offer. Last night we saw the premiere of the two pieces Vox/Dust that opened the festival. Especially watching the four handsome guys perform the second piece Dust by choreographer and dancer Roderick George was an amazing experience. They had such an amazing energy and an intense vocabulary of movements. Tonight you have another chance to see it. Photos and a trailer of the piece Dust, after the jump.