photo via Romy Haag
Have you ever heard about Romy Haag? If not, and you’re reading iHeartBerlin right now, which makes me dare to assume you cannot be completely indifferent to Berlin’s distinctive aura, you truly owe it to your sparkling self (and general culture awareness) to continue with this article.
And although I’m well aware that writers are prone to mythologizing ordinary life, I really feel like in this case I could not possibly overdo it. When I’m trying to summon up all the various reasons for why Berlin feels just like a natural habitat for all that’s unnatural, there doesn’t seem to be a single one that Romy Haag wouldn’t have something to do with.
photos: Alejandro Arretureta
The countless attempts at interpreting what we know now was David Bowie’s parting gift, the album “Blackstar”, reflect our yearning to get closer to the mind of this sublime artist. A yearning which is all the more compelling as it can never be fulfilled. For over a decade now, David Bowie has let his art speak for itself.
The admirable, yet silent dignity of Bowie’s final years, together with his incessant creative pursuits, always rich in fascinating cultural references, forces one to simply marvel at the intricate structure of the whole career. For it is clearly the acting part of it, namely the appearance in 1976 “The Man Who Fell to Earth” , that is the key to grasping the essence of the music video for “Blackstar”, and also “Lazarus” – the Broadway musical which Bowie was working on.
Last January, a lot of people experienced an overwhelming sense of confusion and disbelief. Not only did we lose a man who influenced the way we viewed the world, but also, just two days before that, we got another stunning glimpse at his genius. Literally, the last chance to genuinely appreciate the man.
I’ve been in Berlin for a year now. It’s been a great adventure involving a good deal of self-exploration, and I’ve already covered some aspects of it on the blog. And, quite ironically, that’s the part I find most exciting – the fact that I’ve slowly started to carve out my path as a writer. And I can’t complain about the lack of inspiration. As a matter of fact, Berlin is home to quite a lot of amazing, independent women who have a clear vision of themselves and work hard every day to make it their reality. Following the tradition of previous years we want to recapture the past year by honoring the amazing women that have done great things in these past twelve months.
The profession of the photographer has changed dramatically with the rise of digital photography and especially with smartphone cameras documenting our everyday life snap by snap. The ability of creating images has become somehow secondary. Nowadays outstanding photographers are rather conceptual artists that know how to translate the medium of photography itself into an outstanding piece of art by deeply analyzing social and anthropological dynamics.
More and more photographers became interested in creating work reflecting social media and especially dating apps where everybody uses photography as an act of self representation and key selling point on the meat market. Photographer Andrea Lavezzaro caught our interest with her project “It’s a match”.
Over a year she scouted Tinder users in Berlin. No matter the shape, size, gender or if they were strange, sexy or surreal. Her focus was on capturing the diversity of our city. Every picture was taken at the location where she met her matches (all aware she was doing a photography project of course). The only rule her subjects had to follow while taking their portrait was: no posing allowed. The results are now featured in an exhibition at Gallery Ori in Neukölln that runs until this Saturday. We had a little chat with Andrea about her project and how it will continue in the future. Read on after the jump.
One of the major aims we have here on the blog is to find ways for you to have an amazing time in Berlin. Regardless if you live here or if you are just visiting, we want you to make the most of this amazing city and have an unforgettable time here. With our guides and reviews we’re offering a lot of recommendations on what to do here – with our recent collaboration with Priceless® Berlin we have also introduced you to a whole new spectrum of unique experiences from culinary delights to fun adventures.
But what makes an experience really unique and unforgettable? It’s not really as easy as it sounds. We thought a lot about this, because we wanted to create our own “priceless” event for you. As the season of cosy nights at home and lovely holiday dinners is approaching we decided that we wanted to do something related to amazing food. So we sat down with someone who really knows something about excellent food: our Blogfabrik colleague Sophia Hoffmann, who recently published her second amazing cookbook “Vegan Queens”. Together we developed a dinner event of a different kind. “Harvest Muse” turned out to much more than just a dinner party. For the delight of our guests Sophia created something that could almost be described as an altar of the fruits of Autumn – a beautiful food installation that was first admired and photographed and than later devoured by the attendants. In a short interview Sophia explains how the idea came up and what other advice she can give to our readers on how to host an unforgettable dinner.
One look at how fast the tickets for the screening of Nick Cave’s recent movie are selling is enough to say that at least part of Berlin adores this guy. And although the kind of love sadly prevailing in the Bear City is probably the unrequited one, the proof of Cave’s devotion to the Hauptstadt is an indubitable part of its history.
After the screening of last year’s music documentary “B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin 1979 – 1989” at the Mobile Kino over at Grießmühle, people actually started to applaud as the lights went on. It seemed like the film could provide anyone with a reason to shed a tear or two; it caused some to reflect on their youth, and others to wonder how the fuck did techno eventually prevail.
What I found most moving though is a short footage of Nick Cave doing a little room tour, almost as if he anticipated Youtube and its current vlog trends. “This is my bedroom”, he says, sliding off a black thick curtain separating his bed from the rest of the room, which is today a standard design for many a dwelling of a Berlin artist.
After our interviews with Berlin city shapers PANSY from Yo! Sissy Festival and Yasha Young from Urban Nation we are coming to the third and final part of our interview series that is inspired by Heineken’s Shape Your City campaign. While the winners of The Cities Project are already working to make their bar concept a reality in the beautiful city of Cologne, we had a chat here in Berlin with our latest interview partner Nicolas Defawe. If his name doesn’t ring a bell for you, you might know some of the amazing spaces that he was and is involved in such as the awesome, but sadly closed HBC, the short-lived +-0 in the old Postbahnhof building, and the Urban Spree gallery at the RAW area.
Nico is one of the people in the alternative cultural scene of Berlin that we have collaborated with a lot over the years with many of the events we did with iHeartBerlin and its sister project Designer Scouts. It was always such a pleasure to work with him because he has such a positive and supportive spirit and he is the type of guy that you can easily go and steal horses with (this is a funny expression we like to use in German that means that someone is game with just about anything). In our interview with him and his Urban Spree partner Pascal Feucher we revisited some of the old places and looked into the future for the current one…
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…
Recently we kicked off a new series of interviews about the movers and shakers of Berlin inspired by the Shape Your City campaign by Heineken, a competition for city shapers in the making who aspire to help create a bar built on the basis of their personal concept. In the first part we introduced you to party and festival organizer PANSY who spoke with us about the changes and prospects of Berlin’s nightlife.
For the second edition we want to venture from the nightlife into the daylight and bring up one of our favorite topics on the blog: Street art. Berlin is full of it and cherished for it. Especially in the last couple of years so many new incredible works have been added to the walls of Berlin making it huge open air gallery for contemporary art. What many people might not even know is that a big part of the new murals in Berlin were organized by Berlin-based contemporary art platform Urban Nation. We spoke with director and curator Yasha Young about the development of this project and their plans to open the world’s first big street art museum.
illustrations: Sophia Halamoda
Show me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are. Basked in a plethora of choice, Berlin inhabitants’ hardest seems to be where to eat. Trying to arrange Sunday brunch with a vegan, a meat lover and a person that claims to be allergic to almost anything between is more normal than everyone involved would like it to be. With a rough estimate of two hundred guides to hyped food spots being published (in Berlin alone) every day the proof must be in the pudding. So if you’re looking for your very own flavor of love, by all means, dig in: