What does it mean to become an urban observer? What makes you notice things from a distance that others won’t see even up close? With this questions in mind I was thrilled when we had the chance to join Instagrammer Liz Vega on a photo shoot on a Berlin rooftop.
Liz has a particular talent for urban exploring and observing the city from high perspectives. As if she would be able to touch the invisible texture of the atmosphere beneath our beloved city with her fingertips and slowly bring it up into the light with her photographs.
Unfortunately, one of us had to stay behind during this photo shoot because we wanted to be as few as possible on the roof to minimize the risk to get caught. But thanks to the magic of modern technology we found a way for our remaining team member to join us on the roof, virtually. We had the chance to use the new Panasonic Nubo camera as a special equipment to help us out in this particular production situation.
photo: Michael Mayer / CC
Du bist verrückt mein Kind, du musst nach Berlin …
At the time, we’d never even heard of Franz von Suppé. Still, we went. From our protected northern hometown to a coal-heated loft a few blocks north of Landwehrkanal. We arrived just in time for Berlin’s darkest winter on record. As the ice came biting at our feet and the carbon monoxide took to our lungs, we turned to speakers as big as houses and dance floors where three nights became one. Our hearts exploded, only to close again like fists every time we returned to collect our winter coats.
In the vacuum that followed every weekend, to cope with the whispering ghosts and the buzzing ears, we found comfort in other sounds. Our own sounds. As sparkling as our make-up, as forgiving as our gin; only asking for more of both.
photos: Eylül Aslan
I’m looking forward to January 18th. Not only is it my birthday, but, thanks to the almighty coincidence, it’s also going to mark a year since I put my signature on my first WG contract. But metaphorically, although I was quite unaware of it at that time, I signed up for so much more. Saying that Berlin made me grow up wouldn’t be quite enough – any place where you need to pay for your food and rent for the first time would make you grow up. But Berlin, with all its peculiarities, which became evident as I started to get to know more people here, proved to be a very special environment. It made me question virtually everything – the only thing I’m sure of is no matter how often things would escape my mental and/or emotional capacity, I have never entertained the thought of leaving. I like it here.
photos: Matthias Piket
Lately, I’ve been totally into workshops. I like the feeling of learning new crafts and perfecting already existing skills. So I was more than happy when Huawei invited me to a mobile photography workshop by Paul Ripke. If you haven’t heard of this man, you should definitely google his name. He rose to fame with his book One Night in Rio where he captured the German soccer team up-close and personal at the World Championship in Rio back in 2014. But he’s not a typical sport and event photographer. With his work he comes so close to the action and the main protagonists that it almost feels like being right there between the athletes celebrating their victory.
With someone so accomplished of course there is a lot to learn, so after he introduced himself to us I was really curious what secrets of his success and profession he would share with us during this workshop. Much to my surprise, in the end the most valuable insight that I got beside a lot of technical stuff, was something quite more personal and inconspicuous…
A new, exceptionally nice speakeasy bar called ROOK opened a few weeks ago in a place where you, dear readers, would probably least expect it: in an old water tower in Cologne. Yes, you’ve read it right – it’s not about Berlin today, but about a thing that we in Berlin are especially crazy about: secret bars in hidden locations.
In a world of the Internet and smartphones, where all information is constantly accessible, the concept of speakeasy bars is more attractive than ever. It’s no wonder, since nothing tastes sweeter than a secret that you only share with a few people. We’ve known that this rule applies to the club and bar scene for ages.
That’s why it’s totally understandable that also the ROOK team decided in favor of such an idea. A few months ago, Luisa und Rike entered the Shape Your City competition organized by the international premium beer brand Heineken with their own bar concept. They managed to win over the Jury, composed of, among others, the restaurateurs Philipp Treudt and Tobias Mintert, as well as our Berlin blogger-colleagues from Dandy Diary. ROOK is the result of a cooperation with Heineken and celebrated its opening on the 18th November 2016. This coming Friday, the Dandy Diary members of the jury are going to throw a party in the location that they’ve helped to single out. More about that later in the text!
Even in Berlin, maintaining the individual desired level of social prosperity may present some difficulty. In other words: during a party spree comprising of multiple venues in, say, Kreuzberg, you may choose to rely on an ubahn rather than an uber as you proceed with the night’s schedule. You may be more inclined towards the latter if you’re visiting from Scandinavia.
Because even though Berlin is undoubtedly a much cheaper place to live than London or Paris, most people don’t necessarily earn enough to be able to appreciate it. Especially when we acknowledge the rise in the housing prices, Berlin is no Shangri-La, or at least does not become one until Friday night.
And after you’ve had your go at Berlin’s blissful spare time opportunities, and hopefully you’re still in possession of all your belongings, or at least dignity, sobering Monday kicks in and you need to deal with the reality – rummaging your pockets in search of some euros is a common first step. If by some chance it turns out that you’ve got more hickeys on your neck than notes in the wallet, Berlin may awake yet another kind of desire – the desire to save money…
Berlin during winter is inspiring in its bleak scenery. Sitting here, breathing there – existing, like a child that was told what to do. There is no way to live it right or wrong – if you’re dressed up well, it’s going to be fine. It’s going to be fine. For myself, coming from the warmer climes, the winter here has been harder to go through than I expected. It’s colder than I can take, but that feeling when the brain freezes – that’s a true wake up! And if it’s too cold and work allows so, I can stay at home and make music in bed, pretending I’m Virginia Wolf, during a downfall. No matter what I ask for, the city can bring me. The city will accept my doings. The city will let me be who I feel like being without judgements and assumptions. The city understands it’s cold during winter, the people understand it’s cold during winter. They don’t expect much, but appreciate it when you do. So privileged we are, here in Berlin.
photo: bronx. / CC
I spent 29 nights under the same roof with a German tap dancer. In the spring of 2014. In the heart of Berlin. In my artistically-starved senses.
It started with a simple Craigslist search. I was looking for an accommodation with a limited budget in a week’s deadline. The reason? I had been offered a tremendous job opportunity at a startup in Berlin.
The money was mouth-watering. Given my absolute lack of ambition, I had already started dreaming of retirement in five years. Ergo I jumped at the opportunity and packed my bags, which were only two at that time. And moved to what I call the Bohemian Silicon Valley of Europe.
I was enthused to work among respectable professionals during the day and schmooze with pretentious artists in the evening. That was my plan. But finding an apartment in Berlin was like finding a steady boyfriend on a dating site. You had to go through a series of bizarre/eccentric/not-so-right ones to be able to meet a half-way mediocre one.
If modern politics were a telenovela, it would definitely have lots of avid fans, but also sworn detractors, who would wish to live just to see its cancellation. Yet, all of them would agree that the plot is not by far predictable or uneventful. Indeed, what is happening in the last few years in our privileged microcosmos called the West, is both scary and thrilling in the same way a traumatizing horror film would keep you at the edge of your seat or make you want to protect yourself behind your pop-corn. As fascism – or rather far-right conservatism to put it mildly – emerges steadily in countries that used to stand out for their respect and love towards life and its thrilling diversity, a gloomy pessimistic futures seems to lie ahead.
The most hurtful repercussions of this phenomenon seem to be three. Starting with divisiveness, we are all unconsciously grouped into squads based on our beliefs on social and political matters. We prefer standing exclusively next to the like-minded ones and right opposite the ones we disagree with. We constantly, proudly and fervently claim that there are way more differences than similarities among us. We have no love to give, only rants in support of our beloved “ideology”. This is exactly where the second consequence of the current affairs arises: powerful hatred and the urge to scream at everyone that might provoke us. To top that, fear lurks around the corner and renders us inactive and unable to cause any change that goes beyond the social media.
photo: Max Patzig / CC*
I can still clearly recall the first time I set foot on the Kottbusser Tor. It was just different from anything I’d seen before. Its smell, dirt, and the zombie drug dealers whispering “ecstasy?” in front of the fruit and vegetables stand definitely made up for a powerful first impression.
Further perplexed by the army of dinky mannequins supposed to represent little boys sporting traditional oriental attire in a shop on Kottbusser Straße, I pretty much knew Kotti would become a place close to my heart.