City of Exiles: Berlin from the Outside in

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Iggy Pop, 1978, Berlin, photo: Esther Friedman

When I moved to Berlin in 2009, I was struck by two things. One was the strong feeling I had, a feeling that is hard to describe. It was a kind of peace that washed over my restlessness. At the same time, I noticed that Berlin was a meeting place, that people from all over were flooding into an open city. Berlin was a city of strangers and between them I sensed a beautiful solidarity. As a writer who has lived in several cities and had travelled much, I wanted to understand these things about Berlin. I soon realized that a certain kind of free spirit had been drawn to Berlin for a long time, and often for similar reasons. I wanted to know why. So in 2011 I began to write a book, City of Exiles: Berlin from the outside in, which was published in May by Noctua Press. After the jump you can read an excerpt from the second chapter of the book. Enjoy!

by Guest Author
on June 19th, 2015
in Books, Stories

The Queen in Berlin

The Queen in Berlin 11

photos: Airbnb

Next week Berlin is getting a royal visit from Queen Elizabeth and her husband prince Philip. Obviously the two will be staying in some fancy 5 star hotel and will be driven around in the city in a private limousine. But what if the queen was more down to Earth than that and actually staid in a stylish Airbnb loft and took the public transport? This hilarious photo series nicely illustrates this unlikely but endearing scenario. Enjoy the early undercover royal visit from the “Queen” after the jump.

Frank by Frank
on June 18th, 2015
in Photos

Der Fuchs – Berlin 90s Revival at the Theater

Der Fuchs ∏ Anna Agliardi-19

The good old days of Berlin everybody is constantly mentioning were somewhere in the 90s. There was a period where Berlin was still a Nimbus of freedom. Freedom of thinking loud, acting out and repurposing unused spaces. But between all this freedom some people got lost in drugs, fun, parties and maybe to much carelessness.

In the theater piece “Der Fuchs” premiering tonight at Ballhaus Ost a single character is on stage telling the true story of a typical Berlin 90s biography. Between all the cliches of drugs and techno the piece elaborates on the topic quite intimately and authentic thanks to the talents of actor Daniel Wagner. The stage by Thea Axthelm Hoffmann representing a mixture of artist workspace and hippie loft is in ever changing progression during the play. In front of the eyes of the spectators psychological controversies and abnormal thought chains unfold in a creative space that fails to become a real home. Anna Agliardi collected some photographic impressions for us. More pictures and the dates of the play after the rave.

Claudio by Claudio
on June 18th, 2015
in Theater

Berlin’s Summer Music & Arts Festivals

feel festival

With the anticipation building for this year’s Fusion Festival, we’ve been inspired to create a list of new and more intimate summer music and arts festivals. Some are hosting performances and events at unique venues across Berlin, while others invite us take a break from the city life, pack some camping gear and escape to the beaches and forests not far away. This year welcomed a handful of new festivals with a focus on creating a community atmosphere where you can spend a weekend enjoying great music, quality food and drinks, exhibitions, installations, workshops and performances. It’s time to leave the club scene behind for a weekend and make the most of these festivals, many of which only come with the short-lived Berlin heat. Click on to discover what this summer holds in store.

Skylar by Skylar
on June 17th, 2015
in Art, Events, Music

The Fall of the Palace of the Republic by Gerrit Engel

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photos: Gerrit Engel, courtesy of Sexauer Gallery

The latest exhibition opening by photographer Gerrit Engel at Sexauer Gallery had me thinking of my early days in Berlin back in the beginning of the 2000s. I call myself lucky that I have been in Berlin long enough to have had the possibility to enter the former Palace of the Republic, the once glamorous Chamber of the People and cultural meeting point of former East Germany. In my early days of Berlin the place stood there grey and silently at the riverside of the Spree like a big headstone to the grave of the GDR. The space was mostly abandoned and shut down for public access. The shiny copper plates of the facade that made the building look quite impressive back in the day were long removed and a concrete block remained obstructing the view to any of the beautiful historic buildings around it, no matter from which angle you looked.

But all of a sudden the place was opened again for temporary use. I don’t remember exactly if this happened at the same time, but there was also the announcement that the building would get taken down soon, so maybe this was the reason for the city to sublet it for cultural events so they could collect some money for the expensive demolition. I remember being in there for a couple of big parties and one really magnificent big exhibitions called Fraktale IV: Tod in 2005. It was awesome to see the space from the inside used by artists for huge elaborate exhibits, but without all the glamorous lamps that I knew from photos and that gave the place the nickname “Erich’s lamp shop” it kind of just looked like any other abandoned industrial building that Berlin has so many of. Well, none of them have had such a magnificent location and such a controversial history…

Frank by Frank
on June 17th, 2015
in Art, Photos

The Most Impressive Murals of Berlin

Case Maclaim

Case Maclaim

Discovering new street art murals in Berlin has been a great pleasure for us recently. Over the years Berlin has seen so many new ones. Some are ever changing, some disappear again, some are becoming iconic sights of the city. Especially initiatives like Urban Nation have brought a lot of paint by international artists onto the walls, such as the great new mural by Herakut in Prenzlauer Berg. But also the gift to Berlin from the Italian region of Puglia is a real gem at Moritzplatz. And than there are all these other classic ones from the past years that have all been part of some exhibitions. After the jump we have collected our favorite murals in Berlin with details where you can find them. You know any other great ones? Let us know in the comments.

And as we have already mentioned the mural from the region of Puglia that was painted by Italian artist Agostino Iacurci, we would like to remind you of the competition that is connected with this artwork and your chance to win a trip to the beautiful beaches of Puglia. More info on that after the jump.

Frank by Frank
on June 16th, 2015
in Art

7 Steps How to Avoid Becoming a Smartphone Zombie

Girl Texting by Michele Ursino

photo: Michele Ursino

We’ve all seen them, out in the streets of Berlin, in our offices, they’re in the clubs, in all the cafes. They’ve penetrated our circle of friends, maybe we are even becoming one of them ourselves? I’m talking about one of the ugly results of the Social Media Age: Smartphone Zombies. They walk in the streets without checking the traffic, they sit silently across from each other in restaurants, whole hordes of them in the subway, and all of them constantly gazing into the screen of their smartphones as if they were staring through a magical looking glass into another dimension, one that seems to be significantly more exciting than the world that surrounds them.

How often do you use your smartphone? Is it the first thing you grad when you wake up, and the last thing you see before you fall asleep? How often do you check your new likes, your incoming Whatsapp messages or eMails? How often do you upload new photos on Facebook and Instagram? Maybe you are becoming a Smartphone Zombie yourself and you haven’t even realized it yet? Maybe no-one tells you because all your friends are already infected and this behavior has become a state of normalcy for all of you?

If you think the symptoms are recognizable than maybe it’s time you take action before it’s too late. We’ve compiled a list of 7 steps that will help you to avoid becoming a Smartphone Zombie. You can work your way through our list of steps and depending how early you begin to fail our recommendations the more serious your infection seems to be. But don’t worry, the final step has a remedy that will surely help you as it entails a chance to win a dream vacation on Ibiza in the Vila Mare by Gin Mare. But first things first, here are our 7 steps on how to avoid becoming a Smartphone Zombie…

Frank by Frank
on June 15th, 2015
in Stories, Travel

10 Awesome Places for Breakfast & Brunch in Berlin

Distrikt Breakfast

Every day should start with a good breakfast and luckily Berlin is a city so versatile in terms of breakfast that every tastebud should find some satisfaction here. For our latest big city guide feature we have compiled a list of 12 places in 5 districts of Berlin with a variety of breakfast and brunch options that will leave you craving for more. Enjoy your meal!

Frank by Frank
on June 13th, 2015
in Cafés, Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, Mitte, Neukölln, Prenzlauer Berg

The DMY Design Festival 2015 Photo Review

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Yesterday we paid a visit to the opening of the DMY 2015 – the International Design Festival in Berlin. Until Sunday you can still see the exhibition with its new talents and designs. With the Kraftwerk in Mitte the festival team found an amazing new location. Yet, some of the exhibition set-up could have been more adjusted to the cool looks of the industrial building – quite a symbol for the raw Berlin during the 90′s. For some of the exhibitors it appeared to be a challenge to take advantage of the great space as their booths sometimes felt a bit too improvised. Still, there were some really interesting and inspiring designs to see. Have a look at some of our impressions and favorite designs after the jump.

Alicia by Alicia
on June 12th, 2015
in Design, Photos

Victoria – A Berlin Nightlife Drama

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Victoria is the title of a brand new movie with Berlin’s nightlife as one of the leading roles. The film by Sebastian Schipper tells the story of Victoria, a Spanish girl visiting the city who meets a group of guys from Berlin in front of a club. What starts as a wild flirt with one of them and fun night slowly develops into a suspenseful and dangerous trip. The whole movie was shot in one take which creates a very authentic and unique style of the film that really sets it apart from the normal German cinema. No wonder the film won the silver bear of this year’s Berlinale for Best Camera Work.

This Thursday on June 11, 2015, Victoria has her theatrical release here in Berlin. Read on to see some images and the trailer and for your chance to win tickets for the film!

Frank by Frank
on June 10th, 2015
in Movies