The Playfulness of Berlin

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It does not take a lot of imagination to think of Berlin as a giant playground. In times of Pokemon Go and other augmented reality games, the street-running movement and immersive theater experiences, everything – and everybody – seems ready to play.

But I don’t think that the origin of Berlin playfulness is based on technology, fitness or even cultural trends. I remember vividly how years ago I met on a subway ride a young dude that outed himself as a philosophy professor. (The combination of young dude and philosophy professor was a surprise at that time. Nowadays I am not as easily surprised ;-) ) He told me that he is part of a creative project called invisible playground. In this project, he told me they tried to research and examine how a daily portion of playfulness can affect your overall happiness.

But invisible playground is not the only creative project  celebrating the idea of a playful city. The Berlin-based artist duo 44Flavours have already left their footmark in the local creative scene. Experimenting with all kind of art forms, from murals to posters, and painting to sculpture, the two friends Sebastian Bagge and Julio Rölle,  have worked together since they were students. Their success formula is a vibrant combination of teamwork and creative chaos. For the  #LiveThere exhibition by Airbnb they created an interactive playground where you can tell your personal Berlin story. There you can listen to murmuring teapots, talk to enchanted mirrors and have fun with all kinds of everyday objects transformed into a creative installation. The idea behind this project is to share different stories about Berlin and to emphasize how with a spark of  creative inventiveness and playfulness every trip to Berlin can become a one of a kind experience.

Inspired by that idea, I thought of how we could be more active in experiencing our city as a playful place. I started thinking about the rules and I realized that the games you decide to play on your personal urban playground don’t have to follow any rules or even the norms of standard morality. Between lust and pain is the instinct to play. Therefore I dove deeply into my own imagination and created a set of Berlin-specific mind games. Follow my colorful, funny but sometimes also sensual and dark inspirations to transform your everyday life in Berlin into a crazy game-like experience.

Claudio by Claudio
on July 14th, 2016
in City Guide, Design, Photos

10 Secret Tricks to Become a Real Berliner

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illustrations: Sophia Halamoda

After how many years can you say that you are a real Berliner? Five? Maybe ten? Or maybe 20? Some people even say that only the people who were born here have the right to be called “real“ Berliners. But what about if you were born in Berlin but left at the age of 10 and never came back? Would you be a real Berliner then?

I would like this nonsense about real Berliners and not real Berliners to stop once and for all. Most of the people now living in Berlin came from elsewhere and might even leave and go somewhere else after a couple of years. The Berliner-DNA is not defined by your birth certificate, your current Geo-Tag or the length of time you have spent in this city. As kitschy as its sounds, being a Berliner is a matter of your heart.

But sometimes listening to your heart is not as easy as it sounds on paper. To give you some help in discovering the (not so) secret essence of this lovable city, we joined forces with our favorite cartoon artist Sophia Halamoda. As a creative contribution of the #LiveThere exhibition by Airbnb opening tomorrow until Sunday, we created a semi-serious guide to how to become a real Berliner. Go and discover after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on July 13th, 2016
in Stories

A Hotspot for Music and Culture: The Montreux Jazz Festival

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I’m standing in front of the tallest, most powerful water fountain I have ever seen. Water shoots into the sky like some sort of glorious tower of refreshment. I’m in Geneva, Switzerland – Germany’s neighbor to the south – at the southwestern tip of Lake Geneva. This is practically France, but more expensive. Some Italian friends drive up from nearby Milan and Turin, pick me up and we drive along the northern side of this lake through Lausanne to a lovely little town on the lake’s eastern end. A historic week of music happens here every year: the Montreux Jazz Festival. Invited by Jeep, I had the chance to get out of Berlin for a bit and explore this beautiful hotspot for music. Follow the jump for more about this unique escape from Berlin.

Keith by Keith
on July 12th, 2016
in Music, Photos, Travel

Berlin is… Kissing

Berlin Kissing by Sascha Kohlmann3

photo: Sascha Kohlmann / CC

Berlin is full of kisses these days. A kiss on the cheek to the friends you are meeting. A kiss on the head to your kid when you bring it to school. A kiss on the lips of your partner that just made you so happy on this sunny day. Many kisses over the hot body of your new lover that you just met at the clubs on the weekend. There are so many reasons to kiss, so many people to be kissed and so much happy hormones flowing through our bodies while doing so.

To spread a bit of happiness today I collected a couple of “kiss moments” that street photographer Sascha Kohlmann captured here in Berlin. Enjoy and try to give a kiss to someone today :)

Frank by Frank
on July 11th, 2016
in Photos, Stories

Win Tickets: Grimes Concert at Hilton Berlin

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Even if Berlin may not be well-known as a city for celebrating luxury and extravaganza, sometimes a little bit of exclusive pleasure is just the thing to melt the stress of the week away from your shoulders in an instant. Maybe you have dreamt about it, but never dared to do it: to spend a night in a world-class hotel in your hometown with a close friend or loved one. It could be just the right guilty pleasure to help you break out of your daily routine. And what could make this experience even better? How about an exclusive concert by one of your favourite musicians in the intimate atmosphere of the hotel?

You can officially stop dreaming and try your luck today. Together with Hilton and the HHonors rewards programme, we are giving away a one-night stay at Hilton Berlin and 2 tickets for the exclusive Grimes Concert on Tuesday 19th July 2016. This concert is part of the internationally renowned Hilton Concert Series. The 2016 Hilton Concert Series offers unique experiences that money just can’t buy – tickets are exclusively available to HHonors members: international travellers and luxury connoisseurs.

Find out how to win this incredible experience and additional info about the unique benefits offered to Hilton HHonors members after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on July 8th, 2016
in Entertainment, Music

5 Exhibition Highlights this Summer

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Berlin Biennale 2016, photo: Timo Ohler *

This summer seems to be the perfect time to discover new art and cultural exhibitions in Berlin. It’s not Gallery Weekend, it’s not Art Week either, yet there are still so many interesting exhibitions going on worth checking out. Of course the biggest one of all of them is the current edition of the Berlin Biennale that takes place at multiple venues all over central Berlin. This year’s concept of the acclaimed exhibition is quite controversial, the more reason for us to go and check it out! But we also have a brand new private art collection in town that follows in the footsteps of the me Collectors Room and the Collection Boros at the former Bunker. This one found a new home in the former Konzulat, a place that will be dearly missed but is now filled with new life. For a less high-concept, more down-to-earth kind of exhibition we recommend the #LiveThere Haus, an exhibition by visual artist collective 44flavours from Berlin who took over the Hallesches Haus for a few days next week. This and much more in our new Berlin exhibition highlights guide for the summer of 2016. Enjoy!

Frank by Frank
on July 8th, 2016
in Art

The Stealth-Flirting of Berliners

Berlin Party Flirting

When I first arrived in Berlin a little over a year ago I knew I would encounter plenty of cultural shock. I had no idea, however, that dating in Berlin would be a 9 on the damn Richter scale. My current self wishes she could have warned her past self to brace herself. I was in for a shake up.

The first time I went out in Berlin, I came home feeling convinced that something was seriously wrong with me. No one tried to hit on me the whole night (or so I thought.) Could they smell the American on me? Was I not wearing enough black? Were my dance moves not robotic enough?

Now don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some positive sides to being a female at a Berlin nightclub. Chances are your butt won’t be groped, your drink won’t be spiked (because having a drink bought for you is highly unlikely), and you won’t have to listen to cheesy pickup lines such as, “would you like some fries with that shake?”— (yes, someone has actually muttered these words to me.) I can’t speak for other nightlife around the world, but going out as a female in the US means you’ll likely spend the majority of the night deflecting unwanted attention. I had normalized this behavior so much that when I didn’t have it, I started to wonder if something was wrong with me.

by Guest Author
on July 7th, 2016
in Party, Stories

Dating in Berlin: The Mysteries of Open Relationships

Eve Berlin 2016 Eylul Aslan

photo: Eylül Aslan

People tend to think that open relationships are easier to have than monogamous ones. Speaking from experience, this is simply not true. If you have trouble with commitment, are lukewarm about your partner or have some other unresolved issue like communicating what you want (or even just knowing what you want), then an open relationship will just make everything worse, for everyone. Sometimes it seems people in Berlin are so unable to nurture even one stable, healthy relationship built on respect, communication, love and support that I really have no patience for the wave of “easy fix” open relationships. It’s an issue friends, even friends of friends, bring up with me. I surround myself with wonderful, intelligent people but when it comes to this, everyone is just a fucking idiot…

by Guest Author
on July 6th, 2016
in Stories

Komet Bernhard – A Berlin Original

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photo: freshmilk

White hair, a long beard shaking to the beat. Attached to it: A man dancing to techno music, making bubbles, glowing with good energy. This is Komet Bernhard, a living legend in Berlin. If you’ve been out and about the last years in Berlin, you must have heard of him or seen him by now. Like a nightlife mascot (and I mean this in the best way possible) Bernhard is always there, where you wouldn’t expect him, dancing amidst youngsters, having the time of his life. Often, in the gloom of nighttime party banter, it’s not possible to get to know the person behind a glimpse of what you might grasp.

Which is why the makers of freshmilk decided to get to know the raving legend a bit better: In a 25 min documentary. Starting in his apartment of 13 years, the filmmakers follow Bernhard through one of his many wanderings through Berlin by night. And get to know him more with every step.

You can tell: The world is a big wonder for the 67 year old, who seems to have kept a youthful mind and big eyes: “I am dancing for my life – If I wouldn’t dance, I wouldn’t be here anymore” says Komet Bernhard. And in this documentary you might just find out why.

Yasmin by Yasmin
on July 5th, 2016
in Party, People, Videos

Magic Ramadan – On a Flying Carpet through Berlin

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Growing up in East Germany, shortly after the fall of the wall, there was not a lot of ethnic diversity around me. Many people I met in my daily life thought I would be Turkish or Arab because that were the only “dark” foreigners that they knew from TV. Once I remember an older lady stopping me in the streets saying that I looked like I just jumped out of an Arabic fairy tale and she meant it all seriously. As a kid, I did not know how to answer to this kind of comments.

It was only years later when I moved to Berlin that I realized how free I felt all of a sudden in a city where nobody was stopping me in the streets to ask which fairy tale I just came from. The city was full of colorful unicorns and sparkling birds of paradise wandering around without restrictions, that I suddenly had the feeling of belonging and acceptance.

Claudio by Claudio
on July 4th, 2016
in Videos