For me 2016 was actually a great year, even though I almost don’t dare saying it out loud. A lot of sad and terrible things happened in 2016, yes, but there still was a lot of good stuff that I think needs some more attention: Small and big moments in Berlin that showed what a great city this is and what amazing people live here. We should focus more on these things, at least for a moment, and take these positive memories and feelings with us into the new year.
Here are the most happy moments and amazing happenings of 2016 in photos and videos.
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.
Sven Marquardt on a big bike ride or a Segway tour through Berlin, joining Bachelor nights as a special guest and bouncing tourists at the Checkpoint Charlie? What the hell is going on in these videos and what on Earth does anything Berghain-related have to do with mainstream tourism things you might wonder. All the clues lead to a dubious online shop masked as an official Berghain merchandise store selling souvenirs such as the original Berghain stamp, I heart Berghain T-Shirts and Sven Marquardt rubber masks. Is this a complete nightmare or a dream come true for Berghain fans (and wannabes)? You will be tempted to buy (at least the stamp for practical reasons) but on the check-out you will be informed: “Sorry, we’re sold out!” Huh, how peculiar…
Could this be a comment on the recent news that Berghain was elevated above all other Berlin clubs as a cultural venue bringing it to the same level as concert halls and theaters (and ultimately in the position to enjoy reduced taxation)? It would make sense. Receiving the stamp of approval by the city is in a way the ultimate sell-out for an underground techno and sex club. Or is it not?
photos: Finding Berlin
There is a good reason why people from all over the world travel to Berlin just for the nightlife. On pretty much every night of the week, you can find a plethora of clubs to satisfy your dancing fix. The only thing standing in between you and the wildest night of your life is the stone-faced bouncer perched ominously in front of the door (also known as “the gatekeeper of your happiness”.) No matter how much black you’re wearing, how many people are in your group, or how expressionless you manage to hold your face for 45 minutes while standing in line— a pesky fly could zoom by the bouncer’s face at the exact same second you come forward, and then… well… you might then hear them say something like this: “Vergiss es. Nicht heute.” (Forget it, not today)
On one hand I completely understand their discretion. The bouncers (at least I’d like to hope) want to make sure that all who enters their magical wonderland is there to have fun and revel in the splendor that surrounds them, not just take selfies, hit on chicks, or gawk at “freaks.” While this process of elimination does *usually* succeed at keeping these awful kinds of people away, they also end up turning away plenty of fun, happy, freaks who just want to shimmy (like, um, I don’t know…me?)
illustration: Nicola Napoli
Tarot cards, zodiac signs or Turkish coffee cups won’t tell me how to find the perfect boyfriend in Berlin or a job or a flat. None of these ancient traditions can be used as a measurement of destiny here in this town. Because when you live in Berlin the normal rules don’t apply. You have to create your own faith no matter what. And sometimes this faith will bring you to strange places like the darkrooms of Berghain.
Some visitors might not see the magic that is spelled all over the former heating station situated in Friedrichshain. Others cannot let go of all the energy of this place and have to go there over and over again, no matter how nerve-wrecking the line and the door situation might be. And last but not least a third group uses this place as a fertile ground for imagination and creative work.
Our friend and comrade in numerous adventures Nicola Napoli was able again to translate his vision of Berghain in a unique art work. For the October 2016 flyer he created a set of incredible Tarot cards that display the classic symbols of the Tarot mysticism as Berghain visitors.
After the jump you find all the cards he created. Also you can buy three of the motives as exclusive art prints in his web shop.
The creativity resulting out of the Berghain experience seems to have no limits. Over the last years we nearly saw everything: a bird house in the shape of Berghain, necklaces in the shape of Berghain, all sorts of illustrations and guides, music videos starring a fake Sven Marquardt and last but not least even an animated online game which works like a virtual trainer on how to get in.
And we don’t even feature all the things that happen to be in shape or referencing to Berghain. We could fill a whole blog just about it, but we rather be called iHeartBerlin than iHeartBerghain, right? Jokes aside, the new card game called Berghain ze Game is actually incredibly hilarious that it’s worth to be the 1001th post about the infamous club.
In this card game you finally get the chance to play the feared door men Sven Marquardt and select between the guests including Hipsters, Gimps, Bloggers, Fag Hags, College Kids, Narcs, Bears, Cubs, Stoners, Club Kids and lots more.
This strategic game is not launched yet, but will soon start a Kickstarter campaign where you can for sure buy one as your most beloved and not so family friendly Christmas present. Until the release we have more images and some featured cards for you to check out and laugh about it after the jump.
illustrations: Berk Karaoglu, Hatice Keya
Berk and Hatice, two friends from Istanbul studying in Berlin, wanted to give a Turkish flair to some of the most important icons of the German capital. The result is very rewarding and highly entertaining: A set of four absolutely charming illustrated postcards. Take a look…
The story of Berghain being recognized as a venue that produces “work of cultural significance” and is, therefore, subject to lower taxation made it even to the Guardian a couple of weeks ago. It is impressive to say the very least; as it is the following song by Rachel Glassberg & The Disasters, which narrates an imaginary story about the famous photographer Sven Marquardt, who is also known as the notorious Berghain bouncer. Pay attention to the lyrics; they are full of grit and humor.
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 we created a semi-serious guide to how to become a real Berliner. Go and discover after the jump.
Berlin is generally known as an easy going, relaxed happy place to have fun and take things slow. As much as we enjoy this reputation, it’s not all roses and unicorns here after all. We have our moments of struggles as well, some are Berlin specific and some are the same as in many other big cities in the world. It’s a part of life I guess. Sometimes you just have to stay strong.
The new campaign of the yogurt drink Actimel is all about these moments when people have to bite their teeth, make the best of it and stay strong. It’s quite a relatable sentiment, but as diverse as our world is, everyone gets to these moments quite differently. So the guys from Actimel asked us: when do you have to stay strong in Berlin? The question made us immediately think of the hilarious illustrated comics of Sophia Halamoda who showed us how to get into two of the most impenetrable institutions of Berlin: the notorious Berghain night club and the feared Bürgeramt. So we extended the question to her and together we came up with a list of some typical struggles that we face here in Berlin. We’ve all been there at some point! After the jump you’ll find 7 moments when you have to stay strong in Berlin.