In the last couple of days, Berlin is finally starting to wake up again and feel like the multi-faceted and fun city that we all know and love. The sun is shining, people are outside and the Berlin vibes are slowly kicking in.
What better moment to come out with something new than now? We’re all craving some pleasure, and ice cream, and some golden sunsets. It feels like the perfect timing for what Magnum has in store for us.
Recently I was lucky to get a glimpse of some shiny things coming up at the press event by Magnum. Of course, there was a brand new ice cream flavor involved, and some amazing bedazzled roller skates. Sounds like fun? Let’s dive in…
If there is one thing we have all learned in the last year it is that many things we were used to had to be completely rethought and reinvented. This rings especially true for the culture and arts scene that was completely shut down for so long with very few alternatives.
The operas and theatres had some of the most invasive restrictions during the few months they were allowed to open reducing audience capacities and cutting the seasons short. So they were very few opportunities to see anything on stage, only a few people got lucky with tickets and that’s still a reality today.
If we can’t dance in Berlin clubs, at least we can watch a documentary about clubbing there, right? With the corona regulations operating a club has become really difficult and this is threatening the one thing that has put Berlin on the map worldwide in the last couple of decades. While everything is back open again after the endless lockdown, clubs are still the one type of place that is still not allowed to open. It’s not that that is not understandable – but it doesn’t make it any better or fair for the people behind it.
The new documentary Clubkultur by filmmakers Leonie Gerner and Andrea Schumacher for Hauptstadt.tv shines a light on the importance of the Berlin club scene with various interviews with club owners, nightlife artists, DJs, and musicians, but also politicians and the Berlin Clubcommission. We also get to see a lot of footage from some wild Berlin nights that make us super nostalgic and that feel like they are from a distant time decades in the past.
The new production of Puccini’s opera “La Fanciulla del West” at Staatsoper Berlin is giving us some real Wild Wild West vibes. What a piece to start the season with after this endless lockdown! The premiere on Sunday, June 13th, is actually already sold out, but because the demand was expected to be high after such a long time with closed stages, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden together with their long-term sponsor BMW came up with the idea of creating a drive-in cinema experience where viewers can enjoy a live stream of the premiere from the comfort of their car. As a special treat, we are giving away 5 tickets for the spectacle!
When you read the synopsis of “La Fanciulla del West” you probably ask yourself, wait, how is this supposed to be an Italian opera from the one and only Puccini? It goes a little something like that: “California, at the heyday of the Gold Rush: the place of people’s dreams turns out to be an inexorable wasteland, governed by the law of the jungle. Minnie’s bar is the only place where people live in peaceful coexistence. It is revered by gold seekers and fiercely presided over by the gruff Sheriff Rance. But when Minnie falls in love with a stranger who turns out to be the notorious bandit Johnson, the fragile community is turned upside down.”
photo: Birgit & Bier.
Despite many different efforts and many alternative concepts, it’s the Berlin club scene that is probably suffering the most from Berlin’s cultural landscape during the pandemic as the majority of the places have been locked down now for over a year. While their future is in the balance and a re-opening for indoor partying is not really inside, at least a political movement has managed that they are recognized as places of culture which makes a big difference for them when it comes to taxes and funding.
But the Berlin nightlife scene has always been inventive, so pretty much like last year after the first lockdown where the few clubs that have the luxury of an outdoor area came up with alternative usage concepts such as beer gardens to be able to partially re-open over the summer, the same thing is happening right now with the first clubs already open again for guests.
photo: ARD Degeto/Andrea Hansen.
When I look around the TV landscape of recent years I feel quite happy that there are so many shows right now representing LGBTQIA+ people and issues, and that they are no longer just minor storylines of side characters but they’ve also become the center of attention. When I grew up the only show there was Queer As Folk and not much else in the decades after, so no matter if you liked it or not, it was a must-watch and highlight for gay guys at the time.
To see a fully gay show as the first thing on the main page of the ARD Mediathek (German’s major public TV channel) felt really good today, I have to say. I was half expecting they would hide it somewhere in the archive and you would have to search for it, but no, it’s pretty in your face. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think All You Need really is the first German TV show exclusively dealing with gay men as the main characters and getting such a prime spot. And I think the show really deserves to be put in the limelight – it’s a great-looking show, with likable characters and a solid story. A lot of the people involved have done a really good job and a warmly recommend watching.
photo: Burg Schnabel.
Yesterday has been a historic moment for Berlin. In what can only be described as the best news of the week the Berlin building and planning committee has declared clubs as cultural spaces putting them in the same category as theaters and operas, and no longer places of entertainment such as casinos and brothels.
This is a milestone accomplishment that was made possible by the work of a parliamentary forum titled #Clubkultur consisting of members from Berlin’s ruling parties SPD, Die Linke, and Grüne in collaboration with members of the CDU that fought for this for over a year. Only the political parties AfD and FDP voted against this (take note, dear voters…) which is no surprise, but also didn’t matter enough to stop this.
Even though clubs have been closed for over a year now, surprisingly, we haven’t really run short on news about Berlin’s famous nightlife places. From photography projects on clubber outfits, empty dancefloors, or outdoor raving, to virtual clubs and nightlife activism – there is always something to write about. And we are glad to keep the spirit alive this way, even though we’re all really craving for a party right now.
Artist and illustrator Nicola Napoli has also dedicated some of his time during the lockdown to work on a new nightlife-related piece. He’s blessed us already with various party-themed artworks in the past, but his most notable work might be the iconic line at Berghain that he first came out with back in 2014. It was one of our most successful articles of the time and it prompted a collaborative event and exhibition that we hosted together with him showcasing a new elaborate 10-meter long artwork.
If you thought that the DJ streams of United We Stream, digital drag shows on Twitch, and the Minecraft versions of Berghain and Griesmuehle were the last efforts at bringing Berlin’s nightlife into the virtual space, you should think again. With Rave Space, a cutting-edge project from Berlin, a new virtual club will open its doors this weekend and it’s looking to be quite an impressive experience.
A few weeks ago we had the chance to step into this virtual club already to get a first impression. Of course, with the recent Griesmuehle event inside the Minecraft environment, we expected something rather quirky, but to our surprise, this was quite a different affair.
Completely unrelated to the ongoing pandemic, the beloved Neukölln club Griessmuehle had to close down a year ago for reasons you can read up about here. It was a blow to the nightlife scene of Berlin as it stood for the worrying recent city developments of Berlin and the ongoing club closings we’ve witnessed now for a decade and more. The city is full of night clubs but oddly the popular district of Neukölln doesn’t really have that many, so it was a major loss for the party kids of the neighborhood.
Luckily, the club makers of Griessmuehle could move their outstanding programming to Alte Münze last year and also found a new location in Schöneweide at the Revier Südost. But with the permission for outdoor raves coming relatively late last summer, there was not much raving to happening.