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.
It’s the news we have all been waiting for for months now: There is a light at the end of the tunnel for the seemingly endless lockdown of all nightlife and culture venues. As many media outlets reported yesterday, the Senate has announced to start re-opening venues for public events in combination with rapid covid tests. The first venues to be part of the trial are the big stages of Berlin including the Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper, Berliner Ensemble, Volksbühne, Philharmonie, and the Konzerthaus.
But what we are most excited about is that there will also be a trial at Holzmarkt’s Säälchen in collaboration with the Berliner Clubkommission. Hold your horses, it’s not a party, it’s “just” for a concert. But still. This is the first step we have been craving for, and if all goes well it will mean that soon more events can happen and more venues will be able to re-open.
It’s kind of hard to admit this, but to be brutally honest: I’m not doing great. It’s surprising after a year of the Corona crisis. I feel like 50% of my time I have to invest into staying somewhat sane which means a lot of other stuff gets left behind. But when I look around me, some of my friends seem in even darker places and that’s a scary thing because how can you be of support if you yourself are also not in the best place. Maybe you can’t. But maybe you can at least not do anything completely wrong.
Our friend and collaborator Sophia Halamoda who we co-created our Like A Berliner book with, has dedicated a brand new comic to this very sensitive topic. In it, she describes how she believes we should treat our friends that are in crisis mode and it takes a particularly close look at the very difficult but very real topic of toxic positivity. It’s something we have all probably mindlessly practiced once and this particular situation is making it clear, how that is a rather lazy cop-out than actual help.
Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-12737 / CC-BY-SA 3.0.
We can’t quite get over how amazing Berlin looks right now all covered in snow. This has been really uplifting in the last days, especially when the sun threw itself in the mix. We really needed that. It made us realize how long it has been since Berlin was covered in snow like that. I certainly don’t remember when the last time was it feels like ages.
But if we go way way back, we’ll find that snow in Berlin used to be more common. Scrolling through historic photos we found quite a lot of beautifully captured moments of Berliners in the snow. As you know we love to also include Berlin’s history on the blog, may it be about the divided city in 1981, Berlin’s naughty nightlife in the 1920s, or this very iconic colorized post-war video. There’s something about having an eye on the past that lets you appreciate the present that much more as well as look forward to a possible future of our beloved city.
With scenes of snowmen building, sled riding, snow shoveling and just frolicking through the beautiful white wonderland we feel all giddy to get out there and capture as much fun as we can have. We all know it can melt away at any moment. Enjoy the snow!
photos: Kseniya Apresyan.
Berlin’s nightlife and music scene are holding their breath. And they have been doing this now for close to a year. What is usually the number one reason for people to come to Berlin from all over the world is now in a strange limbo the city has never seen before. Clubs and bars are closed – or at best turned into Covid test centers – stages are empty and all the people who normally come to these places to dance and celebrate are most likely at home – hopefully not alone.
These are unusual times, we have to completely rethink so many things. But while party kids and concert-goers will just find other ways to spend their time, it’s quite a different story for those people behind the scenes and on the DJ decks and stages of Berlin’s nightlife. They are all facing an uncertain future, many are out of work or have to start completely different careers to make a living, some even had to leave the city going back to their home countries. It’s a tragedy to think that those who build up Berlin’s reputation of having one of the most thriving and influential nightlife and music scenes are left with practically nothing during this pandemic.
The second lockdown is holding on to our sorry asses and it looks like it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It’s a bleak outlook, I know, but what can you do other than trying to make the best of it, right? Did I just hear you say: “Shut up!”? Well, fair enough.
I think I’m not exaggerating when I say this whole corona era has been a mixed bag. While some of us have our sanity hanging on a thin thread by now, others finally got the time they needed for self-fulfillment. I’ve seen people falling in the abyss of mental unwellness, while others keep on trucking with their lives as if nothing has happened. People’s responses to the pandemic and the lockdown could not be more divisive.
But how are you doing, dear iHeartBerlin reader? We were wondering about this so we sat together with our cherished collaborator Sophia Halamoda with whom we authored the fabulous Like A Berliner book and created a brand new personality quiz to find out what quarantine type you really are. It’s fully illustrated by the lovely Sophia, so make sure to check out all the cute little details in the drawings. We hope they can brighten your day a little.
Whatever your end result of this quiz might be, always remember, we’re all in this together and there will be another, happier day. Whenever that might be…