Berlin, It’s 2020. Do Not Shut Down Black Spaces!

Berlin, It’s 2020. Do Not Shut Down Black Spaces!

photo: Spyrosdrakopoulos / CC BY-SA

YAAM, the unique cultural venue at the banks of the Spree by Ostbahnhof providing a space for BPoCs living in Berlin, was forced to vacate its premises this week – no matter its legal background or intentions, there has never been a worse time in history for public officials to suddenly close a black venue!

The stability of the bank wall, the venue is built on, would no longer be guaranteed – an official static report stated. While legal justifications might make things sound a lil cuter – closing a club space on a more than lucrative real estate property… we all will assume just one thing, won’t we?  – however, the timing of these events almost seems like a fairly bad joke. Like – whoever gave the instruction to make representatives of YAAM clear its indoor spaces – “You do read the news, right?!” 

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Digital Pride: Isolated but Together

Digital Pride: Isolated but Together

How do you show unity and togetherness in times of social distancing? Berlin’s queer community ventures into virtual spaces to find answers. 

2020 has been rough so far – for all of us, but especially for the global queer community. With Hungary trying to strip trans people of their current rights to legally change their gender, the UK and US just recently attacking vital anti-discrimination laws against queer people and Poland declaring one-third of the country a “so-called” LGBT-free zone”, institutionalized homophobia has arrived right at Berlin’s doorstep. 

Now, more than ever, queer people need to show resilience and celebrate a month of pride, resistance and solidarity – yet we find ourselves in the midst of the biggest pandemic of the last century. 

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Trainspotting Berlin: Silent Night, Lonely Night

Trainspotting Berlin: Silent Night, Lonely Night

Collecting small anecdotes of transitory moments.

One last energetic jump—right before departure, I make it into the narrow U1 car.

BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Doors closing; I take a seat on the purple patterned bench,

letting my gaze wander: around me, commuters in disguise––fellow passengers hide their faces behind oversized scarves and collars, almost a dozen figures, in front of nostalgic wood paneling in chestnut brown.

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Trainspotting Berlin: Near, Far, Wherever You Are…

Trainspotting Berlin: Near, Far, Wherever You Are…

Collecting small anecdotes of transitory moments.

The underground is full of myths. A place that we share with so many others, yet hardly experience together.

A place where collective memory resides; and although mostly not crossing over the borders of personal experience, some moments transcend into the wider consciousness of the masses.

She was one of them.

Just a mystical rumor at first—captured in shaky Instagram videos and hollow voice messages—spreading along the U8 like a wildfire on a dry day in late August.

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What Nights in Berlin Taught Me

What Nights in Berlin Taught Me

A personal-analytical journey, narrated to smashing four-to-the-floor drum beats at 130 bpm.

I turn left and lean against the thin metal wall next to me, the cool stainless steel nestling against my overheated skull. I’m dizzy, sweat running down my forehead. “So, what are we doing?” the familiar, rough female voice has this authoritarian and determined sound to it. A flash of light illuminates my vision—the dusty yellow light bulb’s reflection on the shiny, sterile surface of a mobile phone. Snow gently trickles; seven sweaty, half-naked bodies in a confined space, in need of a clear mind—or wings to fly again. The bass wafts underneath our feet, the sound of a toilet flushing next door.

What am I doing?

Looking at it superficially, I lost control over my life—yet, from a deep analytical point of view, I’m doing everything just right.

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Trainspotting Berlin: Morning Misery

Trainspotting Berlin: Morning Misery

Collecting small anecdotes of transitory moments.

One of those mornings. The night was too long, the alarm clock too early, the coffee too late—and three cups too little.

As I fall over my open shoelaces in the hallway, I do wonder if I should have called in sick.

On my way down the aggressive miniature dog of my second-floor neighbor greets me with noisy, squeaky barking and jumps right at my throat. My day hasn’t even properly started but my heart rate already reaches unhealthy heights and my mood hits a new low.

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A Leap of Faith with a Whole Lot of Glitter: A Story of Making it as an Artist in Berlin Today

A Leap of Faith with a Whole Lot of Glitter: A Story of Making it as an Artist in Berlin Today

photo: Nathan Thomas

What does it take to step into the art world of a city intimidatingly overflowing with non-appreciated creative potential?

iHeartBerlin writer Andy sat down with his friend Qeas Pirzad—scene-beloved socialite, out-and-proud Sagittarius, every dance floor’s favorite disco queen, and up-and-coming contemporary artist—to find out what that challenging path can be like.

The result is an intimate conversation—laying open the artist’s personal creative journey, venturing into the consequences of following your dreams, and the revelation that doing something out of the ‘Berlin box’, makes you even more ‘Berlin’ in the end.

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Trainspotting Berlin: Don’t Forget to Smile on the U7

Trainspotting Berlin: Don’t Forget to Smile on the U7

Collecting small anecdotes of transitory moments.

I sit down on one of these uncomfortable metal benches in indecisive greys and blues. Rathaus-Neukölln. 4.30h. Saturday morning.
Can’t figure out if I’m still drunk or already hungover.

The party was too long, the re-fills too many, and–of course–this cute Brazilian had to open a ‘Berliner Luft’.

I look up, left and right; wondering which interior-designer figured eggshells-vomit was a fitting color choice for public transport…
But then again–The U7-line dates back to the 1930s, times when brown was en vogue.

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Whole United Queer Festival: The Start of a Revolution 

Whole United Queer Festival: The Start of a Revolution 

photo: Rafael Medina. 

In its third year, WHOLE, the flamboyant spectacle off Berlin’s shores has become a unique space of queer expression and community with—beyond any doubt—historic significance. iHeartBerlin writer Andy attended the three-day “Function in Ferropolis”.

I breathe in deep. The air is dusty and dry from these first scorching hot summer days. Waiting for my group of friends to check-in, I put my heavy backpack down and let my eyes wander around. Colossal metal cranes stand against the bright blue sky, brutal remnants of times past. In front, a makeshift village of scattered tents on arid soil—a scenery right out of “Mad Max”. I turn my head, a group of half-naked bodies dances my way; a neon-green mohawk on one side, floor-long leather chaps on the other, and giant hoop earrings bouncing up and down. “YES BITCH!,” I call out quite suddenly and flick my finger. A fan SNAPS, a kiss on my cheek, and the extravagant ensemble whirls past. I start laughing.

Bye-bye reality. I’m home.

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Moving the Scene: Meet the People Behind Berlin’s Nightlife

Moving the Scene: Meet the People Behind Berlin’s Nightlife

iHeartBerlin lifted the curtain of some of Berlin’s most mysterious nights—to meet the people who stand behind it.

Dance floors are a place of liberation. A space that enables us to forget about the limitations of our everyday lives, to be whoever we want to be—if only for one night. But the liberation, we experience, also needs our understanding of the work behind it; behind the lights, beats and sweat that move our weekends.

Meet seven Berliners who have dedicated their lives to creating a space for others—for liberation, community, and creativity.

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