Berlin has produced so many musical bigwigs and this city is brimming with secret gems here and there that are trying to find their place in the spotlight. A band you regularly see playing at Mauerpark on Sundays might be the next international breakthrough and your favorite U-Bahn musician might become a global sensation one day. I personally can name at least ten friends who are DJs. They are all working hard to reach the success they wish for and we don’t want to spare the support. This is why we took it upon ourselves to give you the newest and the best music videos from Berlin to save you from those dreary and repetitive playlists.
It’s not a secret that Berlin fashion is one of a kind. Our streets are not accustomed to chic ladies in simple black dresses with a few expensive accessories to highlight their style and men who carry around their fedoras as they do in Paris, we rather like our style more gender non-conforming, unconventional, eco-friendly, and from time to time, serving a cause. Black isn’t necessarily a funeral color and we put on those pajamas at work on purpose. Berliners also don’t like to walk around like billboards. We don’t like showing off big brands and logos plastered on our clothes and we like to support local businesses that reflect us. This is why we chose these fresh Berlin fashion brands and shops to get you ready for this summer.
photos: Gili Shani.
After Berlin clubs closed their doors to their worshippers during the ongoing global pandemic, many kink lovers who found their refuge in these sanctuaries had to get more creative to maintain their inner desires. The legendary KitKat pool had to be replaced by our bathtubs and our music in compliance with the Hausordnung. The nascent lockdown rules were getting tougher and the end of the tunnel was getting more blurry along the way.
During this difficult time, Gili Shani, the only person who was allowed to take photos at KitKat Club, photographed 250 people in their houses, who were willing to show their kink for his book Voyeur. Berlin. Kinky. He drove all around Berlin to capture these intimate moments inspired by the pre-pandemic kink scene. With a sexually suggestive front cover of a lower front tattoo that says “fuck”, the book is already promising. Through Shani’s lens, these domestic shots reflect nothing different from a moment in KitKat; a man in a harness kneeling before the camera and a domina ready to spank someone in another photo. After all, you can get the Berliner out of the club but you can not get the kink out of Berliners.
photos: Aja Jacques.
It takes a lot of effort for an artist to build up a career. Berlin has undoubtedly been a center of avant-garde artists from all around the world, offering a unique platform for innovative and unstigmatized arts. However, during the last year of the Covid lockdowns, they had to sacrifice what they have built-in years. Berlin artists embellished our nightlife and arts scene with their diverse and original touch but now with no jobs, no stages, and no live audiences, they are stripped off of their platforms even though their art still radiates talent and creativity.
The photographer and former performance artist Aja Jacques created Berlin Offstage after spending the last three months interviewing and photographing some of these artists in their homes and leads us through a series of vignettes of their fears and concerns. Jacques aims to create an open space for public discussions about the struggles of the art community in Berlin that has been left in the lurch during the pandemic.
photos: Marie Staggat.
It was only a few months after I moved to the city that I was eager to discover the infamous Berlin clubs as a fresh Berliner. I was neither a techno listener nor a raver at the time, but I heard ample amounts of folktales about Berlin clubs that excited me from the beginning. It had only been a few months and somehow I managed to get into Berghain. I was thrilled amateurishly. Not knowing what would befall me, I was feeling confused but eager to partake concurrently. Little did I know that in the following months, Berlin nightclubs would become an inseparable part of my life. Among dancing, sweating, intimacy, and giving in to the moment, they became my Mecca for a sex-positive environment where I did not have to pretend anything other than my very queer self.
However, last year at the peak of the pandemic in our city, silence hit the walls of our clubs and they were left to utter solitude imminently. Photographer Marie Staggat and journalist Timo Stein capture these unrecognizable club spaces and tumultuous silence in their new photobook HUSH: Club Culture In Times Of Silence. From April 2020 to December 2020, they collected their impressions of abandoned clubs in 360 pages of interviews, observations, and photos, and they reflect the inevitable despair highlighted by strong optimism.
A new trailer for the highly anticipated queer movie Boy Meets Boy has been released before the film’s world premiere at BFI Flare: London LGBTQI+ Film Festival this month. Directed by Daniel Sánchez López, we embark on a love story that sparkles between two guys on a dance floor and turns into a one-day-adventure on the streets of Berlin.
“The contrasts in their lives and values force each one to confront their own truths. Boy Meets Boy is a feature-length mumblecore about the journey of a brief encounter: the mark left by a fleeting moment of joy.”, the official synopsis says.
As a 27-year-old night owl in Berlin, who once devoted himself so dearly to the nightlife and party scene, sometimes I question myself how I ended up spending my Friday night taking an online quiz to find out which döner sauce I am. Now I’m sure most of you can already relate. Corona forced our boundaries of mundane activities to a whole new level. You won’t be surprised to find out you’re not the only one watching an old show on TV and find yourself wondering how the actors are so close to each other without wearing a mask. While we are adapting to the new normal, artists and performers are working hard to bring us the best on digital platforms to keep us connected to the world and we can’t thank them enough. You will be extra happy if you love immersive experiences, dance, theater, opera, digital art, and drag shows! Here is a list of online events you can book right now!
Even though queer people are an integral part of the performing arts all around the world, their careers are in danger when it comes to coming out and they are advised to stay in the closet to keep their roles. We now embrace a new revolutionary move from 185 actors and actresses in Germany, who collectively came out as gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, queer, or nonbinary with their #actout Manifesto.
185 cultural workers came out in the SZ-Magazin to create a revolution. They want to fight against stereotyping, discrimination, and hiding. Even in today’s Germany, where being queer is widely tolerated, granted protection, and civil rights, certain groups still feel hesitant to come out for various reasons. As Markus Ulrich, the spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Association in Germany (LSVD) reports, homosexual actors are often not trusted to play heterosexual roles authentically. The idea is that a heterosexual actor can pull up a queer character if he is feminine enough or she is butch enough, obeying anticipated stereotypical portrayals of LGBTQ+ people. But a queer person can only act in queer roles. Ulrike Folkers, known for her role in Tatort Ludwigshafen reports, “I was cast for a mother role, but when the director found out that I was a lesbian, she turned me down. That’s discrimination. Of course, I can play a mother.” She asks “How does it feel when you can’t show yourself off on the red carpet with the woman you love? What roles does a non-binary person dream of? And how does the television, film, and theater industry have to change?”.