photo: Ben de Biel / Nation of Gondwana
It’s officially here! Festival season has begun,and we felt the need to tell you about all the great festivals coming up this summer in, around and sort of near Berlin. From German pop to techno, house and street food in Neukölln we’ve compiled a list of festivals that are definitely worth a visit. Take a break from the city life, pack your things and go to the beach or forest nearby! There will be great music, good food and art. From workshops to exhibitions, performances: you can have it all this summer – at the following festivals. See them after the jump.
I took me about a year of living in Germany to start feeling the challenges of life among Germans as a foreigner. Berlin had always been a dream for me, long before I even had any interest in partying, alcohol or other substances. I had always heard what everyone in the world seems to be hearing, that it is: a great multicultural place of freedom for artistic minds. So my first months living here were an exciting bliss even if I was working for a (rather particular) German family who lived nowhere near the city center, not in anyway close to Kreuzberg or Neukölln, but in a small village in the woods that was technically still Berlin but felt like a whole other world. This didn’t discourage me though, I took the bus (not even the S-Bahn went as far as where they lived, ah!) every evening after work to go to punk shows in cool squatted houses.
Half a year later when I finally broke free from my nanny job and moved to Friedrichshain I was still very excited and with no more job or endless bus trips to get anywhere, I felt free, alive and learned the real party ways. But then, another six months later, I started noticing all the small things my expat friends always seemed to complain about: passive aggressive Germans in the supermarket line, passive aggressive Germans who press the speed pedal of their car if they spot you jaywalking, passive aggressive Germans doing all these annoying little things all the time.
There was no more city, just countless trees lining a mirage of endless autobahn. There would be no more abrasive Sonnenallee mornings, no more late night Spätis, no more dreamy parties of sunshine dancing. There had been mere danglings of hopeful sunny days but I could no longer wait. I had made a decision and I was finally driving out of the city for good. No longer finding the fun in the perplexing allurement of escapism, I wriggled out of the grip of city life. Berlin had made final attempts of kindness — in classic narcissistic fashion — only after I had made the decision to leave.
Janis Joplin once said about men in an interview, “Have you ever seen those mule carts? They dangle a carrot in front of the mule’s face and it keeps chasing something it’s never gonna get.” I felt like I was the mule, stepping forward but never being able to taste the sweet earthy goodness. I saw Berlin as the carrot, having much to offer that I could never really savor.
photos: Olga Khristolyubova
Berlin is such a diverse and open minded city, yet the music industry has not been cracked by women, as I noticed the lack of female presence behind the decks.
No… I’m not a DJ… but three years in this magical city has allowed me to explore Berlin’s electronic music and club scene, through the eyes of a music enthusiast, dance floor filler, and a social party girl.
Some ladies have successfully crept there way into the music industry, as many of my best memories in this city, has been witnessing legends like Sonja Moonear, rocking it at CDV, Anja Schneider who burns Watergate down with her vibrant connection to the audience or my personal favorite, Anthea who rocks the boat at Hoppetosse.
photo: Norman Poznan
How can you live in a building having such a history? One of my friends whatsapped me, after I told him about my neighbor, Flora Friedel Brandt. I get that a lot from people, how can I live in a city like Berlin, as a Jew, as an Israeli. How can I live in a city that didn’t want us before, that sent Flora away from here.
Flora Friedel Brandt was born as Flora Friedel Silber, on October 11, 1866. Flora was a Jew, a Berliner. Fire, she was living in Schöneberg in West Berlin. Then she moved to Wedding, “Little Turkey” of today. Finally, she had moved to Pappelallee 3 in Prenzlauer Berg at the east side of Berlin. Where she lived until Tuesday, June 16, 1942, when Nazi soldiers entered her building to take her. The soldiers evacuated Flora from her home, and sent her 260 kilometers south, to Theresienstadt Ghetto, in modern Czechoslovakia.
Theresienstadt Ghetto was flora’s new home for three months, until September 19, 1942. On that day, along with many other Jews, she was crammed into a beef freight train. The train was heading to a destination unknown to any of its passengers.
I find it hard to believe that Flora trusted the soldiers who told her she was heading to a new work camp, as she was boarding this crammed freight train, on a Saturday, going about 700 kilometers east, to the Treblinka Death Camp.
“Where?” – It is often the reaction when I say where I live. And when I repeat “Botanischer Garten”, close to Dahlem, Rathaus Steglitz and Zehlendorf people are normally amazed and wonder why I chose to live in an area far away from the center, away from the parties and predominantly residential. Sure, it is not multicultural Kreuzberg or dynamic Friedrichshain, but it is a safe zone where colorful flowers blossom in the sidewalks and old ladies greet you with a smile. And if you think this is a lame reason then you should try the Johannisbeere flavor at Lauter Eis, the ice cream shop in Hortensienstraße. It gets me every time.
I am not going to lie and say this is the neighborhood I dreamt of living when I first moved back in October. In fact, I had a completely different idea of where I was going to live – I envisioned myself sharing a flat in Prenzlauer Berg with one or two roommates, in a relatively close area to my university. However, as I quickly learned, finding a house in Berlin is a nightmare. And it gets worse when you delay the problem because you are too busy counting flies on the wall. Often a temporary solution is to crash on friends’ sofas or stay at shady hostels, and until you find your castle you have to kiss some very unpleasant frogs.
photo: Chloé Desnoyers
What I like most when I go to a restaurant is to find someone truly passionate about what he does: a pastry chef meticulously preparing his macarons and giving them a perfectly smooth shape, a wine shop owner talking about wines as if he were talking about his lovers or a chef telling you how he chose his potatoes for cooking French fries that are crispy outside and just a little soft inside. I’d like to share some tips with you about authentic French restaurants, bakeries, crêperies, cheese and wine shops, and also present you French artists living in Berlin.
illustrations: Berk Karaoglu
Prior to moving to Berlin I never thought about how important language was when attempting to get to know someone better, particularly while dating. I always dated guys whose native language was English, American English at that. As if dating wasn’t confusing enough, try dating someone who doesn’t dream in the same damn language as you. It wasn’t until I started dating guys from around the world did I begin to understand how uncomfortable it felt not to be able to fully express myself. But, was this necessarily a bad thing?
Sure, when you speak the same language, you understand one another on a molecular level. You share the same phrases to describe mundane situations. You can even talk about your feelings (yuck!) until the cows come home…UM, WHAT? That was all fine and good, but I still wasn’t convinced that the benefits of speaking the same mother tongue outweighed the surmounting disadvantages.
To You, brave adventurer who is in Berlin for the first time and who has left his comfort zone for a fresh new start and brand new experiences.
Let’s assume you have managed to pass the test of finding a permanent home, one of the worst nightmares of all the new Berliners, have one or two acquaintances in the city (even if it is the son of your grandfather Julius’s cousin that you have never heard of before but know he has three Siamese cats) and have already planned on how to get a job or to go further in your education. You have everything outlined and you are all excited – “This will the BEST time of my life”, you think, “Berghain, I will destroy you with my dance moves” – however, when you arrive (with a big smile on your face and high expectations), you see that things are not quite what you have imagine they would be. The son of your grandfather Julius’s cousin is not that interested in showing you around, maybe because he is too busy or simply because he is a jerk, getting a job is harder than you have imagined and you feel lonely at times.
Love, by Gaspard Noe
A recently-published study revealed Millennials as the least-straight generation in the history of LGBTI*+ research. They’re nearly twice as likely to identify as non-straight than other adults. And as more boys, girls and folks that are neither (or both) come out of the closet, one would hope that a certain normality would have settled in around those sexual orientations beyond straight. I know it would make my (dating-)life a lot easier.
I’ve never been shy about my orientation, which is best defined as: if you’re hot and smart and enthusiastic about me putting my hand down your pants, I’m really going to be cool with whatever I find there. But I’ll classify as bisexual for easiness sake most of the time.
It feels like there is a grand old billboard somewhere in Berlin that says “Bisexuality: the sexuality everyone is entitled to have an opinion on!” Which is weird, because last time I checked, the only people that get to have an opinion on my sexuality are people that are afflicted by it. And by “afflicted” I mean “get to have sex with me”.