The Quarantine Diaries: Gardener of the House

The Quarantine Diaries: Gardener of the House

Normally, he is the gardener of the house. I watched him year after year, half paying attention. Seeds, coconut-husk soil; add water and in a few months boom… Chilis. Too many to consume. Habaneros, Thai, Jalapenos, Scotch Bonnets. The heat lamp has been set for a few hours in the evenings, on an automatic timer. Every day it clicks on and off. I think maybe I will go mad. I think maybe this is a gift. In our apartment, I set up to work at our dining room table. It’s not the most comfortable set up. The hard chair cuts the blood flow, just above my knees.

One conference call has ended and tasks have been assigned. We have no idea when we will meet in the office again as a team. The dates keep changing. The company provides status updates, the chains of command feign bold ignorance. We’re never quite sure of what is happening at the top, that’s just how it is. They leave that part out of the marketing campaigns and new hire information packets. We are the masses, with seemingly no control. I look over at the seedlings. If I don’t water them, they will surely die, but how much water is too much? I have no direction and no green thumb. Instead, I have an internal lie detector, razor-sharp detachment skills, and Google.

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These Queer Berlin Entertainers Are Streaming Live into Your Living Rooms

These Queer Berlin Entertainers Are Streaming Live into Your Living Rooms

While everyone and their mom are currently on voluntary house arrest (you better be!) we’re already running out of ideas what to do at home. It’s not that there isn’t an endless list of possible chores we could finally get to now that we really have no more excuses left anymore. But honestly, we’re close to losing our mind, so clearly now is not the time for chores…

It’s just been a week or two depending on when you started, but somehow now, time decided to pass really slowly right now, so we’re filled with nostalgia of better days and a real sense of withdrawal from all our usual activities and adventures in Berlin’s bars, stages and clubs.

While the club scene has successfully transitioned into the digital space with their United We Stream, we’re missing all the fun cultural entertainment from our favorite queer darlings from the world of comedy, drag, performance, and voguing. But luckily, those bitches ain’t sleeping, within a week many of them have come up with streaming alternatives to their regular shows and we are HERE FOR IT! This way we won’t miss the cute Darvish, the hilarious Daniel-Ryan, the fantastic Venus Boys and many more…

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10 Awesome Podcasts from Berlin You Should Tune Into

10 Awesome Podcasts from Berlin You Should Tune Into

The Kyoo. 

Whether you’re currently exploring previously unknown levels of boredom, or looking to take your mind off your own anxious thoughts around the continuing corona crisis, listening to some podcasts might be just what you need! Check out these ten diverse recommendations with topics ranging from yoga and meditation to news and culture. Some of the podcasts might also give you a chance to work on your German!

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The Quarantine Diaries: My Pet Slug in CoronaVirus Times

The Quarantine Diaries: My Pet Slug in CoronaVirus Times

There I was, in my Berlin kitchen, minding my own business. Preparing a salad at a leisurely pace when I noticed a round, gooey, grey, slimy, blob on one of the bio salad leaves (has anyone else noticed bio supermarkets are less hit by the panic shoppers?). On closer inspection, the blob turned out to be a very small, dare I say cute, slug. What to do? I considered putting it on my balcony but quickly thought otherwise as I didn’t want to put my darling plants, and recently sole companions, at risk. Perhaps I would wrap it in a small piece of lettuce and throw it out the window. No. Living on the 5th floor, that would be an unnecessary risk and irresponsible (like those teenagers throwing a Corona -no, not the beer- party at Pankow this week).

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Art in Times of Quarantine – Red Rubber Road

Art in Times of Quarantine – Red Rubber Road

photos: Red Rubber Road. 

One of our Uncensored Berlin artist duos has come out with a photo series that could not be more fitting for our current situation. It was actually done years before the pandemic and is part of the ongoing project Red Rubber Road by photographers AnaHell and Nathalie Dreier.

Back in 2018 Ana suffered from a serious illness and was kept in quarantine in the infectious disease isolation ward at the military hospital in Berlin for several weeks. Visitors had to wear protective gear which created quite the nightmarish atmosphere. This also inspired the idea to continue their Red Rubber Road series right there in the isolation ward on one of Nathalie’s visits. The staged self-portraits have a quite playful and humorous vibe which helped them to lighten up the oppressive mood.

The artists decided to release the series in light of the current situation to show the optimism that creativity can provide during moments of disease and isolation.

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Berlin Culture on Demand: Virtual Visits in Museums, Galleries & Theaters

Berlin Culture on Demand: Virtual Visits in Museums, Galleries & Theaters

Jorinde Voigt, KÖNIG GALERIE, photo: Roman März

Because of the general lockdown caused by the coronavirus, the entire world has recently become increasingly dependent on the wonders of the Internet. But even Netflix can get boring after some time. Luckily, many Berlin artists and institutions make their collections and performances available online – so you can finally go to that museum or gallery you’ve always been intrigued by but never visited!

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The Best Upcoming Live Stream Events from Berlin

The Best Upcoming Live Stream Events from Berlin

photo: Artem Gavrysh. 

With the current quarantine in place, Berlin culture makers have to get creative for the coming weeks. It didn’t take long before those who are used to live events decided to explore the potential of live streaming. The Hebbel theater, various clubs led by the Clubcommission Berlin, musicians who had to cancel their concerts, as well as local performance artists were the first ones to re-organize themselves and offer live stream versions of their planned programming. I think it’s certainly a great alternative to stay connected with the cultural scene of Berlin instead of just mindlessly binge-watching things on Netflix.

We will use our event calendar in the coming weeks to present to you some of the most interesting live streams coming from Berlin, including DJ sets, performances, concerts, workshops, comedy shows and so much more. We hope this will keep you entertained at night.

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Keeping Berlin’s Club Culture & Art Scene Alive in Times of Quarantine

Keeping Berlin’s Club Culture & Art Scene Alive in Times of Quarantine

In the last couple of days, things have been moving really fast. Every day the situation concerning the virus outbreak seems to get more serious. But the more time we spend at home in self-quarantine, the more time we have to think about the repercussions, not only on our social life but also the economic effects this new situation might have on some parts of our society.

As we already pointed out in an earlier piece, especially those independent freelancers, artists, and small businesses are already affected by most jobs getting canceled right now. But now that most places for social gatherings including clubs, bars, event locations, theaters, concert halls, and galleries all have been closed for the unforeseeable future, their existence beyond the pandemic is in jeopardy. It might sound extreme, but these kinds of businesses can’t compensate month-long shut-downs, as their expenses like rent, wages, taxes, fees, etc. will continue to come in without them being able to generate any kind of profits. This means insolvencies, bankruptcies, loss of jobs, permanent closures. And when we all come out of this in a few weeks or months the places we used to go to and love might not be there anymore to reopen. This is not an exaggeration or overdramatization. It’s the brutal truth.

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Making Sense of the Elusive Charm of Berlin-Kreuzberg

Making Sense of the Elusive Charm of Berlin-Kreuzberg

photos: Roger Sabaté

For me, Kreuzberg has always been a bit of a mixed bag. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that a lot of people especially love this district, and I certainly have an appreciation for it, too. But to answer what’s exactly the appeal of Kreuzberg, this requires a bit of elaborating.

For a quite long time, Kreuzberg was anything but popular for the regular Berliner. In fact, in the time of the division of Berlin, the district was not exactly coveted. This might have been related to the proximity to the Berlin Wall. The small district had three sides of the wall towards Mitte, Friedrichshain, and Treptow. As history has taught us, the areas towards the wall were considered dangerous – there were cases of border patrol shooting at people on the Western side by accident thinking it was people from the East fleeing. I’m not sure if this is actually an urban myth, but it did come up several times.

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The Invisible Devastating Effect of the Corona Virus Panic on Artists, Freelancers and Small Businesses

The Invisible Devastating Effect of the Corona Virus Panic on Artists, Freelancers and Small Businesses

As a kid born in postsocialist Poland, I only associated empty supermarket shelves with distant times of communism only present in the memories of my parents. It’s quite ironic that the first time I actually witnessed a similar image was through the eyes of my German flatmate, who documented her struggle of shopping for toilet paper in Berlin just last week. That instance was followed by countless others, making Coronavirus the common denominator of practically everyone’s social media feed. But there are more serious economic consequences to this general panic – some of them especially perceptible to freelancers and small businesses. 

Jokes involving the sudden scarcity of toilet paper and the sales drop of Corona beer could be regarded as funny if they hadn’t been indicative of an unprecedented hysteria surrounding the virus outbreak. A hysteria that is way more widespread than the virus itself, and so far affected greater numbers of people. 

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