Clubkultur – Berlin Clubs Finally Legally Recognized as Cultural Spaces

Clubkultur – Berlin Clubs Finally Legally Recognized as Cultural Spaces

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.

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A New Take On the Iconic Illustration of the Line At Berghain by Nicola Napoli

A New Take On the Iconic Illustration of the Line At Berghain by Nicola Napoli

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.

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Rave Space: Berlin Opens Its First Virtual Club

Rave Space: Berlin Opens Its First Virtual Club

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.

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Lockout Not Lockdown: An Outcry of Berlin’s Club Culture

Lockout Not Lockdown: An Outcry of Berlin’s Club Culture

photo: Keith Telfeyan

While the effective vaccine rollout has already brought back some normalcy to people in the UK, Germany is still struggling with the pandemic and tries to tackle it with various new restrictions. These change so often that they’re sometimes hard to keep track of, and according to some, they’re not exclusively targeting the riskiest behaviors. That’s the view of Clubcomission Berlin, which, in their latest statement, criticizes the ban on organized open-air events. 

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Berlin Offstage Captures Artists Behind The Scenes During Lockdown

Berlin Offstage Captures Artists Behind The Scenes During Lockdown

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.

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The Privilege to Party: Bottega Veneta Criticized for Afterparty at Soho House during Lockdown

The Privilege to Party: Bottega Veneta Criticized for Afterparty at Soho House during Lockdown

With lockdown being extended every few weeks and more intense measures implemented in seemingly fruitless attempts to minimize COVID infections, we’re all looking for a way to unwind. I’m sure everyone would enjoy a normal party right now; being able to listen to music, dance, and drink with friends without constant fear of the virus. We may all crave it, but that doesn’t mean it’s fair considering our current circumstances. And it definitely doesn’t mean a party full of famous people will go unnoticed in this climate.

Italian luxury fashion house, Bottega Veneta, is facing intense criticism after hosting a fashion show presenting their Salon 02 collection in the concrete halls of Berghain, followed by an afterparty at the Soho House in Mitte on Friday. Local celebrities like Oumi Janta, Honey Dijon, and Sven Marquart were in attendance, as well as more internationally known names such as rappers Skepta, Slowthai, and Burna Boy, American designer, Virgil Abloh, and Daniel Lee, creative director of Bottega Veneta. Photos and videos of the Soho House afterparty were shared on social media, showing no social distancing, masks, or compliance with the increasingly strict lockdown measures.

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HUSH Captures Berlin’s Empty Clubs During the Lockdown

HUSH Captures Berlin’s Empty Clubs During the Lockdown

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. 

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Experience One Last Rave at Beloved Neukölln Club Griessmuehle

Experience One Last Rave at Beloved Neukölln Club Griessmuehle

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.

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These Special Online Events Will Treat Your Corona Blues Through Dance, Theater & Digital Art

These Special Online Events Will Treat Your Corona Blues Through Dance, Theater & Digital Art

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!

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Stop the Music: How the Nightlife Makers of Berlin Are Dealing with the Pandemic

Stop the Music: How the Nightlife Makers of Berlin Are Dealing with the Pandemic

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.

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