photo: Camille Blake.
Having lived in Berlin for so long and having seen so many things at the intersections of nightlife, culture, and art, you can trust me when I tell you this was quite something else. And I mean that in the best, most stimulating way.
I’ve been a big fan of Trauma Bar und Kino now since their early days and really love and trust their progressive and multi-disciplinary programming. To me, they have accomplished, what many have tried bringing together the most innovative talents into one space and creating immersive and inspiring experiences that go far beyond a regular club night, concert, or exhibition opening. Check out this event for instance that brought together avant-garde fashion and contemporary dance.
Inviting the newly formed i8i collective of interdisciplinary artists to take over their space was a great choice because they created something so next level – even for Trauma’s standards. And this is the part where it gets hard to continue this article because describing what happened at the opening event of their show Infinite Scroll is almost impossible.
Berlin has a new space and platform for emerging local designers and what better to put yourself onto the map with the most exciting fashion show during this week’s Berlin Fashion Week. PLATTE is a project dedicated to supporting the fashion scene of Berlin in a sustainable way by offering space, structure, and expertise to upcoming local designers and brands. The makers of PLATTE are dear of colleagues of iHeartBerlin that have over a decade of experience in the field. Sevil Uguz is the founder of LNFA which is a network and fashion store for local brands at Bikini Berlin, and Arne Eberle is a Berlin Fashion Week veteran and co-founder of OE Magazine.
In their amazing space at Memhardstraße, they will host pop-up stores, workshops, showrooms, exhibitions, events and so much more. With their first event that happened on Tuesday, they gave a preview of what’s to come and their focus on working in an interdisciplinary way. They invited members of the Berlin ballroom scene to curate a runway show of a different kind. Housemother Ambrosia from the Kiki House of Angels brought together a cast of diverse performers who proofed that models can have any size, shape, and identity and look fabulous on the runway. And European housefather David from the house of Milan put together the choreography for the show that would have spectators gagging later on.
We can’t believe that we are writing this, but after 1,5 years of lockdown, Berlin’s indoor clubs will finally be allowed to re-open without mask requirements and distancing rules. The Berlin Clubcommission announced the news yesterday after the Senat of Berlin lost a court case about it and decided to not challenge it any further. From Friday, September 3rd onwards, clubs will be allowed to re-open their indoor dance floors. Of course, there is a catch because we are still in the middle of a pandemic: Entry will only be allowed to vaccinated and recovered people. Especially since the enforcing of mask rules at outdoor parties has been reportedly causing some friction in the nightlife scene lately, that last bit seems to be a relief for many.
The news is of course welcome, not only for the struggling nightlife makers but also for hungry party-goers that have been starved of their favorite activity. We feel you. But they don’t come without some concerns.
photo: Tadeo Cern.
One of the major qualities of Berlin is that it never stops coming up with disused old breweries, factories, or power stations that all of a sudden get a new lease on life as event and exhibition spaces. These places are usually massive and thanks to that the things that can happen here can go so far beyond what’s possible in a small gallery in Mitte.
That’s why we are so excited to see what the LOST ART Festival will come up with at their latest edition that will happen on September 24-26, 2021. They are using 6000 square meters of industrial halls of the old powerhouse in Reinickendorf to present the work of 80 artists in a 48h long art happening. A 1km long route through 24 dark rooms will create an ambiance of mystery and surprise. And you know we love a good surprise in the dark 😉
With our recent Hangout event with Soundboks, we already got a taste of what it means to bring our own community back together this summer. And let me tell you, it was about time – because it felt damn good! We really missed just being together without a worry in the world and just enjoying ourselves with some laughs, good drinks, and dancing.
With their new event series On The Map, Soundboks wants to continue to make this happen for all the different communities around the artists and makers of the city. And by city I’m not only talking about Berlin, this year they are also expanding their activities to Hamburg and Stuttgart. And being a speaker brand what is most important to them is of course the music. So they invited some of the most talented rising talents to perform and invite their fan communities to come together for a good time. These events are made for those artists that couldn’t perform and those locations that couldn’t open during the pandemic – it’s time to bring them back on the map.
It feels like Berlin’s nightlife has been on hold for so long now, we can’t even remember how a club looks and smells on the inside. While the few clubs blessed with an outdoor area are shyly and quietly hosting some open-air parties this summer giving at least a small part of Berlin clubbers a bit of dancefloor magic, the majority of clubs that only have indoor dancefloors (which are about 75%) are now shut down for over a year.
Of course, this has totally created an imbalance. For the clubs, because those that don’t have the luxury of outdoor space are clearly at a disadvantage here, but also for clubbers because since there are so few options for legal parties that many organizers decided to keep their events on the low, or even if they publicly announce them, tickets sell out within hours which leaves many willing ravers without access to all the fun. This, too, seems pretty unfair.
Following our concert event with Lie Ning last year at Hallesches Haus, we got together again with Danish speaker brand Soundboks last week for one of their Hangout Berlin sessions and hosted a small secret iHeartBerlin gathering where we invited our current and previous team members and friends to have a good time together.
It was our first event this year, and boy, have we been starving for something like that. It was the first time in a year that we had the whole crew together in one place and it just felt great to finally meet everyone again. We’re super happy that Soundboks made this happen for us.
If we can’t dance in Berlin clubs, at least we can watch a documentary about clubbing there, right? With the corona regulations operating a club has become really difficult and this is threatening the one thing that has put Berlin on the map worldwide in the last couple of decades. While everything is back open again after the endless lockdown, clubs are still the one type of place that is still not allowed to open. It’s not that that is not understandable – but it doesn’t make it any better or fair for the people behind it.
The new documentary Clubkultur by filmmakers Leonie Gerner and Andrea Schumacher for Hauptstadt.tv shines a light on the importance of the Berlin club scene with various interviews with club owners, nightlife artists, DJs, and musicians, but also politicians and the Berlin Clubcommission. We also get to see a lot of footage from some wild Berlin nights that make us super nostalgic and that feel like they are from a distant time decades in the past.
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.
photo: Birgit & Bier.
Despite many different efforts and many alternative concepts, it’s the Berlin club scene that is probably suffering the most from Berlin’s cultural landscape during the pandemic as the majority of the places have been locked down now for over a year. While their future is in the balance and a re-opening for indoor partying is not really inside, at least a political movement has managed that they are recognized as places of culture which makes a big difference for them when it comes to taxes and funding.
But the Berlin nightlife scene has always been inventive, so pretty much like last year after the first lockdown where the few clubs that have the luxury of an outdoor area came up with alternative usage concepts such as beer gardens to be able to partially re-open over the summer, the same thing is happening right now with the first clubs already open again for guests.