Face Masks for Queer Visibility

Face Masks for Queer Visibility

With literally every single queer bar, club and venue closed until further notice and all Pride parades and other queer festivals canceled this year, it looks pretty dim on the queer visibility front right now. But all clubs and bars are closed and festival canceled – what difference does it make, you might wonder? Of course, every nightlife and cultural space has its importance – but for the queer community these places and events are not just for fun and socializing, they are important platforms for activism and for the fight for acceptance and equality. There is still a lot of homophobia and transphobia in the world, even here in Berlin. Queer visibility is an important act against those nasty phobias – and for queers to disappear into quarantine behind locked doors and behind anonymous masks is quite the setback.

Musician, stage performer, editor, and Berlin’s only real Diva Kaey has come up with a clever plan on how queer visibility can continue in a creative way in times of Corona. For over a month now, she has taken the time during the quarantine to sew hundreds of colorful facemasks with rainbows, sequins, and Tom of Finland prints for the queer community. This way we can be out and proud every day when we’re complying with the new face mask rules in the city.

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Isolation Porn: Erotic Art & Sexual Expression During the Lockdown

Isolation Porn: Erotic Art & Sexual Expression During the Lockdown

photo: SCANROULETTE @herpeslabial_ 

The lockdown has really put a damper on the sexual expression of Berliners in a major way. Unless you are lucky to live with your partner or with a flatmate with benefits your sex life most likely had to take a back seat in the last weeks. No Tinder or Grindr dates, no hooking up in bars, no kinky adventures in Berlin’s nightclubs. You really have to get creative to get your sexual kicks these days.

Our friends from Pornceptual were struck really badly by the pandemic. Their parties are on hold until further notice, and the WHOLE festival which they co-organize has been canceled for this year. But like many creative people in the city the quarantine has also created new ideas and opportunities for them to make the best of the situation. One of those ideas that recently saw the light of day is their new platform Isolation Porn which is an extension to their Pornceptual blog dedicated to artworks and creations that have been produced in response to the lockdown.

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Someone Turned Daniel-Ryan Spaulding’s Viral Mauerpark Orgy into a Techno Song and it’s a Banger!

Someone Turned Daniel-Ryan Spaulding’s Viral Mauerpark Orgy into a Techno Song and it’s a Banger!

Sassy Berlin stand-up comedian Daniel-Ryan Spaulding has really lifted our spirits during the last weeks of the quarantine as he has been coming up with new hilarious videos on a daily basis about all things corona. You would think this would quickly grow old but in fact, he’s been continuously serving some of his best comedy videos ever. Who would have thought it would get better than his “It’s Berlin” videos that put him on the map in the first place (at least for audiences here).

In his videos, Daniel’s character “Da’Niel” has been mostly sulking and passive-aggressively commenting on the lockdown and all lack of nightlife and sex club activity that he so dearly misses right now. Most notably you could see him throw a tantrum in front of Berghain when it closed down, crawling somewhere through the bushes of Hasenheide to announce the comeback of cruising, or how he fantasized a huge gay orgy in Mauerpark by disobedient horny gay guys who wouldn’t stay in quarantine.

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Stay at Home: Portraying Berliners through their Windows

Stay at Home: Portraying Berliners through their Windows

photos: Lovis Ostenrik. 

These last couple of weeks it became almost a mantra: Stay at home! Angela Merkel said it, viral expert Drosten said it, your mom said it, we said it. It’s in everyone’s ears, and in everyone’s mouths.

But what does “staying at home” mean for everybody? It’s certainly not the same for everyone. If you’re living alone in a dark studio apartment in the backyard it can certainly start to feel claustrophobic at some point. But if you’re lucky to live in a big bright Altbau with balcony (or even better: a garden) together with loved ones, it can also be pretty ok in the end. No matter if it’s a big sacrifice or just a small one, the importance as one of the most significant measures to battle this pandemic cannot be denied.

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These Contemporary Dancers from Berlin Perform in Isolation

These Contemporary Dancers from Berlin Perform in Isolation

photo: Sasha Waltz & Guests. 

It’s been just two weeks since we showed you the cute video of the Staatsballett Berlin dancing from their home. You guys really loved this video, so we thought we could give you a bit of an encore today. In the past couple of weeks, the ballet dancers were not the only once who kept dancing while all shows are canceled and theaters closed. In fact, a lot of contemporary dancers also used the offtime to record some small performances and improvisations.

It’s been quite the adjustment for all of us to suddenly experience things only through our computer stream. It feels like a restriction at first, but as with any new circumstance, people will get used to it and adapt and find new ways to express themselves. Especially for those of us who are used to working in teams, such as dancers who perform with an ensemble, suddenly finding themselves without their teammates might be a challenge. But again, a new experience doesn’t have to be a bad one.

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Stuck at Schönefeld with an Airport Fly

Stuck at Schönefeld with an Airport Fly

And here I am, locked in the humiliation and ostentatious luxury of purchasing a beer for €3.25 whilst the overlords of the aviation inferno smirk on for my predictable avarice and sloppy living. “Yes, go towards the pilsner, you wretched tart, go and bathe yourself in our wheaty piss water, heh heh heh, and you’ve got toilet paper stuck to your shoe. Did you know? Course you didn’t, you fucking lush.”

The general mood is one of lethargy and arid existing, with a sheen of sweat, much like a saucy currywurst. The only animation comes from an intensely annoying British couple who look like they’ve wandered out of a B-list perfume advert and are looking for the nearest poppy field to resume their pasty, whimpering, lovemaking. They exuberantly sweep around in silken shirts which I presume are the same sort Daisy Buchanan was wailing about. Damn, I’ve made myself angry again. Fucking hated that paisley bitch.

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These Satirical Comics Respond to the Corona Madness in the Best Way

These Satirical Comics Respond to the Corona Madness in the Best Way

We’ve already showcased some of Guen Douglas’s tattoo designs in a blog post last year. But recently, this prolific Berlin-based artist has gone public with another form of creative expression: an Instagram account filled with unique comics. Guen Douglas told us more about her affinity for Gary Larson, the intersections of tattoo and comic designs, and what it feels like to make art in times of a global pandemic.

The Instagram account tolarsonwithlove doesn’t have many entries yet, but each of them presents an extremely imaginative take on a particular aspect of reality. Whether it’s a blissful illustration of an intimate self-care moment, or a visual satire referencing present crisis, the comics by Guen Douglas grab one’s attention with their narrative and, not unlike her tattoo designs, invite one to admire the details. 

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The Dancers from the Staatsballett Berlin Dancing From Home

The Dancers from the Staatsballett Berlin Dancing From Home

As you probably know we’re big fans of the Staatsballett Berlin here at iHeartBerlin. So naturally, this new video really warmed our hearts when we first saw it: Initiated and edited by Principal Dancer Ksenia Ovsyanick, 45 of the dancers recorded themself at their homes or wherever they spent their quarantine giving a little performance that seamlessly blends over from one dancer to the next as if they all danced together in unison. The result is a cute little collage of all the dancers that give us some positive vibes and smiles in these strange times. Thank you guys for that, we can’t wait to see you back on stage, hopefully soon!

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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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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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