It’s safe to say that when I arrived in Berlin at 19, I knew very little in general. In the two years I’ve spent here, there have been times when I fooled myself I’ve obtained some general knowledge I could apply to reality – and time after time found myself utterly perplexed at yet another of life’s intricacies that Berlin exists to accentuate. And then it dawned on me – the only certainty I’ve experienced is the love for this city. The History Phone is my attempt to pay it forward – join us for a journey to discover a few of the lesser known facts from Berlin’s past that will add some sparkle to your everyday walk though familiar streets.
illustrations: Robert Nippoldt
Berlin in the time of the Weimar Republic is one of the city’s most thrilling periods and no wonder many have tried to revive this time – for instance with this Second Life animation. There’s a new illustration book coming out now that will take you on a joyride through that enchanted section of the city’s past – we tell you what you can expect inside.
The German illustrator Robert Nippoldt has been following a brilliant concept while creating his subsequent books. ”Night falls on the Berlin of the Roaring 20s” is already his third work, after ”Hollywood in the 30s” and ”Jazz. New York in the Roaring 20s” that takes the readers on a time travel. Nippoldt’s illustrations are accompanied by stories and anecdotes gradually unraveling the secrets of a particular era.
photo: Frédéric Batier/X Filme
Mark your calendars: The highly anticipated TV show “Babylon Berlin” premiers in mid October. Although we rarely get all over excited about German TV shows (sorry), we really can’t wait for this one to air. If there is one place that we wanna time travel back to, it’s the buzzing Berlin of the 1920’s. A metropolis overflowing with creative energy, full of radical extremes in economy and culture, from politics to the underworld. It feels like the mysterious aura of these few years has never left our streets, but so far few shows have done justice to how our imagination makes these times come alive.
The more research I did on Francis Bacon, the more enthralled I became. Always on the lookout for troubled musicians whose drunken rhymes I could live by, I’d never been that passionate about any visual artist. But I have to admit – that guy was just like a rock star, at least if you consider just how emotionally haunting his works could be.
Clearly, I thought, with this kind of artistic sensibility, he must have been to Berlin.
And I was right. What’s interesting, though, and why I decided to write this article, is that Bacon’s Berlin experience was not limited to the times he might have been to our beloved Hauptstadt already as an acclaimed painter. The first time his wild imagination was undeniably stimulated by this promiscuous city took place in 1927, back in the days of the Weimar Republic.
photos: Berlin – Sounds of an Era
“The city had a jewel-like sparkle, especially at night, that didn’t exist in Paris”
Berlin in the 20’s: With the Jazz emerging and the dresses shortening, a new feeling of life entered the city, invigorating its nightlife. The time frame of the Weimar Republic might have set the tone for the capital’s later years, up until the now – including wild dancing, loud music and free spirit.
The city was in a blaze of glory – with the horror’s of the war and the cultural scene ever-changing – and it has some amazing contemporary witnesses and their music that are testaments for this unique period.
Last Saturday we found ourselves at the Boheme Sauvage party at the Wintergarten Varieté. It was another magical night in the spirit of the Golden Twenties. The Shellack was spinning, the sugar was flaming and the fringes were flying. And as I watched the crowd dancing and the fancy couples waltzing over the stage in perfection I asked myself how much more glamorous the nights must have been back in the days compared to our modern-day understanding of a party. More impressions after the jump.