Clubkultur: The New Nightlife Documentary Screening in Berlin Clubs

Clubkultur: The New Nightlife Documentary Screening in Berlin Clubs

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.

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The Infamous Club Scene of Berlin in the 90s

The Infamous Club Scene of Berlin in the 90s

When it comes to the party scene I feel like I have seen quite a bit in my time here since 2000. I’ve known a time before Berghain. There were definitely more underground places, big factory raves, illegal parties in Treptower Park. Everything was a bit more secretive, word-of-mouth was the number one way to communicate places, and these were also changing locations quite a bit, always moving out of the radar of authorities. But there is one big thing that I totally missed out on: The infamous 90s. I came to Berlin in the 90s only once and I was so disoriented and had really limited ways to inform myself that I ended up in all the wrong places. It was still fun and exciting – of course a 17-year-old was easy to impress at the time. But there are some club names that keep popping up even 20 years later that I never stepped foot in and I wish I had.

This short documentary segment from the TV show arte TRACKS from 1997 gives us a little glimpse into the early days of iconic clubs like Tresor and Matrix, but also less known underground places that maybe only existed for a short amount of time – may they rest in peace in club heaven. Have a look for yourself in the video below and be inspired by Berlin’s 90s club scene.

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Survival in Neukölln: The Life in Berlin’s roughest Neighborhood

Survival in Neukölln: The Life in Berlin’s roughest Neighborhood

“Survival in Neukölln” – that’s the title of documentary filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim’s newest work. Following the life stories of various inhabitants of Berlin’s infamous neighborhood, the movie visualizes Neukölln as a place full of creative contradictions.

We meet Drag performer Stefan Stricker who calls himself Juwelia, the androgynous Cuban singer and dancer Joaquin la Habana, or a queer Syrian singer, called Enana. We participate in gay-nudist cooking groups, female theatre performances and turkish demonstrations. We see a Neukölln that has became a melting pot of young and old Berlin, and the epicentre of rapidly increasing rents.

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The Queer Documentary about West Berlin you have to watch

The Queer Documentary about West Berlin you have to watch

Living in Berlin as one united city, it’s hard to imagine a life surrounded by a city split in half. Living in todays liberal, progressive Berlin, it’s even harder to imagine how it must have been being queer in times when gays were despised, even pursued as criminals. The new documentary “Mein wunderbares West-Berlin” by director Jochen Hick gives fascinating insights in 19 individual stories of gay life in the underground of West-Berlin.

Legal or not, Berlin has always been the place of a vibrant gay subculture. As Berlin was one of the only cities in Germany where men were allowed to dance with each other, the democratic German enclave rapidly became a hotspot for gays, students, runaways, and many different people in search for their personal freedom. The documentary shows a world that is long gone, places that might have lost their appeal and stories that cannot be relived in the way they are depicted. It is a must-see for any Berlin Queer, wanting to understand where his or her culture comes from and what the community has gone through.

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A Documentary about Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg in 1990

A Documentary about Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg in 1990

This interesting documentary by Petra Tschörtner about the district Prenzlauer Berg in the year of the reunification of Germany is a must-see for anyone interested in the recent history of the city. I like it because you can see a lot of parallels in today’s subculture and I also think it’s interesting to see how difficult the change of the reunification was for a lot of people in East Berlin. And take a look at the long-haired bearded photographer at the travesty show at 29 min. Could be the 90’s version of me 😉

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Komet Bernhard – A Berlin Original

Komet Bernhard – A Berlin Original

photo: freshmilk

White hair, a long beard shaking to the beat. Attached to it: A man dancing to techno music, making bubbles, glowing with good energy. This is Komet Bernhard, a living legend in Berlin. If you’ve been out and about the last years in Berlin, you must have heard of him or seen him by now. Like a nightlife mascot (and I mean this in the best way possible) Bernhard is always there, where you wouldn’t expect him, dancing amidst youngsters, having the time of his life. Often, in the gloom of nighttime party banter, it’s not possible to get to know the person behind a glimpse of what you might grasp.

Which is why the makers of freshmilk decided to get to know the raving legend a bit better: In a 25 min documentary. Starting in his apartment of 13 years, the filmmakers follow Bernhard through one of his many wanderings through Berlin by night. And get to know him more with every step.

You can tell: The world is a big wonder for the 67 year old, who seems to have kept a youthful mind and big eyes: “I am dancing for my life – If I wouldn’t dance, I wouldn’t be here anymore” says Komet Bernhard. And in this documentary you might just find out why.

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The Story of Abandoned Berlin

The Story of Abandoned Berlin

The blog Abandoned Berlin is the #1 source for urban explorers as it’s the most comprehensive archive of abandoned places in and around Berlin, with detailed descriptions of how to get inside and what the dangers might be; it also has a lot of information about the history of the places. For me the most interesting part of the blog are the comments where recent visitors of each place leave their updates on the current situations regarding safety and accessibility.

The founder of the blog, Ciarán Fahey, also released a book with his favorite photographs from the blog that we reviewed a while ago. Now we stumbled across a brand-new wonderful documentary short that filmmaker Jordi Busquets shot with Ciarán. It includes footage of some of the most stunning abandoned places of Berlin such as the Teufelsberg spy station, the Spreepark amusement park, the old Children’s Hospital nicknamed Zombie Hospital, the former Tempelhof Airport (actually the only one that’s not really abandoned as it’s a huge refugee camp and public park now) and the old airport in Johannisthal. In the video Ciarán tells the story of his passion for urban exploring and how he started his blog and also some info on the history of the featured places. A great inspiration for all urban explorers. Enjoy the video after the jump.

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LeidenSchafft – A Movie about Berlin Hip Hop

LeidenSchafft – A Movie about Berlin Hip Hop

photos: LeidenSchafft

The Berlin underground scene is one of the most diverse in the world. Makes sense – where there is a large society, there is also an underground, an anti-pole to the mainstream. If you look around the Hip Hop scene nowadays, a lot of things have changed. The subcultural character of Hip Hop seemingly vanished and slowly but steadily German Rap became mainstream. But still, Hip Hop is the voice of the unheard, an organ for the youth and a space for resistance.

Young filmmaker and and photographer Mirza Odabaşı took it upon himself to go back in time, to the origins of Berlin and German Rap culture and met up with a wide range of artists and personalities from the scene. In his documentary LeidenSchafft, a pun from the words “passion”, “misery” and “creation”, Odabaşı goes into the deep meanings of the local Rap culture, talks about identity and finding and defining yourself in and outside of the music. He met up with many icons of the scene, ranging from well-known artists like Marteria, Chefket, Eko Fresh and many more to rather Oldschool trailblazers such as Killa Hakan, Marcus Staiger or Spaiche.

In 43 minutes Odabaşı manages to get into topics such as experiences of social exclusion, some of the possible reasons to why Hip Hop is so popular amongst the alleged socially disadvantaged adolscents and portrays the people shaping the German Hip Hop scene in beautiful images in Berlin.
In that way, “LeidenSchafft” is a look back and an appraisal at the same time, bringing light to the underground. And human emotions.

See some impressions of the film and a teaser after the jump.

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The Naked Horse and other Berlin Street Musicians

The Naked Horse and other Berlin Street Musicians

Some people come to Berlin to do an internship in a PR agency, others come to start their own fashion label, some come to study psychology, others come to just party all weekend, And than there are those who come to play guitare music in the street – naked, with a horse mask. Carl Tomich from Australia definately belongs to the later group and if you were lucky enough you might have caught one of his naked performances here in the city back in the summer or even recently when the weather was decent, as many eager Instagramers captured.

While it is true that the naked horse (or #TheNeighKidHorse as he calls himself more correctly) is making music in the streets he is not actually a musician, but a journalist and film maker and his performances are not really meant to be his choice of lifestyle but and experiment and form of promotion for a documentary called Busking for Berlin that he shot here to shed some light on the lives of some of the street musicians of Berlin and their stories. Enjoy the film and more info after the jump.

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Berlin Voguing Out Festival 2014 – Journey to the Far East

Berlin Voguing Out Festival 2014 – Journey to the Far East

photos: Gero Brelder

There is nothing that I find more intriguing than people loosing control and all their repressions on the dancefloor. For me that’s the definition of Voguing: Fighting for the sparkles of the disco ball every minute of the song pumping through the stereo. Some of this fighting spirit I am excited to experience live at the Berlin Voguing Out Festival that is taking place this week.

In 2012 Berlin Voguing Out introduced the first Voguing festival in Germany and since then this unique event has established itself within a very short time as a melting pot for the international Voguing scene.The third edition of the Berlin Voguing Out Festival will be even bigger and more colorful than in recent years. The program includes lectures, workshops, film screenings on the history of Voguing and the highlight of the festival, the Voguing Ball with its famous runway and dance categories.

This Wednesday there will be a special screening and an opening party at the Sophiensaele that you shouldn’t miss. On Thursday there will be a Voguing contest and on Friday a spectacular Voguing Ball. The final party on Saturday at the Berghain Kantine will probably get everyone jumping off their feet and into a coma after this crazy dance marathon.

More photos of previous Voguing events after the jump. Read on…