Alternative Berlin Green Tour

If this is your first time in Berlin, one of the first things you will likely notice are the amount of sprawling green spaces co-existing beautifully among urban areas and buildings. You might be subsequently impressed to learn that Berlin has more parks than any other city in Europe, and despite its immense size, has eluded the concrete-jungle existence that is the reality of many other metropolis world cities.  But Berlin is not content to just sit pretty.  The inhabitants of this liberal, progressive, forward-thinking city have taken its green presence to the next level, and are using technology as well as grass-roots efforts to make this city an eco-friendly one, a model for others to follow.

Alternative Berlin’s Green Tour examines these developments and provides an education as to what they mean for the city, all the while combining these elements with other things Berlin is so rich in, history and art.  The tour begins at a train station that was a former transportation hub that was used during World War II to deport thousands of Jews, mostly elderly men and women.  Hitler’s eventual plan was to turn the station into an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a plan that was thwarted by British and American bombs and Soviet artillery shells.

The station currently exists as a peaceful green space itself, in close proximity to a recycling area containing bins for various types of waste.  Germany has the highest recycling rate of any country in Europe, and these bins have been in use since the 1980’s.  The walls behind them are painted over with murals depicting picturesque outdoor scenery, because why leave something plain, when you can make it artistically interesting?  Gotta love this city.

bins

Germany has imposed a ban on traditional garbage dumps, replacing them with one of the most advanced waste-management systems in the world, and by 2020, intends to eradicate any remaining landfills in the country.  Berlin sees waste management as a boom industry of the future and is implementing an innovative waste-management policy so as to give its local enterprises in the sector a head start.  As a result, 55,000 old garbage dumps have been replaced by 70 incinerators, 60 biological and mechanical waste-processing factories, and 800 units producing compost from organic waste.  Bye bye, trash.  Hello, energy production and billions of euros saved.

Block 6 a

Block 6 b

Block 6 c
No type of waste is safe from being reused and recycled here, and that includes those of the grey and black water variety.  Started in 1987 the research project investigates innovative water management and urban food production and has developed and implemented a water purifying system that replicates systems in nature.  It takes the grey water from 75 surrounding apartments and runs it through a reed bed purification system which allows the water to be used a second time, savings residents around 3 million litres of water a year (an Olympic swimming pool holds around 2.5 million litres).  There are plans in the works to create a black water purification system which will convert human waste into compost and fertilizer, which will feed greenhouses and increase and improve food production.

Sud

Sud 2
Not far from the Roof Water-Farm, another type of life cycle continues in an abandoned railway yard. The Tempelhof switchyard, a derelict railway site, was completely shut down in 1952.  In the space of just 50 years, this 18-hectare space has assumed the newborn identity. It has been transformed into a natural urban reserve through the help of conservationists and artists, and has become a diverse, species-rich natural oasis in the heart of the city, with rich dry grassland, jungle-like woodland and herbaceous vegetation.

Sud 4

Sud 1
This beautiful urban nature park is currently home to two thirds of Germany ́s bird population, as well as bumblebees, spiders, endangered butterflies, praying mantises, hundreds of different plant species and a massive variety of giant mushrooms.  To be able to walk along rows of railroad tracks that have been turned into foliage-surrounded walkways, with the tracks still visible in the concrete, and see trees growing up through parallel railway tracks, the spikes beginning to split in their wake, is a fantastic experience and a surreal firsthand look at the way nature takes over anything left to her.  And in true Berlin fashion, expect to see street-art in the park, in the form of graffiti on the old walls of the railway station, as well as an array of unique sculptures nearby the former locomotive hall, now used by artists as a performance and rehearsal space.

UFA 1
In keeping with the theme of artists and community working hand in hand to promote environmental awareness, conservation, and culture another community project  in Marienfelde has taken the initiative in this regard.  Started in 1979, this space was originally a film copy centre, but when it was later scheduled for demolition, an idea came together to give the space a second life as a centre for culture, community, and ecology.  The site currently has 30 residents and over 160 co-workers who form and test new concepts for producing socially and ecologically responsible ways of living in a metropolis.  Solar panels provide all the power for the whole complex, and green initiatives include gardens, green roofs, independent energy sources and a rainwater-collecting system.  An in-house Organic Bakery and Confectionery and Natural Foods Store provide an assortment of sustainable and tasty food items (I can personally attest to the deliciousness of the caramel coffee and schwarzbier!), and there is a children’s farm onsite where kids can learn to care for animals.

UFA
The Neighborhood and Self-Help Center provides encouragement and assistance in cultural as well as social, health and family matters, and a range of workshops offer opportunities for young and old to remain active whether as athletes, musicians, dancers or circus artists.  The center hosts a circus school, as well as performances by international artists, festivals, in-house productions, comedy, cabaret, dance, world music, children’s programs and professional theatre presentations.  This is  progressive and sustainable living at it´s best.

Prencessen c

In another salvaged space, in nearby Kreuzberg, Prinzessinnengärten peacefully occupies a piece of land previously rendered a wasteland by heavy street fighting during World War II.  The site sat vacant for 50 years until a community group called Nomadic Green took it over in 2009, cleared it of debris, and transformed it into an organic, mobile garden.· By growing vegetables in rice bags, plastic crates and milk containers they have created an ingenious and unique system where they can easily transport the plants to another location if need be.

Prencessen a

Prencessen d

Princessen b

Prinzessinnengärten is an urban place of learning, where locals can come together to experiment and discover more about organic food production, biodiversity and climate protection. Gardening and beekeeping workshops are offered, and the site features a library of gardening books, a plant shop which sells vegetables and herbs, and a cafe-restaurant made from a recycled shipping container that sells fresh food from the garden’s produce as a fantastic way for visitors to enjoy the whole cycle from planting to harvesting to eating the food that is grown on-site.  Guten appetit!

If you don’t get your fill of fresh, organic local food at the garden, worry not – you can do so at Markthalle 9, in the heart of Kreuzberg.

Market c

One of only three remaining market halls in Berlin, this historical monument is 120 years old and has endured a violent past during wartime, but it survived beautifully and now lives a peaceful existence as a place for small traders again.  Here, you can find an incredible array of delicious, sustainable, local food (as well as a brewery!) sourced in ecologically and socially responsible ways, in direct contact with the producers.  The market hall also offers space for initiatives from local residents and is a platform for projects that deal critically with the topics of nutrition, urban, agriculture, biodiversity and the environment.

Market a

Market b

It is a dynamic space in which to eat some incredible food prepared in front of you, drink a beer brewed right in the building, and become totally immersed in the deep history and progressive existence that make Berlin the fantastic city it is. A city where urban living and eco-friendly living are synonymous, innovative technology and hands-on, organic methods combine to achieve a healthier environment and responsible,conscious standard of living, and the future is looking green.

BOOKINGS AND MORE INFORMATION : CLICK HERE

Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | add comments

Berlin Bites

Posted by admin on Monday Jun 30, 2014 Under Street Food

What is “typical Berlin food”? Currywurst is probably the first word that comes to mind–yes the yummy sauce-covered wurst is the most famous–but Berlin has a lot more to offer than that. From crispy, melt-in-your-mouth Schnitzels and Goulash to more unusual offerings like Blutwurst and Mett (raw minced pork which is spread on Brötchen and garnished with raw onions), there are countless options. But some of the most “typical” Berlin food isn’t even German, or even European for that matter. The large immigrant population in Berlin has given rise to a vast array of delicious ethnic foods, particularly from Northern Africa, the Middle-East and Eurasia (some dishes like the Döner Kebab even originated here in Berlin). But perhaps the newest trend that is changing the face of Berlin food is the growing number of vegan and vegetarian eateries (many collectively owned), a result of the green movement becoming increasingly in popularity within Berlin’s liberal sphere.

Currywurst

But with so many options, how can you possibly choose? The tourist guidebooks will inevitably send you straight to an over-priced sit down restaurant or one of Berlin’s most popular imbisses like Curry 36 or Mustafa’s (where an inevitably long queue awaits you). Take our advice and check out our list of some of Berlin’s best, lesser-known local joints. Whether you are looking to stuff your face or just a little something to nibble on–from vegan tapas to lecker kaftka, we’ve got a list to fulfill all of your foodie desires.

Curry 36
Emma Pea Vegetarian Food
Snugged in between Cassiopeia and the alternative concert venue, Badehaus, Emma Pea’s is a hidden gem for veg-heads. The tiny graffiti covered cafe offers a daily changing menu of both vegetarian and vegan options, many with an ethnic twist. The perfect place for a pit stop before or after a night out partying in RAW, swing by and pick up a burrito or Malaysian curry to go or sit down and nibble on a plate of vegan tapas by the fireplace.

Emma Pea Vegetarian Food

Schnitzelei
Tired of the same old Spanish tapas? Why not mix it up and try the German variety? Schnitzelei in Charlottenburg has a decadent selection of all kinds of German cuisine in sample portions–everything from fried red sausage with apple mousse to veal meatballs in creamy caper sauce and of course, the crowd favorite homemade Wiener schnitzel. It is a tad on the pricier side but includes a complimentary beer on arrival so hey, who can complain.

Schnitzelei

Gemüse Kebab Hermannstrasse
There’s only one name that comes to mind when one hears Gemüse kebab, Mustafa’s. But I am here to tell you that there is an alternative that is cheaper and far easier to come by (no hour long waits here!)…but most shockingly, it tastes even better. Across the street from the monstrous Kaiser’s shopping complex on the south side of the Hermannstrasse S Bahn station is a Gemüse kebab imbiss which has been making quite a stir among Neuköln’s ex-pat population. The dish is prepared essentially the same way–chicken slow-roasted “doner style” on a stick with roasted veggies (carrots, eggplant, potatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions) with fresh salad and crumbled feta. However, at this little neighborhood joint the selection of sauces and seasonings is far more varied–try the curry sauce or yogurt with herbs for a really unique flavour combination.

Gemüse Kebab Hermannstrasse

Gel Gör
There’s only one word you need to know at Gel Gör, Köfte. For those who aren’t familiar with the dish it is a roasted Turkish meatball served on a fresh baked baguette, and Gel Gör has undoubtedly the best around. The family-run Turkish business has a huge menu of different sandwiches, although the undoubtable favorite is the Köfte, they serve theirs with springy greens and fresh tomatoes with a zesty citrusy sauce and fresh mint. The tiny restaurant is open 24 hours so you can grab a bite whenever the craving hits–their lentil soup is also a particularly yummy option on a cold winter night.

Gel Gör

Rundstück Warm
There are many legends surrounding the origin of the Hamburger, but perhaps my favorite tall-tale is that of the Rundstück Warm. Rumor has it the rundstück warm (a small brötchen sandwich originating in Northern Germany) was brought to the World Fair and was an instant hit. However, the name was too confusing to pronounce for the English-speaking crowd so it was dubbed the “Hamburger” since the guys who brought the tasty treat were from Hamburg. Today, the rundstück warm is a rare sight on any menu–any menu except the one at the tiny Neuköln international restaurant devoted to the dish, Rundstück Warm. The small pork sandwich is truly decadent–slow-roasted and thick-sliced with a crispy outer crust and covered in plum gravy, the chef at RW serves it up daily alongside homemade fries and a Spreewald Gürken. Other menu options include an array of artisan burgers (everything from goat cheese to gorgonzola and pear) plus a couple of surprisingly good burritos prepared the authentic way by a chef from Guatemala.

Rundstück Warm

Sahara
Few outsiders are familiar with Sudanese food, or really the Sudan in general (there is a map of the country on the wall just in case you weren’t sure where it was) but this tiny Neuköln imbiss is bound to change that, the food is just that damn good. At first glance, the menu seems similar to other falafel places and the like–halloumi, tofu, chicken, magali, etc–however the flavor is vastly different from its middle-eastern counterparts. Each dish is covered in tangy peanut sauce and aubergine past giving it a mild, slightly sweet flavor that is truly addicting. And with sandwiches starting at 2.50, you would be hard-pressed to find a more günstig meal. The company has also expanded opening another location just a few streets down from the original location on the corner of Weserstrasse and Reuterstrasse which means hopefully the seating in the tiny imbiss will no longer be at such a premium.

Sahara

Blutwurstmanufaktur
If you are anything like me, then the thought of eating a jellified mass of dried pigs blood stuffed into an intestine doesn’t sound too appetizing. But if there is any place that could possibly make you a believer in one of Germany’s most bizarre dishes, it is the Blutwurstmanufaktur at Karl-Marx-Platz in Neukoelln. The tiny German deli is recognizable by a glowing neon red sign stating simply “Fleischerei.” However, don’t let the benign exterior fool you, this local business has been around for more than 100 years and is known throughout Europe for its award-winning blood pudding–it is so good in fact that the shop supplies many of the cities finest restaurants and is even served to the Federal President at Bellevue Palace. But if you are still not convinced and blood sausage just isn’t your thing, they also have a wide selection of other smoked and cured meats plus sauerkraut and homemade mustard.

Blutwurstmanufaktur

Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , | add comments

The Craft Beer Revolution

Posted by admin on Wednesday Mar 26, 2014 Under Uncategorized

The Craft Beer Revolution

In a country where beer is cheaper than water, it isn’t exact hard to find a big frothy beverage to cure that hard earned thirst. However, not even those ridiculously low Germany prices could keep the country’s national beer consumption from sinking to a 25 year low in 2013 (http://www.thelocal.de/20140130/german-beer-production-sinks-to-25-year-low). Beer consumption in general may be on the decline, but this is one thing that cannot be said for the growing craft beer revolution.

India Pale Ale’s (IPA’s), Stout’s, Porter’s and other such varieties of beers were previously quite hard to come across in Berlin, but with the recent, I’m talking the past 5 years or so, craft beer revolution, these varieties of beer are becoming more easy to find. Both your average locals as well some larger beer manufactures have started to look beyond typical German brewing techniques and ingredients and have started to produce varieties of beers that 20 years prior would not have been allowed under the former German Beer Purity Law the Reinheitsgebot.

Picture 1 Via beerwrangler(2)

The revolution is still in its youth, but year after year the movement seems to gather in speed. Over the past 10 years the number of microbreweries in Germany has tripled from 300 to over 900 and in Berlin, the capital of Germany and the craft beer revolution, some 20+ microbreweries have popped up over that same time period. But it isn’t only microbreweries who are selling craft beer, various shops and bars around Berlin have also joined the revolution and are now supplying their customers with craft beers from Germany and around the world. But where are the craft beer hotspots in Berlin?

Probably the best place to start looking for craft beers is from the source itself, the microbreweries. Many microbreweries around Berlin have connecting bars where you can consume their products, which are made only meters away. Some of Berlin’s best include:

Brauerei Eschenbräu (http://eschenbraeu.de/) in Wedding who not only brew a Pilsner, a Dunkle (dark beer) and a seasonal beer, but also make their own apple juice!

Picture 2 Via Brauerei Eschenbräu(1)

Vagabund Brauerei (http://vagabundbrauerei.com/) also in Wedding produce an IPA, a Hoppy Weisenbock, an American Pale Ale, a Coffee Stout and a Szechuan Saison.

picture 3 via Vagabund Brauerei(1)

Heiden Peters (http://heidenpeters.de/) in Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg sell a variety of beers brewed by themselves, as well as some other craft beers brewed elsewhere. Expect to find a variety of Pale Ales, Porters and Stouts.

picture 4 Heiden Peters(1)

Brauhaus Südstern (http://brauhaus-suedstern.de/en/) also in Kreuzberg not only brew a Helles (light beer), Dunkel (dark beer) and Weizen (wheat beer), but they are also the proud owners of a world record for the Worlds Strongest Beer at 27.6%!

Picture 5 Brauhaus Südstern(1)

Hops and Barley (http://hopsandbarley.eu/) in Friedrichshain are one of the most well known microbreweries in town and here you can find a Pilsner, a Dunkle (dark beer), a Weizen (wheat beer) and their own Cider.

Picture 6 Via conti-online(1)

Besides the breweries themselves there are some bars around town that have German and international craft beers on their menus with probably you best option being John Muir (http://johnmuirberlin.com/) in Kreuzberg. Although these guys are not brewing beers themselves, their beer menu boasts a variety of craft beers including the Californian Anchor Steam and Anchor Porter, the German Crew IPA and the Belgian Chimay, to name a few.

Picture 7 via John Muir Facebook(1)

Another option, if you would prefer to consume your craft beers at home, is the Berlin Bier Shop (http://www.berlinbiershop.com/). They boast a large variety of craft beers from around the world and are constantly getting new and different types of beers for its customers. The Berlin Bier Shop also often hosts beer tasting nights, where you get the opportunity to try a variety of beers and meet other craft beer lovers.

Picture 8 Via Berlin Bier Shop Website(1)

 The locations above are just a few examples of places where you can find craft beer. I am sure that in the future, as this scene becomes more and more popular, there will be even more options of bars, microbreweries and shops to find a great tasting locally or internationally brewed craft beer.

By Liam Gook

Founder of Mogli Oak Berlin (www.mo-berlin.com)

Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | add comments

Frollein Langner

Posted by admin on Tuesday Feb 11, 2014 Under art, Berlin, Berlin history, events, fashion, Restaurants, Uncategorized

Blame it on the booze, or the sublime setting–the candlelight glinting off of the teeth and pupils of the patrons as they weave amongst themselves, and the small fleeting brushes of skin on the velvet furniture. It is true, the overall effect of Frollein Langner is intoxicating…although not entirely unique.

It is a winning combination–eclectic bar decor set against rugged bare brick walls with dim lighting serving as a backdrop for acoustic concerts, art exhibitions, and other hipster offerings–a very common sight on the cobbled backstreets of Neukölln.
However, while Frollein Langner does match most of the criteria for the typical Neukölln hipster bar; this buzzing nightlife spot in Schillerkiez stands apart (both geographically and metaphorically) from the endless candlelit watering holes lining Weserstrasse. Why? This environment that we find so mesmerizing at Frollein Langner is not contrived as so many others, but rather inherent–stemming from the bars origin itself.

Opened by a group of three Berlin students as a way to put themselves through college and furnished by a happenstance donation from a dead woman of no relation; Frollein Langner is a place which has flourished by a stroke of luck.

frollein langner 1

frollein langner 2

frollein langner 3

“We never started with the intention of being ‘trendy’” said Steffen, one of the three founders of Frollein Langner, “It started as a hobby; none of us had any business experience and we didn’t have much money starting out so we used whatever we could find or what was given to us, much of it by chance.”

When first walking in to the bar, visitors are instantly drawn in by the decor; in fact, it is so harmonious that one finds it hard to believe the interior design was not contrived. The elegant but understated Weimar and early DDR furnishings fit together seamlessly with oddball pieces like a cushioned Victorian bathtub and a large dresser full of mismatched colorful drawers which serves as a DJ stand–an unwanted leftover of a movie set which randomly found its way into the bar.

frollein langner 4

frollein langner 5

frollein langner 6

However, unlike other similarly decorated venues like Luzia and Das Hotel, which have a tendency toward producing secluded “couple corners,” the open floor plan of Frollein Langner allows for more social interaction. “You can always come here on your own,  still have fun, and meet people,” Steffen said. I asked if anyone had ever passed out drunk in the bathtub. “Well this one time my friend…no I shouldn’t tell you that,” he laughed and smiled sheepishly into his peppermint tea, “but every item has a story behind it.”

Indeed, from a framed 50-year-old newspaper with the headline “Fight over wrong type of beer ends in murder” to a giant wooden entryway which was once the archway of a since-burned-down church–every object is undoubtedly unique. However, the most interesting story lies with the late “Frollein Langner” herself. Her photo hangs in a place of honor behind the bar–the sepia-toned image showing the woman in turn-of-the-century riding clothes wearing a grim expression. She is the unlikely benefactor of the bar; the majority of the interior was given via third party to the three students (Till, Ben, and Steffen) from her surviving family simply because the moving cost of the furniture proved to be more than it’s worth.

frollein langner 10frollein langner 11

frollein langner 12

“We don’t know anything about her, but we owe her a great deal,” Steffen explained. “That’s why we chose her image as our logo–and also because we were intrigued by her face–she is not only friendly, in fact, she looks quite mean.”

Whatever the case may be, if Siegfried Olga Langner could see what her unwilling donation had created, who could guess the priceless reaction. The bar which began as a side project run solely by the three friends has grown into a full-scale operation complete with a large main bar area and several lounges (which also serve as an art gallery and occasional performance space) and an adjacent burger joint named after the German predecessor of the hamburger, “Rundstück Warm.”

frollein langner 7

frollein langner 8

frollein langner 9

Later over one of the kitchen’s rundstück sandwiches (a tasty helping of sliced pork covered in a plum gravy) and a couple of the bar’s signature Moscow Mules (they zing it up a bit using ginger beer and crushed cucumber) I asked Steffen again about the mysterious Frollein Langner. “So is she a metaphor for the bar itself? Is it not really friendly either?” I jested. He smiled and shook his head no but referred me to a quote by Anneliese Bödecker written above the bar:

“Die Berliner sind unfreundlich und rücksichtslos, ruppig und rechthaberisch, Berlin ist abstoβend, laut, dreckig und grau. Baustellen und verstopfte Straβen wo man geht und steht – aber mir tun alle Menschen leid, die hier nicht leben können!”

rundstück warm 1

rundstück warm 2

rundstück warm 3

Later over one of the kitchen’s rundstück sandwiches (a tasty helping of sliced pork covered in a plum gravy) and a couple of the bar’s signature Moscow Mules (they zing it up a bit using ginger beer and crushed cucumber) I asked Steffen again about the mysterious Frollein Langner. “So is she a metaphor for the bar itself? Is it not really friendly either?” I jested. He smiled and shook his head no but referred me to a quote by Anneliese Bödecker written above the bar:

“Die Berliner sind unfreundlich und rücksichtslos, ruppig und rechthaberisch, Berlin ist abstoβend, laut, dreckig und grau. Baustellen und verstopfte Straβen wo man geht und steht – aber mir tun alle Menschen leid, die hier nicht leben können!”

{translated}

“The Berliners are unfriendly and inconsiderate, gruff and bossy, Berlin is repugnant, loud, dirty and gray. The streets where one lives and works are always under construction and congested but I feel sorry for everyone who never has the chance to live here!”

Article by Kirsten Hall

Links:

http://www.frollein-langner.de

https://www.facebook.com/FrolleinLangner

https://www.facebook.com/RundstueckWarm

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rundstück_warm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_mule

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_quotes_featuring_Berlin

Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | add comments
BMC

For most Berlin newbies (and even a few more experiened ex-pats) references to the locality of Lichtenberg ring few bells. Or, if so, perhaps the description “outside of the ring” is enough to bring to mind several negative stereotypes–Neo Nazis and plattenbau’s? Nein danke. I think I would rather drink a Spree-water cocktail sir. So it is safe to say I was skeptical of the recent buzz around the growing alternative scene in Lichtenberg–but a collective exhibition featuring some of my favorite Berlin urban artists was enough to make me throw my misgivings to the wind and make the cold, dreary trek out to the unconventional locale.

001

002

003

A converted margarine factory set the stage for my first Lichtenberg experience, “From the Streets,” the inaugural group show from the newly formed Black Market Collective–a side project of Alternative Berlin housing 131 resident artists and inviting all to come participate–providing space and supplies when needed–everything from wheat paste to bolt cutters.

005

004

006

A massive factory floor littered with colorful and enticing artworks greeted me as I stumbled into the gallery–packed to the gills with the usual art crowd–both Germans and ex-pats, familiar and strange faces floated past. One of the most recognizable staples in the Berlin art community and curator of the event, Adrian Buendia from the popular Neukölln gallery, Idrawalot, mingled with the crowd and explained his involvement in the show. “The inspiration for the show was simple: A group show to kick off the space,” he said. “It was a good way to open a new space. First off, you get a good mix of art. Second, you get a lot of people coming as well so it helps with the promotion of the space. I had contact with Soon and Jones, two artists that are very active on the streets, and they approached me with an idea of a group show–I told them about this new space and the idea kind of formed from there.”

007

 

009

The concept of a group show is not groundbreaking in any sense, but what was instantly apparent to me as I sauntered past the various offerings was the refreshing notion that the show had no underlying theme. From a Rapanth’s pug portraits to hilarious illustrations by Haevi that instantly reminded me of Ed, Edd, n Eddy or other such Nickelodeon cartoons from my childhood–each artist presented their work maintaining their individual artist essence–a nice change as many group shows tend to become a forced combination of different perspectives trying to conform to a certain theme. “We are presenting work from artists who have never presented formally in a gallery,” explained Buendia, “This was the first show for Soon, Jones and Rapanth so this was a new experience for them as well…We have a mix of artist that not only do work on the streets but actually document it.”This documentation of the streets is readily apparent in a stunning series of photographs from Lucky Cat, a native Berliner who has been documenting the street art scene since 2008. One of the most impressive though not part of the exhibition was a large aerial photo of Görlitzer Bahnhof from the perspective of a street artist tagging a building by the extremely prolific bomber and photographer JUST.

010

1425613_642184075846011_1372912754_n

1463069_642183349179417_833905533_n

Other standouts included the banksy-esque gas mask prints from emerging Berlin artist, Soon, and a series of illustrations by Boing which reminded me of one of my favorite childhood novels, “Where the Wild Things Are” but depicted with an almost film-noir set up–the artist illuminates only certain highly-detailed objects in the darkness to create an other-worldly vibe. All-in-all, it was a great show.

1463089_642183749179377_1858594493_n

1467475_642183885846030_1407155271_n

1469788_642184139179338_1549932595_n

Amiable but still edgy crowd, great location, and wicked art (much of which was quite affordable, even for Berlin standards) But I had to ask, Why Lichtenberg? “The whole area is very vibrant with art so it’s nice to be away from the typical art spaces in Berlin.” Buendia explained. It’s seems to be getting cramped and saturated ‘within the ring’ so venturing out to other areas is a positive thing.

1470301_642183712512714_227923474_n

1475822_642183952512690_2014315064_n

DSCF1874

Not only is the space bigger but you also have some interesting structures all around the neighborhood. It’s a whole different vibe.”So if you fancy yourself an explorer, or just want to get away from the hustle of Berlin’s inner districts and see something new, come and check out Black Market’s “From the Streets” which runs until mid January.

DSCF1900

DSCF1902

DSCF1903

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Market-Collective/562372410499171

http://www.flickr.com/photos/berlincat/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/SOONStreetart/541112892572625

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jones/231181093679333?ref=hl

http://rapanth.tumblr.com/http://searchboing.tumblr.com/

Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , | add comments

Simply Google, “New Year’s Eve in Europe” and there is one name you will always find with each click, our very own Berlin. Even now the resounding bangs and booms of fireworks have begun, alluding to the insane party which is to come on Tuesday. But being at the top of every list of best party places isn’t always a good thing–as celebrations commence we can inevitably expect crowding in the Ubahns and long queues for all of the major clubs and events. So if you plan on going out but would rather not count yourself one of the million revelers packing in around Brandenburger Tor, grab a glass of sekt and check out our list of alternative and unusual ways to spend New Years in Berlin.

1. Get Sexy

Hey you already have to find somebody to smooch at midnight right? Why not take it a step further. The horror rock bar, The Last Cathedral will be hosting a sexy masquerade party featuring fire dancers & vampire Goth table dancers, plus a hot and cold buffet if you are feeling peckish. Or sit back and be entertained at Lilly’s Wonderland Bar in Köpenick, a burlesque club where “no eye stays dry and no shirt unbuttoned” at their annual New Year’s show. But if you really want to go all out, try for the annual Silvestergala at KitKat–the world-famous sex club will open up three dance floors to a great DJ line-up and will even feature living erotic artwork. Just be aware, only the finest fetish gear and costumes will make it past the infamous doorman.

2. Embrace Culture

It’s no secret that Berlin has a large ethnic community–particularly in areas like Neukölln and Kreuzberg which have a high population of immigrants–especially of Arabic and Turkish descent. These districts are also focal points of the NYE celebrations (although many actually sound more like a demilitarized zone when the clock strikes 12…be wary of falling bullets) Turkish culture has many great New Year’s traditions–from exchanging small gifts to even decorating Christmas trees (Santa Claus and other such things are more associated with NYE than Christmas). The famous Maybachufer Türkischer Markt will be open till 4pm where you can find everything you need to make your own celebration (traditional holiday treats include warm pide, börek, baklava, and various eggplant dishes). Or if you would rather leave the work to someone else, head to the Egyptian/Arabian restaurant club Marooush in Charlottenburg or Al Hamra in Prenzlauerberg. But for a more laid-back evening, try a night relaxing with friends around a water-pipe at one of Berlin’s many shisha lounges–information can be found at http://shishaberlin.de

3. Pretend it’s Summer

Sure we can all gripe and moan about how we’ve all been wearing coats since the end of September, but let’s face it…it might have started early but this has been an unseasonably warm winter. Take advantage of the above-freezing temps and bring your celebrations outdoors. There’s an outdoor rave and beach party (yes you heard right, beach party) at Weissensee complete with a fantastic fireworks show and views of the city. Or if you would rather go it alone, simply grab some friends, some cheap champagne, and a disposable grill and head to one of Berlin’s many cool abandoned spots (we suggest one with a rooftop view of the city) fire up some brats and simply sit back and enjoy the show. Just remember, if you are partying in an abandoned site please be respectful of history–in other words don’t be a cunt–skip the vandalizing and take your trash with you! For info and locations check out Abandoned Berlin.

4. Check out some  Local Jams

Skip the crowded Euro-pop concert at Brandenburger Tor and head to one of Berlin’s local joints to hear some of the city’s best unheard-of talent. Local Berlin artist Stephen Paul Taylor will be performing a special NYE concert at a local Kreuzberg tea bar, T Berlin which will be followed by a DJ line up well into the wee morning hours. For some more exotic tunes, check out the reggae and soca line up at the caribbean beach bar and community center YAAM which will be holding a big celebration including multiple dance floors and a bonfire on the beach. Also hosting concerts on New Year’s are the local music hall, Lido and Bade Haus. Check websites for complete details.

Article by Kirsten Hall

Links:

http://www.kitkatclub.org/Home/Club/Index.html
http://www.lastcathedral.com
http://www.lillys-wonderland-bar.de
http://www.tuerkenmarkt.de
http://www.alhamra.de
http://www.marooush.de
http://www.binbaden.com
http://www.abandonedberlin.com
https://www.facebook.com/events/556366401114324/
https://www.facebook.com/events/250165021805771/?source=1
https://www.facebook.com/events/1487227808169083/
https://www.facebook.com/events/705104866166611/

#newyear #newyearseveberlin2014 #thingstodoinberlin #Berlintopevent #Altberlintours #berlin #Berlinnightout #SilvesterBerlin #BerlinSilvester #Berlinnightout #Silvesterpartys #Alternativenewyear #Silvester2014 #LiveinBerlin #Gigsberlin

Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | add comments

Me Collector’s Room

Posted by admin on Monday Dec 30, 2013 Under events, fashion

Me Collector’s Room

If you’re looking for an afternoon in Berlin a little less ordinary then Me Collector’s Room is an obvious choice. Situated on Augustrasse in Mitte, it is the only remaining cabinet of curiosities left in Germany after its war torn past, and displays an impressive collection of over 200 unusual objects from around the world.

Founded by collector and scholar Thomas Olbricht, the collection was a natural progression from the regular lending of his artefacts to various institutions around Germany – ‘Moving Energies’ being one of these and what the ‘Me’ in the venue’s title stands for.

Divided into two sections, the venue houses Olbricht’s permanent Wunderkammer collection besides a changing art exhibition. The Wunderkammer begins upstairs and immediately commands your attention with the head and neck of a Giraffe, nonchalantly staring outwards from a corner. More everyday is the collection of DHL truck figurines which also greet you at the beginning of the experience, demonstrating Olbricht’s passion for collecting objects even as a young boy – a collector in the truest form.

Further on is the horn of the legendary unicorn, known now to be the tusk of a narwahl but still otherworldly and fantastical in appearance. Natural phenomenon feature frequently throughout the collection, cabinets of curiosity specialising in such found wonders as well as scientific instruments and anatomical models, all reflecting the contemporary standard of knowledge their viewers possessed.

Erweiterung-der-Wunderkammer-Olbricht-Installationsansicht-2012-©-me-Collectors-Room-Berlin-Foto-Florian-Balze

Highlights from the mammoth collection include cups made of exotic materials such as coconut and nautilus (a type of marine mollusk), preserved specimens of a Nile crocodile, a great blue turaco and a coconut chalice adorned with images of Brazilian cannibals; previously owned by Alexander von Humboldt.

Particularly disturbing is the preserved shrunken head from a Jivaroan tribe in Ecuador, its eyes, mouth and nose sewn shut, hair hanging limply. This practice reflects upon tribal traditions and war but also upon our human preoccupation with death. The wooden shrine housing dozens of intricately carved miniature skulls also demonstrates clearly this vanitas motif running throughout the exhibition, and draws attention to the pertinence of the topic no matter the time.

Spanning around half a century, the aim of the collection is not to provoke admiration but

sheer astonishment”, which apparently since the 16th century has been considered as the first step towards the gaining of knowledge and insight. Despite it being the 21st century and having travelled further than the average Victorian I was definitely astonished by this incredible collection, and highly doubt that there are many who wouldn’t at least be impressed.

Me Collector’s Room

Augustrasse 68 10117 Berlin

Opening hours: Tuesdays – Sundays, 12 – 6pm

Admission: €7

Tags : , | add comments

Little Dudes Invade Berlin

Posted by admin on Thursday Dec 19, 2013 Under art, Berlin, events, fashion

Introducing the latest arrival in Berlin – an influx of ‘Little Dudes’. Originating in Dudeland, i.e. graphic designer Alexis Bainger’s creative cortex, these cheeky individuals have been made across the globe by creatives in different fields, from textiles to painting, born from a neutral template which every artist responded to in their own way.

Following roughly a two month window the artists involved in the project posted their creations to Berlin, where they were exhibited at Urban Spree from November 1st – 3rd in a proud ‘dude reunion’. Packed with people eager to see the finished dudes in all their glory, the most important part of the evening was the charity auction – each artist having the option to donate the proceeds from their dude to one of three charities -

charity: water, Action against hunger or the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The amount of talent and thought that had gone into the Little dudes was incredible. Although most didn’t stray too far from the initial A4 size a few towered above the others, as well as the particularly great dude, ‘Lionel’, by aloof creative Slaven Rogosic who was so tiny he sat behind a magnifying glass, holding a sign reading ‘Is it me you’re looking for?’.

Other personal favourites included ‘Manu Zulu’, the African inspired dude by illustrator Anne Wenkel whose story on his birth certificate (one accompanying every dude) described him as “the ruler over nightfall and rosy fingered dawn,”. There was also a dude living in his very own home, and another in an egg box which doubled as his spaceship, the natural inhabitants of the creatures spanning far and wide.

The auction seemed to be a great success despite a slow start, the crowd not really warming up until Alexis’ own dude ‘Beary Baingerous’ came under the hammer. With the charming patter of auctioneer Herr Wendelin Groß the handsome sum of over €1,200 was raised for the three charities. Any dudes without new parents who weren’t sold at the auction, ‘Orphan’ dudes, are currently up for adoption on the site – you can see them here.


Although the Little Dudes have now begun their journey, happy in their new homes their mission is not over yet. Founder Bainger says “There is definitely more in store for little dudes. A bigger and better mission 2 is being planned for the coming Spring, and some other world improving missions too. It wasn´t me who said ‘little dudes are going to conquer the world.. for sure!’ , but I would have to agree!”.

We certainly hope so.

Keep up to date with the Little Dudes by following their FB page or website.

Words by Marie J Burrows

Tags : , , , , , , , , , | add comments

One of the most exciting things about our beloved city is the never ending search for new or old for that matter spaces, side streets and areas that one would never expect to find a creative hub quietly making waves.

Tranformations of old abandoned  buildings being made into new spaces for creativity, events and more are a very common feature. The huge beautiful and ancient looking building complex on Prenzlauer allee is no exception to this rule.
I took it upon myself to check it out one day after a tip , but it seemed currently closed to the public apart from the bar and restaurant and a popular currywurst stand outside the entrance. I asked the security guard when it will be officially open to the public and he said 2020. Seven years to wait to see whats in the underground chambers of this famous old Bötzow Brewery complex ??? Like a baby in the in the womb for a very long gestation period waiting for this wonderful creative space will be born ( I have also read that it will be ready in 2015) this old fossil waits to be awaken from it´s slumber. Only a handful of lucky few have a personal tour and peered into the past while taking a sneak peek of a future creative , entertainment powerhouse.

The buidling originated in 1864 when Julius Bötzow opened his brewery in the old Schönhauser straße with money he has received from his uncle as start-up capital, (it seems even way back then Berlin was filled with start-ups ;) On the 12.12.2011 there was an opening party event which saw 200 attendees at which he also explained his ideas for the brewery.

Bötzow brauerei in 1900

Bötzow had been introduced to making bottled beer during an apprenticeship so naturally, he built a brewery and installed one of the very first steam boilers in Berlin. It became so popular that Bötzow later moved the brewery to a much larger venue in Prenzlauer allee to hold a a 4,000 m² underground storage cellar and nearly 6,000 people in the massive beer garden which had become a major local attraction. Some of this massive construction is still around and has been preserved.

The Bötzow family ended it’s ties with the building after the suicide of the owner’s son.  Since then the building has been re-trasformed many times as a warehouse and a market site, until Näder set his sights on acquiring it in 2010

Tours of the underground cellars  through manholes are available. This is where the bottles were once stored and old underground horse stables can also be found there. Many of the people that have done the tour found it very interesting and hard to believe that people once worked there.

 

The building

The massive building was recently reopened and bought by a local Berliner called Georg Näder who plans to recreate the space and use ot for many functions and ideas. It has been in the process of being transformed into a new vision of Näder’s since then. The location is perfect as it is on the border of Berlin’s 3 most lively neighbourhoods, Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain.

Over the years, it has been used for various things like events, film sets and storage, it is still being realised, but will  come to life at the right time before in the next few years. It will still always have a Berlin feel and is thought to have been motivated by London’s Camden market and New York’s Chelsea market. He wants to keep it uniquely Berlin and wants to preseve the building’s vintage look.
The famous British architect David Chipperfield is working on the master plan for the building. He plans to involve areas along Staarbrücker street and Prenzlauer allee. His ideas involve things like placement of a hotel, an art gallery, a beer garden with microbrewery and a swim club.

Näder says that the building is still being modified and ideas are discussed often about what the building should have in it – as it is such a large venue the options are umlimited.  Näder has been travelling the world and gathering his best ideas for it and one day we will have the priveleldge of visiting this amazing preserved and newly revived space. Hoping that it´s worth the long wait.

Tags : | add comments

Berlin Art Week : STROKE Urban Art Fair

Posted by admin on Sunday Oct 13, 2013 Under art, Berlin, events, graffiti, Street art is..., streetart

Just when you thought you’d had enough of art fairs with the end of Berlin Art Week, along comes STROKE Urban Art Fair. Taking place from Thursday 3rd until Sunday 6th October at industrial setting Alte Mnze, STROKE is not your average art fair, and this was immediately clear upon entering the event, Dolly’s classic ‘Jolene’ blasting from a pair of speakers.

Inside the exhibition was spread over a maze of buildings, meeting at a central open courtyard where artists were working on large scale 2D pieces, attracting avid audiences watching every pen or brush stroke.

Unlike other contemporary art fairs, STROKE aims to champion all types of art, including fields others wouldn’t such as illustration, graffiti, street art, graphic deisgn and comic art as well as more traditional painting, fine art and sculpture.

Personal highlights included the collage work of Stuttgart based artist Daniel Geiger (link to his website here http://www.mongomania.com) shown here below

img 8622

and the prints and illustrations of fellow Stuttgart based artist Julia Humpfer, who was busy illustrating a found wooden fragment with intricate shapes and patterns  when we visited yesterday afternoon.

Also impressive was the work of Atta Crew, a collaboration between artists Adam Klodecki (or Theosone – https://www.facebook.com/artoftheosone ) and Anna Taut (link to https://www.facebook.com/vandertaut) resulting in beautiful drawings surrounded by ornate calligraphy – below you can see Anna in action. Beetles/scarabs seemed to be a recurring theme in the fair, the works of sculptur Tim David Trillsam (http://www.trillsam.com) and Dimitris Ntokos (http://dmsntok.tumblr.com) also featuring the animal.

The atmosphere at the fair was refreshing, a laid back crowd with a distinct lack of pretension, filled with visitors enjoying the artwork and engaging with artists what art should be.

(If you publish it today include this: The fair finishes today at 6pm, for more info visit STROKE’s website here: http://www.stroke-artfair.com)

Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | add comments
This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.