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Exberliner Issue 138, May 2015

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<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>138</strong> • €2.90 • <strong>May</strong> <strong>2015</strong><br />

MARK REEDER: “She said: ‘I’ll meet you at the Palast der Republik in<br />

the cocktail bar.’ I was a bit wary about what this could be.” (p.30)<br />

YASMINE HAMDAN: “It’s sexual harassment but with humour.” (p.38)<br />

PETER GREENAWAY: “You know and I know that most artists only<br />

have one or two ideas.” (p.43)<br />

BERLIN<br />

BLOODSUCKER<br />

Interview with<br />

a vampire<br />

END<br />

PROHIBITION<br />

The case for<br />

making all<br />

drugs legal<br />

NEW!<br />

A Berlin comic<br />

and a spy<br />

column<br />

PLAYING<br />

TO LOSE<br />

A look behind<br />

casino doors<br />

WORK ­<br />

AHOLICS<br />

Is the startup<br />

scene<br />

burning out?<br />

Addicted!<br />

From booze to smartphones, computer games<br />

to prescription pills, slot machines to Botox<br />

– is there anything Berlin’s not hooked on?<br />

www.exberliner.com<br />

What’s on? • Art Fashion • Film • Food • Music • Nightlife • Stage<br />

100% made in Berlin.<br />

Printed on recycled<br />

paper.


Theatertreffen-Performances<br />

with english surtitles:<br />

Die Schutzbefohlenen<br />

(The supplicants)<br />

Warum läuft Herr R. Amok?<br />

(Why does Mr R run amok?)<br />

die unverheiratete<br />

(the unmarried)<br />

Common Ground<br />

Warten auf Godot<br />

(Waiting for Godot)<br />

John Gabriel Borkman<br />

Die lächerliche Finsternis<br />

(The ridiculous darkness)<br />

Tacita Dean: Event for a stage<br />

(Film, <strong>2015</strong>)<br />

Fassbinder film night<br />

at Delphi Filmpalast<br />

all movies with English subtitles<br />

Theatertreffen Camp<br />

selected workshops with<br />

English translation<br />

Foto © Krafft Angerer, Gestaltung: Ta-Trung, Berlin<br />

Berliner Festspiele are funded by<br />

Theatertreffen is funded by<br />

Media partner


ISSUE <strong>138</strong>, MAY <strong>2015</strong><br />

SPECIAL: ADDICTION<br />

06 Verbatim Charité specialist Andreas<br />

Heinz on what defines an addiction<br />

10 Kitchen confidential Drug and alcohol<br />

abuse in Berlin restaurants<br />

11 The anti-addicts Inside the straight<br />

edge scene<br />

12 Legalise everything! Should drug<br />

decriminalisation go beyond pot?<br />

14 Smart at the barbecue Going down<br />

the smartphone black hole<br />

15 Interview with a vampyre Meet Lilith,<br />

a Berlinerin with a craving for blood<br />

16 The 13-year blur An expat recalls his<br />

struggle with prescription drugs<br />

18 The most dangerous game? Hooked<br />

on computer gaming<br />

Smartphone addiction, page 14<br />

20 The talk of shame A sex addict speaks<br />

21 The men in the mirror Tattoos and<br />

Botox: getting addicted to change<br />

22 Is Berlin burning out? Workaholism<br />

takes root in the German capital<br />

24 Spinning out of control Behind the<br />

doors of Berlin’s Spielhallen<br />

FRANCESCA TORRICELLI<br />

REGULARS<br />

03 Werner’s political notebook<br />

04 Best of Berlin Central Berlin: DDR<br />

Limited, Cucula, East & Eden, open stages<br />

46 NEW! I, spy Annie Machon’s great LEAP<br />

forward<br />

47 Fashion What’s hot and what’s not<br />

48 Berlin bites Salt ‘n’ Bone, Dabbawalla,<br />

Kala, delivery wars<br />

50 The Berlin Guide<br />

53 Ask Hans-Torsten Dogs and the law<br />

54 Save Berlin Endangered artists’ studios<br />

55 Ask Dr. Dot<br />

56 NEW! Comic Bjørn in Berlin<br />

57 Letters to the editor<br />

WHAT’S ON<br />

26 Events calendar<br />

28 Film<br />

34 Stage<br />

37 Music and nightlife<br />

42 Art<br />

Blind Tisch<br />

Takako Suzuki and Pär Thörn<br />

WED 13 THU 14 <strong>May</strong><br />

Vaivén<br />

Juan Kruz Díaz de Garaio Esnaola und Antonio Ruz<br />

SUN 17 <strong>May</strong><br />

To this purpose only<br />

matanicola and Fattoria Vittadini<br />

SAT 23 SUN 24 <strong>May</strong><br />

Radial Night Haydn2032<br />

with<br />

Il Giardino Armonico<br />

Giovanni Antonini<br />

FRI 08 <strong>May</strong><br />

Foto: Sebastian Bolesch<br />

Foto: Sebastian Bolesch<br />

Holzmarktstraße 33 · 10243 Berlin<br />

www.radialsystem.de · 030 288 788 588<br />

1<br />

Holzmarktstraße 33 · 10243 Berlin<br />

www.radialsystem.de · 030 288 788 588


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Mon 4th 9:30 PEPE MUJICA: LESSONS FROM THE<br />

FLOWERBED Span./Germ.sbtls<br />

Tue 5th 9:30 (KUBRICK) DR. STRANGELOVE or: How I Learned<br />

to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (US 1964) English<br />

Wed 6th 9:30 THE IMITATION GAME Engl./Germ.sbtls<br />

Thu 7th 9:30 (OSKAR ROEHLER) Tod den Hippies!! Es lebe der Punk!<br />

PUNK BERLIN 1982 German/Engl.sbtls<br />

Fri 8th 9:30 Wild Tales RELATOS SALVAJES Span./Germ.sbtls<br />

Sat 9th 9:30 THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING<br />

Die Entdeckung der Unendlichkeit Engl./Germ.sbtls<br />

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(XAVIER DOLAN) TOM À LA FERME<br />

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Eine Taube sitzt auf einem Zweig und denkt über das...<br />

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A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH RE-<br />

FLECTING ON EXISTENCE Swed./Germ.sbtls<br />

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Sat 16th 9:30 THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC<br />

MARIGOLD HOTEL Engl./Germ.sbtls<br />

Sun 17th 9:30 (DAVID CRONENBERG) MAPS TO THE STARS<br />

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Tue 19th 9:30<br />

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Mr. <strong>May</strong> und das Flüstern der Ewigkeit<br />

STILL LIFE Engl./Germ.sbtls<br />

LABYRINTH OF LIES<br />

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens Germ./Engl.sbtls<br />

FOXCATCHER Engl./Germ.sbtls<br />

Fri 22nd 9:30 STILL ALICE Engl./Germ.sbtls<br />

Sat 23rd 8:30 EUROVISION SONG CONTEST<br />

Our anual celebration of Europes fi nest and trashy music.<br />

Presented by Inge Borg and Gisela Sommer / Admission free!<br />

Sun 24th 9:30 LA FAMILLE BÉLIER<br />

Verstehen Sie die Béliers? Fren./Germ.sbtls<br />

Mon 25th 9:30 GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Engl./Germ.sbtls<br />

Tue 26th 9:30<br />

Wed 27th 9:30<br />

Thu 28th 9:30<br />

SELMA Engl./Germ.sbtls<br />

A MOST VIOLENT YEAR Engl./Germ.sbtls<br />

PHOENIX Germ./Engl.sbtls<br />

Fri 29th 9:30 GERMAN FILM AWARD NOMINEE<br />

Please check the title on our website. Germ./Engl.sbtls<br />

Sat 30th 9:30 KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE<br />

English<br />

Sun 31st 9:30 GERMAN FILM AWARD NOMINEE<br />

Please check the title on our website. Germ./Engl.sbtls<br />

OUTLOOK PROGRAM JUNE<br />

Mon 1st 9:30 (KUBRICK) A CLOCKWORK ORANGE<br />

(US 1971) Engl./Germ.sbtls<br />

Tue 2nd 9:30 (ROSA VON PRAUNHEIM) TOUGH LOVE Härte<br />

Germ./Engl.sbtls<br />

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CONTACT/GROUP DISCOUNTS FOR SCHOOL CLASSES: kreuzberg@piffl medien.de<br />

OPERATOR:<br />

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WWW.FREILUFTKINO-BERLIN.DE<br />

ONLINE TICKET AND<br />

PROGRAM INFORMATION:<br />

An induction loop is provided for the benefit of hearing aid users.<br />

Berlin


Interview with<br />

a vampire<br />

The case for<br />

making all<br />

drugs legal<br />

A look b ehind<br />

casino doors<br />

www.exberliner.com<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>138</strong> • €2.90 • <strong>May</strong> <strong>2015</strong><br />

MARK REEDER: “She said: ‘I’ll meet you at the Palast der Republik in<br />

the cocktail bar.’ I was a bit wary about what this could be.” (p.30)<br />

YASMINE HAMDAN: “It’s sexual harassment but with humour.” (p.38)<br />

PETER GREENAWAY: “You know and I know that most artists only<br />

have one or two ideas.” (p.43)<br />

A Berlin comic<br />

and a spy<br />

column<br />

Is the startup<br />

scene<br />

burning out?<br />

BERLIN<br />

BLOODSUCKER<br />

END<br />

PROHIBITION<br />

PLAYING<br />

TO LOSE<br />

Addicted!<br />

From booze to smartphones, computer games<br />

to prescription pills, slot machines to Botox<br />

– is there anything Berlin’s not hooked on?<br />

NEW!<br />

WORK-<br />

AHOLICS<br />

What’s on? • Art Fashion • Film • Food • Music • Nightlife • Stage<br />

100% made in Berlin.<br />

Printed on recycled<br />

paper.<br />

ISSUE <strong>138</strong><br />

Photo by<br />

Jason Harrell<br />

Printed in Berlin<br />

100% recycled paper<br />

EDITORIAL / DESIGN<br />

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Nadja Vancauwenberghe<br />

ART DIRECTOR Erica Löfman<br />

COPY/DEPUTY EDITOR Rachel Glassberg<br />

WEB EDITOR Walter Crasshole<br />

OFFICE MANAGER Sara Wilde<br />

SENIOR/MUSIC D. Strauss<br />

FILM Eve Lucas<br />

STAGE Rebecca Jacobson<br />

ART Fridey Mickel<br />

FOOD Françoise Poilâne<br />

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Agata Sasiuk<br />

PHOTOGRAPHERS Jason Harrell, Francesca<br />

Torricelli<br />

CONTRIBUTORS Susanne Andersen, Mary<br />

Biekert, Andrew Bishop, Jill Blackmore Evans,<br />

Betti Hunter, David Mouriquand, Peer Jon Ørsted,<br />

Ruvi S., Arvid Samland, Phillip Turo, Kevin Caners/<br />

Camilla Egan/Tony Su/Mark Wilshin (film),<br />

Penny Rafferty (art), Salma Arzouni/<br />

Scott McBurney (music)<br />

AD SALES / MARKETING<br />

Maurice Frank (business manager), Lucia Camilloni<br />

(sales), Samantha Clintworth (sales), Bettina<br />

Hajanti (sales), Johanna Warda (sales). To discuss<br />

advertising please contact us:<br />

Tel 030 4737 2966, ads@exberliner.com<br />

Subscriptions: www.exberliner.com/subscribe<br />

PUBLISHERS<br />

Maurice Frank, Nadja Vancauwenberghe,<br />

Ioana Veleanu<br />

IOMAUNA MEDIA GMBH<br />

Max-Beer-Straße 48, 10119 Berlin-Mitte<br />

Tel 030 4737 2960, Fax 030 4737 2963<br />

www.exberliner.com, Issn 1610-9015<br />

■ Werner's political notebook By KONRAD WERNER<br />

How to solve the<br />

refugee problem<br />

People are panicking in Germany about the<br />

refugees. But it’s not that big a problem and<br />

it’s not that hard to solve. Not that you’d know<br />

from the news. Here are three stories from the<br />

morning I wrote this: “Shots Fired at a Refugee<br />

Shelter in Hesse”, “Thuringia State Premier Bodo<br />

Ramelow gets Death Threats after Refugee Shelter<br />

Proposal”, and “Geert Wilders Coming to Speak<br />

at PEGIDA Rally”. There were 150 attacks on<br />

asylum seekers in Germany in 2014 – three times<br />

as many as in 2013 – and according to Pro Asyl<br />

there have already been 38<br />

in the first three months of<br />

this year. Punctuating all the<br />

reports about the terrible,<br />

soul-corroding incidents at<br />

refugee shelters are feature<br />

articles about the terrible,<br />

soul-corroding conditions in<br />

refugee shelters. Rotten beds,<br />

cockroaches, dead people<br />

remaining undiscovered for<br />

weeks, things like that.<br />

There was much outrage in January when it was<br />

reported that a town called Schwerte in North<br />

Rhine-Westphalia was going to use a building that<br />

used to be part of a Nazi concentration camp to<br />

house refugees. This is pretty bad, but then, most<br />

refugee shelters in use at the moment aren’t much<br />

better than concentration camps. Meanwhile at<br />

Schönefeld airport, what is basically a prison has<br />

been set up in a no-man’s zone, making it possible<br />

to send people back to the war zone they came from<br />

before they even officially arrive in the country.<br />

All this is terrible and depressing, but the way<br />

people throw their hands up – “hey ho, it’s just the<br />

apocalypse, we can’t care for all these people, what<br />

are we meant to do, we’re all gonna die anyway” –<br />

is even worse. Last year, around 200,000 people<br />

applied for asylum in Germany, and there will<br />

probably be more next year. But it’s just another<br />

stream in the overall flux of humanity going in<br />

and out of this country<br />

of 80 million people.<br />

Per year, there are<br />

around 600,000 births,<br />

850,000 deaths, about<br />

1.2 million immigrants,<br />

and about 800,000<br />

emigrants – so a couple<br />

of hundred thousand<br />

more is not in any way<br />

an actual crisis, even if the government were to let<br />

all 200,000 in, which they’re not anyway.<br />

The reason why it appears to be a crisis is because<br />

A) the media loves to write about PEGIDA<br />

demos and burning refugee shelters and pretending<br />

the world is a big war<br />

between Muslims and<br />

Nazis, and B) because<br />

government politicians<br />

are spooked by this and<br />

have abrogated all responsibility<br />

for looking after<br />

refugees to local councils<br />

so that they don’t look<br />

bad. The local councils,<br />

meanwhile, are fucked,<br />

because they really don’t have enough money. That’s<br />

what leads to the concentration camp situation, or<br />

the Tröglitz situation, where a poor village of less<br />

than 3000 people gets told by Berlin it needs to<br />

divert some of its infrastructure money to building<br />

a shelter for 40 asylum seekers who are not allowed<br />

to work during the eight months while their applications<br />

get processed. Obviously everyone involved<br />

is going to resent that, especially after Interior<br />

Minister Thomas de Maizière announces that the<br />

federal government won’t be giving the councils any<br />

more money to deal with the refugee situation.<br />

There is only one solution – get the applications<br />

processed quicker so that the asylum seekers can<br />

move into the job market, and that means A LOT<br />

more investment in district councils to give them<br />

the capacity to do that. That’s obviously easier said<br />

than done, but there needs to be a start. And that<br />

means Merkel’s government needs to stop acting<br />

like scared shits and take responsibility. ■<br />

IT’S TERRIBLE AND<br />

DEPRESSING, BUT<br />

THE WAY PEOPLE<br />

THROW THEIR HANDS<br />

UP IS EVEN WORSE.<br />

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3


BEST OF BERLIN<br />

BY THE EXBERLINER EDITORIAL TEAM.<br />

Best mid-week performance fix<br />

Open mics are one of those win-win-win situations<br />

– bar owners get a reliable crowd on an<br />

otherwise sluggish evening, Berlin’s inexhaustible<br />

supply of earnest musical amateurs gets<br />

an outlet and audiences get a free show. As<br />

live venues that actually pay their musicians<br />

(like Intersoup, see page 48) meet their demise<br />

one by one, the city is seeing an open stage<br />

explosion, especially in Neukölln, where dimea-dozen<br />

bars dilute weeknight traffic. Craving<br />

the spotlight yourself? You’ll find three options<br />

on Wednesday nights alone, the newest being a<br />

singer-songwriter night at OBLOMOV launched<br />

in March by Geraint Jean and Olivier Bernard, a<br />

pair of British and French lads. Already known<br />

for its popular monthly klezmer session, the cosy,<br />

candlelit 40-capacity room fills with the pleading<br />

strains of folk crooners and acoustic guitar<br />

slingers every second and fourth Wednesday of<br />

the month. For those seeking a more professional<br />

experience, the surprisingly huge café<br />

PRACHTWERK (photo), opened last year, offers<br />

a decent sound system and a real stage. The<br />

line-up also favours singer-songwriters, but it’s<br />

more regimented than Oblomov – make sure to<br />

sign up in advance if you want to play. For those<br />

who don’t want to fly solo, there’s the more<br />

under-the-radar jam session at LITTLE STAGE.<br />

Hosted by African slam poet, rapper and allaround<br />

good guy Jay C. Patsson, it’s the kind of<br />

low-pressure scenario where a part-time musician<br />

can dust off a neglected instrument and<br />

comfortably accompany the rhythm section, or<br />

even take a seat behind the electronic drum kit,<br />

without fear of judgement. While the musical<br />

level is sometimes inconsistent, the vibes are always<br />

positive. AB Oblomov, Lenaustr. 7, Neukölln,<br />

U-Bhf Schönleinstr., open stage every other Weds from<br />

20:00; Prachtwerk, Ganghoferstr. 2, Neukölln, U-Bhf<br />

Rathaus Neukölln, open stage Weds from 20:00; Little<br />

Stage, Jonasstr. 1, Neukölln, U-Bhf Karl-Marx-Str.,<br />

open stage Weds from 21:00<br />

Best great Danes<br />

It might be the next step in Mitte’s inevitable transformation<br />

into Little Scandinavia, but at least new café EAST & EDEN<br />

isn’t run by the usual too-cool-for-school Nordic twentysomethings<br />

– at age 47 and 52 respectively, Danish owners<br />

Ulla Skaaning Mathiesen and Orla Damgaard left behind<br />

established careers as architects and interior decorators in<br />

Copenhagen to fulfil a lifelong dream of working abroad. On<br />

arriving, they immediately set up partnerships with the locals:<br />

Bonanza coffee roasters, recent tea startup TeaTales and a<br />

certain tarte baker whose name they won’t reveal (only that<br />

he’s based out of Moabit). He’s the one behind the delicious<br />

quiche (€6.90 with a side salad), served in generous rounds<br />

with a moist interior and crisp crust. The meat version comes<br />

with Serrano ham, sun-dried tomatoes, leek and parmesan,<br />

but we preferred the less orthodox, sweet-salty vegetarian<br />

one with Asian-spiced feta cheese, spinach and dates. If<br />

you’re craving a real Danish experience, end your lunch by<br />

picking up some fancy liquorice from high-end manufacturer<br />

Johan Bülow (€7-12/150-170g) and – truly a rarity for a Berlin<br />

café – swiping your EC or credit card. SA East & Eden, Torstr.<br />

141, Mitte, U-Bhf Rosenthaler Platz, Mon-Fri 8-18<br />

PHOTO BY: FRANCESCA TORRICELLI<br />

4 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


VERENA BRÜNING<br />

Best chairs for a good cause<br />

Looking for some handmade local furniture with a great backstory?<br />

Kreuzberg-based organisation CUCULA sells simple wooden<br />

chairs, shelves and tables, the kind that wouldn’t look out of place<br />

in an artist’s loft or third-wave café – designed by 1970s Italian<br />

modernist Enzo Mari, built by refugees. The project was initiated<br />

in late 2013, when local designer Sebastian Däschle began<br />

teaching five young West African asylum seekers staying at the<br />

youth organisation Schlesische27 how to create furniture for their<br />

rooms based on Mari’s 1974 book Autoprogettazione. The idea<br />

caught on, quickly growing into a workshop spearheaded by the<br />

refugee group, Däschle and designer Corinna Sy. They now sell<br />

12 different Mari designs, with the money going towards the<br />

refugees’ education and cost of living. Thanks to over €120,000<br />

in crowdfunding, they’ve expanded this year to include a learning<br />

programme that teaches 15 refugees German. The furniture itself<br />

– plain wood, hard lines, boxy shapes – doesn’t look too comfortable,<br />

but it does look classic, and the child-sized chair (“the Bambino”,<br />

around €130) would probably be a nice, durable choice for<br />

a playroom. You can order online or visit the workshop, a small,<br />

bright space off Schlesische Straße, by appointment. Any orders<br />

you place now might take a while: Cucula is exceptionally busy<br />

this spring as the team works on the 330 chairs ordered as part of<br />

the crowdfunding campaign. But with record numbers of refugees<br />

coming to Germany this year (see page 3), we can expect more<br />

community-based programmes like this one to help integrate the<br />

new arrivals into Berlin with style. JBE Cucula, www.cucula.org<br />

JASON HARRELL<br />

Best scratch ‘n’ sniff street<br />

Walking along Karl-Marx-Allee, do you ever<br />

wonder what Berlin’s widest, most imposing<br />

boulevard was like during its socialist<br />

glory days? CENTRAL BERLIN, DDR LIMITED<br />

(€29.90) is a bilingual coffee table book<br />

that celebrates the Ku’damm of the East and<br />

its central square, Strausberger Platz. While<br />

the bulk of the book is devoted to interior<br />

design photos showing the contemporary use<br />

of the buildings that line the street, the real<br />

highlights are the black-and-white pictures<br />

of everyday life along the boulevard from<br />

the 1960s-1990s by photographers like Max<br />

Ittenbach and Harald Hauswald. There’s<br />

also a chapter about the street’s construction<br />

in the 1950s and the challenges of chief<br />

architects Henselmann and Paulick. The most<br />

surprising inclusion is the last chapter, “The<br />

Smell of History” – a scratch-and-sniff page<br />

that gives off a faint aroma of tar and paper:<br />

“scents from Strausberger Platz in the 1950s<br />

and now”. Beautiful photos of architectural<br />

details by Hans-Georg Esch offer peeks into<br />

buildings that you wouldn’t normally enter, although<br />

the accompanying texts and captions<br />

can tend toward the clunky, misleading or totally<br />

clueless. But then again, the pleasures of<br />

this book are from looking rather than from<br />

reading. Or smelling. EL Central Berlin, DDR<br />

Limited, published by Skjerven Group, <strong>2015</strong><br />

5


ARTICLE VERBATIMTAG<br />

Department of<br />

Psychiatry and<br />

Psychotherapy<br />

at university<br />

hospital Charité<br />

in Berlin, Mitte.<br />

6 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


“It is tempting to label<br />

behaviours that we don’t<br />

like as addictions.”<br />

Does getting hooked happen in the body or the brain? Is being<br />

addicted to your phone the same as being on drugs? And what about<br />

the new “magic pill” that treats alcoholism? We asked Charité<br />

researcher Andreas Heinz. By Ruth Schneider. Photos by Jason Harrell.<br />

ARE WE ALL<br />

ADDICTS?<br />

In the middle of the Charité campus in Mitte<br />

stands a rather beautiful brick building from<br />

the 1900s. Above the elaborate arched entryway,<br />

the words “Psychiatrische u. NerveNkliNik”<br />

hearken back to the early days of brain<br />

science. Inside, the neo-gothic vaulted ceiling,<br />

elliptical semicircular stairwells and maze of<br />

narrow off-white corridors, abandoned closets<br />

and spooky corners reek of bygone times when<br />

women were diagnosed with hysteria and shock<br />

therapy was the treatment of choice. Now, 115<br />

years later, all is quiet in the psychiatry department<br />

of Charité. The bust of eminent psychiatrist<br />

Carl Westphal – the man who coined the<br />

term “agoraphobia” – is missing from its pedestal<br />

and you hardly pass a breathing soul in the long<br />

corridor separating neurology from psychiatry,<br />

just one man stomping through, soliloquising<br />

on politics at the top of his lungs, completely<br />

unaware of the pretty view over the walled<br />

garden with century-old trees and rose bushes.<br />

On the third floor of a rear building is the office<br />

of Professor Andreas Heinz, who has headed<br />

the psychiatry department for the last 13 years.<br />

Potted plants and Rothko paintings make for<br />

a congenial atmosphere, but the padded doors<br />

remind the visitor that some 78 patients are still<br />

treated here, in the quiet muffled atmosphere of<br />

Berlin’s reputable psych ward...<br />

You’re about to release the results of a<br />

highly publicised trial about baclofen, a<br />

controversial drug that’s been hyped as a<br />

cure against alcohol addiction. The results<br />

are encouraging – what’s next? Usually you<br />

need two positive studies in a country to get a<br />

medication approved. So, the results would be a<br />

strong argument to do another study, and if that<br />

was also positive, it would be possible to apply<br />

to the authorities to use baclofen as a regular<br />

drug in the treatment of alcohol abuse disorder.<br />

For now, it is only approved as a first-line treatment<br />

for muscular spastic paralysis, its original<br />

indication.<br />

Why haven’t there been more studies like<br />

yours? The problem is that when a drug is<br />

already on the market as a generic, like baclofen,<br />

the pharma corporations have no interest in<br />

financing a study for a new indication. Baclofen<br />

is not patented anymore, so it doesn’t earn any<br />

money when you bring in a new indication.<br />

How did you manage to finance this trial,<br />

then? We were lucky to have some public funding<br />

which made the study possible. We are part<br />

of a Cluster of Excellence, a network of researchers<br />

applying for funds to cure neurological and<br />

psychological disorders. Altogether, some €60<br />

million went to Charité, and we were able to use<br />

about €120,000 or so for this study. It was a very<br />

cheap study, which is why there were relatively<br />

few patients, but it was successful and that<br />

makes it worthwhile.<br />

The medication is now used in France,<br />

apparently pretty successfully. Why is the<br />

German medical establishment so sceptical<br />

about it? Is this to do with the personality<br />

of Dr. Ameisen and the way he hyped<br />

his discovery as “the magic pill that can<br />

cure alcoholism”? That was not very helpful.<br />

I liked Ameisen a lot, but he said that with baclofen,<br />

you don’t need any treatment anymore.<br />

That was unnecessarily polemical. A medication<br />

might reduce cravings and relapse risk. But it<br />

doesn’t mean that if you’re in debt and you have<br />

no friends and you’re sitting home alone, it will<br />

magically solve everything. People need a reason<br />

to stay abstinent. They may need a self-help<br />

group and support, they may need to fix their<br />

relationships, all of these things. Medication can<br />

simply reduce certain aspects of your problem,<br />

like your craving for alcohol. Ameisen was not<br />

only a cardiologist, he also was a pianist who<br />

drank to overcome his stage fright. Baclofen, as<br />

a muscle relaxant, probably also calms you down<br />

and replaces the need to drink alcohol by giving<br />

you a similar relaxing effect without addiction.<br />

It may be particularly effective for people<br />

who drink alcohol to reduce anxiety. It will not<br />

help everybody, and it will not replace self-help<br />

groups and therapy.<br />

Many of your colleagues I talked to say<br />

that alcoholism is too complex an addiction<br />

to be cured with pills… But then, nobody<br />

would say that depression is so complicated that<br />

you shouldn’t take a medication just because it<br />

doesn’t alter your original problems. The idea is<br />

to help you reach some sort of plateau. In my<br />

view, medication should never be given alone<br />

without psycho-social treatment – referring a<br />

patient to a self-help group and having him regularly<br />

see a consultant. This doesn’t need to be a<br />

doctor; it could be a social worker.<br />

In America, people still stand by Alcoholics<br />

Anonymous and the 12-step programme. It<br />

is almost heretical to think that one could<br />

get rid of alcohol addiction easily – with<br />

the help of a pill, for example. We have had<br />

similar discussions here, in some Berlin consultation<br />

offices. Counsellors saying, “We don’t need<br />

doctors to treat our patients” – quite an interesting<br />

comment!<br />

So is alcohol abuse a disease? Or about some<br />

demon inside yourself that you have to defeat,<br />

as purported by the likes of AA? There<br />

is a South Park episode called “Bloody Mary” – it’s<br />

about AA meetings and it makes a joke out of the<br />

concept that alcohol is a disease. They nail down<br />

a few problems associated with this religious idea<br />

behind AA: “I have a very bad disease, I need a<br />

higher spirit to help...” Many anti-Church jokes<br />

come up. I still believe it is a disease, but stating<br />

that you are helpless and need a higher power only<br />

fits for some patients, not all.<br />

“I don’t think there is a personality that makes<br />

you safe against addiction. Everybody can find<br />

something that excites them enough so that<br />

everything else pales in comparison.”<br />

▼<br />

7


▼<br />

“You actually fulfil DSM5 criteria for alcohol abuse<br />

disorder for just liking a glass of wine.”<br />

It’s a pretty puritanical dogma. It’s very<br />

puritanical – you should control yourself, you<br />

shouldn’t do this and you shouldn’t do that. I<br />

don’t want Bible Belt fanatics to tell me that<br />

having sex before you marry is sex addiction,<br />

reversing all the liberties we have developed over<br />

the past 30, 40 years in Western societies. This is<br />

why I am very careful about labelling too many<br />

social or behavioural problems as addictions.<br />

Are rehabilitation programmes as popular<br />

in Germany as in the US, where it is a huge<br />

business? Rehab clinics work quite well, but<br />

only 3-4 percent of alcohol-dependent patients in<br />

Germany are in them. Another four percent are<br />

in psychiatry departments for detoxification. And<br />

all the rest never see a specialist. They see general<br />

practitioners for somatic issues, like liver problems.<br />

How does the prevalence of alcoholism<br />

compare to other drugs in Germany? About<br />

three million Germans have alcohol abuse disorder,<br />

mostly men – women more often suffer from<br />

depression, but alcoholism affects 5-7 percent of<br />

the male population. The most common addiction<br />

in Germany is still smoking, which a lot of<br />

my colleagues don’t see as an addiction, but as<br />

a bad habit. In my view, it’s the most dangerous<br />

addiction – about 100,000 patients per year die<br />

due to smoking. About 40,000 people die of<br />

alcohol problems, mainly in combination with<br />

nicotine – it’s a good match. Then about 1000<br />

die of illegal drugs. Even if you compare death<br />

rates, nicotine and alcohol are above heroin.<br />

With alcohol and smoking, there is the<br />

matter of what one considers the threshold:<br />

addiction or bad habit? Where do<br />

you draw the line? The line for addiction as<br />

dependence is rather clear: there was a British<br />

alcohol researcher called Edwards whose main<br />

idea, which I think is correct, is that you have<br />

dependence when you have tolerance development,<br />

when the brain is in a state of equilibrium<br />

with the drugs and you get withdrawal<br />

symptoms, like shivers, shaking and sweating,<br />

if you stop. This is the core of the dependence<br />

construct. The other part is that you have a<br />

strong craving, and reduced control. Unfortunately,<br />

in the States they have mixed the concept<br />

of dependence up with the much less defined<br />

construct of abuse or harmful use. Because<br />

classifying something as ‘harmful’ depends very<br />

much on society. When I was in Kabul, Afghanistan,<br />

my hotel was blown up and I wanted to<br />

drink a glass of wine in the evening – that would<br />

be harmful alcohol use. It’s absolutely forbidden,<br />

and you get into a lot of social trouble if you do<br />

it. You actually fulfil DSM5 criteria for alcohol<br />

abuse disorder for just liking a glass of wine. In<br />

Germany you are allowed to drink from the age<br />

of 16; in the States you have to be 21. So there<br />

are lots of cultural differences.<br />

Are you in favour of legalisation, or at least<br />

decriminalisation, of drugs? It’s a difficult discussion.<br />

I think society could legalise cannabis. To<br />

my understanding, the medical risks of cannabis<br />

are not really worse than alcohol. The problem<br />

with legalisation is how to protect the youth. In<br />

Germany, a 12-year-old can get strong spirits in the<br />

supermarket... so if we treat cannabis like alcohol,<br />

we will have a disaster. Also, the one percent of<br />

the population that is prone to schizophrenia will<br />

be at a higher risk of triggering their psychosis. So<br />

it would have to be carefully regulated.<br />

Pro-liberalisation champions claim that<br />

prohibition doesn’t help – quite the contrary<br />

(see page 12)... In the case of alcohol,<br />

the idea that Prohibition didn’t work is wrong.<br />

Alcohol consumption during Prohibition went<br />

down. Of course crime went up, as we all know.<br />

But I am concerned about cocaine and heroin. I<br />

really wouldn’t want my kids or anyone getting<br />

addicted to these drugs.<br />

So you feel that if they were legal, more people<br />

would get addicted? That’s my concern.<br />

Do you make a distinction between psychological<br />

addiction and physiological addiction?<br />

I don’t think so, because every psychological<br />

procedure has a physiological correlate.<br />

Everything you do has a correlate in your brain.<br />

I am a strong opponent of separating what they<br />

call the somatic and psychological parts of an<br />

addiction. They say craving is psychological and<br />

withdrawal is somatic, but that’s nonsense. They<br />

both originate in the brain.<br />

What about the difference between substance<br />

addictions, like tobacco, alcohol<br />

and drugs, and behavioural addictions, like<br />

computer games? The problem with defining<br />

behavioural addictions is that they don’t usually<br />

have a strong sedative effect on the brain. When<br />

you stop them, you don’t usually have withdrawal<br />

symptoms. So many passions are characterised<br />

by cravings and reduced control. A scientist who<br />

is having a breakthrough will probably cut out<br />

eating or talking with his family to do his experiments.<br />

I am strongly against labelling passionate<br />

forms of living as pathologised addictions.<br />

But at Charité you have groups working on<br />

gaming addiction... I think you can, carefully,<br />

use the concept that you lose degrees of freedom<br />

when you’re really into behavioural addiction. It<br />

boils down to whether playing games for hours<br />

and hours really cuts down on your ability to<br />

interact socially. But you have to be careful about<br />

labelling a behaviour an addiction just because<br />

it’s socially undesirable.<br />

It’s kind of a slippery slope... Absolutely. My<br />

example is always “drapetomania” – this was the<br />

supposed addiction of African American slaves<br />

to running away. They supposedly had a ‘craving’<br />

to escape. It was labelled a disease 160 years ago.<br />

It is tempting to label everything that you don’t<br />

like as an addiction.<br />

Is there such a thing as an ‘addictive personality’<br />

– people who really thrive on extreme<br />

behaviour? There are personality differences,<br />

but everybody can become addicted if the<br />

drug is strong enough. When you’re on cocaine,<br />

you release about six times as much dopamine<br />

as you do in the most exciting social interaction,<br />

including sex. Drugs can be overwhelming.<br />

Of course there are predispositions, but I don’t<br />

think there is a personality that makes you safe<br />

against addiction. Everybody can find something<br />

that excites them enough so that everything else<br />

pales in comparison.<br />

What about internet and social media addiction?<br />

Are they just buzzwords? Trendy<br />

concepts? You have to see what people actually<br />

do on the internet. You can be addicted to gambling<br />

on the internet – it’s rather well-described<br />

that with gambling you can not only have craving<br />

and reduced control, but you can also develop<br />

Born in 1960 in Stuttgart, Andreas Heinz<br />

studied medicine, philosophy and anthropology<br />

at the Ruhr University in Bochum, the<br />

Free University in Berlin and Howard<br />

University in Washington, DC. Since 2002<br />

he’s been the director of the Department of<br />

Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Charité<br />

Hospital in Berlin. He is the author of several<br />

books on migration and mental health and<br />

more than 500 scientific articles on many<br />

topics, including addictive disorders. He has<br />

also contributed to a guideline on group<br />

therapy for alcohol addicts and other works<br />

on alcoholism. After meeting Olivier<br />

Ameisen in Berlin (they appeared on Stern<br />

TV together), Heinz decided to pursue<br />

further evidence on baclofen as an alcoholism<br />

treatment and initiated Charité’s study<br />

of the compound (BACLAD) in 2011.<br />

8 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


withdrawal symptoms and tolerance rather<br />

similar to substance abuse addiction. There are<br />

actually people who stand next to a gambling<br />

machine and sweat and shiver if they can’t play.<br />

When it comes to social media, like relentless<br />

posting or chatting, I’m not really convinced<br />

that this should be called an addiction. There<br />

is a strong desire to not be lonely and to stay in<br />

contact with friends, and with all these internet<br />

connections we can do that faster and with<br />

more people at the same time. It’s very typical<br />

of our time, but I don’t think it’s an addiction<br />

– there would have to be some tolerance development<br />

and withdrawal symptoms, otherwise<br />

you’re not talking about the same concept.<br />

So social media might not be an addiction,<br />

but gambling is? We can say gambling<br />

resembles alcoholism in certain ways, but<br />

there are lots of differences with respect to the<br />

reward system. One thing is important: I don’t<br />

think addiction is a thing in the brain. Addiction<br />

is a concept one uses to describe similarities<br />

among behaviours, but these behaviours<br />

are very heterogeneous. There’s no symmetry<br />

in that every addiction alters dopamine in the<br />

same measurable way. Everything that interests<br />

us, as far as we know, interferes with our<br />

neurotransmitter systems, including dopamine.<br />

It’s a question of degree – it’s not a categorical<br />

difference where you can say, okay, now the<br />

addiction has started.<br />

But are we all equal before substances?<br />

Does alcohol work in the same way for<br />

everyone, for example? We do know that all<br />

addictive drugs activate dopamine transmission,<br />

but the degree to which they alter it is different.<br />

Many alcohol-dependent patients look like<br />

the normal controls – it’s just a few that really<br />

stick out. Again, you can understand patterns<br />

and alterations, but people are different from<br />

one another. Some people might profit from an<br />

anti-alcoholism medication, while others won’t.<br />

It’s the same with anti-depressants – they work<br />

in about one out of six to eight patients.<br />

Baclofen: Magic pill on trial<br />

Touted by medical professionals<br />

and recovering alcoholics<br />

since 2009 for its ability to reduce<br />

cravings, the muscle relaxant<br />

baclofen still isn’t approved<br />

to treat alcohol abuse disorder<br />

in Germany. The results of Andreas<br />

Heinz’s trial of the drug<br />

(Baclofen for the Treatment<br />

of Alcohol Dependence, or<br />

BACLAD), released too much<br />

anticipation at the end of April,<br />

could change that.<br />

The first clinical trial of baclofen<br />

as a treatment for alcoholism in<br />

Germany, BACLAD was initiated<br />

by Heinz after Dr. Olivier Ameisen,<br />

the French cardiologist who first<br />

recognised the potential of the<br />

drug, came to Berlin to present his<br />

findings in 2009. The three-year<br />

study at Berlin’s Charité hospital, a<br />

rigorously conducted double-blind<br />

placebo trial, might pave the way<br />

for recognition of baclofen as a<br />

regular treatment for alcoholism in<br />

Germany – in the wake of France,<br />

where the drug has already been<br />

granted temporary approval by<br />

health authorities and is currently<br />

being widely prescribed (with reported<br />

success) to alcoholics.<br />

As devised by Dr. Christian Müller,<br />

who led the study, 56 patients<br />

suffering from alcohol dependence<br />

were administered either the drug<br />

(30-270mg) or a placebo at random.<br />

Patients with “side disorders” such<br />

as depression were excluded. “Our<br />

trial was the first one whereby the<br />

dosage was varied. We’ve gone<br />

up to about 270mg based on the<br />

report by Ameisen,” says Heinz.<br />

This was crucial as many previous<br />

trials used dosages far below<br />

Ameisen’s recommendation, which<br />

according to baclofen supporters<br />

explained the poor results. In the<br />

Charité study, the success rate was<br />

unexpectedly high: 68 percent of<br />

patients who were given baclofen<br />

maintained total abstinence during<br />

the high-dose phase compared to<br />

23.8 percent of those who received<br />

a placebo. Reduction of alcohol<br />

intake – an objective supported by<br />

Ameisen, who continued drinking<br />

moderately while taking his maintenance<br />

dose – was not accounted for.<br />

“It was clearly positive. Patients<br />

on baclofen drink less than on<br />

placebo. And it appears that higher<br />

doses have a tendency to be more<br />

effective,” concludes Heinz. According<br />

to Müller, no serious side<br />

effects were observed and there<br />

is no evidence of baclofen addiction.<br />

Supporters of the drug hope<br />

the results will convert Germany’s<br />

sceptical medical establishment to<br />

the new medication, and two major<br />

pharma firms (French Ethypharm<br />

and UK Indivior) are already working<br />

on cashing in with new, patented<br />

formulations of the old generic.<br />

Müller, however, calls for caution:<br />

“I think the most important thing<br />

to communicate is that nobody is<br />

promising anything to alcohol dependent<br />

patients,” he says. “After<br />

the release of Ameisen’s book, it<br />

was like a religion for some patients<br />

who called us and said ‘Help me,<br />

this is the medication that will solve<br />

my problem.’ There is no Wunderpille.”<br />

But then again, whatever<br />

works... n<br />

What about the genetics? The genetic<br />

component explains about 50 percent of what<br />

goes on. But the most clear-cut genetic finding<br />

is that people who can drink a lot, do drink<br />

a lot. In Asia, a lot of people get these flush<br />

reactions because their alcohol metabolisation<br />

is genetically different. In Europe, genetic variation<br />

in serotonin neurotransmission influences<br />

how much alcohol you can drink before you<br />

get intoxicated. If you don’t have strong side<br />

effects, then you tend to drink more. It doesn’t<br />

make you an addict automatically, but it helps<br />

you drink too much. Then neuroadaptation and<br />

tolerance development starts – at that point,<br />

some patients could drink a bottle of vodka and<br />

not be comatose, while I would be. n<br />

9


BEHIND THE SCENES<br />

Kitchen confidential<br />

Alcohol and drug abuse in Berlin restaurants is an open secret. But is it the stress of the job<br />

that leads to the habit, or vice versa? Three chefs tell their stories. By Andrew Bishop<br />

On a mild Saturday in <strong>May</strong>, Steven*<br />

woke up early and headed to his job<br />

as a chef at a Berlin hotel. Like many<br />

mornings, his head ached fiercely<br />

from the previous night’s drinking. Shaking off<br />

his hangover and arriving at the kitchen to start<br />

setting up, he could tell something was wrong. He<br />

found one of the front desk staff, who told him<br />

it was in fact 8pm on Sunday, a full 36 hours later<br />

than he had thought – he had blacked out for a<br />

day and a half, and later discovered that he had<br />

suffered a concussion. At 33, after 12 years in the<br />

restaurant industry, he was having what people in<br />

recovery refer to as a moment of clarity. The following<br />

day he attended his first AA meeting.<br />

Now 58 and sober, he is the owner of a popular<br />

Kreuzberg restaurant. A slight man with an<br />

engaging presence, he speaks candidly about<br />

his personal struggles with drug and alcohol<br />

dependence and his continuous effort to keep his<br />

predilections in check. About stealing money to<br />

feed his addiction, about endless lies and compromised<br />

principles, and about the darkest moments<br />

when his thoughts turned to suicide. He<br />

has the rapturous aura of many adherents of the<br />

Alcoholics Anonymous programme, describing<br />

his recovery in terms of acceptance of a higher<br />

power. While his tale of overcoming his demons<br />

to succeed as a business owner is impressive, his<br />

story of addiction is not a rare one in the industry<br />

– the high stress, the often long and grueling<br />

work hours and easy access to alcohol and drugs<br />

tend to encourage overindulgence.<br />

Brian*, a young professional chef who came<br />

to Berlin for a restaurant position four years ago<br />

and has worked everywhere from “top places<br />

in London to shit houses in Kreuzberg”, claims<br />

that stress and overwork is what led him to start<br />

using speed. “You know, I’m working my fourth<br />

double shift in a row, the head chef doesn’t care<br />

what state I’m in as long as I’m producing.” His<br />

drug use wasn’t because he wanted to be happy<br />

and high at work, but because he was “running<br />

out of juice and just needed it to keep going.” At<br />

one restaurant, the head chef used their Christmas<br />

tips to order “500 dollars worth of fucking<br />

cocaine for the staff. That was our holiday<br />

bonus.” He says rampant drug use was equally<br />

as likely at quality restaurants as at the holes-inthe-wall,<br />

but that compared to other cities where<br />

he’s worked, Berlin is especially prone to the<br />

phenomenon due to sheer availability. “It’s part<br />

of the culture. Here, everybody takes drugs.”<br />

While Steven agrees that kitchen work can be<br />

stressful, he says the people who claim that stress<br />

10 • MAY <strong>2015</strong><br />

drove them to drink or do drugs on the job are<br />

often making excuses. Growing up in Ireland,<br />

he learned how to “drink like a gentleman” from<br />

his alcoholic father, who raised him nearly solo<br />

while his mother was in and out of the hospital<br />

with cancer. Preparing for his high school exams,<br />

he would take his books to the pub where his<br />

studies would be sidelined by the third or fourth<br />

pint. Forced to choose a profession where grades<br />

didn’t matter, he entered catering college. “I felt<br />

like the career chose me.”<br />

Pierre*, the owner of a small French restaurant<br />

in Berlin, has stayed clean for the last 20 years. He<br />

agrees that access to substances attracts certain<br />

types of people to the kitchen. These days he<br />

encourages his staff to follow his lead of sobriety,<br />

and to that end no longer offers them a shift<br />

drink at the end of their workday. He says that<br />

too often it would end up in multiple toasts and<br />

more booze for the road. “It’s a slippery slope.<br />

I find it’s just easier this way.” Other drugs were<br />

common in the kitchen during his time as a young<br />

chef, including cocaine. At one restaurant and bar<br />

where he worked, the dealer would give free cocaine<br />

to the barmen in order to keep them quiet<br />

about selling on the premises, and the barmen<br />

would in turn distribute the product among the<br />

staff. “It’s a bit of a classic, really. I know too many<br />

guys in the business who fell into the abyss that<br />

way. It starts with a glass or two but soon enough<br />

they’re totally wasted on the job on a daily basis.<br />

One day, you hear they’ve got to close down –<br />

and sometimes it was very popular places.<br />

Of course, some will never admit that the<br />

problem was their alcoholism. Many are<br />

in total denial.” Pierre says he recently<br />

had to fire a young cook who had<br />

taken up the bottle. “It was becoming<br />

difficult for everyone. Until<br />

they admit their problem, there’s<br />

not much you can do.”<br />

At one<br />

restaurant, the<br />

head chef used<br />

Christmas tips<br />

to order “500<br />

dollars worth of<br />

fucking cocaine for<br />

the staff.”<br />

So where can kitchen workers in Berlin turn if<br />

they find themselves falling into self-destructive<br />

patterns? For alcoholics, at least, there is some<br />

help. While it has been recognised that alcoholism<br />

is likely rooted in the restaurant industry’s<br />

workplace culture, alcoholism itself is not considered<br />

an occupational disease under Germany’s<br />

Berufskrankheiten-Verordnung (Occupational<br />

Diseases Ordinance). However, employees can<br />

go on a detoxification programme prescribed by<br />

their doctor if they can prove they are alcohol<br />

dependent. Their Krankenkasse will cover the cost<br />

of detox while state pension insurance will pay<br />

for rehabilitation.<br />

For Steven, this kind of support was non-existent<br />

when he was cleaning up 25 years ago. And<br />

when he bought his restaurant in Berlin nine<br />

years ago, he knew the stakes of a relapse had<br />

become higher. These days, his staff is aware he’s<br />

a recovered alcoholic and, in fact, he occasionally<br />

dispenses “little wisdoms” to those he can<br />

see slipping into the patterns he once knew all<br />

too well. Asked why he’s decided to stay in an industry<br />

where alcohol and drugs are so prevalent,<br />

Steven says it’s a matter of self-awareness. “I’m<br />

a stubborn son of a bitch. I decide not to drink<br />

way more often than you decide to drink.” n<br />

* Names changed<br />

PHOTO BY: FRANCESCA TORRICELLI


DRUG-FREE<br />

The antiaddicts<br />

In the shadow of Berlin’s<br />

reputation as a drugfuelled<br />

party mecca stands<br />

a sizeable community of<br />

substance-free straight edgers<br />

– and yes, they’re “still<br />

doing that”. By Rebecca Jacobson<br />

Spiky punk blares through the dimly lit<br />

basement of Rigaer Straße 94, a longtime<br />

Friedrichshain squat with a history of<br />

being stormed by the police. The red walls<br />

are plastered with typical lefty paraphernalia: anti-<br />

Nazi stickers, the anarcho-punk A, posters for<br />

animal rights demonstrations. The crowd – mostly<br />

tattooed twenty- and thirty-somethings – huddles<br />

at the bar. What are they drinking? Fritz-Kola.<br />

Welcome to one of this city’s straight edge<br />

meetups, a monthly gathering of Berliners<br />

aligned with a label that has its roots in the<br />

American punk and hardcore scene of the 1980s,<br />

when bands like Minor Threat and Government<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> preached an ascetic lifestyle as the ultimate<br />

rebellion. Straight edgers in Berlin tend to be vegan,<br />

and they’re also tightly knit with anti-fascist<br />

and animal-rights groups – all par for the course<br />

here. It’s their hard line on substances – no<br />

drugs, no tobacco, no alcohol – that makes them<br />

stand out in Germany’s famously beer-swilling,<br />

pill-popping, cigarette-rolling capital.<br />

The power of the label<br />

Evey Lin, 32, estimates the Rigaer Straße<br />

meetup draws about 30 people each month.<br />

“In Berlin, it can be hard to find a place that’s<br />

smoke-free,” she says. Lin has been straight edge<br />

for 10 years. In her early twenties, she booked<br />

hardcore bands at a bar in her hometown in<br />

Austria, an experience that exposed her to<br />

the straight edge community – and tested her<br />

patience with drunken hordes. She’d never been<br />

a heavy drinker, but didn’t like relying on alcohol<br />

to reduce her inhibitions. “And since I come<br />

from the punk movement,” she adds, “where<br />

everybody is so shocked when you say you don’t<br />

drink, it feels super punk not to drink.”<br />

Hagen Freyheit, 28, likewise found his way to<br />

straight edge through punk and hardcore, but he<br />

also flirted with the kind of short-term puritan<br />

experimentation popular today, spending a month<br />

here and there as a vegan teetotaler. It took a<br />

while to embrace the “straight edge” stamp. But<br />

for Freyheit – wearing a denim vest emblazoned<br />

with a Hello Kitty patch and a button reading<br />

“I’m a feminist and I riot” – the label became<br />

a way to quickly and clearly communicate his<br />

beliefs. Foregoing alcohol and drugs isn’t just a<br />

way to keep his mind clear, but to protest those<br />

industries. Being vegan isn’t about having clear<br />

skin or a healthy gut, but a statement against<br />

animal cruelty. Hardcore and punk provide an<br />

important bedrock – and Berlin has a handful of<br />

straight-edge bands, chief among them X Walk<br />

Away X and La Linea Negra – but it goes beyond<br />

music for Freyheit. “For me, it’s all connected,” he<br />

says. “It wouldn’t be straight edge if it’s not vegan<br />

or not political. It has to be more meaningful.”<br />

Lin and Freyheit admit living in a substancefree<br />

bubble makes it easy to forget about the<br />

druggier, sloppier sides of the city. “I don’t go out<br />

much,” Lin says. “Living in Friedrichshain, it’s<br />

crazy on the weekends, but I hardly ever see it.<br />

My Berlin is full of parks and lectures and other<br />

things that end at eight o’clock at night.”<br />

The musician in the middle<br />

Not all straight edgers are isolated from the<br />

party scene. Nico Webers (photo), a musician<br />

and DJ who grew up in Berlin, has little choice<br />

but to be around it: Berlin has no devoted<br />

straight edge venues, so he wouldn’t be able to<br />

book gigs otherwise. He’s also one of the sole<br />

straight edgers in his social circle. But Webers,<br />

who’s been straight edge since age 17 – he spent<br />

his mid-teens stealing Jack Daniels from the<br />

supermarket and was thrown out of school at<br />

age 15 for punching a teacher he says espoused<br />

Nazi views – says it doesn’t feel incongruous to<br />

be straight edge in Berlin, and that the drugs and<br />

alcohol are neither bothersome nor tempting.<br />

(Though he could do without the smoky clubs,<br />

particularly when singing.) “That’s just part of it,”<br />

says Webers, a slim 36-year-old with an orange<br />

octopus tattoo creeping up his neck. “I love going<br />

to Berghain, where the drug use is extreme,<br />

but it doesn’t matter to me. You’re autonomous,<br />

you’re anonymous. Anarchy rules, and everyone<br />

can do what they want.”<br />

Having been straight edge for 20 years, Webers<br />

has seen societal perceptions evolve. Fifteen<br />

years ago, people asked if it was a sect. Now it’s<br />

a socially acceptable term – even if people sometimes<br />

get a little laugh out of it, or if American<br />

bands express surprise that he’s “still doing that”.<br />

Radical cupcakes<br />

London transplant Caro Berry runs Minor Treat,<br />

a “hardcore vegan baking unit”. For the past year,<br />

Berry has been churning out chocolate-orange<br />

brownies, coconut-lemon cupcakes and peanutbutter<br />

blondies on a pop-up basis – at hardcore<br />

concerts, for example, or at a “queer fat femme”<br />

clothing swap in February.<br />

Although Berry’s website proudly proclaims<br />

Minor Treat is “anarchist, feminist, queer and<br />

straight edge”, Berry, 32 – who identifies as genderqueer<br />

and pansexual, and asked that gendered<br />

pronouns not be used – is “gravitating away” from<br />

the straight edge label. “I used it initially to make<br />

clear to others what I do or don’t participate in, as<br />

well as what people can expect from Minor Treat,<br />

but I’ve since discovered many problems with it.”<br />

Chief among them, according to Berry, are tendencies<br />

in the straight edge scene toward misogyny,<br />

homophobia, queerphobia and transphobia.<br />

Slurs, Berry says, are common. Berry sings in the<br />

straight-edge band La Linea Negra and recalls<br />

being approached by a man after a concert at the<br />

Köpi squat in Mitte: “He said, ‘Great show, good<br />

music, but leave the talking to the boys.’”<br />

Berry also isn’t interested in riding on the<br />

coattails of the new strain of puritanism hitting<br />

Berlin – the juice fasters and trendy vegans. Lin<br />

agrees, tsk-ing at the buzz that builds each time a<br />

new vegan joint opens in Kreuzberg. “This hype<br />

feels like it’s about being healthy, not about being<br />

political,” she says. “Straight edge is an alternative<br />

to the mainstream, and these are still very<br />

mainstream people. They’re totally missing the<br />

subculture connection.” n<br />

FRANCESCA TORRICELLI<br />

11


CONTROVERSY<br />

Legalise everything!<br />

A judge, a former police officer and an ex-addict have a crazy new idea: make<br />

all drugs legal. Whatever they’re on, maybe they’ve got a point. After all,<br />

criminalising drug use hasn’t exactly worked, has it? By Ben Knight<br />

Drug policy is probably the most irrelevant<br />

policy there is. Whatever the<br />

government decides we can and can't<br />

put in our bodies, a lot of us will do<br />

it anyway. And even if we don’t, we’ll probably<br />

have to deal with people who do. According to<br />

government stats, a quarter of adult Germans<br />

have taken an illegal substance at least once in<br />

their lives.<br />

Many governments have recently decided that<br />

they can trust their citizens to try a little pot,<br />

and instituted a creeping decriminalisation. But<br />

in Germany, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC,<br />

is, like heroin, amphetamines and cocaine, a<br />

“Category 1” substance – which means you’re<br />

not allowed to grow, manufacture, deal, import,<br />

export, sell, buy or own it. Medical cannabis<br />

has been allowed since 2011, but that isn't really<br />

a world-changer, given that doctors have been<br />

administering much stronger drugs than that for<br />

decades. Also, most German health insurers do<br />

not cover medical marijuana, so your access to it<br />

depends on how rich you are.<br />

The law lags far behind current attitudes<br />

towards the substance – even German police unions<br />

have called for a relaxing of the rules on possession,<br />

if for no other reason than that it would<br />

save them a lot of time. The US organisation<br />

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is<br />

planning to start a German chapter this summer<br />

(see page 46). In March, the Green Party sparked<br />

up the cannabis debate again with a new draft<br />

law which would allow adults access to cannabis<br />

for “personal recreation”.<br />

But there are others who want to take legalisation<br />

a lot further. Die Linke’s Frank Tempel,<br />

a former policeman, is calling for a “radical<br />

re-thinking of drug policy.” By that he means<br />

the controlled legalisation of, well, pretty much<br />

everything.<br />

End prohibition<br />

Tempel is persuasive enough on the shortfalls<br />

of the current situation: “Prohibition fuels organised<br />

crime, and consumers’ rights and legal protection<br />

of children cannot be implemented on<br />

the black market,” he says. “Instead of reducing<br />

drug-related crimes, prohibition literally causes<br />

the crime, since many normal taxpaying people<br />

are depending on illegal markets.”<br />

That much is backed up by the statistics.<br />

Prohibiting drugs has not prevented people from<br />

using them. According to German police reports,<br />

12 • MAY <strong>2015</strong><br />

the number of first-time ‘hard drug’ offenders<br />

has remained steady at around 20,000 a year<br />

over the past 12 years, and the number of overall<br />

drug offences steady at around 230,000 year.<br />

Meanwhile, there is plenty of evidence that the<br />

criminalisation of drug use damages people and<br />

society. People arrested for possession routinely<br />

find themselves in a spiral of stigmatisation –<br />

arrest, job loss, prison – that can and does turn<br />

them into petty criminals.<br />

Another outspoken liberaliser is Andreas<br />

Müller, a youth court judge whose brother was a<br />

cannabis dealer who became a heroin addict: “He<br />

didn’t become a heroin addict because he took<br />

cannabis. He became a heroin addict because<br />

society broke him,” he says. “Stigmatisation.<br />

Locking away. Young offenders’ home. Prison. Of<br />

course that breaks a human being.”<br />

Müller says there is an increasing consensus<br />

among judges that the current drug laws<br />

are pointless – an endless treadmill that does<br />

nothing but push people into prison while drug<br />

consumption remains exactly the same. “People<br />

who have to deal with the rules say, ‘What are we<br />

doing here? We have to apply laws that belong<br />

in the rubbish bin.’ A heroin addict who buys<br />

heroin shouldn’t be punished. He's already punished<br />

enough by the fact that he’s addicted.”<br />

Stop repression<br />

The government’s drug policy is based on four<br />

planks: repression, prevention, treatment, and<br />

containing the social damage drugs do. The<br />

point that Tempel and Müller are making is that<br />

repression takes up vastly more resources than<br />

the other three, and does the least good. On the<br />

other hand, Germany has made a lot of progress<br />

in the last 20 years when it comes to treatment.<br />

Dirk Schäffer was a heroin addict in the early<br />

1990s, and he says in those days he had two<br />

Current drug laws are<br />

pointless – an endless<br />

treadmill that does<br />

nothing but push people<br />

into prison while drug<br />

consumption remains<br />

exactly the same.<br />

options: “Either you took<br />

drugs or you went to jail.”<br />

He himself spent two<br />

years in custody. “If you<br />

didn't want to steal from<br />

others, you used to deal<br />

small amounts – some you<br />

bought for yourself, and<br />

some you sold on,” he says.<br />

“Then you were picked up<br />

by the police and searched<br />

and in Germany that always<br />

led to some kind of punishment,<br />

especially when it<br />

came to ‘hard drugs’.”<br />

Treat<br />

Schäffer is now a social<br />

worker and drug policy<br />

spokesman for the charity<br />

Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe, and<br />

he says the treatments have<br />

vastly improved, thanks in part to more relaxed<br />

drug laws. Back in 1990, you could be arrested just<br />

for owning “consumption utensils” – now, in many<br />

German cities including Berlin, drug users can go<br />

to exchange points to get clean syringes, which<br />

has vastly reduced cases of HIV and hepatitis<br />

among addicts. In fact, the number of illegaldrug-related<br />

deaths has dropped by half – from<br />

2030 to 1002 between 2000 and 2013. Not only<br />

that, Schäffer says Germany is one of the leaders<br />

when it comes to the number of drugs available<br />

for substitution programmes, such as diamorphine<br />

and methadone. However, doctors face such huge<br />

bureaucratic and legal obstacles from health insurance<br />

companies and authorities that they have<br />

to be extremely dedicated to offer substitution<br />

treatment: “To be honest, if I were a young doctor<br />

I wouldn't put myself through all that.”<br />

Decriminalise<br />

But incremental measures like this towards<br />

decriminalising drug consumption have had a<br />

noticeable effect on improving public health and<br />

reducing the burden on police. There are other<br />

steps that could be taken. In Spain, for instance,<br />

you can start a club where registered members<br />

can grow cannabis for their own use, as long as<br />

they don’t try to sell it. Portugal has some of the<br />

most liberal drug laws in the world, where possession<br />

of what is considered 10 days’ personal<br />

supply is treated as a misdemeanor, like a parking


RASA URNIEZIUTE<br />

ticket. Tempel also suggests another small measure<br />

that could easily be taken in Germany, but isn’t:<br />

allowing the use of screening equipment, especially<br />

in nightclubs, so you can check whether the drugs<br />

you bought have been cut with toxic chemicals.<br />

Legalise?<br />

While there is a debate to be had about incremental<br />

liberalisation, the big question is: how far<br />

do we want to go? What would it actually mean<br />

to legalise all drugs? Schäffer imagines special<br />

pharmacy-type shops, which only those over 18<br />

would be allowed to enter. “There would be specialists<br />

working there who would guarantee purity<br />

and offer advice on health risks and different types<br />

of consumption,” he says. “Either customers would<br />

have a prescription, or they would simply be able<br />

to buy them.”<br />

But surely some substances are too toxic to sell?<br />

Even Tempel says he would draw the line at crystal<br />

meth – though he thinks it would be banned under<br />

regular consumer protection laws anyway. “We<br />

need more research in this field in order to develop<br />

a less harmful substitute for crystal meth in the<br />

long run, which could be then legally available under<br />

certain medical conditions,” he says. Schäffer,<br />

though, thinks that crystal meth could be safe if<br />

its production were controlled. “Crystal meth is<br />

so dangerous because it’s produced in people’s garages,<br />

kitchens and cellars, completely disregarding<br />

any safety or quality standards.” If the manufacture<br />

were regulated, consumer protection laws could<br />

be enforced. Similarly, regulated drug retail would<br />

reduce the risk of overdoses, because users would<br />

know exactly what they were taking.<br />

The problem with total legalisation, of course, is<br />

that no one has ever tried it. Many people fear that<br />

it would lead to an explosion in use. Schäffer disagrees.<br />

“The experience of the Netherlands shows<br />

that more people don’t take drugs than before,” he<br />

says. “The people who never had anything to do<br />

with drugs before don’t have anything to do with<br />

them afterwards, because it’s just not their world.”<br />

The liberalisation of drug laws could well have<br />

public health and safety benefits, and legislators in<br />

countries like Portugal and Netherlands have clearly<br />

decided that some measure of decriminalisation is<br />

worth a try, if only because criminalisation hasn’t<br />

worked. Then again, it could be that Tempel (a<br />

former cop), Schäffer (a former addict), and Müller<br />

(a judge) are all naïve utopians who don't know what<br />

they are unleashing. The German Government’s<br />

drug commissioner, Marlene Mortler of the Christian<br />

Social Union, does not share their views. She<br />

maintains that people need to be protected from<br />

themselves. She actually makes little distinction<br />

between legal and illegal drug consumers, and is also<br />

in favour of tighter controls on alcohol and tobacco.<br />

For her, the big question, as formulated in a recent<br />

interview with The European, is this: “What can and<br />

must we do to reduce consumption to the goal of<br />

absolute abstinence?” How's that for a utopia? n<br />

13


ZEITGEIST<br />

“I’m not even sure you can be addicted to a phone. I mean, it’s not heroin.<br />

I refreshed my email. Nothing. I sighed.”<br />

Smart at the barbecue<br />

On Saturday I took my Tinder date<br />

to a barbecue. She was really hot,<br />

although she had a way of looking<br />

at me like she was trying to<br />

eat the thoughts from my brain,<br />

which was kind of a turn-on, but also scared me<br />

shitless. I found myself looking away quite a lot,<br />

and when I looked away I forgot she was there<br />

and got my phone out so I wouldn’t be bored.<br />

When she reminded me she was, I apologised<br />

and told her it was okay, I’m not addicted to it,<br />

I just had an article to write about the subject<br />

– that’s this one – and she was cool with that. I<br />

showed her the app called Menthal I was using<br />

to measure my phone use. It was invented by<br />

some boffins at the University of Bonn. I said,<br />

“I guess Menthal is like menthol cigarettes, you<br />

know, like, for quitting smoking.”<br />

“Mental,” she said, and grinned at me.<br />

The pictures I Instagrammed of the barbecue<br />

looked really professional. I couldn’t get close<br />

to the food, though. The wi-fi signal cut off over<br />

there and I needed to stay in range for Menthal,<br />

and because I was waiting to hear about a job<br />

I’d applied for. I got my Tinderette to bring me<br />

plates of pork while I hovered midway up the<br />

garden, running my thumb over the surface of<br />

my thing. But then she’d go off and talk to people<br />

who were out of range, leaving me all alone.<br />

I texted her a few times to ask her to come<br />

back, but she might have had her phone turned<br />

off. That was okay. It gave me a bit of time to<br />

breathe and Tweet my feelings.<br />

A guy stood with me in the wi-fi arc for a<br />

while. He had round-lens sunglasses, long socks<br />

and a waxed moustache.<br />

“I see you have a phone,” he said. I thought he<br />

might be a bit simple. Turns out he should probably<br />

be writing this article rather than me.<br />

“Did you know smartphone ‘penetration’ in<br />

Germany reached 55 percent in 2014, up from 41<br />

percent in 2013?” he said.<br />

“Well blow me down, I did not,” I replied. I wiggled<br />

my phone at him. “I’ve also been pene trated.”<br />

That was an ‘icebreaker’, but his ice stayed<br />

intact and he looked away. I unlocked my phone.<br />

No new notifications.<br />

Then he said, “According to a survey by B2X<br />

Care Solutions, a German company, Deutschland<br />

ranks in the top five of most ‘smartphone addicted’<br />

countries, along with India, the US, China<br />

and Brazil, with around half of users saying they<br />

may have a problem.”<br />

What are you? A fucking blog? I thought.<br />

Instead I said, “I’m not even sure you can be<br />

addicted to a phone. I mean, it’s not heroin.” I<br />

refreshed my email. Nothing. I sighed. He was<br />

talking again, or maybe he hadn’t stopped.<br />

“It’s also been claimed that people who are constantly<br />

checking their phones may be depressed;<br />

that they may be looking to dispel some kind<br />

of negative mood by finding something positive<br />

in their phone; that this mind-wander may be a<br />

cause or an effect of their addiction, or both; that<br />

these people may be prone to irritability.”<br />

“Fuck off,” I said. “I doubt depression has<br />

anything to do with it. I’m the happiest I’ve<br />

ever been in my life, and I check my phone for<br />

confirmation of that. When I find nothing there I<br />

don’t get down about it. I move on.”<br />

“A site called Tech Addiction suggests that one<br />

in 10 smartphone users are so distracted they<br />

admit to using their phones in the shower or<br />

even while having sex.”<br />

I laughed. “I have never used my phone in the<br />

shower.”<br />

I was becoming extremely tired of this man,<br />

but as he turned to leave I felt a weird need to<br />

ingratiate myself with him. “If you’re implying<br />

I have some kind of problem, it’s okay – I have<br />

an app that measures my phone use. I think it<br />

would tell me if there was something wrong.<br />

Here…” I opened the app and handed him my<br />

phone. I felt a shadow pass over me, but when I<br />

looked up there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.<br />

“Mmm-hmm,” he said, “daily app use, time<br />

on phone, app filters, personality test, mood<br />

calendar, yeeesss…”<br />

My phone vibrated in his hand. He didn’t give<br />

it back to me, just kept scrolling through the<br />

screens. “It’s green,” he said. “Nice colour.”<br />

I started to sweat. I cleared my throat a few<br />

times. He didn’t notice. It was like he was on<br />

that thing for years.<br />

“Whoa,” he said, “you unlocked your phone<br />

over four hundred times today!” I had to snatch<br />

it out of his hand and run to the toilet, where I<br />

learned the vibration was a spam mail, something<br />

about the Amish.<br />

Back outside I was alone again, which was<br />

okay, except it wasn’t because each time I<br />

checked my phone there was no message and<br />

it started to dawn on me that I hadn’t got the<br />

job. Not only that, but no one had liked any<br />

of my photos. Luckily, I was standing right<br />

next to a plate of chopped onions so when my<br />

Tinderette came to check on me I blamed my<br />

tears on them.<br />

All’s well that ends well, though. She still came<br />

home with me, despite the mini-breakdown<br />

and us not really getting to know each other.<br />

I guess either she thought it would be cool to<br />

sleep with someone writing a real article, or she<br />

must genuinely have liked me. Time would tell.<br />

Although it wouldn’t, because of what happened<br />

in the bedroom.<br />

I don’t know exactly what happened. I was<br />

nuzzling her neck, my arms around her back,<br />

flicking through Tinder to set up a date for Sunday,<br />

and she kind of bucked, rolled, then flipped<br />

me; I dropped my phone and landed on it. She<br />

couldn’t pull it out of my rectum herself, and the<br />

waiting time was so long I didn’t get out of the<br />

hospital until Sunday morning.<br />

I just about went mad sitting there with my<br />

phone inside me and nothing to do. And when I<br />

got it back there were still zero notifications and<br />

I thought about shoving it right back in.<br />

The next day I was dead tired. I stayed home,<br />

cleaned my phone and played around on it until<br />

I went to bed. I made sure to keep at least one<br />

finger on the screen at all times, so it wouldn’t<br />

lock even once. That way, my Menthal results<br />

for the day would be those of someone who was<br />

busy and popular, not some kind of sad, twitching<br />

maniac.<br />

By PHILLIP TURO<br />

14 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


ARTICLE PROFILE TAG<br />

PHOTO BY FRANCESCA TORRICELLI<br />

Interview with a vampyre<br />

Lilith isn’t a creature of the night, and she’s not allergic to garlic. She’s just your average<br />

transgender, theatre-loving, Celtic-ritual-performing Berlinerin... with a craving for blood.<br />

By Peer Jon Ørsted<br />

Do you remember the taste of blood?<br />

As a child, when you fumbled with<br />

scissors or fell from a tree, did you put<br />

your mouth to your wound and suck it?<br />

And did it make you feel different; did it sharpen<br />

your senses? Perhaps you should try it again – it<br />

could just be the thing you need to trigger your<br />

awakening. To become a real, living vampyre.<br />

That’s what happened to Lilith Desideria<br />

B., née Büschof. And yes, that Y is intentional.<br />

“There is a big difference between vampire and<br />

vampyre,” says Lilith. “A vampire is a fictional<br />

book or Hollywood character. A vampyre is an<br />

actual person that believes they need to get<br />

energy from others to survive. We as vampyres<br />

are not immortal, we are not undead, and we<br />

don’t die by sunlight. We actually like sunlight, it<br />

gives us energy. The only similarity is that I just<br />

need a little bit of blood.”<br />

Raised by a Greek Orthodox mother and<br />

a German/Irish Catholic father in the small<br />

conservative village of Rodalben, she (then a he)<br />

had her awakening at age 13 – in more ways than<br />

one. “Within that year it became clear to me that<br />

I was trapped in the wrong body, and I had my<br />

first homosexual relationship. Then came the<br />

blood thirst.” This happened after accidentally<br />

biting her partner during oral sex. “Suddenly<br />

everything was clearer to me, like an overdose<br />

on sensitivity. At first, I just thought it was the<br />

best sex I ever had, but a few days later, I started<br />

having an urge for more. More blood. He became<br />

my first-ever donor for the next two years.”<br />

Today Lilith has several willing donors, all<br />

fellow vampyres who have given testimony to a<br />

healthy, non-diseased blood exchange. “No HIV,<br />

syphilis or hepatitis; no psychic diseases, borderline<br />

or self-cutting behaviour. If they have any of<br />

those, I don’t drink from them.”<br />

The process itself is also very clinical. A sterile<br />

needle in the vein of her donor, 25mg of diseasefree<br />

blood extracted and mixed with red wine,<br />

Bulgarian preferably. Only once every four weeks<br />

is enough for her to avoid what she describes<br />

as withdrawal symptoms. “If I go three months<br />

without drinking, I go crazy. I become aggressive,<br />

apathetic and very, very nervous. My hands<br />

will shake and if I walk out in public, I’ll literally<br />

stop seeing people in front of me and only imagine<br />

their veins and hear the blood pulsating. And<br />

then, of course, I have to control myself not to<br />

do bad things to them.”<br />

Lilith remembers how after her first taste of<br />

blood, she became thirsty for more. ”Once my<br />

mother was making dinner, some steaks, and I<br />

took the package where the rest of the blood<br />

was and drank it in front of her. She freaked<br />

out.” Her parents brought her to a psychiatrist.<br />

“<strong>May</strong>be he had had another client before me,<br />

because he knew about a guy in Frankfurt who<br />

practised vampirism and that there were many<br />

others. My parents kicked me out of the house,<br />

and my only option, it seemed, was to look up<br />

the guy in Frankfurt. I never returned.”<br />

There, she lived in a “haven” – a collective<br />

vampyre hive. “When vampyres live together,<br />

they’re more bloodthirsty. We had a game where<br />

if you could succeed in biting into someone’s<br />

neck, the person had to give you blood. And I<br />

was really good at this,” she says, laughing. After<br />

about 10 years of daily human blood consumption,<br />

including house “bloody Marys” (vodka<br />

mixed with pig blood) and embracing the occult<br />

to the fullest, the Frankfurt collective dissolved<br />

and Lilith made her way to Berlin.<br />

Here, she found a secret community of likeminded<br />

bloodsuckers: “There are about 1500 in<br />

Berlin. I know a judge, a policeman, a lawyer and<br />

a doctor – the best part is, he works in the blood<br />

bank. I also know a few nurses in the Charité<br />

hospital who are vampyres.” She also found<br />

her true self. “I reached a point of no return<br />

in 2006: either I keep living as a male and end<br />

up killing myself, or I get an operation done.<br />

Through the next three years I went through<br />

every obstacle there is to becoming a woman.<br />

Name change, operation and telling everyone,<br />

including my estranged family. Since 2009 I’ve<br />

been what I am: a female vampyre. I am much<br />

calmer today. It was the best decision of my<br />

life.” It wasn’t her first transformation. In 2000<br />

she had her teeth filed into fangs by cult figure<br />

Father Sebastiaan, the American former dental<br />

assistant who founded the now-international<br />

gathering Endless Night Vampire Ball.<br />

Aside from practicing vampirism, Lilith works<br />

as a female druid, or Celtic priestess, and makes<br />

money performing Celtic rituals for clients looking<br />

for love or better health. She volunteers in<br />

the kitchen at Berlin’s Twelve Apostles Church<br />

– which, she says, knows all about her lifestyle.<br />

And she’s an avid performer – whether role-playing<br />

at medieval markets, going onstage as the<br />

drag queen “Vivian Vermont”, working as a scare<br />

actor at Filmpark Babelsberg’s horror nights in<br />

October or singing in a street choir.<br />

So is her blood consumption a performance<br />

as well – or, as some claim, a sexual fetish? “No,<br />

it’s not a fetish. It’s more like a disease – I need<br />

the energy; that’s why I take blood. But blood<br />

definitely spices up my sex life. I have sex with<br />

two of my donors.” As for the taste, “If a donor<br />

eats oranges for a month, the blood will taste<br />

like oranges.” Blood oranges. n<br />

15


FIRST-PERSON<br />

The 13-year blur<br />

One expat’s struggle with prescription drugs<br />

spanned two decades and four countries.<br />

He recalls his descent into the abyss and his<br />

resurrection in Berlin. By Jason Harrell<br />

I<br />

arrived in Berlin in August 2008, 08-08-08 to be exact. I remember that<br />

date. But I don’t really remember the details about why or how I decided<br />

to move here. This lack of clear memories defines most of the time that<br />

I was on benzodiazepines – anti-anxiety medications like Valium, Xanax<br />

and Klonopin. Thirteen years like watching fuzzy television on mute. The<br />

images are somehow there, but I have very little connection to them.<br />

I was first diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder when I was<br />

nine years old. I don’t remember being depressed. All I can recollect is<br />

falling sick with food poisoning after Thanksgiving dinner. After that, I<br />

felt sick whenever I ate and lost a lot of weight. My doctor ordered tests.<br />

When they all came back negative, he concluded I must be depressed and<br />

prescribed me Prozac. It was 1988, I was nine and Prozac was new. It was<br />

all over the news and on TV. My mom was taking it too.<br />

After a while, I started to feel better. The situation at home had<br />

changed. My mother divorced her third husband, we moved to a new<br />

neighborhood and I started going to a different school. The depression<br />

and anxiety subsided, so I quit taking the medication.<br />

NEW YORK: Under pressure<br />

At 17, I moved to New York City from Atlanta to go to music school.<br />

Moving to NYC had been a dream since I was a kid, but the reality was<br />

a lot harsher. The school had rented out the top three floors in a welfare<br />

residential hotel as their dorms. The other half of the roach-infested<br />

building was populated by mental cases and drug addicts. Students would<br />

buy weed from them. I remember a young woman,<br />

a heroin addict, telling me how the year before she<br />

had had a miscarriage in the lobby after falling down<br />

the stairs. I was on a full scholarship, and the stress<br />

to perform and live up to the expectations that were<br />

placed on me was overwhelming. So was the cutthroat<br />

rivalry between students.The school recommended<br />

a Park Avenue psychiatrist who readily gave me a<br />

prescription for Klonopin. His instructions to take<br />

the medication regularly every day would have made<br />

anyone an addict within weeks. I wasn’t the only one<br />

in the dorms with these little orange pills, and having<br />

them gave me a feeling of empowerment that there<br />

wasn’t anything to worry about anymore. There was<br />

no reason to be afraid, because on the drugs there<br />

simply wasn’t any fear.<br />

After that first year in New York, I left music school<br />

and began studying literature and photography at another university in the<br />

city. I also had a different Park Avenue doctor, who was the sponsor of the<br />

advertising campaign for some psychiatric medication, her photo adorning<br />

the posters for the drug. I saw her every couple of months and every time<br />

she would give me different drugs to try. One day, as she sat behind her<br />

desk wearing sunglasses to conceal her cosmetic surgery procedures, she<br />

pushed across a new “script” for Xanax.<br />

Despite taking all of these pills, I didn’t see myself as having a problem. I<br />

wasn’t a “junkie”. It actually seemed normal. I knew so many people taking<br />

the same meds and especially during the 1990s, the era of the anti-depressant,<br />

it seemed to me that it was what you had to do. Advertisements for psychopharmaceuticals<br />

were everywhere you looked. It was just a part of daily life.<br />

I was referred to<br />

a young English<br />

doctor who<br />

doubled my daily<br />

dosage. Later, I<br />

found out that he<br />

was known as<br />

“Dr. Drugs”.<br />

PARIS: The next level<br />

In 1999, I moved to Paris as an exchange student. I lived in the red-light<br />

district along Rue Saint-Denis and it was here that my benzo addiction was<br />

kicked up to the next level. I was referred to a young English doctor who<br />

mainly served the expatriate community from his small office in the Marais.<br />

He doubled my daily dosage. Later, I found out that he was known as “Dr.<br />

Drugs”, known for handing out prescriptions for whatever you wanted.<br />

Dr. Drugs introduced me to a liquid variant of Klonopin which came<br />

in a tiny brown bottle and had to be dosed out carefully in drops. This<br />

added an element of ritual and made taking the drugs into an event. I had<br />

a specific mug that I reserved just for this. Filling it halfway with water, I<br />

would carefully count the amount of the slow-falling drops. If there were<br />

accidentally too many drops in the cup, there was no way of putting them<br />

back in the bottle, so I would drink all of it at once.<br />

The medications were a lot less expensive in France, even without insurance,<br />

and it was much easier to have the prescriptions<br />

filled. In New York, there were special triplicate forms<br />

for medications that have a certain abuse potential. In<br />

Paris, the script was just scribbled onto the doctor’s<br />

stationary pad. It was filled in the pharmacy for cash<br />

and no questions were asked.<br />

AMSTERDAM: Nearing overdose<br />

I eventually ended up in Amsterdam to finish my<br />

degree. The drug culture that is so associated with this<br />

city wasn’t what attracted me. I still didn’t see myself<br />

as a drug addict.<br />

After my first year there, everything seemed to<br />

spiral downwards. I ended up in a crappy room in the<br />

north part of town far away from my friends in the<br />

city. I couldn’t follow my courses, because even after a<br />

year of Dutch and passing the state exam, my language<br />

skills weren’t yet good enough to follow the fast-paced<br />

literature and philosophy courses at the university. I felt more and more<br />

alienated, and this resulted in more and more drugs.<br />

It was during this time that I started to feel like an addict. If the pills<br />

ran out, I wouldn’t be able to sleep and my hands would start trembling<br />

uncontrollably. If it went more than a day, there would be nausea and<br />

vomiting. Once, I arrived at the doctor’s office just a few minutes too<br />

late to pick up a prescription. I rang the doorbell frantically, hoping for<br />

someone to give me the slip of paper. Instead, the police arrived and<br />

asked me to leave.<br />

The drugs made me completely oblivious to everything, to working, to my<br />

studies and especially to other people. I trampled over other people’s emo-<br />

JASON HARRELL<br />

16 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


tions, because, being so high all the time, I was unable to perceive – and<br />

most times simply didn’t care – what they might be feeling and thinking.<br />

Most of the few friends I had distanced themselves from me.<br />

As I was nearing the end of my degree, I was being given ridiculously<br />

high amounts of Valium and Klonopin. Every day for months, I<br />

would wake up, go to the grocery store, eat breakfast, pop four or five<br />

pills and lie on the sofa staring out of the window or at the ceiling. It’s<br />

around this time that the memories start to fade away. Somehow, I<br />

don’t know how, I was able to graduate.<br />

BERLIN: Resurrection<br />

In 2009, in Berlin, having taken these meds since 1996, I finally decided<br />

it was time to stop.<br />

My doctor here told me that my withdrawal would have to be carried<br />

out in a detox clinic at the hospital because coming off such high<br />

doses over such a long period of time could lead to severe symptoms<br />

like seizures. Since I lived in Neukölln, I would have to be treated at<br />

Neukölln Hospital, so I went and checked myself in. Drug treatment<br />

was in one of the several older, smaller facilities separate from the<br />

giant, gleaming, modern building. To get in, I was escorted through<br />

one of two electronically locked doors to a security checkpoint, and<br />

then we were buzzed in through the other door. All those locks were<br />

imposing – wasn’t I supposed to be there voluntarily?<br />

Inside it was gloomy and dark, much like the nightmare dorm<br />

where I had first lived in New York. On the wall, there was a shoddily<br />

made sign listing the different steps of recovery, obviously drawn up<br />

by some of the patients a long time ago. A few of them were walking<br />

up and down the hallways wearing jogging clothes and bathrobes.<br />

I sat down while I waited to be shown to my room. Very quickly,<br />

other inmates came to me. They were there because of heroin and<br />

alcohol. A nurse came over to take me to my room. I would have<br />

to share it with four other drug addict strangers. That was when I<br />

thought, “I can’t do this here.”<br />

A few days later, I made a plan with my doctor to do the withdrawal<br />

at home. I was supposed to reduce the dosage by half four<br />

times over two months until I got down to zero. I can’t make it<br />

sound easy or empowering, because it wasn’t. It was like having a<br />

really bad flu for a week, getting better and then getting sick again,<br />

over and over. The panic attacks came back – the crippling conviction<br />

that everything in my life was absolutely wrong. It was worse<br />

than anything I’d felt before.<br />

Somehow I got through it, and by summer, I was off the drugs. But<br />

no one had really explained to me what it would be like afterwards.<br />

My ears were always ringing. I had recurring panic attacks and a constant<br />

feeling of restlessness and fear. I also lost a lot of weight, around<br />

100 pounds in six months.<br />

The way I understood the world around me had changed. Time<br />

moved a lot more slowly than before. The U-Bahn travelled at a snail’s<br />

pace. Songs that I loved before seemed to drone on annoyingly for<br />

hours. Written language and grammar were hard for me to comprehend,<br />

and it was very difficult to translate ideas into words. I had set<br />

up a photo lab in my bathroom, but when I went to take pictures I<br />

couldn’t see things the way I had before. Before, scenes popped out<br />

from the background as if they were just waiting to be captured, but<br />

now everything was muddy and blended together at wrong angles. I<br />

dismantled the lab.<br />

Benzodiazapine withdrawal syndrome can last for years – sometimes<br />

it can even be permanent. Six years on, I’m still coping with<br />

the aftereffects of my addiction. Things I learned while taking the<br />

medication are hard to access now. I once spoke fluent Dutch and<br />

even wrote stories and poems in that language. Now, a lot of it is gone.<br />

On the other hand, quitting the medication made everything seem<br />

refreshingly new. Every experience felt like it was the first time. The<br />

streetlights buzzed brighter at night. Even tastes were different. I<br />

started to love spicy Thai food, which I hated before. I stopped going<br />

to university – I had lost so many years to addiction, and couldn’t<br />

stand the thought of more days stuck in a library. I’m now a photographer,<br />

and I work twice as hard as before. I’ve got to make up for those<br />

half-remembered years. n<br />

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17


w<br />

GAMING<br />

The most dangerous game?<br />

When does a hobby become an addiction? For video and<br />

computer gamers, the line isn’t so easy to draw. By Mary Biekert<br />

“<br />

I<br />

would<br />

spend all night dungeon crawling,”<br />

says 28-year-old Berliner Jonas*. “Sleep didn’t<br />

matter to me, only the game. When I was<br />

away from it, my temper tantrums would<br />

get so bad that once, I considered suicide, I was<br />

that unhappy. Yet if I was able to play, a mere five<br />

minutes later I would feel perfectly fine again.”<br />

Even in their most elemental form – Pong,<br />

Donkey Kong, Super Mario – video games can get<br />

you hooked. But as technology has improved, what<br />

was once confined to arcade consoles now comprises<br />

entire fictional universes, complete with social<br />

networks and economies. It’s easy to spend hours,<br />

days or weeks getting lost in those worlds. But are<br />

the people who do so really equivalent to alcoholics<br />

or heroin users? Increasingly, specialists seem to<br />

think so.<br />

Chantal Mörsen is the chair of a research<br />

group at Charité Hospital which focuses on<br />

behavioural addictions, gaming in particular. She<br />

states that her research has revealed that video<br />

game addictions can be as powerful as any. “The<br />

brain mechanisms of substance and behavioural<br />

addictions are actually the same,” she says. “The<br />

same neurological systems are activated and the<br />

reward system releases dopamine, giving you the<br />

drive to keep reaching your goal, a drive that can<br />

be nearly as strong as any substance addiction.<br />

Although the addict can’t experience strong<br />

physical withdrawal, behavioural withdrawal<br />

is very present, including symptoms such as<br />

nervousness, extreme irritation, impatience and<br />

depression.” Aside from her research, Mörsen is<br />

presently counselling 20 Berliners who are addicted<br />

to gaming – primarily massive multiplayer<br />

online role-playing games (MMORPGs) such as<br />

World of Warcraft. “MMORPGs are extremely<br />

addictive for three main reasons,” she says. “For<br />

one, your reward mechanisms are constantly<br />

triggered because these games offer a low-risk,<br />

high-reward environment to play in. The social<br />

aspect allows people to obtain a social factor<br />

that they are missing from their life, and these<br />

games also offer a highly immersive escape aspect<br />

that allows the player to avoid their reality.”<br />

Fun and games<br />

Walking into Meltdown, a bar in Neukölln solely<br />

devoted to eSports, it’s easy for even a gaming<br />

newbie to get drawn in. Over the sounds of beer<br />

glasses clinking, gamers sit at desktop computers<br />

situated off to the side, effortlessly tapping<br />

away at the keyboard, looking calm, almost<br />

hypnotised, as they battle opponents playing live<br />

from Meltdown London. They’re playing DotA<br />

(Defense of the Ancients), a spinoff of Warcraft<br />

in which players kill each other to earn points<br />

and gold. Others watch the competition on<br />

large television screens. “You have to be pretty<br />

good to play here,” says Meltdown regular Alex.<br />

“It obviously requires a great deal of practice at<br />

home to get to this level, hundreds of hours of<br />

playing time.” All that playing can also lead to<br />

serious cash. While the stakes at Meltdown are<br />

fairly low – cash prizes for tournaments rarely<br />

exceed €50 – truly talented gamers can compete<br />

in international playoffs like the DotA competition<br />

held annually in Seattle, where the winning<br />

team receives $5 million.<br />

But money isn’t gaming’s only important<br />

reward. “Gaming offers an accepting community<br />

of friends to anyone who is looking,” says Alex.<br />

“MMORPGs especially make it so that gamers<br />

can easily communicate and make new friends.”<br />

Among the young men who make up the<br />

greater part of Berlin’s tech scene, gaming serves<br />

both as a social glue and a way to cope with job<br />

stress. Daniel*, a 27-year-old native Berliner,<br />

start-up entrepreneur and computer engineering<br />

student, has been a keen gamer since he received<br />

his first computer in 1993. Now, he plays between<br />

20 and 50 hours a week, usually Minecraft, often<br />

starting off playing with his housemate but<br />

continuing after he has gone to bed. “Games<br />

give you a feeling that can’t compare to anything<br />

else. You get this light feeling in your chest and<br />

good vibes that spread through your body.” Even<br />

after spending a 14-hour workday in front of the<br />

computer, he still plays. “I use the game to forget<br />

about my life and to de-stress before heading off<br />

to bed. For some reason working with my team<br />

18 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


JASON HARRELL<br />

members to beat the other team makes me feel<br />

better at the end of the day.” Daniel is an avid<br />

player, but is he an addict? Mörsen would say no.<br />

“Video game addictions are characterised by the<br />

inability to control the amount of time played,<br />

decreased interest in socialising and neglecting<br />

important obligations.”<br />

When the game plays you<br />

What remains a relaxing if time-consuming<br />

passion for some can turn into an out-of-control<br />

habit for others. “For me, gaming started as an<br />

after-school activity to do with my brother when<br />

I was a teenager,” says Jonas, “It all changed when<br />

the first expansion set of World of Warcraft was<br />

released in 2007. It was a super big deal to the<br />

gaming community.” Adding new environments<br />

and characters to the original game, World of<br />

Warcraft: The Burning Crusade sold nearly 1.6<br />

million copies in Europe in its first month of<br />

release alone. “The world was undeniably addictive.<br />

It gave me a sense of exploration, a sense of<br />

accomplishment. All of my problems, all of my<br />

obligations, all of my responsibilities, they just<br />

faded away.” He had started his Abitur late, and<br />

the age difference between him and his peers<br />

meant he had few friends outside of the game. “It<br />

gave me a sense of community, where nothing in<br />

reality could compare.”<br />

According to Mörsen, young men in “protected,<br />

safe” environments are most at risk for gaming<br />

addiction. During summer vacation, living at<br />

home with no job to go to, Jonas says, “I would<br />

wake up at 4pm and game until 5am. I barely<br />

went to see friends anymore. I started to feel incredibly<br />

guilty, like a failure.” Stepping away from<br />

the game only led to more guilt. “These gaming<br />

societies are a major aspect of what holds you<br />

in. When I wasn’t in the game, I felt as if I was<br />

letting down hundreds of friends!” The personal<br />

responsibility to other gamers along with his<br />

feelings of worthlessness among his schoolmates<br />

kept Jonas gaming until 2010. After starting<br />

university at the Berlin School of Economics and<br />

Law, he made a conscious decision to kick the<br />

habit and truly focus on the life ahead of him.<br />

Game over<br />

While Jonas was able to cut himself off from<br />

gaming on his own, others don’t find it so easy<br />

to stop. Jannis Wlachojiannis<br />

is the head project<br />

coordinator at the Lost<br />

in Space Rehab Center<br />

in Kreuzberg. Originally<br />

established as a counselling<br />

centre for gambling<br />

addicts, Lost in Space<br />

expanded to include computer<br />

and video games in<br />

2006; they now have nearly<br />

500 gaming clients, up<br />

from the original 40. Half<br />

of these are relatives of<br />

addicts who have come to<br />

receive advice on helping<br />

loved ones recognise and<br />

address their gaming problem. “For some of my<br />

clients, the addiction is so strong that many<br />

experience withdrawal symptoms,” says Wlachojiannis.<br />

“I had one client in his mid-twenties<br />

who, whenever his mother would disconnect<br />

the internet, was subject to intense rage.” Another<br />

client, Wlachojiannis explains, went two<br />

years ‘sober’, entering into a steady relationship<br />

which helped to keep his mind off it all. “When<br />

he and his girlfriend broke up, though, he immediately<br />

relapsed.”<br />

Wlachojiannis’ rehab programme uses what<br />

he calls a “traffic light” method. “The idea is to<br />

identify which situations or things are subject to<br />

influence addicts to start gaming – these things<br />

we put in a ‘red zone’. ‘Yellow zone’ items might<br />

trigger the need to play, so caution is necessary.<br />

‘Green zone’ components would be something<br />

completely unrelated to gaming, like drinking a<br />

“I would wake<br />

up at 4pm and<br />

game until 5am.<br />

When I wasn’t in<br />

the game, I felt<br />

as if I was letting<br />

down hundreds<br />

of friends!”<br />

cup of tea in the sun. I encourage my clients to<br />

only partake in behaviours from the yellow and<br />

green zones. The best way to cut a video game<br />

addiction is to just stop cold turkey.” His clients<br />

receive individual counselling sessions along with<br />

anonymous group meetings where they discuss<br />

their progress and later move onto something<br />

more social, such as playing<br />

Frisbee in the park. Yet,<br />

even with a well organised<br />

rehab program, Wlachojiannis<br />

admits that 60-70<br />

percent of his clients are<br />

still likely to return. For her<br />

part, Mörsen admits to very<br />

high relapse rates in the beginning<br />

of her treatments,<br />

dropping to 25 percent after<br />

a full year of therapy.<br />

While some of Mörsen’s<br />

Charité colleagues, such as<br />

Andreas Heinz (see page 6)<br />

remain sceptical that gaming<br />

(and other behavioural<br />

addictions) can be classed along with alcoholism<br />

and drug dependence, video and computer game<br />

addiction is being taken more and more seriously.<br />

“Although some studies are still lacking, it seems<br />

that the WHO will most likely give video game<br />

addiction a legitimate classification in the next<br />

year,” states Dr. Mörsen. Daniel, on the other<br />

hand, hopes that the public can come to a better<br />

understanding of video games before demonising<br />

them. “Yes, video games are powerful, they are a<br />

substantial thing that negatively affect people at<br />

large. I hope society doesn’t take these people’s<br />

problems for granted. But I also hope they can<br />

understand that video games are a way for people<br />

to enjoy themselves, even if they do decide to<br />

play for 40 hours a week. As with everything in<br />

life, a healthy balance is all that is needed.” n<br />

*Names changed<br />

powered<br />

powered by by<br />

<strong>2015</strong><br />

www.citADEl-music-fEstivAl.DE<br />

Zitadelle | berlin<br />

Am Juliusturm 64 · DE-13599 BErlin<br />

more to come ...<br />

19


ANONYMOUS<br />

The talk of shame<br />

It’s en vogue to claim sex addiction these days – but finding an actual, real-life<br />

sex addict willing to speak up is harder than it seems. By David Mouriquand<br />

Speaking out as a sex addict is not easy.<br />

Unlike a recovering alcoholic or heroin<br />

user, someone dealing with sex addiction<br />

cannot proudly declaim his or her tamed<br />

demons. There’s no triumph involved; instead,<br />

the pride of getting clean is replaced by cultural<br />

stigma and doubt. Half the battle, it seems, is<br />

proving that sex addiction even exists.<br />

There is no clinical diagnosis for sex addiction.<br />

The condition is often dismissed by medical<br />

and government bodies, who continue to<br />

deny its status as an official psychiatric disorder<br />

– not to mention the media, which trivialises sex<br />

addition as a trendy, celebrity-endorsed excuse<br />

for lack of restraint.<br />

In Berlin, though, at least two groups exist<br />

for those seeking help: Sex and Love Addicts<br />

Anonymous (SLAA) and Sexual Compulsives<br />

Anonymous (SCA). The latter holds men-only<br />

meetings, while SLAA holds up to six mixed<br />

meetings per week with 12-15 attendees per session.<br />

Two are in English, to assure that language<br />

barriers don’t prevent anyone from speaking<br />

up. Whether suffering from an overpowering<br />

craving for sexual intimacy or a compulsive<br />

attitude towards pornography, the common denominator<br />

among attendees is a lack of control:<br />

days organised around sex, to the detriment of<br />

everything else.<br />

The recovering addicts we met there were<br />

keen for the word to get out that there are supportive<br />

places and programmes for those who<br />

struggle with sex addiction. However, when<br />

it came to answering further questions about<br />

their experiences, noses rapidly crinkled and<br />

heads started shaking. Some believed that a<br />

flash-in-the-pan piece could never do justice to a<br />

condition that has shattered many lives. Others<br />

only wanted to talk to someone who has been<br />

through the same experience, for fear their addiction<br />

would be conflated with paedophilia or<br />

sex crimes. Understandably, many balked at the<br />

idea of unveiling something so personal.<br />

Jane* agreed to answer a few questions. It<br />

would have to be on the phone, though. The<br />

other conditions were that the conversation<br />

would be on her terms and that we’d not reveal<br />

her identity.<br />

“I loved masturbating. I just couldn’t get<br />

enough of it. The slightest thing would set me<br />

off. A sound, someone’s voice on the phone.<br />

I’d do it at home, at work, in public places... It<br />

completely took over. I obsessed over it until it<br />

wasn’t enough. At the time, I had a steady relationship<br />

and my partner got off on it.<br />

For a while.”<br />

That relationship didn’t last. Her sexual<br />

impulses grew and became less manageable. Jane<br />

began going to clubs more regularly and found<br />

herself lowering her standards, just as long as<br />

it guaranteed taking someone home. “Anyone<br />

would do.”<br />

It was fun at first. “It was my secret life and<br />

I loved the fact my friends and co-workers<br />

weren’t a part of it. I thought I was making up<br />

for my rather tame student days, and picking up<br />

someone has never been particularly challenging<br />

in Berlin. At the time, I felt empowered by my<br />

ability to get guys into bed. I liked being a slut,<br />

calling myself a slut. I was trying things I never<br />

thought I’d do. It was a huge turn-on, a high.”<br />

A high with a steep comedown. “It stopped being<br />

fun when I started feeling like shit. The regular<br />

sex was alright, but even a decent fuck wasn’t<br />

enough after a while. I also got sick of having to<br />

deal with some pretty disgusting guys and having<br />

to use protection all the time. The rush didn’t<br />

stop me from feeling agitated and annoyed. The<br />

highs wore off quicker and I started getting edgy<br />

with friends and at work. Ultimately, I didn’t feel<br />

satisfied or loved. By anyone.”<br />

Jane now describes herself as a recovering<br />

addict. She confides that while she no longer<br />

frequents her Berlin haunts, she still has her<br />

moments. She laughs for the first time in the<br />

conversation, joking that she still probably<br />

yearns for physical intimacy more than the average<br />

person. The difference is that she’s now in<br />

control.<br />

She doesn’t want to talk about any group<br />

meetings but admits that she didn’t fully adhere<br />

to the spiritual facet of the programme. As in<br />

Alcoholics Anonymous, there is frequent reference<br />

to a higher power or god. Steps include<br />

the decision to “invite a higher power into the<br />

sex addict’s life” or asking for divine help in<br />

recovery. But according to Jane, “What helped<br />

me the most was being around people who<br />

shared their stories, judgement-free. It was their<br />

honesty that got me, not the spiritual awakening<br />

part.” It helped her understand that sex was<br />

her outlet, the way she could hide from “bigger,<br />

scarier things”.<br />

How does she react when confronted with<br />

people who believe that a clinical addiction to<br />

sex is a myth? “There’s enough out there for people<br />

to make up their own minds.”<br />

As Jane wants to wrap up the conversation, we<br />

venture one last question. Why agree to share<br />

with a journalist, one who was starting to give up<br />

all hope of ever having a frank conversation with<br />

a sex addict?<br />

“Beyond the Russell Brands of this world is a<br />

real addiction that is the source of much misery,<br />

and it needs all the press it can get.” n<br />

“The slightest thing<br />

would set me off. A<br />

sound, some one’s voice<br />

on the phone. I’d do it at<br />

home, at work, in public<br />

places... It completely<br />

took over.”<br />

20 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


SPOTLIGHT<br />

The men in the mirror<br />

An illustrated man and<br />

a Botox fan explain how<br />

addictive it is to change the<br />

way you look. By Jill Blackmore Evans.<br />

Photos by Arvid Samland<br />

“Botox is kind of an addiction,” says make-up<br />

artist and stylist Nicolas Henneberg, 23. He gets<br />

the procedure every three months. “Once you<br />

feel you can start moving your forehead again,<br />

you know you want to go back.” According to<br />

Henneberg, Botox doesn’t hurt at all. Your face<br />

simply feels a bit numb afterwards, like after<br />

you’ve been to the dentist.<br />

Henneberg began his regimen at age 18,<br />

thanks to a circle of friends in the Berlin film<br />

and TV industry. “I started at a Botox party,<br />

at a friend’s flat in Charlottenburg,” he says.<br />

“And I liked it, so I kept doing it. I actually just<br />

went yesterday!” he adds with a laugh. He also<br />

gets soft tissue fillers injected about every six<br />

months, intended to make the face appear fuller<br />

and younger.<br />

According to Henneberg, it’s becoming increasingly<br />

common for teenagers to start Botox<br />

early – as a preventative measure intended to<br />

stop wrinkles from ever forming. “Some people<br />

say that age makes a person look more interesting,<br />

but I don’t really think so.” Botox needs to<br />

be injected every three to six months to keep<br />

you looking fresh, and getting a fix isn’t cheap:<br />

one session typically costs a minimum of €300.<br />

Luckily for Henneberg, as a friend of one of<br />

Berlin’s top plastic surgeons, he gets his for half<br />

the usual price.<br />

Rigo Pitschmann, 30, is also obsessed with<br />

changing his skin. He estimates that he has<br />

spent about €21,000 on tattoos by 34 different<br />

artists, covering most of his body. “Every<br />

time I get a new tattoo, I’m like a newborn,”<br />

Pitschmann says, sitting in Schöneberg’s B52<br />

Tattoo, drinking a Coca-Cola. “I come from the<br />

studio with a big grin on my face. It really is like<br />

Christmas morning for a child.” Pitschmann,<br />

who works as a bodyguard as well as a tattoo<br />

artist, says his obsession started early: “It goes<br />

way back to my childhood, when I would tag all<br />

over my arm with a pen. Later, I’d get stick-on<br />

tattoos.” Pitschmann’s parents were strictly<br />

against real tats, so, at 15, he faked his mum’s<br />

signature in order to get his first piece, a nowfaded<br />

red heart on his right arm. “From there on<br />

I was hooked.”<br />

It’s hardly surprising for a tattoo artist to be<br />

tattooed head to toe, but for Pitschmann, it’s the<br />

experience that matters the most. “I quite simply<br />

find great pleasure in the noise of the needle<br />

and the machine and the pain of it touching my<br />

skin,” he says. “It’s like acupuncture for me. It’s<br />

just a very relaxing and pleasant experience.” In<br />

the past 15 years, the longest he’s gone without a<br />

new piece was seven weeks – at the end of which<br />

”I felt really moody,” he says. “There was a time<br />

when I would come to this studio every week.<br />

There always had to be a chair saved for me, in<br />

case I spontaneously wanted something new. It<br />

really was the peak of my addiction.”<br />

Henneberg and Pitschmann may look different,<br />

but they have the same defiant attitude about<br />

their physical appearance. Henneberg says he<br />

doesn’t understand why some people value the<br />

natural look so much: “They believe you have to<br />

be the way God made you, or whatever,” he says.<br />

“But I think that’s kind of stupid.” For his part,<br />

Pitschmann says that he hates looking at photos<br />

of himself without tattoos. His infatuation has<br />

taken precedence over careers and relationships:<br />

“I applied for a job as a banker once, and of course<br />

they didn’t want me. As they shook my hand and<br />

saw my tattoos on it, they refused me instantly.”<br />

This is why tattoos are off limits for his son, now<br />

aged six: “He already said he wants his own tattoo,<br />

but I said no way. It does close a lot of doors, jobwise.”<br />

He adds, “I have had girlfriends who’ve said<br />

to me enough was enough, giving me an ultimatum.<br />

I always chose the tattoos.”<br />

“I think a lot about eternity,” says<br />

Pitschmann, who considers himself religious.<br />

“And when the day comes when it’s my turn to<br />

leave, I can say that I’ll bring my tattoos with<br />

me.” He’s planning his next one right now. Although<br />

the design is still a secret, he says it will<br />

cover one of the last empty spaces he has left on<br />

his body: his scalp. Henneberg’s also thinking<br />

about the future. “I would get a nose job,” he<br />

says. “I love plastic surgery.” n<br />

Additional reporting by Peer Jon Ørsted.<br />

21


WORKAHOLISM<br />

Is Berlin burning out?<br />

Work addiction is taking root in the laissez-faire German capital – but when does<br />

the condition go from a badge of pride to a real problem? By Betti Hunter<br />

Berlin’s known more for midday starts and<br />

leisurely meetings at coffee shops<br />

than the nine to five grind.<br />

What, though, of those who<br />

reject binging at Berghain for allnight<br />

marathons at the office?<br />

“I always kind of knew that<br />

I was working too much, but<br />

I had this vision that I had to<br />

manage it in order to meet my<br />

deadlines,” says Johannes*, a<br />

28-year-old videographer who<br />

moved to Berlin three and a half<br />

years ago after graduating from<br />

university in the Netherlands. “I<br />

started to create longer days for<br />

myself. I would go through to 4am,<br />

eating in front of the computer<br />

while working and barely tasting the<br />

food, have a short sleep then get up<br />

and do it again. I knew I was destroying<br />

myself, and the people around me<br />

could see it too.”<br />

Workaholism, a term first coined back<br />

in 1971 by psychologist Wayne Oates, is said<br />

to differ from simple work engagement if the<br />

patient is motivated to work not by enjoyment,<br />

but by internal pressures and fear of<br />

failure. When the compulsion to work starts<br />

to negatively affect their lifestyle and the lives<br />

of those around them, that’s generally when it<br />

starts to be referred to as an addiction.<br />

As Berlin’s start-up scene has boomed, so too<br />

has a work culture based on the American ideal of hyperperformance<br />

that until recently was mainly seen in more business-oriented<br />

cities like Frankfurt and Munich. Dr. Brian Pheasant, a psychotherapist<br />

and California native who has been living in Berlin for the past<br />

eight years, has watched the competitive atmosphere in the city intensify.<br />

“American capitalism has really taken root here, which has helped to<br />

create the corporate climate in the city,” he says. “Many companies, even<br />

small start-ups, find themselves having to work as many hours as the<br />

Americans, Canadians and Japanese because that’s their competition.”<br />

With their lack of fixed office hours and constant connectivity enabled<br />

by smartphones and social media, it’s especially easy for Berlin’s young,<br />

self-employed workforce to get sucked in. The classic profile of a workaholic<br />

is someone in their mid-forties working in senior management, but<br />

here it’s just as likely to be a perfectionist freelancer like Johannes – or a<br />

Silicon Allee wunderkind.<br />

“My 26-year-old boss lives and breathes for work,” says James*, an<br />

intern at a Prenzlauer Berg start-up. “He works a minimum of 80 hours<br />

a week and says that relationships are unproductive. Sometimes I arrive<br />

at work and my colleagues are sleeping on the floor – they’ve been there<br />

all night.”<br />

22 • MAY <strong>2015</strong><br />

James himself is not a workaholic – yet.<br />

But often there’s a fine line between being<br />

exploited by a performance-obsessed<br />

boss and ‘exploiting’ yourself. For<br />

young people building their careers<br />

in the wake of the 2009 recession,<br />

the constant pressure to stand<br />

out in a crowded job market can<br />

take its toll. Fear of being usurped<br />

by the next capable, enthusiastic<br />

new graduate keeps many people<br />

tethered to underpaid positions or<br />

long-term internships where expectations<br />

are impossibly high, leading<br />

them to up their hours and sacrifice<br />

their social lives in order to stay on<br />

top. Says Pheasant, “I can see how a<br />

25-year-old might feel overwhelmed,<br />

because they’re expected to perform like<br />

a 50-year-old.”<br />

Perhaps one of the major contributing factors<br />

to this so-called ‘epidemic’ is the initial praise that<br />

those who dedicate themselves to their jobs receive<br />

from colleagues and peers.<br />

“Society actually rewards workaholism,” says Simon*,<br />

the group coordinator for Berlin’s work addiction recovery<br />

group Anonyme Arbeitssüchtige. The group, which has a core of<br />

five members and meets weekly, works with the 12-step method<br />

and allows addicts to share their experiences, listen to others and<br />

work on healing themselves. But getting people to relinquish their<br />

condition is often problematic. “Because of this cultural approval,<br />

most workaholics don’t actually want to recover.”<br />

The number of people who call themselves “workaholics” – one in<br />

nine in Germany, as many as one in four in the US – testifies to the<br />

addiction as a marketable quality. “Contemporary opinion is that<br />

workaholism is not a disease as such, but a personality condition,” says<br />

Dr. Dominique Piber of Charité Hospital. “Actually, some researchers<br />

have described workaholics as very satisfied and productive people.”<br />

While being obsessed with work can start as a positive commitment<br />

to the job, it can rapidly spiral out of control. Piber describes patients<br />

who, over the course of months or even years, find that work overtakes<br />

every aspect of their lives. They rarely see their families, they abandon<br />

social and leisure pursuits, and after a while their sleeping, eating and exercise<br />

patterns take a major knock. If this lifestyle continues unchecked,<br />

“The big moral advantage of the<br />

burnout stereotype is the thought<br />

that the problem is with your job,<br />

not yourself – it implies that you<br />

burned brightly before!”<br />

ILLUSTRATION BY AGATA SASIUK


work addicts risk developing severe mental and physical<br />

health complications – also known as “burning out”.<br />

Characterised by complete exhaustion and an inability to<br />

focus or to complete day-to-day tasks, burnout, the ‘overdose’<br />

that follows work addiction, has become quite the buzzword<br />

in Germany over the past decade. With statistics from health<br />

insurer AOK stating that one in 10 sick days in Germany are<br />

a result of this affliction, costing businesses up to €10 billion<br />

per year, it’s easy to see why. But despite myriad articles on<br />

the subject, the World Health Organisation and the American<br />

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)<br />

have yet to classify burnout as a syndrome or condition, and<br />

mental health professionals are still debating its very existence.<br />

“It’s not a diagnosis, it’s not a disease,” asserts Dr Markus<br />

Pawelzik of the EOS psychiatric clinic in Münster. “From a<br />

clinical vantage point most ‘burnout’ sufferers fulfil the criteria<br />

for depression, but they don’t want to be called depressed.<br />

The so-called burnout epidemic is a bottom-up stereotype<br />

developed by our population and our culture, and one that<br />

the Germans perhaps like more than others thanks to the<br />

ingrained Protestant work ethic.”<br />

Like “workaholic”, the word “burnout” has acquired something<br />

of a badge of honour status that most workers find more<br />

palatable than “depression”. Says Pawelzik, “The cognitive<br />

stereotype of depression is that people who suffer from it are<br />

deficient in some way. The big moral advantage of the burnout<br />

stereotype is the thought that the problem is with your job,<br />

not yourself – it implies that you burned brightly before!”<br />

Burnout has become big business in Germany. Private<br />

hospitals like the Oberberg Clinic in Brandenburg offer<br />

outpatient and inpatient treatment for victims of burnout<br />

that centre on mindfulness, cognitive behaviourial therapy<br />

and good old-fashioned rest and recuperation – for up to €510<br />

per day. Pawelzik believes that such clinics are capitalising on<br />

burnout treatment, creating a pseudo-treatment plan for a<br />

condition that has yet to be officially recognised. “This is just<br />

the market, you know, enlarging the domain of what you sell,”<br />

he says. “It’s not real medicine because it’s not a disorder. It’s a<br />

self-diagnosis.” When burnout patients are referred to him, he<br />

immediately re-diagnoses them – most often with depression<br />

– before commencing treatment.<br />

Once you’ve decided you truly want to shed your addiction to<br />

work, how easy is it to slacken your grip? “With alcoholism it’s<br />

hard enough to be totally abstinent, but when you’re a workaholic<br />

it’s even harder – you can’t be abstinent from work!” says<br />

Piber. “You need to make realistic goals. If you work 120 hours<br />

a week, you can’t go back to 40, at least not immediately.”<br />

Johannes’ turning point came when the freelancers with<br />

whom he shared a coworking space stopped inviting him to<br />

take a lunch break with them, knowing he would refuse. After<br />

that, he says, “I started being really strict towards clients,<br />

telling them I was only available certain hours. I started asking<br />

how important the work was and how necessary it was to do it<br />

right away. There are only so many hours in the day, right?”<br />

How realistic is it to choose your hours in a frantic 24/7<br />

work world that powers on regardless? The decision, says<br />

Johannes, is often made for you. “Actually, since cutting down<br />

my work time, I also have far fewer clients. These days I’m not<br />

working much at all!” n<br />

*Names changed.<br />

DEUTSCH.<br />

SOWIESO!<br />

goethe.de/berlin<br />

Sprache. Kultur. Deutschland.<br />

23


ARTICLE GAMBLING TAG<br />

SHIRIN BARTHEL<br />

Spinning out of control<br />

Fascinated by the blacked-out windows of Berlin’s ubiquitous Spielhallen, Ruvi S. decided<br />

to take a look inside... and ended up indulging more than just his curiosity.<br />

It is 4am and I am trudging slowly in the<br />

shadow of the Ringbahn between Wedding<br />

and home. In my head, I am rehearsing the<br />

excuses I can offer to my girlfriend for why I<br />

will be returning, in the middle of the night,<br />

with no money: I lost my wallet. My pocket was<br />

picked. I ran up an unexpectedly ginormous drink bill.<br />

The drizzle makes my coat smell of every<br />

night I have spent carousing in bars since the last<br />

time it was cleaned. I feel thoroughly miserable.<br />

It is a familiar sensation, this self-pity and regret,<br />

like waking up the morning after a debauch that<br />

ends with unclear memories of behaviour it will<br />

take a lot of apologising to get over. All addictions<br />

have moments like this, I have learnt.<br />

Beyond that is the realisation that this is what<br />

I wanted. I was curious to know what it really<br />

felt like to gamble, and the only way to do that<br />

was to lose. And yet there is another thought,<br />

more intense, throbbing insistently in my mind.<br />

The cherries, melons and BAR symbols tumbling<br />

over themselves with their mesmeric clicks and<br />

esoteric rhythms keep recurring like a melody I<br />

can’t get out of my head. And whenever they do,<br />

I wish I had a few more coins, because in spite of<br />

all evidence to the contrary, part of me believes<br />

that my fortune is finally about to change.<br />

To understand how I reached that point, it is<br />

necessary to go back several months. It was<br />

somewhere along Schönhauser Allee that I<br />

realised I was passing more automated casinos<br />

than any other type of store. From Wedding to<br />

Tempelhof, Moabit to Neukölln, beyond the Imbiss,<br />

Spätkauf and Kneipe, there is no more ubiquitous<br />

sight in Berlin than the blacked-out windows, neon<br />

proclamations and strategically placed CCTV<br />

cameras that signify a newly opened Spielhalle.<br />

Gambling feeds off the desire for instant success<br />

that incubates where unemployment and poverty<br />

reign. And while Berlin may be steadily turning<br />

into the glitzy European capital of its dreams,<br />

during this century’s first decade, lax regulations<br />

and a surfeit of disused commercial spaces saw<br />

Spielhallen extend themselves like Pac-Man eating<br />

the ghosts of failed capitalist ventures from the<br />

past. The number doubled between 2005 and 2011,<br />

when city officials decided to regulate Spielhallen<br />

more strictly. Among other restrictions, the<br />

Spielhallengesetz limited the casinos’ opening hours<br />

and proximity to each other, and forbid them from<br />

serving alcohol. Next year, when the Spielhallen<br />

built before this law have to reapply for their<br />

licences, the number is expected to shrink to 100.<br />

For now, though, there are still around 500 of these<br />

establishments in Berlin.<br />

Seeing them took me back to my childhood,<br />

when I fell in love with the mystique of forbidden<br />

places from sex shops to the heavily-leaded doors<br />

of public bars where I used to loiter, waiting to<br />

catch a glimpse inside. Behind the windows of the<br />

Spielhallen, anything could be happening. I readily<br />

imagined a louche demimonde populated by<br />

anonymous hustlers who chanced their arm in<br />

games of skill or luck, a subterranean world where<br />

people rejected the brightly lit social Darwinism<br />

of success and nice clothes. And if that sounds like<br />

an absurd way of romanticising the sad men and<br />

women who lose more than they win, there was<br />

something much more irresistible beneath these<br />

sociological constructions. A question with the<br />

power of an elemental force. Am I lucky?<br />

My flights of fancy might have run their<br />

course, but for the fact that there are<br />

Spielhallen all over the city, not including<br />

the machines in corner bars and restaurants.<br />

Regulations state you can only gamble in<br />

Spielhallen between 11am and 3am, but when you<br />

can cheerily blow your money over a beer or<br />

kebab in the nearest all-night Kneipe, the<br />

possibilities to rage against fortune run 24 hours<br />

a day and seven days a week.<br />

On Schönhauser Allee alone I could choose<br />

from a range of casinos, some run by chains like<br />

Vulkan, others clearly independent. I selected<br />

one next door to a mattress store, rang the bell<br />

and after a momentary pause in which, presumably,<br />

I was scrutinised via the CCTV camera<br />

set above my head, got buzzed inside. It was<br />

astonishingly busy, the atmosphere one of muted<br />

intensity. Both myself and my friends had always<br />

imagined that the mushroom growth of Spielhallen<br />

was a cover for illegal businesses and money<br />

laundering. As such, I expected them to be mostly<br />

deserted. Instead, nearly all of the 14 machines<br />

(six more than the legally allowed number) were<br />

occupied. And it was only mid-afternoon.<br />

I made my first mistake in approaching one of<br />

the machines that looked as if it was not in use,<br />

to be angrily shooed away by an intense-looking<br />

middle-aged German man dividing his attention<br />

between three machines, all set spinning<br />

automatically. I watched, slightly dazzled by the<br />

kaleidoscope of colours on the digital display as<br />

beeps and bells went off continuously.<br />

The machines were occupied by elderly Germans,<br />

Vietnamese women, Turkish men and kids<br />

who appeared scarcely old enough to play. Sitting<br />

down at a recently vacated stool, I selected<br />

from among the 20 games on offer. They range<br />

from the classics, with their cherries and melons<br />

harking back to the original, mechanical slot<br />

machines that circumvented American gambling<br />

24 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


laws by paying out in chewing gum instead of silver<br />

dollars, to flashier incarnations indulging in mad<br />

flights of fancy. There are mermaids, toreadors,<br />

knights and damsels-in-distress.<br />

After deliberating, I hit on “Book of Ra”, an<br />

ersatz Indiana Jones adventure. I put in €5 and<br />

hit spin. I had absolutely no idea what was going<br />

on and everyone else was far too absorbed in their<br />

own games to offer help or advice. So I kept hitting<br />

spin, everything accompanied by so many noises<br />

and lights that I was soon doing so almost unconsciously,<br />

swept along by the machine’s peculiar, mad<br />

rhythm. It took me some time to realise I could<br />

touch the screen as well as the buttons, but by that<br />

time and with classic idiot’s luck, I had won €20.<br />

Perhaps that first, undeserved and unexpected<br />

pay-out was the fatal moment. From that moment,<br />

I relaxed and the game’s mechanics began to<br />

unfold readily to my comprehension. An assistant<br />

appearing at my elbow offered me a cup of coffee.<br />

Since the €20 credit in the machine was, to my<br />

mind, free money, I decided to keep playing.<br />

There is, of course, no skill and almost no intelligence<br />

required. You are confronted with symbols<br />

divided into three horizontal and five vertical<br />

rows that make combinations in straight and<br />

diagonal lines. You can raise or lower the amount<br />

staked on each spin, and after each winning<br />

combination you can place side-bets on simple<br />

50/50 choices like whether you will draw black<br />

or red from a deck of cards. Inserting an element<br />

of excitement is a “Scatter”<br />

symbol that is a kind of Holy<br />

Grail: three of these and you<br />

receive 10 or 15 free spins and<br />

a far greater chance of winning<br />

combinations. These symbols<br />

(in “Book of Ra” they look like<br />

open copies of the Egyptian<br />

Book of the Dead) would<br />

become the glory and terror of<br />

many nights to come.<br />

I<br />

learned the basics, and in the<br />

process lost both the €20 I’d<br />

won and my initial €5 stake.<br />

After that, I may not have<br />

been hooked, but something<br />

had subtly changed. I developed<br />

a habit of putting coins<br />

into machines whenever I was<br />

waiting to be served in a Späti<br />

or Imbiss. I lost far more than I won, and yet the<br />

I readily<br />

imagined a<br />

louche demimonde<br />

populated by<br />

anonymous<br />

hustlers who<br />

chanced their<br />

arm in games<br />

of skill or<br />

luck...<br />

relatively infrequent times when I did win were so<br />

memorable as to erase all of the others.<br />

Gradually, I found myself haunting several<br />

casinos around Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg, as<br />

well as the machines in the Imbiss that used to<br />

stand on the corner of Torstraße and Rosenthaler<br />

Straße. It was there that I won my largest ever<br />

jackpot: €300. While the machine bleeped as if<br />

about to take off into the stratosphere and my<br />

money spewed out in an avalanche of €2 coins,<br />

the proprietor intervened angrily and set it to<br />

restart. When I told him I wanted to keep playing,<br />

he shook his head. No more on that machine,<br />

although I was, of course, welcome to try my luck<br />

on either of the other two.<br />

The truth behind the ingratiating smiles, free<br />

coffees and warm welcomes in every gambling<br />

den from Shanghai to Las Vegas: Win, but not too<br />

much. Play, but only on the machines at which we<br />

want you to play. It was an attitude I would discover<br />

later, when trying to speak with casino employees.<br />

The moment I told them that I wanted<br />

to write about my experiences, their manners stiffened<br />

and their eyes grew wary. Even the simplest<br />

questions regarding how many people played, or<br />

what was the biggest jackpot they had seen, were<br />

met with silence and the unspoken message that I<br />

could make my own way to the exit.<br />

As I played, I met a cross-section of people<br />

representing the diversity of the city itself, people<br />

like Micha, a chef in his early 30s who winds down<br />

from the adrenaline rush of service by playing at<br />

his local Spätkauf. In between spins, he told me<br />

about reckoning his losses in the tens of thousands<br />

without a hint of regret. Others I met contented<br />

themselves with dribbling away €10 or €20 as an<br />

excuse to socialise with friends.<br />

Despite the solitary nature of pushing buttons<br />

while staring at a computer screen, I discovered<br />

something basically social in these smoke-clogged<br />

rooms where you lose your sense of day or night.<br />

We are all in it together, all addicted to the intoxication<br />

of a fortune that can change in an instant.<br />

And yet the aim is not really money. That €300<br />

jackpot did not get spirited into a biscuit tin and<br />

placed under the mattress. I blew it the same<br />

night it was won in a blur of liberty and largesse.<br />

Like Dostoevsky’s gambler, the<br />

pleasure comes from the anticipation.<br />

To consume your winnings<br />

as quickly as possible is just the<br />

fastest way to get back to that necessary<br />

state of intensity. Or maybe<br />

it is about something else: that all<br />

true gamblers are not playing to<br />

win, but to lose.<br />

After my 4am journey home,<br />

I continued to play for a<br />

while, but never with the<br />

same intensity or passion. For me,<br />

the interest passed – perhaps I<br />

never really had it in me to throw it<br />

all away on chance. It is now some<br />

time since I last played, and the<br />

attraction is harder for me to<br />

understand because it was like an<br />

obsessive but dangerous liaison that<br />

only made sense when heavily involved. I look<br />

back from a distance and wonder – why?<br />

What does come readily back to me are the<br />

people populating those spaces behind the<br />

blacked-out windows with their faces lit by colourful<br />

symbols. In a world that fetishises success,<br />

there will always be punters looking for a shortcut<br />

to fortune. Or maybe there will always be masochists<br />

who find something to complete them in<br />

the desperation of when luck turns its back.<br />

When I was a boy, I was convinced that I could<br />

influence events by rolling dice or drawing cards.<br />

Six and this will happen, four and it will be so. I<br />

felt the same in the Spielhallen. One more spin, one<br />

more spin. This time, fate will smile on me. But it<br />

didn’t. And it won’t – at least, not if you measure it<br />

by spinning wheels and jackpots. n<br />

WEST:BERLIN<br />

WEST:BERLIN<br />

14.11.2014<br />

28.06.<strong>2015</strong><br />

EINE<br />

AN ISLAND<br />

INSEL AUF<br />

IN SEARCH<br />

DER SUCHE<br />

OF<br />

NACH<br />

ITS MAINLAND<br />

FESTLAND<br />

14.11.2014<br />

28.06.<strong>2015</strong><br />

EINE INSEL AUF DER SUCHE NACH FESTLAND<br />

ephraim-palais<br />

poststrasse 16 | 10178 berlin<br />

opening times<br />

tue, thu – sun: 10 am – 6 pm<br />

wed: 12 pm – 8 pm<br />

admission<br />

adults: 7,– euro<br />

Concessions: 5,– euro<br />

(booklet included)<br />

25<br />

www.west.berlin


What’s on<br />

CALENDAR<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2015</strong><br />

1<br />

Theatertreffen opens<br />

THEATRE FRIDAY, MAY 1 In its<br />

52nd year, Germany’s biggest<br />

theatre festival (see<br />

page 34) opens with Elfriede<br />

Jelinek’s Die Schutzbefohlenen,<br />

based on Aeschylus’<br />

2500-year-old<br />

play The Supplicants. Berliner<br />

Festspiele. Starts 19:00.<br />

<strong>May</strong> 1:<br />

<strong>May</strong> Day and<br />

MyFest<br />

Kreuzberg<br />

2<br />

Freiluftkino Kreuzberg<br />

opens<br />

FILM SATURDAY,<br />

MAY 2 Break out the<br />

booze and blankets<br />

– open-air cinema<br />

is back! Kreuzberg’s<br />

famed FLK kicks off<br />

the season with Citizenfour.<br />

Starts 21:15.<br />

Alaska 5000, <strong>May</strong> 5<br />

3<br />

Alaska 5000<br />

DRAG TUESDAY, MAY 5 Local<br />

Drag Race host Pansy brings<br />

American drag performer and<br />

show contestant Alaska 5000<br />

over for an episode screening<br />

and live performance. SO36.<br />

Starts 21:00.<br />

8<br />

Comedy sans frontiers<br />

COMEDY FRIDAY, MAY 8 On the<br />

70th anniversary of peace in<br />

Europe, a night with six incredible<br />

international comics, including<br />

the UK’s Eddie Izzard,<br />

Germany’s own Michael Mittermeier<br />

and a surprise US guest.<br />

Admiralspalast. Starts 20:00.<br />

Nightmares on Wax<br />

MUSIC SATURDAY, MAY 9 Perhaps<br />

best known for his<br />

1990s albums Smokers Delight<br />

and Carboot Soul, the<br />

British DJ and electronic composer<br />

George Evelyn keeps reinventing<br />

new styles. Bi Nuu.<br />

Starts 23:59.<br />

11<br />

ensemble focuses on the true<br />

Welcome to Germany<br />

THEATRE MONDAY, MAY 11 A<br />

bizarre, surreal new piece by<br />

Berlin’s Monster Truck<br />

story of a German colony in<br />

Chile. Also <strong>May</strong> 7, 8, 9.<br />

Sophiensaele. Starts 20:00.<br />

(see page 36)<br />

Freiluftkino Kreuzberg opens, <strong>May</strong> 2<br />

16<br />

Bella Figura<br />

THEATRE SATURDAY, MAY 16<br />

The familiar set-up of two couples<br />

whose engagement with<br />

one another spells disaster<br />

is played out in a parking<br />

lot in Yasmina Reza’s new<br />

play. Schaubühne. In German.<br />

Starts 20:00. (see page 36)<br />

17<br />

Uncle Vanya<br />

THEATRE SUNDAY, MAY 17 Director<br />

Nurkan Erpulat breathes<br />

new life into Chekhov’s classic<br />

family drama. Premiering<br />

<strong>May</strong> 2, this is the second and<br />

last time this month with English<br />

surtitles. Maxim Gorki. Also<br />

<strong>May</strong> 10. Starts 18:00. (see<br />

page 36)<br />

EXBlicks: Achtung Film<br />

Festival Winner<br />

FILM MONDAY, MAY 18 At last<br />

month’s Achtung fest, we pre-<br />

18<br />

sented the <strong>Exberliner</strong> Film<br />

Award to Tami Liberman’s engaging<br />

refugee portrait Napps.<br />

It screens tonight with Oranienplatz<br />

doc Insel 36. Lichtblick.<br />

Starts 20:30.<br />

18<br />

Impressionism – Expressionism, <strong>May</strong> 22<br />

My perfect Berlin weekend<br />

NICO WEBERS (see<br />

page 11) is a German<br />

DJ and musician<br />

who’s been straight<br />

edge – no alcohol, no<br />

drugs, no animal products<br />

– since he was<br />

17. His substance-free<br />

stance doesn’t stop<br />

him from indulging in<br />

Berlin’s party scene.<br />

FRIDAY 13:00 Head<br />

to Core Tex Records<br />

(Oranienstr. 3, Kreuzberg)<br />

and Bis Auf’s<br />

Messer (Marchlewski<br />

Str. 107, Friedrichshain)<br />

for some record<br />

shopping. Follow<br />

it up with a huge shopping<br />

spree at the vegan<br />

grocery store Veganz<br />

(Warschauer Str.<br />

33, Friedrichshain) so<br />

I’m prepared for the<br />

weekend. 15:00 Shred<br />

the Shelter Skatehalle<br />

(Revaler Str. 99,<br />

Kreuzberg), then skate<br />

some more at Vogelfrei<br />

(Tempelhofer Feld).<br />

19:00 Dinner at Viasko<br />

(Erkelenzdamm<br />

49, Kreuzberg), a<br />

100-percent-vegan restaurant.<br />

21:00 Meet up<br />

with friends for a concert<br />

at Magnet Club,<br />

Bi Nuu, Astra or Lido.<br />

SATURDAY 14:00 After<br />

breakfast, take in<br />

some spa time at Vabali<br />

(Seydlitzstr. 6,<br />

Mitte). 20:00 Join<br />

friends at the pond at<br />

Engelsbecken (Michaelkirchplatz,<br />

Kreuzberg).<br />

01:00 Bounce to<br />

hip hop and house at<br />

Prince Charles (Prinzenstr.<br />

85F, Kreuzberg).<br />

SUNDAY 14:00 Table<br />

tennis at Böcklerpark<br />

(Prinzenstr. 1,<br />

Kreuzberg). 17:00 Party<br />

at Berghain (Am<br />

Wriezener Bahnhof,<br />

Friedrichshain) till...<br />

FRANCESCA TORRICELLI<br />

21<br />

Xposed Festival<br />

FILM FESTIVAL THURSDAY,<br />

MAY 21 The 10th edition of<br />

Berlin’s queer film fest features<br />

something for all you friends<br />

of Dorothy: a return to Oz with<br />

the Aussie classic Priscilla:<br />

Queen of the Desert.<br />

Moviemento. Starts<br />

21:00. (see page 33)<br />

28<br />

passed since reunification, the<br />

Unification: German<br />

Society in Transition<br />

EXHIBITION THURSDAY,<br />

MAY 28 With 25 years having<br />

Deutsches Historisches Museum<br />

presents an intensive look<br />

back at the still-divided Germany<br />

of the 1990s. Through Jan 3.<br />

<strong>May</strong> 29-31:<br />

Berlin Festival<br />

at Arena Park<br />

22<br />

mostly German and French<br />

Impressionism<br />

– Expressionism<br />

ART FRIDAY, MAY 22 This collection<br />

of 170 works from<br />

artists highlights surprising<br />

similarities between two of Europe’s<br />

most important artistic<br />

movements. Through Sept<br />

20. Alte Nationalgalerie.<br />

29<br />

the modernism that shaped<br />

Radically Modern<br />

EXHIBITION FRIDAY, MAY 29<br />

Berlinische Galerie reopens<br />

after renovations with a look at<br />

post-war Berlin with a spotlight<br />

on architects like Walter<br />

Gropius and Mies van der<br />

Rohe. Through Oct 26.<br />

Berlinische Galerie.<br />

26 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


Nick Cave, <strong>May</strong> 6<br />

5<br />

13<br />

Confirmation<br />

THEATRE WEDNESDAY,<br />

MAY 13 An award winner at<br />

the last Edinburgh Fringe Fest,<br />

UK performer Chris Thorpe’s<br />

piece explores the concept of<br />

confirmation bias through a dialogue<br />

about political extremism.<br />

Through <strong>May</strong> 16. English<br />

Theatre Berlin. Starts 20:00.<br />

19<br />

The Soft Moon<br />

MUSIC TUESDAY, MAY 19 The<br />

weird, addictive synth/psych/<br />

techno/punk sound of Oakland’s<br />

Soft Moon gets even<br />

darker – and more digital – on<br />

new album Deeper. Schwuz.<br />

Starts 21:00. (see page 40)<br />

25<br />

outdoor debauchery.<br />

Karneval der Kulturen<br />

FESTIVAL MONDAY, MAY 25 <strong>May</strong><br />

Day has passed but here’s<br />

another chance for some<br />

Everyone’s favourite multikulti<br />

street fest returns with a huge<br />

market, street food, music<br />

and parade. From <strong>May</strong> 22.<br />

Kreuzberg 61.<br />

Karneval der Kulturen, <strong>May</strong> 25<br />

29<br />

JURINO REETZ BUBAMARA<br />

Nick Cave<br />

6<br />

MUSIC WEDNESDAY, MAY 6 The<br />

man with the red right hand<br />

sheds his Bad Seeds for a<br />

solo performance in a venue<br />

barely big enough for the legend’s<br />

ego. Friedrichstadt<br />

Palast. Starts 20:00.<br />

14<br />

Duato – Kylian<br />

DANCE THURSDAY, MAY 14 Halfway<br />

through his first season<br />

as artistic director of the Staatsballet,<br />

buzzed-about dancer/choreographer<br />

Nacho Duato<br />

has finally introduced his<br />

own piece to the repertoire.<br />

Staatsoper im Schiller Theater.<br />

Starts 19:30. (see page 36)<br />

The Rake’s Progress, <strong>May</strong> 15<br />

20<br />

27<br />

Nico & the Navigators<br />

MUSICAL THEATRE WEDNESDAY,<br />

MAY 27 The new piece by Berlin’s<br />

ensemble of “full-body poets”<br />

, Die Stunde da wir zu viel<br />

voneinander wussten delves<br />

into the communication overload<br />

of our age with music, theatre<br />

and dance. Also <strong>May</strong> 28-<br />

31 . Radialsystem. Starts 20:00.<br />

30<br />

EXBlicks: B Movie<br />

FILM SATURDAY, MAY 30<br />

Nostalgic for the wild party<br />

that was 1980s West Berlin?<br />

Relive the hedonistic fun with<br />

B Movie – mostly unreleased<br />

footage documenting the<br />

creative and crazy West (and<br />

East!). Lichtblick Kino. Starts<br />

20:30. (see page 33)<br />

<strong>May</strong> 7-10:<br />

XJAZZ<br />

Festival!<br />

RUTH WALZ<br />

Briefs – Excentric<br />

Body Circus<br />

7<br />

PERFORMENCE THURSDAY,<br />

MAY 7 All the way from Australia,<br />

this all-male cross-dressing<br />

circus (billed as a “Boylesque”)<br />

combines music, dance and<br />

acrobatics for a glamorous and<br />

crazy show. Through June 10.<br />

Tipi. Starts 20:00.<br />

The Rake’s Progress<br />

OPERA FRIDAY, MAY 15 Acclaimed<br />

director Krzysztof Warlikowski<br />

updates Stravinsky’s<br />

15<br />

classic opera about the corruption<br />

of a country boy with<br />

modern costumes and a Berlin<br />

sensibility. Also <strong>May</strong> 21,<br />

24, 29. Staatsoper. Starts<br />

19:00, 19:30.<br />

20<br />

Hot Chip<br />

MUSIC WEDNESDAY, MAY 20<br />

Their sounds keep coming over<br />

and over and over – and now<br />

the long wait for their new album’s<br />

finally over as well, with<br />

Why Make Sense? out just days<br />

before this show. Heimathafen<br />

Neukölln. Starts 21:00.<br />

EXBlicks: B Movie, <strong>May</strong> 30<br />

26<br />

31<br />

Die Ungehaltenen<br />

THEATRE SUNDAY, MAY 31<br />

Based on the eponymous debut<br />

novel by author Deniz Utlu,<br />

the play about two young children<br />

of Turkish workers on a<br />

road trip from Kreuzberg to Istanbul<br />

premieres with English<br />

surtitles tonight. Maxim Gorki<br />

Theatre. Starts 20:30.<br />

<strong>May</strong> Programme in English<br />

2.5. / HAU1 FILM<br />

Frances Stark<br />

My Best Thing<br />

Afterwards: artist talk with Diederich Diederichsen<br />

2.+3.5. / HAU3 DANCE<br />

Josep Caballero<br />

García with Black<br />

Cracker and Océan<br />

LeRoy<br />

T/HE/Y<br />

5.5. / HAU1 / part 3/5<br />

22.5. / HAU3 / part 4/5 DIALOG<br />

Jeremy Wade /<br />

Kerstin Stakemeier<br />

Moi Machine Moi – The DRAWN-<br />

ONWARD Reading Group<br />

6.–22.5 / private flats in BerlinTHEATRE<br />

Rimini Protokoll<br />

Home Visit Europe<br />

6.–13.5. / HAU3 DANCE<br />

A retrospective by<br />

Isabelle Schad &<br />

Laurent Goldring<br />

On Visibility and Amplifications:<br />

Collective Jumps / Der<br />

Bau / An Un-Folding Process /<br />

Unturtled #4 & #1<br />

7.+8.5 / Relaxa Hotel THEATRE<br />

Gob Squad<br />

Room Service (Help Me Make It<br />

Through The Night) / German and English<br />

20.–23.5. / HAU3 DANCE<br />

An Ian Kaler<br />

o.T. I (the emotionality of the jaw)<br />

21.+22.5. / HAU1 DANCE<br />

Laurent Chétouane<br />

Pas de Deux and more (working<br />

title)<br />

30.+31.5. / HAU3 DANCE<br />

Mette Ingvartsen<br />

69 positions<br />

27<br />

www.hebbel-am-ufer.de


What’s on<br />

FILM<br />

STARTS APR 30<br />

Eden<br />

D: Mia Hansen-Løve<br />

(France <strong>2015</strong>) with Félix<br />

de Givry, Greta Gerwig<br />

◆◆ The biographical<br />

tale of her brother Sven’s<br />

journey from successful<br />

garage DJ to impoverished<br />

Parisian novelist, Mia<br />

Hansen-Løve’s Eden owes<br />

much to her husband Olivier<br />

Assayas’ Something<br />

In The Air as it nostalgically navigates the choppy waters<br />

of youthful dreams and adult disillusionment. It’s got a<br />

hip soundtrack to be sure, but while the film loses itself in<br />

music, its characters, pacing and central intrigue are way<br />

off. Paradise lost perhaps, but it feels more like an eternal<br />

sentence in purgatory. MW<br />

ALL FILMS ARE<br />

IN OV WITH<br />

GERMAN<br />

SUBTITLES<br />

UNLESS<br />

OTHERWISE<br />

STATED<br />

STARTS APR 30<br />

The Gunman<br />

D: Pierre Morel (Spain, UK,<br />

France <strong>2015</strong>) with Sean<br />

Penn, Javier Bardem, Mark<br />

Rylance ◆ A rocky<br />

past involving the assassination<br />

of the Congolese<br />

mining minister returns to<br />

bite a reformed hitman<br />

turned development<br />

worker (Penn) when<br />

someone takes a shot at<br />

him. Who’s behind it? With Morel (Taken) directing, the<br />

only mystery here is why Penn has jettisoned activist and<br />

acting credentials and compromised those of his A-list<br />

cohorts in favour of rock-hard abs, a paltry script and<br />

a leaky plot – also featuring Idris Elba as an enigmatic<br />

secret service agent. At least he keeps his shirt on. EL<br />

STARTS MAY 7<br />

Hedi Schneider steckt fest<br />

D: Sonja Heiss (Germany<br />

<strong>2015</strong>) with Laura<br />

Tonke, Hans Löw, Leander<br />

Nitsche ◆◆◆ The<br />

tranquil life of happygo-lucky<br />

Hedi, Uli, and<br />

young son Finn is thrown<br />

off balance when Hedi<br />

suddenly starts having<br />

panic attacks. Despite<br />

mounting financial and<br />

emotional stress, the couple tries to hold it together, but<br />

wittiness cannot mend discontent and resentment. This<br />

tender and skilfully paced tragicomedy beautifully juggles<br />

droll mockery and drama. A mélange of strength and<br />

fragility in Tonke’s eye-widening performance, set against<br />

a bohemian chic backdrop, is perfectly opportune. YC<br />

STARTS MAY 7<br />

The Forecaster<br />

D: Marcus Vetter, Karin<br />

Steinberger (Germany,<br />

USA 2014) documentary<br />

◆◆◆ Conspiracy theorists<br />

rejoice: documentary<br />

whiz Vetter has found a<br />

subject to tickle all financial<br />

meltdown theorists in<br />

the person of “forecaster”<br />

Martin Armstrong, who<br />

used the number pi to<br />

accurately predict economic blips and related conflicts –<br />

until he was imprisoned for failing to divulge the basis of<br />

his calculations to US authorities. Vetter allows the newly<br />

released Armstrong to cut an authoritatively concerned figure,<br />

according to whom the next critical downturn is due in<br />

October <strong>2015</strong>. Believe it or not: your spine will tingle. EL<br />

Truth and fiction By EVE LUCAS<br />

If you’re into cinema of the furrowed-brow<br />

variety, you can count on prolific British director<br />

Michael Winterbottom to construct medial versions<br />

of altered truths, QED his take on Sterne’s<br />

already meta-fictional Tristram Shandy in A Cock<br />

and Bull Story. Challenging perceptions of reality,<br />

Winterbottom has excelled at undercutting<br />

these with work that explores violence<br />

in explicitly political, social and sexual<br />

contexts (The Road to Guantanamo, In this<br />

World, The Killer Inside Me).<br />

“You can’t tell the truth unless you<br />

make it fiction” is apposite advice given to<br />

Thomas Lang (Brühl), a film director tasked<br />

with making a movie about a notoriously violent<br />

and sexually motivated murder case in a sleepy<br />

Italian university town. So Winterbottom’s THE<br />

FACE OF AN ANGEL is not set in Perugia and the<br />

murder victim is not an innocent young British<br />

student called Meredith Kercher, rightly suggesting<br />

that media reporting on such crimes has<br />

lost itself (and us) in Daily Mail-National Enquirer<br />

reality-fiction mazes. The terror and tragedy beyond<br />

is secondary to salacious details and profit<br />

margins. Should intellectualised versions of truth<br />

(like this film) be part of the picture? These are<br />

the possibilities and theories that Lang ventilates<br />

with an in-crowd of hard-baked coverage<br />

journalists, including the gently exasperated love<br />

interest Simone (Beckinsale), whose book is to<br />

form the basis of Lang’s filmic treatment. Many<br />

arguments here are obvious, but bear repeating<br />

as factors in a world predisposed to immediate<br />

shortcuts. It’s Lang’s own confusion (and Brühl’s<br />

portrayal of it) that is likely to challenge viewer<br />

patience as the hapless director decides to link<br />

his version of events to Dante’s Divine Comedy.<br />

Struggling with literary correlatives, alienating<br />

his backers and Skyping with his daughter, Lang<br />

takes refuge in a symbolically freighted friendship<br />

with Melanie – another wide-eyed “young<br />

British student” (Delevingne) with whom he<br />

ends up playing cards at the seaside.<br />

EDITOR’S<br />

PICK!<br />

Winterbottom’s often well-framed response to<br />

our fascinations with sex and violence, innocence<br />

and corruption wanders around here in<br />

a labyrinth of ambiguities and there are some<br />

heavy casualties – coherence being one – in the<br />

battle between truth and fiction. But he will<br />

make you think and this, surely, is worth<br />

more than purely visual delight?<br />

Which is the chief joy to be derived from<br />

Alan Rickman’s second session on the<br />

directorial stool. Purporting to aim for A<br />

LITTLE CHAOS (photo), Rickman gives us the<br />

fictional figure of Sabine De Barra (Winslet),<br />

a gardener who catches the eye of André Le<br />

Notre (Schoenaerts), chief landscape architect<br />

of Sun King Louis XIV (Rickman). Versailles<br />

is in the making and De Barra manages to seal<br />

the deal on designing a small water garden. The<br />

opulence and lavish set production of costumes,<br />

landscaped gardens and natural wildernesses are<br />

doubtless intended to reflect obliquely on the<br />

stultification of court life versus De Barra’s unorthodox<br />

creativity. And with actors like Winslet,<br />

Schoenaerts and Rickman on board, there are<br />

early hopes of a scenario that could – and should<br />

– have disturbed the well-documented truths of<br />

absolutist politics with a spark of fictional roughand-tumble.<br />

But smelling the roses of garden life<br />

and re-discovering the humanity of honest passion<br />

does not count as chaos, with Stanley Tucci’s<br />

turn as the king’s gay brother serving merely to<br />

remind us that some devils just wear satin and<br />

silk to hide the lack of substance beneath. ■<br />

STARTS APR 30<br />

A Little Chaos ◆◆<br />

D: Alan Rickman (UK 2014) with Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman,<br />

Matthias Schoenaerts<br />

STARTS MAY 21<br />

The Face of an Angel ◆◆<br />

D: Michael Winterbottom (UK, Italy, Spain <strong>2015</strong>) with Daniel<br />

Brühl, Kate Beckinsale, Cara Delevingne<br />

28 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


STARTS MAY 7<br />

The Water Diviner<br />

D: Russell Crowe (Australia, Turkey, USA<br />

2014) with Jai Courtney, Russell Crowe, Olga<br />

Kurylenko ◆ Boasting the visual<br />

opulence of a cross-continental<br />

spread and the historical gravitas of<br />

World War I, this drama-adventure<br />

nevertheless fails to engage, move<br />

or inspire, proving that debut director<br />

Russell Crowe still has some<br />

way to go as a storyteller. Based on<br />

the true story of a family man from<br />

Australia who ventures into the<br />

turbulent political hot zone of postwar<br />

Turkey to find his missing sons,<br />

one suspects the potential for an<br />

emotions and adrenalin-filled ride is<br />

there. Sadly, such promise is not to<br />

be, for the film is doubly dulled by<br />

a lack of focus and the plainness<br />

of its voice. Subplots that don’t<br />

go anywhere get picked up and<br />

dropped off with little consideration<br />

for timing. The blandly benevolent<br />

tone used to describe forgiveness,<br />

reconciliation and a burgeoning<br />

romance lends the proceedings an<br />

overall sense of limitation despite<br />

the obvious grandness of their<br />

scale. The movie does feature<br />

striking imagery, with the baffling<br />

geometrical wonders of a mosque<br />

interior and the stunning shades<br />

of light thrown by the setting sun<br />

gloriously captured on fine, dusty<br />

lens. But all that beauty ultimately<br />

can’t make up for the low stakes,<br />

the weak pulse and the punch that<br />

never comes. ZS<br />

REGISTER NOW AND<br />

EARN 250 POINTS!<br />

STARTS MAY 21<br />

Lost in Karastan<br />

(Welcome to Karastan) D: Ben Hopkins (UK<br />

<strong>2015</strong>) with MyAnna Buring, Matthew Macfadyen<br />

◆◆◆ Playing Emil Forester,<br />

a filmmaker who’s so down on his<br />

luck that he accepts an invitation<br />

to a film festival staged in the autocratically<br />

ruled Caucasian Republic<br />

of Karastan, Matthew Macfayden<br />

makes the most of a deliberately<br />

low-budget mockumentary-like<br />

excursion into tropes of artistic<br />

obscurity and obfuscation. As he<br />

bumbles through a script happily<br />

ensconced in the absurd, Emil<br />

attempts to raise enthusiasm for<br />

his oeuvre at screenings of his<br />

two films marked by Kafkaesque<br />

dislocation, with barely adolescent<br />

kids rapt at the sight of determined<br />

shagging. Then the real reason for<br />

his invitation comes to light: would<br />

he like to make a film on the life<br />

of the medieval figure regarded as<br />

Karastan’s founding father? Finally,<br />

a chance to pay his cleaner back<br />

home and the dog food to which<br />

his pet feels entitled. Emil accepts<br />

and soon finds himself lost in the<br />

translation of culture and language,<br />

with not-so-hidden agendas, elusive<br />

subjects, mysterious love interests,<br />

reluctant stars, ambiguous backers<br />

and a preference for endings that<br />

feature thoughtful horses staring<br />

into the camera. Itself thoughtful<br />

and funny, Hopkins’ latest feature<br />

comes with a price-tag of deliberate<br />

loose ends, undermining the tidy-all<br />

school of artistry with the authenticity<br />

of creative doubt. EL<br />

• Earn 10 points for every 1 € spent in cinema or online. Spend points on<br />

free tickets or prizes from 10 visits* or 1,250 points on.<br />

• Various price savings and attractive sweepstakes.<br />

• Exclusive events and special screenings.<br />

• But the best thing is: The CineStarCARD is completely free of charge.<br />

*Average revenue of ten tickets incl. snacks at a total value of 125 €.<br />

Get the CineStarCARD application<br />

in cinemas or online at cinestar.de<br />

29


What’s on<br />

FILM<br />

STARTS MAY 7<br />

Papusza<br />

D: Joanna Kos-Krauze,<br />

Krzysztof Krauze (Poland<br />

2013) with Jowita Budnik,<br />

Zbigniew Walerys, Antoni<br />

Pawlicki ◆◆◆ The<br />

career of distinguished<br />

Polish-Romani poetess<br />

Bronislawa Wajs, known<br />

as Papusza, stems from<br />

her tumultuous early life<br />

and her entanglement<br />

with the writer Jerzy Ficowski<br />

at both professional and personal levels. Whereas<br />

poetry is her salvation, sudden fame leads to her banishment<br />

from the Roma community, and lifelong loneliness.<br />

This biopic, shot in serene black-and-white and with<br />

enchanting camerawork, spans several decades and<br />

brings to light the unexplored secrets of Roma culture and<br />

its place in 20th-century European history. YC<br />

STARTS MAY 7<br />

The Misplaced World<br />

(Die abhandene Welt)<br />

D: Margarethe von Trotta<br />

(Germany <strong>2015</strong>) with<br />

Barbara Sukowa, Katja<br />

Riemann ◆◆ After<br />

her similarly New York-set<br />

Hannah Arendt, Margarethe<br />

von Trotta returns<br />

with Barbara Sukowa in<br />

The Misplaced World, only<br />

this time Katja Riemann<br />

takes the spotlight. As part-time singer Sophie (Riemann)<br />

heads across the Atlantic in search of her mother’s spitting<br />

image – opera singer Caterina Fabiani (Sukowa) – it’s<br />

a Chabrolesque tale of doppelgängers and lost identities.<br />

But with an uninspired script and clumsy camerawork,<br />

The Misplaced World makes for a painfully dated excavation<br />

of the skeletons of the past. MW<br />

STARTS MAY 7<br />

Redirected<br />

(What the Fuck heißt<br />

Redirected) D: Emilis<br />

Velyvis (UK, Lithuania<br />

2014) with Scot Williams,<br />

Gil Darnell, Vinnie Jones<br />

◆◆ You’ll need a<br />

large dose of loo-level<br />

humour to help digest this<br />

romp that takes Michael<br />

(Williams), a guard in Her<br />

Majesty’s Royal Service,<br />

from a failed heist involving three con-mates from London<br />

to Lithuania, where he struggles gamely to assert his innocence<br />

whilst his friends indulge in Baltic barnyard frolicking<br />

and other forms of wayward partying. Will Eastern<br />

Europe ever lose the stigma of uncouth corruption? EL<br />

STARTS MAY 14<br />

A Second Chance<br />

(En chance til) D: Susanne<br />

Bier (Denmark 2014) with<br />

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau,<br />

<strong>May</strong> Andersen ◆◆◆◆<br />

Serena? Which Serena?<br />

Bier is back in form and<br />

in league with scriptwriter<br />

Anders Thomas Jensen<br />

(After the Marriage, In a<br />

Better World) in this harrowing<br />

portrait of policeman<br />

Andreas (Coster-Waldau), his wife Sanne (Andersen)<br />

and a family tragedy, which Andreas wants to make good at<br />

all costs. Not a word too much, nor a single redundant look<br />

clutter this bare-bones exploration of Bier’s beloved topic:<br />

the role of justice and guilt in a coincidental world. EL<br />

ALL FILMS ARE<br />

IN OV WITH<br />

GERMAN<br />

SUBTITLES<br />

UNLESS<br />

OTHERWISE<br />

STATED<br />

Reeder, a music producer and artist in his own<br />

right, was drawn to Berlin’s electronic pop and<br />

nascent punk scene when he came over from<br />

the UK in the late 1970s, making a name for<br />

himself amongst future icons like Nick Cave,<br />

Blixa Bargeld, Die Toten Hosen and many, many<br />

more. His documentary premiered at this year’s<br />

Berlinale and screens at our Exblicks event on<br />

<strong>May</strong> 30 (see page 33).<br />

The film is made up of previously unreleased<br />

material from film and TV. You’re<br />

the narrative thread, telling your own story.<br />

How did that come about? Originally Jörg<br />

Hoppe, one of the producers, was looking for<br />

someone to restore the music. Then he delved<br />

a bit into my background. The original idea was<br />

to make some groupie girl waltz us through the<br />

story and then he realised, like, wait a minute,<br />

here’s someone who was actually involved in the<br />

actual scene as a participant but also viewing it<br />

from the perspective of a foreigner in Berlin at<br />

that time.<br />

What was it like the first time, stepping into<br />

Berlin? It was like Manchester, actually. It was a<br />

rainy June evening, a depressive sort of ambience.<br />

In a sense, I felt really at home. The next day, I<br />

thought I better call my mum and let her know<br />

that I’ve arrived safely, so I’ll go and get some<br />

change for the phone. There was this bar on the<br />

corner of the street and there was a transvestite<br />

there and he was like: “Yes, darling, what do you<br />

want?” And I thought: I’m in Berlin! With this<br />

guy in a bar with bright red hair and a polka dot<br />

top on. You’d never see something like that on the<br />

streets of Manchester. And one thing led to another<br />

and I kind of like fell into this Berlin scene.<br />

Listen to the<br />

full interview<br />

on exberliner.<br />

com!<br />

“I was deemed subversive,<br />

obviously”By KEVIN CANERS<br />

MARK REEDER’s narrative of events and atmospheres during the<br />

pre-Wall decade is the backbone of B Movie: Lust and Sound in<br />

West-Berlin 1979-89.<br />

What was it about the city that made you<br />

want to stay? The fantastic music scene. Interesting,<br />

exciting people. And then, there was East<br />

Berlin. Nobody knew anything about East Berlin.<br />

All the punks and people who looked weird<br />

never went there because of the way they looked.<br />

Blixa? They’d never have let him in. I was able to<br />

conform to their image of what a conservative<br />

man could look like. Short hair, shirt and tie.<br />

Looked straight.<br />

You put on a secret gig there... A girl wrote<br />

to me from East Germany. A postcard. It must<br />

have taken about two weeks to get to me. And<br />

she said: “I’ll meet you at the Palast der Republik<br />

in the cocktail bar.” I was a bit wary about what<br />

this could be, but she actually just wanted to<br />

sound me out. We were sitting at a table drinking<br />

beer and this hippy in a Wrangler jacket and<br />

frizzy hair overheard us talking. He said: “I’ve<br />

got an electric guitar.” I asked, “Where d’you<br />

play it?” “At what’s known as a Blues-Messe.” A<br />

kind of gospel church thing where someone<br />

plays “Go Tell It on the Mountain” on a guitar.<br />

So I thought, “I’ll take Die Toten Hosen over.”<br />

There happened to be a band called Planlos<br />

who were going to do a gig in the church, so we<br />

kind of hijacked that. It was really small. Only<br />

like 50 people came. But it became this legendary<br />

thing in East Berlin because somebody had<br />

dared to do this. That was really invigorating and<br />

I was deemed subversive, obviously, by the East<br />

German authorities. “What’s his agenda? He’s<br />

obviously got something up his sleeve.”<br />

It sounds like the scene was starting to<br />

wane even before the Wall came down.<br />

What changed, exactly? Probably the fact<br />

that everyone tried to better themselves musically.<br />

Like Einstürzende Neubauten. Originally,<br />

they’d just go to a building site, grab what they<br />

could get and perform with it. Once they’d<br />

made an album, with Gareth Jones, it started<br />

to become more regimented. At gigs, they had<br />

to play the album. They had to practice that. It<br />

started to become more normalised. Started to<br />

go towards the coffee table. ■<br />

30 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


LOFT.DE<br />

FACEBOOK.COM/LOFTCONCERTS<br />

STARTS MAY 7<br />

The Babadook<br />

D: Jennifer Kent (Australia 2014) with Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman<br />

CON: Ba-ba-boring<br />

◆ While its<br />

coldly pristine photography<br />

pleases<br />

the eyes and<br />

the rare femaledriven<br />

narrative is<br />

very much to be<br />

appreciated, this<br />

insipid excuse of<br />

a horror film bores<br />

more than anything<br />

else. Yes,<br />

childrearing is<br />

tough and exhaustion<br />

could be the<br />

least agreeable<br />

of sensations,<br />

but a tired mother<br />

and petulant son do not make for a scary movie. In the course of<br />

the story, which weaves together the familiar haunted house setup<br />

and a frustrating case of ineffective parenting, we feel sympathetic<br />

toward our first overtaxed, then wrongly accused heroine. But fear –<br />

that trickiest of emotions to artificially encourage – remains elusive.<br />

There are jumpy moments (almost exclusively the result of sudden<br />

movements or loud noises) but the difference between such instant,<br />

knee-jerk reactions and the lingering, purely psychological response<br />

of dread should be clear.<br />

And so we wait for the poor woman to relax, the nasty kid to calm<br />

down, and the director to stop startling us with pop-ups or screams.<br />

But that’s pretty much it. The performance by Essie Davis is intense<br />

and technically sound, marking the progression of her character's<br />

unravelling with escalating force. But seen from the perspective of a<br />

genre film lover, it feels like a wasted effort in a fundamentally<br />

misguided attempt to terrorise. ZS<br />

I AM KLOOT<br />

14.5. POSTBAHNHOF | 20H<br />

ANDREYA TRIANA<br />

14.5. GRÜNER SALON | 20H<br />

HUDSON TAYLOR<br />

20.5. BANG BANG CLUB | 20H<br />

HONNE<br />

20.5. PRINCE CHARLES | 20H<br />

MANU DELAGO HANDMADE<br />

21.5. BADEHAUS SZIMPLA | 20H<br />

ROCKY VOTOLATO<br />

24.5. POSTBAHNHOF | 19:45H<br />

SEAN BONNETTE OF ANDREW JACKSON JIHAD<br />

26.5. CASSIOPEIA | 20H<br />

SLOWLY ROLLING CAMERA<br />

27.5. BADEHAUS SZIMPLA | 20H<br />

LIANNE LA HAVAS<br />

28.5. GRÜNER SALON | 20H<br />

COASTS<br />

31.5. MAGNET | 20H<br />

TICKETS: KOKA 36 (030) 611 013 13<br />

ST. PAUL & THE BROKEN BONES<br />

15.6. POSTBAHNHOF | 20H<br />

METZ<br />

24.6. CASSIOPEIA | 21H<br />

BEATSTEAKS<br />

3.7. WUHLHEIDE | 19H<br />

ZUSATZSHOW<br />

THÅSTRÖM<br />

5.7. POSTBAHNHOF | 21H<br />

TIMBER TIMBRE<br />

14.7. HEIMATHAFEN NEUKÖLLN | 21H<br />

THE CAT EMPIRE<br />

17.10. HUXLEYS | 20H<br />

CARO EMERALD<br />

3.11. COLUMBIAHALLE | 20H<br />

ANTILOPEN GANG<br />

19.12. ASTRA | 20H<br />

PRO: Whose mind is it anyway?<br />

◆◆◆ Worried<br />

about things that<br />

go bang in the<br />

night? You should<br />

be. Not the pagebound<br />

variety, the<br />

Babadook nursery<br />

spook of infantile<br />

fears with which<br />

young Samuel<br />

(Wiseman) terrorises<br />

single mother<br />

Amelia (Davis),<br />

insisting on nightly<br />

inspections of<br />

dark spaces before<br />

creeping into<br />

her bed and robbing her of what little sleep remains.<br />

No. It’s inner demons that can rise and destroy. Like all good monsters,<br />

they’re in the mind – and not just those of children. First-time<br />

director Kent hints as much when we learn early on that Amelia was<br />

the author of “oh, some children’s books” before she lost her husband<br />

in an accident on the way to the hospital for Samuel’s birth. Six<br />

years on, that violent tragedy and its unarticulated legacy has found<br />

darkness in Amelia – and in a terrible voracity that sucks mother and<br />

child into the cellar of unresolved trauma. Set largely in a house of<br />

blues and greys that reflect chillingly on a doomed family, Kent develops<br />

the Babadook as an amateur monster who moves with desperate<br />

crudeness before exploding into a metaphor for mind games that we<br />

ignore at our peril. Frightening in implication more than affect, The<br />

Babadook will throw its shadow over your dreams for longer than you<br />

might expect. EL<br />

31


What’s on<br />

FILM<br />

STARTS MAY 14<br />

La Buena Vida – das gute Leben<br />

D: Jenz Schanze (Columbia,<br />

Germany, Netherlands,<br />

Switzerland <strong>2015</strong>)<br />

documentary ◆◆◆◆<br />

Energy has a price. And<br />

it’s not monetary. As<br />

Europe shuts down its<br />

mines, coal is imported<br />

from other sources such<br />

as the Correjón mine in<br />

Columbia which gobbles<br />

up indigenous villages as it digs ever deeper and wider.<br />

Schanze’s overpowering collage of images traces the<br />

resettlement of the Wayúu Indians from their forest home<br />

to a dustbowl of four-square concrete huts as they make<br />

way for progress and big business. Mandatory watching<br />

for anybody with a light switch. EL<br />

STARTS MAY 21<br />

Dora oder die sexuellen Neurosen<br />

unserer Eltern<br />

D: Stina Werenfels (Switzerland<br />

<strong>2015</strong>) with Victoria<br />

Schulz, Lars Eidinger<br />

◆◆◆ Refreshing in<br />

its subject matter and<br />

the frankness with which<br />

it confronts taboos, the<br />

Berlin-set drama about<br />

the sexual awakening of a<br />

young, mentally impaired<br />

woman offers a rare look<br />

inside the psyche of someone limited from birth. Fine,<br />

provocative lines between exploitation and genuine fondness,<br />

jealousy and parental care are walked with commendable<br />

delicacy. Though the film ends rather abruptly<br />

with futures left wide open, superb performances and<br />

adept cinematography nonetheless ensure a memorable<br />

journey alongside those struggling for love. ZS<br />

STARTS MAY 21<br />

Dancing Arabs<br />

D: Eran Riklis (Israel,<br />

Germany, France 2014)<br />

with Tawfeek Barhom, Ali<br />

Suliman, Yaël Abecassis<br />

◆◆◆ Riklis’ renewed<br />

visitation of the Palestinian-Israeli<br />

conflict was<br />

a favourite at Locarno.<br />

Taking a deliberately<br />

inconclusive look at the<br />

flukes of identity, Riklis<br />

interweaves the stories of Palestinian Eyad, who leaves his<br />

family to attend a prestigious Jewish school in Jerusalem<br />

in the early 1980s, and Edna, the Israeli with whom he<br />

falls in love. Powered by great young performances, its<br />

quiet, sometimes overt subtlety is a timely contrast to<br />

virulent contemporary rhetoric. EL<br />

STARTS MAY 21<br />

Café Ta’amon, King-George-Street, Jerusalem<br />

D: Michael Teutsch (Israel,<br />

Germany 2013) documentary<br />

with Mordechai Kopp<br />

◆◆◆ Run since 1960<br />

by Mordechai Kopp<br />

and his wife with the<br />

assistance of a Moslem<br />

cook and handyman,<br />

Jerusalem’s most famous<br />

café has seen activists<br />

meet to discuss everything<br />

from the occupation to Greater Israel and, more recently,<br />

the Olmert corruption scandal. Talk is what made this café<br />

famous, so if Teutsch’s ode to this gemütliche crucible of<br />

disputation suffers slightly from the talking heads scourge<br />

of documentary filmmaking, that’s not even a bad thing. EL<br />

ALL FILMS ARE<br />

IN OV WITH<br />

GERMAN<br />

SUBTITLES<br />

UNLESS<br />

OTHERWISE<br />

STATED<br />

AUG & OHR MEDIEN<br />

Flicks our picks<br />

Special screenings, festivals<br />

and retrospectives you shouldn’t<br />

miss this month<br />

MAY 6-10<br />

Salad days of punk<br />

For the fourth year in a row, Moviemento’s<br />

PUNKFILMFEST will bring punk rock back to Kreuzberg.<br />

Ranging from a long-overdue recognition of<br />

the first black punk band (hell, the first ever punk<br />

band!) in A Band Called Death, to the pop punk<br />

adventures of high school couple Rudy and Ava<br />

in the genre-messing O-Star to the less polished,<br />

self-proclaimed hardcore version of a punk musical<br />

in Sacrificial Youth about a teen punk with an<br />

attitude living in a fully suburbanised environment,<br />

this year’s films are set to disturb and entertain.<br />

Acclaimed documentary Salad days: The DC Punk<br />

Revolution on the early (1980-90) DIY punk scene<br />

in the US capital also deserves a mention: 30<br />

years on, Washington, DC’s original punk spirit<br />

still serves as a reminder of the hopefulness of<br />

youth, the power of community and the strength of<br />

conviction. Spiced up, as per usual, with concerts<br />

and other activities, including a seasonal open-air<br />

showing of Salad Days on <strong>May</strong> 3. Full programme<br />

at www.toodrunktowatch.de. PJØ TOO DRUNK TO<br />

WATCH – 4. PUNKFILMFEST BERLIN | Moviemento, Kottbusser<br />

Damm 22, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Schönleinstr.<br />

MAY 10-20<br />

From the House of Shiva to<br />

Coney Island<br />

Featuring over 30 films, the 21st JEWISH FILM<br />

FESTIVAL opens with a film that shows how the<br />

world was forced to open its eyes onto Holocaust<br />

reality. Directed by Paul Andrew Williams, The Eichman<br />

Show recreates the TV coverage of Adolf Eichman’s<br />

1961 trial, as director Leo Hurwitz (Anthony<br />

LaPaglia) and producer Milton Fruchtman (Martin<br />

Freeman) delivered material that was shown worldwide<br />

and later honoured with Emmy and Peabody<br />

Awards. With original footage of witnesses testifying<br />

in Eichman’s impassive presence, Williams<br />

brings the viewer into the courtroom to listen<br />

and watch, fearing to look or look away, here as<br />

elsewhere in films such as A La Vie, (Zilbermann),<br />

EXBLICKS<br />

<strong>May</strong> 18<br />

NAPPS — MEMOIRE OF AN INVISIBLE MAN<br />

which brings together three Auschwitz survivors, or<br />

the visually overwhelming study of Theresienstadt<br />

In Silence”. Lighter fare comes in a second focus<br />

on culinary themes including Famous Nathan,<br />

on the seller of world famous hot dogs from the<br />

Coney Island boardwalk, the Ottolenghi biopic<br />

Jerusalem on a Plate and the feature film Dough,<br />

about a Jewish baker in London’s East End and<br />

his Muslim apprentice. For something decidedly<br />

different, don’t miss a 2002 short with Udo Kier<br />

as Hitler living as Mrs. Meitlemeihr in post-war London<br />

and submitting to the attention of a persistent<br />

Jewish neighbor. Gay avek! EL JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL<br />

BERLIN | nine cinemas throughout Berlin, check www.jffb.de for<br />

full programme<br />

MAY 18, 20:30<br />

And the winner is...<br />

This month at Lichtblick, expect a duo of powerful<br />

documentaries that deftly put a face (and a<br />

voice) on one of the thorniest facets of the city’s<br />

intercultural identity: the fate of the refugees and<br />

asylum seekers who can’t quite call Berlin home.<br />

Tami Liberman’s 30-minute production NAPPS –<br />

MEMOIRE OF AN INVISIBLE MAN, the winner of last<br />

month’s <strong>Exberliner</strong> Award at the Achtung Berlin<br />

Film Festival, takes a singular approach to the topic.<br />

Driven by the sheer logistical necessity of his<br />

limbo-like legal state, forbidden from work of any<br />

kind, her West African subject, known only as “Mr.<br />

X” to protect his anonymity, picks up the camera<br />

and becomes the filmmaker himself, capturing the<br />

simultaneous stasis and uncertainty of an asylumseeker’s<br />

life with a wellspring of strength, patience<br />

and humour. It’ll be shown with INSEL36, a fellow<br />

Achtung film helmed by Asli Özarslan. A moving insight<br />

into a one-time fixture and now-vanished landmark,<br />

it documents the trials of the 250 refugees<br />

who set up their protest camp on Oranienplatz to<br />

campaign for better conditions. Filmed over the<br />

bitter winter of 2012, the film finds its heart in the<br />

courageous and indefatigable Napuli, the camp’s<br />

sole female refugee who ignored the weather,<br />

stonewall bureaucracy, NIMBY residents and public<br />

indifference to organise protests, speak to the<br />

press and publicly advocate for both the cause<br />

and fellow camp members. Members of the films’<br />

production teams will be present for a post-film<br />

Q&A, served with traditional complimentary wine.<br />

CE EXBLICKS | Lichtblick Kino, Kastanienallee 77, Prenzlauer<br />

Berg, U-Bhf Eberswalder Str.<br />

32 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


XPOSED<br />

<strong>May</strong> 21-24<br />

PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT<br />

MAY 21-24<br />

Quintessentially<br />

queer for 10 years<br />

Get prepared for XPOSED to bare all again as<br />

the international queer film festival opens up<br />

for the 10th time. This year XPosed comes<br />

full circle, returning to Oz and the geographical<br />

focus of the first fest. Rather than screen<br />

faddish new releases, XPosed goes for quality<br />

as reflected in the opening film: Stephen<br />

Elliott’s 1994 cult hit The Adventures of<br />

Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. If you’re not<br />

familiar with the campy tale of three genderbending<br />

performers and “Priscilla”, their<br />

majestic means of transportation, catch it<br />

now to find that 20 years haven’t tarnished<br />

its outrageous charm. Also out of Australia,<br />

Lawrence Johnston’s Night Out (1989), shot<br />

in black and white with a 1950s “youth gone<br />

wild” atmosphere, brings a surprising focus<br />

to the tale of a gay man stepping out for<br />

a late-night dalliance while the boyfriend’s<br />

away only to be beaten by four hoods. This<br />

year, XPosed joins the ranks of film festivals<br />

showing TV shows with Josh Thomas’<br />

much-loved Aussie comedy Please Like Me.<br />

Thomas writes the show and plays the main<br />

character, a twenty-something who realises<br />

he’s gay after breaking up with his girlfriend.<br />

Aside from two wonderful short programmes<br />

with an Australian focus, XPosed branches<br />

out to other locations, with Spain offering<br />

up a troubling take on love in Amor Eterno,<br />

in which an older teacher has sex with his<br />

teenage pupil and one social transgression<br />

leads to another, leaving the viewer gutted<br />

by the end. Also not to be missed is Desiree<br />

Akhavan’s hilarious Appropriate Behavior,<br />

in which an Iranian-American Brooklynite<br />

faces life with an endearing but dry wit. Also<br />

launching this year is the Queer Short Film<br />

Fund, in which prospective queer filmmakers<br />

submit their screenplays for a chance to win<br />

€2000 and make that film a reality. All that,<br />

and let’s not forget the international shorts,<br />

German shorts and special “naughty room”<br />

shorts also on offer during the fest, as well<br />

as the requisite party at Südblock. WC<br />

10. XPOSED INTERNATIONAL QUEER FILM FESTIVAL |<br />

Moviemento, Kottbusser Damm 22, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf<br />

Schönleinstr.<br />

MAY 2-AUG 27<br />

Something in the air<br />

Shake out those picnic blankets, unfold<br />

the folding chairs (and maybe dust off the<br />

mosquito spray) – it’s time to appreciate<br />

cinema beneath the stars again at Berlin’s<br />

bounty of open-air theatres. Our friends at<br />

FREILUFTKINO KREUZBERG are first past<br />

the post, with a sprawling OV spread heavy<br />

on major award winners such as opening<br />

Snowden doc Citizenfour (<strong>May</strong> 2, 21.15) as<br />

well as more esoteric pickings like Nick Cave<br />

curio 20,000 Days on Earth (<strong>May</strong> 10, 21:30).<br />

Too much cinematic wholesomeness? Get<br />

your dose of sequined summer Eurotrash<br />

at the free Eurovision screening (<strong>May</strong> 23,<br />

19:30). FREILUFTKINO HASENHEIDE offers<br />

a biweekly OV screening of the year’s highlights,<br />

opening with the hysterical Oscarsweeping<br />

freakout Birdman (<strong>May</strong> 27, 21:30)<br />

whilst CENTRAL KINO warms up for their<br />

programme of classics with some athletic<br />

pogoing care of the Punk Film Festival with<br />

Salad Days (see left). CE OPEN AIR CINEMA |<br />

various locations; for all films, dates and times, check<br />

the OV search engine at www.exberliner.com<br />

MAY 30, 20:15<br />

Lost and found?<br />

When directors Jörg A. Hoppe, Klaus Maeck<br />

und Heiko Lange set out to capture the cauldron<br />

of musical Berlin in the decade prior to<br />

re-unification, British musician and producer<br />

Mark Reeder (see interview, page 30) provided<br />

a more than fortuitous way into the<br />

confusion. In B-MOVIE: LUST AND SOUND IN<br />

WEST BERLIN 1979-1989 Reeder chronicles<br />

how his interest in German electro pop<br />

brought him to Berlin in 1978, where his own<br />

career as musician/producer and lively curiosity<br />

put him in close touch with Nick Cave<br />

and Blixa Bargeld, Die Toten Hosen, Malaria!<br />

and Frantic Elevator as well as the musical<br />

buzz in East Berlin. Join us as we merge pop<br />

and subculture back when “days were short<br />

and the nights were endlessly long” along<br />

with realeyz.tv, the directors and Reeder for<br />

full creative immersion and a glass of wine.<br />

EL EXBLICKS: B MOVIE: LUST AND SOUND IN WEST<br />

BERLIN 1979-1989 | Lichtblick Kino, Kastenienallee<br />

77, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz<br />

CONFIRMATION<br />

by CHRIS THORPE (UK)<br />

THEATERTREFFEN<br />

STÜCKEMARKT<br />

REVISITED<br />

etb<br />

International Performing Arts Center<br />

Plus the International Comedy<br />

Showcase, a concert by Ian Late<br />

& Band, THE LAB and the Berlin<br />

International Youth Theatre!<br />

<strong>May</strong> <strong>2015</strong><br />

ETBERLIN.DE<br />

33


What’s on<br />

STAGE<br />

Theatertreffen<br />

at a glance<br />

CASTORF CONTROVERSY<br />

Frank Castorf, the legendary direcor at the helm of Berlin’s<br />

Volksbühne since 1992 , is no stranger to controversy.<br />

His Münchner Residenztheater production of BAAL<br />

was attacked by Bertolt Brecht’s publisher, Suhrkamp, as<br />

an “unauthorised adaptation” – Castorf added numerous<br />

other texts to the original script. (He also takes Brecht’s<br />

story of a debauched young poet and transplants it to<br />

the Vietnam War, complete with a dead pig, a life-sized<br />

helicopter and plenty of orgiastic chaos.) Suhrkamp took<br />

the Residenztheater to court, and in February of this<br />

year it was ruled that the production could be shown<br />

only twice more: a final time in Munich, and once at this<br />

month’s Theatertreffen. It’s arguably the hottest ticket<br />

at this year’s festival, made even hotter with the recent<br />

news of Castorf’s 2017 departure from the Volksbühne,<br />

so good luck getting into the four-and-a-half-hour show.<br />

BERLIN’S BEST<br />

The Theatertreffen jury selected two works from the German<br />

capital: Yael Ronen’s COMMON GROUND (Maxim<br />

Gorki Theater), a cathartic and remarkably exuberant<br />

show about the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, and Ivan<br />

Panteleev’s take on WAITING FOR GODOT (WARTEN<br />

AUF GODOT, Deutsches Theater in a co-production with<br />

Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen).<br />

NO GERMAN REQUIRED<br />

More than half of this year’s productions have English<br />

surtitles: DIE SCHUTZBEFOHLENEN, DIE UNVER-<br />

HEIRATETE, JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN, COM-<br />

MON GROUND, WAITING FOR GODOT, WARUM<br />

LÄUFT HERR R. AMOK? and DIE LÄCHERLICHE<br />

FINSTERNIS.<br />

FOCUS FASSBINDER<br />

Theatertreffen celebrates the 70th birthday of the late,<br />

great Rainer Werner Fassbinder with a heap of special<br />

events devoted to the German director. In addition to<br />

the main-stage production of WARUM LÄUFT<br />

HERR R. AMOK?, there are other stage adaptations<br />

of Fassbinder’s films, numerous movie<br />

screenings, a day-long symposium and two museum<br />

exhibitions. Patrick Wengenroth, a Schaubühne director,<br />

also presents some sort of “theatrical action”, and actress<br />

Hanna Schygulla sings poems written by Fassbinder.<br />

MARKET FRESH<br />

What’s the next big thing in European theater? Possibly<br />

something you’ll see at the Stückemarkt, a showcase of<br />

five new plays by young writers from across the continent.<br />

This year’s selections include ZERSPLITTERT by Alexandra<br />

Badea (Romania/France), a tale of globalisation that<br />

follows four characters in four very different parts of the<br />

world; and Der Staat by Alexander Manuiloff (Bulgaria),<br />

a play that turns audience members into actors. For<br />

the particularly intrepid, there’s also the daylong Talking<br />

Straight Festival from Daniel Cremer (Germany), which will<br />

occur entirely in an invented language.<br />

Visit berlinerfestspiele.de for full schedule and ticket<br />

information. For ongoing English-language updates<br />

from <strong>Exberliner</strong>, head to the Theatertreffen blog at<br />

theatertreffenblog.de.<br />

From pirates to<br />

bourgeois striptease<br />

By REBECCA JACOBSON<br />

The annual THEATERTREFFEN is a chance to catch 10 of the best and<br />

buzziest productions from across the German-speaking world. We<br />

caught up with two of this year’s invitees: director Susanne Kennedy<br />

and playwright Wolfgang Lotz.<br />

JU OSTKREUZ<br />

THEATER-<br />

TREFFEN<br />

MAY 1-17<br />

Susanne Kennedy:<br />

Running amok<br />

with Fassbinder<br />

Forty-five years ago, when actors showed up on the<br />

set of WARUM LÄUFT HERR R. AMOK?, co-directors<br />

Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Michael Fengler didn’t<br />

greet them with a script. Instead, they handed them an<br />

outline: a broad-stroke guide to the film’s scenes, but<br />

no instructions for what to say or how to behave. The<br />

result is one of cinema’s greatest exercises in tedium:<br />

88 minutes of improvised and excruciatingly mundane<br />

conversation about financial problems, Christmas<br />

presents, television programmes and the minutiae of<br />

Herr R.’s job as a draftsman at an architectural firm.<br />

At the end of the film, Herr R. clubs his wife, kid and<br />

neighbor to death with a candlestick. Fassbinder later<br />

called it a kind of “bourgeois striptease”.<br />

But for director Susanne Kennedy, whose adaptation<br />

of the film comes to Theatertreffen this<br />

year, the material couldn’t be juicier. “In the film,<br />

the actors just chattered, and after it came out,<br />

someone wrote up a script,” she says. “What you<br />

get is total everyday speech, with lots of ‘umms’<br />

and ‘aaahs’ and repetitions. It’s such strange<br />

material, because they talk about absolutely<br />

nothing. And when you combine that with the<br />

fact that nothing happens in the film, it’s an<br />

unbelievable tension to bring to the stage.”<br />

Kennedy, 37, knows tension well. At last year’s<br />

Theatertreffen, she showed Fegefeuer in Ingolstadt,<br />

a polarising production that relied on<br />

starkly formalised movement and vocal playback<br />

– the actors lip-synced to recordings of their<br />

lines. At the premiere at the Münchner Kammerspiele,<br />

some audience members responded with<br />

boos and jeers. With Warum läuft Herr R. Amok?,<br />

Kennedy – who moved to Berlin a year ago after<br />

a long stint in the Netherlands – digs deeper into<br />

the same playbook. (The production is also part<br />

of the festival’s Fassbinder spotlight, see sidebar.)<br />

She’s again working with the playback technique,<br />

but this time the recorded voices aren’t the actors’<br />

own: They belong to people on the street,<br />

the assistant director’s parents, even employees<br />

from the Kammerspiele’s props department.<br />

As in Fegefeuer, the actors lip-sync to these<br />

recordings. And now, instead of thick white face<br />

makeup, they’re in even creepier silicone masks.<br />

“I needed an extreme form – an artificial form,<br />

let’s say – in order to come even closer to reality,”<br />

Kennedy says. “As a viewer, masks ask something<br />

different of you. They appeal to your imagination<br />

in different ways. But you also realise that the<br />

body is always looking for a way to express itself,<br />

even if it’s just in the hands, and these details become<br />

incredibly important and incredibly strong.”<br />

Kennedy knows her work can be demanding: “I<br />

like it when it hurts,” she told Die Tageszeitung last<br />

year. But she promises it’s not sheer sadism.<br />

“My most exciting experiences in the theatre,<br />

or in art generally, have been those when I’ve<br />

arrived somewhere and don’t know how to orient<br />

myself,” she says. “Pain is crucial – that’s how<br />

you grow. It’s important that things continue to<br />

affect you, and when it hurts, you know something<br />

in you has been touched.” <strong>May</strong> 3-4, 19:30 |<br />

Deutsches Theater, Schumannstr. 13, Mitte, S-Bhf Friedrichstr.<br />

JU OSTKREUZ JAN VERSWEYVELD<br />

34 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


Wolfram Lotz: Lost in the Afghan rainforest<br />

One of Germany’s most lauded young playwrights,<br />

Wolfgang Lotz comes to Theatertreffen with DIE<br />

LÄCHERLICHE FINSTERNIS (The Ridiculous Darkness),<br />

a play that finds Westerners venturing into an<br />

unfamiliar world. The Leipzig-based playwight draws<br />

not only from Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse<br />

Now but also from current events – piracy in Somalia,<br />

for example, and the war in Afghanistan.<br />

It’s a political piece of theatre, and one that mines<br />

the absurdities of our postcolonial world. As the<br />

protagonists descend deeper into the “Afghan rainforest”,<br />

they meet an idiosyncratic cast of characters,<br />

including Italian UN peacekeepers overseeing mineral<br />

extraction for mobile-phone production, a talking<br />

parrot and a Balkan war refugee selling bedsheets,<br />

noodles and investment funds. The piece, which Lotz<br />

wrote as a radio play, has been immensely popular – by<br />

season’s end, it’ll have been mounted at eight different<br />

theatres. The production coming to Theatertreffen<br />

is not the one that opened late last year at Berlin’s<br />

Deutsches Theater, but the world premiere staged by<br />

Dušan David Parízek at Vienna’s Burgtheater. As a kid<br />

growing up in a small town in the Black Forest, Lotz<br />

knew no theatre beyond Christmas pageants. With its<br />

sheep costumes and Jesus baby dolls, theatre always<br />

seemed, Lotz says, “an impossible form.” But by the<br />

time he hit university, and had begun to write poetry,<br />

he reconsidered. “At first, I had nothing to do with<br />

theatre,” says Lotz, 33. “It struck me as ridiculous. But<br />

when there’s something problematic with the form, it<br />

gives you the chance to address this question of resistance,<br />

which I always find interesting.”<br />

The germ of Die lächerliche Finsternis was the<br />

2010 trial of 10 Somali pirates in Hamburg. It was<br />

Germany’s first piracy trial in 400 years, and it<br />

spiraled into a two-year judicial circus. “It made me<br />

angry,” Lotz says. “For me, it’s lunacy to judge people<br />

when you don’t know anything about their way of<br />

life. But it’s also quite like the problem of writing –<br />

how do I write about something without judging it,<br />

or saying I know what it’s like?”<br />

And so the play begins with a long monologue<br />

from a Somali pirate explaining his path to high-seas<br />

swashbuckling – which includes earning a degree in<br />

piracy at a university in Mogadishu. From there, two<br />

German soldiers emerge, and the Western narrative<br />

“swallows up” the Somali one, Lotz says. The play’s<br />

structure came to him quickly. But where he ran into<br />

difficulties, he says, was writing women into the script.<br />

Whereas the Deutsches Theater version features only<br />

one woman in the show, Parízek addressed the issue in<br />

a canny way: with a four-person, all-female cast.<br />

“That was a very clever decision,” Lotz says. “The<br />

journey into the wilderness is a very manly thing,<br />

but in the Vienna production you see women on the<br />

stage playing men. Which means we see them acting.<br />

The problem is apparent the whole time.”<br />

And wrestling with such problems – whether in<br />

theatre or society – is exactly what Lotz is after.<br />

When asked if he sees himself as an anarchistic<br />

playwright – as Die Welt described him last year – he<br />

grins, somewhat sheepishly, but with a bit of pride.<br />

“Aesthetically, I try to cross lines and break rules,” he<br />

says. “That word, ‘anarchistic’ it’s of course difficult<br />

to say.” He smiles again. “But I like it.” <strong>May</strong> 13,<br />

20:00, <strong>May</strong> 14, 19:00 | Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Schaperstr.<br />

24, Wilmersdorf, U-Bhf Spichernstr.<br />

REINHARD MAXIMILIAN WERNER<br />

REINHARD MAXIMILIAN WERNER<br />

35


What’s on<br />

STAGE<br />

MAY 6-22<br />

Hausbesuch Europa<br />

The newest project from<br />

Rimini Protokoll sounds<br />

like a cross between a<br />

house party and a game<br />

of Risk: 15 people gather<br />

in a private apartment<br />

somewhere in Berlin, lay<br />

out maps, and determine<br />

the future of Europe.<br />

Anybody want to test what<br />

happens if Greece leaves<br />

the Eurozone? Should we appoint Angela Merkel leader<br />

of the entire continent? Or, if we’re really reaching here,<br />

see if we can finally get that new airport built in Berlin?<br />

A “table robot” will apparently dispense instructions,<br />

and about a quarter of the shows will be held in English.<br />

Address provided after ticket purchase; more info at<br />

rimini-protokoll.de<br />

MAY 7, 8, 9, 11, 20:00<br />

Welcome to Germany<br />

Gießen-based performance<br />

collective Monster<br />

Truck describes its latest<br />

piece as a balancing act<br />

between documentary<br />

theatre and surrealistic<br />

installation. It’s about<br />

Villa Baviera, a bizarre<br />

colony run by German<br />

immigrants in the Chilean<br />

Andes from the early<br />

1960s to the late 1980s in which a seemingly idyllic<br />

world of folk music, traditional costumes and Wurst hid<br />

a secret torture centre. Today, it’s become a gaudy tourist<br />

trap. Expect ample use of video, probably some oldschool<br />

folk songs and maybe even a dirndl or two. Sophiensaele,<br />

Sophienstr. 18, Mitte, U-Bhf Weinmeisterstr.<br />

MAY 14, 16, 18, 19, 20:00, MAY 20, 18:00<br />

Bella Figura<br />

Thomas Ostermeier<br />

directs the world<br />

premiere of a new work<br />

by Yasmina Reza, which<br />

the French playwright<br />

wrote specifically for the<br />

Schaubühne ensemble<br />

(including Nina Hoss and<br />

Mark Waschke). The play<br />

revolves around marriage<br />

and infidelity, unfolding<br />

over the course of a single evening. It’s not the first time<br />

Reza, a two-time Tony Award winner, has seen her work<br />

immediately translated from French into German: God<br />

of Carnage had its world premiere in Zürich in 2006.<br />

Schaubühne, Kurfürstendamm 153, Charlottenburg,<br />

U-Bhf Adenauer Platz<br />

MAY 13, 14, 20, 22, 23, 25, 30, 19:30<br />

Duato | Kylián<br />

Once an upstart newcomer,<br />

Nacho Duato has<br />

now spent a full season<br />

as artistic director of<br />

the Staatsballett Berlin,<br />

and the Spaniard is<br />

finally setting some new<br />

choreography on the<br />

dancers. The company<br />

is mum about exactly<br />

what to expect from the<br />

new piece, titled Static Time. Also on the bill: White<br />

Darkness, Duato’s 2001 piece about drug abuse, and<br />

Czech choreographer Jirí Kylián’s Click-Pause-Silence,<br />

a stark and austere work from 2000. Staatsoper im<br />

Schiller Theater, Bismarckstr. 110, Charlottenburg, U-Bhf<br />

Ernst-Reuter-Platz<br />

FERNANDO MARCOS ARNO DECLAIR<br />

MARÍA JOSÉ AQUILANTI<br />

“Nothing happens in the lines, but a<br />

lot goes on in between them” By REBECCA JACOBSON<br />

NURKAN ERPULAT goes<br />

back to Chekhov at the<br />

Maxim Gorki with a new<br />

production of Uncle Vanya.<br />

Erpulat, a resident director at<br />

the Gorki, took his first crack at<br />

Chekhov two years ago with a take<br />

on The Cherry Orchard that some<br />

criticised as simplistic parable – it<br />

drew parallels with Turkish guestworkers<br />

in Germany – and others<br />

as cliché-laden cabaret. (A few found<br />

it genuinely funny.) But the Turkishborn<br />

director, who first built a name<br />

for himself at Ballhaus Naunystraße,<br />

wasn’t cowed, and now he’s tackling<br />

Uncle Vanya, a tale of dashed hopes,<br />

the perpetual search for meaning and<br />

clumsy gun-slinging.<br />

Why did you want to direct<br />

another Chekhov play? What interested<br />

you about Uncle Vanya in<br />

particular? For me, Chekhov is one<br />

of the greatest writers of his century.<br />

He is a gift for theatre people, because<br />

his plays are about life. Of course,<br />

theatre in general is about life. But<br />

Chekhov captured how sometimes<br />

absolutely nothing happens – that<br />

life is sometimes characterised by<br />

meaningless events, by daily routines.<br />

He opens up these moments, and that interests<br />

me. In Chekhov’s plays, nothing happens in the<br />

lines, but a lot goes on in between them. What<br />

especially interests me about Uncle Vanya is the<br />

question of how people deal with the fact that<br />

they might have to change their lives. It’s an<br />

attitude that’s familiar today. The stagnation he<br />

describes is very modern.<br />

As a director, what was your approach? As<br />

audience members, what can we expect?<br />

I’m trying to listen between the lines. I think<br />

that’s the only approach in theatre, but it’s<br />

particularly the case for Chekhov. The audience<br />

can expect a picture of life, of a life filled with<br />

missed moments.<br />

Some reviews of Cherry Orchard were very<br />

critical – did that affect your<br />

approach to Va nya? Unfortunately,<br />

only a few reviews were ultimately all<br />

that critical – I’d actually expected a<br />

lot more criticism. What we’re doing<br />

here, I think, sometimes has the quality<br />

of being done for the first time:<br />

Until recently, you didn’t see certain<br />

segments of the population onstage.<br />

Theatre supposedly holds up a mirror<br />

to society – that’s its purpose, at least<br />

UNCLE VANYA<br />

(ONKEL WANJA) <strong>May</strong><br />

1, 2, 10, 19:30; <strong>May</strong><br />

17, 18:00 | Maxim<br />

Gorki Theater, Am<br />

Festungsgraben<br />

2, Mitte, S+U-Bhf<br />

Friedrichstr. (with<br />

English surtitles)<br />

according to Shakespeare – but these segments of<br />

the population have been forgotten in Germany,<br />

and people don’t even notice that they’ve been<br />

forgotten. Showing a society onstage that corresponds<br />

to today’s reality was, on its own, a political<br />

exercise in Cherry Orchard. But it’s not about<br />

reviews or opinions, it’s instead about bringing<br />

particular issues to the stage. It’s about the<br />

question: What kind of theatre has been made<br />

in Germany in the last 45 years? This is what we<br />

must critically engage with.<br />

What sorts of issues have you brought to<br />

the stage here? In Uncle Vanya, it’s about dealing<br />

with change, which includes dealing with<br />

political positions. Chekhov addresses other<br />

exciting questions, too: What is our purpose<br />

in the world? What is work, what is freedom?<br />

What am I doing to create a better world? For<br />

instance, there’s Sonya, the professor’s<br />

daughter, whose father left her<br />

behind in the village, and she sees<br />

him for the first time only after<br />

many years. That mirrors the phenomenon<br />

of today’s “Kofferkinder”<br />

[children of guest workers], who<br />

were also left behind because their<br />

parents went to work in another<br />

country. This is precisely our subject<br />

matter. ■<br />

ESRA ROTTHOFF<br />

36 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


What’s on<br />

MUSIC AND NIGHTLIFE<br />

The Doppel Gang By D. STRAUSS<br />

Regular radio listeners born after 1995 can be<br />

forgiven for thinking that pop music only comes<br />

in a few varieties – sexually emancipated R’n’Bflecked<br />

pop, gender empowered pop-flecked<br />

R’n’B, and masked advertisements for Pharrell’s<br />

haberdasher (who is generally impressive). As<br />

capitalism preferences monopoly and monopoly<br />

thrives on a cheap and easy monoculture, this<br />

shouldn’t just seem understandable, but<br />

inevitable: if the trains run on time, not<br />

many care which colour they’re painted.<br />

But capital also creates waste, which<br />

leads to a paradoxical diversity. You know<br />

what else creates waste? Bookers who don’t<br />

bother to talk to one another and so schedule<br />

similar, less mainstream acts on the same night.<br />

If you need evidence of Berlin’s complicated relationship<br />

with commerce, look no further than the<br />

intra-genre competition that occurs on this city’s<br />

stages with monthly precision: a battle over the<br />

euros of those who don’t appear to possess any.<br />

For example, a dozen prosaic punk-metal showcases<br />

pass through Berlin every month, rarely as<br />

inspired as their names (the month I’m writing<br />

this brings us Walking Dead on Broadway), yet<br />

when LITURGY and VOIVOD – generationallyseparated<br />

virtuosic art-metal titans in sympathy –<br />

come to town, they play on the same date. Why?<br />

The metal world can be so divisive, with microslices<br />

of snack cake gobbled up and defended by<br />

its H.G. Geiger insect denizens. As the ancient<br />

Voivod preferences nutty prog shifting riffs over<br />

Liturgy’s static, building chords, perhaps they’ll<br />

change time signatures to another night.<br />

Almost as virtuosic as the fingerings of<br />

metal are those that tickle within the concert<br />

hall. With much bemusement, Berliners have<br />

watched former resident CHILLY GONZALES<br />

(photo) transform himself from Canadian piano<br />

geek Eminem-ite laugh riot to Paris’ go-to guy<br />

for keyboard drops. Somewhere along the line,<br />

EDITOR’S<br />

PICK!<br />

the more jokes he told, the more he was taken<br />

seriously and his recent gig as Public Speaking<br />

Music School Pedagogue feels vaguely like a<br />

Vinny Gallo put-on. Now that he’s going Full<br />

Monty at the Philharmonie with a string quartet,<br />

let’s just put the powdered wig on his head and<br />

be done with it. In the meantime, minimalist<br />

composer and piano virtuoso LUBOMYR MELNYK,<br />

playing the same night, must settle for the<br />

space above the Volksbühne as he rubs<br />

his hands together over his last piece of<br />

toast while Gonzales is spoon-fed caviar<br />

by Daft Punk robots (an experiment<br />

which could, admittedly, go horribly, horribly<br />

wrong).<br />

Would it be sexist to compare the (self-evidently)<br />

female artists LAURA MARLING and Bethany<br />

Cosentino of BEST COAST, just for the sake of<br />

continuing the conceit of simultaneous bookings?<br />

I’ve been shaming a lot of people online recently<br />

and I don’t want to be called out as a hypocrite.<br />

Still, though their musical styles don’t really overlap,<br />

both pull from the opposite ends of the sundappled<br />

Laurel Canyon spectrum, with Marling<br />

phrasing like a Lady of the Canyon and Cosentino<br />

attempting to merge early Wilson brothers<br />

surf epiphany with their later power-popped<br />

Pacific Ocean Blue approach. As well, Marling is<br />

the big Mumford-y star trying to establish indie<br />

cred while Cosentino remains in the alt-rock<br />

ghetto with ambitions toward the Fleetwood<br />

Mac mainstream. I guess all music is similar if<br />

you think about it long enough. If the bookers<br />

wanted to save a little, they could just have the<br />

same act play over and over and ask me to explain<br />

how the same songs are actually entirely different<br />

compositions. Should they be interested, my rates<br />

are reasonable and my email is below. n<br />

Music Editor D. Strauss may be contacted<br />

at strauss@exberliner.com<br />

CHILLY GONZALES & KAISER QUARTETT Mon, <strong>May</strong> 11, 20:00 | Berliner Philharmonie, Herbert-von-Karajan-Str. 1, Tiergarten,<br />

S+U-Bhf Potsdamer Platz LUBOMYR MELNYK Mon, <strong>May</strong> 11, 21:00 | Roter Salon, Linienstr. 227, Mitte, U-Bhf Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz<br />

BEST COAST Sat, <strong>May</strong> 16, 20:00 | Bang Bang Club, Mehringdamm 61, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Mehringdamm LAURA MARLING W/<br />

GILL LANDRY Sat, <strong>May</strong> 16, 21:00 | Heimathafen Neukölln, Karl-Marx-Str. 141, Neukölln, U-Bhf Karl-Marx-Str. LITURGY Mon, <strong>May</strong><br />

25, 20:00 | Berghain Kantine, Rüdersdorfer Str. 70, Friedrichshain, S-Bhf Ostbahnhof VOIVOD Mon, <strong>May</strong> 25, 19:00 | Cassiopeia,<br />

Revaler Str. 99, Friedrichshain, S+U-Bhf Warschauer Str.<br />

Intro & Piranha präsentieren:<br />

MARINA<br />

& THE DIAMONDS<br />

Fr. 08.05. Einlass 20:00 Astra Kulturhaus<br />

motor.de, nbhap & Spex präsentieren:<br />

SEKUOIA<br />

Do. 14.05. Einlass 20:00 Berghain Kantine<br />

Musikexpress präsentiert:<br />

PATRICK WATSON<br />

Fr. 15.05.<br />

Einlass 20:00<br />

ByteFM & Testspiel.de präsentieren:<br />

PUBLIC SERVICE<br />

BROADCASTING<br />

Fr. 22.05.<br />

Einlass 19:00<br />

wegen der großen Nachfrage<br />

verlegt ins Gretchen<br />

KulturNews, putpat.tv & The Leisere Society präsentieren:<br />

JONATHAN JEREMIAH<br />

Fr. 15.05. Einlass 20:00 frannzClub<br />

verlegt in den Postbahnhof<br />

ByteFM präsentiert:<br />

BRISTOL<br />

Di. 26.05. Einlass 19:00 Gretchen<br />

Visions präsentiert:<br />

BLACK REBEL<br />

MOTORCYCLE CLUB<br />

Fr. 26.06. Einlass 19:00 Astra Kulturhaus<br />

DAMIEN RICE<br />

spec. guest: Mariam The Believer<br />

Di. 04.08. Einlass 18:30 Tempodrom<br />

Infos unter www.mct-agentur.com<br />

Online Tickets unter www.tickets.de Ticket Hotline: 030 - 61 10 13 13<br />

Every Wednesday // Maschinenhaus // 8 pm<br />

IMPROTHEATER PATERNOSTER<br />

Dein Held – Deine Geschichte<br />

Fri 05/01 // Maschinenhaus // 8 pm<br />

CHRISTOPHE SCHWEIZER &<br />

BILLY HART QUARTET //<br />

AKI TAKASE ROLLED UP WITH<br />

JAN RODER & OLIVER STEIDLE<br />

The ultimate “Jazz-experience”<br />

Wed 05/27 // Maschinenhaus // 8 pm<br />

GINGER BAKER WITH PEE WEE ELLIS<br />

The world’s greatest drummer (Cream)<br />

enters the German stages<br />

Sat 05/30 // Maschinenhaus // 8 pm<br />

EAST BLUES EXPERIENCE<br />

Support: The White Dukes<br />

06/02 – 06/05 // Kesselhaus // 8 pm<br />

JAZZDOR BERLIN <strong>2015</strong><br />

4 days, 11 bands, 8 premieres!<br />

Wed 06/10 // Kesselhaus // 8 pm<br />

BERGE – RECORD RELEASE CONCERT<br />

Berlin Hippie-duo with new album<br />

TICKETS 030 44 31 51 00 // WWW.KESSELHAUS.NET 37


What’s on<br />

MUSIC AND NIGHTLIFE<br />

CLUB PICKS<br />

FRI, MAY 1, 14:00<br />

StartRAMPE (Ramped-up Techno)<br />

So begins another club<br />

season and also another<br />

club, this one plopped<br />

down on the banks of the<br />

Spree near the skeletal<br />

bones of many of your<br />

old favourites. Welcome<br />

aboard, Rampe, and<br />

congrats for not letting<br />

Berlin get to your head<br />

with fancy-pants nü<br />

money ideas, as the many DJs tonight are pulled from<br />

the general techno well, including booker TOM CHORDS,<br />

tech-house totaliser GEORGE MOREL (photo), WOLLE<br />

XDP, MUKKI LEDESMA, Tresor regular FABIAN DREWS and<br />

whoever might swim to shore. Rampe, Michaelkirchstr.<br />

23, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Heinrich-Heine-Str.<br />

SAT, MAY 2, 23:59<br />

Bondage Music Label Special (S&M Techno)<br />

Rush the mic for the kings<br />

of wrap music, as the<br />

Bondage label spellbinds<br />

with techno, minimal<br />

and deep house crimes<br />

from the likes of manly<br />

MARKUS HOMM (photo),<br />

pervy and pointy Bondage<br />

label heads PORNBUGS,<br />

8bit Records’ EL MUNDO,<br />

jerky JACK JENSON,<br />

make-out NINA MAKO, and the monstrous SWAM:THING.<br />

Clothing optional, as one’s true bondage is internal. Why<br />

isn’t this at Kit Kat Club? Salon Zur Wilden Renate, Alt-<br />

Stralau 70, Friedrichshain, S-Bhf Ostkreuz<br />

SUN, MAY 10, 14:00<br />

Berlin Beach Festival (Boat Boogie)<br />

If the opening dates are<br />

any indication, the desire<br />

for open air festivals<br />

may exceed what nature<br />

provides, so cross your<br />

fingers and tie your swim<br />

trunks for an afternoon<br />

of techno sounds that<br />

shouldn’t grow as dark as<br />

potential rain clouds, with<br />

Get Physical’s up-andcoming<br />

SOKOOL, Highgrade hero DANIEL DREIER (photo),<br />

Exploited’s BARA BRÖST, Ultra’s DAVID LUCA and SASCHA<br />

DANIELS and the folks from TANZ UNTER FREUNDEN. But<br />

you’ve been up for the last three days, so stick to the<br />

beach chairs. Badeschiff, Eichenstr. 4, Treptow, S-Bhf<br />

Treptower Park<br />

SAT, MAY 30 - SUN, MAY 31, 20:00<br />

Hush Hush Garden Edition: Plaid/Jacques<br />

Palminger (Wild Cards)<br />

Whoever planted this<br />

garden must have been<br />

drunk on apple cider,<br />

because the acts that<br />

sprouted up have little<br />

to do with one another<br />

but, like most weeds, are<br />

nourishing if prepared<br />

properly, including exiled<br />

IDM kings in the land of<br />

EDM, PLAID (photo), and<br />

the busy German indie-dubsters of JACQUES PALMINGER<br />

& THE KINGS OF DUBROCK. These ghosts in the machinery<br />

of the early web will be accompanied by a host of more<br />

techno-oriented companions, including Kosmos Musik’s EL-<br />

EGANTER ELEPHANTER, Dystopian’s dark ALEX.DO, Freude<br />

am Sitzen’s HKS97. And a dozen more. About Blank,<br />

Markgrafendamm 24c, Friedrichshain, S-Bhf Ostkreuz<br />

“You are not singing<br />

it like it should<br />

be sung!” By SALMA N. ARZOUNI<br />

During her spotlighted singing in Only Lovers Left<br />

Alive, Jim Jarmusch’s tale of bohemians as<br />

vampires, YASMINE HAMDAN’s smoky eyes<br />

outacted Tilda Swinton.<br />

It was the Paris-based Lebanese singer’s introduction<br />

to a larger audience. But Hamdan has<br />

been an enchanting and unpredictable mainstay<br />

on the world music scene for two decades – in<br />

Beirut’s trip-hop duo Soapkills, with Madonna<br />

producer Mirwais as Y.A.S., and in collaboration<br />

with Marc Collin of Nouvelle Vague and<br />

Bristol, who produced her self-titled 2012 debut,<br />

a timeless-feeling electronically-tinged take on<br />

Arab pop from the 1920s to the 1950s, reissued<br />

the following year as Ya Nass (Crammed Discs).<br />

You’ll be nodding “Ya” yourself when she takes<br />

the stage at Lido on Tuesday, <strong>May</strong> 19.<br />

How do you manage to appreciate your<br />

background without being “Orientalised”<br />

in a European setting? Well, I don’t think of<br />

myself or my identity as being this “Oriental”.<br />

It is, rather, a projection from others onto the<br />

surface of our cultures. And I don’t think there<br />

is only one Arab culture, or a pure Arabness.<br />

We are very multiple, especially our generation,<br />

which is very multilayered. And, in fact, there<br />

is a huge diaspora outside the Arab countries<br />

which is even more mixed. What connects us<br />

is the language. This identity mix is something<br />

I show in my work. It is something I don’t put<br />

effort into – I just do it naturally. Being multiple<br />

is how I do things. My family played a part in<br />

bringing communism to Lebanon. Do you know<br />

[Marxist philosopher] Mehdi Amel?<br />

I do. His name is Hassan Hamdan. He wrote<br />

the Encyclopedia of Arab Socialism. He was the<br />

uncle of my father. He was assassinated in 1987.<br />

You have a very similar situation to mine<br />

– my family is half-Communist/half-Hezbollah.<br />

No, I don’t have Hezbollah, because<br />

my mother’s side is Sunnite. So, I am a Sushi,<br />

you know. [laughs] My mother is kind of – she<br />

doesn’t like Shias, so she is racist. [laughs] There<br />

is something we say, “I am a Shia light!”<br />

The monolithic image of Arabs only got<br />

worse after the attack on Charlie Hebdo in<br />

Paris, your home.Well, after this first shock<br />

is over it is necessary to look at the<br />

complex reality in which the tragedy<br />

falls. Terrorism is not only a danger<br />

for the West. We should not forget<br />

the hundreds who are being killed daily<br />

in the Middle East and North Africa<br />

by those same criminal factions,<br />

YASMINE HAMDAN<br />

Tue, <strong>May</strong> 19, 21:00<br />

| Lido, Cuvrystr. 7,<br />

Kreuzberg, U-Bhf<br />

Schlesisches Tor<br />

who see themselves as the Godchosen<br />

Muslims. Those monsters<br />

emerged out of the ruins of our<br />

modern societies and neoliberal<br />

economic system, which we have<br />

to dare to question. I don’t relate<br />

to what is seen as “Arab culture”.<br />

I relate to what I explore myself,<br />

what is around me.<br />

Including classic Arabic music<br />

and poetry. This research<br />

was my resistance against a<br />

monolithic image of our cultures,<br />

of my roots. I have a huge collection of tapes<br />

and recordings – I could open a cassette shop<br />

[laughs]. I actually love the clean, emotional romanticism<br />

of Arab classics. I love it because I can<br />

break it. Certain emotions can only be expressed<br />

and liberated through this effect. When I started<br />

doing this with Soapkills, it was not easy. There<br />

were a lot of conservative reactions to the way we<br />

interpreted old classics: “You are not singing it<br />

like it should be sung!” And I always fought this<br />

categorising in haram and halal. When you listen<br />

to a recording in Arabic from 1932 or 1920, it<br />

makes you travel, it connects you to a past, to an<br />

unknown part of yourself. And I was investigating<br />

in a natural way, like going to school [laughs].<br />

You pushed the envelope performing the<br />

belly dance anthem “Aziza” in a Cairo concert<br />

last year during Ramadan. “Yasmine,<br />

we heard you made a scandal in Cairo!” [laughs]<br />

I was in the same theatre where Umm Kulthum<br />

used to perform every Thursday. It was like a<br />

football game! Egyptians are quite incredible<br />

people. They have everything: the culture, the<br />

music, the scenes. So much of Arab music and<br />

art started there. I have a big fascination with<br />

old Egyptian music, and I also grew up watching<br />

old Egyptian movies, which makes me an insider.<br />

I am Lebanese with an Egyptian twist [laughs].<br />

You sing about everything from romance<br />

to sexual harassment. Even your voice is<br />

a subject: you perform with two different<br />

microphones, switching from a<br />

soft female voice to a more aggressive,<br />

sexy tone. I don’t think<br />

it is different. I think emotion and<br />

tenderness are also part of sexuality.<br />

This song you are referring to in<br />

particular is a very funny song – it is<br />

38 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


JOY WELLBOY<br />

06.05. Berghain Kantine<br />

ODESZA<br />

07.05. Gretchen<br />

ERRORS<br />

17.05. Bang Bang Club<br />

EAST INDIA<br />

YOUTH<br />

19.05. Berghain Kantine<br />

MAN WITHOUT<br />

COUNTRY<br />

26.05. Bang Bang Club<br />

TORRES<br />

03.06. Privatclub<br />

AUSTRA<br />

10.06. Berghain<br />

ILOVE-<br />

MAKONNEN<br />

30.06. Postbahnhof<br />

MAJOR LAZER<br />

08.10. Columbiahalle<br />

ROMANO<br />

11.10. Lido<br />

TANIA_FEGHALI<br />

meltbooking.com<br />

facebook.com/wearemeltbooking<br />

very funny to sing “Aziza”. It is sexual harassment<br />

but with a lot of humour. That is, it is not serious<br />

but the message is serious. But, you know, the<br />

character of Aziza is also ridiculous, because she<br />

is also kind of playing the game. It takes two to<br />

play in our society. So, for me, we women in Arab<br />

society have to somehow stop playing games if<br />

we want some change.<br />

Did you get a chance to read the interview<br />

with Björk in Pitchfork about the challenges<br />

of being a female musician? I haven’t<br />

read the interview but I heard about it. She has a<br />

point about women in general, that we’re under<br />

huge social pressure. Even if we’re going toward<br />

equality in some places, I don’t think that this<br />

is happening everywhere. If we look at facts, it<br />

is difficult for a woman to exist and survive and<br />

sustain in a music world that is very much ruled<br />

by men. You can have a lot of attention on you,<br />

of course, because you are a woman, but you<br />

have to also go through a lot of pressure about<br />

the way you look, the seductive aspect. When I<br />

started my music, my language was the weapon I<br />

had in my hand to rebel.<br />

In the end, it all comes down to language.<br />

For me, language went through my sexuality,<br />

through my being a woman. Doing Arabic music,<br />

it was also a weapon for me, to kind of be political<br />

in my way. It was how I rebelled vis-a-vis all<br />

these stigmas that I did not identify with or I<br />

perceived as racist. I didn’t see myself as an Arab<br />

doing music, but I wanted to sing in Arabic. It<br />

was important to me to carry on with this language<br />

and take it to places and try things with it,<br />

and it is also a very rough material and very raw,<br />

so many things can be done. It’s that space that<br />

I kind of designed for myself. I think that, for<br />

me, these difficulties were painful but were part<br />

of the pleasure I got because every time I succeeded<br />

at something, I won something for me. It<br />

was a great victory.<br />

The personal was political. And it was not<br />

only about me; it was also about the way I wanted<br />

the world to look. I refuse to be identified as Arabic,<br />

or “this is world music”. But I also found myself<br />

rejected in many places because of me being<br />

an Arab or singing in Arabic. Everybody wants me<br />

to sing in English, I love to sing in English, but<br />

for me it was important to sing in Arabic [laughs].<br />

You cannot make difficult choices and expect that<br />

it will be easy. I mean, if it was easy it would not<br />

be fun. I never wanted things to be easy. n<br />

Yasmine<br />

Hamdan in<br />

five dates<br />

1997 Her Beirut-based<br />

rock band Lombrix<br />

breaks up; she and<br />

fellow member Zeid<br />

Hamdan form Soapkills,<br />

the Middle East’s first<br />

electronica act.<br />

2002 Moves to Paris for graduate studies in<br />

cinema. One of her collaborators is the<br />

Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman, whom she<br />

would marry.<br />

2007 After teaming up with French touch<br />

master Mirwais as Y.A.S., releases 2009’s<br />

Aräbology (AZ), sampling both Kraftwerk &<br />

Madonna.<br />

2012 Releases self-titled solo debut.<br />

2013 Crammed Discs puts out an expanded<br />

version as Ya Nass, after which Hamdan steals<br />

the show in Only Lovers Left Alive.<br />

ADRIAN MESKOTIF<br />

39


What’s on<br />

MUSIC AND NIGHTLIFE<br />

CONCERT PICKS<br />

THU, MAY 7 - SUN, MAY 10<br />

Xjazz Festival (Ex-Jazz)<br />

Though most of this year’s<br />

Xjazz Festival is barely<br />

jazz, and the venues don’t<br />

appear Xtasy appropriate,<br />

the line-up of the threeday,<br />

multi-venue event is<br />

more than merely “jazzy”,<br />

with world music-flecked<br />

DJs MO’KOLOURS and (of<br />

course) JAZZANOVA mixing<br />

it up with super-serious<br />

electro improvisers BRANDT BRAUER FRICK (photo)<br />

and Ethiopian keyboard legend HAILU MERGIA. Plus,<br />

actual jazz artists such as saxist GEBHARD ULLMANN. Go<br />

figure. Various venues; check www.jazz.net for details<br />

FRI, MAY 15 - SAT, MAY 16<br />

Maximum Circus Festival (Heavvvy)<br />

And the Lord did not<br />

come down from the<br />

Heavens, but was instead<br />

forced to descend from<br />

the sky because, yea, he<br />

was heavy, but not as<br />

heavy as this two-day,<br />

mostly Italian metalpsych<br />

melee. Headliners<br />

include English nü-psych<br />

pioneers GNOD (photo),<br />

Stoned Karma’s VIBRAVOID, the ex-Cheetah Chrome<br />

Motherfuckers of DOME LA MUERTE AND THE DIGGERS,<br />

DA CAPTAIN TRIPS, the Netherlands’ RADAR MEN FROM<br />

THE MOON and APE SKULL, so watch your back lest<br />

someone go all 2001 on your ass. Tiefgrund, Laskerstr.<br />

5, Friedrichshain, S-Bhf Ostkreuz<br />

THU, MAY 21, 20:00<br />

Tyler, The Creator (Angry Jazz Rap)<br />

Sometimes it appears as<br />

if, minus Frank Ocean,<br />

the OFWGKTA collective<br />

exists as a collection of<br />

Game of Thrones family<br />

crests designed by TYLER,<br />

THE CREATOR along<br />

with James Franco, each<br />

imbued with The Magical<br />

Power of Website. But with<br />

Earl as Lancelot to his<br />

cuckolded King Arthur, Tyler has aged out of the game a<br />

bit and must settle for being merely talented, which might<br />

explain all the smooth jazz on his new album. Then again,<br />

when’s the last time a rapper used the seed of Kenny G<br />

as a confrontational tactic? C-Club, Columbiadamm<br />

9-11, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Platz der Luftbrücke<br />

FRI, MAY 29 - SUN, MAY 31<br />

Berlin Festival (Not So Indie)<br />

Over the past few<br />

years, Berlin Festival<br />

has undergone such a<br />

series of venue shifts and<br />

personality transplants,<br />

that one couldn’t tell you<br />

exactly what it stands for<br />

these days. Located in<br />

the packed-to-the-rafters<br />

Arena Park for the second<br />

year in a row, the festival’s<br />

emphasis has shifted from indie to electronic, with UN-<br />

DERWORLD (photo), JAMES BLAKE and RÓISÍN MURPHY<br />

headlining, and lots of less-expensive, home-bred DJ<br />

talent, such as ELLEN ALLIEN, FRITZ KALKBRENNER, PAN-<br />

POT, WESTBAM, TIEFSCHWARZ, RICHIE HAWTIN and ATARI<br />

TEENAGE RIOT, taking the concept of a Berlin Festival<br />

rather literally. Arena Park, Eichenstr. 4, Treptow, S-Bhf<br />

Treptower Park<br />

A few questions for...The Soft Moon<br />

By SCOTT MCBURNEY<br />

Now THE SOFT MOON, Luis<br />

Vasquez had considered giving up<br />

on music when Captured Tracks’<br />

Mike Sniper found his demos<br />

while surfing Myspace.<br />

Vasquez’s knack for synthesizing historical<br />

strains of outsider pop – from new wave to postpunk<br />

to krautrock – has made him, ironically, an<br />

artist of the moment. He’ll be proclaiming “We<br />

are We” to his fellow Berliners at Schwuz on<br />

Tuesday, <strong>May</strong> 19.<br />

You’ve mentioned having a recurring<br />

post-apocalyptic dream. I don’t know why,<br />

but I kept dreaming the world was coming to an<br />

end in hundreds of different ways. I never really<br />

understood why, but in a weird way, I sometimes<br />

find a sense of beauty in the end of the world. I<br />

suppose it comes from a fear of death. The funny<br />

thing is, I haven’t had these dreams in over a<br />

year. It might be closure in a way. I used to get a<br />

lot of anxiety, but that doesn’t happen anymore.<br />

But the goths still love you. It wasn’t till<br />

journalists started comparing me to these other<br />

bands that I’d never heard of that I was aware<br />

of it. I mean, as a teenager I really disliked the<br />

whole goth scene.<br />

You were a skater, right? Yeah, exactly. The<br />

image was too strong when I was a skater. To be<br />

compared to the goth movement now<br />

is weird.<br />

What kind of scene were you in<br />

during your youth? It was skateboard<br />

videos, which kinda opened my<br />

mind in terms of different genres of<br />

music. Punk music was the first genre<br />

of music that I discovered on my own.<br />

Before that, I had external influences,<br />

so when I discovered punk on my<br />

THE SOFT MOON<br />

W/BLUSH<br />

RESPONSE Tue,<br />

<strong>May</strong> 19, 21:00<br />

| Schwuz,<br />

Rollbergstr.<br />

26, Neukölln,<br />

U-Bhf Rathaus<br />

Neukölln<br />

own, it felt sort of right. Also, I was an angry,<br />

frustrated child. I got into things like thrash<br />

music – angry music, really. I connected with the<br />

anger in punk. I connected more with the sound<br />

than the sentiment.<br />

Was your family supportive of your music?<br />

They would threaten to break my guitar. They<br />

didn’t think it was sustainable. Or they took<br />

issue with the lifestyle that comes with it, they<br />

had this idea of musicians being heroin addicts<br />

or whatever. My mom was completely against it<br />

but now, of course, she supports it. My childhood<br />

with her was pretty traumatic – she knows<br />

that, but she never talks about it. She’s gotten<br />

over it. Well, she hasn’t gotten over it: she just<br />

blanked it out, so I’m the one who keeps talking<br />

about it and she doesn’t want to accept it.<br />

Did you take influence from the chemical<br />

world? Not for the writing process. But I<br />

think there’s a side of me that thinks I need to<br />

do it outside of music to learn about the other<br />

dimension, with creation in mind. I need that<br />

experience, otherwise I can’t really validate what<br />

I’m expressing. When I go back to write I hope<br />

to take something from it. I’ve tried LSD a few<br />

times and actually the experience wasn’t too<br />

great for me.<br />

Did you have any epiphanies? Yeah. One weird<br />

experience was – I’ve never met my father, and I<br />

saw him once when I dropped acid. Although I’ve<br />

never seen him in real life. It was really<br />

weird. It really hit me hard, firstly for<br />

obvious reasons, and secondly because<br />

I thought, I can take this little piece of<br />

paper and put in on my tongue and have<br />

access to this. I mean, I think to myself,<br />

“It’s just a chemical, it’s not real.” But at<br />

the same time, it felt completely real. I<br />

still think about that trip, but I’m at the<br />

point where I’m kinda scared to go back.<br />

<strong>May</strong>be I’ve gained enough, you know? n<br />

JASON HARRELL<br />

40 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


Ich will nicht nach Berlin<br />

Airing out By ANDREW BISHOP<br />

As Berlin experiences its annual release<br />

from hibernation, plans for a dizzying array<br />

of open air events are in the works. A quick<br />

online scan reveals dozens of events touted<br />

as “Open Air” throughout the city, including<br />

shamelessly commercial ones like the Berlin<br />

Summer Rave courtesy of the Kaiser’s coffee<br />

pot. But whatever happened to invading a<br />

public space with as many of your friends as<br />

possible and then destroying it? Increasing<br />

crackdowns on unregulated events has meant<br />

that in present-day Berlin, you’ll need to fill<br />

out a lot of forms to sate your hedonism.<br />

Thomas Sheele is trying to change this<br />

with a series of workshops he’s hosting at<br />

the Berlin Chamber of Commerce (IHK<br />

Berlin) with the fun title of “Geplantes Chaos:<br />

Berliner Dialog Über Free Open Airs im Öffentlichen<br />

Raum” (Planned Chaos: Berlin Dialogue<br />

on Free Open Airs in Public Spaces). Funded<br />

by the EU through the Erasmus+ programme<br />

in cooperation with Clubcommission e.V.,<br />

the free workshops are designed to encourage<br />

dialogue among politicians, administration,<br />

police and promoters, while also helping<br />

would-be party people understand the<br />

quagmire of regulations here. Notes Sheele,<br />

“Making a party is more than just drinking<br />

beer and listening to bad music.”<br />

Like other promoters in the city, Sheele<br />

has, in the past, manipulated Germany’s<br />

strong laws allowing political demonstrations,<br />

the Versammlungsgesetz, in order to<br />

bacchanal on the public’s dime. While he<br />

recognises that this tactic is irresponsible,<br />

he feels that Berlin needs a more viable<br />

alternative to the “14 forms, 10 offices, eight<br />

or more weeks and 300 euros” needed to<br />

hold (or, more likely, get rejected from holding)<br />

a legit open air event. He got his start<br />

by hosting parties in his own seven-person<br />

WG near Tempelhof airport, benefitting<br />

from being in one of only a handful of occupied<br />

apartments in his building and copying<br />

his landlord’s key for one of the abandoned<br />

flats. “We hosted parties in that space for<br />

a year before he found out.” He started an<br />

open-air cinema on the roof.<br />

Bene “The Swift” Bogenberger, a DJ and<br />

promoter with the open air-centric Else<br />

club at Zur Wilden Renate, agrees that it’s<br />

harder to get a free DIY event going in the<br />

city centre than it used to be. However, he<br />

blames the partiers themselves. “Six years<br />

ago, before Renate opened, it was very easy<br />

to do an open air. Then suddenly it got so<br />

popular, and people who were making parties<br />

were not cleaning up after themselves. You<br />

know, it destroyed the whole thing.” He says<br />

promoters have since then mostly gone one<br />

of two ways: hosting less publicised events<br />

outside of Berlin proper, or establishing legal<br />

fixed venues. The latter is the course Swift<br />

and friends took when they started Else<br />

three years ago, a move that was not without<br />

its share of controversy among some illegal<br />

party-making devotees who claimed they<br />

“stole the public space” near Treptower Park<br />

when they started renting it from the city.<br />

For those without the financial means to<br />

start their own club, Sheele says there are alternatives<br />

that Berlin could adopt. He points<br />

to an initiative in Halle in which eight public<br />

parks have been designated as “spontaneous<br />

party spaces”, fully tested for acceptable<br />

noise levels. Prospective party-makers simply<br />

fill out an online form and as long as it’s<br />

submitted 24 hours before the event, barring<br />

anything else already planned for the space,<br />

it’s automatically permitted. Police only visit<br />

if there are issues like noise complaints.<br />

Unfortunately, Halle isn’t Berlin. So fake<br />

a protest, open a supermarket or steal some<br />

public space. n<br />

41


What’s on<br />

ART<br />

Art Detours<br />

Ever feel like you’ve been<br />

trekking halfway across<br />

the city while missing out<br />

on everything on your<br />

doorstep? That was exactly<br />

the motivation young<br />

curator Rachel Walker<br />

had when starting Art<br />

Detours in 2014. Given<br />

in English and limited to<br />

15 participants, her tours<br />

offer a unique insight into local art and culture once a<br />

month, giving the guests a chance to visit artists’ studios<br />

and project spaces and be personally guided around<br />

exhibitions by the most innovative curators and artists<br />

in Berlin. This month they focus on Neukölln, offering a<br />

unique tour of the neighbourhood’s young and flourishing<br />

art scene. PR Next tour <strong>May</strong> 23; book a spot at hello@<br />

berlinartdetours.de<br />

Du sollst dir (k)ein Bild machen<br />

Using an excerpt from the<br />

Bible’s Exodus 20:4, this<br />

exhibition embarks on an<br />

intricate journey into a<br />

visual representation of<br />

the Lord’s commandment<br />

for man to not make any<br />

graven images of gods.<br />

Mixing artefacts from as<br />

early as 13th-century<br />

southern Germany with<br />

current artworks from artists such as Berlin’s Laura<br />

Bruce and Ai Weiwei, curator, gallerist and Berliner Dom<br />

parishioner Alexander Ochs raises many a question about<br />

worship in the art world. The simultaneous stripping back<br />

and glorification of the works makes you value them even<br />

more, in a different way. FM Through Jun 14, Berliner<br />

Dom, Am Lustgarten, Mitte, S-Bhf Hackescher Markt,<br />

Mon-Sun 9-19<br />

Elaine Sturtevant – Drawing Double Reversal<br />

American artist Elaine<br />

Sturtevant (1924-2014)<br />

made a career out of duplicating<br />

the work of other<br />

artists. With influences<br />

ranging from Warhol to<br />

Duchamp, Sturtevant’s<br />

unique copies raise questions<br />

about the art world<br />

and the idea of celebrity.<br />

What makes one piece<br />

of art more valuable than another? This exhibition, the<br />

first to focus on Sturtevant’s radical drawings, features<br />

over 100 pieces from the 1960s onwards which cement<br />

her enduring status as an important figure in pop and<br />

conceptual art. JE <strong>May</strong> 30-Aug 23, Hamburger Bahnhof,<br />

Invalidenstr. 50-51, Moabit, S-Bhf Hauptbahnhof,<br />

Tue-Wed, Fri 10-18, Thu 10-20, Sat-Sun 11-18<br />

Mark Flood – Astroturf Yelp Review Says Yes<br />

With some estimates putting<br />

the number of ads we<br />

see daily at over 5000,<br />

branding has become just<br />

another part of life. This<br />

non-stop onslaught of<br />

product placement is US<br />

artist Mark Flood’s medium.<br />

Flood reproduces<br />

and distorts everyday<br />

corporate images until<br />

they become blurred, almost unrecognisable, disturbing.<br />

Shown for the first time in Berlin, his Aged Paintings<br />

series focuses on logos: what happens when you portray<br />

contemporary brands as ancient history? JBE <strong>May</strong><br />

1-Jun 13, Peres Projects, Karl-Marx-Allee 82, Friedrichshain,<br />

U-Bhf Strausberger Platz, Tue-Sat 11-18<br />

MARY FANG<br />

“You couldn’t have Jeff<br />

Koons... without the<br />

Renaissance” By FRIDEY MICKEL<br />

British film director PETER<br />

GREENAWAY and Dutch theatre<br />

and visual artist SASKIA<br />

BODDEKE recreate the sacrifice<br />

of Isaac in Obedience, a massive<br />

multi-media installation at the<br />

Jewish Museum opening <strong>May</strong> 23.<br />

The Akedah, or “binding of Isaac”, is a staple in<br />

Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions. While<br />

it’s told differently by each religion, the<br />

basics are the same: under instructions<br />

from the Almighty, Abraham ascends<br />

Mount Moriah to sacrifice his son<br />

Isaac, only for an angel of God to<br />

intervene at the last minute.<br />

In Boddeke and Greenaway’s retelling,<br />

religious Renaissance-style art is mixed with<br />

video installation and live dance, turning the<br />

visit into an immersive three-dimensional experience.<br />

Brought 2000 years back to stand on the<br />

mountain where Abraham almost sacrificed<br />

Isaac, the visitor is invited to walk through 15<br />

rooms describing the story through various<br />

viewpoints: Jewish, Muslim, Christian, the<br />

sacrificial lamb awaiting slaughter, the mother<br />

viewing her son. The exhibition also focuses on<br />

Ishmael, Abraham’s first-born but less favoured<br />

child, considered to be the<br />

forefather of Islam – and, according<br />

to the Quran, the true subject of<br />

Abraham’s sacrifice. An opening<br />

video featuring young people<br />

stating “I am Isaac” or “I am<br />

Ishmael” uses the parable of the<br />

two sons to allude to children<br />

caught up in modern-day wars.<br />

EDITOR’S<br />

PICK!<br />

OBEDIENCE <strong>May</strong><br />

22-Sep 13 | Jewish<br />

Museum, Lindenstr.<br />

9-14, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf<br />

Hallesches Tor, Mon<br />

10-22, Tue-Sun 10-20,<br />

artist talk Jun 24<br />

Greenaway, last seen at the Berlinale with his<br />

latest film Eisenstein in Guanajuato, and Boddeke,<br />

known for her recent work on the virtual reality<br />

platform Second Life, have previously collaborated<br />

on theatre and multimedia installations<br />

such as the Rotterdam Maritime Museum’s Sex<br />

and the Sea.<br />

How does this installation differ from the<br />

theatre collaborations you two have done<br />

before?<br />

SASKIA BODDEKE: It is different because you<br />

aren’t working with live actors. But this also gives<br />

the visitor the possibility to take their own<br />

time and tempo to see it – someone can<br />

maybe see it in a half an hour and have a<br />

complete experience, and others can stay<br />

there half a day. Or I hope that will be the<br />

case. The whole story is combined with dance<br />

– the dance brings emotion into the installation.<br />

So we’ll see people dancing?<br />

PETER GREENAWAY: Yes. We’re actually creating<br />

a live performance, with live people, so there’s<br />

a really interesting background of excitement.<br />

How does the partnership work between<br />

the two of you?<br />

SB: “Saskia Boddeke and Peter Greeanaway”<br />

is more like a brand name. This is the type of<br />

installation that we create. How our<br />

collaboration starts and where it ends<br />

– that’s very much breakfast table<br />

secrets. We finally found a modus and<br />

it works.<br />

PG: I think the general way of<br />

describing it is that we’re questioning<br />

subconscious notions of what<br />

makes an exhibition. We are not<br />

42 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


eally breaking things down into journalistic<br />

segments: “This is cinema and this<br />

is video and this is painting.” We’re using<br />

the definition of artwork going back 2000<br />

years as having to entertain, but also to<br />

instruct. The content here is very powerful<br />

in traditional and historical terms, but also<br />

very, very relevant to the year <strong>2015</strong>.<br />

Your exhibition turns the story into<br />

an examination of how people are affected<br />

by war – a very modern topic.<br />

SB: That’s what the aim was, that the child<br />

Isaac is standing for the children and young<br />

adults who are sent into war. Isaac for us<br />

symbolises those people.<br />

The exhibition mixes these contrasting<br />

elements of Renaissance art and<br />

post-modern installation – how are<br />

those connected for you?<br />

PG: People forget, you couldn’t have Jeff<br />

Koons without Andy Warhol, you couldn’t<br />

have Warhol if you didn’t have Marcel<br />

Duchamp, you couldn’t have Duchamp<br />

without Romanticism. And you couldn’t<br />

have any of that without the Renaissance.<br />

We want to introduce the laptop generation<br />

to the notion of the cultural explosion<br />

that once was. Rembrandt, Michelangelo<br />

and Raphael, are as relevant, I would say –<br />

and I’m putting a very subjective scan on<br />

this – as Warhol and Koons.<br />

So are you saying there’s no such thing<br />

as a new idea?<br />

PG: You know and I know that most artists<br />

only have one or two ideas, and spend<br />

their whole life re-working them. But if<br />

those ideas are very big, there is no end to<br />

a theme. ■<br />

The artists will not conform<br />

With the aftermath of Gallery Weekend still<br />

hanging in the air, KUNST FÜR ALLE is exactly the<br />

place to rid yourself from chauffeur-driven BMWs<br />

and too many free lukewarm beers. The duck-eggblue<br />

walls and dark wood modernist interior of<br />

the off-site exhibition space set the scene for a<br />

collection of conceptualist pioneers from Beuys to<br />

Polke to Christo. Private collections aren’t usually<br />

must-sees, but Klaus Staeck was more than just<br />

a collector – he was a catalyst.<br />

It all started in the early 1960s, when artists<br />

were seeking independence from institutions.<br />

Staeck’s publishing house, Edition Staeck, helped<br />

usher in an era in which they could create affordable<br />

art in large quantities to reach a wide audience<br />

– coining the phrase “Art for All”. The Staeck<br />

Collection documents and catalogues the interplay<br />

between art and politics from that time through<br />

the present day. On show are personal letters between<br />

Staeck and Christo brainstorming the possibility<br />

of wrapping Heidelberg’s Amerika-Haus in<br />

canvas as part of the Intermedia 69 festival. Their<br />

correspondence is shown alongside public critiques<br />

of the project, such as an anonymous note<br />

declaring “This shitty ‘packing action’ is obviously<br />

a great publicity gag for the Amis.” The collection<br />

comprises over 400 pieces in total, including<br />

some of Staeck’s own works. He made a name for<br />

himself through political poster art starting in the<br />

1960s, and over the years has created hundreds<br />

of motifs and drawings encouraging and urging<br />

society to get politically involved. He started off by<br />

selling his artwork to Edition Tangente publishing<br />

house to finance his politics; there, he worked<br />

alongside and become friends with Beuys, Dieter<br />

Roth, Nam June Paik and Günter Grass, many of<br />

whom have works in the collection as well.<br />

Throughout the works, you can clearly see the<br />

energy of fierce spontaneous, action against oppression,<br />

not only in Vietnam but also on home<br />

streets. A whole section is given over to the collective<br />

General Idea, which tackled the AIDS Crisis<br />

from 1967-1994. Originally, the collective was<br />

made up of three members, Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal<br />

and AA Bronson; sadly, both Partz and Zontal<br />

died of AIDS in 1994. They’re best known for their<br />

large-scale pill sculptures entitled PLA©EBO, but<br />

their most harrowing edition is presented here: a<br />

simple postage stamp<br />

that culture-jams the<br />

infamous Love print<br />

by Robert Indiana,<br />

exchanging the word<br />

“Love” with “AIDS”.<br />

PENNY RAFFERTY<br />

KUNST FÜR ALLE Through<br />

June 7 | Akademie der<br />

Künste, Hanseatenweg<br />

10, Tiergarten, S-Bhf<br />

Bellevue, Tue-Sun 11-19<br />

Wed - Mon 10am - 7pm, closed Tue<br />

Online-Tickets: www.gropiusbau.de<br />

43


What’s on<br />

ART<br />

Michel Majerus, Albert Oehlen, Laura Owens<br />

– best students, best teachers, best school<br />

Taking its title from a<br />

piece by Majerus, this<br />

show raises questions<br />

about artists and the context<br />

in which they work.<br />

Bringing together three<br />

old friends 13 years after<br />

Majerus’ death, curators<br />

Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen<br />

show the differences<br />

and similarities between<br />

their work – whether or<br />

not Majerus, Oehlen and Owens can even be seen as part<br />

of the same school of art is another question. Working<br />

across different generations, locations and mediums,<br />

these artists contradict and complement each other at<br />

the same time. JBE <strong>May</strong> 1-Mar 15, Michel Majerus<br />

Estate, Knaackstr. 12, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz,<br />

every first Saturday of the month, 11-18<br />

Peter Rose, Erik Bünger and Katarina<br />

Zdjelar – Rediscovery 4<br />

Rediscovery started in<br />

2014 as an exhibition<br />

series examining crossgenerational,<br />

post-modern<br />

art. In its fourth segment,<br />

different positions<br />

of video and performance<br />

are linked to a common<br />

theme: language. The<br />

starting point is American<br />

artist Peter Rose, whose<br />

1980s video works could still be considered groundbreaking<br />

today. Bünger’s performance examines the<br />

fascination with speaking in tongues, while Zdjelar’s video<br />

piece explores equality and cultural integration through<br />

the crude Birmingham vernacular. FM <strong>May</strong> 22-Jun 20,<br />

Autocenter – Space for Contemporary Art, Leipziger Str.<br />

56, Mitte, U-Bhf Spittelmarkt, Thu-Sat 16-19<br />

Philipp Fürhofer — In Light Of The Hidden<br />

Lying in a hospital bed<br />

in Berlin and looking at<br />

an X-ray of his own chest<br />

cavity was the genesis<br />

for Fürhofer to create<br />

his groundbreaking new<br />

works. The paradox of<br />

seeing his insides displayed<br />

on paper inspired<br />

these multi-layered objects.<br />

Half paintings, half<br />

lightboxes, the organic shapes allow the viewer to spiral<br />

into a dream world. Best know for his award-wining opera<br />

sets, Fürhofer guides the viewer with his ethereal visual<br />

poetry into lands unseen by the naked eye. PR <strong>May</strong><br />

1-Jun 27, Galerie Judin, Potsdamer Str. 83, Schöneberg,<br />

U-Bhf Kurfürstenstr., Tue-Sat 11-18<br />

Roman Signer – Kitfox Experimental<br />

A huge red and yellow<br />

plane hangs from a chain<br />

four metres above the<br />

ground, turning hypnotically,<br />

almost lightly in the<br />

breeze of four mounted<br />

wall fans. Harrowing yet<br />

meditative in scale, it<br />

fits seamlessly into the<br />

almost 20-metre-high<br />

boiler house of Neukölln’s<br />

former Kindl Brewery. Roman Signer’s playful visualisation<br />

of nature at work is simple yet utterly compelling. The installation<br />

is nearing the end of its nine-month run – don’t<br />

miss your chance to see it. PR Through Jun 28, KINDL<br />

– Centre for Contemporary Art, Am Sudhaus 2, Neukölln,<br />

U-Bhf Boddinstr., Thu-Fri 14-18, Sat-Sun 11-18<br />

PHOTOS BY MATTHIAS ASCHAUER<br />

“I want them to think<br />

the material is coming<br />

from space” By JILL BLACKMORE EVANS<br />

Turning boring household objects<br />

into compelling, alien works<br />

of art is Vienna-based artist<br />

FREDERICO VECCHI’s specialty.<br />

Originally from Italy, Vecchi has been living<br />

and working in Austria for the past few years.<br />

Painting has always been his focus, but recently,<br />

working as an assistant to the Austrian artist<br />

Erwin Wurm, Vecchi has turned his talents more<br />

towards sculpture – as well as a unique, performative<br />

type of composition which mixes street art<br />

with collage. Ten years after living in Berlin, he<br />

will finally be showing his art here in a solo show<br />

at Mitte’s brand-new Art Von Frei Gallery, running<br />

through June 25.<br />

How do you think your work has changed<br />

in the last few years? It’s better [laughs]. It<br />

becomes better and better… No, basically, I’m<br />

a painter. But in the last year, due to my work<br />

experience, I started to make sculptures and a<br />

collage series. I go to those empty shops, you<br />

know, where posters are attached to the front.<br />

When people take the posters off, because they<br />

are illegal, you just see these little corners of<br />

paper with tape on them. I took that material<br />

and I made the collages out of it. I started to do<br />

this last year. It’s my most performative work,<br />

because I do it live on the street.<br />

What about the sculptures<br />

in the show? The sculptures are<br />

observations about everyday life. I<br />

took really simple shopping bags,<br />

plastic bags, and I modified them<br />

with tape and filled them with<br />

liquid plaster. And then I painted<br />

them again, in order to hide the<br />

FEDERICO VECCHI<br />

Through June 25<br />

| Art Von Frei,<br />

Brunnenstr. 187,<br />

Mitte, U-Bhf<br />

Rosenthaler Platz,<br />

Tue-Sat 12-19<br />

plaster. I don’t want people to wonder what it’s<br />

about, I just want to disorientate them. I want<br />

them to think the material is coming from space,<br />

or from a really exotic place. They all have kind<br />

of zoomorphic, anthropomorphic shapes.<br />

A plastic bag seems so unnatural, not part<br />

of the environment, but then your sculptures<br />

look very organic… Were you thinking<br />

about this contrast? I always wanted to<br />

make sculptures, and my latest work experience<br />

allowed me to work with plaster, with wood,<br />

with other materials, with clay… I always like to<br />

work with my hands. So I was in my studio, and<br />

I just looked around for materials I could use.<br />

And I saw the recycling bins. I started to take<br />

out old shopping bags, old bottles, and I started<br />

to fill them with plaster. It was the most natural<br />

thing. It was instinctive. I like when people<br />

stand in front of my sculptures and say, “Which<br />

material is this?” I just want to let people forget<br />

about the material. I want to let them come into<br />

this colourful world, you know? It’s just about<br />

going into this world which I create.<br />

What about your collage work – in that<br />

case, do you want people to know what’s<br />

behind the piece? The technique is always<br />

important. Especially for the collages. If you look<br />

at the collage you think, “Yeah, okay, it’s colour<br />

composition,” but you have to understand that<br />

I’m not adding anything, I just use what<br />

I’ve found. I showed the collages to<br />

some people and they were like, “Okay,<br />

it’s good...” But when I showed them the<br />

video of me doing it, they were like, “Oh,<br />

wow! You do it there?” The video which<br />

shows the process of doing the collage<br />

is kind of part of the work itself. It’s<br />

between street art and performance. ■<br />

44 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


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Your<br />

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For<br />

adventurous<br />

thinkers.<br />

www.nprberlin.de<br />

56 • MAY <strong>2015</strong><br />

I, SPY<br />

By ANNIE MACHON<br />

Former MI5 spy turned author and activist Annie Machon chronicles her<br />

post-whistleblowing adventures at home and abroad.<br />

My great LEAP forward<br />

As an MI5 whistleblower and therefore persona<br />

not terribly grata with the British Establishment,<br />

I never expected to be invited to No.<br />

10 Downing Street – the London residence of<br />

the British prime minister. Yet there I was, on<br />

a grey day last January, with my finger pressing<br />

the doorbell. Accompanying me were former<br />

undercover police officer Neil Woods and<br />

leading drug reform campaigner Jason Reed.<br />

We were there representing the UK branch<br />

of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)<br />

a global organisation with more than<br />

150,000 supporters in 120 countries around<br />

the world (see page 12). Its members include<br />

judges, police officers, lawyers and prison<br />

governors, as well as DEA and intelligence<br />

personnel. What unites us is our knowledge<br />

that the “war on drugs” is a ruinously costly<br />

failure causing harm on both a societal and<br />

personal level. In fact, drug prohibition has<br />

unleashed the biggest crime wave the world<br />

has ever seen, with a global trade worth up<br />

to half a trillion dollars per year, all of which<br />

is pocketed by crime cartels and terrorist<br />

groups. Whole regions have been devastated<br />

by drug-related violence, governments and<br />

banks have been subverted and corrupted by<br />

drug money and millions of people have been<br />

criminalised merely for using drugs.<br />

So how does an ex-spook become a drug<br />

reform campaigner? I have been aware of<br />

at least some of these issues since the early<br />

1990s, when I was working as an intelligence<br />

officer for the UK Security Service. One of<br />

my postings was to investigate terrorist logistics<br />

– the infiltration and exfiltration of both<br />

people and material to the UK – and as such<br />

I worked very closely with HM Customs.<br />

There is a huge overlap between terrorist<br />

groups and drug trafficking worldwide. My<br />

contacts freely admitted that the “war on<br />

drugs” had been lost and was now merely<br />

security theatre to satisfy the political agenda.<br />

However, I had to push aside the issue in<br />

1997, when I helped my former partner blow<br />

the whistle on the crimes of the UK spies. We<br />

ended up going on the run around Europe,<br />

NEW<br />

COLUMN!<br />

living in exile. My partner<br />

went to prison twice. After<br />

the drama ended, I spent<br />

the next decade rebuilding my life as a lecturer<br />

and writer, now based part-time in the dissident<br />

and decadent capital that is modern Berlin. A<br />

few years ago, in 2009, I was on a speaking tour<br />

across Canada when I was approached by a supporter<br />

of LEAP. I was immediately intrigued<br />

and a month later arranged to meet the founder<br />

of the organisation, former undercover cop<br />

Lieutenant Jack Cole, in the bar at Amsterdam<br />

Centraal. In 2012, I became the group’s European<br />

director after attending the annual Commission<br />

on Narcotic Drugs at the UN in Vienna.<br />

In the years since, on behalf of LEAP I<br />

have done nationwide tours and spoken at<br />

events across the political spectrum, from<br />

“free the weed” type festivals, to parliamentary<br />

debates, to police conferences. And I can<br />

tell you, the tide is turning. Latin American<br />

countries are openly calling for legalisation,<br />

US states are regulating cannabis, and many<br />

European countries have successful decriminalistion<br />

programmes. The prohibition<br />

edifice is crumbling.<br />

Meanwhile, Germany surprisingly lags behind<br />

other countries’ more enlightened drug<br />

policies. That’s why next October we'll be<br />

launching LEAP Germany in the Bundestag<br />

with Representative Frank Tempel and soonto-be-former<br />

North Rhine-Westphalia police<br />

president Hubert Wimber. Together with a<br />

pool of experienced officials, we hope to make<br />

the media case for drug legalisation, regulation<br />

and taxation – and in this day and age, even<br />

Germany cannot afford to dismiss the latter.<br />

With credibility and expertise, we will help<br />

administer the anti-venom to the toxic, failed<br />

50-year experiment that is prohibition. ■<br />

HOW DOES AN EX-<br />

SPOOK BECOME A DRUG<br />

REFORM CAMPAIGNER?<br />

MICHAL ANDRYSIAK


FASHION<br />

By JESSICA SALTZ<br />

■ FASHIONISTAS<br />

Black math<br />

Germany’s homegrown avantgarde<br />

fashion talents have a<br />

tendency to emigrate to more<br />

renowned design cities as soon as<br />

they have their first taste of success,<br />

so we should be glad we still<br />

have the very promising ALEKS<br />

KURKOWSKI in Berlin – for now,<br />

at least.<br />

The Polish-born, German-trained<br />

designer made her Berlin Fashion<br />

Week premiere in July 2014 and set<br />

the fashion blogosphere alight with praise for her<br />

all-black line up of men’s and women’s clothing. A year<br />

later the palette remains the same, with dark, slate<br />

greys amongst the lightest hues you’ll find in her collections.<br />

“There was a white shirt once, but it didn’t<br />

fit in the collection, I just love black,” Kurkowski<br />

explains with a smile. The shapes and styles of the<br />

clothes are where the designer continues to experiment.<br />

She studied mathematics and was considering a<br />

career in architecture, but she was drawn to the quick<br />

pace of fashion design versus the drawn-out process<br />

of designing and constructing buildings. The graphic<br />

lines and asymmetric cuts that dominate her clothes<br />

are proof that her maths skills have come in handy. She<br />

is masterful at incorporating unique, often unexpected<br />

details into her work such as a single leather panel<br />

on one shoulder of an oversized coat, diagonally cut<br />

zips or frayed, loose edges. Whilst some pieces in the<br />

women’s collection are distinctly feminine, many of<br />

them have a deliberate “tough, masculine edge,” she<br />

GERHARD ECKARDT<br />

explains, and several looks segue easily from women’s<br />

wear into men’s, with pieces that can be worn by both.<br />

Despite the dark colours, the Aleks Kurkowski label is<br />

also very green. Sustainability and ecological awareness<br />

is so key to the brand that Kurkowski actually<br />

began showing at Berlin Fashion Week's bi-annual<br />

Green Showroom. All the fabrics she uses are natural<br />

and organically produced, and are all sourced from<br />

Europe, mostly Germany and Italy. The leather even<br />

comes from organically raised cows in Germany, and is<br />

dyed using rhubarb. “Because of the natural process, I<br />

can’t have the leather treated or distressed in different<br />

ways, so I have to find other ways to experiment<br />

with it,” she says. Kurkowski insists that the natural<br />

fabric is a perennial mainstay: “It’s a natural skin, and<br />

because of the breathability of it, it is actually perfect<br />

for summer.”<br />

Available at LNFA, Bikini Berlin, or the Aleks Kurkowski atelier,<br />

check www.alekskurkowski.com for updated opening time<br />

■ SHOP OF<br />

THE MONTH<br />

Kauf Dich Glücklich<br />

The Prenzlauer Berg<br />

shop-cum-café is<br />

becoming a chain. The<br />

new Mitte store has<br />

forgone waffles for a<br />

great selection of fashion<br />

and cosmetics, so<br />

go buy yourself happy!<br />

Rosenthaler Str. 17,<br />

Mitte, U-Bhf Rosenthaler<br />

Platz, Mo-Sa 11-20<br />

STEFAN KOCH<br />

FRANCESCA TORRICELLI<br />

SHADES<br />

ADDICT<br />

I am a bit of a floozy<br />

when it comes to summer<br />

eyewear and age has<br />

certainly not tamed my<br />

spirit. I tend to flit around<br />

between four or five pairs<br />

of sunglasses a season:<br />

between the cheap, oneweek-only<br />

holiday flings<br />

that are best left on the<br />

beach, a vintage model<br />

for when I want to feel<br />

more ladylike, and a selection<br />

of sleeker, sophisticated<br />

designer frames.<br />

You know, the kind you<br />

don’t feel embarrassed<br />

being seen out with and<br />

that you want show off to<br />

your friends and family.<br />

But no matter how good<br />

they make me feel, within<br />

a few weeks I am pounding<br />

the streets looking for<br />

my next fix. This summer’s<br />

eyewear is all about big,<br />

round eyes. Think Jackie<br />

O and just keep going<br />

– the bigger the better,<br />

baby. My first fling of the<br />

season (hey, it’s only <strong>May</strong>)<br />

comes courtesy of a collaboration<br />

between local<br />

cool kids Mykita and Belgian<br />

design powerhouse<br />

Maison Martin Margiela.<br />

The MMDUAL range<br />

comprises round acetate<br />

frames in colours from<br />

a lovely azure to honey<br />

tones and dark brown. I<br />

am currently lusting after<br />

their undulating curves<br />

and am pretty much<br />

desperate to have them in<br />

every shade. Roll on, summer.<br />

www.mykita.com<br />

47 • MAY MONTH <strong>2015</strong>2014


BERLIN BITES By FRANÇOISE POILANE<br />

Salt ‘n’ Bone:<br />

Meat ‘n’ beer<br />

“You’re so brave for serving meat,” a passerby<br />

apparently commented to house manager<br />

Rebecca Lynch, barman Andy Costello and<br />

chef Sean Duff shortly after they opened their<br />

bar and restaurant Salt ‘n’ Bone. The Prenzlauer<br />

Berg joint is only the latest evidence of<br />

the meaty tide a-turning in the veggie-friendly<br />

Hauptstadt. Think about how high-end vegan<br />

eatery Mio Matto recently closed after barely a<br />

year in business, while offal purveyors Herz und<br />

Niere, roughly the same age, have to beat patrons<br />

away with a (salami) stick. But we digress.<br />

The Berlin-via-Dublin trifecta took over the<br />

former home of music venue Intersoup back<br />

in February, giving it a “gastropub” makeover<br />

that fits as snugly into the international food<br />

zeitgeist as an Edison bulb in its socket (and<br />

yes, they’ve got plenty of those hanging around<br />

to illuminate the obligatory unfinished wood<br />

and vintage photos). But hey, the zeitgeist can<br />

be delicious, and while the combination of craft<br />

beer and gussied-up pub grub might be nothing<br />

new in other parts of the world, it’s still a relative<br />

rarity here.<br />

Their tap and bottled beer selection is<br />

impeccable, ranging from American-style ales<br />

made by the local boys at Spent and Flying<br />

Turtle (€3.20-3.50/.3L), to German standards<br />

like Waldhaus’ “Fucking Hell” pilsner and that<br />

Bamberg Rauchbier everyone’s on<br />

about these days, to Belgian brews<br />

like the intense Trappistes Rochefort<br />

(€5.50) and more. It’s the crisp,<br />

bitter pale ales that pair best with<br />

the food, which is exactly what you’d<br />

expect: all locally sourced meat,<br />

SALT ‘N’ BONE<br />

Schleimann str. 31,<br />

Prenzlauer Berg,<br />

U-Bhf Ebers walder<br />

Str., Tue-Sun 17-2<br />

organic-when-possible ingredients, house-made<br />

everything (including the sausages and all the<br />

condiments) and fusion touches – kimchi,<br />

anyone? – in eye-catching, gut-busting, not<br />

altogether cheap combinations.<br />

A prime example would be the popular starter<br />

“Meat on a Stick” (€8.50), which isn’t quite<br />

as primitive as its name might suggest. Duff’s<br />

skewered pork belly cubes come plated like high<br />

art, their dark, shiny soy glaze contrasting with<br />

a bright yellow sweet potato puree and swirls of<br />

chilli aioli. Take a bite and we’re back to primordial<br />

– the salty-sweet-sticky sauce and juicy meat<br />

hit you right in the reptile brain.<br />

Another bestseller is the Scotch egg (€7.50),<br />

coated in herbed sausage and deep-fried, a<br />

fat-on-fat-on-fat construction made fattier still<br />

with the addition of gribiche sauce –<br />

mayo, Dijon and more egg. Save this<br />

one for UK expats and those with<br />

strong constitutions. It sure does<br />

look pretty, though, as does the hot<br />

dog (“Beef Dog”, €12 with fries) – a<br />

beefy sausage in a milk bun from<br />

Portuguese bakers Bekarei, topped with diagonally<br />

layered sliced cornichons and artistically<br />

drizzled with ketchup and mayo, placed carefully<br />

on a sheet of butcher paper with a pile of fried<br />

shallots on the side and a little cone of mustard<br />

for DIY drizzling. An IPA from Amsterdam’s<br />

Browerij T’ij (€4.50) makes it all go down easy.<br />

Don’t eat meat? Your options are limited, but<br />

not lacking. Duff makes a mean veggie burger,<br />

the components of which rotate weekly. And<br />

if you’re beer-averse, the cocktails, such as the<br />

“low-alcohol” Spring In Your Step (€7.50), an<br />

insanely refreshing rose-coloured blend of St.<br />

Germain, Chambord, cucumber and citrus, still<br />

make Salt ‘n’ Bone worth a visit. But meat and<br />

beer are clearly the cornerstones of the Salt ‘n’<br />

Bone experience, a fact about which Lynch,<br />

Costello and Duff are delightfully unapologetic –<br />

don’t be surprised if you see bowls of chillidusted<br />

pigskin chicharrones gracing tables like<br />

crisps. They’ve also been doing regular Sunday<br />

roasts, in which they cook up a whole animal or<br />

big cut of meat, and, as of this month, brunch.<br />

It’s safe to say you can expect bacon. JS<br />

JASON HARRELL<br />

Dabbawalla: Soul deli<br />

No matter your diet, Berlin has a restaurant for you,<br />

and since the beginning of March, we can add small<br />

Schöneberg deli Dabbawalla to the handful of<br />

places catering to ayurvedic eaters. Owners Dennis<br />

Dührkoop and Jessika Wildner specialise in<br />

Indian-inflected vegetarian and vegan dishes<br />

made according to the Hindu-based medicine<br />

system, which is focused on maintaining balance<br />

inside and outside the body.<br />

Inside, it’s simply furnished with white wooden<br />

chairs and tables and a homely kitchen set-up<br />

behind the counter. Chickpeas, lentils, spices and<br />

ayurvedic teas from tea brand Pukka line the shelves,<br />

ready to be bought by curious costumers willing to give<br />

ayurvedic cuisine a try at home. If you want to eat in, ordering is<br />

simple: just get the Ayurvedic Thali (€7.90/large, €5.90/small), a<br />

DABBAWALLA<br />

Hohen staufenstr.<br />

64, Schöneberg,<br />

U-Bhf<br />

Nollendorf platz,<br />

Mon-Sat 11-18<br />

plate of five components changing on a daily basis,<br />

all seasonal. No matter what, you’ll get some<br />

kind of carbohydrate, a vegetable dish, a protein<br />

and a raw component, plus chutney to “open<br />

your stomach”. In our case, this translated to<br />

basmati and wild rice, sauteéd green beans<br />

seasoned with parsley and thyme, yellow<br />

lentil dal and a green salad. Lastly, three<br />

condiments – bell pepper and pineapple<br />

chutneys and yogurt-herb raita (vegans can<br />

opt for basil pesto). The components are<br />

somewhat basic, but combined in one plate,<br />

it somehow just works – the fact that it’s all<br />

freshly made definitely helps. The pineapple<br />

chutney in particular gave this simple meal a<br />

sweet-spicy boost – the perfect kicker to a delicious<br />

and healthy lunch that left us feeling great<br />

for the rest of the day. SA<br />

PHOTO: FRANCESCA TORRICELLI<br />

48 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


Kala: Simply fish<br />

When a new Imbiss-style restaurant opens<br />

KALA Kienitzer<br />

Str. 95,<br />

in Neukölln, it’s tempting to immediately<br />

assume “döner” – not so for Kala, a new<br />

Neukölln, U-<br />

fresh fish restaurant in Schillerkiez. A<br />

Bhf Leinestr.,<br />

Turkish nickname that translates simply<br />

Tue-Fri 15-22,<br />

to “fish”, Kala is also short for the expression<br />

kala balik, meaning “lots of people”<br />

Sat-Sun 16-22<br />

– that’s what the owners hope to attract<br />

with their deli-style front entrance displaying fresh trout,<br />

mackerel, gilthead and seabass.<br />

The place has the feel of a small family shop, which isn’t<br />

surprising considering owner Nuray Scheck’s fish market Arco<br />

Marino stood in the same location just two years ago. Back<br />

when she was planning a business change from market to restaurant,<br />

she probably didn’t need much convincing to bless her<br />

daughter Estelik’s relationship with cook Pascal Gallus, who<br />

was also looking for a challenge after undergoing apprenticeships<br />

at Nola’s am Weinberg and his uncle’s Jamaican restaurant.<br />

Gallus spent six months carefully sourcing ethical fish<br />

from various local markets while he and Estelik updated the<br />

large storage room to cosy dining space. Vestiges of Kala’s market<br />

past remain – if you’re on your way to a picnic at Tempelhof,<br />

you can pick up some uncooked mackerel or trout stuffed<br />

with tomatoes, onions and lemon and wrapped in tinfoil for<br />

easy grilling (€5-8).<br />

The cuisine here isn’t region-specific, but Gallus has created<br />

some unique Jamaican-style dishes – the patties, filled with fish<br />

and veggies (€2) or just veggies (€1.50), are served with housemade<br />

remoulade and an excellent Jamaican hot sauce. For the<br />

main course, you can choose from various fish options, ranging<br />

in price from the mackerel (€7) to seabass (€14). The mackerel<br />

we had, which Gallus grilled in his diminutive galley behind<br />

the counter, was well-cooked with a pleasantly crispy exterior<br />

and stuffed with fresh onions, tomatoes and rosemary. The<br />

sides were the only disappointment: not only was our order of<br />

grilled potatoes and veggies somewhat oily (it’s one of several<br />

sides which rotate weekly; other options on our visit included<br />

chickpea salad, Turkish rice and polenta), we had to pay separately<br />

for it (€3.50/one person, €5/two). Add in a big bottle of<br />

water (€6) and even without wine, you’re looking at a cheque<br />

in the range of €20 per person. A bit steep for Neukölln, but<br />

the quality of the ingredients and level of presentation, not to<br />

mention the friendliness of the owners, certainly warrants a<br />

slightly higher price tag. AB<br />

Delivery wars!<br />

Move over, Lieferando. There are<br />

three new online delivery services<br />

in town, and they’re all jockeying<br />

for your money – and restaurant<br />

owners’ attention. Arriving on April<br />

1, 20 and 27 respectively, VOLO<br />

(from Munich), DELIVEROO (from the<br />

UK) and RESTO-IN (from France, in<br />

collaboration with Bloomsbury’s) set<br />

about snapping up as many partners<br />

as they could. Deliveroo went for a<br />

diverse range of restaurants from<br />

American (Nalu Diner) to Japanese<br />

(Hashi Izakaya), most based in Mitte<br />

and Prenzlauer Berg. Volo is similarly<br />

Mitte-centric – among its small selection<br />

are ventures like juicery Daluma<br />

and Torstraße Viet-fusion eatery<br />

Royals in Rice. Resto-In goes further<br />

afield, including everything from<br />

Kreuzberg mainstay Hasir to Papaya’s<br />

Thai street food.<br />

To stand out, each is boasting<br />

various bells and whistles: Deliveroo<br />

claims a guaranteed waiting time<br />

of only 32 minutes (although they<br />

do it by only letting you order from<br />

restaurants within a 2.5km radius).<br />

Volo lets you track your order via<br />

GPS, and Resto-In is planning on<br />

expanding to include flower shops,<br />

pharmacies and wineries. In terms<br />

of minimum order, Resto-In has the<br />

lowest (€10) and Deliveroo is the<br />

runner-up (€12), while Volo tops the<br />

list at €15, but makes up for it with<br />

a low delivery fee (€2.90, still higher<br />

than Deliveroo’s €2.50 but better<br />

than Resto-In’s €4.90).<br />

They’ve been taking every measure<br />

to sweet-talk owners into partnering<br />

up, even going so far as to offer free<br />

tablet computers (in Deliveroo’s case)<br />

– but in exchange for the potential increase<br />

in customers, they’re demanding<br />

kickbacks of up to 30 percent.<br />

On the other hand, if you’re a Mitte<br />

start-up worker glued to your desk<br />

and seeking a low-effort lunch, you’re<br />

in a whole new world of luck. SA<br />

FRANCESCA TORRICELLI<br />

NICO AND THE NAVIGATORS<br />

The hour we knew too much of each other<br />

Die Stunde da wir zu viel voneinander wussten<br />

49<br />

SPACE Radialsystem FOR V: ARTS <strong>May</strong> 27th AND - 31st, IDEAS<br />

8 p.m.<br />

www.radialsystem.de


ADVERTORIAL<br />

The Berlin guide<br />

The new directory to help you find your way around Berlin.<br />

To advertise, contact ads@exberliner.com<br />

mitte<br />

Napoljonska Located just<br />

off Zionskirchplatz, this vegetarian<br />

café offers organic and homemade<br />

delicacies. Enjoy a range of hearty<br />

breakfasts reaching from spinach<br />

omelettes to pancakes and French<br />

breakfast. Here you can sip your organic<br />

latte in a cosy atmosphere<br />

with the young and old, locals and<br />

travellers. Kastanienallee 43, U-<br />

Bhf Rosenthaler Platz, Tel 030 3117<br />

0965, Mon, Fri 08.30 -18.00, Tue-Thu<br />

8.30-16:00 Sat- Sun 09- 19.00, www.<br />

napoljonska.de<br />

Kilkenny Irish Pub Natives<br />

and visitors alike converge to<br />

drink and party at this pub under<br />

the beautiful Hackescher Markt station.<br />

Enjoy homemade and international<br />

pub grub plus a vast selection of<br />

beers and spirits. Catch all the international<br />

sports on big screens. Live<br />

concerts two to three nights a week.<br />

Easy 24h access to public transport.<br />

Am Zwirngraben 17-20, S-Bhf<br />

Hacke scher Markt, Mon-Sun from 10,<br />

www.kilkenny-pub.de<br />

Roland Weiss, Lawyer<br />

Do you have employment law problems?<br />

Roland Weiss (Rechtsanwalt,<br />

German attorney at law) has advised<br />

German and international clients on<br />

labour law for more than ten years.<br />

He speaks German, English, Swedish<br />

and French. Friedrichstr. 210, U-Bhf<br />

Kochstr., Tel 030 3406 0390, www.<br />

weisslegal.de<br />

Icons<br />

Beauty<br />

Coffee<br />

Drinks<br />

Entertainment<br />

Food<br />

Gallery/Art<br />

Health/Wellness<br />

Music<br />

Languages/Education<br />

Services<br />

Shop<br />

Sports/Fitness<br />

Prêt-à-Vélo Carefully handcrafted<br />

bicycles from England, Italy<br />

and Belgium meet high-quality bags,<br />

smart accessories for a day of biking<br />

in the city, chic functional clothing<br />

and office-ready bike shoes. As premium<br />

partners of the brands Brooks<br />

England and Fahrer Berlin, they focus<br />

on sustainably designed products<br />

that are produced in Europe<br />

and that can often only be found in<br />

their store. Fehrbelliner Str. 17, U-<br />

Bhf Rosenthaler Platz, Mon-Fri 12-19,<br />

Sat 10-16, www.pret-a-velo.de<br />

Dolores Founded 10 years ago<br />

as a street food pioneer in the German<br />

capital, Dolores serves excellent<br />

California-style burritos and quesadillas<br />

– inspired by San Francisco’s Mission<br />

district. Recommended by Time<br />

Out, New York Times and Lonely Planet.<br />

Voted #1 value for your money<br />

by <strong>Exberliner</strong> readers. Rosa-Luxemburg-Str.<br />

7, S+U-Bhf Alexanderplatz,<br />

Tel 030 2809 9597, Mon-Sat 11:30-<br />

22, Sun 13-22, www.dolores-berlin.de<br />

Sauerkraut In a cosy, woodpanelled<br />

room, German and American<br />

cultures (Donald Duck meets<br />

Hansel and Gretel!) clash head-on<br />

with a menu of meaty delights. Seven<br />

kinds of homemade Wurst, interesting<br />

burgers and original tapas.<br />

Daily lunch specials for €7.50.<br />

Wein bergsweg 25, U-Bhf Rosenthaler<br />

Platz, Tel 030 6640 8355, Mon-<br />

Fri 8-1, Sat-Sun 9-1, www.restaurantsauerkraut.de<br />

Kapitel Zwei Conveniently<br />

located in the heart of Berlin, Kapitel<br />

Zwei offers intensive German-language<br />

courses from only €202 per<br />

month. Their experienced teachers<br />

and small class sizes will have you<br />

speaking Deutsch in no time. All levels<br />

offered from beginners to advanced,<br />

start anytime! Karl-Liebknecht-<br />

Str. 29, S+U-Bhf Alexander platz,<br />

Tel 030 9562 5321, Mon-Thu 8:30-<br />

12:30, 13:30-19, Fri 8:30-15:30,<br />

www.kapitel-zwei.de<br />

BTK University of Art and Design<br />

offers a practical, international,<br />

and personal study programme. The<br />

creative minds of tomorrow can develop<br />

their skills in innovative degree<br />

programmes. Photography, Communication<br />

Design and Media Spaces<br />

are taught in English. All programmes<br />

have an interdisciplinary approach;<br />

one semester is scheduled<br />

for practical experience. Bernburger<br />

Str. 24/25, S-Bhf Anhalter Bahnhof,<br />

www.btk-fh.de<br />

BiTS University of Business Leadership<br />

offers bachelor’s and master’s<br />

degree programmes in business, media,<br />

and psychology – “from entrepreneurs<br />

for entrepreneurs”, practical,<br />

international, and focused on<br />

success. On its Berlin campus students<br />

can study Business and Management<br />

Studies and International<br />

Sport and Event Management<br />

in English. Bernburger Str. 31,<br />

S-Bhf Anhalter Bahnhof, www.<br />

bits-hochschule.de<br />

wedding<br />

The Castle Pub is a real pub<br />

in the English/Irish sense of the word,<br />

serving 20 different tap beers including<br />

Guinness, Kilkenny, eight changing<br />

craft beers and more. Monday<br />

night is the prize quiz night when<br />

the place gets packed. This oasis<br />

in Gesundbrunnen gives you a<br />

warm welcome, a big screen for special<br />

match days and more. For special<br />

events check www.castlepub.de<br />

Hochstr. 2, S+U-Bhf Gesundbrunnen,<br />

Mon-Sun 18-open end<br />

PANKE supports edgy<br />

creativity that happens away from<br />

mainstream culture – anything that<br />

they believe needs more exposure<br />

than it currently receives. Enjoy vegan/vegetarian<br />

food at their beautiful<br />

summer terrace by the Panke river. On<br />

Sundays they serve late brunch, and<br />

Wednesdays through Saturdays the<br />

Panke bar is open with a different programme<br />

every day, including cinema<br />

evenings, artist talks, DJs and parties.<br />

Free wi-fi, children- and dog-friendly.<br />

Gerichtstr. 23, Hof 5, S+U-Bhf Wedding,<br />

Wed-Sun from 12, www.pankeculture.com<br />

prenzlauer berg<br />

Hanage is a small and authentic<br />

Japanese restaurant. It‘s the only<br />

place in Berlin where you can eat the<br />

traditional Osaka-style okonomiyaki<br />

– a savoury pancake baked with cabbage<br />

and love. Choose from different<br />

sauces and add fillings like bacon,<br />

cheese or shrimp. Also try the tempting<br />

Japanese desserts and sweets.<br />

Raumerstr. 1, U-Bhf Eberswalder Str.,<br />

Tel 030 120 743 421, www.hanage.de<br />

Godshot belongs to the top of<br />

the league, with excellent coffee and<br />

super-friendly staff. Above all, they<br />

know their stuff. Take your time, enjoy<br />

the casual, laid-back atmosphere<br />

of a great neighbourhood and one<br />

of their delicious cakes. Immanuelkirchstr.<br />

32, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz,<br />

Mon-Fri 8-18, Sat 9-18, Sun 13-18,<br />

www.godshot.de<br />

LPG Biomarkt Your all-organic<br />

neighbourhood supermarket<br />

supplies fruit and vegetables,<br />

meats, cheeses and even cosmetics.<br />

Fill your basket with freshly baked<br />

bread and treat yourself to a selection<br />

of sweet and savoury goodies.<br />

Kollwitzstr. 17, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz,<br />

Mon-Sat 9-21, bakery from 7,<br />

www.lpg-biomarkt.de<br />

Comptoir du Cidre<br />

Arti sanal ciders, perry, pommeau and<br />

calvados... French Canadian siblings<br />

Leila and Sidney Kristiansen are behind<br />

Comptoir du Cidre, continental<br />

Europe’s first bar solely dedicated<br />

to craft ciders. Their tapas menu is a<br />

play on traditional French bistro dishes<br />

with subtle Japanese influences.<br />

Kollwitzstr. 98, U-Bhf Eberswalder<br />

Str., Tue-Fri 17-24, Sat 11-24, www.<br />

facebook.com/comptoirducidre<br />

Lesendro The recently opened<br />

Lesendro on Kollwitzplatz is Berlin‘s<br />

only original fish and seafood restaurant<br />

from Montenegro and the Adriatic<br />

Sea. They serve traditional dishes such<br />

as variations on octopus, Buzara, Brodet<br />

(bouilla baise), scampi baked in sea<br />

salt and a wide variety of Mediterranean<br />

fish. The warm and cosy atmosphere<br />

with live piano at the week ends and<br />

the friendly, heart-warming service will<br />

make you feel right at home. Knaackstr.<br />

45, U-Bhf Senefelder platz, Tel 030<br />

2885 5003, Mon-Fri 17-23, Sat-Sun 12-<br />

23, www.lesendro.de<br />

Memory It’s easy to see why<br />

Kylie Minogue shops here: a haven<br />

for vintage lovers, the small boutique<br />

offers an extensive range of 1950s<br />

to 1970s treasures from handbags<br />

and suitcases to jewellery and evening<br />

dresses… at affordable prices!<br />

Schwedter Str. 2, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz,<br />

Mon-Sat 14-19<br />

friedrichshain<br />

Goura Pakora This vedic-vegan<br />

restaurant and café serves wraps,<br />

smoothies, freshly squeezed juices,<br />

salads, thalis (big mix plates), dosas<br />

(rice pancakes) and crispy pakoras.<br />

100% fresh and homemade with<br />

love! Krossener Str. 16, S+U-Bhf<br />

Warschauer Str., Tue-Sat 12-23, Sun<br />

12-22:30, www.goura-pakora.de<br />

Chili & Paprika is a rare<br />

piece of spicy culture in Berlin! A store<br />

offering traditional Mexican specialities<br />

and products from Latin America.<br />

Their impressive selection of hot sauces,<br />

tortillas, beans, habaneros, chorizo,<br />

taco shells, nacho chips, chipotles,<br />

beer and tequila will not let you<br />

leave empty-handed. For a culinary<br />

night of real Latin flavours and ingredients,<br />

stop by their cosy shop!<br />

Voigtstr. 39, U-Bhf Samariterstr.<br />

Mon-Sat 11-20<br />

50 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


ut very originally decorated parties.<br />

Guests vary from tourists to transvestites<br />

to people in elephant costumes.<br />

Wrangelstr. 93, U-Bhf Schlesisches<br />

Tor, Mon-Fri from 9, Sat from<br />

11, Sun from 14, www.facebook.com/<br />

sofiakreuzberg<br />

ILLUSTRATION BY AGATA SASIUK<br />

Café Morgenland On weekends<br />

and holidays you’ll find a great<br />

buffet here, complete with gourmet<br />

cheese, fresh fruit and veg, crêpes<br />

and other vegetarian dishes, cold<br />

cuts, shrimp cocktails and more. Set<br />

menus from €5. During Happy Hour<br />

drinks are just €3.50 after 20:00. Reservations<br />

suggested. Skalitzer Str.<br />

35, U-Bhf Görlitzer Bahnhof, Tel 030<br />

6113 291, Mon-Fri 9-1, Sat-Sun from<br />

10, www.morgenland-berlin.de<br />

Bastard From Bastard with love:<br />

whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner,<br />

this restaurant is not just for those<br />

who were born out of wedlock. Choose<br />

from the changing seasonal menu<br />

created with love for fresh ingredients<br />

and fine food. Our tip: try the homemade<br />

stone-oven bread! Reichenberger<br />

Str. 122, U-Bhf Görlitzer Bahnhof,<br />

Tel 030 5482 1866, Mon-Sun 9-17,<br />

www.bastard-berlin.de<br />

Pic Nic 34 is a piece of real<br />

Italian attitude serving fresh homemade<br />

treats from piadinas to delicious<br />

pasta dishes. Their spaghetti<br />

is hand-made with love and respect<br />

for good food. You might have seen<br />

these guys with their truck serving<br />

the finest Italian street food around<br />

Berlin markets. If you love food,<br />

stop here! Wiener Str. 34, U-Bhf<br />

Görlitzer Bahnhof, Mon-Sat 12-22,<br />

www.picnic34.com<br />

Soylent Bar The bohemian bar<br />

with its shabby-chic style, flea-market<br />

furniture, boom boxes and street<br />

art collection is the place to go to<br />

knock back a few cocktails or try the<br />

unique selection of premium vodkas<br />

and hear an eclectic range of music<br />

from soul to electronic in a local and<br />

intimate atmosphere. Gabriel-Max-<br />

Str. 3, S+U-Bhf Warschauer Str.<br />

No Hablo Español The best<br />

California-style Mexican street food<br />

joint in Friedrichshain. Delicious<br />

freshly made burritos and quesadillas<br />

served by a collection of fun-loving<br />

international people. Once a week,<br />

challenge the NHE team in a game<br />

of rock-paper-scissors and win a halfprice<br />

meal! Kopernikusstr. 22, S+U-<br />

Bhf Warschauer Str., Mon-Sun from<br />

12, www.nohabloespanol.de<br />

Workout Berlin Personal training<br />

on pilates reformers. This unique<br />

fitness studio combines the flexibility<br />

of a gym with the personal attention<br />

of a trainer. The challenging workouts<br />

focus on core strength, coordination,<br />

flexibility and endurance and<br />

leave you feeling lean, strong and<br />

at ease. Simplonstr. 23, S+U-Bhf<br />

Warschauer Str., Tel 0173 5842 236,<br />

www.workout-berlin.de<br />

Monster Ronson’s Ichiban<br />

Karaoke is the world’s craziest<br />

karaoke club. Make out on<br />

their super-dark dance floor, get<br />

naked in the private karaoke boxes<br />

and sing your favourite songs all<br />

night. Warschauer Str. 34, S+U-Bhf<br />

Warschauer Str., Mon-Sun from 19,<br />

www.karaokemonster.de<br />

Schillerburger The legacy<br />

continues from Neukölln to Kreuzberg,<br />

Pankow and Friedrichshain.<br />

Voted one of the top 10 burgers in<br />

Berlin with veggie, vegan, classic<br />

& cheeseburgers with all the trimmings.<br />

”The wise man makes provision<br />

for the future.” – Friedrich Schiller<br />

Wühlischstr. 41/42, S+U-Bhf Warschauer<br />

Str., Mon-Sun 11:30-1, www.<br />

schillerburger.com<br />

Hops & Barley Serving<br />

home-brewed pilsner and dark beer,<br />

this is the place to go to get that proper<br />

brew-pub vibe in Friedrichshain.<br />

Cider and wheat beers are also on<br />

tap. Part brewery, part bar, the interior<br />

is beautifully decorated with antique<br />

tiles. Wühlischstr. 22-23, S+U-<br />

Bhf Warschauer Str., Mon-Sun 17-2,<br />

www.hopsandbarley-berlin.de<br />

kreuzberg<br />

3 Schwestern Housed in a former<br />

hospital turned art centre, this<br />

spacious restaurant with big windows<br />

overlooking a lovely garden serves<br />

fresh, seasonal German and continental<br />

dishes at reasonable prices. Breakfast<br />

on weekends and holidays. Live<br />

music and parties start after dessert.<br />

Mariannenplatz 2 (Bethanien), U-<br />

Bhf Kottbusser Tor, Tel 030 600 318<br />

600, Mon-Sat from 11, Sun from 9,<br />

www.3schwestern-berlin.de<br />

Piri’s Inspired by the flavours<br />

of Portugal, and Piri-Piri sauce in<br />

particular, Piri’s brings the flavours<br />

of Portuguese chicken in burger<br />

form, with their very own special<br />

recipe salsa, combined with delicious<br />

homemade aioli and soft, seeded<br />

buns. Wiener Str. 31, U-Bhf<br />

Görlitzer Bahnhof, Mon-Sun 12-22,<br />

www.piris-chicken.com<br />

Sofia The small, cosy and usually<br />

quite smoky cafe and bar serves hot<br />

drinks until 20:00 and alcohol from<br />

18:00 onwards. Bottled beer is served,<br />

including local brands. Regular<br />

highlights include inexplicably named<br />

Chaparro is the place where<br />

Mexicans go to eat. It‘s difficult to<br />

choose between their delicious tacos,<br />

tortas, tamales, burritos and their<br />

many vegan classics. Get a comida corrida<br />

and wash it down with one of their<br />

homemade aguas frescas or mouthwatering<br />

margaritas. Don‘t miss the one<br />

taco-one euro Wednesday! (They also<br />

sell their corn tortillas and salsas.)<br />

Wiener Str. 14a, U-Bhf Görlitzer<br />

Bahnhof, Mon-Fri from 12, Sat from 16,<br />

Sun from 13, www.chaparro-berlin.de<br />

Santa Maria Eat authentic<br />

Mexican street food right on Oranienstraße,<br />

with a bar offering a full range<br />

of mezcal, tequila and cocktails. Enjoy<br />

favourites like chilaquiles and tacos<br />

de carnitas plus the biggest, tastiest<br />

burritos in town. Oranienstr. 170, U-<br />

Bhf Kottbusser Tor, Mon-Sun from 12,<br />

www.santaberlin.com<br />

LPG Biomarkt Your all-organic<br />

neighbourhood supermarket<br />

supplies fruit and vegetables,<br />

meats, cheeses and even cosmetics.<br />

Fill your basket with freshly baked<br />

bread and treat yourself to a selection<br />

of sweet and savoury goodies.<br />

Reichenberger Str. 37, U-Bhf Kottbusser<br />

Tor, Mon-Sat 8-21, bakery<br />

from 7, www.lpg-biomarkt.de<br />

51


ADVERTORIAL<br />

Chez Michel is an authentic<br />

bistro offering delicious French dishes<br />

at prices from €5 to €14. All dishes<br />

are cooked in the open kitchen, including<br />

mouthwatering quiches, steak<br />

frites, duck confit and daily rotating<br />

specials. For dessert the French tarts<br />

and crème brûlée are very, very seductive...<br />

Adalbertstr. 83, U-Bhf<br />

Kottbusser Tor, Tel 030 2084 5507,<br />

Mon- Fri 11.30 -22.30, Sat- Sun 15-<br />

22.30, www.chezmichel berlin.de<br />

Dr. Dot gives the best massage,<br />

erm, on Earth. Based in Kreuzberg<br />

61, across from Viktoriapark, Dot has<br />

the most famous hands in the biz. Either<br />

she or one of her 850+ strong<br />

team of massage therapists (Dotbots)<br />

can massage you pretty much any<br />

time, anywhere. Deep Tissue is their<br />

specialty. www.drdot.com<br />

neukölln<br />

Pazzi X Pizza offers an amazing<br />

selection of pizzas and creative<br />

topping combinations including<br />

seasonal varieties with pumpkin or<br />

porcini. Innovative antipasti plates,<br />

salads, tasty frappés and a charming<br />

atmosphere. Slices from only €2!<br />

Herrfurthstr. 8, U-Bhf Boddinstr.,<br />

Mon-Sun 11:30-24<br />

Mos Eisley Delicious artisan<br />

gelato, healthy fruit sorbets and<br />

lots of vegan ice cream flavors produced<br />

right in Neukölln. We also offer<br />

the super-good ice cream sandwiches<br />

by “Zwei Dicke Bären“ as well<br />

as great coffee and cakes. The perfect<br />

stop on your way to Tempelhofer<br />

Feld. Life is short, eat dessert first!<br />

Herrfurthplatz 6, U-Bhf Boddinstr.,<br />

Tel 030 6449 8900, www.moseisleygelateria.de<br />

Mama Kalo Dig in to the<br />

best of both German and French<br />

cuisine at this cosy gem in Schillerkiez.<br />

Everything is homemade, from<br />

the Flammkuchen and Spätzle to<br />

the quiche, soups, salads and desserts.<br />

Freshly baked Kuchen, anyone?<br />

Herrfurthstr. 23, U-Bhf Boddinstr.,<br />

Tel 030 6796 2701, Mon-Tue, Thu 12-<br />

22, Fri 12-23, Sat 15-23, Sun 15-22<br />

Hepcat’s Corner Swing,<br />

swing, swing! This comfy, warm Art<br />

Nouveau café and bistro offers a<br />

daily rotating menu including delicious<br />

breakfast, coffee and homemade<br />

cake- all accompanied by the<br />

best swing tunes around. Live lessons<br />

every Saturday from 19:00.<br />

Schinkestr. 14, U-Bhf Schönleinstr.,<br />

Tue-Sat 10-24, Sun 10-21, www.<br />

hepcatscorner.de<br />

Schillerbar serves fantastic<br />

breakfast well into the afternoon<br />

and great cocktails at night. Behold<br />

the authentic red paint on the outside<br />

wall intended to threaten the<br />

bar upon opening, left there, and affectionately<br />

responded to with hearts<br />

stating “Schiller loves you anyway” (in<br />

German of course). Herrfurthstr. 7,<br />

U-Bhf Boddinstr., Tel 0172 9824 427,<br />

Mon-Sun 9-2, www.schillerbar.com<br />

Sala Da Mangiare Authentic,<br />

traditional Italian cuisine. Queens<br />

of the house: cappelletti, ravioli, tagliatelle,<br />

strozzapreti and gnocchi,<br />

handmade fresh every day. Ingredients<br />

are sourced from Emilia Romagna,<br />

organic farms and slow food<br />

suppliers. You’ll feel right at home<br />

in the intimate, friendly atmosphere.<br />

Mainzer Str. 23, U-Bhf Boddinstr.,<br />

Tel 0157 7068 3348, Tue-Sat 19-23,<br />

www.saladamangiare.de<br />

Prachtwerk One of a<br />

kind in Neukölln, Prachtwerk is a spacious<br />

café, music venue and gallery.<br />

With a wide variety of local and<br />

organic items, Prachtwerk serves<br />

up Five Elephant Coffee, beer from<br />

Neukölln’s Rollberg Brauerei, housemade<br />

baked goods, tasty cocktails,<br />

and more. The best part? All profits<br />

benefit social projects. Ganghoferstr.<br />

2, U-Bhf Karl-Marx-Str.,<br />

www.prachtwerkberlin.com<br />

Dr. Pogo Veganladen-<br />

Kollektiv is a vegan-only grocery<br />

store with a tiny café in cosy Rixdorf.<br />

It’s a cooperative shop run by 12<br />

dedicated individuals. Vegans will find<br />

almost anything they need. Non-vegans<br />

are welcome to discover interesting<br />

plant-based alternatives and organic<br />

products amongst 2000 items,<br />

fresh vegetables and lots of bulk ware<br />

for small portions. Karl-Marx-Platz<br />

24, S+U-Bhf Neukölln, Mon-Tue, Thu-<br />

Fri 9-20, Wed 12-20, Sat 9-16, www.<br />

veganladen-kollektiv.net<br />

schöneberg<br />

Salon Bordel! “Qué Bordel!“<br />

What a mess! But names can be deceiving.<br />

Instead of being greeted by<br />

Berliner Schnauze, you‘ll feel welcome<br />

in this cosy, feel-good hair salon.<br />

Their highly skilled staff with<br />

over 10 years of experience will fulfil<br />

your wishes and create the look you<br />

desire. Hohen staufen str. 67, U-Bhf<br />

Nollendorfplatz, Tel 030 2191 2480,<br />

www.salon-bordel.de<br />

Dolores Goes West The place<br />

that revolutionised Berlin fast food<br />

with awesome California-style burritos<br />

ten years ago has a second store<br />

on Wittenbergplatz, across from Ka-<br />

DeWe. This location serves their best<br />

classics and several great new spicy<br />

combos. Bayreuther Str. 36, U-<br />

Bhf Wittenbergplatz, Mon-Sun 11-22,<br />

www.dolores-berlin.de<br />

Kumpelnest 3000 The<br />

legendary bar that made the Berlin<br />

nightlife scene what it is today. This<br />

brothel-turned-bar 25 years ago was<br />

Bono’s hangout during his visits to<br />

West Berlin. Kumpelnest hasn’t lost<br />

any of its authenticity or wild side<br />

over the years. Hipsters beware!<br />

Lützowstr. 23, U-Bhf Kurfürsten-<br />

str., Mon-Fri 19-5, Sat-Sun from 19,<br />

www.kumpelnest3000.com<br />

Computer Service<br />

Julien Kwan Julien Kwan’s elegant<br />

store for Apple computers and<br />

other high-tech goodies is the place<br />

for those who want more than just<br />

a shop-and-go experience. Personalised<br />

service makes browsing the<br />

latest technology a true pleasure.<br />

Vorbergstr. 2, U-Bhf Kleistpark, Tel<br />

030 6170 0510, Mon-Fri 10-19, Sat<br />

12-16, www.deinmac.de<br />

charlottenburg<br />

Café im Literaturhaus<br />

Enjoy a coffee in one of Berlin’s finest<br />

cafés, known for its courteous<br />

staff and pleasant atmosphere in the<br />

elegant and much-loved Literaturhaus<br />

villa. The perfect stop during a<br />

shopping trip on nearby Ku’damm.<br />

Fasanenstr. 23, U-Bhf Uhlandstr.,<br />

Tel 030 8825 414, Mon-Sun 9:30-24,<br />

www.literaturhaus-berlin.de<br />

Schwarzes Café Since the<br />

1970s, Schwarzes Café on Savignyplatz<br />

has been a cult favourite among<br />

artists, anarchists, foreigners and<br />

Charlottenburgers. They‘re open 24/7,<br />

have English menus and serve organic<br />

meat. Kantstr. 148, S-Bhf Savignyplatz,<br />

Tel 030 3<strong>138</strong> 038, Mon-Sun all<br />

day, www.schwarzescafeberlin.de<br />

FIND FULL<br />

GUIDES AT<br />

www.exberliner.com/<br />

directory<br />

Subscribe to <strong>Exberliner</strong> Magazine now, receive 1 full year* for €29 and we’ll<br />

send you an awesome restaurant, theatre or museum voucher as a thank-you gift.<br />

SIGN UP NOW AT WWW.EXBERLINER.COM/SUBSCRIBE<br />

*Valid for residents of Germany only. <strong>Exberliner</strong> subscriptions do not renew automatically.<br />

52 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


ADVICE<br />

ask<br />

HANS-TORSTEN<br />

Hans-Torsten Richter answers your questions about surviving and thriving<br />

in Berlin. Write to hanstorsten@exberliner.com.<br />

Dear Hans-Torsten: I was walking my dog,<br />

on a lead, on Boxhagener Platz when a man<br />

approached me. He flashed a laminated<br />

piece of paper ID and said he was from the<br />

“Umweltamt”. Was I aware that there are<br />

no dogs allowed on green spaces that also<br />

have a kids’ play area? That if the Ordnungsamt<br />

comes, I’d be fined €120 for being in<br />

the park with my dog? The man’s German<br />

wasn’t great, and he was possibly new at his<br />

job, so I couldn’t get any clarification: is this<br />

a new regulation to do with the new dog<br />

laws being implemented this year? Are dogs<br />

forbidden because it’s a fenced-in area,<br />

or does this apply to all parks that have<br />

children’s play areas? Is there or isn’t there<br />

a regulation that forbids dogs from all parks<br />

in Berlin, even if they’re on a lead? —Finn<br />

Dear Finn: This is indeed a frustrating and<br />

confusing issue for dog owners. Nobody really<br />

knows where what is allowed. It’s a little known<br />

or much-ignored fact that five years ago, the<br />

district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg officially<br />

banned dogs from various public squares<br />

and streets, including Weber wiese, Annemirl-<br />

Bauer-Platz, Traveplatz, and, yes, Boxhagener<br />

Platz. Presumably to get the ungodly amounts<br />

of dogshit under control. On Boxi, it’s a double<br />

Verbot: the “green” area where you were<br />

walking your dog has some swings on it and<br />

hence qualifies as a playground. For understandable<br />

reasons of safety and hygiene, there<br />

is a citywide ban on canines on playgrounds.<br />

But there is a lot more you should<br />

probably know about the byzantine legal<br />

situation regarding dogs. Under current<br />

law, you’re supposed to have your dog on<br />

a lead on busy squares and streets (like<br />

Alex and Ku’damm) and in all parks with<br />

the green Naturschutzgebiet triangle (often<br />

hard to read thanks to graffiti). But a new<br />

law proposed by the Senatsverwaltung für<br />

Justiz und Verbraucherschutz (Department of<br />

Justice and Consumer Protection) will make<br />

things stricter. The legislation is now making<br />

its way to the Berlin state parliament, and if<br />

it gets passed (which looks likely), it could<br />

go into effect in 2016. The new Hundegesetz<br />

will require your four-legged family member<br />

to be leashed everywhere in the city, except<br />

in designated Hundeauslaufgebieten (leadfree<br />

zones).<br />

Right now a ban on canines around<br />

Schlachtensee and Krumme Lanke in the<br />

Grunewald forest has spurred anger among<br />

owners, as this was a favourite place to let<br />

dogs splash around in the lake and roll in the<br />

mud. Citing dog crap polluting the water and<br />

endangering the health of bathing children,<br />

the officials forbid dogs from swimming or<br />

frolicking on the banks. In Grunewald, that’s<br />

only possible in the Grunewaldsee – which<br />

is already polluted as hell anyway, according<br />

to the city’s website! Speaking of pollution,<br />

next year you’ll feel the full force of my new<br />

favourite German word: Kotbeutelmitführpflicht<br />

(doo-doo-bag-carrying-duty). When<br />

out with your dog you’ll have to always have<br />

poop baggies with you. Always have an extra<br />

unused one in case you get “controlled” by<br />

the Ordnungsamt. And beware, the Senat<br />

is hiring two additional people per district<br />

just to monitor dog compliance. They’ll be<br />

checking that your pooch has its mandatory<br />

collar tag proving you’ve paid your dog tax.<br />

(That’s €120/year for the first dog, €180/year<br />

for each additional one! Pay it at your local<br />

Finanzamt, if you haven’t done so already.)<br />

The new law will bring in a bunch of new<br />

intrusive measures. There’s the controversial<br />

silly sounding “dog driving licence” which will<br />

exempt you from keeping your dog on a lead<br />

everywhere (Leinenzwang) if you pass a test,<br />

the details of which are still murky. Professional<br />

dog walkers will be required to carry<br />

a similar certificate. And the near future will<br />

bring a database of every registered dog in<br />

Berlin containing data like their embedded<br />

chip number, pedigree and whether they’ve<br />

bitten someone. Yes, big data control has<br />

even reached the world of pets. All this is<br />

intended to get the city’s estimated 20,000<br />

unregistered dogs into the system. But for the<br />

100,000 law-abiding dog owners in Berlin, it<br />

sounds like the bureaucrat killjoys just want to<br />

dissuade you from having an animal.<br />

Speaking of<br />

pollution, next year<br />

you’ll feel the full<br />

force of my new<br />

favourite German<br />

word: Kot beutel­<br />

mit­führ­pflicht­<br />

(doo­doo­bagcarrying­duty).<br />

53


ARTICLE SAVE BERLIN TAG<br />

SIGRID MALMGREN<br />

BEELITZER HEILSTÄTTEN<br />

Studio Darwinism<br />

DAN BORDEN on why Berlin needs more<br />

space for artists – and what’s being done.<br />

With two full-sized zoos, Berlin is a safe haven<br />

for some of the world’s most endangered species.<br />

But according to our mayor Michael Müller,<br />

there’s a creature native to our own city that’s<br />

rapidly losing its natural habitat and facing extinction:<br />

artifex famelica, the Starving Artist.<br />

Berlin’s population of young, international<br />

creatives not only bolster the city’s post-Wall<br />

reputation as Capital of Cool, they supply the<br />

cultural mulch for its other burgeoning industries:<br />

music, film and internet start-ups. Emptied<br />

of painters and sculptors, Berlin would morph<br />

into Frankfurt-on-the-Spree. But artists are also<br />

classic harbingers of gentrification who turn dull<br />

or decayed districts into hip neighbourhoods.<br />

Once these pioneers have done the hard work,<br />

real estate speculators move in.<br />

Rising rents hit all Berliners, but artists are<br />

doubly vulnerable because they need both<br />

a place to live and studio space to work in.<br />

They’re like canaries in the gentrification<br />

coal mine. Unscrupulous owners exploit their<br />

desperation, rebranding derelict industrial space<br />

as ‘artists’ studios’, then packing hundreds into<br />

squalid conditions.<br />

A turning point came a few years ago when<br />

several artists and designers were evicted from<br />

affordable Kreuzberg studios. The building had<br />

been sold. But the new owner wasn’t a developer<br />

– it was a British millionaire art star (rumours<br />

point to Douglas Gordon) who claimed the<br />

whole building for himself. The incident signalled<br />

an ugly shift: Berlin, the onetime laid-back<br />

artists’ Eden, had been infected by the winnertake-all<br />

mentality of New York and London.<br />

<strong>May</strong>or Müller’s study warns that 70 percent<br />

of Berlin’s 10,000 artists are currently struggling<br />

to find affordable studio space. With an<br />

average monthly income of €850, their pickings<br />

are getting slimmer. Last year alone, 350 studios<br />

disappeared, and residents of seven major studio<br />

buildings currently face eviction. Berlin’s painters<br />

are packing up and heading to Budapest,<br />

Dresden and Detroit.<br />

To staunch this migration, <strong>May</strong>or Müller has<br />

promised to create 2000 city-funded studio<br />

spaces by the year 2020. A pilot programme<br />

announced in March will move 40 displaced<br />

artists into new live/work spaces in a building at<br />

Erkelenzdamm 11-13 in Kreuzberg. Berlin-based<br />

architects Raumlabor promise a cutting edge<br />

design using pre-fabricated building parts.<br />

While the mayor’s plan is a welcome change,<br />

those 40 new studios are a sparkly plaster on<br />

a gaping wound. Even artists can’t quash the<br />

greed that’s fuelling Berlin’s real estate bubble,<br />

but they are a creative bunch. Here are some<br />

alternative techniques for securing cheap<br />

studio space:<br />

Squat. And re-squat. When a Victorian-era<br />

hospital on Mariannenplatz in Kreuzberg was<br />

slated for demolition in 1974, a collection of<br />

artists and protesters moved in and declared it<br />

the Künstlerhaus Bethanien. After three decades<br />

of artist residencies and exhibits, a group of<br />

anarchists decided the place had become ‘too<br />

establishment’ and squatted the building again.<br />

The new squatters won out. In 2010, the old<br />

guard moved to a new Künstlerhaus Bethanien<br />

in the former Lichtfabrik factory nearby, at<br />

Kottbusser Straße 10.<br />

Take over the asylum. Another abandoned<br />

hospital, the 1902 Beelitzer Heilstätten, is being<br />

converted to a ‘creative village’ with 50 artist livework<br />

flats, albeit an hour from Mitte. Developer<br />

Frank Duske has already done the same with the<br />

Krematorium Wedding, turning it into his Kulturquartier<br />

Silent Green. Preservationists applaud<br />

the decayed building’s salvation, but photographers<br />

and filmmakers will mourn the loss of one<br />

of Brandenburg’s most picturesque ruins.<br />

Let a rock star do it for you. Canadian crooner<br />

Bryan Adams has been an ardent Berlinophile<br />

since before the Wall fell, and now he wants to<br />

give something back. In the summer of 2013,<br />

Adams bought several industrial buildings along<br />

the Spree River in Oberschöneweide, southeast<br />

of Treptower Park, with plans to turn them into<br />

artists’ studios. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei had<br />

been converting the ex-AEG factory into his<br />

own studio in 2011 before he was placed under<br />

house arrest in Beijing.<br />

<strong>May</strong>or Müller’s “Save the Artists” campaign<br />

may backfire. After all, being an artist in the 21st<br />

century is less about making art and more about<br />

“making it” in the cutthroat art world. Handouts<br />

and government subsidies will only dull the claws<br />

of aspiring Picassos and Monets. Adapt, evolve,<br />

survive – that’s the harsh law of the art jungle. ■<br />

The new owner wasn’t<br />

a developer – it was a<br />

British millionaire<br />

art star who claimed<br />

the whole building for<br />

himself.<br />

54 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


SEX<br />

Ask Dr. Dot<br />

q:<br />

You have probably been asked this<br />

before, but I just discovered <strong>Exberliner</strong><br />

and from what I have read in the online<br />

archives, I can’t find your advice on this one:<br />

how can I make my girlfriend come? I am 23,<br />

she is 29 and we have been dating exclusively<br />

for almost six months. Shagging our brains out,<br />

sex is grand but I feel inadequate because I<br />

can’t make her get there. I’ve eaten her pussy<br />

till I had lockjaw, got blisters on my fingers and<br />

my cock is ready to hang his head in shame.<br />

Is it possible some women just can’t come or<br />

have I lost my touch? All of my previous girlfriends<br />

came so easily. This one is like a labyrinth<br />

to me. Any feedback would be greatly<br />

appreciated. – Perplexed Peter<br />

a: There’s no way to know if all of these former<br />

girlfriends were pretending or not. Surely some<br />

did come, but some girls do pretend just to wind<br />

things up and/or to make their guy feel like he<br />

is the MAN. So you should not gauge the new<br />

one according to the old ones. Simply ask her to<br />

show you how she masturbates when she is all<br />

alone. There is the sort of masturbation a woman<br />

would do in front of a man just to turn him on, for<br />

the visual aspect of it, and then there is the real<br />

deal, which might not be visually exciting for a<br />

spectator but surely gets them there quickly and<br />

efficiently. This is the shit you need to witness<br />

up close, in person to be able to replicate and<br />

attempt. If she refuses (some chicks keep that a<br />

secret) or it still doesn’t work: put on some Prince<br />

or Barry White, low lighting, glass of wine, massage<br />

her feet for a good half hour, then get her<br />

on top of you, facing you, go in her, and grab her<br />

ankles, slide her back and forth and try sucking<br />

her tits at the same time... lots of work for you<br />

but all the wonderful things in life are worth the<br />

effort.<br />

Send all questions or problems,<br />

whatever they are, to me:<br />

drdot@drdot.com<br />

q:<br />

My husband of one year recently told<br />

me “Schatzi, I am sorry, I love you but I<br />

simply cannot fuck the same pussy for<br />

the rest of my life.” I asked him if he was leaving<br />

me and he said “No, I just wanted to tell<br />

you, I cannot be monogamous.” I was (and still<br />

am) in shock. I just replied “Hmmm” with one<br />

eyebrow raised and acted like it did not bother<br />

me. But it does bother me. He is German and I<br />

am American. Is this a German thing? Am I supposed<br />

to roll with it? Does this mean I too am<br />

free to have affairs? Seriously, Dr. Dot: WTF? –<br />

Shell-Shocked Suzy<br />

a: Such a situation has its pros and cons. Pros:<br />

You can also have flings if you want and if he<br />

catches you, remind him about his anti-monogamy<br />

rant and say, “I thought this is what you wanted?”<br />

Cons: If you are really in love, this shit can hurt<br />

and make you feel like a carpet being walked all<br />

over and if whoever else he is shagging grows<br />

attached to him, you could be on her/his hit<br />

list eventually. But the worst thing about open<br />

relationships is STDs. Even IF condoms are being<br />

used, there are a few nasty ‘gifts’ a person can<br />

take home with them from oral fun – kissing included.<br />

I seriously hate pissing on people’s parades,<br />

but your health is your wealth. On the bright side,<br />

at least your guy is being honest with you; he<br />

could have just carried on for the rest of his life<br />

doing it without you even knowing it. Perhaps, if<br />

you can deal with the open relationship approach<br />

and he agrees it works both ways, you can both<br />

agree to very safe sex, as in, no kissing or oral sex,<br />

just intercourse with condoms. All that depends on<br />

how careful, thoughtful and sober people are, of<br />

course. Note: Berlin is not famous for monogamy.<br />

q:<br />

I am a short guy amongst a city of<br />

giants. I am 163cm tall at age 25. So<br />

women literally look down on me. I can<br />

pretty much eat pussy standing up if the girl<br />

is tall enough. My mates take the piss because<br />

I get rejected constantly when we all go out.<br />

Not going to lie, it stings. I am nearly skint and<br />

contemplating turning gay as the blokes all<br />

seem to love me. Seriously DD, give us a hand<br />

will ya? – Shorty under 40<br />

A. Being bisexual will increase your chances of<br />

getting laid, ’tis true. But just because a woman<br />

tells you to “fuck off” doesn’t mean she won’t<br />

be fucking you someday. What you lack in height<br />

should be compensated with humour, flattery,<br />

charm and generosity. Especially in Berlin, where<br />

men pretty much refuse to buy a woman a drink.<br />

Ladies would probably first be in shock, then disbelief<br />

and finally overjoyed that you would spend<br />

money on or compliment them (another rarity<br />

here in Berlin). Use tactics that the tall stingy guys<br />

don’t need to use. Don’t be afraid to offer a girl<br />

wearing high heels a firm foot massage in a bar,<br />

cafe, restaurant, nightclub, etc. This is the ultimate<br />

icebreaker. I, for example, will pretty much do<br />

anything for a proper foot rub...<br />

www.exberliner.com/directory<br />

55 • SEPTEMBER 2014


56 • MAY <strong>2015</strong>


PROPAGANDA<br />

From Hitler’s first right-hand man to homophobic smear campaigns by the left, homosexuality<br />

and fascism have had a long, twisted relationship. What’s behind it? By Jason Harrell<br />

or almost as long as National Socialism<br />

has existed, people have tried to connect<br />

it with homosexuality. Numerous<br />

attempts have been made to try to prove<br />

that Hitler was gay, although there is little to no<br />

existing evidence that he ever slept with anyone,<br />

man or woman. German sociologist Theodor<br />

Adorno even famously wrote, “Totalitarianism<br />

and homosexuality belong together.” The obsession<br />

has continued to this day: the protagonist of<br />

Jonathan Littell’s 2006 award winning novel, The Hirschfeld’s gay rights organisation<br />

Kindly Ones, is an SS officer whose homosexuality Scientific-Humanitarian Committee<br />

is seen as one of his defining characteristics. was shut down as well, as were many of<br />

Perhaps the fascination persists because it the gay and lesbian bars around Berlin’s<br />

seems like such a paradox: the Nazi party, so Nollendorfplatz. But homosexuals had<br />

hellbent on eradicating gays, was itself bursting a powerful and unexpected supporter<br />

with homoerotic imagery – masses of beautiful, in Röhm, who in those early days was<br />

strapping Aryan men in uniform. This hasn’t thought to have maneuvered behind<br />

escaped the gay community. There’s an entire the scenes to hinder persecution.<br />

A group of blond<br />

fetish subculture devoted to the idea of power<br />

young men in Hitler<br />

and masculinity once cultivated by the Nazis – it Homophobia in<br />

Youth uniforms.<br />

is not uncommon to see men dressed in mock SS the anti-Nazi left<br />

and Gestapo uniforms during the Folsom Europe In June 1931, the socialist news paper<br />

leather fetish festival in Schöneberg.<br />

Münchener Post, which campaigned against phobic insults and outing went on throughout the<br />

Hitler’s rise to power, started an effort to out 1930s, and Röhm was an obvious target. In 1933,<br />

The first gay Nazi<br />

top Nazi officials. They published excerpts from Braunbuch, a book about the Reichstag fire published<br />

by the exiled Communist Party attempted<br />

“The link between National Socialism and homosexuality<br />

is very closely connected with the figure discussed his homosexuality – a way to discredit to discredit the Nazis’ claims that the fire was a<br />

Röhm’s private correspondence in which he<br />

of Ernst Röhm,” says sociologist and author Alexander<br />

Zinn. Zinn’s book Das Glück kam immer corrupting the morality of the government he Lubbe, who was arrested for the act, as “Röhm’s<br />

a political opponent they saw as perverted and communist plot by portraying Marinus von der<br />

zu mir (Happiness always came to me) tells the story ‘infiltrated’. (Röhm actually sued the Münchener toyboy”. The book was translated into many<br />

of Rudolf Brazda, the last surviving documented Post for libel; one of the article’s sources killed languages and several million copies were printed.<br />

“pink triangle” concentration camp prisoner, himself in detention).<br />

Other leftist resistance and antifascist publications<br />

echoed this trend, sparking a propaganda<br />

who was persecuted by the Nazis for being gay During and even before the golden years of the<br />

and sent to Buchenwald.<br />

Weimar Republic, sexual liberation went hand in campaign that aimed to slander the Nazi party by<br />

The decidedly non-Aryan-looking Röhm was hand with artistic experimentation. Many leftwing<br />

politicians and members of the avant-garde cialist exile resistance newspaper Deutsche Freiheit<br />

accusing it of being full of homosexuals. The so-<br />

relatively open about his homosexuality and<br />

known within the Berlin gay subculture when were early supporters of gay, lesbian and transgender<br />

rights – but obviously not all. Friedrich Engels tions are breeding nests for homosexuality from<br />

wrote in 1934 that “National Socialist organisa-<br />

Hitler appointed him SA Commander early in<br />

1931. The Nazis’ paramilitary wing played a vital himself was far less progressive, as testified in top to bottom – including the youth organisations<br />

role in securing power for the party, protecting a letter to Karl Marx in which he wrote that – like never seen before in German history.”<br />

members and guarding events while intimidating homosexuality was “extremely unnatural” and that As pointed out by Klaus Mann, the Weimar<br />

and fighting other groups.<br />

these “pederasts” are “converting this smut into author, cabaret activist and gay son of famed<br />

“Hitler had a tactical relationship to homosexuality,”<br />

Zinn says. “He knew that Röhm was homo-<br />

should pass on jokes about prominent German so-<br />

Prague journal Europäische Hefte, left-wing<br />

a theory”. For his part, Marx told Engels that he writer Thomas Mann, in a 1934 article in the<br />

sexual and made him SA Commander anyway, because<br />

he needed him. Röhm was a good organiser homosexuality to a newspaper editor friend if homosexuals – the Jews of the antifascists.” The<br />

cialist politician Johann Baptist von Schweitzer’s organisations were “making scapegoats of the<br />

and had the necessary military knowledge to build they needed to discredit him. While the Nazis homophobic anti-Nazi left was unwittingly but<br />

up the SA the way that he had planned.”<br />

saw homosexuality as a threat by a small deviant surely joining forces with the NSDAP in paving<br />

When the Nazis finally came to power in 1933, group of people who were trying to force their the way for the persecution to come.<br />

one of their first acts of oppression was to burn agenda upon the masses and pollute the healthy<br />

the library of Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for German race, homo phobic left-wingers saw it as a Cracking down<br />

Sexual Research, an institution that advocated decadent perversion of the upper classes.<br />

By 1934, membership in Röhm’s SA had exploded<br />

the repeal of German anti-gay law Paragraph 175. Discrediting political enemies through homo-<br />

to well over three million, and Hitler began to see<br />

24 • APRIL <strong>2015</strong><br />

the group as a threat. During that summer, as part<br />

of the “Night of the Long Knives”, Röhm and<br />

countless others were arrested. Around 200 died,<br />

many of whom were murdered on the spot. Röhm<br />

was given the chance to commit suicide. When<br />

he refused, he was killed. It was after the so-called<br />

“Röhm Putsch” that the Nazis began their persecution<br />

of homosexuals in full force. Hitler used<br />

the purge as propaganda against homosexuality in<br />

the party, claiming that the real reason for Röhm’s<br />

murder was that he was ridding the party of the<br />

threat of his perversion. In 1936, SS chief Heinrich<br />

Himmler created the Reich Central Office for<br />

the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion.<br />

The number of convictions under Paragraph 175<br />

doubled in 1936 and quadrupled in 1937.<br />

“Himmler and the others fought incredibly<br />

hard against the idea that homosexuality could<br />

be practiced in men’s associations, in the SS or<br />

the SA,” says Zinn. “It suddenly seemed incredibly<br />

dangerous. It was an anti-modern reaction<br />

to the homosexual emancipation movement of<br />

the 1920s and what was described in Hirschfeld’s<br />

writings.” Zinn continues. During the Nazis’<br />

reign some 55,000 men were deemed to be<br />

criminals because they were homosexual. Around<br />

15,000 of these died in concentration camps.<br />

The present day<br />

Seventy years and the trauma of one genocide<br />

later, LGBTQ people are still the target of the<br />

far right, for whom homophobia remains a big<br />

part of the official discourse.<br />

“The extreme right uses homophobia to<br />

strengthen their group and ideology,” says Stella<br />

Hindemith of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation<br />

project Lola für Lulu, which works to combat farright<br />

homophobia and transphobia in the northeastern<br />

state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. At<br />

the core of this ideology<br />

is the idea that the<br />

German race has to be<br />

protected. Logically, the<br />

most important component<br />

needed to preserve<br />

this is the German family.<br />

Accordingly, Germany’s<br />

most right-wing political<br />

party, the NPD, clearly<br />

states it in its programme:<br />

“Homo sexual partnerships<br />

do not form a<br />

family and should not be<br />

promoted.”<br />

In the Mecklenburg-<br />

Vorpommern parliament<br />

in July 2014, during a<br />

debate over the recent ban<br />

on flying the rainbow flag over Schwerin’s city hall<br />

for the Christopher Street Day Parade (the German<br />

federal government had decided to disallow<br />

the flag as well), NPD MP Stefan Köster argued,<br />

“This small minority is trying to control life in<br />

Germany. My faction will fight against this and we<br />

will not allow a minority to be placed above the<br />

well-being of the majority.” The ban was upheld.<br />

“They advocate for women to have as many<br />

children as possible,” Hindemith explains. “The<br />

men should be like soldiers and take care of the<br />

SS Führer Heinrich Himmler<br />

(centre) looks over the<br />

shoulder of SA leader Ernst<br />

Röhm (right), August 1933.<br />

women and children. You can imagine how this that doesn’t mean nobody in the far right is.<br />

ideology stands in opposition to LGBT people. Carsten S., who is currently on trial in Munich<br />

That’s why Nazis are extremely aggressive to for his complicity in the racist murders of 10<br />

homosexuals and transgender people.”<br />

people carried out by the National Socialist<br />

This aggression, as Hindemith explains, is difficult<br />

to trace, because violence against homosexu-<br />

2000 after fleeing the group; he spent some time<br />

Underground terror cell, came out as gay in<br />

als and transgender people isn’t often recognised volunteering at an AIDS relief centre and a gay<br />

as actually being the result of far-right extremism and lesbian youth organisation.<br />

and the victims might not contact the organisations<br />

who are able to provide support. Germany’s cases of neo-Nazi homosexuality since WWII,<br />

While there have been a handful of other<br />

domestic security agency publishes an annual most of those men also only came out after<br />

report that includes right-wing criminal activities, leaving the right-wing scene. One exception was<br />

but there is no category for Michael Kühnen, a leader of various far-right<br />

homophobic attacks. groups, who came out in 1986 and subsequently<br />

“Many of the problems wrote a treatise titled “National Socialism and<br />

that we have today, all of the Homosexuality”. This treatise argued that gay<br />

misanthropic ideologies – men were best suited for the National Socialist<br />

struggle because they weren’t tied down by<br />

racism, anti-Semitism,<br />

homophobia or transphobia women or a family. Soon after, however, his<br />

– they all have to do with the group fractured and he died of AIDS-related<br />

fact that National Socialism complications in 1991.<br />

hasn’t been processed well To be gay and a neo-Nazi is not as paradoxical<br />

as it seems, says Hindemith. “What<br />

enough,” says Hindemith.<br />

“You have to imagine that it we know about this is that it is something that<br />

is passed down through shouldn’t be out in the open,” she says. “No<br />

families. There were<br />

one should live openly as gay; then you are a<br />

teachers and judges who “Schwuchtel” and that’s not allowed. But if a<br />

were trained during the man has sex with a man but otherwise lives up<br />

period of National Socialism to the far-right ideal, and he doesn’t talk about<br />

and they continued to work it, then that can somehow be tolerated. It is a<br />

in these jobs.”<br />

strange grey zone. I wouldn’t say it’s like that<br />

As Hitler did with Röhm, neo-Nazis also continue<br />

to use propaganda to discredit gays within Nazis who see it like that.”<br />

everywhere, but we know that there are some<br />

the party. Recently, there was a press uproar over Meanwhile, the fascination continues to go<br />

rumours that Holger Apfel, ex-chairman of the both ways, as a good number of out gay men continue<br />

to embrace Nazi imagery – whether subver-<br />

NPD, was forced to resign at the end of 2013<br />

because he tried to put the moves on a younger sively, as in the gay skinhead movement, or purely<br />

male NPD comrade.<br />

sexually, as in the fascist chat groups on hookup<br />

site GayRomeo. The latter sparked a think-piece<br />

A lingering obsession<br />

on queer internet magazine Etuxx titled “Gay<br />

Apfel, who now reportedly lives in Mallorca with and brown: The new trend?” But as we know now,<br />

his wife, may not actually be homosexual – but it’s actually a very, very old one. ■<br />

25<br />

FROM OUR READERS<br />

TO THE EDITOR<br />

In our queer issue (#137), we looked at the complicated connection<br />

between Nazis and homosexuality.<br />

Back to coffee and<br />

Snowden<br />

What about the undeniable<br />

link between fascism<br />

and vegetarianism?<br />

The foundation of which<br />

is at least as broad as that<br />

of your article’s premise…<br />

Seriously, what are<br />

you even talking about?<br />

Nazi connections<br />

F<br />

“Homosexuals<br />

have become the<br />

Jews of the<br />

antifascists.”<br />

Röhm was gay. Big news. What else? Not much. There probably are<br />

some gay neo-Nazis now. And some gay guys might agree that your<br />

second Aryan from the left is rather hot – the others not so much.<br />

Conclusion: EXB should keep focusing on coffee shops, rental<br />

bikes, house music and Edward Snowden. – Lorenz<br />

I don’t want to relate!<br />

While your article about alleged homosexuality among Nazis was<br />

interesting, there is nothing about this kind of investigation that<br />

helps us move on from the terrors of Nazism. Focusing on homosexuality<br />

among the Nazis only serves to humanise them. I had the<br />

same feeling when I read somewhere that Himmler wrote tender<br />

letters to his wife, mostly about their daughter Puppi, while he<br />

committed daily atrocities. It doesn’t make the Nazis more repellent,<br />

it makes them more relatable, something we should take care<br />

not to do. – Hitler Hater<br />

Also in that issue, a trans voice trainer explained the art<br />

of sounding feminine.<br />

Find your own voice<br />

I found your “Queer in the City” article from April’s issue super<br />

informative. However, the “How To Sound Like A Woman” section<br />

is perhaps borderline generalisation. I do not think there should be<br />

so much attention on how ‘high’ girls’ voices sound or how women<br />

elongate their words. And the idea of someone expressing him<br />

or herself should not turn into them trying to conform with the<br />

‘norm’. – Mama Sings Bass<br />

PHOTOS: DEUTSCHE BUNDESARCHIV, CC-BY-SA<br />

“If a man has sex<br />

with a man but<br />

otherwise lives<br />

up to the far-right<br />

ideal, then it can<br />

somehow be<br />

tolerated, as long<br />

as he’s not too<br />

obvious about it.”<br />

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Tell us what you love or hate about this issue<br />

and you could easily win a pair of tickets to<br />

the real-time high-definition broadcast of the<br />

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