EXBERLINER Issue 148 April 2016

You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.

<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>148</strong> • €2.90 • <strong>April</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

ATHINA RACHEL TSANGARI: “I thought it’d be interesting to<br />

experiment with an all-male cast on a boat.” (p.28)<br />

STEREO TOTAL: “We wouldn’t write a song about Merkel.” (p.36)<br />

HAMID SULAIMAN: “In Syria, no one has the right to say that they have<br />

nothing to do with war.” (p.42)<br />

Drugs, crime, violence:<br />

Is Kottbusser Tor really<br />

a ‘no-go zone’?<br />


Our new regular<br />

section on the<br />

Berlin scene<br />



“It was a tiny island with<br />

bikers and hippies... and<br />

then came the Ossis.”<br />

www.exberliner.com<br />

NOT JUST<br />


A Kotti guide for<br />

hipsters, natives,<br />

queers and Easyjetters<br />


ON KOTTI<br />

From burek to baklava,<br />

five great places for that<br />

real Kreuzberg flavour<br />

100% made in Berlin.<br />

Printed on recycled<br />

paper.<br />

What’s on? • Art • Fashion • Film • Food • Music • Nightlife • Stage

POP<br />

100 Years of Recorded Music<br />

16<br />

<strong>April</strong> 28<br />

–May 1, <strong>2016</strong><br />

Ebo Taylor<br />

Hieroglyphic Being<br />

Miharu Koshi<br />

Sam Lee & Friends<br />

Reem Kelani<br />

American Epic Sessions<br />

and more<br />

Design: NODE Berlin Oslo


03 Werner’s political notebook The<br />

AfD: Worse than you think<br />

ISSUE <strong>148</strong>, APRIL <strong>2016</strong><br />

04 Best of Berlin BierYoga, Noize<br />

Fabrik, Tante Frizzante and cheap<br />

designer specs<br />

SPECIAL:<br />


06 Is Kotti burning? Drug dealing,<br />

violence, pickpocketing... what’s<br />

happening in Berlin’s most volatile<br />

neighbourhood?<br />

09 Prescription for gentrification<br />

The demise of the corner pharmacy<br />

in Kreuzberg<br />

10 Loving the mess Dan Borden on<br />

the evolution of Kottbusser Tor<br />

12 The boys of Kotti The bikers,<br />

punks, artists and shop owners<br />

who’ve made the Kiez their own<br />

18 Which Kotti are you? A guide for<br />

tourists, hipsters, natives and queers<br />

22 Rant The May Day revolution ain’t<br />

what it used to be...<br />

23 Spotlight Blumen Dilek, the flower shop<br />

that (almost) never sleeps<br />


48 Berlin bites Kotti food and Allan’s<br />

Breakfast Club<br />

50 Start-ups Our new section<br />

on Berlin tech beyond the hype<br />

53 Close-up Grada Kilomba of<br />

Kosmos²<br />

NEW!<br />

54 Comic: Bjørn in Berlin<br />

55 Ask Hans-Torsten<br />

56 Ask Dr. Dot<br />

57 Letters to the editor<br />

WHAT'S ON<br />

24 Events calendar<br />

26 Film<br />

32 Stage<br />

35 Music and nightlife<br />

40 Art<br />

44 The Berlin Guide<br />

Achtung Berlin and Exberliner Magazine present:<br />

Achtung Film<br />

Festival <strong>April</strong> 13–20<br />

The<br />

Film Award<br />

APRIL 13, 20:00<br />

Opening reception<br />

at Kino International<br />

APRIL 20, 20:00<br />

Award ceremony at<br />

Filmtheater am Friedrichshain<br />

and after-party at Bassy<br />



OFFSET<br />

PRINT<br />

AHA.<br />

DEUTSCH!<br />



YOU<br />

YOU<br />

NEED.<br />

NEED.<br />

carbon<br />

carbon<br />

neutral<br />

neutral<br />

natureOffice.com | DE-179-229349<br />

natureOffice.com | DE-179-229349<br />

print production<br />

print production<br />

WE ARE FAST!<br />





Kastanienallee 91 call 44 02 44 02<br />

Kastanienallee 91 · call 44 02 44 02<br />

Wörther Str. 29 call 44 03 77 Wörther Str. 29 · call 44 03 77 0<br />

visit our website: www.solid-earth.de<br />

visit our website: www.solid-earth.de<br />


copying<br />

printing<br />

binding<br />

anything<br />

goethe.de/berlin<br />

goethe.de/berlin<br />

Sprache. Kultur. Deutschland.<br />

Sprache. Kultur. Deutschland.

“It was a tiny island with<br />

bikers and hippies... and<br />

then came the Ossis.”<br />

www.exberliner.com<br />

A Kotti guide for<br />

hipsters, natives,<br />

queers and Easyjetters<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>148</strong> • €2.90 • <strong>April</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

ATHINA RACHEL TSANGARI: “I thought it’d be interesting to<br />

experiment with an all-male cast on a boat.” (p.28)<br />

STEREO TOTAL: “We wouldn’t write a song about Merkel.” (p.36)<br />

HAMID SULAIMAN: “In Syria, no one has the right to say that they have<br />

nothing to do with war.” (p.42)<br />

From burek to baklava,<br />

five great places for that<br />

real Kreuzberg flavour<br />

U1 Cover <strong>148</strong>.indd 2 21/03/16 21:30<br />

Drugs, crime, violence:<br />

Is Kottbusser Tor really<br />

a ‘no-go zone’?<br />



NOT JUST<br />



ON KOTTI<br />


Our new regular<br />

section on the<br />

Berlin scene<br />

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

ISSUE <strong>148</strong><br />

Cover photo by<br />

Miron Zownir<br />


Maurice Frank, Nadja Vancauwenberghe,<br />

Ioana Veleanu<br />

Printed in Berlin<br />

100% recycled paper<br />


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Nadja Vancauwenberghe<br />

ART DIRECTOR Stuart Bell<br />

COPY/DEPUTY EDITOR Rachel Glassberg<br />

WEB EDITOR Walter Crasshole<br />

MUSIC Michael Hoh<br />

FILM Zhuo-Ning Su<br />

STAGE Lily Kelting<br />

ART Amanda Ribas Tugwell<br />

FOOD Françoise Poilâne<br />

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Agata Sasiuk<br />

PHOTOGRAPHERS Maria Runarsdottir,<br />

Miron Zownir<br />

CONTRIBUTORS Sophie Atkinson, Shiromi<br />

Bedessee, Alison Bell, Dan Borden, Nina<br />

Branner, Hannah Butler, Kevin Chow, Anna<br />

Gyulai Gaal, Jean-Michel Hauteville, Janine<br />

Heim, Liina Knirsch, Joseph Nowak, Yun-Hua<br />

Chen/Eduardo Ecker/Camilla Egan/David<br />

Mouriquand/Rory O’Connor/Mark Wilshin (film)<br />


Maurice Frank (business manager), Samantha<br />

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

To discuss advertising please contact us:<br />

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

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

100% made in Berlin.<br />

Printed on recycled<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 />

paper.<br />

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

The AfD: Worse<br />

than you think<br />

So Germany has a new political party. Last<br />

month, the “Alternative for Germany” persuaded<br />

enough Germans that they should be represented<br />

in three state parliaments. They even took almost<br />

a quarter of the voters in one of those states (Saxony-Anhalt).<br />

Not only that, it was on the back<br />

of a proper turnout (between 60-70 percent), so<br />

you can’t say that voter apathy let extremists get a<br />

representation they don’t deserve. This was what<br />

the people wanted.<br />

But what does the AfD believe? What do they actually<br />

want? These are especially<br />

important questions because,<br />

according to a ZDF poll, some<br />

75 percent of their voters didn’t<br />

vote for them because of their<br />

political demands, but “to give<br />

the other parties a warning”. But<br />

the investigative journalists at<br />

Correctiv last month got hold<br />

of a draft of an AfD manifesto<br />

(to be approved by the party this<br />

month), which maps out some of<br />

their ideas for how to run the country.<br />

Here they are. (TL;DR: Ted Cruz would join.)<br />

Stop trying to save the environment: The<br />

AfD doesn’t believe in man-made climate change,<br />

which they say is based on “computer models whose<br />

conclusions aren’t confirmed by measurements<br />

and observations.” That’s why they want to scrap<br />

Germany’s Renewable Energy Act, which came into<br />

force in 2000 and was updated in 2014 to administer<br />

the transition to renewables. “We will end the<br />

stigmatisation of CO2 as a pollutant and stop all<br />

unilateral action by Germany for the reduction of<br />

CO2 emissions,” the manifesto says. It also wants<br />

to loosen Germany’s fracking law even further and<br />

extend the life of nuclear power stations.<br />

Imprison alcoholics, drug addicts, and the<br />

psychologically disturbed: No more messing<br />

about. The AfD plans to get rid of the rehabilitation<br />

and treatment of criminals with mental illnesses<br />


WANTS TO<br />


AS A “SYMBOL<br />



– anybody who hurts<br />

someone else or “poses<br />

a danger” should go to<br />

prison, no matter what.<br />

Restrict Muslim and<br />

Jewish rituals, but<br />

especially Muslim<br />

ones: An internal email<br />

exchange between<br />

AfD deputy Beatrix<br />

von Storch and other party leaders, also revealed<br />

by Correctiv, showed that she considers the issues<br />

of asylum and the euro as “all used up” and that<br />

she now thinks the party needs to concentrate on<br />

discrediting Islam. To that end, the AfD wants to<br />

ban circumcision and halal (and<br />

kosher) slaughter. It also wants<br />

to ban minarets, as a “symbol<br />

of Islamic dominance”, as well<br />

as burqas and niqabs in public.<br />

Meanwhile, imams should only be<br />

allowed to teach Islam in German<br />

after having attended a German<br />

university. All this, says the AfD,<br />

will aid integration.<br />

No more “single parent<br />

propaganda”: Don’t really need<br />

to parse this bit of the manifesto for you: “Those<br />

who have fallen into this situation through no fault<br />

of their own of course deserve our empathy and<br />

the support of the community. But we reject any<br />

state financing of the self-chosen lifestyle ‘single<br />

parent’. We are strongly against the attempts of<br />

organisations, media, and politicians to propagate<br />

single parenthood as a normal, progressive, or even<br />

desirable lifestyle.”<br />

No more inheritance tax, profit tax, or<br />

government unemployment benefits: The<br />

AfD plans to get rid of the two taxes that affect<br />

the rich the most. It also wants unemployment<br />

benefits to be privatised, so that “employees will<br />

have the path cleared for their own individual and<br />

tailored solution.”<br />

In conclusion: I think Germany can stop sniggering<br />

and shaking its head about Donald Trump and<br />

his supporters. We just voted them in here. ■<br />

LPG BioMarkt Kaiserdamm GmbH, Kaiserdamm 12, 14057 Berlin<br />

8x in Berlin<br />

Charlottenburg: Kaiserdamm 12<br />

Friedenau: Hauptstr. 78<br />

Kreuzberg: Mehringdamm 20<br />

Kreuzberg: Reichenberger Str. 37<br />

Prenzlberg: Kollwitzstr. 17<br />

Steglitz: Albrechtstr. 33<br />

Tempelhof: Viktoriastr. 18<br />

Treptow: Bouchéstr. 12<br />

Welcome to bio paradise<br />

LPG<br />

BioMarkt<br />

fair & local since 1994<br />

Honey 1kg from 5,99 € *<br />

Wine 0,75l from 2,49 € *<br />

Kiwis 1 piece from 0,25 € *<br />

Bread 1kg from 2,80 € *<br />

Pasta 500g from 0,89 € *<br />

Potatoes 1kg from 1,79 € *<br />

*Permanently reduced prices for members<br />

Check our new website for special<br />

offers and a lot more information:<br />

www.lpg-biomarkt.de<br />



BY THE <strong>EXBERLINER</strong> EDITORIAL TEAM.<br />

Best spiritual boozing<br />

Suffering from a mild existential crisis<br />

after a few Cuba Libres? Want to approach<br />

an ancient cultural practice the<br />

same way you do a night out on the<br />

tiles? Well, of course you do. Combining<br />

the current “mindfulness” craze with<br />

everyone’s favourite hoppy beverage,<br />

BIER YOGA comes to Berlin courtesy of<br />

Jhula, a professional yoga instructor who<br />

first saw the concept at Burning Man. At<br />

the club Loftus Hall on Maybachufer, the<br />

sweet sounds of chilled house, the smell<br />

of dropped pints and meditation guided<br />

by disco lights accompany your journey<br />

into a deeper consciousness. The hourlong<br />

session costs €5; another €6 will<br />

get you two beers or Radlers (shandies),<br />

which Jhula creatively incorporates into<br />

classic yoga moves. Turns out Natarajasana<br />

(or, as it’s known to Western<br />

yogis, the “Lord Of The Dance Pose”)<br />

is easily adapted to include bending a<br />

cold bottle of beer into your mouth. True<br />

yoga practitioners may find it all rather<br />

blasphemous, but consider that the exercise<br />

is still about control: if Buddha once<br />

pressed his tongue against the roof of<br />

his mouth to stem his hunger, then surely<br />

this is the same thing. Full of laughs and<br />

jokes about inner peace and the joys of<br />

beer, the class is taught in German at<br />

a beginner-friendly pace and features<br />

paired moves, too. If this sounds like<br />

your kind of Friday night pre-game, hop<br />

online to bieryoga.de for listed dates. SB<br />

BierYoga, Loftus Hall, Maybachufer 48,<br />

S-Bhf Schönleinstr., every third Friday 19-<br />

20; check website for additional locations<br />

Best don’t-call-it-a-Späti<br />

Amid the garish neon signs and buzzing all-night watering<br />

holes of Hermannstraße, you could almost miss<br />

TANTE FRIZZANTE. But peek into its white-walled interior<br />

and you’ll see crates of beer, bottles of prosecco and<br />

shelves of liquor. So, a Späti? Nope, it’s a self-proclaimed<br />

“drinks concept store”: the beer is craft, the prosecco<br />

is Tante Frizzante’s own brand (€6.70/bottle) and the<br />

doors close promptly at 10pm. “We’ll do shots,” Andreas<br />

Diermeier, one of a trio of Germans who inflicted this<br />

latest hipster business whim on Neukölln back in August,<br />

decides when we arrive. Unorthodox, but he’s onto something:<br />

after necking some Que Fuerte (the house brand<br />

of Mexikaner, made with tequila) we’re definitely more inclined<br />

to overlook the pretension. It’s a specialty they roll<br />

out at parties and tasting sessions. Yes, every Saturday<br />

from 5pm, you can try a selection of Tante Frizzante’s vast<br />

store of “non-mainstream drinks“, comprising around 180<br />

beers, 40 wines and 130 spirits from local producers like<br />

Bierfabrik (€2.70/0.3L), Fräulein Brauer (€3.30/0.3L) and<br />

gin label Elixier (€29/bottle). That the sessions, and the<br />

store, have built up a loyal following over the past months<br />

is hardly surprising: if you’re a neighbourhood craft beer<br />

fanatic looking to taste and buy fancy drinks, Tante Frizzante’s<br />

not just the new kid on the block, it’s the only kid<br />

on the block. And if nothing else, a stop here guarantees<br />

you’ll have the most sophisticated tipple at your friends’<br />

Tempelhof picnic. HB Tante Frizzante, Hermannstr. 95,<br />

Neukölln, S+U-Bhf Hermannstr., Mon-Fri 8-22, Sat 10-22<br />

4 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>


Best cheap,<br />

sexy specs<br />

Whether you’re near- or far-sighted,<br />

astigmatic or just need something to<br />

decorate your pretty face, your field of vision<br />

has never been broader. <strong>2016</strong> is shaping up<br />

to be the Year of the Affordable Designer<br />

Spectacle in Mitte, with cheap and stylish<br />

imports piling into a market once dominated<br />

by hometown brands Mykita and IC Berlin.<br />

Exhibit A: the formerly online-only Dutch<br />

company ACE & TATE, whose bookish,<br />

classically styled glasses start at just €98<br />

(including frames, lenses and a vision test). A<br />

year after their pop-up on Torstraße, they<br />

finally opened a branch by Hackescher Markt<br />

last December. Made of, yes, acetate, but<br />

also organic cellulose (as in their new “Black<br />

Is The New Green” collection), available as<br />

prescription specs or sunglasses, these<br />

frames are rapidly becoming de rigueur<br />

among the creative set. If you want to stand<br />

out, consider futuristic contender YUN.<br />

Combining the talents of fashion designer<br />

Ji-yoon Yun and her father, a lens specialist,<br />

the Korean company’s flagship store brings<br />

Asian minimalist design principles and<br />

cutting-edge tech to the table. It won’t<br />

break the bank, either: €149 will get you an<br />

eye exam and a new pair of glasses, made in<br />

just 20 minutes. A machine winding through<br />

the showroom delicately sets the lenses into<br />

one of the 120 frames, from Morrissey-style<br />

horn-rims to funky leopard-print cat eyes. As<br />

chic as Mykita? Maybe not, but definitely<br />

enough to convince prospective Tinder dates<br />

you’ve read some Dostoyevsky. KC Ace &<br />

Tate, Große Präsidentenstr. 10, Mitte, S-Bhf<br />

Hackescher Markt, Mon-Sat 11-20 YUN,<br />

Rosenthaler Str. 11, Mitte, U-Bhf Weinmeisterstr,<br />

Mon-Sat 11-20<br />

see what<br />

you‘re<br />

missing<br />

Best co-working<br />

for musos<br />

At first glance, Oliver Moertl and Marcus Huppi<br />

of NOIZE FABRIK are working off of two faulty<br />

assumptions: that Berlin musicians, producers<br />

and music-related freelancers have money, and<br />

that they’ve somehow been longing to leave the<br />

comfort of their bedrooms for a Betahaus-like<br />

co-working space in the borderlands between<br />

Neukölln and Treptow. But if the above describes<br />

you, Noize Fabrik will be paradise. Located in<br />

the same Hinterhaus as experimental venue NK<br />

Projekt, it sports wide tables ripe with electrical<br />

sockets, comfortable ergonomic seating, plenty<br />

of secondhand couches to relax in, a bar (stocked<br />

with 1312 “riotbeer” from Kreuzberg) and a large<br />

wooden stage packing a full sound system and<br />

projector for music production and industry workshops,<br />

jam sessions and monthly movie nights.<br />

The coup de grâce: three soundproof studios, including<br />

a window-lined rehearsal room that hosts<br />

special live performances for the co-workers.<br />

Considering Noize Fabrik is still getting its legs in<br />

the co-working game, isn’t all that accessible (the<br />

closest S-Bahn station is a kilometre away) and<br />

lacks a proper lunch canteen, the bands might be<br />

playing to empty seats. But even if Moertl and<br />

Huppi fail to attract their ideal musical mix, at just<br />

€10/day or €159/month for a fixed desk, Noize<br />

Fabrik is a pretty good destination for neighbourhood<br />

freelancers looking for a cheap spot to<br />

spread out and get some work done, whether<br />

they can keep a beat or not. KC Noize Fabrik,<br />

Elsenstr. 52, Neukölln, S-Bhf Treptower Park,<br />

Mon-Fri 9-21, Sat 11-19<br />

native speaker<br />

Goltzstraße 12 - Schöneberg<br />

5<br />

215 40 60


Bustling with Germans, Turks, punks, queers, tourists, dealers, addicts, pickpockets<br />

and beggars – and the same homeless guy always preaching from the top of the<br />

phone booth – Kottbusser Tor’s never been boring. But recently, a rise in gang<br />

activity, assault and petty crime have led to the media dubbing Kotti a “no-go<br />

zone”. What’s going on in Berlin’s most volatile Kiez? By Anna Gyulai Gaal and René Blixer<br />


In any other part of Berlin, you’d expect a<br />

neighbourhood meeting called on the fifth<br />

floor of a museum to be attended only by<br />

a handful of cranky German retirees, a few<br />

concerned mothers and maybe a sprinkling of<br />

well-meaning students. Not Kottbusser Tor.<br />

The Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum is so<br />

packed that they’re showing a simulcast of<br />

tonight’s event on the third floor, on screens that<br />

normally display the video installation “Scenes<br />

from Görlitzer Park”. Up on the top floor, some<br />

300 attendees mirror Kotti’s famed Kreuzberger<br />

Melange. There are Turkish shop owners, ageing<br />

German hippies, young mothers, bespectacled<br />

hipster types, an African refugee, an overeager<br />

anarchist named Andre who won’t wait his turn<br />

to speak before spitting vitriol at the “Bullen” (a<br />

derogatory term for the cops akin to “pigs”)...<br />

and about a dozen journalists.<br />

The topic: “Kippt der Kotti?” Is Kotti on the<br />

edge of collapse?<br />

The changing climate<br />

The German media has<br />

been quick to seize on<br />

residents’ sense of<br />

panic. Die Welt declared,<br />

“If you exit the<br />

U-Bahn here, you’ve<br />

got yourself to blame.”<br />

This isn’t necessarily a new question. Kottbusser<br />

Tor’s reputation as Berlin’s most derelict neighbourhood<br />

dates back to Kreuzberg’s days as an<br />

‘island’ of punks, squatters and poor migrants,<br />

wedged up next to the Wall in the 1970s and<br />

1980s. Kotti was once the turf of mostly-Turkish<br />

street gang 36 Boys, who became famous not<br />

only for their muggings and extraordinary battles<br />

with neo-Nazis, but also for the notoriety later<br />

acquired by ex-gang members (from star chef<br />

Tim Raue to Germany's most famous rapperturned-ISIS<br />

jihadi Deso Dogg). Dealers and<br />

junkies have always been part of the neighbourhood<br />

fabric, even as Kotti’s rents have risen and<br />

its tourist and expat population exploded. “I remember<br />

this bar down on Dresdener Straße that<br />

had holes in the teaspoons so that the junkies<br />

wouldn’t be able to dissolve their heroin. They<br />

also had neon lights in all the toilets, so they<br />

couldn’t see their veins!” says Birgit, a German<br />

teacher who has lived in the area since 1991.<br />

But everyone seems to agree that the past<br />

year or so has been different. New gangs have<br />

moved in, mostly recent arrivals from North<br />

Africa, sparking a new wave of violence, robbery<br />

and pickpocketing. Police confirmed the rise in<br />

crime in February (see box), but residents didn’t<br />

need statistics to tell that the neighbourhood’s<br />

climate had worsened.<br />

“I’m scared to walk through Kotti at night,”<br />

says Cynthia, a 27-year-old Australian who has<br />

lived on Dresdener Straße since May 2015. “I<br />

work at a bar, so I come home late and all alone,<br />

and there are these guys standing there, trying to<br />

rip people off, maybe even physically attacking<br />

them. There was a young woman stabbed right in<br />

front of me in February; fistfights are becoming<br />

more and more common... I often ask my boyfriend<br />

to pick me up from the station now.”<br />

“I avoid the centre of the square,” affirms<br />

6 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

“They don’t care about<br />

the police and they<br />

don’t respect the locals.<br />

They harass women.<br />

They might have come<br />

with the refugees, but<br />

they are not refugees.”<br />

Birgit, referring to the dark alleys and passages<br />

around the monolithic Neues Kreuzberger Zentrum<br />

(see page 10), the vast 1970s housing and<br />

commercial complex which dominates Kotti.<br />

“These guys can be very violent – and rude. They<br />

told me once that I should lose some weight<br />

when I asked one of them to move from the<br />

middle of the stairs. I’ve heard worse too… I’ve<br />

got friends who are afraid to get their döners, or<br />

who get off the U-Bahn at another stop.”<br />

The German media has been quick to seize on<br />

residents’ sense of panic. An article in the conservative<br />

newspaper Die Welt in March declared<br />

Kotti a “no-go zone”, with the title: “If you exit<br />

the U-Bahn here, you’ve got yourself to blame.“<br />

Who are the new guys?<br />

Nobody sees Kotti’s changing situation more<br />

clearly than those involved with drugs – like the<br />

Turkish-German Hakan*, 26, who dealt heroin,<br />

marijuana and hashish for nearly four years.<br />

He stopped about 18 months ago: he’d met his<br />

now-fiancée and wanted to get out of the game<br />

anyway, but also, he says the business had gotten<br />

a lot more difficult. “I knew everyone doing it.<br />

At the beginning, Turks had more drug business<br />

here – but then Arabic groups came and the area<br />

got divided. The North Africans have taken<br />

over the street and the Turks deal inside.<br />

That wouldn’t be a problem. The problem<br />

is that the new gangs cannot make peace<br />

with each other. There are always newer<br />

and newer people coming; they don’t understand<br />

how important it is to have hierarchy<br />

in this business. And so they fight.”<br />

We meet Hannah*, a 41-year-old who has<br />

been struggling with heroin addiction since<br />

she was a teenager, by the U8 entrance.<br />

She spends a lot of time there, she says,<br />

although “the new guys don’t like us hanging<br />

out around here too long – they do their<br />

business and tell us to leave.” She has seen<br />

dealers come and go around the station for<br />

years. “The groups do change. I’ve been<br />

buying my shit here since 2009; I’ve seen<br />

so many faces amongst the dealers. At the<br />

beginning there were Turks too but now,<br />

I don’t meet any. Here, it’s Arabs. I don’t<br />

know where they are from exactly. Probably<br />

mixed with all of these refugees...”<br />

How exactly the new dealers got here<br />

is a point of some contention around the<br />

Kiez. Erçan Yasaroglu (see page 17) – social<br />

worker, owner of multicultural meeting<br />

point Café Kotti and one of the single most<br />


quoted voices in the Kotti debate – has been<br />

literally on top of the goings-on around the station<br />

for over six years (his bar is on the NKZ’s<br />

first floor), and he has his theories. “I believe that<br />

these new gangs are part of an organised crime<br />

scene, coming from North Africa using the refugee<br />

routes. It’s the same organisation here as it is<br />

in Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne… I’ve travelled to<br />

all these cities and seen it. But nothing changes,<br />

because these new gangs have no respect! They<br />

don’t care about the police and they don’t respect<br />

the locals. They harass and grab women, they<br />

are violent, and so people are afraid. They might<br />

have come with the refugees, but they are not<br />

refugees,” says Yasaroglu, who hires asylum<br />

seekers at Café Kotti. “And because of them our<br />

whole Willkommenskultur is being destroyed!”<br />

Yasaroglu isn’t the only one to bring up<br />

Cologne: in January, journalist Mark Terkessidis<br />

wrote an article in local paper Der Tagesspiegel<br />

comparing the Kotti situation to the city where<br />

an infamous wave of sexual assaults and robberies<br />

took place on New Year’s Eve. Both were<br />

present at “Kippt der Kotti?”, where the moderator’s<br />

mention of the comparison brought on<br />

immediate angry shouts from the audience<br />

before Terkessidis could even defend himself,<br />

indicative of the conflicted emotions that still<br />

linger months after the New Year’s incident.<br />

“Cologne is different!” “What does Cologne<br />

have to do with this!?”<br />

No definite connection has been made,<br />

beyond many of the criminals’ North African<br />

roots. The 2015 police statistics for the Kottbusser<br />

Tor area show a dramatic rise in pickpocketing,<br />

robbery and drug dealing suspects<br />

with Libyan, Tunisian, Egyptian, Moroccan,<br />

Algerian and Syrian passports. “At least some say<br />

that they are from Algeria,” says Andreas Bembenek<br />

(see page 15). At his café Kremanski, the<br />

upscale oasis located right at Kotti’s centre, he<br />

Rising crime at Kotti<br />

Arrests in police precinct 53, 2014 vs 2015*<br />


361 (2014)<br />

775 (2015)<br />


52 (2014)<br />

80 (2015)<br />


35 (2014)<br />

90 (2015)<br />


110 (2014)<br />

252 (2015)<br />

*Internal Berlin police statistics as reported<br />

to the Berliner Morgenpost, 2015<br />

sees drug dealers and thieves ply their trade on<br />

a daily basis. “We’ve asked them several times<br />

not to do their business here but it’s hard to<br />

prevent, because I cannot prove it. Otherwise,<br />

they just sit here – they pay for their coffee, and<br />

they are very nice and polite. At the same time,<br />

you can see how the group’s younger members<br />

are ‘dancing’ around people passing by behind<br />

the store and ripping them off, then throwing<br />

their purses back at them once they have taken<br />

the money out.”<br />

He’s referring to “Antanzen”, a “dance trick”<br />

that was also used by the Cologne pickpockets.<br />

Hakan says he's also witnessed those tricks,<br />

though he says the perpetrators might have<br />

different origins: “It’s the other gangs, from Albania<br />

and Bulgaria and of course, the Romanian<br />

gypsies, who end up with petty things like pickpocketing,<br />

because they’re not strong enough to<br />

compete with the Arabs and Turks.”<br />

▼<br />


Calling in the Bullen<br />

At “Kippt der Kotti?”, police commander Tanja<br />

Knapp dismisses the Cologne argument entirely:<br />

she doesn’t care where the criminals come from,<br />

only that they get caught. Last year, Knapp was<br />

appointed head of Polizeiabschnitt (precinct) 53,<br />

the police division in charge of the Kottbusser<br />

Tor area. Since then, the police have been a nearconstant<br />

presence in the neighbourhood, with<br />

uniformed officers patrolling near the station<br />

and a plain-clothes team working with café and<br />

shop owners to monitor criminal activity.<br />

“The police has leads about the gangs, of<br />

course,” Bembenek says. “There are forces<br />

around all the time, watching and waiting for a<br />

good opportunity – even as we speak.” He and<br />

many others around Kotti seem to know exactly<br />

who is who in the gangs and where they stand<br />

in the hierarchy. The big bosses come every<br />

once in a while with expensive cars, stopping<br />

just for a few minutes to drop drugs off. Others<br />

are supervisors who sit in nearby cafes, selling<br />

to ‘higher class’ customers and watching closely<br />

over the “flock” of dealers standing directly at<br />

the exit of the U8.<br />

So why are they still on the streets? The Berlin<br />

police has stopped responding to all media<br />

inquiries about Kottbusser Tor, arguing they<br />

can no longer cope with the scores of journalists<br />

asking for interviews. After those incendiary,<br />

scaremongeirng articles published in the press,<br />

they might just want to wait for the hype to<br />

“Of course there’s<br />

twice as much crime,<br />

but there are twice<br />

as many tourists now.<br />

Criminals go where<br />

people are.”<br />

defuse. Cornered after the Kotti<br />

debate, Knapp insists on the difficulty<br />

of the task at hand. “You have<br />

to understand that we cannot just<br />

arrest people because someone’s<br />

pointing at them. We investigate,<br />

and we’ll eventually make an arrest<br />

if there is a reason. But afterwards,<br />

it’s still not in our hands whether<br />

there is proof against somebody or<br />

not. We are doing our job.”<br />

Kottbusser Tor’s special history<br />

as a hub of anti-establishment<br />

resistance means that not everyone<br />

in the neighbourhood has welcomed<br />

Knapp and her team with<br />

open arms. “Do we really need so<br />

many officers?” questions Richard<br />

Stein, owner of Kotti queer<br />

institutions Südblock and Möbel<br />

Olfe. “If something really happens,<br />

it still takes over half an hour till<br />

the authorities get there. It’s shit<br />

for our 'hood as well, suddenly<br />

seeing three neighbours lined up at a wall being<br />

searched, just because they look suspicious!”<br />

Supply and demand<br />


Bembenek has no problem with the cops, but<br />

fears their efforts may be futile: “Even if they<br />

catch a group and they all disappear, a new<br />

one will come.” And why wouldn’t they? Visit<br />

Oranienstraße any given weekend night and<br />

you’ll encounter roving groups of twentysomethings<br />

speaking English, Spanish or Swedish,<br />

blocking the paths of locals just trying to carry<br />

home their groceries. They’ve read about the<br />

wild nightlife around Kottbusser Tor, and<br />

they’re here to experience it for themselves...<br />

and provide a veritable buffet of opportunities<br />

for dealers and pickpockets. Over the years,<br />

Hannah has seen the variety of drugs offered<br />

around the station increase beyond heroin to<br />


“weed, hashish, pills, cocaine... things like that”<br />

– everything you’d need for an epic Berlin party<br />

weekend. “Of course there’s twice as much<br />

crime, but there are twice as many tourists now.<br />

Criminals go where people are,” points out<br />

longtime Kreuzberger Wolfgang Müller matterof-factly<br />

(see page 13). There’s no stemming the<br />

tide, either: 2015 saw over 1.7 million visitors<br />

to Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, a seven percent<br />

increase over the previous year.<br />

Meanwhile, the locals of Kottbusser Tor are<br />

largely left to fend for themselves. The management<br />

behind the Neues Kreuzberger Zentrum<br />

recently announced plans to hire private security<br />

to supplement Knapp’s police force, and<br />

for the past three months, a group of citizens<br />

has instituted a weekend night watch between<br />

Kottbusser Tor and Görlitzer Park. This is a<br />

neighbourhood that’s fought before – against<br />

right-wingers, racism, homophobia, rising rents,<br />

corporate chains, you name it – and it’s unlikely<br />

that the current uptick in crime will keep Kotti<br />

down for long. Exberliner's own Walter Crasshole,<br />

who’s been living in the neighbourhood for<br />

the past seven years, thinks all the media attention<br />

is only exacerbating the situation. “It got<br />

to the point that I was panicking about going<br />

outside while I was reading all the articles. But<br />

it only lasted till I walked out my door. I realise<br />

there is a problem out there, of course, but to<br />

me, Kotti just feels the way it always does.”<br />

It's late at the Kreuzberg Museum, and as the<br />

“Kippt der Kotti?” meeting comes to an end and<br />

residents scatter away, one can't help thinking<br />

that even though those hundreds of people<br />

might not agree on many things, the very fact<br />

that they bothered to come here tonight and<br />

argue speaks for their immense loyalty to the<br />

neighbourhood. Their solidarity might just be<br />

the silver lining to the whole situation, concludes<br />

Yasaroglu. “If we don’t get together and<br />

take responsibility, we are going to lose. I still<br />

believe in humanity, you know.” n<br />

* Names changed.<br />

8 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>


Prescription<br />

for gentrification<br />

Defeated by high rents and<br />

low profits, Kotti’s historical<br />

corner pharmacies are being<br />

occupied by chic bars and<br />

cafés. Cause to break out the<br />

antidepressants? By Kevin Chow<br />

When café and cocktail joint Ora<br />

opened last year amid the boutiques,<br />

bookstores and bars on<br />

Kreuzberg’s Oranienstraße, it was<br />

a near-instant blogosphere hit. But it’s not just<br />

the homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon<br />

buns that get the Instagram treatment from a<br />

clientele of fashionable young internationals juggling<br />

Voo Store bags. It’s also the magnificent location,<br />

with stucco ceiling, stone floors and a rich<br />

wooden counter backed by a wall of medicine<br />

bottles and tiny shelves, all over 150 years old.<br />

This was the Oranien-Apotheke, once known<br />

as the “Purveyor of the Emperor and King of<br />

Germany, its Colonies and Armies”. Founded<br />

in 1860 by the pharmacist Rudolph Ernst Emil<br />

Kade, it operated as a neighbourhood pharmacy<br />

until its final owners the Dallmann family, unable<br />

to find a successor, had to close it in 2013.<br />

Now, it’s yet another Kotti business that caters<br />

more to expats and tourists than to the neighbourhood's<br />

longtime residents.<br />

And it’s got company. Just around the corner<br />

from Ora, on Mariannenplatz, is the site of<br />

the former Mariannen-Apotheke, also founded<br />

over a century ago. After closing in 2014, the<br />

pharmacy has become the Apotheken Bar, a<br />

high-end cocktail bar started by mixologist<br />

Sinan Gültekin. With an impressive selection of<br />

liquors – including homemade coriander-infused<br />

gin, and orange and vanilla bitters – it’s become<br />

an atmospheric place to relax amid rows of<br />

amber antique pill bottles. Last but not least,<br />

At a quick glance, it’s<br />

difficult to distinguish<br />

photographs taken of the<br />

pharmacy in 1860 from<br />

the Instagram snaps taken<br />

by the café’s guests.<br />

there’s the Apotheke am Kottbusser Tor, right<br />

by the U-Bahn station, which shut down last<br />

year to become a second location of burger joint<br />

Burgermeister. Their largely English-speaking<br />

client base of tourists wanting to see “gritty<br />

Kreuzberg” hints at Kotti’s dramatic conversion<br />

from a low-income neighbourhood to a hub of<br />

hipster culture and sightseeing.<br />

Nobody’s kept a better eye on this transformation<br />

than the humble and earnest members<br />

of the group Kotti & Co, based since 2012 out<br />

of a wooden Gecekondu (“house built overnight”<br />

in Turkish) off Admiralstraße. There,<br />

people like Ahmet Tunter give a political voice<br />

to the people being priced out of their own<br />

neighbourhood. Tunter moved to Kreuzberg<br />

in 1977, and remembers when rents in the area<br />

were “between 50-200 deutschmarks (€25-<br />

100) per month. Kreuzberg was the poorest<br />

quarter in Berlin.” Now, according to the<br />

latest Mietspiegel, rents for apartments around<br />

Kotti average €9.80/sqm per month – up 5.3<br />

percent in the past year alone. Commercial<br />

space, meanwhile, goes for €30/sqm and up.<br />

These increases are a particularly<br />

bitter pill to swallow for<br />

independently owned pharmacies,<br />

which already must struggle<br />

with high financial strain<br />

due to rising drug prices, not to<br />

mention stiff competition from<br />

websites and big chains. Overall,<br />

the number of independent<br />

Apotheken in Berlin plummeted<br />

from 761 in 2008 to 700 in 2014.<br />

Those that have been able to<br />

thrive are usually located in<br />

upscale neighbourhoods, central<br />

business districts or malls,<br />

where clientele don’t mind paying<br />

full price for medicine, or<br />

else they profit from booming<br />

sales in pricey cosmetics and<br />

wellness products. Pharmacy<br />

owners around Kottbusser Tor<br />

have no such luxury.<br />

But maybe the demise of the<br />

mom 'n' pop corner pharmacy<br />

isn't the worst form of gentrification<br />

– especially when the new<br />

owners are eager to pay homage<br />

to their old tenants’ past. While<br />

the physical pharmacy may no<br />

longer be in their hands, the<br />

pharmaceutical manufacturer Kade launched<br />

in 1860 in Oranien-Apotheke is still in business<br />

today, and spokesperson Sebastian Hamsch<br />

reports that the company is enthusiastic about<br />

the new café. “It really looks exactly like the<br />

historical photographs of Oranien-Apotheke. So<br />

much of the original furniture is still there.” At a<br />

quick glance, it’s difficult to distinguish photographs<br />

taken of the pharmacy in 1860 from the<br />

Instagram photos taken by the café’s guests...<br />

albeit with a few changes. The pharmacy counter<br />

now glistens with sugary Zimtschnecken (cinnamon<br />

rolls) instead of ampoules, and the former<br />

backroom laboratory is now the kitchen.<br />

As for the Apotheken Bar, it was opened<br />

by a local who knew the original Mariannen-<br />

Apotheke from his childhood and caters primarily<br />

to locals in need of an after-work drink. Upon<br />

taking over the location, Gültekin strove to<br />

keep the history of the place alive, keeping the<br />

old shelving and even the old sign – with a fake<br />

stone crashing through it, a gimmick meant to<br />

commemorate the destruction caused by May<br />

Day riots some years ago.<br />

By catering to a clientele willing to shell out<br />

over €6 for a coffee and pastry, €10 for a cocktail<br />

and €9 for a burger and fries, these places<br />

might just be symptoms of our time – reflecting<br />

the changing demographics in Kreuzberg.<br />

Meanwhile, they've become neighbourhood<br />

institutions in their own right. For Ora owner<br />

Lukas Schmid, the café “isn’t just antique, but<br />

has grown its charm from 1860 to today by<br />

adding pieces and bits each decade. When we<br />

entered it for the first time, it was this trip back<br />

through the different eras of Berlin that took<br />

our breath away.” Kotti’s present might hang in<br />

uncertainty, but traces of its past are preserved<br />

in these former pharmacies. n<br />

The Oranien-Apotheke, then and now.<br />




Loving the mess<br />

The evolution of Kottbusser Tor, its monstrous<br />

Neues Kreuzberger Zentrum and its characteristic<br />

Kreuzberger Melange. By Dan Borden<br />

Walk north from the Kottbusser<br />

Tor U-Bahn station and you’re<br />

in a chaotic jumble of shouting<br />

fruit sellers and neon-lit shisha<br />

bars where drug-addled youths cross paths with<br />

shuffling refugees. It’s what most people think of<br />

when they say “Kotti”. It’s the ultimate expression<br />

of the Kreuzberger Melange, the district’s<br />

notorious mix of cultures, people and architecture.<br />

But that vaguely menacing shopping zone<br />

and the 12-story wall of apartments looming over<br />

it, collectively titled the Neues Kreuzberger<br />

Zentrum (NKZ), was a 1970s attempt to bring<br />

Germanic order to chaotic Kreuzberg and stamp<br />

out its messy “melange” once and for all.<br />

The NKZ has 40 years of enemies. At street<br />

level, it’s a rabbit’s warren of dark hallways,<br />

alcoves and hidden stairs as if designed by a committee<br />

of drug dealers and illicit urinators. The<br />

too-tall apartment block hangs over Adalbertstraße,<br />

an intimidating gateway to Kreuzberg’s<br />

SO36 district and an ironic echo of the original<br />

Kottbusser Tor, a gate in Berlin’s long-gone city<br />

wall on that site that led south toward Cottbus.<br />

The complex has been called an eyesore, a<br />

monster and a “profit worm” for its snake-like<br />

plan. One of its nicknames is the “Neues KZ”<br />

– German shorthand for concentration camp.<br />

Just 10 years ago, during the NKZ’s darkest days<br />

The complex has<br />

been called an eyesore,<br />

a monster and a<br />

“profit worm” for its<br />

snake-like plan. One<br />

of its nicknames is the<br />

“Neues KZ” – German<br />

shorthand for concentration<br />

camp.<br />

of neglect and crime, Kreuzberg’s then-Mayor<br />

Franz Schulz asked incredulously, “How could<br />

such a construction be approved?”<br />

To answer that question, walk north from the<br />

NKZ to Oranienstraße and up three floors to<br />

the Museum der Dinge. Here you can peruse the<br />

archives of the Deutscher Werkbund, a group of designers<br />

who, in the early 20th century, invented<br />

modern design. Glass cases show off Gustav<br />

E. Pazaurek’s curated collection of kitsch that<br />

illustrates everything these minimalists hoped<br />

to eliminate: complex shapes, decoration and<br />

nostalgic sentiment. The Werkbund inspired the<br />


Bauhaus, which led to Germany’s post-war boom<br />

in boxy, flat-roofed apartment blocks. The Neues<br />

Kreuzberger Zentrum was basically this train of<br />

thought driven to its logical destination: a blocky<br />

concrete megastructure that wiped away dozens<br />

of ‘primitive’ 19th-century buildings. Urban planners<br />

in the 1960s issued a drawing illustrating all<br />

the features of the dreaded Kreuzberger Melange<br />

the NKZ would stamp out: the jumble of architectural<br />

styles; apartments and shops coexisting<br />

in the same buildings; the lack of parking.<br />

Those planners couldn’t acknowledge one of<br />

the NKZ’s primary targets: the district’s growing<br />

Turkish population. When the Berlin Wall went<br />

up in 1961, 10,000 workers who had commuted<br />

to West Berlin were suddenly trapped behind<br />

the Iron Curtain. The West German government<br />

invited thousands of Turkish ‘guest workers’<br />

to take their place. These guests – mostly<br />

young men – sent for their families and made<br />

Kreuzberg their new home. A 1960s newspaper<br />

compared multicultural Kreuzberg to the slums<br />

of Harlem: “Young Germans are deserting the<br />

district, leaving only the old, weak, outsiders,<br />

freaks and especially foreigners.” Today, Berlin’s<br />

Turks are part of the city’s social fabric, but as<br />

late as 1982, Chancellor Helmut Kohl drew up a<br />

radical four-year plan to reduce Germany’s Turkish<br />

population by 50 percent. The construction<br />

of the NKZ was a deliberately hostile gesture,<br />

like an alien craft dropped in an urban swamp,<br />

radiating the sanitising glow of German orderliness.<br />

Its message: it’s time to go home!<br />

* * *<br />

Allied bombing in World War II left 40 percent<br />

of Kreuzberg in ruins. Twenty years later, little<br />

had changed and the area was ripe for urban<br />

renewal. Thanks to a kickstart from the US<br />

government, West Berlin was in the midst of a<br />

building boom – projects like the Europa Center<br />

were both symbols of Western freedom and<br />

surprisingly profitable cash cows. In this context,<br />

the NKZ was touted as the “Europa Center for<br />

Kreuzberg”, a beacon of chic meant to draw<br />

prosperous Germans back to the district. Key to<br />

this renewal was an elevated motorway linking<br />

isolated Kreuzberg with the rest of Berlin, running<br />

along Oranienstraße. The NKZ’s extreme<br />

height was justified as a noise buffer between the<br />

cars and apartments to the south. A brochure<br />

proudly promised that all this construction<br />

would leave Kreuzberg unrecognisable.<br />

The concept for the Zentrum was hatched<br />

in the late 1960s by aspiring real estate mogul<br />

Günter Schmidt. Then in his mid-twenties,<br />

Schmidt was late to the Berlin building boom<br />

but eager to cash in quick. He pitched his idea<br />

to Heinz Mosch, West Germany’s most successful<br />

building contractor, who joined as a partner.<br />

Cash for the project poured in via a shady<br />

investment scheme called the Berlin Assistance<br />

Act in which everyday West Germans were encouraged<br />

to pool their personal savings to fund<br />

new construction in the troubled ex-Hauptstadt.<br />

Investors in the 110 million-deutschmark NKZ<br />

included dentists, housewives and secretaries<br />

10 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>


who reaped tax benefits for decades after.<br />

The NKZ’s design, by architects Wolfgang<br />

Jokisch and Johannes Uhl, was inspired by the<br />

radical megastructure schemes of British<br />

designers Archigram. Now in his eighties, Uhl<br />

recently complained to the Berliner Zeitung that<br />

time and financial pressures undermined the<br />

designers’ utopian plans: a street-level “reading<br />

courtyard” became shops, and light-filled<br />

luxury flats became low-end public housing.<br />

Window flower boxes and a second story<br />

“street in the sky” (supported by columns<br />

painted dark green to match the adjoining<br />

U-Bahn station) vanished altogether.<br />

To make way for the NKZ and the nearby<br />

highway, thousands of people were evicted<br />

from their homes. Zealous developer Schmidt<br />

famously had windows and doors ripped out<br />

of buildings before their residents had even<br />

left. He became Public Enemy #1 in a grassroots<br />

campaign to stop the projects and save<br />

Kreuzberg’s historic urban fabric. When the<br />

highway project stalled, protesters renovated<br />

the vacated buildings and moved in – Berlin’s<br />

famous squatter movement was born.<br />

* * *<br />

Despite setbacks, the NKZ opened in 1974.<br />

Most residents were thrilled to trade their<br />

Altbau flats for homes with modern conveniences<br />

like central heating and indoor<br />

toilets, but the project suffered from classic<br />

problems of low-income housing blocks:<br />

broken elevators, garbage piled in hallways,<br />

piss in the stairs. The roof leaked. Cracks<br />

appeared in the bridge over Adalbertstraße.<br />

Less than 10 years after opening, the NKZ<br />

needed a 2.5 million-deutschmark makeover.<br />

It became a magnet for drugs and crime.<br />

Only half of the spaces were rented, and<br />

residents, unhappy with conditions, stopped<br />

paying rent. The project was on the brink of<br />

bankruptcy for decades.<br />

By 1998, leading Berlin politicians were<br />

calling for the demolition of the NKZ along<br />

with Schöneberg’s “Social Palace” housing<br />

block. CDU boss Klaus-Rüdiger Landowski<br />

declared, “They must go away. They are<br />

crime centres that we cannot get control<br />

of. Otherwise Kreuzberg will be lost.” That<br />

same year, the NKZ gained a new managing<br />

director, Peter Ackermann. As a young lawyer<br />

in 1976, Ackermann had saved the centre<br />

from bankruptcy. Two decades later, he was<br />

a millionaire software developer come back<br />

to turn the NKZ around. He refinanced the<br />

mortgage, then pumped money into critical<br />

improvements like new mailboxes and<br />

trash bins, a playground, better lighting and<br />

securely locked stairwells.<br />

In <strong>2016</strong>, the NKZ, now renamed Zentrum<br />

Kreuzberg Merkezi, is financially secure and<br />

fully leased. Instead of driving away Kreuzberg’s<br />

freaks, outsiders and foreigners, the<br />

project capitalises on diversity. Seventy percent<br />

of its apartment residents are foreignborn.<br />

Iconic gay bar Möbel Olfe, in a former<br />

furniture store, coexists with restaurants and<br />

clubs catering to the city’s Muslims, and new<br />

cafés and bars patronised by a young, mostly<br />

English-speaking clientele. In the sweetest<br />

twist, the north end of the project is capped<br />

by the recently completed dome of Mevlana<br />

Moschee, the city’s largest mosque. The<br />

Kreuzberger Melange is alive and thriving. n<br />

A scale model of the NKZ from Berlin artist Larissa Fassler’s 2008 Kotti exhibition.<br />


Hasir Titanic hunger<br />

Kottbusser Tor has survived May Day<br />

riots, tourist hordes and urban renewal<br />

blunders, but can it resist the feeding<br />

frenzy of the King of Kebab?<br />

Mehmet Aygün opened Hasir, Berlin’s premier<br />

Turkish restaurant, on Adalbertstraße in 1984,<br />

then parlayed its success into an empire: a chain<br />

of Hasir eateries, from burger stands to steakhouses,<br />

and a dozen resorts ominously named Titanic.<br />

The German press portray Aygün as a secretive<br />

underworld figure, an Anatolian Vito Corleone.<br />

They point to his murky origins in Turkish poverty,<br />

his political cronies, his large family. Most damning:<br />

he purports to be the inventor of the döner<br />

kebab, Berlin’s go-to fast food. A dubious claim,<br />

but would a German-born rags-to-riches entrepreneur<br />

get the same bad rap?<br />

Aygün’s empire stretches from greater Berlin<br />

(a luxury hotel on Gendarmenmarkt; a gourmet<br />

Italian restaurant in Charlottenburg) to Istanbul,<br />

but his heart belongs to Kotti. Besides the original<br />

Hasir Turkish grill house on Adalbertstraße,<br />

there’s a second two doors away, plus Hasir<br />

Burger across the street. That slick Italian place<br />

Paglia on the corner of Oranienstraße is also his<br />

(hasir means “straw” in Turkish, paglia the same<br />

in Italian). Meanwhile Aygün’s Moonday corporation<br />

has been snapping up properties throughout<br />

the SO36 neighbourhood, and locals complain<br />

that businesses they need – a travel agent, a<br />

copy shop – are disappearing in favour of touristfocused<br />

fast food.<br />

The bad blood peaked in 2012 when Aygün<br />

announced plans to expand his flagship Hasir<br />

restaurant north, displacing beloved flower shop<br />

Blumen Dilek. It was a classic David-versus-<br />

Goliath match up, little Dilek’s tulips and roses<br />

crushed under the greedy millionaire’s boot. In<br />

the end, Aygün got his way via a win-win agreement:<br />

Dilek walked away (were bought out?) from<br />

their 12-year lease and reopened their 24-hour<br />

business across Oranienstraße (see page 23).<br />

But with one victory after another, observers<br />

wonder when Aygün’s real estate feeding frenzy<br />

will end. Since McDonalds opened a branch near<br />

Schlesisches Tor in 2010 and sparked a firestorm<br />

of protest, Kreuzberg activists have worked hard<br />

to block an invasion by multinational eateries and<br />

clothing stores. They fear that Mehmet Aygün, a<br />

local boy with political connections, could break<br />

that blockade and trigger a corporate avalanche,<br />

wiping out the SO36 character once and for all.<br />

Aygün’s 2013 application to open a hostel on<br />

Oranienstraße was turned down by then-district<br />

mayor Franz Schultz, but he’ll likely try again.<br />

How long can a district that fought off Starbucks<br />

keep the Kebab King at bay? DB<br />





It takes a certain kind of character (and yes, apparently some testosterone)<br />

to stick it out around Kottbusser Tor. We talked to the bikers, shopkeepers,<br />

artists and punks who’ve made the Kiez their own. Photos by Maria Runarsdottir<br />


Frank Weber<br />

Frank Weber, owner of the Kreuzstich Tattoo<br />

Studio in Adalbertstraße and founder of<br />

Europe’s oldest tattoo convention, rolls up<br />

his sleeve. “This one I got at a bus stop in<br />

California. I was waiting for the bus, and an<br />

old Chinese guy knew how to do tattoos,” he<br />

grins, showing off a full-arm collage of snakes<br />

and skulls. It goes well with his general look:<br />

Black leather jacket, black jeans and t-shirt and<br />

a long, loosely tied ponytail hanging down his<br />

back. A little necklace with golden wings glitters<br />

discreetly on his chest, the only indication of<br />

Weber’s rumoured longtime membership in the<br />

Hell’s Angels biker gang.<br />

“I started my first biker club in 1977, just a<br />

few streets from here,” says the 55-year-old.<br />

A born-and-bred Kreuzberger, he grew up in<br />

Waldemarstraße and went to the Otto-Wels-<br />

Schule in Prinzenstraße. “In the 1960s and 1970s<br />

Kottbusser Tor was a poor and dirty area, there<br />

was dog shit all over – like the Bronx in New<br />

York. But it was also more free. It was like a tiny<br />

island with bikers and hippies, everybody knew<br />

each other... and then came the Ossis,” he says,<br />

wrinkling his nose.<br />

In 1981 Weber opened his first shop, selling<br />

Harley Davidson equipment. But after five<br />

years and little profit, he made a spontaneous<br />

decision: “I had been taking English classes in<br />

an evening school, but that was a pain in the ass,<br />

and I didn’t learn anything. So I took my motorbike<br />

and drove to the Luton tattoo convention.<br />

After working a few years in a bar in east<br />

London, I’d learned English.” He travelled the<br />

world, working as a barkeeper and a doorman,<br />

but eventually came back to Kreuzberg, where<br />

he opened Kreuzstich in 2009.<br />

Here, he’s close to his home and his three<br />

adult children, who all live nearby. Last year, he<br />

celebrated the 25th anniversary of Berlin’s Tattoo<br />

“It was like a tiny island<br />

with bikers and hippies,<br />

everybody knew each<br />

other... and then came<br />

the Ossis.”<br />

Convention, which he originally founded as an<br />

experiment in a friend’s discotheque at Oranienplatz.<br />

The first year, no less than 4000 people<br />

showed up, and today the festival has grown to<br />

be the biggest of its kind in Europe.<br />

Chatting to the little plump man with the<br />

smiling wrinkles around his eyes, it’s hard to imagine<br />

him being involved in any kind of criminal<br />

biker business. And he won’t elaborate on the<br />

subject. These days, Weber is often to be found<br />

at the studio in Adalbertstraße – he doesn’t do<br />

tattoos himself anymore, but likes “to keep an<br />

eye on things”. And although he has to deal with<br />

both “the youngsters whose rich parents have<br />

bought Kreuzberg apartments for them” and<br />

“the Turks, who are all competition-minded”,<br />

he still feels at home in his Kiez. “We live with<br />

each other even though we have our differences,<br />

and there is no violence between us. People in<br />

the area know who I am. The Turks even call me<br />

‘uncle’,” he says proudly, pulling down the sleeves<br />

of his jacket. NB<br />

12 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

“Kotti’s always been<br />

avant-garde. Not just for<br />

art and politics, but for<br />

criminals, too.”<br />





Steve Morell<br />

He’s a haunting figure on Oranienstraße: pale,<br />

tall and lanky, lost in his own thoughts, dressed<br />

head to toe in black. Don’t let the ghostly pallor<br />

and chilly demeanour fool you, though: hang<br />

around him for long enough, and Steve Morell<br />

will eventually talk your ear off about the history<br />

of Kreuzberg, borrow your phone charger and<br />

smoke your cigarettes until the sun comes up.<br />

The musician, model and founder of record<br />

label Pale Music International came to West<br />

Berlin from Fulda in 1984. “My father said, ‘Oh,<br />

you’re going to Berlin with all those freaks and<br />

faggots?’ and he took my inheritance away. I was<br />

on my own.” Back then, he says, Kotti was “a<br />

little prison. The Wall was just 10 metres away<br />

from my window, and at night there were the<br />

spotlights from the Death Strip. Down there<br />

on Ritterstraße, the Americans would practise<br />

shooting their machine guns.” An ideal environment<br />

for a budding punk. After moving into<br />

the famed squat at Georg-von-Rauch-Haus on<br />

Mariannenplatz in 1987, Morell worked as a DJ<br />

and bartender at bygone Kreuzberg institutions<br />

like Trash Club and the punk hangout Pink Panther,<br />

while rubbing elbows with Nick Cave and<br />

Einstürzende Neubauten at subculture hotspots<br />

O Bar and Risiko on his off time.<br />

But Kreuzberg in the 1980s wasn’t only about<br />

the libertine lifestyle – Morell was there to witness<br />

the historic May 1 riots in 1987, when rioters<br />

looted over 30 businesses along Skalitzer Straße<br />

and burned down a Bolle supermarket. A far cry<br />

from the dance party that May Day has become.<br />

“These days, people don’t have a reason to fight<br />

any more,” Morell says. “The people of this<br />

generation aren’t poor enough. These students<br />

coming from Munich or Cologne, their parents<br />

buy them a cool flat and give them a little bit of<br />

money. We were interested in politics because<br />

we knew – well, we thought – that we could<br />

change something. But for these kids, things are<br />

just fine. Every one of them has at least €50 in<br />

their pocket when they go out drinking.” After<br />

years of going back and forth between Berlin and<br />

London, Morell founded the German-British<br />

label Pale Music in 1999, which he still operates<br />

out of Kreuzberg today. That is, when he’s not<br />

working on film scores or his own music – or frequenting<br />

neighbourhood institutions like Roses,<br />

the ancient gay bar with the fuzzy walls, and<br />

the newer, decidedly un-punk Luzia. Here the<br />

bartenders all know him by name and serve him<br />

a coffee just the way he likes it, with a tiny pour<br />

of milk on the side, before he even sits down.<br />

In spite of the changes, Morell is hopeful for<br />

the future of Kreuzberg. “Give it five years and<br />

it’ll look rotten again,” he laughs. KC<br />


Wolfgang Müller<br />

“Wir tanzen im Viereck,” screamed Wolfgang Müller<br />

in Die Tödliche Doris’ infamous 1981 punk<br />

anti-manifesto “Tanz im Quadrat” (subsequently<br />

covered by fellow Kreuzbergers Stereo Total,<br />

see page 36). It’s hard to picture this<br />

50-something man in casual buttondown<br />

apparel gesticulating naked<br />

on stage while covered in gold face<br />

paint, as he did in his band’s heyday.<br />

Instead, your first impression is of a<br />

seasoned intellectual with a keen interest<br />

in the esoteric, just as likely to<br />

pontificate on contemporary Icelandic<br />

politics as he is to wax nostalgic<br />

about the old Kreuzberg punk scene.<br />

Müller moved to the neighbourhood<br />

around Kotti from Wolfsburg,<br />

West Germany in 1979. “I had no real<br />

education and no money. The most<br />

important thing was a cheap apartment,”<br />

he remembers. He forged his<br />

proof of employment to apply for<br />

one, but it turned out his 92-year-old<br />

landlord, a Holocaust survivor, didn’t<br />

care about that. He just wanted to<br />

know one thing: “Are you a right-wing<br />

extremist?” Müller naturally wasn’t,<br />

but the leftists in West Berlin’s purely<br />

political corner didn’t take a shine<br />

to him and the wave of young Germans moving<br />

to the Hauptstadt at the time. “They saw us as<br />

decadent, and they had really bad taste.”<br />

Shortly after arriving, he formed Die Tödliche<br />

Doris with Nikolaus Utermöhlen and a host of<br />

others, and took part in 1981’s scene-defining<br />

Geniale Dilettanten Festival alongside Einstürzende<br />

Neubauten, Gudrun Gut and Christiane<br />

F. But Kreuzberg went south not long after<br />

Tödliche Doris’ planned dissolution in 1987,<br />

Müller says, recalling how after the Wall fell, the<br />

scene went from political and arty to the opposite<br />

with the arrival of Westbam, Dr. Motte and<br />

the Love Parade generation. “Kreuzberg was out!<br />

People ran east.”<br />

As Kotti stagnated, Müller turned his attention<br />

to Iceland, going back and forth throughout<br />

the 1990s until lured back to Kiez life with the<br />

opening of queer drinking institution Möbel<br />

Olfe in the early 2000s. In 2013, he published his<br />

tome Subkultur Westberlin 1979-1989, documenting<br />

the Wild West days of Berlin, coinciding with a<br />

regenerated interest in the island city and cementing<br />

Müller as a prime witness to the times. But his<br />

attention is not just directed at the past – he continues<br />

painting, performing and even producing<br />

to this day. And he remains invested in Kottbusser<br />

Tor’s future. “Kotti’s always been avant-garde,” he<br />

says. “Not just for art and politics, but for criminals,<br />

too. They did it with Hutspiele [shell games],<br />

now it’s Antanzen [dance tricks]...” But Müller<br />

doesn’t seem to mind too much. In the 37 years<br />

he’s lived in the neighbourhood, he’s never been<br />

robbed or attacked. The only thing he’s observed<br />

is that “Kotti” has become a brand. And he seems<br />

amused by it. WC<br />




Stu Mead<br />

There aren’t many words you could use to describe<br />

American painter Stu Mead’s studio other<br />

than “small”. Its only defining features: a sink,<br />

a bookshelf and a few hangings of Mead’s own<br />

work, a unique blend of folk art, soft porn and<br />

mad comics. Mead explains this was actually the<br />

former back quarters of the gallery Endart. “I<br />

used to sleep here,” he says, pointing to the shelf,<br />

and he begins to shape a rectangle with his arms<br />

to depict how simple it was to live, eat, drink and<br />

create art in the gallery’s studio, “no problem.”<br />

The world he inhabits today isn’t much bigger<br />

than that. With the congenital disease arthrogryposis<br />

affecting his muscles and joints, Mead<br />

explains, “I can walk one or two blocks and<br />

I’ll be at Rossmann and I’ll have everything I<br />

need. I use the bank down the road. I find the<br />

steps of Milch & Zucker difficult, so I don’t go<br />

there much anymore.” On most days you can<br />

find Mead at French bistro Chez Michel on<br />

Adalbertstraße, where two of his works hang<br />

on the wall. “Berlin is like a virus, and Kotti is<br />

its epicentre.”<br />

Mead visited Berlin twice before his official<br />

move in 2000, which saw him “call up my friends<br />

in Minnesota and ask them to box up my things”.<br />

His friend Mark Hipper’s gallery denied his work<br />

initially, but an introduction to Klaus Theuerkauf<br />

of Endart brought him here indefinitely. Now<br />

Endart is gone, but Mead remains. His art –<br />

which often involves trashy, nostalgic renderings<br />

of young female bodies in kinky situations – has<br />

generated outrage, even in Berlin’s sexually liberated<br />

underground scene. Protesters showed up to<br />

the 2004 Bethanien exhibition When Love Turns<br />

To Poison. More recently, an exhibition in Marseilles<br />

saw right-wing extremists accusing him of<br />

paedophilia and zoophilia. Meanwhile, though,<br />

he’s become sought after by collectors and gallerists<br />

alike. “I have a gallery in Luxembourg, and<br />

I’ll be in London next month for the release of<br />

my new book.” After six books with French art<br />

publisher Le Dernier Cri, it’s the Prague-based<br />

Divus editors who’ve compiled his entire work<br />

into a hardback.<br />

Ironically, the man who’s got his work on<br />

international collectors’ shortlists remains<br />

unknown on his home turf – most likely for the<br />

better, given his Turkish neighbours’ probable<br />

outrage at his racy art. Does he mind? “When<br />

I fall, it’s not unlikely some young Turkish man<br />

helps me up and makes sure I’m okay. We’re getting<br />

along in everyday life.”<br />

As both an artist and a man inextricably tied<br />

to his neighbourhood, Mead sees Kotti the way<br />

most don’t. “The old sidewalks here are amazing;<br />

they have diamond stones. It’s pretty to look at as<br />

you walk, rather than the boring horizontal slabs.<br />

Then you have the smaller square blocks of paving<br />

stones – perfect for digging and picking up to<br />

throw on May 1. And then, the day after, you see<br />

the city put the stones back. No problem.” SB<br />




14 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

“We had break-ins. But once<br />

we made it clear we’re here<br />

to stay, the theft and robberies<br />

stopped.”<br />

need to work on our Kiez all together.” And Bembenek<br />

is definitely helping effect that change. A few years ago,<br />

the idea of paying €5 for a glass of wine on Kottbusser<br />

Tor would’ve been inconceivable. But the surrounding<br />

shop and bar owners seem to have accepted him<br />

as one of their own. He himself lives just a short walk<br />

away, and his son attends the local Kita. “People from<br />

the community support us,” he says. For example: “Our<br />

neighbours backed us up when we were forced to pay a<br />

fee for early-evening open-air music. We lost, but it still<br />

meant a lot.” SB<br />



Andreas Bembenek<br />

It’s 9:30am at Kottbusser Tor. Just past Rossmann,<br />

two women clad in hijabs are having breakfast al<br />

fresco while a man in a hybrid outfit of pyjamas and<br />

denim sits nearby, looking high off his mind. Here,<br />

among the prefab jumble of gambling bars, döner<br />

stands, baklava joints and other nondescript shops<br />

otherwise known as the Neues Kreuzberger Zentrum,<br />

a collection of bourgeois bohemian types nibble away<br />

at chia seed pudding and gluten-free cake, literally on<br />

display behind floor-to-ceiling glass windows in<br />

a shop that looks like it was teleported in from<br />

Prenzlauer Berg. Welcome to the cosy world of<br />

Kremanski, as devised by Andreas Bembenek,<br />

a fortysomething Bavarian abdominal surgeon<br />

who decided to relocate to the neighbourhood<br />

in 2014 after an eye-opening midlife “gap-year”<br />

trip through South America. He wanted to<br />

start a new career as a café owner, and found<br />

Prenzlauer Berg “too boring!”<br />

Kotti, by contrast, proved almost too interesting.<br />

The newly opened café’s boho vibes –<br />

courtesy of Bembenek’s friend, artist, interior<br />

designer and chef Julian Rouvroy – attracted<br />

not only hipster patrons but would-be robbers.<br />

“The first eight or so months of opening, we<br />

had break-ins. The gangs saw me as a rookie.<br />

But once we made it clear we’re here to stay,<br />

the theft and robberies stopped,” remembers<br />

Bembeneck with some pride. “If you have five<br />

crimes in two weeks and you let it affect you,<br />

then it will affect you...” Instead, the energetic<br />

Kremanski owner concentrated his efforts on<br />

interacting with the neighbourhood around<br />

him, from “the Latin people who live in Kreuzberg<br />

and Neukölln” to locals struggling with<br />

gentrification. This past January Kremanski<br />

hosted an event on the demonstrations and<br />

housing occupations in Kreuzberg in the 1970-<br />

1980s. “The area is changing rapidly and we<br />

Yasin Müjdeci<br />

Before we can even sit down, Yasin Müjdeci wants to<br />

make something clear: no, his parents aren’t behind his<br />

and his older brother Kaan’s business ventures. “People<br />

think we came here with a lot of money and we opened<br />

these places. But that’s not the story: we got a bit of<br />

money from friends and everybody helped us to build<br />

everything as cheap as possible.” You could see how<br />

someone might make that assumption, though. When<br />

locals complain about the invasion of Kreuzberg by<br />

moneyed tourists and expats, the Ankara-born Müjdecis<br />

are Exhibit A. Literally: last year the Kreuzberg-<br />

Friedrichshain Museum updated their exhibition on<br />

Kotti gentrification to include a photo of Luzia, the<br />

café/bar Yasin and Kaan opened on Oranienstraße in<br />


Meteoriten<br />

15/18/29/april/<strong>2016</strong><br />




Remote Mitte<br />


Boiband<br />









Am Festungsgraben 2, 10117 Berlin<br />

Kartentelefon: (030) 20221-115 15<br />

Karten online: www.gorki.de

“We have 50 employees<br />

with 22 different<br />

nationalities – and we<br />

speak English.”<br />

2007. Low-lit, clubby and über-stylish, it attracts<br />

a black-clad crowd of young internationals who<br />

come to Kottbusser Tor solely to hang out there<br />

– as does Voo, the concept store Yasin opened<br />

in 2010. Located in an anonymous Hof, also on<br />

Oranienstraße, the store sells designer home<br />

goods alongside rare garments, jewellery, thirdwave<br />

coffee and €65 myrrh-scented candles.<br />

“We needed a concept store in Kreuzberg,” says<br />

Yasin, who’s just returned from Paris Fashion<br />

Week. “Nobody from Kreuzberg wants to go<br />

shopping in Mitte!”<br />

Yasin now holds down the fort at both businesses<br />

as his brother pursues a career as a filmmaker:<br />

Kaan’s Sivas won the Special Jury Prize<br />

at the Venice Film Festival in 2014. Dressed<br />

in a casual grey sweatshirt under a long black<br />

wool coat, 32-year-old Yasin doesn’t quite fit the<br />

image of your typical boutique owner – nor that<br />

of a Turkish man living on Kottbusser Tor. The<br />

Müjdecis might share a country of origin with<br />

the neighbourhood’s community<br />

of ex-Gastarbeiter families, but<br />

their story is much more in line<br />

with the typical expat narrative:<br />

both brothers came here to<br />

study in their early twenties, fell<br />

in love with the city and stayed.<br />

“My business is not Turkish. It<br />

doesn’t belong to a specific nation,<br />

gender or culture. I cannot<br />

say I am Turkish. Here many<br />

Turks are really scared of losing<br />

their identity and becoming German.<br />

They have to show, ‘I’m a<br />

man! I’m Turkish!’ That’s not my<br />

issue.” Yasin, who speaks flawless<br />

German with only a light accent,<br />

says Kreuzberg’s internationality<br />

is what keeps him in Berlin and<br />

drives his business. “Between<br />

Luzia and Voo Store, we have<br />

50 employees with 22 different<br />

nationalities – and we speak<br />

English. My ideal customer is a<br />

Kreuzberger who is… not from<br />

Berlin, no, but people who come<br />

from somewhere else and think,<br />

‘Wow, this city is interesting!’<br />

and then stay here. Or someone<br />

from Stuttgart who hates Stuttgart<br />

and comes to Berlin, meets<br />

all the international people and<br />

works at a start up. That’s my<br />

client,” he says. KC<br />


Ibrahim Contur<br />

It’s the early 1990s. A young Yugoslavian model<br />

walks into shoe repair store Abgelaufen with<br />

a pair of swanky designer pumps that she got<br />

to keep after a photo shoot – or that’s how she<br />

describes the four ripped-apart pieces to the<br />

young man behind the counter. She’s been to<br />

every shoe repair store in town, and Ibrahim<br />

Contur is her last hope. At first he too sends her<br />

away, but after an angry visit from her mother,<br />

he finds the right glue, leather and metal parts<br />

and meticulously puts the pumps back together.<br />

“She cried when she saw that I actually managed<br />

to fix them. That was true love!” Contur says,<br />

laughing at the memory.<br />

Now 42 and still operating out of the tiny<br />

store he took over from his father 22 years<br />

ago, Contur has garnered a reputation around<br />

the Kiez for being able to do the impossible.<br />

There’s something about his supremely calm<br />

and affable manner that makes you instantly<br />

want to trust him with your footwear, even<br />

despite the fact that he “never did an apprenticeship.<br />

Whenever I didn’t know how to fix<br />

something I looked up one of the old Meisters<br />


UNTIL I HAVE TO...<br />


FEET FIRST.”<br />

and I asked them to help me... and<br />

somehow, they always did.”<br />

Contur was born in Wedding in<br />

1974, but his family came here from<br />

western Turkey in the 1970s. His father<br />

opened Abgelaufen in 1986. Since then,<br />

it’s been the store that the other shoe<br />

repair stores in Kreuzberg send their<br />

particularly tricky jobs to. The constant<br />

flow of colourful Kotti customers<br />

makes for an endless wellspring of stories,<br />

which Contur eagerly shares. “One<br />

time someone came back after almost<br />

15 years, apologised for the long wait<br />

and told me he had been in prison.”<br />

Another customer always had two pairs<br />

of boots on rotation – he’d come to<br />

pick up his just-fixed pair of cowboy<br />

boots only to exchange it for his second,<br />

newly ruined pair. This went on<br />

for a few years. “I’ll never forget that guy – I<br />

hope I’ll see him again someday...”<br />

Contur is aware he’s part of a dying trade<br />

and it’s unlikely that his son, who has a walking<br />

disability, or one of his three daughters<br />

will take over. But it doesn’t seem to bother<br />

him too much. His own future here seem<br />

pretty set. “I’m not leaving until I have to –<br />

so probably feet first.” JH<br />

16 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

Follow us:<br />

#wearemelt<br />

15.16.17 July <strong>2016</strong><br />

Ferropolis, Germany<br />


Erçan Yasaroglu<br />

Most Berlin journalists probably have Erçan<br />

Yasaroglu on speed dial. With regional and<br />

national press hankering after his opinion on<br />

everything Kotti-related, he’s become a local<br />

celebrity in recent years – but what makes this<br />

Turkish-German café owner such a vital part of<br />

the debate?<br />

Yasaroglu owns Café Kotti, a smoky “transcultural<br />

meeting point” at the heart of Kottbusser<br />

Tor. He’s lived in Kreuzberg for 33 years, Kotti<br />

for six, and between the café and his day-to-day<br />

efforts as a state social worker, he’s pretty much<br />

as active as you can get in the community. And<br />

it’s not just journalists looking to Yasaroglu for<br />

answers: after settling down with his coffee (milk<br />

and about five sugars) and lighting a cigarette,<br />

his smartphone buzzes. Some rapid Turkish<br />

and a few chuckles later, he ends the call with a<br />

snort. The guys outside saw him rushing to the<br />

café for our interview and thought something<br />

must have happened.<br />

Seeing Yasaroglu in a rush might be worrying.<br />

This is a guy who seems to have life sussed. From<br />

the sculpted grey locks he pushes back from his<br />

face every few minutes to the thoughtful, collected<br />

way he talks about his neighbourhood, there’s<br />

something reassuringly put-together about him.<br />

Originally from Balıkesir in Turkey’s Marmara region,<br />

he studied literature at Anadolu University.<br />

But fleeing Turkey as a political refugee in 1980,<br />

he found himself “stateless, homeless,” roaming<br />

through Syria and Lebanon before reaching<br />

Germany in 1982. And back then, this wasn’t an<br />

easy place to be a refugee. “The Willkommenskultur<br />

that’s developed in Germany over the past<br />

year, it just didn’t exist then,” Yasaroglu remembers.<br />

“Back then, the Berliners saw us with<br />

our shortcomings and differences… and there<br />

was prejudice, there was fear. Turkish, Muslim,<br />

dark-skinned, violent, this and that...” Arriving in<br />




Germany completely alone, the young immigrant<br />

built his life in Kreuzberg – and by 2009, when<br />

he took over the café on Adalbertstraße, he knew<br />

Kotti was where he wanted to be. “So much<br />

happens here, with influences from across the<br />

world… I wanted to live in the middle of it all.”<br />

But things changed last year, he says, when a<br />

new crop of drug dealers invaded the Kiez (see<br />

page 6). Kotti’s become a “rechtsfreier Raum,”<br />

Yasaroglu sighs. A lawless black hole. And it’s<br />

sucking in everything, including his business. “Of<br />

course dealers try and come into Café Kotti,” he<br />

says. “They stand at the door. Look!” He waves<br />

an arm and sure enough, there are a couple of<br />

leather-jacketed guys leaning on the railings outside,<br />

eyes on the ground. There’s no way they’re<br />

coming inside, though: anyone caught dealing<br />

in Café Kotti gets an automatic Hausverbot.<br />

He can ban them from his café, but Yasaroglu<br />

can’t pull the dealers off Kotti’s streets. So why<br />

stay? “Kottbusser Tor’s my home,” he shrugs.<br />

“I’ve started a family here, had children… all my<br />

friends are here.” But don’t get him wrong: Yasaroglu<br />

knows there’s more to life than Kreuzberg.<br />

His next project? A “Café Kotti Zwei”. In Turkey,<br />

no less. Under the careful eye of Yasaroglu’s<br />

brother and sister, this new café is set to open<br />

on the Turkish coast opposite the refugee camps<br />

of Lesbos, allowing Europe’s newest arrivals to<br />

mix with those from all over the world. Yasaroglu<br />

himself employs four refugees in Café Kotti, plus<br />

one intern. “Turkey’s really missing something<br />

like this,” he concludes.<br />

The English-dominated chatter beneath the<br />

veils of smoke may have alienated the locals, but<br />

it’s all part of Café Kotti’s international appeal.<br />

And what do the customers think? “Everyone<br />

who walks in the door at Café Kotti is a friend,”<br />

Yasaroglu corrects us. “Not a customer. A friend.<br />

It doesn’t matter whether or not we speak the<br />

same language.” We think we’re being told off –<br />

but then he smiles. “Like you and me. If we sit<br />

here for long enough, talk together, drink coffee<br />

together… we’re friends!” HB<br />

Disclosure, Deichkind,<br />

Tame Impala,<br />

Jamie xx, Two Door<br />

Cinema Club,<br />

Jean-Michel Jarre,<br />

Chvrches, M83,<br />

Solomun, Boys Noize<br />

(live), Maceo Plex,<br />

Ben Klock,<br />

Modeselektor (DJ-Set),<br />

Skepta<br />

Andhim, Andy C, Andy Stott<br />

(live), Black Coffee, Bob Moses,<br />

Circa Waves, Digitalism,<br />

DJ Koze, DJ Phono, Drangsal,<br />

Ed Davenport, Floating Points<br />

(live), Graham Candy, Helena<br />

Hauff, Ho99o9, Honey Dijon,<br />

Horse Meat Disco, Isolation<br />

Berlin, Jamie Woon,<br />

Kim Ann Foxman, Kollektiv<br />

Turmstrasse, Kytes, Lea<br />

Porcelain, Mano Le Tough, Maya<br />

Jane Coles, Mind Against, Motor<br />

City Drum Ensemble, Mura Masa,<br />

Oddisee & Good Company, Oliver<br />

Koletzki, Pan-Pot, Say Yes Dog,<br />

Sleaford Mods, Stephan Bodzin<br />

(live), The Black Madonna,<br />

Tiga (live), Tijana T, Vril (live),<br />

Woman and many more<br />

The best time in the world. Dance<br />

with 20,000 friends from across<br />

the globe on 3 days, 10 floors and 3<br />

beaches.<br />


GUIDE<br />


ARE YOU?<br />

Our guide to four parallel universes<br />

around Berlin’s most loved/hated square.<br />

Illustrations by Agata Sasiuk<br />

Hasir<br />

KOTTI FOR...<br />

Easyjet-setters<br />

Kottbusser Tor is where the action is! Or at least, that’s<br />

what your guidebook told you. Fresh off your discount<br />

flight, you’re primed to soak up some real Berlin flavour –<br />

and a few litres of tequila. By Hannah Butler<br />

Santa Maria<br />


Your first 10am at Kottbusser Tor hits<br />

hard. Necking shots in the 24-hour<br />


(Adalbertstr. 97) when the gang crashed here<br />

at 5am doesn’t seem so smart now – but after<br />

navigating the trains from Schönefeld (“close<br />

to the city centre” your arse) and lugging<br />

your cases up all those stairs, you deserved a<br />

drink. Gotta make the most of your time in<br />

Europe’s party capital, right?<br />

Your stomach’s growling, but faced with the<br />

dreadlocked backpacker pros in the communal<br />

kitchen, you’re not doing the “tourist” thing and<br />

hitting up a café. Time to rough it and grab some<br />

breakfast bits from the nearest supermarket.<br />

Kaisers looks decent. And apparently German<br />

groceries are dead cheap. Soon, you conclude<br />

this was a vicious lie.<br />

Breakfast over, the lads’ Berlin Takeover<br />

begins. First stop? Culture. The hostel guys<br />

recommend the free FRIEDRICHSHAIN-KREUZBERG<br />

MUSEUM (Adalbertstr. 95A). If you’re gonna pull<br />

locals tonight, some research can’t hurt. But the<br />

barrage of info on the neighbourhood's history<br />

makes your eyes glaze over – and you're a little<br />

indignant about the part accusing tourists of<br />

treating locals like “extras in a film”. To prove<br />

your ability to hang with the real Berliners,<br />

you contemplate lunch at the currywurst stand<br />

across the way but you didn’t make it all the<br />

way here to eat on the street. Just up the road,<br />

clean-looking Italian joint PAGLIA (Adalbertstr.<br />

91) seems promising. At €9-10, the pizzas are<br />

pricey, but hey: it is gourmet.<br />

Now’s the bit you planned weeks ago, after<br />

reading an NYT article on these high-end NICHE<br />

ART & ARCHITECTURE TOURS (nicheberlin.de).<br />

Feeling flash, you promptly emailed demanding<br />

the same tour the journalist got, so the<br />

afternoon sees you traipsing round the hidden<br />

nooks and crannies in the gargantuan Neues<br />

Kreuzberger Zentrum housing block framing<br />

the northside of Kotti. Sure, €250 is steep, but<br />

you’re on holiday... and no price is too high for<br />

the likes on these edgy Insta shots.<br />

All showered and Lynxed up, it’s party time.<br />

First stop’s SANTA MARIA (Oranienstr. 170), for<br />

Taco Tuesday and €1 tequila shots. Battering<br />

your way to the bar, you get suitably sozzled and<br />

sweaty before falling back onto the pavement.<br />

Happily, there’s a hip-looking place across the<br />

street – and you’re soon downing a €7 Gin Fizz<br />

in LUZIA (Oranienstr. 34) to a backdrop of bare<br />

brickwork and peeling wallpaper. Ah, Berlin. You<br />

didn’t bring the squad here to stay in one place<br />

all night though, so it’s onwards and, er… down<br />

the road, to BAR 39 and TIKI TONGA (Oranienstr.<br />

39). Tomorrow you’ll swear these were all the<br />

same place. The only difference is the price –<br />

Bar 39 does €5.50 mojitos and Tiki Tonga’s got<br />

a €4.50 happy hour.<br />

Now you’re itching to hit the clubs. You ask<br />

someone where’s good nearby. “Clubbing? You<br />

should’ve gone to Warschauer Straße…” he<br />

laughs. Oh. Shit. But just before you call it a<br />

night, you remember PRINZIPAL (Oranienstr. 178),<br />

a “burlesque bar” you saw on some travel blog.<br />

Time for that legendary Berlin debauchery! You<br />

finally find the place and ring the doorbell. A<br />

suited guy sits you down on a posh leather sofa,<br />

and you get your first taste of cocktail prices<br />

in double figures... but sadly, no naked ladies.<br />

That's only on Saturdays, you're informed.<br />

The night’s becoming a blur now, so you sensibly<br />

agree on a trip to HASIR (Adalbertstr. 12).<br />

The guidebook says döner was invented here:<br />

could this place be any more authentic? Unfortunately,<br />

before you arrive you lose that bet you<br />

made about not chundering tonight. The forfeit?<br />

Someone’s taking a €70 trip to KREUZSTICH<br />

TATTOO (Adalbertstr. 85) tomorrow…<br />

As you stumble back to the hostel, the first<br />

signs of sunrise peeking over the horizon,<br />

you feel for your wallet and realise it’s missing.<br />

A sense of pride overwhelms your aura of<br />

gin, döner and vomit. You’ve officially been<br />

pickpocketed at Kotti! Just wait till the guys at<br />

work hear about this. ■<br />

The guidebook says<br />

döner was invented at<br />

Hasir: could this place<br />

be any more authentic?<br />

Unfortunately, before<br />

you arrive you lose that<br />

bet you made about not<br />

chundering tonight.<br />

18 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

KOTTI FOR...<br />

Hipsters<br />

Your friends might all live in Neukölln, but you know better.<br />

Where else can you find junkies, old Turkish ladies and authentic<br />

Berliners side by side with all the third-wave comforts of home?<br />

By Kevin Chow and Shiromi Bedessee<br />

With Nietzsche in your tote bag and<br />

the usual stream-of-consciousness<br />

narrative running through your head,<br />

you hit the streets of Kotti for your morning<br />

rounds. First, KREMANSKI (Adalbertstr. 96a) for<br />

the free wi-fi alongside an energising ginger<br />

tea and chia seed pudding (you also love their<br />

eggs Benedict, but you’re after something paleo<br />

today). Next, a brief cigarette and espresso at<br />

CAFÉ KOTTI (Adalbertstr. 96b), where the mix of<br />

refugees and international lefty types makes you<br />

feel all worldly and inspired.<br />

A short walk to Oranienstraße brings you to<br />

MUSEUM DER DINGE (Oranienstr. 25), a collection<br />

of miscellaneous everyday “things” that only<br />

design junkies like you appreciate. This month,<br />

it’s showcasing a retro communist magazine.<br />

You leave hungry, and thankfully Kotti has no<br />

shortage of artisanal lunch spots to suit your<br />

picky palate. After contemplating an €11 plate of<br />

ceviche de pescado at Spanish-Peruvian CEVICHERIA<br />

(Dresdener Str. 120) and the €6.50 “Korean<br />

business lunch“ (vegan bibimbap. miso soup and<br />

tea) at MERCOSY (Dresdener Str. 11), you decide<br />

to cheat on your pescetarianism at the Kotti<br />

As a Berlin expat who’s<br />

spent time in New<br />

York, you were eating<br />

matcha cupcakes before<br />

anyone else.<br />

branch of BURGERMEISTER (Skalitzer Str. 136),<br />

where your favourite burger in Berlin runs<br />

just €9.50 (depending on fries). It’s good to<br />

reward yourself.<br />

To help you digest, you go for an espresso<br />

at ORA (Oranienplatz 14)... your Instagram<br />

followers will eat up the money shot of you<br />

reading your vintage copy of Also sprach Zarathustra<br />

against that old-school pharmaceutical<br />

background. One of them alerts you that VOO<br />

STORE (Oranienstr. 24) is having a release party<br />

for its new Scandinavian shoe shelf, so you take<br />

a peek and end up leaving with an €80 gold Boy<br />

Scout ring, the perfect accessory to the fair-trade<br />

sandals you’ve copped for €16. After yet another<br />

espresso (at the in-store COMPANION COFFEE)<br />

you head to CHARLIE’S ASIAN BAKERY (Oranienstr.<br />

187) because as a Berlin expat who’s spent time<br />

in New York, you were eating matcha cupcakes<br />

before anyone else.<br />

Last week you finally got into Berghain (after<br />

all those rejections), so you’re basically a techno<br />

expert now, and a stop at RECORD LOFT (Adalbertstr.<br />

9), hidden deep in a Hof, will help you<br />

beef up your collection of obscure records with<br />

cool covers to spin at friends’ birthday parties.<br />

By now the sun is coming down and it’s time to<br />

eat again, so you head out to MAROUSH (Adalbertstr.<br />

93) for an authentic shawarma, not a<br />

döner like all the clueless tourists walking slowly<br />

through your Kiez. And at only €3 you can save<br />

the money for booze. You take your<br />

wrap zum mitnehmen and grab a Berlinbrewed<br />

Stone Arrogant Bastard IPA<br />

at the BIEREREI (Oranienstr. 19), an upscale bottle<br />

shop with all the craft beer you can drink.<br />

As you’re rolling a fresh cigarette, Tinder tells<br />

you that one of your cutest matches happens to<br />

be around the corner at WÜRGEENGEL (Dresdener<br />

Str. 122). It must be fate. Together you splurge<br />

on a round of proper gin drinks made by real<br />

mixologists (between €7.50-11). That trust fund<br />

isn’t going to spend itself, right?<br />

After you’ve started feeling the juniper buzz,<br />

you pull him up the dingy stairway leading to<br />

PALOMA BAR (Skalitzer Str. 135), and show off the<br />

minimal techno dance moves you spent all summer<br />

long practising at Club der Visionäre. But<br />

the laid-back atmosphere is harshing your vibe after<br />

all that alcohol, so you hop over to MONARCH<br />

in the same building complex (Skalitzer Str. 134)<br />

and dance ironically to some old-school hip hop,<br />

romantic ambience provided by the U1 flashing<br />

past the window in the background. At some<br />

point you notice that you might have misplaced<br />

your date. Oh well... you remember that “we<br />

should consider every day lost on which we have<br />

not danced at least once,” thus spoke Zarathustra.<br />

You’re happy. You love Kotti. ■<br />

Maroush<br />


Voo Store<br />

Record Loft<br />


GUIDE<br />

KOTTI FOR...<br />

Natives<br />

You rarely venture north of Oranienstraße, you wear leather<br />

under your leather and you still remember when the Berlin<br />

Wall was in your backyard. This is your Kiez, and all the<br />

Scheiß-Touris can clear off. By Nina Branner and Janine Heim<br />

It’s Tuesday morning, and you’re at SÜDBLOCK<br />

(Admiralstr. 1-2) again. You were a bit suspicious<br />

when the glass-walled café-bar-venue<br />

opened up in 2010, but over time you became a<br />

regular – you even get your hair cut here, at the<br />

“Salon Salaam” sessions every second Monday.<br />

Today, though, you’re here for the “Hartzer<br />

Roller” free counselling, collecting a few tips on<br />

how to prolong your unemployment benefits.<br />

The future of your finances secured, you decide<br />

to treat yourself to a mid-morning snack at<br />

PADISAH BAKLAVA (Reichenberger Str. 177, see page<br />

48), passing a couple snooty-looking hotelier types<br />

who’re there to pick up bulk orders. To walk off<br />

the ensuing sugar high, you head to the lobby of<br />


95a) for a neighbourhood meeting about<br />

– what else? – gentrification. You and everyone<br />

else agree that your beloved Kotti is overrun with<br />

disrespectful newcomers and something must be<br />

done, but no solutions present themselves. A petition<br />

is circulated to install more public toilets, and<br />

next thing you know, it’s lunchtime.<br />

Sadly, the tourists are mobbing TADIM (Adalbertstr.<br />

98, see page 48), your favourite döner<br />

stand – no homemade durum bread for you<br />

today. Instead, you wolf down a Köfte meat patty<br />

sandwich at the crowded but speedy KONAK GRILL<br />

(Reichenberger Str. 10). You remember you’ve got<br />

some errands to run. Yesterday, you stepped on an<br />

abandoned needle in front of your Späti and ruined<br />

your favourite pair of boots. Fortunately, you<br />

go way back with Ibrahim (see page 16) at ABGE-<br />

LAUFEN (Adalbertstr. 97), who gives you a discount<br />

on a new sole. While you’re at it, you pick up a<br />

handmade leather belt from Ibrahim’s neighbour<br />


88). He’s also an Urberliner, and you swap<br />

some anecdotes about the good old days.<br />

But you can’t stay long. It’s 6pm, and “happy<br />

hour” (which actually lasts all night) at ALIBI CAFÉ<br />

(Oranienstr. 169) has just begun. You’ll need<br />

that €4.50 Caipirinha to work up the courage<br />

to finally ask out that cute dark-eyed waitress<br />

you’ve had your eye on for months. Wanting to<br />

seem cultured, you invite her to an indie film<br />

screening at Kiez favourite FSK FILMKUNST-KINO<br />

(Segitzdamm 2). But she turns you down, so you<br />

go home and eat dinner: a fresh piece of salmon<br />

from the fish shop ÖZ KARADENIZ BALIKCISI (Adalbertstr.<br />

95). You’d been planning to cook it for<br />

the two of you, if the date went well.<br />

Time to drown your sorrows. You’re buddies<br />

with the bartender at the 20-year-old FRANKEN<br />

(Oranienstr. 19a), a smoky dive plastered with<br />

punk concert posters. But even his strongest<br />

Bloody Mary (€8 for friends) isn’t strong enough<br />

for you tonight, so you knock back a few beers<br />

at your Stammkneipe ZUM ELEFANTEN (Oranienstr.<br />

12), which you’ve been frequenting since<br />

way before Sven Regener immortalised it in<br />

the cult Kreuzberg novel Herr Lehmann. At this<br />

point you’re suffering from Kotti nostalgia, so<br />

you swing by punk institution SO36 (Oranienstr.<br />

190), where you used to go see Malaria! and<br />

Einstürzende Neubauten play back in the day.<br />

But all there is tonight is a “Kiez Bingo” tournament,<br />

and it’s already almost over. So you wind<br />

up where you always do: at ROTE ROSE (Adalbertstr.<br />

90). In this hellish Eckkneipe where no<br />

light gets in and the jukebox plays the same 20<br />

songs on repeat, you can enjoy your last beer<br />

and blend into a motley gallery of Kotti characters.<br />

Which might be exactly what you need at<br />

this point. ■<br />

SO36<br />

In this hellish Eckkneipe<br />

where no light gets in<br />

and the jukebox plays<br />

the same 20 songs on<br />

repeat, you can enjoy<br />

your last beer.<br />

Südblock<br />

Padisah Baklava<br />


20 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

KOTTI FOR...<br />

KOTTI FOR...<br />

Queers<br />

Forget Forget Schöneberg and and its its yesteryear men-only meat market. You<br />

belong belong here, here, where where the the scene attracts not not just boys but girls and every<br />

gender gender in between in and and beyond... while a a cursory glance at Grindr<br />

shows shows there’s there’s still still plenty of of dick dick to to go go around. By By Walter Crasshole<br />

Since Since the the 1990s, the the venerated punk club has<br />

been been putting on on some of of Berlin’s best queer<br />

parties. Tonight it’s it’s Gayhane, a a gay Oriental<br />

music night started by by local Turkish lesbian<br />

legend Ipek. You bounce around to some Middle<br />

Eastern beats while eyeballing a German<br />

dude dude you’ve already seen around Kotti twice<br />

this this week – – at at the the monthly release party for<br />

queer mag mag Siegessäule at at Monarch; and right<br />

here here at at Esso for for one of of Pansy’s drag shows.<br />

Grindr confirms he’s into you, and the rest<br />

of of your your night is is best left unwritten.<br />

You You wake up up late and decide not to kick<br />

your your paramour out out of of bed, but the hangover<br />

needs to to go. go. Time for for the weekly €9 Sunday<br />

brunch buffet (and more booze) at Möbel Olfe<br />

satellite<br />

SÜDBLOCK (Admiralstr. 1-2). Among<br />

Turkish mothers, construction workers and local<br />

artists, you you catch up up with your queer scene bud-<br />

Your Your evening evening starts starts at the at the neighbourdiesdies,<br />

some of of whom have barely left this very spot<br />

hood’s hood’s first first homo homo hotspot: MÖBEL MÖBEL OLFE OLFE since since Friday night’s Boo Hoo party started.<br />

(Reichenberger Str. Str. 177). 177). Since Since Richard<br />

With so so much going on, you almost forget<br />

Stein Stein opened opened it in it 2002 in 2002 as the as the successor to his to his that that you’ve got got to to head back to to SO36 this after-<br />

legendary legendary Cafe Cafe Anal, Anal, it’s been it’s been the the number-one<br />

noon. There’s an an organisational meeting for the<br />

stop stop for locals for locals and and in-the-know queers queers from from KCSD KCSD – your – your big big gay gay day, the alternative to the<br />

across across the city, the city, with with a no-frills a no-frills Kneipe Kneipe feel feel and and way-too-mainstream CSD at at the Brandenburg<br />

glass glass windows windows that that are perfect are perfect for for people people watch-<br />

Gate. Every year on on the last Saturday of June<br />

ing both ing both inside inside and and out. out. It’s It’s early early on Saturday, on (this (this year year it’s it’s June 29) 29) Kotti and Oranienstraße<br />

which which means means you you can can actually actually find find a seat a seat (unlike<br />

become a huge a daytime explosion of lefty<br />

on super-gay, on super-gay, super-packed Thursday nights) nights) and and queers, taking over the the streets, demonstrating<br />

there there are plenty are plenty of guys of guys here here (unlike (unlike Tuesday’s<br />

and and of of course partying. The cause may be great,<br />

lady-oriented Mädchendisco). At the At the bar, bar, you you but but you you also also can’t wait to to dust off those heels<br />

encounter encounter a tall, a tall, strapping Norwegian in town in town that that only only look good in in daylight. ■<br />

for the for weekend... the promising, until until<br />

dle<br />

he asks he asks you where you where can he can go to go dance to dance<br />

with with some some hot girls. hot girls. Ugh, Ugh, didn’t didn’t he see he see<br />

the “Homo the “Homo Bar” Bar” sign sign on the on the window?<br />

Undeterred, you you take take a trip a trip around around<br />

the corner the corner to ROSES to ROSES (Oranienstr. 187), 187),<br />

a cramped a cramped micro-bar micro-bar that that looks looks and and<br />

feels feels like being like being trapped trapped inside inside a furry, a furry,<br />

hot pink hot pink lava lava lamp. lamp. You You shout shout your your<br />

drink drink order order over over the unending the 1980s 1980s<br />

playlist playlist and are and relieved are relieved to find to find you’re you’re<br />

in the in good the good graces graces of formidable of bartendetender<br />

Gabrielle Gabrielle (who (who simply simply ignores ignores<br />

bar-<br />

the orders the orders of folks of folks she she doesn’t doesn’t like). like).<br />

Roses Roses is a total is a total hook-up hook-up bar, bar, especially<br />

for horny for horny tourists tourists who who don’t don’t know know<br />

where where else to else go, to so go, you so you look look around around<br />

for some for some prey. prey. But But pickings pickings are are slim, slim,<br />

and anyway and anyway you’re you’re being being cock-blocked<br />

by a gaggle by a gaggle of straight of straight girls girls who who want want<br />

you to you be to their be their new new BFF. BFF.<br />

So, still So, filled still filled with with energy, energy, you you head head Möbel Möbel Olfe Olfe<br />

next next door door to SO36 to SO36 (Oranienstr. 190). 190).<br />


21 21

RANT<br />

The revolution ain’t<br />

what it used to be...<br />

Going to Kreuzberg this May 1? Put down that Sterni!<br />

John Riceburg bemoans the orgy of drinking and dancing<br />

Kotti’s once-riotous May Day has become.<br />

I’ve appeared in two major movies, even<br />

though I never agreed to. Do you remember<br />

in The Bourne Supremacy when Matt Damon<br />

and Julia Stiles hide in the middle of a demonstration<br />

at Alexanderplatz? There, somewhere in<br />

the crowd, is yours truly. My second appearance<br />

was in a German production: 1. Mai – Helden<br />

bei der Arbeit, an anthology film about how four<br />

different people experience May 1 in Kreuzberg.<br />

In an establishing shot of the demonstration<br />

around Kottbusser Tor, there I am, walking past<br />

the camera with a red flag and a megaphone.<br />

That was back in 2003 – my first time at the<br />

May Day protests.<br />

The first riots<br />

I’ve celebrated May Day in Kreuzberg 11 times,<br />

but the tradition is much older. International<br />

Workers’ Day was proclaimed in 1889. Kreuzberg’s<br />

grubby version of the same started in<br />

1987 at Lausitzer Platz – at the time, I was in<br />

preschool in south Texas and too young to find<br />

“Berlin” on a map.<br />

How did it start? Just a normal day at Kotti in<br />

the 1980s. Police attacked a lefty street festival,<br />

and autonomists in balaclavas started flipping<br />

cars, breaking windows and looting shops. But in<br />

contrast to an everyday riot, this one was joined<br />

by the workers and families of the Kiez. Before<br />

the Bolle supermarket on Skalitzer Straße<br />

burned to the ground, old ladies were rushing<br />

out of it with armfuls of groceries.<br />

And the rest is history. Since 1988 there has<br />

been a demonstration in Kreuzberg every May 1.<br />

Some years, there are more than 20,000 people<br />

and it feels like a festival. Other years, cobblestones<br />

fly through the air until the early hours of<br />

the morning.<br />

In a battleship<br />

Last year I was in the 12th row of the demonstrations,<br />

my arms locked with punkish kids on<br />

either side. Everyone around me was fitted out<br />

with black hoodies – I was wearing my neon yellow<br />

track jacket (a psychiatrist once told me I’m<br />

a narcissist). The sunset was flooding Oranienstraße<br />

with violet light. Fireworks cracked,<br />

punctuating the deep male voices calling out “A,<br />

Anti, Anticapitalista!”<br />

But our militant parade came to a stop. On<br />

each side of us were Berlin’s Prügelbullen, the<br />

police who live in barracks and only interact with<br />

us civilians via truncheons. In their black armour<br />

and spherical white helmets, they look like a<br />

bulkier version of Robocop. Five metres ahead of<br />

me, they were trying to pull a demonstrator out<br />

to the side – but he had his arms linked in a human<br />

chain, so the whole block was rocking back<br />

and forth like a group of sailors in a musical. The<br />

pungent pepper smell in the air showed the cops<br />

were using their favourite weapon. I turned my<br />

head away and prayed to Marx they would stop<br />

soon. I have gotten pepper-sprayed twice, and I<br />

“The pungent pepper<br />

smell showed the<br />

cops were using their<br />

favourite weapon. I<br />

turned my head away<br />

and prayed to Marx.”<br />

am happy to admit I am a coward. But we all held<br />

fast, the police weren’t able to grab anyone, and<br />

they soon retired. Our black-hooded battleship<br />

continued to the end of the planned route.<br />

The MyFest conspiracy<br />

But last year, there was no riot. In fact, the press<br />

called it “the most peaceful May 1 in decades”.<br />

The demonstration was huge, but sedate –<br />

I saw plenty of protesters pushing strollers.<br />

Even huger was the street festival filling every<br />

intersection of SO36: MyFest. Most May 1 revellers<br />

experience the day as a chaotic potpourri<br />

of parades, parties, outdoor concerts and yes,<br />

maybe some protesting. But by crossing from<br />

the drunken, dancing masses of MyFest to the<br />

shouting demonstrators (who are also drunk,<br />

but less so), they’re actually crossing the line<br />

between revolution and counterrevolution.<br />

MyFest likes to present itself as a “broad<br />

alliance of neighbours, businesses and civil initiatives”.<br />

But it’s really not much more than a front<br />

for Berlin’s Polizei. For decades, they failed to<br />

keep demonstrators off the street. Only in 2003-<br />

2004 did the city’s Social Democratic masters<br />

have a bright idea: The best way to block a demonstration<br />

is to fill the street with other people.<br />

Yes, the police have financed MyFest for more<br />

than 10 years. Just Google it.<br />

This year, there was even talk of MyFest<br />

being taken over by Willi Kausch, the party<br />

manager who gave Berlin the bro-tastic World<br />

Cup Fanmeile at the Brandenburg Gate. Because<br />

what says “International Workers’ Day” better<br />

than a celebration of nationalism, sexism and<br />

homophobia? But after a few days, the district<br />

government declared it “wasn’t the right partner<br />

for a political festival”. Weird. I guess in a sense,<br />

a desperate attempt to keep politics out of<br />

Kreuzberg is political.<br />

Kotti capitalism<br />

Kotti is the focal point of my life, and not just<br />

on May 1. I’m writing this essay at Café Kotti.<br />

Next to me, a Syrian refugee is being interviewed.<br />

Across the room, two different socialist<br />

groups are having meetings. As a reporter focused<br />

on protest movements, I feel like at least<br />

half of my work takes place around Kottbusser<br />

Tor. The locals protesting against rising rents at<br />

the Kotti & Co. shack. The refugees who once<br />

occupied Oranienplatz and the former school<br />

in Ohlauer Straße. And round-the-clock protest<br />

rallies of Kurds and Palestinians.<br />

This all comes together on May Day. That’s<br />

why I’m back every year. But just like MyFest<br />

has introduced a reeking festival of commerce,<br />

any emancipatory initiative like this 28-year-old<br />

anti-capitalist carnival procession can get sucked<br />

into the brutal gears of the market economy.<br />

Even I’m involved in marketing the grubby chic:<br />

I offer walking tours around Kotti to inform<br />

people about the history of the protests, as well<br />

as practical tips for demonstrating. So I’m part<br />

of the problem. Hell, I’m even using demonstrations<br />

to advance my movie career.<br />

But I’m going to be back on the streets of<br />

Kreuzberg this May 1. I’m going to fight against<br />

the rule of money over our lives – and try to earn<br />

a few bucks on the side. Meet me there, with<br />

about 20,000 friends. n<br />

Need some May Day survival tips?<br />

Check www.exberliner.com.<br />

22 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>


“<br />

The florist that (almost) never sleeps<br />

By Jean-Michel Hauteville. Photo by Maria Runarsdottir.<br />

The main difference between Kotti and<br />

Wedding? Well, for starters, Kotti<br />

never really sleeps,” Bircan Er readily<br />

answers when pressed to compare<br />

the neighbourhood he has lived in since he was<br />

born with the Kiez where he has been selling<br />

flowers since the end of last century. In any<br />

case, Ahmet Igde, the founder and previous<br />

owner of Blumen Dilek, took matters into<br />

his own hands to make sure that at Kotti, one<br />

colourful, fragrant oasis would indeed stay wide<br />

awake every night. In 2008, he decided that his<br />

iconic flower shop at the corner of Adalbertstraße<br />

and Oranienstraße would stay open 24<br />

hours a day, seven days a week.<br />

Blumen Dilek has sold flowers since 1982,<br />

first inside the Kottbusser Tor U-Bahn station,<br />

and then, since 1999, at this bustling crossroads.<br />

1999 is also when Er, then a teenager,<br />

started working at the shop. Twelve years later<br />

Igde, who had immigrated to Germany in the<br />

early 1960s as a Gastarbeiter, effectively retired<br />

and moved back to Turkey, leaving Er in charge.<br />

But why would one decide to keep a flower<br />

shop open through the dead of night in the first<br />

place? “To work less of course,” Igde’s successor<br />

replies with a playful smile. He pauses to let<br />

the irony sink in. “It’s such a massive waste of<br />

time and energy to get all the flowers out of the<br />

shop every morning, and then back inside every<br />

evening. We figured out we might as well never<br />

close at all, just to spare us the hassle,” the<br />

37-year-old goes on matter-of-factly.<br />

Er insists his two night-shift salespeople<br />

really do sell flowers, say, at 3am on a Tuesday.<br />

Blumen Dilek, christened after a popular<br />

female Turkish name which means “wish”,<br />

caters to a little-known but thriving market for<br />

last-minute orders and “emergency situations”.<br />

Like one desperate gentleman who needed 100<br />

roses delivered to Spandau immediately, after<br />

midnight, “to save his relationship,” Er recalls<br />

with a chuckle. “Our drivers don’t work that<br />

late, so we had to deliver the bouquets by taxi,<br />

costing him a hefty surcharge.”<br />

However, Dilek’s success story of nighttime<br />

flower selling is not all moonlight and roses.<br />

At the end of last year, after receiving several<br />

ominous notices and paying a €200 fine,<br />

the shop was forced to comply with Berlin’s<br />

strict Sunday trading laws. As a result, the<br />

Blumenladen is now open a mere nine hours on<br />

Sundays, from 7am to 4pm.<br />

But the worst episode in Blumen Dilek’s<br />

history occurred before that. In late 2012 the<br />

flower shop made local headlines as it faced<br />

eviction, its existence threatened by another<br />

Kotti household name, the ever-expanding<br />

Hasir restaurant (see page 10). Its wealthy owners,<br />

the Aygün family, had purchased the entire<br />

building next to their restaurant and nullified<br />

Dilek’s 12-year tenancy agreement. Luckily, Er<br />

found a new locale, just across the street, at<br />

a safe distance from his slightly overbearing<br />

neighbours. The flower shop opened at the new<br />

location in February last year, thus winning a<br />

three-year battle for its survival.<br />

“They’re powerful investors who bully the<br />

little guys, that’s a shame,” Er says with resignation.<br />

“But when I see the Hasir guys on the<br />

street, we do say hello. We’re just people after<br />

all, and we’re Kotti.” n<br />


What’s on<br />


<strong>April</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

Palaces for the<br />

State Visitor<br />

Fri 1.4.<br />

EXHIBITION East and West Germany<br />

competed for cred by inviting<br />

world leaders into their<br />

stately homes. See how the GDR<br />

lobbied at Pankow’s Schönhausen<br />

palace. Through Jul 3.<br />

Make Me Stop Smoking<br />

Sat 2.4.<br />

TALK An examination and reconstruction<br />

of war-ravaged Lebanon<br />

by actor and artist Rabih<br />

Mroué, whose retrospective runs<br />

Apr 30-Mar 3. HAU1. Starts<br />

19:00. (see page 34)<br />


36th Berlin<br />

Half Marathon<br />

Sun 3.4<br />

RACE Run, Berlin, run! From Alex<br />

to the Victory Column all the way<br />

to Potsdamer Platz and back in a<br />

21km race. Begins at Karl-Marx-<br />

Allee (near Kino International).<br />

Starts 10:05.<br />

Arab Film Festival<br />

Wed 6.4<br />

FILM The seventh edition of the<br />

festival celebrating cinema from<br />

the Arabic world opens tonight<br />

with As I Open my Eyes from Tunisian<br />

writer-director Leyla Bouzid.<br />

Through Apr 13. Kino Arsenal<br />

and more. (see page 30)<br />

F.I.N.D. Festival<br />

Thu 7.4<br />

THEATRE The Festival for International<br />

New Drama returns to the<br />

Schaubühne for the 16th time,<br />

opening with Ahmed El Attar’s<br />

The Last Supper. Starts 19:30.<br />

Through Apr 17. (see page 32)<br />

Battles + Fields<br />

Fri 8.4<br />

MUSIC Math-rock power trio Battles<br />

return with their electric and<br />

eclectic tunes alongside the<br />

heavy prog sounds of Fields in<br />

this night of experimental and<br />

dance-y rock. Astra Kulturhaus.<br />

Starts 20:00.<br />

Maya: The Language<br />

of Beauty<br />

Tue 12.4<br />

EXHIBITION Sculptures and<br />

ceramics reveal the ancient<br />

world of the Mayans: their concepts<br />

of beauty, relations to the<br />

gods and daily life. Through Jul 8.<br />

Martin-Gropius-Bau.<br />

Achtung Berlin<br />

Wed 13.4<br />

FILM Catch more than 70 films<br />

made in or focusing on Berlin<br />

and Brandenburg, kicking off<br />

with trash-epic Mann im Spagat.<br />

We’ll be on hand to present our<br />

own Exberliner award. Through<br />

Apr 21. (see page 31)<br />

Opening: Modern<br />

Visionaries<br />

Fri 15.4<br />

EXHIBITION They found utopia in<br />

a young Weimar Republic. Check<br />

out designs, texts and drawings<br />

from the early 20th-century<br />

“Glass Chain” dreamers. Through<br />

October 31. Berlinische Galerie.<br />

My perfect Berlin weekend<br />

Brazilian-born film fanatic WELLING-<br />

TON ALMEIDA is Exberliner’s reader<br />

representative on<br />

our film award jury at<br />

the Achtung Berlin film<br />

festival (see page 31).<br />

When not at the movies,<br />

he’s working on<br />

his first screenplay.<br />

FRIDAY 15:30 After getting<br />

off work, head<br />

to Stadtbad Neukölln<br />

(Ganghoferstr. 3, Neukölln)<br />

for an hour’s swim, followed<br />

by a quick coffee and a haircut at<br />

Berlin Friseure (Brunnenstr. 151,<br />

Mitte). 19:30 Meet a friend for homemade<br />

ravioli with butter sauce at<br />

La Bolognina (Donaustr. 107, Neukölln).<br />

23:00 End my evening with<br />

some Netflix (with or without ‘chill’).<br />

SATURDAY 10:00 Get up and clean<br />

the whole apartment 14:00 Pass by<br />

the secondhand shops on Pannierstraße<br />

to find some nice<br />

piece of furniture for my<br />

empty flat. 20:00 Start<br />

the evening with a film<br />

at Rollberg Kino (Rollbergstr.<br />

70, Neukölln)<br />

or Il Kino (Nansenstr.<br />

22, Neukölln), then<br />

a gathering at some<br />

friend’s apartment.<br />

SUNDAY 12:00 After<br />

debating whether<br />

I should join my normal friends<br />

for brunch with the best dessert<br />

chef in town (Kostadin) at Schiller<br />

Bar (Herrfurthstr. 7, Neukölln) or my<br />

vampire friends for a never-ending<br />

techno experience at Berghain (Am<br />

Wriezener Bahnhof, Friedrichshain),<br />

I talk myself into the latter.<br />

Nada Surf<br />

Mon 18.4<br />

MUSIC Twenty years after their<br />

breakthrough record, the sensitive<br />

indie rock lads are still “Popular”<br />

and touring their latest album,<br />

You Know Who You Are.<br />

Huxley’s Neue Welt. Starts 20:00.<br />

Motorpsycho<br />

Sat 23.4<br />

MUSIC Striking somewhere between<br />

Pink Floyd and Tool, the<br />

Norwegian outfit are tripping out<br />

audiences with their latest album<br />

Here Be Monsters. Columbia<br />

Theater. Starts 20:00.<br />

Yuna<br />

Tue 19.4<br />

MUSIC The Malaysian songstress’<br />

latest album Chapters dips between<br />

R&B, soul and hip hop,<br />

with catchy production backing<br />

her jazzy and sultry singing.<br />

Grüner Salon. Starts 20:00.<br />

The Gate Berlin<br />

Sun 24.4<br />

EXHIBITION The ultimate Touri<br />

destination hosts a new multimedia<br />

exhibition about the history<br />

of Berlin from the roaring<br />

1920s to today. Bring your folks!<br />

Brandenburg Gate.<br />

24 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

Exberliner Kotti party!<br />

Mon 4.4<br />

PARTY Celebrate the release of<br />

our Kottbusser Tor issue, right<br />

there on Kotti. Bring your friends,<br />

check out the Kiez and snag<br />

some free copies! Multilayerladen.<br />

Starts 20:00.<br />

Isa Genzken:<br />

Make Yourself Pretty!<br />

Sat 9.4<br />

EXHIBITION This sweeping retrospective<br />

of one of Berlin’s most<br />

famous artists highlights her major<br />

works, including her foray into<br />

early digital art. Martin-Gropius-<br />

Bau. (see page 40)<br />

Intonations<br />

Sat 16.4<br />

MUSIC Led by pianist Elena<br />

Bashkirova, this festival of Judaism<br />

and chamber music features<br />

pieces from Jewish composers<br />

exiled during the Nazi regime.<br />

Through Apr 21. Jewish Museum.<br />

Apr 4:<br />

EXBlicks:<br />

Berlinized at<br />

Lichtblick!<br />


Television<br />

Wed 5.4<br />

MUSIC As Marquee Moon nears<br />

40, Tom Verlaine and co. play<br />

on, one of the last bands standing<br />

from the old CBGB scene.<br />

Berlin will “See No Evil” for the<br />

first time in 12 years. Huxleys<br />

Neue Welt. Starts 20:00.<br />

Nervous<br />

Systems Tour<br />

Sun 10.4<br />

TALK HKW teams up with Tactical<br />

Tech to ask how we can<br />

take back the reins on big data<br />

through art and activism. Feminist<br />

activist Ewa Majewska walks<br />

you through it. Starts 15:00.<br />

Jenny Lee<br />

Mon 11.4<br />

MUSIC Warpaint’s bassist has<br />

struck out on her own with a<br />

New Wave/goth revivalist-style<br />

solo project, which is as emotive<br />

as it is danceable. Frannz Club.<br />

Starts 21:00.<br />

Comic Invasion<br />

Sun 17.4<br />

COMICS Pick up some indie<br />

comics and swag, meet with fellow<br />

comic geeks or connect with<br />

artists and publishers to get your<br />

breakthrough graphic novel in<br />

print. Also Apr 16. Urban Spree.<br />

<strong>April</strong> Programme in English<br />

30.3.–3.4. / HAU1, HAU2, HAU3FESTIVAL<br />

Outside the Image<br />

Inside Us<br />

A retrospective of Rabih Mroué &<br />

Lina Majdalanie<br />

5.4. / HAU1 DIALOGUE<br />

Laurie Penny<br />

Babys machen und andere Storys<br />

book launch / Moderation: Sonja Eismann<br />

7.4. / HAU1 / Re-run PERFORMANCE<br />

Ivo Dimchev<br />

Fest / afterwards concert: 15 Songs from my Shows<br />

9.+10.4. / HAU1 PERFORMANCE<br />

Ivo Dimchev<br />

Operville<br />

8.+9.4. / HAU2 DANCE<br />

Chétouane / Maertens<br />

/ Mandafounis /<br />

Marklund / Mosca<br />

SOLI<br />

17.4. / HAU2 DIALOGUE<br />

Fearless Speech #2<br />

Reconsidering Foucault<br />

The Order of the Arts<br />

With Rossella Biscotti, Roberto Nigro, Juliane<br />

Rebentisch and Ruth Sonderegger /<br />

Moderation: Pascal Jurt and Ulf Wuggenig<br />

A Maze<br />

Wed 20.4<br />

VIDEO GAMES The indie video<br />

game fest brings together gamers,<br />

developers and digital creatives<br />

for an exhibition of experimental<br />

games and interactive<br />

experiences. Through March 23.<br />

Urban Spree.<br />

Female Gaze<br />

Thu 21.4<br />

THEATRE In what’s sure to be a<br />

fiercely feminist spectacle, a<br />

group of post-migrant students<br />

confront perceptions of women<br />

of colour. Ballhaus<br />

Naunynstraße.<br />

Starts 20:00.<br />

Apr 28-29:<br />

Startup Safary!<br />

(see page 51)<br />

The Most<br />

Unsatisfied Town<br />

Fri 22.4<br />

THEATRE Last chance this month<br />

for Amy Evans’ brutal tale of asylum<br />

and police violence, part<br />

of ETB’s Made in Berlin series.<br />

From Apr 7. English Theatre.<br />

Starts 20:00. (see page 34)<br />


Privacy<br />

Thematic Focus / With Benny Claessens<br />

& Risto Kübar, Srećko Horvat / Gabriele<br />

Rollnik / Karl-Heinz Dellwo, Tiago Rodrigues,<br />

De Warme Winkel & Wunderbaum<br />

14.+15.4. / HAU2 / Re-run PERFORMANCE<br />

Ariel Efraim Ashbel<br />

and friends<br />

The Empire Strikes Back:<br />

Kingdom of the Synthetic<br />

EXBlicks: Achtung<br />

winner screening<br />

Wed 27.4<br />

FILM Catch the very best international<br />

Berlin film from this<br />

year’s Achtung festival, as decided<br />

by Exberliner’s own jury.<br />

Lichtblick Kino. Starts 20:30.<br />

(see page 31)<br />

Gallery Weekend<br />

Fri 29.4<br />

ART This weekend, over 50 Berlin<br />

galleries open their doors. Don’t<br />

miss exhibitions by Wolfgang Tillmans,<br />

Rirkrit Tiravanija, KwieKulik<br />

and many more. City-wide.<br />

Through May 1. (see page 42)<br />

Berlin Burlesque Week<br />

Sat 30.4<br />

FESTIVAL Lace up that corset:<br />

Germany’s biggest burlesque talents<br />

converge for nine days of<br />

non-stop acts! Sexy comedy revue<br />

The Big Tickle at Ballhaus-<br />

Berlin kicks it all off. Various locations.<br />

Through May 8.<br />

27.4. / HAU1 DIALOGUE<br />

Plattenspieler<br />

With Thomas Meinecke and<br />

Lerato Khathi aka Lakuti<br />

27.4., 29.+30.4. / HAU3 / Re-run DANCE / PERFORMANCE<br />

Jeremy Wade<br />

Death Asshole Rave Video<br />

28.–30.4. / HAU2 / Premiere DANCE<br />

Kat Válastur<br />

OILinity<br />

www.hebbel-am-ufer.de<br />


FILM<br />

STARTS MAR 31<br />

Ixcanul<br />

D: Jayro Bustamante (Guatemala,<br />

France 2015) with<br />

María Mercedes Coroy<br />

◆◆◆ Winner of the<br />

New Perspectives award<br />

at last year’s Berlinale,<br />

Bustamante’s visually<br />

trippy and powerfully political<br />

debut follows an<br />

indigenous Guatemalan<br />

woman and her young<br />

daughter María as they struggle to make ends meet in a<br />

micro-farming community at the foot of an active volcano.<br />

The farm’s foreman has arranged to be María’s husband,<br />

but the young woman’s burgeoning sexuality has other<br />

ideas. Desire and ritual play out on black volcanic rock as<br />

exploitation looms: nothing remains dormant for long. ROC<br />


IN OV WITH<br />

GERMAN<br />


UNLESS<br />


STATED<br />

STARTS APR 7<br />

Freeheld<br />

D: Peter Sollett (USA<br />

2015) with Julianne<br />

Moore, Ellen Page<br />

◆ Freeheld is the<br />

based-on-true-events<br />

story of closeted New<br />

Jersey detective Laurel<br />

Hester (Moore) who’s<br />

diagnosed with terminal<br />

cancer. She must come<br />

to terms with the illness<br />

and fi ghts the local council to leave her pension benefi ts<br />

to her partner (Page). While the cast is uniformly strong, it<br />

can’t redeem this well-meaning but tonally jarring drama<br />

from being shameless Oscar-bait that tries too hard to be<br />

inspirational. The important LGBT issue is reduced to tearjerking<br />

material and frankly deserved better. DM<br />

STARTS APR 7<br />

A Man Called Ove<br />

D: Hannes Holm (Sweden<br />

2015) with Rolf Lassgård,<br />

Zozan Akgün ◆◆<br />

Every life story is extraordinary,<br />

so even when all<br />

this Swedish comedic<br />

drama does is narrate<br />

the decades of ups and<br />

downs that helped shape<br />

the grumpy, suicidal old<br />

man we meet at the<br />

beginning, you’ll likely be<br />

charmed despite yourself. Directed with great compassion<br />

if not much originality or fi nesse, the fi lm’s sweet nature<br />

and heartfelt celebration of humanity make it an altogether<br />

easy pill to swallow. Some might say too easy. ZS<br />

STARTS APR 7<br />

Land of Mine<br />

(Unter dem Sand)<br />

D: Martin Zandvliet (Denmark,<br />

Germany 2015)<br />

with Roland Møller, Joel<br />

Basman ◆<br />

Fourteen German soldiers<br />

are sent to the Danish<br />

coast post-WWII to sweep<br />

for and defuse mines buried<br />

by the Nazis. Scenes<br />

of young men crawling<br />

along the beach littered<br />

with dynamite are certainly harrowing, as is watching a<br />

broken spirit looking to end the misery of life. But tension<br />

built on the prospect of imminent explosions hardly feels<br />

classy and the one-note characterisation (oppressorvictim)<br />

gives the story an unsavoury taste of emotional<br />

manipulation. ZS<br />

Of kings and pawns By ZHUO-NING SU<br />

People tend to be labelled leaders or followers,<br />

those who take charge of their destinies and<br />

those who drift along, driven by everything but<br />

their own will. Unlike a game of chess, however,<br />

roles change as life unfolds, as we stumble upon<br />

inspirations or get caught between forces<br />

beyond our control.<br />

In German director Tom Tykwer’s<br />

adaptation of Dave Eggers’ A HOLOGRAM<br />

FOR THE KING (photo), American salesman<br />

Alan Clay (Hanks) starts off a lost<br />

soul. While he’s on an ostensibly high-flying<br />

job pitching his company’s holographic technology<br />

to a Saudi Arabian king, we gradually learn<br />

that he arrives with the baggage of a painful business<br />

failure, the payment for his semi-estranged<br />

daughter’s college tuition and a literal, malignantlooking<br />

lump on his back. Weighted down by<br />

such bothers, he keeps missing the morning<br />

shuttle and relies instead on a private chauffeur<br />

who ends up being his gateway to adventures off<br />

the beaten path.<br />

Clay is the quintessential everyman of our<br />

confoundingly volatile post-modern times. The<br />

appearance of self-made success belies the work<br />

stress, familial duties and personal troubles that<br />

often take choice out of the equation. But fear<br />

not, the movie seems to say. The complexity of<br />

the new world also opens up unexpected opportunities<br />

for change, unforeseen roads to epiphany.<br />

So it’ll be after travelling halfway around the<br />

globe and meeting the beautiful, enigmatic doctor<br />

Hakem (Choudhury) that our reluctant hero<br />

finally feels ready to take control of a life less and<br />

less his own. Tykwer tells the partially comedic/<br />

fantastical tale without much hiccup, if also with<br />

a dispiriting anonymity. The production is polished<br />

and the turns of events smoothed out, and<br />

one glides down the familiar grooves of a studio<br />

picture missing the electric edginess of Run Lola<br />

Run or 3. It doesn’t help that some key dialogue is<br />

lifted from the novel with such heavy-handedness<br />

that all power of metaphor goes out the window.<br />

What remains is an uplifting story with a likable<br />

message, unremarkably executed.<br />

EDITOR’S<br />

PICK!<br />

The journey of winning back one’s prerogative<br />

is reversed in the spy thriller/biopic PAWN<br />

SACRIFICE. Chronicling the rise to fame and<br />

fall from grace of legendary chess player Bobby<br />

Fischer (Maguire) during the Cold War, it first<br />

depicts how the child of an immigrant single<br />

mother growing up in a climate of fear<br />

resolutely grabs onto the one thing that<br />

calms him and turns it into a lifelong<br />

pursuit. With talent, tenacity and tireless<br />

practice, young Bobby sweeps through<br />

tournaments, smashes records and fulfils his<br />

dream step by confident step. When the American<br />

prodigy becomes a realistic threat to Russia’s<br />

longstanding dominance of the World Championship,<br />

however, both superpowers inevitably<br />

get involved, leaving the chessboard a battlefield<br />

and the contestants their unwilling soldiers.<br />

Zwick competently juggles a gritty, genrefriendly<br />

sensibility with dramatic gravitas. The<br />

paranoia that ultimately cripples Fischer’s mind<br />

is fuelled by an informed script sprinkled with<br />

details of psychological warfare and communicated<br />

through effective pacing, sequencing and<br />

acting. Maguire and Schreiber, who plays charismatic<br />

Soviet grandmaster Boris Spassky, are<br />

equally compelling to watch. Their iconic 1972<br />

match in Reykjavík distils fierce intelligence,<br />

rival personalities and high-stakes international<br />

politics into moves of quietly belligerent calculation,<br />

aptly mirroring the state of affairs outside.<br />

Enslaved by the militant scrutiny and his own<br />

ever-fading sanity, Fischer would eventually<br />

partake in little of the victor’s glory. Without<br />

compromise, the film ably illustrates this bitter<br />

irony of someone too brilliant to be allowed to<br />

live for himself. ■<br />

STARTS APR 28<br />

A Hologram for the King ◆◆<br />

D: Tom Tykwer (Germany, USA, UK <strong>2016</strong>) with Tom Hanks, Sarita<br />

Choudhury<br />

STARTS APR 28<br />

Pawn Sacrifice ◆◆◆<br />

D: Edward Zwick (USA 2014) with Tobey Maguire, Liev Schreiber<br />

26 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>


FIRST IMAX ®<br />



STARTS APR 14<br />

Hardcore<br />

(Hardcore Henry) D: Ilya Naishuller (Russia,<br />

USA 2015) with Sharlto Copley, Haley<br />

Bennett ◆◆ It takes tremendous<br />

skill and unimaginable discipline<br />

to shoot a full-blown sci-fi actioner<br />

using only the first-person POV. No<br />

action/reaction, no multi-cam or<br />

pull-back shots - and no lead performance<br />

either, since we don’t get<br />

to see the hero at all. For that reason<br />

alone, Hardcore – seen entirely<br />

through the eyes of its mute protagonist,<br />

whose face is but briefly<br />

betrayed in reflection towards the<br />

end – never ceases to impress.<br />

Whether this directorial choice is<br />

as meaningful as it is unquestionably<br />

ballsy, however, would depend<br />

on who you ask. Genre fans looking<br />

for kinks will derive great pleasure<br />

from an uncommonly immediate<br />

experience that turns the viewer<br />

into the shooter, stabber, chaser or<br />

dodger in a prolonged and extreme<br />

splatter-fest. We wake up with (or<br />

as) the amnesiac, voiceless Henry<br />

(no actor credited) in a lab, and find<br />

ourselves caught in the crossfire<br />

between an evil Russian kingpin<br />

with ESP and a reclusive, self-multiplying<br />

scientist. Carnage ensues.<br />

Featuring sharp choreography<br />

and some truly stupendous camera<br />

work, the “how-did-they-do-that”<br />

factor of the film is high. That<br />

said, the trick does get old and<br />

the unshakable sense of videogame<br />

superficiality is damning.<br />

It’s a blast for sure, but also total<br />

sensory overkill. ZS<br />

NEW<br />

STARTS APR 14<br />

The Lady in the Van<br />

D: Nicholas Hytner (UK 2015) with Maggie<br />

Smith, Alex Jennings ◆◆◆ What<br />

if Maggie Smith’s Countess of<br />

Grantham had ended up as a cantankerous<br />

bag lady? Based on Alan<br />

Bennett’s memoir and stage play,<br />

The Lady in the Van answers this<br />

question by telling the “mostly true<br />

story” of Miss Shepherd (Smith),<br />

who is temporarily invited to park<br />

her van on Bennett’s (Jennings)<br />

London driveway in 1973. Her stay<br />

ends up lasting 15 years, with the<br />

playwright and the bigoted squatter<br />

developing an unlikely friendship.<br />

The charming odd-couple premise<br />

might set off alarm bells, but<br />

Hytner’s adaptation strikes the right<br />

balance between the wryly comedic<br />

and the poignant. The director relies<br />

on the meta but never crosses into<br />

the cloyingly self-reflexive, and any<br />

smugness is circumvented by the<br />

surreal doppelganger division of the<br />

real Bennett (“you live life”) and the<br />

writer Bennett (“I’ll write about it”).<br />

This balancing act is further exemplified<br />

by the two leads, especially<br />

Smith, who never descends into<br />

parody. You’d expect only greatness<br />

from the actress, but her irascibly<br />

eccentric performance is funny,<br />

affecting and truly memorable. The<br />

big-hearted film’s occasional lack of<br />

focus is eclipsed by the performances<br />

and insights into British<br />

middle-class guilt and an artist’s<br />

search for a subject. DM<br />

FROM APRIL 14 TH<br />


REVEL IN<br />


Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz | More info at cinestar-imax.de<br />



FILM<br />

STARTS APR 7<br />

Ip Man 3<br />

D: Wilson Yip (Hong Kong<br />

2015) with Donnie Yen,<br />

Mike Tyson ◆◆<br />

The latest instalment of<br />

the successful Kung Fu<br />

franchise sees Wing Chun<br />

master Ip Man fending<br />

off gangsters from the<br />

local school, defeating a<br />

calculating challenger for<br />

the champion title and<br />

coping with personal tragedy. Individual action sequences,<br />

including Ip’s climactic face-off with Tyson, kick serious<br />

ass, but the script is bland and the production lacks texture<br />

to go with its scale, so nothing really registers beyond<br />

the grace of those balletic fi ghts. ZS<br />

STARTS APR 14<br />

Fritz Lang<br />

D: Gordian Maugg<br />

(Germany <strong>2016</strong>) with<br />

Heino Ferch, Samuel Finzi<br />

◆◆ Dramatising the<br />

serial murder case that<br />

shook Düsseldorf in the<br />

1920s and supposedly<br />

inspired the making of<br />

M, Fritz Lang offers an<br />

intermittently successful<br />

look at one of German<br />

cinema’s true icons and how he arrived at his sick<br />

masterpiece. There’s an undeniable thrill to see echoes<br />

of familiar fi lm scenes play out in a true crime story but<br />

the overall sensationalistic approach cheapens the payoff<br />

somewhat. Finzi is no Peter Lorre but does turn in a<br />

disturbingly assured performance. ZS<br />

STARTS APR 14<br />

Much Loved<br />

D: Nabil Ayouch (France,<br />

Morocco 2015) with<br />

Loubna Abidar ◆◆◆<br />

Four women in Marrakesh<br />

are ladies of the night.<br />

They get summoned to<br />

rich men’s parties to sell<br />

their bodies. Despite great<br />

hardship, they remain<br />

united, dignifi ed, and<br />

much loved. A poignant<br />

social commentary, as well as an empowering tale of womanhood<br />

and friendship, Ayouch’s fi lm intercuts between<br />

close-ups of their weary faces and tracking shots of passersby<br />

representing the whole social spectrum, from collectors<br />

of recyclables to street sweepers. These are all people<br />

who must strive to survive, each in their own way. YC<br />

STARTS APR 14<br />

A War<br />

D: Tobias Lindholm (Denmark<br />

2015) with Pilou<br />

Asbæk, Tuva Novotny<br />

◆◆◆◆ A Danish offi<br />

cer is sent home for<br />

investigation after a fatal<br />

incident claiming the lives<br />

of 11 Afghan civilians.<br />

As the military court tries<br />

to reconstruct what happened,<br />

the man must decide<br />

what to say and face<br />

the trial of his own conscience. With surgically precise,<br />

dispassionate hands, Lindholm dissects moral dilemmas<br />

under extreme circumstances and dares you to pass<br />

judgment on anyone. Carried by Asbæk’s layered, affecting<br />

performance, this is a constantly engrossing portrait of<br />

the physical and emotional casualties of war. ZS<br />


IN OV WITH<br />

GERMAN<br />


UNLESS<br />


STATED<br />

“It’s irrelevant who wins”<br />

In Greek absurdist comedy<br />

Chevalier, writer/director ATHINA<br />

RACHEL TSANGARI pits six men on<br />

a boat against each other and<br />

themselves. By ZHUO-NING SU<br />

What starts as a game the men play to decide<br />

who’s the best of them all turns biting and<br />

insightful. The latest in a string of A-list festival<br />

hits to come from a country still struggling with<br />

recession, Tsangari’s film (see review, page 30)<br />

won the top prize at the London Film Festival<br />

last autumn.<br />

Chevalier is a pretty conceptual film.<br />

Where did the initial idea come from?<br />

I’d made a film called The Capsule with an allfemale<br />

cast. It was a Gothic vampire film based<br />

on a loose script I had written with the Polish<br />

artist Aleksandra Waliszewska, about a group<br />

of girls who were kept in an institution perched<br />

on a rock. It was fascinating to see how the<br />

personalities of the actors were informing the<br />

characters, and vice versa. So I thought it’d be<br />

interesting to try this experiment with an allmale<br />

cast on a boat, as an inescapable environment.<br />

It’s also a very Greek thing to do – men<br />

going on fishing trips with their buddies for<br />

some male bonding.<br />

Was Chevalier also loosely scripted? This<br />

one was actually pretty scripted out. It was quite<br />

precise in terms of the game, but not so precise<br />

in terms of the characters, so the actual casting<br />

process took a while. It didn’t involve reading<br />

lines or auditions. We just had long conversations<br />

– about life in general, about their personal<br />

lives, all the while trying to create a map of the<br />

energies between them. We rehearsed for some<br />

time on the boat, and the personalities and<br />

power dynamics between the actors were what<br />

made the characters more exact.<br />

As viewers, we never get to see the criteria<br />

with which the characters judge one<br />

another. You wrote it – did you make up<br />

the rules? No! We decided it would be more<br />

interesting and much closer to reality for there<br />

to be no criteria. The whole idea of deciding<br />

who’s the best in general is ridiculous and impos-<br />


Apr 21<br />

sible anyway. And the thing is, the way we judge<br />

is always very subjective. Chevalier is actually<br />

a game we all play all the time, subconsciously.<br />

We’re always evaluating others, giving each other<br />

points. And there are no rules on how we do<br />

that other than personal taste and values. In the<br />

end it’s irrelevant who even wins. It was left a bit<br />

ambiguous in the film, so that half the audience<br />

is usually not sure who actually won. The most<br />

important thing is that these men played the<br />

game, and that they were playing it more against<br />

themselves than against one another.<br />

The film ended up making some poignant<br />

points about modern masculinity – imagine<br />

the surprise when people realise it’s<br />

directed by a woman! I did collaborate with<br />

my cast, and I had a male co-writer as well. A<br />

lot of the stuff that rings very true was offered<br />

with great generosity by the cast. We worked<br />

together as a team, instead of them looking<br />

at me as this female director. I didn’t want<br />

this to be a woman’s film about men. We have<br />

preconceptions about what a woman’s gaze, a<br />

woman’s approach or a woman’s film is. There’s<br />

something like a dead end to that conversation.<br />

Women make cinema. That’s it.<br />

Did Greece’s economic struggles affect<br />

the making of Chevalier? We had a relatively<br />

easy time because we got some financing from<br />

the Greek film centre, and some from television.<br />

We also had a German co-producer who<br />

helped us out with a big part of the budget.<br />

So it was a happy combination of things. But<br />

looking forward, I’m really worried: about<br />

Greek society in general, and also about Greek<br />

cinema. Artistically and creatively it’s actually<br />

thriving, but financially it’s getting more and<br />

more difficult. There used to be a much more<br />

vital and active interest from our government,<br />

because in the context of everything, cinema<br />

is a small investment that has a huge return.<br />

We can see how Greek cinema has been a very<br />

positive ambassador for the country in the last<br />

10 years, starting with films like Dogtooth and<br />

what’s often called the “Greek New Wave”. So<br />

it’s really infuriating to have the state being<br />

extremely oblivious, ignorant and not really<br />

giving a shit. ■<br />

28 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

STARTS APR 14<br />

Song One<br />

D: Kate Barker-Froyland (USA 2014) with<br />

Anne Hathaway, Johnny Flynn ◆◆<br />

Following in the wake of romantic<br />

musical dramas such as Begin<br />

Again, Barker-Froyland’s debut<br />

feature graces our screens thanks<br />

largely to Anne Hathaway, who<br />

both produces and does much<br />

of the film’s heavy lifting, acting<br />

largely by herself against a script<br />

that otherwise sees a lot of its<br />

dialogue disappear into mumbling<br />

conversations.<br />

There’s a naïve simplicity to the<br />

story of Franny (Hathaway), who<br />

leaves her ethnographic studies in<br />

Morocco behind when her brother<br />

is put into a coma after a road<br />

accident. Anxious to awaken him<br />

with familiar sounds, she goes in<br />

search of his musical hero Jamie<br />

Forester (Flynn), with whom she<br />

connects at gigs and during waterfront<br />

trysts against the romantic<br />

backdrop of Manhattan by night.<br />

While the movie is occasionally<br />

mawkish with its coma timeline<br />

and its family reconciliation drama,<br />

there’s an understated amalgamation<br />

of themes about isolation and<br />

finding one’s own song. At its best,<br />

Barker-Froyland’s film works as<br />

an anthropological exploration of<br />

Brooklyn’s music scene. But without<br />

the documentary wherewithal<br />

to let its musicians really shine,<br />

Song One gets frustratingly lost in<br />

its lovely tunes. MW<br />

photo © Spectral | Depositphotos.com<br />

ein Ensemble der<br />

Friday | 29 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2016</strong> | 8pm<br />

Kammermusiksaal, Philharmonie Berlin<br />


Magnificat a 8 voci in 2 cori<br />


Messa „La Cellesa“ a 16 voci in 4 cori<br />

Litanie per la beata Vergine a 9 voci in 2 cori<br />


Stabat Mater a 10 voci<br />

RIAS Kammerchor | Concerto Italiano<br />

Rinaldo Alessandrini Conductor<br />

tickets 25–45 € | phone +49 (0)30 20 29 87 25<br />

tickets@rias-kammerchor.de | www.rias-kammerchor.de<br />

LOFT.DE<br />

rkc-abo5_AZ_exberliner_115x152,2.indd<br />


1 10.03<br />

STARTS APR 21<br />

The Commune<br />

(Die Kommune) D: Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark,<br />

Sweden, Netherlands <strong>2016</strong>) with Trine<br />

Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen ◆◆◆ After the<br />

well-received if troubled adaptation<br />

of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the<br />

Madding Crowd, Dogma 95 standard<br />

bearer Thomas Vinterberg returns<br />

to his native Denmark and revisits<br />

some signature themes with a dryly<br />

comic and semi-autobiographical<br />

account of his upbringing in a Copenhagen<br />

commune in the 1970s.<br />

Dyrholm plays Anna, a newscaster<br />

whose husband Erik (Thomsen)<br />

has just inherited the family home.<br />

Anna wishes to form a commune in<br />

the grand old building so, despite<br />

Erik’s apprehensions, they do. It<br />

goes against his grain at first, but<br />

Erik decides to embrace this new<br />

freedom. He even goes so far as<br />

to start an affair with a younger<br />

student who, to Anna’s horror,<br />

ends up living amongst them.<br />

Meanwhile, the daughter of the two<br />

begins her own experiments and<br />

soon a new normalcy is formed.<br />

The director has long harboured<br />

a misanthropic fascination<br />

with despicable characters and<br />

Thomsen’s Erik is the latest to fit<br />

that mould: a selfish, hypocritical<br />

patriarch who would only work to<br />

further infuriate the viewer were it<br />

not for Dyrholm’s sympathetic performance<br />

in the lead role. Anna’s a<br />

bit of a doormat at times, but her<br />

suffering drops an anchor of realism<br />

from Vinterberg’s otherwise<br />

comically cynical show. ROC<br />


17.4. PRIVATCLUB<br />

BIG UPS<br />

18.4. CASSIOPEIA<br />


21.4. HUXLEYS<br />




25.4. GRETCHEN<br />


25.4. PRIVATCLUB<br />




28.4. PBHFCLUB<br />


28.4. LIDO<br />


4.5. MUSIK & FRIEDEN<br />


8.5. GRÜNER SALON<br />

TICKETS: KOKA36(.DE)<br />

DMA´S<br />

9.5. MUSIK & FRIEDEN<br />


12.5. PRIVATCLUB<br />

ALA.NI<br />

12.5. AUSTER-CLUB<br />

MAX JURY<br />



21.5. PRIVATCLUB<br />


21.5. GRETCHEN<br />




25.5. PBHFCLUB<br />


20.6. ZITADELLE<br />


20.6. HUXLEYS<br />

PIXIES<br />

18.7. ZITADELLE<br />







FILM<br />

STARTS APR 14<br />

Wild<br />

D: Nicolette Krebitz (Germany<br />

<strong>2016</strong>) with Lilith<br />

Stangenberg ◆ The<br />

thing is, if you’re asking<br />

your audience to buy a<br />

passionate affair between<br />

an introverted woman<br />

and a wolf she happens<br />

to fi nd in the city park<br />

that involves one-sided<br />

conversations, a spiritual<br />

convergence and lots of inappropriate licking, you have to<br />

earn it. Krebitz’s fi lm throws themes of feminism, sexual<br />

liberation and anarchic rebellion freely around without<br />

giving us any reason to suspend our disbelief. So beneath<br />

all these fantastic ideas with a capital I, it’s laziness and<br />

populist new-age crap you smell. ZS<br />

STARTS APR 21<br />

Chevalier<br />

D: Athina Rachel Tsangari<br />

(Greece 2015) with<br />

Vangelis Mourikis, Sakis<br />

Rouvas ◆◆◆◆ Following<br />

six friends on a fi shing<br />

trip off the Greek coast as<br />

they compete for the title<br />

of ‘Best Man In General’,<br />

Chevalier (see interview,<br />

page 28), with its almost<br />

complete lack of female<br />

characters, wouldn’t exactly pass the Bechdel test. But<br />

focused on male rivalry, it offers a wry look at modern<br />

masculinity, as fraternity quickly dissolves into backbiting.<br />

And while Tsangari might lump all men together in the<br />

same boat, the resulting fi lm is an uproarious take on the<br />

games people play against each other. MW<br />

STARTS APR 21<br />

Gods of Egypt<br />

D: Alex Proyas (USA,<br />

Australia <strong>2016</strong>) with<br />

Gerard Butler, Nikolaj<br />

Coster-Waldau ◆<br />

Proyas’ fi rst directorial<br />

outing in seven years retells<br />

the Egyptian legend<br />

The Contendings of Horus<br />

and Seth through an<br />

overdose of CGI. While<br />

the unrewarding humour<br />

is made less painful by the eclectic mix of accents, the<br />

three-dimensional mess is still recommendable only to<br />

those who’re into spending hours looking at exoticised,<br />

over-the-top robo-god-battles. Extra kudos for the<br />

straight-faced depiction of a fl at Earth with Ra’s chariot<br />

heaving the sun around. SB<br />

STARTS APR 21<br />

Embrace of the Serpent<br />

(Der Schamane und die<br />

Schlange) D: Ciro Guerra<br />

(Colombia, Venezuela,<br />

Argentina 2015) with Jan<br />

Bijvoet, Nilbio Torres<br />

◆◆◆◆ The Columbian<br />

Oscar nominee for Best<br />

Foreign Language Film<br />

is a searingly beautiful<br />

black and white vision of<br />

the Amazon, as the last<br />

warrior of an indigenous tribe is confronted by two white<br />

invaders coming in quest of the yakruna fl ower while hiding<br />

their mercenary intentions to steal a lucrative rubber<br />

plant behind promises of friendship. Evoking a lost world<br />

of shamans and animal spirits, Guerra’s fi lm is a poetic<br />

and visually haunting trip. MW<br />


IN OV WITH<br />

GERMAN<br />


UNLESS<br />


STATED<br />



Apr 6-13<br />

Flicks our picks<br />

Special screenings, festivals<br />

and retrospectives you shouldn’t<br />

miss this month<br />

APR 6-10<br />

Viva la Punk<br />

Get overpowered by punk at Moviemento for<br />

the fi fth year in a row at TOO DRUNK TO WATCH:<br />

PUNKFILMFEST BERLIN. Five days of studs and<br />

spikes on celluloid await, kicking off for kids in the<br />

morning with Finnish children’s fi lm Vilja und die<br />

Räuber and for adults with Piss On You – Winnipeg’s<br />

Early Punk Scene, followed by Burning from the<br />

Inside, a documentary on the neo-Nazi scenes of<br />

Berlin and Athens. There’s more to catch in the<br />

following days, notably CRASS: There Is No Authority<br />

But Yourself, a doc on the legendary anarcho-DIY<br />

punk band, and She’s a Punk Rocker UK about the<br />

tough, intelligent and brazen women of the original<br />

UK punk scene, as well as a reading by Attila the<br />

Stockbroker and a Soli-brunch for Sea Watch on<br />

Sunday. For dates and times, check www.toodrunktowatch.de.<br />


BERLIN | Kino Moviemento, Kottbusser Damm 22, Kreuzberg,<br />

U-Bhf Schönleinstr.<br />

APR 6-13<br />

Arabian nights in <strong>April</strong><br />

Fully grasping the diversity of communities and<br />

identities in the Arabic world requires the combined<br />

minds of 20 experts from FU and perhaps<br />

a calendar’s worth of reading. But you can get a<br />

glimpse during the seventh cycle of Berlin’s ARABIC<br />

FILM FESTIVAL (ALfilm), featuring 51 screenings of<br />

shorts, full-length features and documentaries and<br />

even a panel discussion on Jewish-Arab identity.<br />

Kicking off the festival at Arsenal on Wednesday,<br />

<strong>April</strong> 6, Tunisian debut director Leyla Bouzid’s<br />

coming-of-age drama As I Open My Eyes introduces<br />

us to 18-year-old indie rock singer Farah – played<br />

by first-time actress and real-life singer Baya<br />

Medhaffer, who’ll be present at the screening. Her<br />

rebellion from her mother through music – and the<br />


price she pays for it – refreshingly challenges the<br />

usual stereotypes, maybe because it’s above all<br />

a woman’s film, sketching out a powerful motherdaughter<br />

relationship you seldom see in Arab (and<br />

even Western) cinema. In the documentary selection,<br />

A Present From the Past sees Egyptian father<br />

travel with his daughter to requite his lost love and<br />

break tradition, and Coma gives insight on female<br />

roles through three generations of Syrian women<br />

addressing their demons, religion and trauma.<br />

The short film programme spans genres – one to<br />

catch is sci-fi short In the Future, They Ate From the<br />

Finest Porcelain, whose lonely, dystopian imagery<br />

– crockery, a dead sister and the line “they only<br />

see us when we rebel”– is compelling if baffling. A<br />

healthy dose of premieres includes the promising<br />

The Rooftops from veteran Algerian filmmaker Merzak<br />

Allouache, but the resurfaced older films in the<br />

Spotlight programme aren’t to be overlooked either.<br />

Eight years apart, historical retelling Where Are<br />

You going Moshe and black-and-white semi-comedy<br />

Theft, Love and Other Entanglements both tackle<br />

the Palestinian-Israeli relationship, while Cannes hit<br />

Much Loved (see review, page 28) which depicts the<br />

underworld of prostitution in Marrakesh, triggered a<br />

huge shitstorm at home (with lead actor Loubna Abidar<br />

having to flee for France following attacks). Full<br />

programme, including times, dates and languages,<br />

at www.alfilm.de. SB/NB ARABIC FILM FESTIVAL | various<br />

venues, check website for details<br />

APR 9-10<br />

Fresh blood<br />

The lineup of this year’s FANTASY FILMFEST<br />

NIGHTS proves once again that this specialty<br />

event is successful for a reason: the folks don’t<br />

just pick good genre movies, they pick good<br />

movies, period. For starters, this might be your<br />

last chance to see Yorgos Lanthimos’ incisive<br />

dystopian relationship comedy The Lobster on the<br />

big screen. Elsewhere, the hellishly tense slasher<br />

fl ick Green Room, set in the neo-Nazi punk rock<br />

scene featuring Patrick Stewart as a ruthless<br />

skinhead, is also an essential cinematic experience<br />

with plenty of edge-of-your-seat moments,<br />

and the British end-times thriller The Survivalist is<br />

30 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>


BERLIN<br />

Apr 13-20<br />


Thu Apr 07 // Maschinenhaus // 7:30 pm<br />


record release concert<br />

Sun Apr 10 // Maschinenhaus // 8 pm<br />


Kropinskis trio with Susanne Paul & Vladimir Karparov<br />

Apr 14 –17 // Kesselhaus<br />

LILLENORGE FESTIVAL <strong>2016</strong><br />

norwegian chamber music festival // with<br />

Camilla Kjøll, Jan Bang, Ingfrid Breie Nyhus a. o.<br />

Apr 15 & 16 // Maschinenhaus // 8 pm<br />


the Berlin beatbox boys are “back in town”<br />

Apr 23 & 24 // Kesselhaus // 8 pm<br />


the French rock-duo on tour with new album<br />

“Rockfarmers” // support: Bubba Ho-Tep<br />

Sat Apr 23 // Kesselhaus // 9 pm<br />


concert with after-show party<br />

TICKETS 030 44 31 51 00 // WWW.KESSELHAUS.NET<br />

a beautifully crafted, deeply unsettling indie gem.<br />

Need insane car chases and choreographed fights<br />

to go along with a mystery and some slapstick?<br />

Korean cop actioner Veteran has that covered. With<br />

Emelie in the programme, even the time-honoured<br />

niche of evil babysitters is represented. In short,<br />

yet another perfect occasion to celebrate our inner<br />

weirdoes of every persuasion. For the complete<br />

programme, check www.fantasyfilmfest.com. ZS<br />

FANTASY FILMFEST NIGHTS | Cinestar Sony Center, Potsdamer<br />

Str. 4, Mitte, S+U-Bhf Potsdamer Platz<br />

APR 13-20<br />

A week of Berlin on film<br />

For the 12th time, ACHTUNG BERLIN is back for this<br />

city’s most self-indulgent cinematic celebration,<br />

rounding up a bunch of new films shot or produced<br />

in Berlin or made by Berlin filmmakers (nearly 100<br />

this year!), and getting Berlin film celebs to award<br />

them prizes – mostly funded by the city government<br />

and supported by Herr Bürgermeister in person.<br />

There are always a few real gems in the mix of<br />

good films, bad films, premieres and re-runs, and<br />

the glitterati of the Berlin film world attends the<br />

opening ceremony in the palatial, commie-chic Kino<br />

International. This year, it’s Timo Jacobs, a ‘face’<br />

of German cinema, who opens the festivities with<br />

a whacked-out UFO of a comedy called Mann im<br />

Spagat, his second directorial effort since Klappe<br />

Cowboy!. Following last year’s opening downer, this<br />

urban fairytale about self-produced water, Elvis<br />

hologram shows and bike rallies should make for an<br />

anarchic kick-off. Eleven movies joust for the New<br />

Berlin Film Award, including Fado by DFFB alum Jonas<br />

Rothlaender, an utterly convincing drama about<br />

a young doctor who leaves Berlin for Lisbon to win<br />

back his ex-girlfriend. Romance (but not fulfilment) is<br />

at the heart of Daniel Carsenty’s slow-burning genre<br />

hybrid After Spring Comes Fall, a bleak tale of a<br />

Kurdish refugee recruited as an informant in Berlin<br />

by the Syrian Security Service. Meanwhile, Yoni<br />

Leyser’s Desire Will Set you Free captures Berlin’s<br />

bruised, messed-up beauty with lots of great standalone<br />

scenes and a who’s who of international<br />

lefty radicals, punks and queers. As usual, it’s the<br />

non-fiction section that truly delivers, with Britta<br />

Wauer’s Rabbi Wolff painting a charming portrait<br />

of rabbi and former political correspondent William<br />

“Willy” Wolff, and Annett Ilijew’s insightful Somos<br />

Cuba taking an intimate seven-year look at workingclass<br />

life in Havana. Another doc that stands out is<br />

Fluchtrecherchen (Skizzen), a compilation of elegant,<br />

at times playful and never preachy shorts on the<br />

refugee crisis. Bonus: keep your eyes peeled for<br />

veteran photographer and filmmaker Miron Zownir’s<br />

latest feature Back To Nothing, a baffling and at<br />

times nightmarishly disorienting odyssey through<br />

abandoned locations in Berlin, starring everyone<br />

from Birol Ünel to King Khan but strangely relegated<br />

(elevated) out of competition status. The less you<br />

know, the better; just know to not miss out! Finally,<br />

this magazine will partake in the self-congratulating<br />

festivities with its own award, handed over to an outstanding<br />

film made by an international filmmaker or<br />

tackling an international subject. Don’t miss out on<br />

the special screening of the winner of the Exberliner<br />

Film Award at Lichtblick on <strong>April</strong> 27, just one week<br />

after the fest closes. DM ACHTUNG BERLIN | various<br />

venues; full programme at www.achtungberlin.de<br />

APR 20-27<br />

Polished Polish<br />

The east wind brings a little early summer to the<br />

streets as the 11th POLISH FILM FESTIVAL sweeps<br />

through the city from Bundesplatz to the Brotfabrik.<br />

Among the plentiful fiction stock are opener 11<br />

Minutes, Jerzy Skolimowski’s glossy Venice entry,<br />

and stylish Polish-French co-production Raging<br />

Rose, following the titular unruly teen anti-heroine<br />

as she mixes herself queasily into the machinations<br />

of a man hoping to reunite with his estranged<br />

son. Documentary offerings stride boldly into<br />

heartbreak: Wojciech Staron’s meditative Brothers<br />

contrasts the faltering pace and fraternal sniping<br />

of nonagenarian siblings with the Siberian exile<br />

and adventures of their youth, while Karolina<br />

Bielawska’s reflexive Call Me Marianna follows the<br />

increasingly brutal fate of the eponymous transgender<br />

woman with tenderness, partially lensed<br />

through a table reading of a play based on her life.<br />

CE FILMPOLSKA <strong>2016</strong> | various venues; full programme at<br />

www.filmpolska.de<br />


STAGE<br />

F.I.N.D.<br />


Apr 7-17<br />

APR 1-4, 20:00<br />

Travelogue 1<br />

Sasha Waltz has been<br />

Berlin’s dance darling for<br />

over two decades, making<br />

work around town that<br />

is both expressionistic<br />

and formally complex.<br />

This month, she returns<br />

to her company’s fi rstever<br />

piece, Travelogue<br />

1: it’s the fi rst in their<br />

Travelogue Trilogy begun<br />

in 1993. The piece is an exaggerated, playful take on<br />

daily life, in which dancers re-invigorate domestic spaces<br />

with grotesquely funny movement. Radialsystem V,<br />

Holzmarktstr. 33, Friedrichshain, S-Bhf Ostbahnhof<br />

APR 2, 6-9, 20:00<br />

Tanzabend: Opposition<br />

This is the third instalment<br />

of Theater Thikwa’s<br />

dance evenings – the last<br />

two handled masculinity<br />

and overexposure. In this<br />

format, Thikwa presents<br />

two pieces developed<br />

with Berlin choreographers<br />

and the Thikwa<br />

ensemble. This time<br />

around, they’ll present on<br />

the theme of “opposition” with Iranian Modjgan Hashemian<br />

and Butoh artist Yuko Kaseki. There’s a question of<br />

political opposition, of course, but also of bodies pushing<br />

and pulling against one another. So when the bodies<br />

in question are non-normative ones, it should generate<br />

some pretty thought-provoking dance. Theater Thikwa,<br />

F40, Fidicinstr. 40, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Platz der Luftbrücke<br />

APR 8, 9, 21, 22, 29, 30, 19:30<br />

Wandering Stars<br />

Weristjack presents a<br />

“homeless revue” about<br />

Neukölln: intriguing,<br />

although it might not<br />

actually be about homelessness.<br />

Still, statelessness<br />

and “searching for<br />

a home in Neukölln” is<br />

timely enough, right?<br />

The collective brings<br />

together photographers,<br />

dancers, fi lmmakers, and musicians, so it should be an<br />

interesting mash-up of “fi rst-world problems”, handwringing<br />

about fi nding a WG, theatrical analysis of the<br />

relationship between immigrant and expat, and identity<br />

politics in Berlin’s fastest-gentrifying neighbourhood.<br />

Heimathafen Neukölln, Karl-Marx-Str. 141, Neukölln,<br />

U-Bhf Karl-Marx-Str.<br />



AM RAND DER LANDSTRASSE Claus Peymann’s latest<br />

lets Peter Handke, the so-called “poet of anger,” sing. Apr<br />

30, 19:30, Berliner Ensemble<br />

■ HEART OF A DOG Regardless of whether you’ve read<br />

the Bulgakov anti-Soviet parody, the preview photos of<br />

a woman with meat on her face are a signal that this<br />

adaptation is worth checking out. With English surtitles.<br />

Apr 24, 20:00, Deutsches Theater<br />

■ METEORITEN A World Cup fi nal, scorching summer heat,<br />

queers, outsiders, Ovid references... what’s not to love?<br />

With English surtitles. Apr 15, 19:30, Gorki Theater<br />





“No bullshit media stories”<br />

For the Schaubühne’s F.I.N.D.<br />

Festival, ANIS HAMDOUN<br />

presents his autobiographical<br />

play The Trip, which tells the<br />

stories of the friends he has lost<br />

in the Syrian confl ict. By LILY KELTING<br />

To call Hamdoun “driven” is an understatement.<br />

The writer-director came to Osnabrück from<br />

Homs, Syria, only two years ago, but he’s already<br />

a rising star in the German theatre world. The<br />

Trip hits the Schaubühne with English surtitles<br />

at 6pm and 8pm on <strong>April</strong> 8.<br />

How do you get from arriving in Berlin<br />

two years ago to the Schaubühne? I believed<br />

in myself. I have been doing theatre since I was<br />

like 10 or 12. So let’s say I had a special education<br />

in theatre. My grandfather is really big competition:<br />

he’s really famous in the Arab theatre<br />

world. He was my mentor.<br />

Have you ever not wanted to be a theatre<br />

director? I studied chemistry in Syria; I have<br />

a four-year diploma. I think the connection<br />

between chemistry and theatre was easy for me<br />

to figure out: chemistry is all about logic, and<br />

theatre – plots, conflicts – is also for me a kind<br />

of mathematical equation. So chemistry really<br />

helped me to understand the core of theatre:<br />

building a conflict and solving it, exactly like a<br />

chemical equation.<br />

How did The Trip come to be? It was originally<br />

going to be a film. When I had an internship<br />

at the state theatre, I got a meeting with<br />

the intendant and we sat for like half an hour.<br />

He said, “Tell me about yourself, you have an<br />

interesting story, you were a revolutionary in<br />

Syria, you lost your eye because of a rocket, you<br />

lost your friends, your country, and now you’re in<br />

Germany.” He was interested in me as a person.<br />

Is it painful for you to keep seeing people<br />

you’ve lost onstage as this play continues<br />

to tour? All the experiences that I had – from<br />

being a child in Syria, then a theatre maker,<br />

then a revolutionary, trying to achieve freedom<br />

in a civil country – should be seen. And these<br />

people that I knew, that I know, because they’ll<br />

always be in my memory, should be seen. But,<br />

yeah, the first two months it was really hard to<br />

see Osama on stage, a really good friend of mine<br />

who is dead. Or Mazhar, a friend who was killed<br />

next to me when he was shot with a rocket. He<br />

died, I survived. Yes, the first two months I<br />

always cried.<br />

Why do you think these stories need to<br />

be seen? Because of social media and other<br />

media in general, which is so carefully politically<br />

directed by the Syrian government, and<br />

not describing daily life in Syria, the painful<br />

struggle. We lost one million Syrians. Five<br />

hundred thousand people are in Assad’s prisons.<br />

We don’t know if they are alive or not, we<br />

don’t know if they will be released or not. We<br />

only know that they are suffering an enormous<br />

amount of torture every day until they die. And<br />

these facts should be put on stage in an artistic,<br />

theatrical way.<br />

So what’s next? My production team is<br />

planning a docu-fiction film called Newcomers,<br />

which is actually the term that Hannah Arendt<br />

used in her diary about refugees. She said, “I<br />

would prefer to be called a newcomer than a<br />

refugee in America.” Germany has taken refugees<br />

in and Germany has sent refugees around<br />

the world. The same country, two stories. So<br />

the contemporary protagonists will be refugees,<br />

Syrian, Arghanistani, Somali. They’ll tell their<br />

stories. Not bullshit media stories. And on the<br />

other side, parallel, we’ll hear Brecht, Arendt,<br />

Erich Maria Remarque. These famous German<br />

people had such a similar experience.<br />

32 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

What do you mean by “bullshit media<br />

stories”? We’re not like we’re painted, like<br />

“the poor people.” No. Me, at least: I have a<br />

certificate from Cambridge to teach English. I<br />

come from an international family. I will fight<br />

to be the best of the best in Germany. I mean, a<br />

16-year-old kid who came from Egypt on a boat<br />

to Germany, nine days in the sea with no food<br />

– this is my cousin, by the way, who now lives<br />

in Holland and will study medicine – this kid<br />

has more life experience than a 50-year-old man<br />

who hasn’t seen the war. This cousin of mine has<br />

more intelligence and more power than half the<br />

population. ■<br />

F.I.N.D. <strong>2016</strong>:<br />

What else to see<br />

The Schaubühne’s Festival International Neue<br />

Dramatik is in its 16th year and better than<br />

ever. What started as a chance to let young<br />

playwrights shine in a scene dominated by<br />

directors has become one of the leading<br />

international festivals in Berlin, with heavy<br />

hitters like Milo Rau and Romeo Castellucci<br />

alongside emerging international artists from<br />

Egypt (The Last Supper), Iran (Hearing), Sweden<br />

(Wild Minds) and many more.<br />

Rau will premiere the second instalment of<br />

his “European Trilogy”, THE DARK AGES (Apr<br />

16-17, 20:00). As the bonds that tie Europe<br />

together grow increasingly strained, Rau’s<br />

Serbian, Bosnian, Russian and German<br />

actors bring these questions down to the<br />

human scale. His trademark researched-todeath<br />

documentary style is underscored by<br />

the avant-garde Slovenian band Laibach, the<br />

first Western rock group to play Pyongyang,<br />

North Korea.<br />

Meanwhile, Castellucci usually cuts a<br />

controversial figure – we’ve found his work to<br />

be at once inscrutable and sublime. F.I.N.D.<br />

presents his adaptation of the second book of<br />

ethics by Spinoza, NATURA E ORIGINE DELLA<br />

MENTE (Apr 15, 19:00, 21:30; Apr 16, 18:00,<br />

22:30. The philosopher argues that minds<br />

are not separate from bodies and that human<br />

beings are not separate from the rest of<br />

nature. And so provocateur Castellucci stages<br />

a conversation between a woman hanging<br />

from a wire by just her fingertip and a shaggy<br />

black dog.<br />

All performances will be shown with English surtitles at<br />

the Schaubühne, Kurfürstendamm 153, Charlottenburg,<br />

U-Bhf Adenauer Platz.<br />

From 14th of <strong>April</strong><br />

upto 22th of May<br />

IRIS<br />


Opera by<br />

P. Mascagni<br />

F.I.N.D. <strong>2016</strong><br />

“The geniuses will be bored”<br />

English-Irish group Dead Centre<br />

bring their mix of philosophical<br />

existentialism and craic to Germany<br />

for the first time. Co-artistic director<br />

Bush Moukarzel talked us through<br />

their two pieces at F.I.N.D.<br />

LIPPY: “It’s based on a true story from Ireland<br />

in 2000: an aunt and three nieces boarded<br />

themselves in a house and starved themselves<br />

to death over 40 days in a mysterious<br />

suicide pact. The event got explained away<br />

through certain narratives: ‘OK, these women<br />

were living in the Silicon Valley of Ireland,<br />

and look how alienated they were,’ that sort<br />

of thing. Lippy involves the whole process of<br />

trying to put words into peoples’ mouths, to tell a<br />

story that isn’t yours to tell. I suppose playwriting<br />

also puts words into people’s mouths. The work<br />

explores the limits of what we know and what we<br />

should be trying to know.” Apr 16, 16:00, 22:30; Apr<br />

17, 18:00<br />

CHEKHOV’S FIRST PLAY (photo): “We’re interested<br />

in so-called geniuses before they were geniuses.<br />

Which is nice, because I’m not a genius. Maybe<br />

there will be a couple geniuses in the audience,<br />

in which case they’ll be bored. Seeing The Cherry<br />

Orchard or these perfect late works of Chekhov<br />

is wonderful, but it’s as elegant as the theory of<br />

relativity. Chekhov’s first play is a sprawling, contradictory,<br />

untitled document. When I look at someone<br />

working something out, that’s where I can come<br />

in. We wanted an unfinished play for unfinished<br />

people.” Apr 8, 20:00; Apr 10, 19:30<br />


Not only lascivious desire<br />

but an entire “culture<br />

war” is projected onto the<br />

bodies of girls in many<br />

places: traditional values<br />

versus the temptations of<br />

modernity, religious and<br />

traditional boundaries<br />

against the rich world,<br />

itself nearly free of taboos<br />

and boundaries, narrated<br />

in this tale of “Iris”.<br />

neukoellneroper.de<br />

Karl-Marx-Str. 131–133<br />

D-12043 Berlin<br />

Tel.: 030 / 68 89 07 77<br />

tickets@neukoellneroper.de<br />


STAGE<br />

APR 9-10, 20:00<br />

TITLE<br />

Berlin-based choreographer<br />

Clément Layes studied<br />

fi rst as a philosopher.<br />

In his most recent piece,<br />

TITLE, he thinks through<br />

our relationship with the<br />

material world. He constructs<br />

and deconstructs<br />

worlds of objects on stage<br />

at Sophiensaele – wood<br />

planks, tin cans, a toy car,<br />

a bottle of wine. Layes is spry and playful; the choreography<br />

childlike and almost clown-ish. It’s just a bunch of<br />

stuff, but TITLE spins narrative and emotions out of these<br />

objects, making us reconsider just how intertwined we are<br />

with stuff in our daily lives. Sophiensaele, Sophienstr.<br />

18, Mitte, U-Bhf Weinmeisterstr.<br />

APR 22, 23, 19:30; APR 24, 20:00<br />

Unterwerfung (Submission)<br />

The biggest book-release<br />

brouhaha award of 2015<br />

must go to Michel Houellebecq’s<br />

novel Submission.<br />

The wry dystopian<br />

fi ction, set in 2022 after<br />

a political party called<br />

the Muslim Brotherhood<br />

has been democratically<br />

elected, was released the<br />

day of the Charlie Hebdo<br />

shootings. Directors have made quick work of adapting<br />

the novel for the stage, despite the work’s diffi culty: it was<br />

presented in Hamburg in February. Now, Submission comes<br />

to the Deutsches Theater in a premiere from house director<br />

Stephan Kimmig. With English surtitles. Deutsches Theater,<br />

Schumannstr. 13, Mitte, S-Bhf Oranienburger Str.<br />

APR 30, 18:00<br />

Remote Mitte<br />

Audio theatre, we’ve seen:<br />

but documentary-theatre<br />

stalwarts Rimini Protokoll<br />

use the genre to question<br />

our relationship with the<br />

guiding voices of robots.<br />

Remote Mitte is a kind of<br />

“choose your own binaural<br />

adventure,” complete with<br />

wireless headphones. It’s<br />

one thing to take directions<br />

from Siri, but quite another to do so alongside a group of<br />

strangers, moving and making choices as both an individual<br />

and part of a pack. The piece has been performed<br />

around the world, using cities from Moscow to Bangalore<br />

as backdrop. Now, under the auspices of the Gorki Theater,<br />

the piece returns to Berlin. Meeting point: Invalidienfriedhof,<br />

Mitte, U-Bhf Schwartzkopffstr. Tickets at gorki.de.<br />


■ GLEN WOOL Quatsch Comedy Club and host Christian<br />

Schulte-Loh present another English Comedy Night, bringing<br />

international comedic talent to Mitte. This month, Wool<br />

should be a highlight – like being yelled at by a Canadian<br />

Jack Black. Plus Brits Maureen Younger and Markus Birdman.<br />

Apr 27, 20:00, Quatsch<br />

■ WE ARE NOT GEMÜSED Up your cheesy-vegetable-pun<br />

quotient by heading to Neukölln on Tuesday nights, where<br />

you’ll fi nd the long-running comedy open mic hosted by<br />

British comedian Caroline Clifford. There’s a new lineup of<br />

Berlin stand-up regulars and newcomers each time; you<br />

can throw your own hat into the ring on their Facebook<br />

page. Tuesdays, 20:30, Sameheads<br />



Three questions<br />

for... Amy Evans<br />

In 2005, Sierra Leonian asylum seeker<br />

Oury Jalloh was tied to a bed in a jail cell<br />

in Dessau and burned alive. His killers<br />

have not yet been found. American<br />

playwright Evans premieres The Most<br />

Unsatisfi ed Town, a fi ctionalised take on<br />

Jalloh’s story, at ETB on <strong>April</strong> 7.<br />

Jalloh died 11 years ago. What’s your take<br />

on his murder’s relevance today? Since I<br />

first heard the story of Oury Jalloh, there have<br />

been so many cases of police brutality. Sandra<br />

Bland, Michael Brown: unfortunately, the list<br />

is extremely long. But even before I started<br />

making those connections, I thought of Emmett<br />

Till. His death became kind of a symbol<br />

for what racism in the South looked like in the<br />

1950s and 1960s.<br />

So what Till was to the American South,<br />

Oury Jalloh is to Germany? Yes. I think it's<br />

extraordinary that the name Oury Jalloh has<br />

become something that carries this weight in<br />

Germany and internationally. It means that in<br />

spite of this consensus of silence on the part of<br />

police authorities in Dessau, there were enough<br />

people, many of whom associated with the<br />

Initative [for Justice for Oury Jalloh], who went<br />

to Dessau every year, who demonstrated, who<br />


The black hole<br />

in the storm<br />

Lebanese multimedia artist Rabih<br />

Mroué tackles his home country’s civil<br />

war in HAU retrospective OUTSIDE THE<br />


The Lebanese Civil War has been on Mroué’s<br />

mind for the better part of the last three decades.<br />

Fifteen years of violent confl ict between a handful<br />

of factions makes for a confusing subject: how<br />

do you make sense of the over 150,000 lives<br />

lost? And so Mroué uses all the tools at his<br />

disposal to give these experiences a narrative<br />

shape – performance, writing, video, visual<br />


TOWN APR 7-10, 13-16,<br />

19-22, 20:00| English<br />

Theatre Berlin, Fidicinstr. 40,<br />

Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Platz der<br />

Luftbrücke<br />

kept the story in the media. There were enough<br />

people loud enough that not even the Dessau<br />

authorities, who have been trying hard to bury<br />

this thing, could do it.<br />

You researched asylum seekers while writing<br />

this play. Any insights? What struck me<br />

over and over again in 2009-2010 was my feeling<br />

that there was a concerted effort to hide the<br />

presence of people seeking asylum. Once, I had<br />

a teaching gig at a wastewater treatment plant,<br />

about as far out of the city as you can get. And<br />

across the street was a Flüchtlingslager. And I was<br />

like, "You've got to be kidding me, really? This is<br />

where you're going to put people who have come<br />

seeking assistance and support – you're going to<br />

put them out across the field from where Berlin's<br />

shit goes?" And that image has stayed with me.<br />

art, philosophy – with an oblique approach that<br />

results in stunning imagery. His brother’s inability<br />

to process language after a shelling injury<br />

becomes a metaphor for the failure of representation<br />

in Riding on a Cloud (Apr 1, 20:30; Apr<br />

3, 19:00, HAU1). In 33RPM and a few seconds,<br />

Mroué and Lina Majdalanie, a frequent collaborator,<br />

investigate the suicide note of a young<br />

Lebanese artist who insisted that he took his<br />

own life on personal rather than political grounds<br />

(Apr 3, 17:00, 21:00, HAU3). In the performance,<br />

though, the protagonist never appears, a black<br />

hole at the centre of a storm of media attention,<br />

collaged in fi lms and projections. The works are<br />

fi lled with paradoxes like<br />


INSIDE US Mar 30-<br />

Apr 3 | HAU1, HAU2,<br />

HAU3, Kreuzberg,<br />

full programme at<br />

hebbel-am-ufer.de<br />

this: between presence and<br />

absence, fact and fi ction, and<br />

so to see them is to dwell in<br />

a place of uncertainty and<br />

confusion. But not knowing,<br />

or approaching a situation<br />

from many sides, might form<br />

the core of an anti-war ethos<br />

for Mroué. As a retrospective,<br />

Outside the Image Inside<br />

Us shows that keeping the<br />

loose ends untied and the<br />

questions open is what<br />

Mroué’s career has been all<br />

about. LK<br />

34 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

MUSIC<br />

2 classic alBums in 1 night<br />

d-a-d + thunder mother<br />

04.05.16 · huxleys<br />

cypress hill<br />

13.06.16 · zitadelle<br />

20 Years of placeBo<br />

07.11.16 · mercedes-Benz-arena<br />

COLUMN<br />

Record store daze By KEVIN CHOW<br />

Records: they’re not just for hipsters anymore!<br />

Back when the first RECORD STORE DAY happened<br />

in 2007, the unwieldy format was just<br />

starting to make a return into the homes of<br />

audiophiles and Wes Anderson acolytes<br />

as a reaction against the sterility of the<br />

iTunes library. Now, albums from the<br />

likes of Adele and Kanye West are being<br />

pressed to vinyl with eager collectors<br />

snatching them up, €20-plus price<br />

tag be damned. Coupled with new vinyl<br />

producing factories around the world and Panasonic’s<br />

revival of the iconic SL-1200 turntable<br />

(for a whopping €4000), it seems the scene is<br />

back in mainstream rotation.<br />

All along, Record Store Day has been pushing<br />

the Schallplatte with special releases in limited<br />

quantities shipped out to record shops around<br />

the world. For this year’s edition on <strong>April</strong> 16, that<br />

includes a glow-in-the-dark re-issue of Outkast’s<br />

“Elevators (Me & You)” 12-inch... as well as 3000<br />

vinyl copies of the Justin Bieber single “Where<br />

are Ü Now”, flogged by “ambassadors” and masters<br />

of integrity, Metallica. (No wonder the real<br />

hipsters have been turning to cassettes lately.)<br />

Meanwhile, Berlin’s indie record store owners<br />

look on with bemusement. “Vinyl died once; it<br />

won’t die twice,” says Detlef Müller, die-hard<br />

vinyl junkie and owner of the 31-year-old GROOVE<br />

RECORDS in Kreuzberg. After the advent of CDs<br />

in the early 1990s, Müller’s stock of records<br />

became practically worthless. Only Berlin’s<br />

turntable-obsessed techno DJs kept Groove<br />

from obsolescence until the current revival.<br />

Several blocks away at the RECORD LOFT<br />

by Kotti (see page 19), stern-faced diggers<br />

flip through some 20,000 techno and dance<br />

12-inches, smoking and taking periodic breaks<br />

to listen to their stack of selections. “The<br />

record shop is a cultural hub,” says owner<br />

BERLIN<br />

VINYL<br />

Christian Pannenborg, who opened his official<br />

store in 2012 after running a semi-illegal one in<br />

a friend’s flat for years. “A record is a physical<br />

manifestation of culture. When you’re<br />

dealing with records you’re dealing with<br />

something that has cultural meaning –<br />

that’s not a joke! Records give people<br />

who don’t fit into the mainstream<br />

culture an identity.”<br />

You won’t see Record Loft or Groove<br />

listed on the participating stores for Record<br />

Store Day – Müller and Pannenborg prefer to<br />

leave the corporate kowtowing to places like<br />

HHV and Dussmann. For Müller, Record Store<br />

Day is just a scheme masterminded by the big<br />

labels. “It’s a big business. You can make a lot of<br />

money on weapons, alcohol and music.” To order<br />

a complete stock of records from the Record<br />

Store Day releases, shops have to shell out over<br />

€2000 for records that don’t necessarily reflect<br />

the taste of the owners. “There’s an emotional<br />

connection to the selection your shop offers,”<br />

says Pannenborg, whose stock, an outgrowth of<br />

his personal collection, reflects the entire history<br />

of dance music. Compared with the seemingly<br />

random and pricey list of Record Store Day<br />

releases, it’s hard to see where they’d fit.<br />

But the Berlin indie record scene has its own<br />

celebration in <strong>April</strong>: the second annual UNDER-<br />

GROUND EUROPE record swap and fair (<strong>April</strong> 29-<br />

30, Marie Antoinette) gives a space to celebrate<br />

the love of the outdated format and the music<br />

on it. From hardcore punk to industrial, garage<br />

to electronic and indie to thrash metal, independent<br />

collectors and dealers will be hauling<br />

out their crates for international record nerds to<br />

peruse and swap stories over. It’s moments like<br />

this where the true beauty of vinyl collecting<br />

comes into play – meeting and talking to actual<br />

humans, no Metallica involved. n<br />

katie melua With the gori<br />

Women‘s choir 16.11.16 · admiralspalast<br />

king charles<br />

07.04.16 · musik & Frieden<br />

kygo<br />

+ anna of the north + sonny alven<br />

10.04.16 · columbiahalle<br />

converge blood moon<br />

+ crippled Black phoenix + 40 Watt sun<br />

11.04.16 · PBHFcLuB<br />

james morrison<br />

16.04.16 · Huxleys<br />

nada surf<br />

18.04.16 · Huxleys<br />

loyle carner<br />

19.04.16 · musik & Frieden<br />

allen stone<br />

+ laWrence taylor<br />

21.04.16 · Bi nuu<br />

heather peace<br />

25.04.16 · columbia theater<br />

Walking on cars<br />

03.05.16 · Frannz<br />

southside johnny<br />

& the asBury jukes<br />

10.05.16 · columbia theater<br />

puBlic image ltd.<br />

+ loveByrd<br />

14.05.16 · Huxleys<br />

mark lanegan<br />

+ suzie stapleton<br />

18.05.16 ·Passionskirche<br />

gov‘t mule<br />

19.05.16 · Huxleys<br />

travis<br />

23.05.16 · Huxleys<br />

35<br />


MUSIC<br />

SUN, APR 3, 21:00<br />

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons<br />

RuPaul’s reality TV franchise,<br />

in which a group<br />

of drag queens compete<br />

for the title of “America’s<br />

Next Drag Superstar”, put<br />

drag on the global map<br />

of mass entertainment.<br />

Hosted by Drag Race<br />

judge Michelle Visage,<br />

the show’s live version<br />

will debut in Berlin with<br />

over a dozen past contestants and all the lip-syncing you<br />

could wish for. In case the words ‘snatch game’, ‘serving<br />

fi sh’ and ‘kai kai’ mean nothing to you, don’t worry. After<br />

an evening with RuPaul’s drag royalty, you’ll be fl uent in<br />

ballroom chatter. MH Admiralspalast, Friedrichstr. 101,<br />

Mitte, S-Bhf Friedrichstr.<br />

MON, APR 4, 19:00<br />

Julia Kadel Trio<br />

The trio, led by Kreuzberg<br />

native and master pianist<br />

Julia Kadel, are celebrating<br />

the release of their<br />

latest album Über und<br />

Unter on the legendary<br />

jazz label Blue Note, joining<br />

the ranks of (primarily<br />

male) jazz piano greats<br />

like Herbie Hancock,<br />

Thelonius Monk and Errol<br />

Garner. Given the release of their second record on such<br />

an iconic label and their nomination for two Echo awards,<br />

this might be one of the last times Kadel and co. will play<br />

such an intimate setting – so if you’re a jazz fan, don’t<br />

miss out. KC Roter Salon, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Mitte,<br />

U-Bhf Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz<br />

WED, APR 6, 21:00<br />

Amanda Bergman<br />

Amanda Bergman<br />

delivers dreamy synth<br />

compositions with a voice<br />

that has the melancholic<br />

maturity of Beach<br />

House’s Victoria Legrand<br />

and lyrics with the narrative<br />

drive of Bob Dylan.<br />

All these comparisons<br />

might come across as a<br />

little too verkopft, yet the<br />

Sweden-born musician doesn’t shy away from pumping<br />

up the reverb and U2-like displays of fl amboyance. With<br />

her solo debut album Docks, she’s ready to conquer all of<br />

Berlin’s singer-songwriter lovers in a heartbeat. NB<br />

Grüner Salon, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz 2, U-Bhf Rosa-<br />

Luxenburg-Platz.<br />

THU, APR 7, 21:00<br />

Kometenmelodien: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith<br />

Inspired by the grandiose<br />

natural setting of Orcas<br />

Island in the northwestern<br />

region of Washington<br />

state, the former sound<br />

engineering student and<br />

sometime fi lm composer<br />

invites us into her<br />

playful, mind-expanding<br />

universe with the<br />

modular synthesiser and<br />

her own voice as the main motors on her third album<br />

Ears. Smith slowly fuses the two instruments in her<br />

polyphonic, yet melodic compositions and creates a<br />

space of rhythmical, meditative patterns. NB Kantine<br />

am Berghain, Am Wriezener Bahnhof, Friedrichshain,<br />

S-Bhf Ostbahnhof<br />



“We’re a bit like the mafi a”<br />

Everyone’s favourite Franco-German<br />

liaison STEREO TOTAL takes over<br />

Lido for a threesome with new<br />

album Les Hormones. By Michael Hoh<br />

When Françoise Cactus and Brezel Göring met<br />

at a bakery on Adalbertstraße in the early 1990s,<br />

they laid the groundwork for one of Berlin’s<br />

most beloved lo-fi pop exports. Ten albums later,<br />

the duo has toured the world countless times,<br />

passing through South America, the United<br />

States and Japan, coming home each time to<br />

their humble abode on Oranienplatz. Celebrating<br />

the release of Les Hormones (Staatsakt) with<br />

three consecutive gigs at Lido this month,<br />

Stereo Total invited us in for a little Kiez talk.<br />

As longtime Kreuzbergers, what do you<br />

think of all the Kotti headlines lately?<br />

BREZEL GÖRING: I’ve always felt safe in Berlin<br />

– excluding Hellersdorf maybe. Also, I don’t<br />

think that it’s just been in the past years that<br />

the world around Kotti has changed. In the<br />

1980s, when I moved to Kreuzberg, police<br />

drove through the streets as quickly as possible.<br />

They always had barred car windows, and<br />

their cars had dents all over. That was the usual<br />

appearance of the Ordnungsmacht here, coming<br />

in hordes and wearing helmets. The entire<br />

area here was considered ‘unpacified’. Leftist<br />

structures and squats had an entirely different<br />

momentum and force. That has been largely<br />

replaced by commerce.<br />

Do you feel the need to react artistically?<br />

BG: With the camp on Oranienplatz or the<br />

conflicts at Gerhard-Hauptmann-Schule, I<br />

could have seen myself reacting by organising<br />

concerts, but not through songwriting.<br />

We don’t write songs like Ton Steine Scherben<br />

would have, but our basis is the [former squat]<br />

Georg-von-Rauch-Haus. We live in the remnants<br />

of this past world.<br />


Wed, Apr 20; Sun,<br />

Apr 24; Mon,<br />

Apr 25; 20:30 |<br />

Lido, Cuvrystr. 7,<br />

Kreuzberg, U-Bhf<br />

Schlesisches Tor<br />

SIM GIL<br />

36 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

FRANÇOISE CACTUS: Our lyrics are feminist<br />

and convey certain anarchistic vibes, but they<br />

are not political in a direct sense. It’s rather an<br />

atmosphere.<br />

How much political impact can you have<br />

with music?<br />

BG: The shocking element of punk rock music<br />

was sucked up by the mainstream as much<br />

as feminism by Beyoncé or revolution by<br />

Madonna. By now, the media have swallowed<br />

every kind of subversive attitude. It’s illusory<br />

to think that an artist can have great political<br />

impact with music. We live in times without<br />

glamour and grace; things are very prosaic.<br />

On the other hand, it’s pretty easy to create<br />

a disturbing listening experience if the bass is<br />

missing, for example, making common radio<br />

listeners feel uncomfortable immediately.<br />

Are there any subjects you’d refuse to<br />

tackle?<br />

FC: I wouldn’t write a song about Angela<br />

Merkel. [Laughs] Although, why not? Maybe if<br />

I wrote it in Titanic magazine style! I wouldn’t<br />

want to write pornographic songs or a song in<br />

which I flounce around like a sex bomb. Many<br />

mainstream singers always put their sexiness<br />

in the foreground. I wouldn’t want to do it. I<br />

don’t want to embarrass myself. But you can<br />

write songs about everything. You just have to<br />

find the right form, and strike the right chord.<br />

I have heaps of songs in drawers, boxes and<br />

suitcases. Later, when I’m old and there’s no<br />

one to support me, I will sell my songs.<br />

As a couple, do you find it irritating when<br />

people draw conclusions from your songs<br />

about your private life?<br />

BG: Sometimes, people really believe that our<br />

songs are 100 percent autobiographical. Well,<br />

they’re not. When we wrote ”Liebe zu Dritt”,<br />

journalists asked us if we usually have other<br />

‘guests’ in our bed. [Laughs] Of course, everything<br />

an artist does has to do with his or her<br />

life, you can’t separate them, but you can’t take<br />

our songs at face value. There are more layers<br />

to discover.<br />

You’ve proven that couples can also work<br />

together successfully.<br />

FC: I find it more problematic when couples<br />

don’t have anything to do with each other<br />

except going to a restaurant on Wednesdays or<br />

to the cinema once a week. Maybe if they have<br />

good conversations and very good sex, maybe<br />

then it works, but I don’t know for how long.<br />

[Laughs] It’s just a stupid prejudice to believe<br />

that you’ll break up just because you work together.<br />

Quite the contrary. People usually ask,<br />

“How can you do that; living together, making<br />

music together, touring together?” So what,<br />

couples also go on holidays together.<br />

BG: We’re a bit like the mafia. It’s an example<br />

of a well-run family business. [Laughs]<br />

FC: Often problems arise in bands because all<br />

musicians are egomaniacs. They get totally<br />

frustrated when they realise the bass player has<br />

more success and what not. But because he’s my<br />

Stereo Total<br />

in six dates<br />

1993 Françoise Cactus<br />

and Brezel Göring meet<br />

at a bakery on Adalbertstraße.<br />

1995 Release debut<br />

album Oh Ah.<br />

1998 Tour Japan for<br />

the first time with third<br />

album Jukebox Alarm.<br />

2004 Cactus causes<br />

outrage over crocheted<br />

“Wollita” doll at a Bethanien exhibition and<br />

writes a novel about it.<br />

2011 Take the stage at HAU to perform their<br />

musical comedy In der Hölle des Rock‘N’Roll.<br />

<strong>2016</strong> Release 10th studio album<br />

Les Hormones.<br />

boyfriend, I’m happy for him when people like<br />

him. I can’t get jealous, that would be strange.<br />

Eight-track recording. Restriction or<br />

blessing?<br />

FC: It’s good to restrict myself in everything<br />

I do. I tend to spread myself too thin. When<br />

I paint, I restrict myself to only using three<br />

colours, for instance. If you start recording<br />

music with 50 different tracks, computer programmes<br />

and such, you get totally lost and blur<br />

your original idea. That’s why I like the sound<br />

of old records. You don’t need a separate mic<br />

and track for each shitty drum part.<br />

BG: These days, it’s not so important to have<br />

overbearing arrangements, it’s more important<br />

to make decisions, and do things fast at the<br />

right time. Primitive techniques like ours help<br />

us a lot in that. It took us a long time to record<br />

our new album, but sometimes we went to our<br />

studio just once every three weeks, recorded a<br />

song and were done. It’s all about a good idea,<br />

and the right vibe when recording it. Someone<br />

said about Bob Dylan that the sound of<br />

his voice might have had more of a political<br />

impact than his lyrics.<br />

Do you think you’d have the same impact<br />

if you had started out in a city like Paris?<br />

FC: It’s a special situation for me here as a<br />

permanent tourist. I would never have written<br />

German songs had I stayed in France; why<br />

should I have? But it would’ve been a pity. I<br />

also would’ve written different lyrics in French.<br />

I play a lot with French clichés. In France, I<br />

probably never would have done that. Not only<br />

the lyrics, Berlin is a unique city with a unique<br />

music history...<br />

BG: Even if people arrive in Berlin from other<br />

German cities, they’re astounded by how people<br />

look here. Everyone falls short of any limits<br />

of taste, which influences the city’s climate. In<br />

the 1980s and 1990s, I always felt like competitiveness<br />

didn’t exist amongst musicians. I was<br />

shocked about the pushy behaviour amongst<br />

musicians in other cities – here, people felt<br />

embarrassed if they were successful. n<br />

LÉON<br />

Mo. 04.04. Einlass 20:00 Prince Charles<br />


Fr. 29.04. Einlass 19:00 PBHFCLUB<br />


Mi. 11.05. Einlass 19:00 Monarch<br />


Fr. 20.05. Einlass 19:00 Astra Kulturhaus<br />


So. 29.05. Einlass 19:00 Maschinenhaus<br />

WEAVES<br />

Do. 02.06. Einlass 19:00 FluxBau<br />

Infos unter www.mct-agentur.com<br />

tickets > www.tickets.de und 030-6110 1313<br />


Support: SHURA<br />

06.04. Columbiahalle<br />


Support: GFOTY<br />

05.04. PBHFCLUB<br />


Special Guest: THE FIELD (LIVE)<br />


08.04. Columbia Theater<br />

THE 1975<br />

Support: THE JAPANESE<br />

HOUSE<br />

08.04. Columbiahalle<br />


12.04. PBHFCLUB<br />


13.04. Prince Charles<br />

meltbooking.com<br />

facebook.com/wearemeltbooking<br />


Support: JODIE ABACUS<br />

22.04. Heimathafen<br />

PUSHA T<br />

Support: YUNG HURN<br />

25.04. Kesselhaus<br />


27.04. Prince Charles<br />

KANO<br />

02.05. Prince Charles<br />


02.05. Yaam<br />


05.06. Kantine am Berghain<br />


MUSIC<br />

FRI, APR 8, 23:59<br />

Leisure System Live in Surround Sound<br />

“Life takes place in<br />

surround sound,” is<br />

the motto behind this<br />

exploratory electronic<br />

night, for which Berghain’s<br />

legendary Funktion-One<br />

sound system is being<br />

reconfi gured to accommodate<br />

immersive 3D<br />

performances from three<br />

live acts (Aleksi Perälä,<br />

Max Cooper and Monolake). With music ranging from<br />

ambient to IDM to techno and Leisure System residents<br />

Barker, N>E>D, and Gonsher behind the decks, this special<br />

night at the Big B is perfect for both die-hard partiers<br />

and tech heads alike. KC Berghain, Am Wriezener<br />

Bahnhof, Friedrichshain, S-Bhf Ostbahnhof<br />

SAT, APR 9, 22.00<br />

Guido Möbius<br />

”Music should be<br />

surprising – I’m bored<br />

the minute I know what’s<br />

happening next”, the<br />

Berlin-based multiinstrumentalist,<br />

music<br />

publisher and promoter<br />

Guido Möbius has said,<br />

and he himself seems to<br />

live life according to this<br />

mantra. His main instrument<br />

might be the guitar, but he is no stranger to bass,<br />

mouth harp, banjo, percussion, keyboard or glockenspiel,<br />

which he likes to send through samplers and various<br />

effects creating a teasing, industrial sound that never fails<br />

to keep listeners on their feet. NB Urban Spree, Revaler<br />

Str. 99, S+U-Bhf Warschauer Str.<br />

FRI, APR 15, 21:00<br />

Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks<br />

“Where we’re from, the<br />

birds sing a pretty song...<br />

and there’s always music<br />

in the air…” Whether<br />

you’re still grieving over<br />

Laura Palmer, eagerly<br />

awaiting the third season<br />

of the 1990s cult classic<br />

or just a Lynch fan looking<br />

for a quick fi x, Xiu Xiu’s<br />

dissonant and electric<br />

interpretation of Angelo Badalamenti’s iconic soundtrack<br />

(commissioned by the Gallery of Modern Art in Australia)<br />

is a one-way ticket back to the dark and mysterious world<br />

of Twin Peaks, made just that little bit darker and more<br />

mysterious by the ex-crematorium setting. KC Silent<br />

Green Kulturquartier, Gerichtstr. 35, S+U-Bhf Wedding<br />

WED, APR 27, 20:00<br />

Aziza Brahim<br />

Dancing between traditional<br />

Sahrawi music and<br />

Western music traditions<br />

like jazz and blues, fl a-<br />

menco and folk, Brahim’s<br />

music is an apt representation<br />

of her life. A refugee<br />

from the deserts of<br />

Algeria, the musician has<br />

gathered infl uences and<br />

experiences from Cuba<br />

and Spain and infused those moments into her music,<br />

rife with dense, danceable rhythms and lyrics that extol<br />

the heartbreak of a search for home. With refugee rights<br />

on the tips of everyone’s tongues, Brahim’s music is more<br />

relevant than ever. KC Yaam, An der Schillingbrücke 3,<br />

Friedrichshain, S-Bhf Ostbahnhof<br />




A chat with... Liima<br />

Last year, the Danes of Efterklang<br />

joined up with their friend, Finnish<br />

percussionist Tatu Rönkkö, to form<br />

new supergroup LIIMA, coming to<br />

Berghain this month. By KEVIN CHOW<br />

Efterklang went on hiatus in January 2014 to<br />

“explore new musical territories”; judging from<br />

their collaborations with everyone from Vincent<br />

Moon to the South Denmark Philharmonic and<br />

their current project, which combines guitars<br />

with looping electronics and Rönkkö’s inventive<br />

percussion, they’ve been doing just that. Debut<br />

record ii came out last month, and the foursome<br />

hits Berghain on Thursday, <strong>April</strong> 21.<br />

What inspired the new project?<br />

TATU RÖNKKÖ: We have a “residency” concept<br />

behind this band – we wanted to compose all<br />

the music from scratch in a new place. The<br />

first residency was in summer 2014 in Finland,<br />

then Berlin in autumn 2014, Istanbul in January<br />

2015 and Madeira in May 2015. Four different<br />

environments; four different seasons. We did a<br />

lot of field recording and sampling: a traditional<br />

Finnish instrument, the sound of a grilling steak<br />

or some ice cream bells in Istanbul. It felt like<br />

a natural way of making music. All the songs on<br />

this debut album are from these four residencies.<br />

What’s the meaning of ‘Liima’?<br />

TR: It means ‘glue’ in Finnish. Liima started at a<br />

chamber music festival in South Finland. They<br />

invited Efterklang to do a collaboration with me,<br />

so we called ourselves Efterklang + Tatu Rönkkö<br />

but after half a year it sounded silly. So then we<br />

were rehearsing here and we found the name<br />

after a lot of suggestions.<br />

MADS BRAUER: It’s a hard task. The music comes<br />

LIIMA Thu, <strong>April</strong><br />

21, 20:00 |<br />

Berghain, Am<br />

Wriezener Bahnhof,<br />

Friedrichshain,<br />

S-Bhf Ostbahnhof<br />

naturally to us, but everything with names and<br />

titles is difficult. All good band names are taken!<br />

Do you take any influence from Berlin<br />

techno?<br />

CASPER CLAUSEN: Yeah. I go occasionally to<br />

Berghain. In order to really understand Berlin<br />

you have to go to these places. You could hang<br />

out at the Brandenburger Tor if that’s your thing,<br />

but these places are what’s really happening.<br />

Obviously, this electronic element which we’ve<br />

always had in our music gets coloured by where<br />

you are. A lot of the songs on our album have a<br />

lot of this Berlin techno-ish vibe to them; in the<br />

vein of Apparat or someone like that.<br />

Would you say the band fits into the Berlin<br />

electronic music scene?<br />

TR: We don’t think about categories or trying to<br />

fit into a particular scene. Whatever you do here,<br />

there are a bunch of geeks that will come and see<br />

you. Some venues have a very clear stamp of the<br />

scene around them – like Berghain, for example.<br />

CC: What we realised here in Berlin is that we<br />

wanted to make more physical music – music you<br />

listen to with other people, not just by yourself<br />

with headphones in the U-Bahn. That’s what we<br />

want with our live concerts – to get people to<br />

gather around and move their bodies!<br />

TR: In Berlin, we figured out that we might<br />

want to explore this danceable, rhythmic music.<br />

Not like, “Let’s make EDM”, but music with a<br />

danceable quality. Maybe it’s the techno influence<br />

at the back of our minds. Being at a place<br />

like Berghain, it’s a kind of ritual where all these<br />

people dance together or dance on their own but<br />

together in one space. It’s really inspiring to see<br />

them react to your music. n<br />


38 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>


The great indoors<br />

Just a few weeks before Berlin’s abundance of<br />

open-air shenanigans lures the vampiric winter<br />

club crowd towards sunnier pastures, showery<br />

<strong>April</strong> is packed with indoor festivals of all<br />

genres. The month starts with a rather mixed<br />

affair, DENOVALI FESTIVAL’s fourth edition at<br />

Heimathafen Neukölln. From <strong>April</strong> 1–2, Denovali<br />

Records showcases label acts from the pop side<br />

of the spectrum, such as Esben and the Witch,<br />

to the obscurer industrial palette of Demdike<br />

Stare and sombre ambient acts like Grouper and<br />

Subheim. Yet another label presents its talents on<br />

stage with UNCLE M FEST <strong>2016</strong>. The Westphalian<br />

imprint travels east to bring labelmates from UK<br />

pop-punkers Muncie Girls to indie rockers Foxing<br />

and ska punks The Bennies, amongst others, to<br />

Cassiopeia on <strong>April</strong> 22. Meanwhile,<br />

if you couldn’t get enough of punk<br />

after the Too Drunk to Watch fi lm<br />

fest (see page 30), PUNK & DISOR-<br />

DERLY (photo), Europe’s biggest<br />

indoor punk festival, takes over<br />

Astra Kulturhaus from <strong>April</strong> 15–17<br />

with such acts as The Last Resort,<br />

Discipline, Angelic Upstarts and<br />

The Partisans. A couple weeks<br />

later (Apr 28-30) that same venue<br />

fi lls with all variations of rock and<br />

metal (and no small amount of pot<br />

smoke) for DESERTFEST. Not foreboding<br />

enough for you? The fi fth<br />

edition of Hamburg’s DRONEBERG<br />

festival takes over SO36 for a long<br />

night of doom metal on <strong>April</strong> 16.<br />

Already announced: Celeste, Year<br />

of no Light, Monarch! and more.<br />

If you’re a true hard goth kinda type, the SINCITY<br />

FESTIVAL at Frannz Club (Apr 29-30) is your cup<br />

of tea – or blood for that matter. Catering to your<br />

dancing needs will be Ben Bloodygrave, Forced<br />

to Mode and other dark souls. Finally, if you need<br />

additional sensory stimulation with your music, 04_AZ_B_Exberliner_<strong>April</strong>16.indd 1 10.03.16 12:09<br />

the Volksbühne invites you to DECESSION (Apr<br />

30), an evening of electronica and performance<br />

art with a smashing selection of Berlin’s fi nest<br />

up-and-coming producers. Beats by Amnesia Scanner,<br />

M.E.S.H., Physical Therapy, Why Be and more<br />

complement 3D videos, lasers, sperm-scented<br />

perfume, 30-year-old Japanese tea and other<br />

bizarre-sounding delights. So, take your pick and<br />

simultaneously bid farewell to the indoor side of<br />

Berlin nightlife for at least fi ve months. MH<br />


Pop goes HKW<br />

Another month, another Haus der Kulturen der Welt<br />

festival with a vague curatorial premise and impressive<br />

global roster of performers. This time it’s POP<br />

16, part of the four-year cross-disciplinary project<br />

100 Years of Now. The programme, which proposes<br />

to tackle the roots of pop music from 1900-1930,<br />

is even more eclectic than usual, stretching from<br />

interpretations of Egyptian “golden age” music to<br />

Polish cabaret. Don’t miss 80-year-old Ghanaian<br />

guitarist and music legend EBO TAYLOR (photo; Apr<br />

28, 20:30), whose new ensemble Konkoma revives<br />

the century-old proto-Afrobeat music style of the<br />

same name. Japanese pop singer and Yellow Magic<br />

Orchestra collaborator MIHARU KOSHI, known for<br />

turning Western music into kitsch-bordering J-pop<br />

gems, will delve deep into European music’s back<br />

catalogue and reinterpret everyone from Friedrich<br />

Hollaender to Paul Hindemith to Charles Trenet (Apr<br />

29, 21:30). Veering over to America and Africa, Chicago<br />

house and techno producer Jamal Moss aka<br />

HIEROGLYPHIC BEING will perform his exclusively<br />

commissioned composition The Sirius Mysteries<br />

about the Dogon people of eastern Mali, involving<br />

vocals, African percussion and classical piano. (Apr<br />

30, 22:00). Bringing it all back to Berlin, a guided<br />

tour (Apr 29-30, 14:00) will reveal the city’s forgotten<br />

past as one of the world’s recording industry<br />

capitals. All this plus lectures, installations and<br />

much more; see the full programme at www.hkw.<br />

de. NB POP 16 Apr 28-May 1 | Haus der Kulturen der Welt,<br />

John-Foster-Dulles-Allee-10, Tiergarten, U-Bhf Bundestag<br />


25<br />

apr<br />


ART<br />

Nervous Systems<br />

Worried about your data?<br />

Have your worries affected<br />

what you do, or even who<br />

you are? Don’t miss HKW’s<br />

masterful exhibition on<br />

big data, this time curated<br />

along with Berlin’s Tactical<br />

Tech collective. Navigate<br />

through the projections<br />

and ethnographic<br />

museum-like displays, and<br />

spend time in the “White Room” – an Apple showroom/<br />

museum/hacktivist community centre where “ingeniuses”<br />

guide you through an offering of alternative apps. Plenty<br />

of great works will pique your curiosity too, including the<br />

iconic “I am Still Alive” by On Kawara and “Theme Song” by<br />

Vito Acconci, amongst many more. ART Through May 9,<br />

Haus der Kulturen der Welt, John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10,<br />

Tiergarten, U-Bhf Bundestag, Wed-Mon 11-19<br />

Isa Genzken – Make Yourself Pretty!<br />

This sweeping retrospective<br />

of one of Berlin’s<br />

most important artists<br />

spans decades of work<br />

that riffs on modernity<br />

and contemporary culture<br />

by appropriating materialism,<br />

urbanism and architecture<br />

with a laugh. The<br />

unapologetic legend was<br />

even one of the fi rst to experiment<br />

with digital technologies in art, and some of that<br />

will be on view. If you’re already interested in Berlin-made<br />

art, expect to fi nd the roots of its aesthetics embedded<br />

here, but almost ironically. It’s non-educational, opting<br />

instead for anarchistic criticality. ART Apr 9-Jun 26,<br />

Martin-Gropius-Bau, Niederkirchnerstr. 7, Kreuzberg, S+U-<br />

Bhf Potsdamer Platz, Wed-Mon 10-19<br />

Jörg Immendorff: LIDL Works and<br />

Performances from the 60s<br />

Get to know the infamous<br />

Immendorff’s early work<br />

not just in fi nished form,<br />

but as a process, in the<br />

fi rst signifi cant exhibition<br />

of his work in Berlin in the<br />

last decade. As a student<br />

of Joseph Beuys at the<br />

Kunstakademie Düsseldorf,<br />

he made plenty of<br />

anti-Vietnam War political<br />

action pieces titled LIDL – one of which even got him<br />

arrested for defacing a German fl ag. They’ll be up along<br />

with archival images and records that highlight why the<br />

now-deceased Neue Wilde neo-expressionist is still one of<br />

Germany’s most important post-war artists. ART Through<br />

Apr 23, Veneklasen/Werner, Rudi-Dutschke-Str. 26, Kreuzberg,<br />

U-Bhf Kochstr./Checkpoint Charlie, Tue-Sat 11-18<br />

Father Figures are Hard to Find<br />

Not shying away from our<br />

many daddy issues, this<br />

group exhibition of international<br />

artists will collectively<br />

redefi ne fatherhood<br />

and kinship. Works by<br />

Juliana Huxtable, the<br />

American instant trans<br />

artist icon, will be on<br />

view, along with pieces by<br />

Rotimi Fani-Kayode and<br />

Berlin-based Danh Vo. Plenty of performances round out<br />

the showing, including one by Berlin power throuple Sadie<br />

Lune, Kay Garnellen and Mad Kate on <strong>April</strong> 24. ART<br />

Through May 1, nGbK, Oranienstr. 25, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf<br />

Kottbusser Tor, Mon-Fri 12-20, Sat-Sun 12-19<br />



“If it’s necessary, I’ll fi ght”<br />

LEIKO IKEMURA celebrates<br />

female protagonists through<br />

paintings, sculptures, prints,<br />

photographs and haikus in her<br />

solo exhibition …And Suddenly<br />

the Wind Turns at Haus am<br />


In Berlin it’s all too rare to be confronted<br />

with highly personal art that embodies a<br />

non-Western, non-male perspective. Enter<br />

the Japanese-born, Berlin-based Ikemura, whose<br />

emotional and spritual landscapes are so fiercely<br />

subjective that you can’t help but identify with<br />

her protagonists’ struggles – with history, memory,<br />

and tragedy. Ikemura gave us a glimpse into her<br />

own journey, imparting some wisdom from a fourdecade-long<br />

career in art.<br />

How did you start out as an artist? One<br />

starting point for me was words, literature and<br />

philosophy. Then I studied drawing in Spain,<br />

which was very physical and immediate, and<br />

for me still the most honest way I can express<br />

myself. I wasn’t satisfied with what I knew, so I<br />

started painting. But I wasn’t always encouraged.<br />

I would hear, “You’re not talented at<br />

this.” I really hated the word talent. You don’t<br />

necessarily have to be a Raphael or Velázquez<br />

to be a good painter, as Western art history<br />

teaches us. My motivation was much stronger<br />

than just making a nice painting. But through<br />

these difficulties I learned a lot about myself,<br />

and ultimately, my first medium will always be<br />

life itself.<br />

EDITOR’S<br />

PICK!<br />

What drew you to art in the first place? Art is<br />

one of the few fields where you can ask questions,<br />

and the question itself is important. It’s not even<br />

necessary to find an answer. With art, you develop<br />

your perception and consciousness while investigating<br />

the human condition. You’re challenged to<br />

create something that hasn’t been done yet.<br />

You’ve been an active member of the<br />

Berlin art scene for decades, but<br />

this is your first institutional solo<br />

here (aside from an exhibition at the<br />

Asian Art Museum where your work<br />

was shown alongside archival pieces).<br />

Have you experienced discrimination as<br />

a woman, or an expat? I think I did, but I<br />

refused to make a big deal out of it. I could have<br />

complained every day, but I didn’t want to be<br />

ugly with anger like others – it’s not sexy at all!<br />

[Laughs] Humankind has a lot to learn, but if<br />

you compare now to 30 years ago, something has<br />

changed, which is much better than nothing.<br />

In the exhibition, you ask, “How can an<br />

artist assert herself in times of globalisation,<br />

wars and mass migration?” One of<br />

the series on view features an empowered<br />

woman strongly standing alone – is she<br />

your answer? I hope it delivers that message in<br />

a pictorial way. I’ve been critical all my life about<br />

Eurocentrism and male domination, and in the<br />

1990s I painted these girls who were suffering,<br />

lonely, and very introspective. I think over time<br />

their consciousness evolved with me. Figures<br />

that used to lie down are now standing up, and<br />

they even have swords! Here, she’s saying: if it’s<br />

necessary, I’ll fight.<br />

40 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

Would you say that the female figures in<br />

your work are self-portraits? I would not<br />

say it so simply. Of course every artist, even<br />

Gerhard Richter, is making self-portraits in<br />

some sense. But my interest is not only in<br />

me. I see myself as a mediator.<br />

You also tackle the socially taboo<br />

subject of ageing, particularly with<br />

your photographs of dying flowers.<br />

One of the beautiful truths about ageing is<br />

that nobody can take it away from you. It’s<br />

natural. With the images, I took my time,<br />

and wanted to capture every phase of their<br />

decline, because unlike animals, flowers don’t<br />

really have an exact moment of death.<br />

You were a professor at UdK for 20<br />

years. What makes a good art professor?<br />

I made sure to not be the kind of professor<br />

who told students what was good or bad. I<br />

really wanted to give everyone confidence<br />

in themselves. I never thought, “Oh, I’m a<br />

professor, so I know what art is.”<br />

Why did you decide to leave UdK last<br />

year? The years with my students were important<br />

to me, and I’ll miss them. But I realised<br />

I could not wait one more day to give my<br />

work undivided attention. I wasn’t a success<br />

at 30, but that’s why I survived, because I had<br />

time to develop myself and my career. There<br />

were so many art stars in the 1980s who made<br />

it to the Venice Biennale or Documenta<br />



WIND TURNS Through<br />

Apr 17 | Haus am<br />

Waldsee, Argentinische<br />

Allee 30, Zehlendorf,<br />

U-Bhf Krumme Lanke,<br />

Tue-Sun 11-18<br />

and then crashed.<br />

I could have left<br />

after a couple more<br />

years, but I’m full<br />

of energy, only just<br />

starting to get grey<br />

hairs [laughs] and<br />

I’m happy I can<br />

work. ■<br />


The science guys<br />

Amidst the galleries of Neukölln brimming with<br />

ironic post-internet art by jaded new media students<br />

is SPEKTRUM, a decidedly earnest sciencecentred<br />

multimedia art and performance space.<br />

Drop by on a Friday evening and it looks like your<br />

average hipster-Kneipe – smoky and ambiently<br />

lit, with a few bespectacled folks milling about,<br />

Astras in hand. But once it’s time, “community<br />

builder” Lieke Ploeger will step out from behind<br />

the bar and open the vault door that leads into<br />

the performance space. Formerly a bakery, the<br />

high-ceilinged, tiled room regularly fills with digital<br />

projections and the drone of modular synthesisers.<br />

Longtime friends Ploeger and curator/media artist<br />

Alfredo Ciannameo opened Spektrum just last June<br />

after 10 months of renovation, and it has already<br />

become a fixture in the art/science scene in Berlin.<br />

But like a lot of DIY spaces here,<br />

it’s difficult to peg down. Taking<br />

the name to heart, Ciannameo<br />

selects from a wide range of art<br />

– from sound pieces to dance,<br />

audiovisual performance to<br />

experimental film screenings – to<br />

build his exhibition programme.<br />

The hand-selected performances<br />

often feel like experiments in the<br />

traditional sense of the word,<br />

questioning artificial intelligence,<br />

virtual reality, machine learning<br />

and hacking.<br />

This broad curatorial scope is<br />

doubled by Spektrum’s emphasis<br />

on sub-communities that join art<br />

and science. Seven groups (at<br />

last count) range from the Smell<br />

Lab, which meets monthly to discuss<br />

all things olfactory and embarks<br />

on “field trips” to capture<br />

the scent of areas like Kottbusser<br />

Tor; to the Live Cinema Lab,<br />

which explores the outer limits of audio-visual art<br />

and performance. The pair plan to open a maker lab<br />

within the next year, offering up further resources<br />

for those who want to experiment with technologies<br />

like 3D printing and laser cutting.<br />

If you’re interested in joining one of the communities,<br />

just show up to the meeting with your<br />

curiosity in tow. Want to start your own? Contact<br />

Ploeger and if it fits the space, they’ll be happy to<br />

host you. In the meantime, you can get your foot<br />

in the door by checking out Spektrum’s revolving<br />

programme of performances, with something<br />

going on almost every night of the week. Check<br />

their website for the latest, including the inaugural<br />

Activation exhibition of curious biotechnological<br />

art pieces by the emerging art/science collective<br />

Lacuna Lab (Apr 22-24). Even<br />

if you’re not keen on a night’s<br />

given headliner, Spektrum’s<br />

bar is open for artists, hackers,<br />

nerds and people off the<br />

street to meet and follow their<br />

curiosity. KC<br />


Bürknerstr. 12,<br />

Neukölln, U-Bhf<br />

Schönleinstr.<br />



ART<br />

Where Are We Now<br />

NBK picks up David<br />

Bowie’s question with their<br />

exhibition of 15 Berlinbased<br />

international artists<br />

awarded the city’s <strong>2016</strong><br />

Fine Art Scholarship. Refl<br />

ect on the political and<br />

social issues of the last<br />

30 years through works<br />

that blend critique, offbeat<br />

humour and inventiveness,<br />

like Carolina Hellsgård’s video of a horseback rider,<br />

“Thunder in My Heart” or Paul Plampers’ sound installation<br />

“Die Schlange”, made up of sneezing and coughing that<br />

slowly develops into speech. NB Through May 1, Neuer<br />

Berliner Kunstverein, Chausseestr. 128/129, Mitte, U-Bhf<br />

Oranienburger Tor, Tue-Sun 12-18, Thu 12-20<br />

Guillaume Bijl<br />

At some point we’ve<br />

all surely been walking<br />

through a mall or sitting<br />

on the U-Bahn when the<br />

realisation hits that the<br />

everyday objects around<br />

us are bizarre, funny, or<br />

even sinister. One of the<br />

most well-known Belgian<br />

artists has been putting<br />

that feeling under a microscope,<br />

and generally toying with the stability of reality, since<br />

the 1970s with unexpected installations like 2002’s “New<br />

Supermarket,” where entire museum halls were refashioned<br />

as markets fi lled to the brim with processed food. His<br />

newest solo shouldn’t be missed. ART Through Apr 23,<br />

Galerie Nagel Draxler, Weydingerstr. 2/4, Mitte, U-Bhf Rosa-<br />

Luxemberg-Platz, Tue-Fri 11-19, Sat 11-18<br />

Keltie Ferris<br />

The NYC-based process<br />

painter’s colourful<br />

abstractions have made<br />

waves since bursting onto<br />

the scene not 10 years<br />

ago. In her fi rst German<br />

solo you’ll see new pieces<br />

like “HER*CU*LES,”<br />

where a combination of<br />

hand and spray-painted<br />

marks create a strangely<br />

pixellated ‘quilt.’ The web of fuzzy, curving lines in “((Bed<br />

Stuy))” will keep your eyes darting, not unlike pieces from<br />

her body prints series. With each painting so different<br />

from the next, you’ll fi nd yourself revisiting the age-old<br />

question: does each artist have a signature style? ART<br />

Through Apr 24, Klemm’s, Prinzessinnenstr. 29, Kreuzberg,<br />

U-Bhf Moritzplatz, Tue-Sat 11-18<br />

Gallery Weekend<br />

Though the annual<br />

event is often diffi cult to<br />

navigate, with over 50 galleries<br />

opening their doors<br />

to bigger and sometimes<br />

better shows than usual,<br />

that’s no reason to be<br />

intimidated. Pound the<br />

pavement for the headliners:<br />

Wolfgang Tillmanns at<br />

Galerie Buchholz, Rirkrit<br />

Tiravanija at Helga Maria Klosterfelde and Tomás Saraceno<br />

at Esther Schipper. But make sure to check out KwieKulik<br />

at Zak | Branicka, Maria Eichhorn at Galerie Barbara<br />

Weiss, Aleksandra Domanovic at Tanya Leighton, and<br />

Christopher Williams at Capitain Petzel too. Check exberliner.com<br />

for a complete guide. ART Apr 29-May 1, visit<br />

gallery-weekend-berlin.de for full programme and details<br />


“I draw war to<br />

demand peace”<br />

HAMID SULAIMAN might have<br />

fl ed his home in Syria, but he’s<br />

not done with the war and the<br />

revolution. By RUTH SCHNEIDER<br />

Briefly jailed by the Assad regime for joining<br />

the 2011 freedom protests, the 30-year-old<br />

artist escaped his native Damascus (and being<br />

drafted into Assad's army) for Paris, where, since<br />

2012, he's been pursuing his nonviolent struggle<br />

with hard-hitting canvases, sketches and<br />

cartoons documenting the drama unfolding in<br />

Syria. Freedom Hospital, launched last month at<br />

the Paris Book Fair, is his first foray into the<br />

world of graphic novels. From <strong>April</strong> 9, Berlin's<br />

Galerie Crone is showing a selection of the<br />

book’s original sheets – high-contrast black and<br />

white sequences that read like the Syrian artist's<br />

attempt to disentangle the baffling confusion<br />

and violence back in his country, evoking the tormented<br />

beauty of 1920s German expressionism.<br />

It's your first graphic novel. Why now?<br />

Were you inspired by the French<br />

comics culture? Actually, that’s the<br />

reason I came to France in the first place<br />

– I had started working on this when I<br />

was in Cairo and I wanted to learn more<br />

about comics in Paris. I've loved comics<br />

since I was a child, but this culture<br />

doesn’t exist much in Syria and I didn't<br />

really know how to do one. It took me<br />

four years altogether to complete this...<br />

It's very strong visually. Depicting horror,<br />

violence and suffering is often a challenge,<br />

but you chose to go head-on in a pretty<br />

realistic, graphic way. You even drew<br />

screenshots from Youtube videos... I took<br />

the simple, direct way to stand against violence:<br />

by really showing it. And what I show is not just<br />

images I found on Youtube, and it’s not another<br />

planet. It’s happening for real, every day. And in<br />

several countries, not only Syria.<br />



Apr 9 - June 18|<br />

Galerie Krone,<br />

Rudi-Dutschke-Str.<br />

26, Kreuzberg,<br />

U-Bhf Kochstr., Tue-<br />

Sat 11-18<br />

For a debut novel, you didn't make it easy<br />

for yourself: it’s a polyphonic narrative<br />

with a cast of 14 protagonists, each representing<br />

one aspect of the hyper-complex<br />

Syrian reality. What's the main protagonist<br />

of your novel – Syria? The Freedom<br />

Hospital? In Europe in general, and not only in<br />

comic books, most stories are about one character<br />

who’s leading the whole story. This is also<br />

linked to living in Europe, where life is centred<br />

around the individual. But in the Arab world, the<br />

place is the real hero – so for me, the Freedom<br />

Hospital is the real hero. Take Naguib<br />

Mahfouz – he’s the first Arab<br />

writer to win a Nobel prize, and all<br />

of his novels are like this.<br />

One intriguing character is Salem,<br />

who starts off as an Assad<br />

secret agent, moves on with the<br />

Free Syrian Army and ends up<br />

with the radical Islamists... Do<br />

42 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

you feel his personal development is emblematic<br />

of Syria's? Salem is really key to the<br />

story because he is always moving with the collective<br />

subconscious in his society. He's an agent<br />

of Assad during the Assad regime, but when he’s<br />

in a society of rebels he becomes a rebel, and in<br />

a society with Islamists he becomes an Islamist.<br />

I wanted to show the pressure and the confusion<br />

and how who you were born, your education and<br />

the people around you affect your decisions. Nobody<br />

chose to be German or Syrian; Christian or<br />

Muslim; Sunni or Shia. It’s all society’s thinking,<br />

but these labels will stick to you.<br />

You seem to put a lot of effort into educating<br />

the reader – like where the weapons<br />

come from... I draw war to demand peace. And<br />

yes, I believe that all this war is related to arms<br />

dealing, with some 80 percent of all arms coming<br />

from Russia, 16 percent from America and<br />

five percent from all over the world. Meanwhile,<br />

the West is totally against war. They give people<br />

tanks and guns and then call them uncivilised for<br />

using them.<br />

You’re a pacifist and an atheist drawing<br />

about war and religion. Was that a challenge?<br />

Artists draw their inspiration from what<br />

they're living. In my case it's Syria, what I lived<br />

through there and what my family and friends<br />

still live through. I lost my best friend to torture,<br />

and I was in jail – I can't run away from that. But<br />

I can find life in art. I lost my country, and now<br />

my country is my art. It's somehow where I live.<br />

Your character Yasmine starts off confident<br />

that Assad will be kicked out. By the<br />

end, she moves from optimism to what she<br />

calls “realism” – the belief she might never<br />

see the fall of the regime. Is that something<br />

that you share with her? We people of<br />

the Arab Spring, we were dreamers. We went to<br />

the streets and asked for freedom and revolution<br />

even though we knew we could die. It felt like<br />

it wasn’t possible to be born under Assad senior<br />

and live all our lives with Assad junior. We had<br />

that urge... If you start a rebellion, you have to<br />

be a dreamer.<br />

That was 2011; can you, as a Syrian, still<br />

dream nowadays? You can always dream! Nobody<br />

can forbid you<br />

to dream! Yes, it’s a<br />

big war; it started as a<br />

revolution and now it’s<br />

a crisis that everyone<br />

in the world is putting<br />

their hands on. But see,<br />

after living 40 years in a<br />

dictatorship... I don’t want<br />

to say it’s normal, but these<br />

forms of extremism are in<br />

some ways natural reactions.<br />

A lot of people have different<br />

visions, and some people's<br />

dream is to make an Islamic militia.<br />

They couldn't express that<br />

for decades. Now it's just blowing<br />

out... but despite it all, I feel optimistic.<br />

It’s not possible that after<br />

all of this we don’t reach democracy,<br />

we don’t reach freedom. Every war<br />

in the world has ended. There is no<br />

war that will go on forever!<br />


Okay, but for now people like Yasmine,<br />

that idealistic young woman<br />

trying to run a clandestine hospital,<br />

find themselves stuck between Assad<br />

and the Islamists and realise that they<br />

cannot remain outside the war... Right now<br />

in Syria, no one has the right to say that they<br />

have nothing to do with war. Freedom Hospital<br />

is about a little society of civilians engaged in a<br />

civil war. They might not want to be involved.<br />

But when you are in the war, you are part of the<br />

war. There is no way out. In the end, Yasmine<br />

understands that.<br />

Can you tell us more about Haval, a young<br />

Kurd who finds his way out to Switzerland<br />

thanks to a cat. It’s so absurd that it must<br />

be a true story, right? Yes. A close friend of<br />

my father always wanted to get a visa to visit his<br />

daughter in Switzerland, even before the war,<br />

but he never got one. And when the war happened,<br />

his daughter said she would try to find<br />

any solution to bring him to her. The only way<br />

she found was to claim asylum in Switzerland for<br />

the dog, and make her father its owner. Because<br />

the dog had a Swiss passport, the father finally<br />

got a way to get out and see his daughter!<br />

You dedicated the book to<br />

your best friend. We shared a lot of<br />

years together and moments in the revolution. I<br />

left Syria and he stayed and got imprisoned, and<br />

nine days later they called his mother to say he<br />

was dead. And on national television, they called<br />

him a terrorist who attacked civilians. I lost a lot<br />

of friends and I can’t stop thinking about this all<br />

the time.<br />

Just after the Paris terrorist attacks,<br />

a Facebook pic of you and your French<br />

girlfriend kissing topless behind a big sign<br />

reading “Love always wins” went viral.<br />

Do you really think that? Yes! In Europe 70<br />

years ago, everyone was traumatised by the war<br />

started by the Nazis. And now there’s peace. You<br />

can move from Paris to Berlin without stepping<br />

over borders. Overall in Syria there are fewer<br />

people dying than in the Second World War, and<br />

our standards have changed. People’s lives have<br />

become more sacred, more respected and now<br />

we know that violence is not the solution. You<br />

need to continue being optimistic, and like we<br />

said in Paris after the attacks, we shouldn't be<br />

afraid and we should keep going out! ■<br />

WEDNESDAY · 27/04 · 7 PM<br />


With Jazz and Bluegrass,<br />

Folk and Indian Raga.<br />



22/04–01/05/<strong>2016</strong><br />

43<br />




The Berlin guide<br />

The new directory to help you find your<br />

way around Berlin. To advertise, contact<br />

ads@exberliner.com<br />

CAFES<br />

Godshot Prenzlauer Berg belongs to<br />

the top of the league, with excellent<br />

coffee and super-friendly staff. Above<br />

all, they know their stuff. Take your<br />

time and enjoy the casual, laid-back<br />

atmosphere of a great neighbourhood<br />

and one of their delicious cakes.<br />

Immanuelkirchstr. 32, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz,<br />

Mon-Fri 8-18, Sat 9-18, Sun<br />

13-18, www.godshot.de<br />

Marx-Str., www.prachtwerkberlin.com<br />

Barettino Neukölln means “small<br />

bar” and is a unique combination of<br />

great food and good coffee from Italy<br />

and Brandenburg. Everything is<br />

fresh and made with love: The huge<br />

breakfast selection, Italian dishes,<br />

lots of delicacies, toasted paninis and<br />

homemade cakes… Join our events!<br />

Reuterstr. 59, U-Bhf Hermannplatz,<br />

Tel 0176 6464 5307, Mon-Sun 9-22,<br />

www.barettinoberlin.com<br />

Napoljonska Mitte Located just<br />

off Zionskirchplatz, this vegetarian café<br />

offers organic and homemade delicacies.<br />

Enjoy a range of hearty breakfasts<br />

reaching from spinach omelettes<br />

to pancakes and French breakfast.<br />

Here you can sip your organic latte in<br />

a cosy atmosphere with the young and<br />

old, locals and travellers. Kastanienallee<br />

43, U-Bhf Rosenthaler Platz, Tel<br />

030 3117 0965, Mon, Fri 08.30 -18.00,<br />

Tue-Thu 8.30-16:00 Sat- Sun 09- 19.00,<br />

www.napoljonska.de<br />

Café im Literaturhaus<br />

Charlottenburg Enjoy a coffee in one<br />

of Berlin’s finest cafés, known for its<br />

courteous staff and pleasant atmosphere<br />

in the elegant and much-loved<br />

Literaturhaus villa. The perfect<br />

stop during a shopping trip on nearby<br />

Ku’damm. Fasanenstr. 23, U-<br />

Bhf Uhlandstr., Tel 030 8825 414,<br />

Mon-Sun 9:30-24, www.literaturhaus-berlin.de<br />

Prachtwerk Neukölln 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 organic<br />

items, Prachtwerk serves up Five<br />

Elephant Coffee, beer from Neukölln’s<br />

Rollberg Brauerei, house-made baked<br />

goods, tasty cocktails and more. The<br />

best part? All profits benefit social projects.<br />

Ganghoferstr. 2, U-Bhf Karl-<br />

Marx-Str., www.prachtwerkberlin.com<br />

Trentasei Kreuzberg is the Italian restaurant<br />

to go to in Kreuzberg. The atmosphere<br />

is cosy and sure to get you<br />

in a romantic mood. You will also find<br />

love in the food: home-made pasta,<br />

Italian pizza, and delicious soups. The<br />

impressive wine selection will guarantee<br />

the perfect glass no matter what<br />

the dish. Skalitzer Str. 34, U-Bhf Görlitzer<br />

Bahnhof, Tel 030 6950 6930,<br />

Mon-Fri 12-00, Sat-Sun from 16.30,<br />

www.trentasei.de<br />

Sauerkraut Mitte In a cosy, woodpanelled<br />

room, German and American<br />

cultures (Donald Duck meets Hansel<br />

and Gretel!) clash head-on with a<br />

menu of meaty delights. Seven kinds<br />

of homemade Wurst, interesting burgers<br />

and original tapas. Daily lunch<br />

specials for €7.50. Wein bergsweg<br />

25, U-Bhf Rosen thaler Platz, Tel 030<br />

6640 8355, Mon-Fri 8-2, Sat-Sun 9-2,<br />

www.restaurant-sauerkraut.de<br />

Chupenga Mitte When the lunchtime<br />

queue for a burrito looks like<br />

Berghain, you know there’s got to be<br />

something good waiting. Luckily, the<br />

line moves quickly, thanks to an efficient<br />

production line at Chupenga.<br />

You can pick and choose the ingredients<br />

for your burrito, naked burrito,<br />

salad or tacos for a fixed price.<br />

Mohrenstrasse 42, Tel 030 239<br />

369 61 U-Hausvogteiplatz, Mo-Fr:<br />

11.30-20, www.chupenga.com<br />

Bastard Kreuzberg From Bastard<br />

with love: whether it’s breakfast,<br />

lunch or dinner, this restaurant is not<br />

just for those who were born out of<br />

wedlock. Choose from the changing<br />

seasonal menu created with love for<br />

fresh ingredients and fine food. Our<br />

tip: try the homemade stone-oven<br />

bread! Reichen berger Str. 122,<br />

U-Bhf Görlitzer Bahnhof, Tel 030<br />

5482 1866, Mon, Wed-Sun 9-16.30,<br />

www.bastard-berlin.de<br />

Zerostress Pizza Friedrichshain All<br />

Italian, delicious handmade pizza to-go<br />

or enjoy with the relaxed and fun crew.<br />

They have been feeding Berliners at<br />

festivals, parties and markets, and recently<br />

opened their own restaurant in<br />

Friedrichshain. One of the best pizzas<br />

in town, made with love for food.<br />

Vegetarians and vegans are also welcome!<br />

Colbestr. 3, U-Bhf Samariterstraße,<br />

Mon-Sat 12-23, Sun 17.30-23,<br />

facebook.com/zerostresspizza<br />

Schwarzes Café Charlottenburg<br />

Since the 1970s, Schwarzes Café<br />

on Savignyplatz has been a cult favourite<br />

among artists, anarchists,<br />

foreigners and Charlottenburgers.<br />

They‘re open 24/7, have English<br />

menus and serve organic meat.<br />

Kantstr. <strong>148</strong>, S-Bhf Savignyplatz,<br />

Tel 030 3138 038, Mon-Sun all day,<br />

www.schwarzescafeberlin.de<br />


<strong>EXBERLINER</strong>.COM/DIRECTORY<br />

44 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

Dolores Mitte Schöneberg Founded<br />

10 years ago as a street food pioneer<br />

in the German capital, Dolores<br />

serves excellent California-style<br />

burritos and quesadillas – inspired<br />

by San Francisco’s Mission district.<br />

Recommended by Time Out,<br />

New York Times and Lonely Planet.<br />

Voted #1 value for your money<br />

by Exberliner readers. Rosa-Luxemburg-Str.<br />

7, S+U-Bhf Alexanderplatz,<br />

Tel 030 2809 9597,<br />

Mon-Sat 11:30-22, Sun 13-22.<br />

Bayreuther Str. 36, U-Bhf Wittenbergplatz,<br />

Mon-Sun 11-22, www.<br />

dolores-berlin.de<br />

3 Schwestern Kreuzberg Housed<br />

in a former hospital turned art<br />

centre, this spacious restaurant with<br />

big windows overlooking a lovely<br />

garden serves fresh, seasonal German<br />

and continental dishes at reasonable<br />

prices. Breakfast on weekends<br />

and holidays. Live music and<br />

parties start after dessert. Mariannenplatz<br />

2 (Bethanien), U-Bhf<br />

Kottbusser Tor, Tel 030 6003 18600,<br />

Mon-Sat from 11, Sun from 10,<br />

www.3schwestern-berlin.de<br />

Café Morgenland Kreuzberg On<br />

weekends and holidays you’ll find a<br />

great buffet here, complete with gourmet<br />

cheese, fresh fruit and veg, crêpes<br />

and other vegetarian dishes, cold cuts,<br />

shrimp cocktails and more. Set menus<br />

from €5. During Happy Hour drinks<br />

are just €3.50 after 20:00. Reservations<br />

suggested. Skalitzer Str. 35, U-<br />

Bhf Görlitzer Bahnhof, Tel 030 6113<br />

291, Mon-Fri 9-1, Sat-Sun from 10,<br />

www.morgenland-berlin.de<br />

No Hablo Español Friedrichshain<br />

The best California-style Mexican<br />

street food joint in Friedrichshain. Delicious<br />

freshly made burritos and quesadillas<br />

served by a collection of funloving<br />

international people. Once a<br />

week, challenge the NHE team in a<br />

game of rock-paper-scissors and win<br />

a half-price meal! Kopernikusstr. 22,<br />

S+U-Bhf Warschauer Str., Mon-Sun<br />

from 12, www.nohabloespanol.de<br />

Crunch Kantine Moabit is about<br />

quick, simple, affordable food made<br />

from fresh and cooked with love.<br />

Our philosophy on vegetarian cooking:<br />

everything fresh and delicious<br />

and we hope that meat eaters won‘t<br />

notice that there is NO meat. 12 dishes<br />

on the buffet each day with 80%<br />

of them vegan. Siemensstr. 16, S-<br />

Beusselstr., Tue-Sat 12-20, Sun 12-17,<br />

www.crunchkantine.com<br />

Dabbawalla Schöneberg offers a<br />

fine selection of tasty and healthy vegetarian<br />

and vegan dishes – freshly<br />

made according to ayurvedic dietetics.<br />

Main dish is the Thali; also popular are<br />

the salads and the sweet ‘Chia-dream‘.<br />

The cosy deli is also a small health food<br />

store. Hohenstaufenstr. 64, U-Bhf<br />

Nollendorfplatz or U-Eisenacher Str.<br />

Mo-Sa 11-18, www.dabbawalla.berlin<br />


Nalu Diner Prenzlauer Berg They call<br />

themselves the Homeland of the Freefill,<br />

but Nalu is much more: here you’ll<br />

score US-style breakfasts, comfort<br />

food and great cheeseburgers plus<br />

tasty lunch and dinner specials. Finish<br />

your meal with a malted milkshake<br />

or root beer float! Dunckerstr. 80a,<br />

S-Bhf Prenzlauer Allee, Tel 030 8975<br />

8632, Mon 9-16, Tue-Sun 9-22,<br />

www.nalu-diner.com<br />

Pune Prenzlauer Berg The place to go<br />

to especially on Sundays for a great<br />

Indian buffet after a stroll on the nearby<br />

Mauerpark fleamarket. They offer<br />

a large menu with various meaty, vegetarian<br />

and vegan dishes, and daily<br />

lunch specials. Don’t skip the cocktail<br />

happy hour! Oderberger Str. 28, U-<br />

Bhf Eberswalder Str., Tel 030 4404<br />

2762, Mon-Sat 12-24, Sun 11-24,<br />

www.pune-restaurant.de<br />

Mani in Pasta Kreuzberg Many<br />

restaurants claim to offer hand-made<br />

tagliatelle, but at Mani in Pasta you<br />

can actually see it happening! The Italian<br />

trio prepares and sells fresh pasta<br />

at Markthalle IX. They also offer daily<br />

traditional or experimental dishes to<br />

enjoy on the spot. Some meaty, some<br />

vegetarian, all delicious! Eisenbahnstr.<br />

42-43, U-Bhf Görlitzer Bahnhof,<br />

Mon, Wed, Sat 10-18, Tue, Fri, 10-20,<br />

Thu 10-22, www.maniinpasta.de<br />

Soylent Bar Friedrichshain The bohemian<br />

bar with its shabby-chic style,<br />

flea-market furniture, boom boxes<br />

and street art collection is the place<br />

to go to knock back a few cocktails or<br />

try the unique selection of premium<br />

vodkas and hear an eclectic range of<br />

music from soul to electronic in a local<br />

and intimate atmosphere. Gabriel-<br />

Max- Str. 3, S+U-Bhf Warschauer Str.<br />

Mon-Sun 18–open end cafesoylent.eu<br />

Hops & Barley Friedrichshain Serving<br />

home-brewed pilsner and dark<br />

beer, this is the place to go to get<br />

that proper brew-pub vibe in Friedrichshain.<br />

Cider and wheat beers are<br />

also on tap. Part brewery, part bar,<br />

the interior is beautifully decorated<br />

with antique tiles. Wühlischstr.<br />

22-23, S+U-Bhf Warschauer Str.,<br />

Tel 030 2616 918 Mon-Sun 17-2,<br />

www.hopsandbarley-berlin.de<br />


Kumpelnest 3000 Schöneberg<br />

The legendary bar that made the Berlin<br />

nightlife scene what it is today.<br />

This brothel-turned-bar was Bono’s<br />

hangout during his visits to West Berlin<br />

25 years ago. Kumpelnest hasn’t<br />

lost any of its authenticity or wild<br />

side over the years. Hipsters beware!<br />

Lützowstr. 23, U-Bhf Kurfürstenstr.,<br />

Mon-Fri 19-5, Sat-Sun from 19,<br />

www.kumpelnest3000.com<br />

Kilkenny Irish Pub Mitte Natives<br />

and visitors alike converge to<br />

drink and party at this pub under the<br />

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 />

LPG Biomarkt Prenzlauer Berg<br />

Kreuzberg Your all-organic neighbourhood<br />

supermarket supplies<br />

fruit and veggies, vegan groceries,<br />

meats, cheese and even cosmetics.<br />

They offer a huge selection of local<br />

and regional products, preferably<br />

from within 200km from Berlin.<br />

Fill your basket with freshly baked<br />

bread and treat yourself to a selection<br />

of homemade sweet and savoury<br />

goodies. Found already in 8<br />

locations in Berlin to offer you the<br />

fairest, cleanest and most delicious<br />

products nearby, from nearby.<br />

Reichenberger Str. 37, U-Bhf Kottbusser<br />

Tor, Mon-Sat 8-21, bakery<br />

from 7 Kollwitzstr. 17, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz,<br />

Mon-Sat 9-21, bakery<br />

from 7 www.lpg-biomarkt.de<br />

Schillerbar Neukölln serves fantastic<br />

breakfast well into the afternoon<br />

and great cocktails at night.<br />

Behold the authentic red paint on<br />

the outside wall intended to threaten<br />

the bar upon opening, left there,<br />

and affectionately responded to with<br />

hearts stating “Schiller loves you<br />

anyway” (in German, of course).<br />

Herrfurthstr. 7, U-Bhf Boddinstr., Tel<br />

0172 9824 427, Mon-Sun 9-2,<br />

www.schillerbar.com<br />


Dr. Pogo Veganladen-Kollektiv<br />

Neukölln<br />

is a vegan-only grocery store<br />

Monster Ronson’s Ichiban<br />

Karaoke Friedrichshain is the world’s<br />

craziest 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 />

with a tiny café in cosy Rixdorf.<br />

Vegans will find almost anything they<br />

need. Non-vegans are welcome<br />

to discover interesting plantbased<br />

alternatives and organic products<br />

amongst 2000 items, fresh vegetables<br />

and lots of bulk ware for<br />

small portions. Karl-Marx-Platz 24,<br />

S+U-Bhf Neukölln, Mon-Tue, Thu-Fri<br />

9-20, Wed 12-20, Sat 9-16,<br />

www.veganladen-kollektiv.net<br />

Rollberg Kino Neukölln With five<br />

screens, Babylon Kreuzberg’s bigger<br />

but lesser-known sister boasts one of<br />

the largest original language movie<br />

selections in Berlin. Located on the<br />

U8 near Hermannstraße in the Kindl<br />

Boulevard shopping centre. Rollbergstr.<br />

70, U-Bhf Boddinstr., Tel 030<br />

6270 4645, www.yorck.de<br />

Computer Service Julien<br />

Kwan Schöneberg 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 a<br />

shop-and-go experience. Personalised<br />

service makes browsing the latest<br />

technology a true pleasure.<br />

Vorbergstr. 2, U-Bhf Kleistpark, Tel<br />

030 6170 0510, Mon-Fri 10-14, 16-19,<br />

Sat 12-16, www.deinmac.de<br />

Shift Frisöre Berlin Charlottenburg<br />

Do you want to “shift“ your hairstyle?<br />

Visit the Shift flagship store near Kurfürstendamm<br />

and get to know the<br />

English-speaking stylists, Jack from<br />

England and Tomo from Japan. Winner<br />

of the German Hairdressing<br />

Award 2008 for the category Newcomer<br />

and 2013 for the category<br />

Color. They are looking forward to<br />

welcoming you in their salon! Grolmanstr.<br />

36, U-Bhf Uhlandstraße,<br />

Tel 030 3418 545, Tue-Fri 10-20, Mon/<br />

Sat 9-19, www.shift-friseure.de<br />

Subscribe to Exberliner Magazine now, receive 1 full year*<br />

for €29 and we’ll send you an awesome restaurant, theatre<br />

or museum voucher as a thank-you gift.<br />

WWW.<strong>EXBERLINER</strong>.COM/SUBSCRIBE<br />

*Valid for residents of Germany only. Exberliner subscriptions do not renew automatically.<br />

46 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>


The language school directory<br />

Find the perfect school for you to learn German easily in any part of town.<br />

Where it’s fun to learn German.<br />

Great German teachers<br />

Join anytime<br />

Exams and certificates<br />

• In the middle of Neukölln<br />

4 weeks<br />

Deutsch<br />

198€<br />

die<br />

deutSCHule<br />

Karl-Marx-Straße 107<br />

12043 Berlin-Neukölln<br />

Voice +49 30 6808 5223<br />

www.die-deutschule.de<br />

SPRACHwerk<br />

die Sprachschule im Fachwerkhof<br />

Learning languages through fun and play, for children<br />

from 3 years and up. www.kindersprachclub.de<br />

www.das-akademie.de<br />

DAS<br />

Rocks<br />

Your<br />

Language<br />

& makeS<br />

you<br />

speak<br />

SMALL<br />

groups<br />

GREAT<br />

GREATteachers<br />

We make you speak the language you want.<br />

Torstraße 125, 10119 Berlin<br />

direkt Rosenthaler Platz<br />

Tel : +49 30 250 980 68<br />

infoberlin@das-akademie.de<br />

where<br />

interesting<br />

people meet<br />

gls campus<br />

kastanienallee 82 . p-berg<br />

www.gls-berlin.de<br />

German language courses, University Pathway & internship programmes in Berlin<br />

With an international vision, we are a leading Swiss group of language schools based in<br />

Montreux, Switzerland, devoted to excellence in teaching languages to enrich students’ futures.<br />

With adult schools in Berlin, Freiburg and Lyon, teaching French and German, we also offer<br />

University Pathway and work internship programmes. During the summer we provide English,<br />

French, German and Italian summer courses for 8-17 year olds in top European destinations.<br />

Our mission is to encourage language development through immersion and to expand the horizons<br />

of our students... to inspire their future.<br />



Hauptstrasse 23/24,<br />

10827 Berlin (U7 Kleistpark)<br />

T: 781 10 76<br />

info@alpadia.com<br />

www.alpadia.com<br />




ADS@<strong>EXBERLINER</strong>.COM<br />



Kotti’s best<br />

cheap eats<br />

It may not be a feast for<br />

the eyes, but the nooks<br />

and crannies of the Neues<br />

Kreuzberger Zentrum complex<br />

pack in more authentic<br />

budget deliciousness per<br />

square metre than nearly<br />

anywhere else in Berlin.<br />

Here are our favourites.<br />

Tadim<br />

Nearly two decades old, this Turkish street food<br />

stand is one of the few in the city to have an<br />

English menu – likely instituted after its placement<br />

on all the “best döner in Berlin” lists. It’s<br />

not just the giant cone of 100 percent certified<br />

veal spinning in the window that’s got the guidebooks<br />

salivating; it’s the pillowy, homemadebefore-your-eyes<br />

flatbread (€3.50) durum (€4)<br />

or lamaçun (€4) cradling that meat along with<br />

copious amounts of vegetables and a light touch<br />

with the sauce. We won’t go so far as to call it<br />

health food, but it’s certainly one of the most<br />

virtuous-tasting kebabs you’ll eat. JS Adalbertstr.<br />

98, Sun-Thu 9-1, Fri-Sat 9-2<br />

an honourable job of transporting you out of your<br />

grubby surroundings to the shores of the Black<br />

Sea. Not because of the ambience (there is none)<br />

but due to the fresh salmon, trout, mackerel and<br />

sea bass, served pan-fried with nothing more than<br />

a squeeze of lemon, salad and bread (owner Avni<br />

Kazanci says sauce hides the fish’s flavour). You’ll<br />

see big plates of fried hamsi (Turkish anchovies,<br />

€7) on nearly every table; you can also get your<br />

fish served in a baguette sandwich for a reasonable<br />

€3-3.50. JS Adalbertstr. 97, Mon-Thu 11-<br />

23:30, Fri-Sat 11-24, Sun 11-23<br />

Lasan<br />

It only takes one glance in the window to discern<br />

that Abdullah Gemschied’s Kurdish Iraqi eatery<br />

is all about the Fladenbrot: puffy, chewy naan-like<br />

rounds made by slapping dough onto the inside<br />

of a blazing-hot tandoori oven. Gemschied set<br />

up shop on Kotti seven years ago, opening Lasan<br />

as a sister restaurant to his original bakery of the<br />

same name on Kottbusser Damm. You’ll see dedicated<br />

customers coming in and out to purchase<br />

the bread by the bagful, but we suggest you<br />

enjoy it on the spot with an order of tandoori<br />

chicken (€6.50), some lamb biryani (€12) or a<br />

vegetarian spread with hummus, falafel, halloumi<br />

and salad (€8.50). JS Adalbertstr. 96, Mon-Fri<br />

11-23, Sat-Sun 12-23<br />

Padisah Baklava<br />

Not only is this bakery home to some of the<br />

best Turkish sweets you’ll eat in Berlin, it’s<br />

surprisingly progressive: manager and trained<br />

psychotherapist Çiğdem Balki takes care of<br />

business while her husband Hikmet mans the<br />

oven. The pair have been running the store for<br />

five years now, supplying over 250 Berlin-wide<br />

clients (including cafés, restaurants and big<br />

hotels) with countless permutations of pastry,<br />

nuts and syrup. There’s coconut, semolina<br />

and most importantly, plenty of classic baklava<br />

with pistachios. Antep pistachios, to be<br />

precise. “That’s the main difference between<br />

us and some other stores in Kotti,” boasts<br />

Çiğdem. “We use only high-quality pistachios.<br />

We also buy first-class butter – not margarine<br />

like some do.” You can taste the difference,<br />

and you’ll also have to pay for it, although at<br />

€16-24 per kilo (roughly €1-1.50 per piece),<br />

it’s not that much more expensive than other,<br />

inferior bakeries. Wash that “green gold” down<br />

with some real Turkish Mokka, the thick, milkfree<br />

kind of coffee that’s hard to come by in<br />

Germany. Then lean back and enjoy the view –<br />

which might include Hikmet giving a junkie a<br />

piece of baklava before asking him to shoot up<br />

somewhere else. It’s still Kotti, after all. JH<br />

Reichenberger Str. 177, daily 11-21<br />

Stari Most<br />

Most börek (burek, bureka, you get the picture)<br />

in Berlin tend to be soggy grease bombs. Not<br />

at this 12-year-old Bosnian Imbiss, where chef/<br />

owner Imeri Jusuf rolls up the doughy snacks<br />

with spinach and cottage cheese, brushes them<br />

with oil and bakes them à la minute. The result<br />

is dense but fluffy, a bit crispy on the outside<br />

and a great-value breakfast or light lunch at just<br />

€2.50. A lot of Balkan guys from around the Kiez<br />

also come here for the cevapcici (€4), cylindrical<br />

grilled meatballs served with chilli sauce, kajmak<br />

(similar to cream cheese) and homemade bread.<br />

JS Reichenberger Str. 175, daily 8-21<br />

Taka Fisch House<br />

Kotti’s not exactly the first place in Berlin you’d<br />

look for great seafood, but this Turkish fish<br />

restaurant, here since before the Wall fell, does<br />

Padisah Baklava<br />

Tadim<br />

Taka Fisch House<br />

Lasan<br />


Updates on the Berlin food scene, in your inbox every<br />

two weeks. Sign up at exberliner.com/newsletter<br />

48 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

Allan’s Breakfast Club<br />

Bonjour, mate<br />


Your<br />

Englishspeaking<br />

radio in<br />

Berlin.<br />

If there’s one thing you notice when entering<br />

Allan’s Breakfast Club (ABC), it’s Allan, the<br />

personable chap who immediately comes to<br />

greet you with a mix of casual Aussie warmth<br />

and Gallic bon vivant spirit. Welcome to<br />

Prenzlauer Berg’s first Australian café, where<br />

you can indulge in Antipodean brunch during<br />

the day and sip on French wines at night.<br />

ABC boasts some of both cultures’ best<br />

attributes: free-flowing tap water, friendly efficient<br />

service and a classic croque monsieur.<br />

And they seem to have mastered the art of<br />

poaching eggs, not a small feat for Berlin.<br />

This isn’t some gimmick brought back from<br />

a gap year. Allan is a Frenchman<br />

who lived half of his life in Sydney<br />

and speaks Aussie English with a<br />

French lilt. His mum is a chef, and<br />

during his three years in Berlin,<br />

Allan has worked everywhere<br />

from Grill Royal’s bar to the<br />

recently shuttered Melbourne<br />

Canteen. After a successful<br />

pop-up on Unter den Linden, the<br />

thirtysomething went sedentary and is now<br />

blessing Kollwitzkiez with a proper expat-style<br />

brunch – a novelty in this part of town, where<br />

breakfast largely remains a German hodgepodge<br />

of nondescript cold cuts and cheese.<br />

Besides the mishmash of French (an issue of<br />

Charlie Hebdo) and Australian paraphernalia<br />


CLUB Rykestr. 13,<br />

Prenzlauer Berg, U-<br />

Bhf Senefelderplatz,<br />

Thu-Sun 10-16 (breakfast),<br />

Wed-Sat from<br />

19:30 (wine bar)<br />


(an “I heart Sydney” sticker), the one-room<br />

café is rife with clever design details: a<br />

skateboard truck turned coat hook under the<br />

counter, honey jars certified by the German<br />

Beekeepers’ Association as water glasses. It’s<br />

small and cosy, and on any weekend morning<br />

a startling number of brunchers (make sure to<br />

reserve days in advance!) sit on high stools at<br />

the window or at the counter, or on vintage<br />

school chairs around the long dining table.<br />

So what have they come for? Mostly<br />

beautifully poached eggs served as spicy<br />

shakshouka (€9) or with a side of green asparagus<br />

and prosciutto (€10). And of course<br />

Benedict-style (€10), with a<br />

convincing hollandaise and a<br />

choice of Parma ham or Allan’s<br />

house-cured salmon – a secret<br />

four-day ritual involving beetroot,<br />

hence the unusual reddish<br />

colour. Those beautiful chunks<br />

of fish are something to die for,<br />

and if you have an egg aversion<br />

you can order them with<br />

smashed avocado on top of two bagel halves<br />

(or toasted sourdough, on demand) for €10.<br />

It’s all so rich (in a good way) that we suggest<br />

sharing a plate and keeping some room for<br />

dessert (warm banana bread, brownies...).<br />

For a lighter treat, there are salads (quinoa,<br />

pumpkin, pomegranate and blue cheese,<br />

€10) or simply delicious “avo” toast (€6).<br />

After 7:30pm the place morphs into a<br />

French wine bar with cold plates, cheese soufflé<br />

and a clever DIY boozing concept: help<br />

yourself to as many of the 12 open wines as<br />

your liver can handle, write down each wine’s<br />

number on a provided sheet of paper and pay<br />

at the end (€2.50-5). Noteworthy is the unusual<br />

abundance of rosés, including a Château<br />

Miraval from the Brangelina estate.<br />

Open just four days a week, this is a place<br />

of indulgence, where a friend might drop by<br />

with a box of sweet treats from a Berlin patissier<br />

and Allan will open a glass of champagne<br />

(rosé, of course). It’s a quiet 3pm on a Thursday<br />

– what better way to enjoy a moment of<br />

peace before the evening rush? FP<br />

For<br />

adventurous<br />

thinkers.<br />

www.nprberlin.de 49


COLUMN<br />

Child’s play<br />

Will Verena Pausder’s Digitalwerkstatt produce the next<br />

generation of programmers? Photos by Maria Runarsdottir<br />

Berlin’s digital revolution is taking place<br />

on a deceptively quiet street in Mitte.<br />

The Digitalwerkstatt is cosy and<br />

brightly decorated. There are squishy<br />

chairs in neon fabrics, beanbags, a wall with<br />

magnetic shapes – “so the children can illustrate<br />

their ideas to one another,” says founder Verena<br />

Pausder – and a 3D printer nestled in the back<br />

of the workshop. It doesn’t look a million miles<br />

away from your average start-up: there’s an<br />

anti-fixed desk policy, for one thing, and a small<br />

library of coding books.<br />

Opened in February, the Digitalwerkstatt<br />

boasts that it’s “Germany’s first coding<br />

workshop for children” (the workshop series<br />

CoderDojo started earlier, in 2013, but it was an<br />

Irish import). For Pausder, it’s not just business,<br />

but pleasure. Berlin’s tech poster girl has<br />

been promoting the digital world to children for<br />

the past five years in her role as co-founder of<br />

the children’s app brand Fox & Sheep but felt<br />

something was missing. She didn’t want children<br />

to passively consume digital products, but to be<br />

inspired to make their own. After running a test<br />

coding course for a group of children last year,<br />

Pausder saw how successful her idea could be<br />

and in just four months she found the Linienstraße<br />

space, furnished it, hired staff from both<br />

educational and digital media and launched the<br />

project. She’s excited to share the positive results<br />

she’s already had from sending her own two<br />

children to the workshop – apparently her son<br />

has been inspired to build an app that’s going to<br />

be “like Clash of Clans, but better!”<br />

Today’s creative coding class, taught in<br />

English and German, begins with the instructor<br />

asking the children to set “objectives” that<br />

they should aim to meet by the end of the class.<br />

You know, like at work. As a grown up. In an office<br />

– probably one with cubicles. However, the<br />

children seem undeterred by the pseudo-corporate<br />

language used and get stuck in with relish.<br />

They use a programme called Scratch to animate<br />

a “sprite” – in non-Scratch English, that’s a<br />

character – and make it move, talk, dance and<br />

change colour. Although they use worksheets to<br />

complete each task, it feels more like playtime<br />

than a lesson – there’s a constant buzz of excited<br />

I’m not sure coding can<br />

compete with breakdancing,<br />

but Isabella<br />

begs to differ. “It’s really<br />

cool. And easy.”<br />

conversation between the children, who are<br />

paired up on projects.<br />

I’m there with Isabella, our photographer’s<br />

10-year-old daughter, who tells me she’ll have<br />

to leave early because she has a breakdancing<br />

session scheduled directly after the class. I’m<br />

not sure coding can compete with breakdancing,<br />

but she begs to differ. “It’s really cool,”<br />

she says. “And easy.”<br />

This is exactly the reaction Pausder is<br />

hoping for. Although the workshop has no<br />

explicit feminist agenda, Pausder finds introducing<br />

girls to coding between the ages of six<br />

and 12 means that they’re less likely to reject<br />

opportunities in tech as “not my sort of thing”<br />

when they’re a little older. Certainly, all the<br />

girls in the class seem very engaged, though<br />

some for less organic reasons than others. On<br />

asking one six-year-old why she’s at the class,<br />

she responds, “Because Daddy says it’s important<br />

knowledge to have for the future.”<br />

But whether you’re a Mitterati helicopter parent<br />

or a tech enthusiast, there’s a class for everyone<br />

– the workshop also offers courses for adults<br />

in the hope that the whole family can become<br />

engaged by the coding world and if Scratch<br />

doesn’t sound like your thing, there’s also MaKey<br />

MaKey classes (hooking up your laptop and fruit<br />

with an electronic kit so you can play bananas<br />

like a piano) and a robot-art class, taught in English,<br />

where participants can programme robots<br />

to draw for them.<br />

The Digitalwerkstatt is already doing a brisk<br />

trade at €25-30 per workshop and €150-170 for a<br />

10- to 17-week course, and Pausder has her sights<br />

set on opening a second workshop in a different<br />

neighbourhood. And beyond Berlin? Rolling out<br />

workshops all across Germany, then the world.<br />

Given the enthusiasm for the digital sector right<br />

now, I’d say the sky’s the limit. n<br />

More information about course dates and<br />

prices at www.digitalwerkstatt.de<br />

50 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

Q&A<br />

Four questions for...<br />

Maciek Laskus<br />

Startup Safary<br />

Laskus is the CEO and founder of a Berlinbased<br />

initiative to take people on tours of<br />

major start-ups that has now spread to 11 cities<br />

internationally. For this month’s Berlin edition<br />

(Apr 29-30), approximately 60 start-ups, including<br />

big names like Number26 and Dubsmash,<br />

will open their doors to 1000 participants for<br />

talks, presentations and workshops. One-to-one<br />

sessions will also be available with investors and<br />

accelerators, along with the requisite networking<br />

events and parties.<br />

1<br />

How has the start-up scene changed<br />

since you came to Berlin and started<br />

this project four years ago? It has<br />

grown much bigger, and it has professionalised.<br />

When I moved here, it was already very dynamic<br />

but it felt like it was in its early days – there were<br />

only a handful of investors, there were meet-<br />


ups but very few professional conferences that<br />

would attract names from around the world.<br />

Today there’s very little that Berlin doesn’t have<br />

in comparison with Silicon Valley or London.<br />

2<br />

Okay, but not all the change has been<br />

positive, surely? What’s your least<br />

favourite thing about the start-up<br />

scene now? It’s become kind of trendy to be<br />

a start-up founder. When the whole ecosystem<br />

was very niche, pre-Facebook movie and billion<br />

dollar exits, there were fewer people attracted<br />

to the scene because they thought it was a good<br />

way to become rich or famous. But now every<br />

office has a foosball table and half of the founders<br />

are indistinguishable from hipsters.<br />

3<br />

Speaking of hipsters: what do you<br />

think about the argument that startups<br />

are raising housing prices and<br />

pushing locals out? The same thing happened<br />

in San Francisco and while there are tragic<br />

stories for individuals, it’s also benefited the<br />

city. People have been complaining that Berlin<br />

is poor for years. This is finally a chance for<br />

Berlin to build a strong industry. The same thing<br />

happens regardless of whether it’s a start-up taking<br />

over your economy or oil being discovered.<br />

Whatever the source of wealth, there’s always<br />

going to be gentrification.<br />

4<br />

Which sectors in Berlin should we<br />

be watching out for? The city itself<br />

creates interesting niches – lots of people<br />

here are not keen on using credit cards, so<br />

there’s a lot of potential for payment methods.<br />

The Bitcoin community’s quite active in Berlin<br />

and lots of start-ups working with Bitcoin or<br />

blockchain are based here. So these alternative<br />

methods of payment may become stronger in<br />

Berlin, because tax regulations surrounding<br />

Bitcoins are friendly in Germany. n<br />

C<br />

M<br />

Y<br />

CM<br />

MY<br />

CY<br />

CMY<br />

K<br />

Sources: Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2015, Studie Deutscher Startup Monitor 2015<br />


Truth or hype?<br />

When descriptions like “effervescent” and<br />

”a major global player“ are applied to Berlin’s<br />

start-up scene by publications like The Guardian<br />

and The Global Startup Ecosystem Report,<br />

you know you’ve hit a hype high. Our advice?<br />

Keep your eyes firmly trained on the numbers<br />

to distinguish between buzz and reality.<br />

TRUTH OR HYPE? “Start-ups are the future<br />

of industry in Berlin!”<br />

In an ecosystem that embraces learning<br />

through failing, it’s no wonder<br />

that only 11.4 percent of Berlin startups make<br />

it to their sixth birthday without going bust.<br />

HYPE!<br />

TRUTH OR HYPE? “The start-up scene<br />

is really progressive – it’s a great place<br />

for women.”<br />

The bottom line? Just nine<br />

percent of Berlin start-up<br />

founders are women. With 27 percent female<br />

employees, Berlin might seem like the most<br />


gender-equal start-up ecosystem in Europe…<br />

but when it comes to bosses and execs, it’s<br />

a man’s world.<br />

TRUTH OR HYPE? “The start-up scene<br />

here’s really international, so it’s a great<br />

source of employment for expats”<br />

With 49 percent foreign employees,<br />

Berlin is the second most diverse<br />

start-up scene in Europe, just behind London’s<br />

53 percent (and way above the German average<br />

of 22 percent!).<br />

TRUTH!<br />



What’s app, doc?<br />

Chances are if you’re feeling sick, your first move is no longer<br />

a visit to your local Hausarzt, but a quick Google search for<br />

advice and reassurance. And you’re not alone. With around<br />

165,000 medical-related apps globally, health tech is a booming<br />

market – and Berlin’s start-ups are on the pulse. By Alison Bell<br />

Just as the internet has changed how<br />

we travel and shop, so has it started to<br />

transform healthcare. The field of mobile<br />

health (“mHealth”, in start-up-ese) is<br />

attracting more attention – and cash – than ever.<br />

Google Ventures, the early-stage investment<br />

arm of Google, has invested about 30 percent<br />

of its funds into health start-ups. And the trend<br />

has reached this side of the Atlantic. According<br />

to Deloitte, by 2018 Europe will be the largest<br />

mHealth market, worth over €6.3 billion.<br />

And it’s not just “wellness” apps – you know,<br />

the kind that help you map your run or programme<br />

your workout. Start-ups now have the<br />

potential to tackle serious conditions, monitor<br />

and diagnose complex ailments and even provide<br />

online therapy. The hope is that mHealth can<br />

help people to better manage their health independently.<br />

With healthcare services across the<br />

world feeling the strain, technology can help ease<br />

demand – and reduce costs.<br />

Germany is Europe’s largest healthcare market,<br />

so it’s no surprise that the digital health market<br />

here is growing steadily – it’s expected to be<br />

worth €3 billion by 2017. Germans pay over €40<br />

billion per year on health and wellness on top of<br />

health insurance contributions, fuelling demand<br />

for healthcare innovation. That’s where Berlin’s<br />

start-ups come in.<br />

Why Berlin?<br />

The healthcare market is a key pillar of Berlin’s<br />

economy. According to official figures, the sector<br />

generated around €20 billion for the region in<br />

2015. Berlin and Brandenburg are home to over<br />

130 clinics, 30 pharmaceutical companies, over<br />

230 biotech companies and about 300 medical<br />

engineering enterprises, making the region one<br />

of the world’s leading life sciences and healthcare<br />

centres. Add that to the explosive growth of<br />

Berlin’s start-up scene and it makes for a fastdeveloping<br />

laboratory in health technology.<br />

What's also interesting is that big internationals<br />

are taking note. In May 2014, Bayer Health-<br />

Care opened up CoLaborator, an incubator for<br />

biotechnology start-ups in Wedding, its second<br />

in the world after San Francisco. As part of the<br />

“Grants4Apps” accelerator programme, Bayer<br />

also invited five international start-ups (from<br />

Berlin’s own Viomedo, which helps patients find<br />

clinical trials to sign up for, to Estonia’s Medikeep,<br />

which helps you keep track of the pills<br />

in your own medicine cabinet) to move into its<br />

pharmaceutical HQ in Berlin and receive financial<br />

support to the tune of €50,000.<br />

A healthy investment?<br />

Meanwhile, investors in the start-up world<br />

are taking note: Berlin-based XLHEALTH, a<br />

venture capital fund for start-ups that combine<br />

IT and medicine founded in 2013, has planned<br />

investments of over €50 million in the next<br />

three years. Min-Sung Sean Kim, partner at<br />

XLHEALTH, is confident in mHealth’s potential:<br />

“For a long time the digital revolution has<br />

focused on low-hanging fruit such as consumer<br />

apps and e-commerce,” he says. “The smartest<br />

minds over the last couple of years spent their<br />

time working on how to make people click<br />

on banner ads. But right now there’s a shift.<br />

Talented individuals are looking for ways to<br />

have a greater impact on society. Digital health<br />

provides this solution.”<br />

Christophe Maire, CEO of Atlantic Internet,<br />

has invested in a number of Berlin’s health startups,<br />

including medical travel app Medigo (see<br />

sidebar). He agrees: “Healthcare is on the verge<br />

of being transformed by digitalisation. Many of<br />

the companies empower patients and provide<br />

transparency in a way that is unprecedented. The<br />

relationship with doctors is increasingly moving<br />

online, and new technology can help to personalise<br />

treatments and fill gaps in the traditional system.<br />

Medigo is an excellent example – it makes<br />

sense for a patient to be treated where quality<br />

and price are optimal. Medical tourism offers<br />

benefits for patients as well as national healthcare<br />

systems. Done well, the digital revolution is<br />

extremely powerful.” n<br />

Ida Tin, founder of Clue<br />

ROUND-UP<br />

Medical start-ups:<br />

The power players<br />

Contraception<br />

Perhaps the most famous of Berlin’s health<br />

start-ups is CLUE (www.helloclue.com), an app<br />

that helps women track their menstrual cycles.<br />

By entering data about your period, cramps,<br />

mood, cervical fluid, sexual activity and body<br />

temperature, you can estimate when you’re<br />

most likely to get pregnant... or not. Though<br />

Clue doesn’t explicitly bill itself as a birth<br />

control app, Copenhagen-born founder Ida<br />

Tin has said in interviews that she “wants it to<br />

replace the birth control pill, or at least give<br />

an alternative”. Launched here in 2013, it has<br />

received worldwide attention with more than<br />

two million active users in over 180 countries<br />

– and total funding of around €8.8 million.<br />

Information<br />

MEDIGO (www.medigo.com) focuses on<br />

medical travel, enabling patients to search<br />

for affordable medical treatment and clinics<br />

worldwide – for example, if you’re a Berliner<br />

looking for cataract surgery, you’ll save money<br />

by going to a clinic in Warsaw. Founded in<br />

March 2014 and funded to the tune of nearly<br />

€9 million, Medigo has connected 20,000<br />

patients from 178 countries to date. COO and<br />

founder Pawel Cebula explains: “I realised<br />

that the same tools that worked for other<br />

industries could work here: price comparison,<br />

a booking engine, and an online marketplace.<br />

Setting up in Berlin meant that I could<br />

have access to an incredibly international<br />

team, which has been essential for our growth<br />

globally.”<br />

Don’t want to leave home to visit a doctor?<br />

There’s also an app for that. Kreuzberg-based<br />

MEDLANES (www.medlanes.com) connects<br />

patients with certified doctors who can<br />

provide medical advice, tips and explanations<br />

– although for legal reasons, they can’t<br />

officially diagnose anything over the internet.<br />

Founded in 2014, it recently received an<br />

(undisclosed) seven-figure investment.<br />

Treatment and training<br />

The largest online brain trainer in Europe and<br />

the only one in the world covered by health<br />

insurance, NEURONATION (www.neuronation.<br />

com) was founded in 2008 and launched in<br />

2011. It now has over 7 million members using<br />

its programme of over 60 “brain jogging”<br />

exercises, from rapid-fire maths equations<br />

to logic and memory games, developed in<br />

conjunction with Berlin’s Free University.<br />

Through the iOS app MIMI (www.mimi.io), you<br />

can take a hearing test to track your “hearing<br />

age” – and use the results to customise<br />

your music playback settings. Backed by<br />

Charité Berlin, the app is meant to help users<br />

recognise hearing deficits early on and inform<br />

themselves about potential solutions. The test<br />

uses audio processing based on British cofounder<br />

Nick Clark’s 12 years of research.<br />

52 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

CLOSE-UP<br />

Seven questions for...<br />

Grada Kilomba<br />

Portuguese writer, theorist, interdisciplinary artist and<br />

curator/moderator of the Gorki Theater’s Kosmos² series<br />

7.<br />

1.<br />

What’s the Kosmos series all about?<br />

The concept goes back to Alexander von Humboldt, the<br />

19th-century scientist. He did expeditions to South America,<br />

Cuba, the United States; today we would call them colonial<br />

journeys. They were financed by Spanish royalty – he would<br />

bring back new technologies, and knowledge of these regions<br />

and people, so that the colonial governments could further<br />

exploit them. He held lectures about his project, which he<br />

called Kosmos, at the Singakademie, which is now the Gorki<br />

Theater. So we are working in this very same physical space.<br />

Do you agree with Audre Lorde’s idea<br />

that “the master’s tools will never<br />

dismantle the master’s house”? We have to<br />

create new tools, absolutely. I also find this<br />

Bell Hooks quote very inspiring, that it’s not<br />

enough to oppose, you have to create anew.<br />

And so in my work I attempt to create new,<br />

hybrid forms that don’t fit into clear disciplinary<br />

categories. It’s very futuristic to do that, to create<br />

the discourse of the future in the present.<br />

I’m not so keen on dwelling in the past.<br />

3.<br />

2.<br />

So what do you do with<br />

a legacy like that? The<br />

goal with Kosmos² is to occupy<br />

that same space and turn it into a<br />

place where those who have been<br />

objects become subjects. All our<br />

guests are artists who are asylum<br />

seekers. What’s most important<br />

to me is that people aren’t there<br />

just to expose their misery, but<br />

invited as experts and artists.<br />

Your recent performance is<br />

called Decolonising Knowledge<br />

– can you give an example<br />

of how you do that in practice?<br />

Here’s an example: in Kosmos²,<br />

there is no classic question and<br />

answer session. People should<br />

really come to listen and learn.<br />

The presentations by these artists<br />

are very vulnerable and personal,<br />

and someone in the audience can<br />

respond with aggression that you<br />

can’t control. People say there are<br />

no wrong questions, but there are<br />

a lot of wrong questions. There<br />

are aggressive questions by white<br />

audience members to the invited<br />

refugee artists that echo power<br />

relations from the colonial era. So<br />

I am very careful with that.<br />

4.<br />

As audience members, how<br />

could we help you out? Well,<br />

Germans tend to be Klugscheißer; they<br />

always know everything a little bit better.<br />

“I have something else to add…”<br />

You have to set boundaries. I think it’s<br />

important to learn to listen, and to let<br />

someone’s words work on you, and<br />

then do your research, to read and<br />

watch and hear new things.<br />

6.<br />

Could you speak a bit about your first book, Plantation<br />

Memories? It started with very empirical research: interviews<br />

with black women. I wrote this book with the intention of creating a<br />

new hybrid language, between academic, psychoanalytic and lyrical<br />

language. It was a risk, but I was invited to premiere the book on the<br />

big stage at the International Literature Festival here – it was amazing.<br />

But I got tired of reading the book in the last seven years, and<br />

so I adapted it into a performance.<br />

5.<br />

Is this something you also<br />

thought about as a guest<br />

professor at Humboldt University?<br />

When I teach, I have to train students<br />

to say, “Thank you for your presentation”<br />

before saying “I completely disagree.”<br />

I think it’s this Streitkultur, that<br />

you have to disagree and immediately<br />

say something clever that’s not clever<br />

at all. This shows how patriarchal,<br />

colonial violence is repeated in academia.<br />

It’s important to deconstruct it.<br />

Catch the next instalment of the Kosmos² series, curated and moderated by Kilomba and featuring<br />

artists Rula Ali and Osama Zatar, in English at the Gorki Theater’s Studio on <strong>April</strong> 3 at 8:30pm.<br />

R<br />





54 • APRIL <strong>2016</strong>

ADVICE<br />


+ LESS WIN<br />

ask<br />


Hans-Torsten Richter answers your<br />

questions about surviving and<br />

thriving in Berlin.<br />

Write to hanstorsten@exberliner.com.<br />

Dear Hans-Torsten: I’m going on holiday and<br />

thinking of subletting or Airbnb-ing my flat<br />

for a little extra cash, but I’m worried about<br />

Germany’s strict downloading laws. How can I<br />

ensure that I don’t get busted for illegal downloading<br />

done by a short-term renter over my<br />

internet connection? – Sarah<br />

Dear Sarah: Several recent German court rulings<br />

have found that a Hauptmieter (main tentant) is<br />

not liable for any dodgy online behaviour (downloading<br />

movies or music) by a subletter or holiday<br />

renter. The matter is most clear-cut when you can<br />

document that you actually weren’t in the flat at<br />

the time of the downloading! Remember, this is<br />

Germany, you have<br />

to document everything<br />

anyway – when<br />

tempted to throw out<br />

a receipt or contract<br />

of any kind, let your<br />

inner Prussian have the<br />

upper hand and file it<br />

away to avoid hassles<br />

later. Trust me.Things<br />

can get trickier in the<br />

case of flat shares. But<br />

either way, the burden<br />

is on the plaintiff suing<br />

for copyright infringement<br />

to prove that it<br />

was the Hauptmieter<br />

(whose name is on the<br />

internet contract) who<br />

actually downloaded<br />

the file and not one of<br />

the subletters. If you’re a Hauptmieter and you get<br />

a letter from a lawyer demanding damges for an<br />

illegal download over your router’s IP adress, don’t<br />

panic. You should have a chat with your subletter(s)<br />

and probably will have to write a letter to the<br />

lawyer explaining the situation. If your German is<br />

crap, don’t rush out and waste hundreds of euros<br />

on your own lawyer quite yet. Get a German friend<br />

to help, or better, write to me (hanstorsten@exberliner.com)<br />

and perhaps I can help you out.<br />

Dear Hans-Torsten: My flatmate left Berlin a year<br />

and a half ago and cancelled her gym membership<br />

before leaving. Holmes Place didn’t process<br />

it as a cancellation, but as a pause, and after a<br />

year, her account was reactivated and she began<br />

getting billed again. She got a bill for €180<br />

(two months at €90 per month). I called on her<br />










behalf and emailed them about getting it sorted<br />

out, but they refused to deal with me directly.<br />

Shortly thereafter, a lawyer sent a letter saying<br />

she not only owed the €180, but would have to<br />

pay a full year of membership fees up front plus<br />

legal expenses, a total of about €1200. Now my<br />

ex-flatmate wants to return to Germany so she’ll<br />

have to deal with this. What do you advise? And<br />

can you go to bat for someone else’s problems<br />

when they’re out of town? – Brian<br />

Dear Brian: None of this surprises me. Businesses<br />

with a subscription-based revenue model can<br />

be ruthless about formalities regarding cancellation<br />

and whatnot – especially in Germany,<br />

where everything seems to auto-renew if you<br />

don’t send a registered letter by a certain date.<br />

A lot of companies won’t go out of their way to<br />

help a confused customer who’s cancelled her<br />

membership. The fact that you (and not she)<br />

tried to communicate with them gives them a<br />

good excuse to ignore your efforts and to get<br />

more money out of your<br />

ex-flatmate. Ideally, she<br />

should have written to<br />

them herself, no question.<br />

Emailing and phoning is<br />

easy, even if you’re out of<br />

the country. But what to<br />

do now that they’ve set<br />

the lawyers loose? There<br />

are many open questions.<br />

Of course, how to deal<br />

with this also depends on<br />

the terms and conditions<br />

of her Holmes<br />

Place membership. Were<br />

Short Story Bonnie Jo Campbell<br />

Memoir: Self, a Workshop in Personal Narrative Debra Gwartney<br />

they justified in simply<br />

Novel Writing Workshop Deborah Reed<br />

Contexts & Contours of the Lyric Adrianne Kalfopoulou<br />

Classics Short Story and Bonnie Theories Jo Campbell of Creativity Sieglinde Lemke<br />

The Memoir:<br />

Short Lives Story<br />

Self, of Bonnie Others: a Workshop<br />

Jo Literary Campbell<br />

in Personal Journalism Narrative Nancy Rommelmann<br />

Debra Gwartney<br />

Novel<br />

Memoir:<br />

Writing<br />

Self,<br />

Workshop<br />

a Workshop<br />

Deborah<br />

in Personal<br />

Reed<br />

Narrative Debra Gwartney<br />

Contexts<br />

Novel Writing<br />

& Contours<br />

Workshop<br />

of the<br />

Deborah<br />

Lyric<br />

Reed<br />

Adrianne Kalfopoulou<br />

Classics<br />

Contexts<br />

and<br />

& Contours<br />

Theories<br />

of<br />

of<br />

the<br />

Creativity<br />

Lyric Adrianne<br />

Sieglinde<br />

Kalfopoulou<br />

Lemke<br />

The<br />

Classics<br />

Lives<br />

and<br />

of Others:<br />

Theories<br />

Literary<br />

of Creativity<br />

Journalism and evidence Sieglinde<br />

Nancy<br />

Lemke<br />

Rommelmann together<br />

The Lives of Others: Literary Journalism Nancy Rommelmann<br />

prolonging the membership<br />

by another year? She<br />

should get as much info<br />

and then try to negotiate<br />

with this lawyer by herself as soon as possible, to<br />

avoid more fees and hassle. She herself should<br />

call both the gym and the lawyer, be patient and<br />

friendly and make a show of good faith, explaining<br />

that she cancelled the membership on time<br />

– and send them a copy of the original cancellation<br />

email. If she deregistered at the Bürgeramt<br />

when she left Germany, she should send them a<br />

copy of that document. Most lawyers are human<br />

beings and open to compromise if you act polite<br />

and sincere. If that fails, email me again before<br />

hiring your own expensive lawyer.<br />

PS: Brits, save this date: on June 23, Britain will<br />

hold a referendum on the Brexit – whether or<br />

not the UK should remain in the EU. Brits living<br />

abroad can vote by post or by proxy. Register to<br />

vote and get all the info at www.gov.uk/votingwhen-abroad.<br />



Short Story<br />

Bonnie Jo Campbell<br />

Memoir: Self, a Workshop in Personal Narrative<br />

Debra Short Gwartney Story<br />

Novel Bonnie Writing<br />

Short Story Jo Campbell Workshop Deborah Reed<br />

Contexts Memoir: Bonnie Jo Self, & Contours<br />

Campbell a Workshop of the in Lyric Personal Narrative<br />

Adrianne Debra Memoir: Gwartney Kalfopoulou<br />

Self, a Workshop in Personal Narrative<br />

Classics Novel Debra Writing and Theories<br />

GwartneyWorkshop of Deborah Creativity Reed<br />

Sieglinde Contexts Novel Writing & Lemke Contours Workshop of the Deborah Lyric Reed<br />

The Adrianne Lives<br />

Contexts Kalfopoulou<br />

of Others: Literary Journalism<br />

& Contours of the Lyric<br />

Nancy Classics Rommelmann<br />

Adrianne and Kalfopoulou Theories of Creativity<br />

Sieglinde Classics and Lemke Theories of Creativity<br />

Guest The Lecture<br />

Sieglinde Lives of Lemke Others: Literary Journalism<br />

by Nancy National Book Award Winner Barry Lopez<br />

The Lives Rommelmann of Others: Literary Journalism<br />

Nancy Rommelmann<br />

Guest Lecture<br />

by Guest National Lecture Book Award Winner Barry Lopez<br />

by National Book Award Winner Barry Lopez<br />

01.-14. AUG’16<br />

BLACK 01.-14.<br />

01.-14.<br />

AUG’16 FOREST<br />


AUG’16<br />

7<br />

BLACK<br />

FOREST<br />

FOREST<br />















Drinking problem?<br />

You are not alone!<br />

alcoholics-anonymous-berlin.de<br />

030 787 5188 or 01803-AA HELP<br />

Meetings in English<br />

SEX<br />

Ask Dr. Dot<br />

q<br />

My best friend’s boyfriend keeps hitting<br />

on me when she is not around. I mean,<br />

even if we’re out at a pub, if she goes to<br />

the toilet, he’ll be flirting with me. We are all in<br />

our early twenties, no kids involved or marriage.<br />

He is very fit and good-looking and quite<br />

frankly, it is flattering as my girlfriend usually<br />

gets more attention than I do. I feel like I have<br />

an angel on one shoulder and a horny devil on<br />

the other. This has been going on since September<br />

and I either have to shag this guy or tell my<br />

friend, as the pressure is unbearable (and rather<br />

hot). Please don’t suggest a threesome as I am<br />

not a freak and my best friend is very jealous<br />

and in love. I doubt she would even believe me<br />

if I told her. Help! – Bestie Barb<br />

a: Easy: put yourself in her shoes. Would you<br />

want to know if the guy you loved was trying to<br />

get into your best friend? Pretty sure you are<br />

nodding your head vertically, ‘yes’. Tell her when<br />

you’re out shopping or out for a walk. Don’t tell<br />

her over a drink as emotions could get fuelled<br />

and fists might start flying. Tell her you don’t want<br />

to rock the boat, that they look so happy, etc. If<br />

she doesn’t believe you, leave her to it; she will<br />

find out the hard way, from someone else. And as<br />

far as you even entertaining the thought of shagging<br />

him (rewarding him for bad behaviour) just<br />

remember that he cannot be trusted... so why<br />

lose a best friend over a sneaky fuck like him? He<br />

is just a thrill seeker and will hopefully be put in<br />

his place sooner rather than later. You will feel so<br />

free once you expose him. Don’t let your wilting<br />

ego drive the car; you will just end up crashing.<br />

q<br />

Hi again, I confess I have been here before.<br />

Recently I found my guy messaging a very<br />

attractive woman on social media. I peeked<br />

into his iPhone while he was taking a shit. So I<br />

messaged this lady, from his account, and told<br />

her, “Don’t call me anymore, I am staying with<br />

my girlfriend; my soulmate. Leave me alone.” Of<br />

course he later saw my message and got really<br />

irate at me. But then I turned it around as to<br />

why he was in contact with her, so we were sort<br />

of even in the end. But now I cannot trust him.<br />

I am constantly worrying what he is up to. She<br />

looks to be about 20 years younger than me (I<br />

am 61, my guy is 66). We have been dating for<br />

nine years, so I thought this would be smooth<br />

sailing until the end. How can I redeem myself?<br />

Or should I? It is almost impossible to find a new<br />

man in Berlin at my age... – Sugar Mama<br />

a: Prying and checking up on him will not deter<br />

him from pursuing another vagina. But being<br />

more fun and exciting will divert his attention<br />

back onto you. If you really want to keep him,<br />

stop talking about her and concentrate on your<br />

humour, oral sex skills, sexy nighties and interesting<br />

date ideas (not all at once, as that would be<br />

painfully obvious). Search for comedy shows to<br />

go to, concerts, massage him or get a couples’<br />

Send all questions or problems,<br />

whatever they are, to me:<br />

drdot@drdot.com<br />

massage, go for long walks in the forest, etc.<br />

You want it to be that when he thinks of you, he<br />

remembers how he feels when he is with you –<br />

relaxed, fun, loose, excited. Don’t be the chaser;<br />

be the main attraction.<br />

q<br />

I am shaking as I feel like I made the right<br />

and wrong decision at the same time. I just<br />

ended a six-year relationship with a crackin’<br />

girl. We are both 32, both English and have the<br />

same sense of humour. We dated for three years<br />

(it was bliss) and then I moved into her home. I<br />

thought I’d marry her. But she has two sons from<br />

another bloke; one is 10 and one is 15. What<br />

started out as shagging multiple times per day<br />

turned into me sleeping on her sofa and waking<br />

to two cheeky boys asking me for money every<br />

day. The boys also told me they “hate” me on a<br />

regular basis. She started taking me for granted.<br />

I left her, and I feel gutted about it. On the<br />

other hand, I just want to be free for fuck’s sake.<br />

Was I wrong to walk away from Ms. Right? I<br />

really do love her. I am putting on a happy front<br />

on Facebook but inside I am crying like a wee<br />

bitch. Penny for your thoughts? – Fed-up Franki<br />

a: First things first: if someone is pressed to<br />

choose between a lover and their children, they<br />

choose their children. If they don’t, why would<br />

you want a cold-hearted fuck who puts their<br />

kids second? She cannot get rid of her kids for<br />

you. However, if you really do love her (and she<br />

loves you), just take a break and think, relax,<br />

go on holiday with some mates. Be alone for<br />

a while and perhaps all that shit you ran from<br />

might seem appetising. Thing is, in five years,<br />

her 10-year-old won’t be home much anyway<br />

and the 15-year-old will probably be living with<br />

a girl in his own domestic dungeon by then.<br />

Then you’ll have your Ms. Right pretty much<br />

all to yourself. Think back to the three years<br />

of dating before you moved into her place. If<br />

those three years were great, and you end up<br />

missing her to bits and she misses you too, why<br />

not go back to square one and just date again?<br />

No living together anymore; just date. We are<br />

only on this Earth for a short time; we have to<br />

do what makes us happy while we are here. And<br />

living together can make even the most perfect<br />

couple want to kill each other.<br />

56 • SEPTEMBER 2014


are the most helpless victims of the immigration<br />

crisis. And that is how they’ll be labelled:<br />

a troubled immigrant rather than a troubled<br />

youth. – Marc Segura<br />


Meanwhile on exberliner.com, Seymour<br />

Gris challenged readers to come up with<br />

a better slogan for Berlin than the official<br />

“365/24”. The eventual winner? “Shut up,<br />

it’s Berlin!” Here are a few other ideas...<br />

Our March issue on teens<br />

(#147) included stories<br />

about all kinds of adolescents<br />

in Berlin – including<br />

train station drug dealers.<br />

Get these kids off the<br />

streets!<br />

Dear Exberliner: It is always<br />

sad to hear stories about<br />

young children being caught<br />

up in the web that is organised<br />

crime. Having read the<br />

feature about Berlin’s youngest<br />

dealers, I’ve been considering<br />

how such a lifestyle<br />

has become the norm for so<br />

many a migrant child. Where parents may even<br />

pay gangs to bring them over here, to a ‘better<br />

life’, this is hardly what they have in mind. Of<br />

course these gangs should be blamed, but they<br />

are providing a highly requested service that<br />

will not stop any time soon, and the fact that<br />

these children can rarely be held accountable<br />

is a great incentive for these people to stick<br />

to their methods. In my honest opinion the<br />

government is a valid source<br />

of blame for this extremely<br />

messy situation; the fact that<br />

these children can freely<br />

roam around the trains and<br />

stations is to a degree what<br />

has enabled such behaviour.<br />

Think about it. The<br />

openness of the German<br />

railway system is historic but<br />

it provides a vulnerability<br />

in the system and with the<br />

influx of immigrants the<br />

state should impose more<br />

security measures to protect<br />

its people; surely this is at<br />

least a starting point? Or<br />

is that too obvious? Currently, the way child<br />

dealers are dealt with by the law is ridiculously<br />

incompetent. Letting these children back onto<br />

the streets means they will inevitably go back<br />

to their habits. This is somewhat a safety to<br />

them, right? There is an urgent need for the<br />

state to provide help once they’re caught being<br />

a part of this horrible system: they should<br />

be fed, educated and integrated because they<br />

Berlin’s new slogan is...<br />

Berlin: imma wat los (“always something happening”<br />

in Berlinisch) – Kurt<br />

Berlin: come here, drink a beer, fuck here, disappear<br />

– Isabella<br />

Berlin: We Will Wreck You – Simon<br />

Berlin: Curb Your Begeisterung – GD<br />

Berlin: REMARKABLE CITY to enjoy – Bernd<br />

Tell us what you love or hate about this issue and<br />

you could easily win a pair of tickets to a highdefinition<br />

broadcast of Elektra beamed in live<br />

from New York’s Metropolitan Opera on <strong>April</strong><br />

30, 19:00 at Cinestar Sony Center. Send your<br />

thoughts to editor@exberliner.com by <strong>April</strong> 20<br />

for your chance to win.<br />

For terms and conditions, see www.exberliner.com/terms<br />

WRITE<br />

AND WIN<br />

TICKETS!<br />

THE MOST<br />



TOWN<br />


Written by AMY EVANS<br />

Directed by DANIEL BRUNET<br />

Plus the International Comedy Showcase<br />

with headliner Scott Capurro (USA)<br />

and the annual benefit for the<br />

Berlin International Youth Theatre (BIYT)<br />

etb<br />

International Performing Arts Center<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center<br />

Fidicinstr. 40, 10965 Berlin (Kreuzberg)<br />

Platz der Luftbrücke: U6, Bus 104, 248, Mehringdamm: Bus M19<br />



PHONE 030 6911211<br />



7 – 17 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

Festival<br />

International<br />

New<br />

Drama<br />

Do You Still Love Me?<br />

(Serbia/Belgium)<br />

by Sanja Mitrović<br />

Direction: Sanja Mitrović<br />

10.4. / 21:00<br />

11.4. / 18:30<br />

SPEAK!<br />

(Serbia/Belgium)<br />

by Sanja Mitrović<br />

Direction: Sanja Mitrović<br />

12.4. / 19:00<br />

12.4. / 21:00<br />

The Last Supper<br />

(Egypt)<br />

by Ahmed El Attar<br />

Direction: Ahmed El Attar<br />

07.4. / 19:30<br />

08.4. / 21:30<br />

09.4. / 18:00<br />

Chekhov’s First Play<br />

(Ireland)<br />

by Dead Centre<br />

Direction: Ben Kidd,<br />

Bush Moukarzel<br />

08.4. / 20:00<br />

10.4. / 19:30<br />

The Trip<br />

(Germany)<br />

by Anis Hamdoun<br />

Direction: Anis Hamdoun<br />

08.4. / 18:00<br />

08.4. / 20:00<br />

من مروا manmaRo<br />

by Ofira Henig<br />

Workshop presentation<br />

09.4. / 16:00<br />

09.4. / 20:00<br />

The Invention of the Red Army<br />

Faction by a Manic-Depressive<br />

Teenager in the Summer of 1969<br />

(Germany)<br />

by Frank Witzel<br />

Direction: Armin Petras<br />

09.4. / 20:00<br />

11.4. / 20:30<br />

12.4. / 20:30<br />

Mein Jahr ohne Udo Jürgens<br />

(Germany)<br />

by Andreas Maier<br />

Staged concert<br />

Realisation: Patrick Wengenroth<br />

10.4. / 21:00<br />

Compassion. The History<br />

of the Machine Gun<br />

(Germany)<br />

by Milo Rau<br />

Direction: Milo Rau<br />

10.4. / 17:00<br />

11.4. / 18:30<br />

FEAR<br />

(Germany)<br />

by Falk Richter<br />

Direction:Falk Richter<br />

13.4. / 20:30<br />

Hearing<br />

(Iran)<br />

by Amir Reza Koohestani<br />

Direction: Amir Reza Koohestani<br />

13.4. / 19:00<br />

14.4. / 20:00<br />

Wild Minds<br />

(Sweden)<br />

by Marcus Lindeen<br />

Direction: Marcus Lindeen<br />

13.4. / 18:00<br />

13.4. / 20:30<br />

13.4. / 23:00<br />

14.4. / 19:00<br />

14.4. / 21:30<br />

14.4. / 22:30<br />

Natura e origine della mente<br />

(Italy)<br />

by Claudia Castellucci<br />

Direction: Romeo Castellucci<br />

15.4. / 19:00<br />

15.4. / 21:30<br />

16.4. / 18:00<br />

16.4. / 22:30<br />

The Flick<br />

(Germany)<br />

by Annie Baker<br />

Staged reading<br />

Direction: Christoph Buchegger<br />

15.4. / 20:00<br />

17.4. / 16:00<br />

LIPPY<br />

(Ireland)<br />

by Dead Centre<br />

Direction: Ben Kidd,<br />

Bush Moukarzel<br />

16.4. / 16:00<br />

16.4. / 22:30<br />

17.4. / 18:00<br />

The Dark Ages<br />

(Germany/ Switzerland)<br />

by Milo Rau<br />

Direction: Milo Rau<br />

16.4. / 20:00<br />

17.4. / 20:00

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!