Author Archives: andberlin

Berlin: Giant Bear Pole Dances Around Fernsehturm

Berlin Tanzt - Photo from YouTube video from Tanzbüro Berlin

Photo: Still from YouTube video by Tanzbüro Berlin

Let’s be honest, a dancing bear is bound to get your attention.  If you’ve been in Berlin over the last month or so you will have noticed the posters for Berlin Tanzt with a bear captured mid-leap in many of the U-Bahn stations.

But when that bear appears in a video and is as tall as the Kugel of the Fernsehturm and uses it to do a pole dance you’re hooked, right?

Well check out this genius advert for Berlin Tanzt from Tanzbüro Berlin on YouTube then:

tanzcard präsentiert: BERLIN TANZT. Auf 22 Bühnen.

Berlin Tanzt is a dance festival performing on 22 stages across Berlin from 29 January to 28 February 2014.  For more details check out the Tanzraum Berlin website.

Berlin Street Art Vol 11 – Various Artists

Berlin’s streets are littered (sometimes literally) with incredible Street Art and seeing something new always reminds me to keep my eyes open and look around me when I walk through the city I love.

Here’s another selection of some great Berlin Street Art.  I have added links to some artist’s names where they have appeared here before (some of them many times).

PATERA

‘Your smile is my reward’ states PATERA on her Facebook page.  Her urban knitting pieces certainly brighten the streets of Berlin.

Knitwit - Street Art by PATERA in Berlin

One Truth

One Truth, a Street Art collective from Zürich, were in Berlin in October and painted this piece alongside the giant, Nature Morte by ROA in Kreuzberg.

Street Art by One Truth in Berlin

You can see them at work in this video from their YouTube channel:

One Truth Berlin Street Art…

See more from them on their Facebook page.

ALIAS

I remember being impressed by the variety of ALIAS works that I saw on my first Berlin visit and he’s still coming up with great ideas, many with socio-economic and political themes.

Boy With Suitcase Bomb - Street Art by ALIAS in Berlin

SOON

Beauty in Gas Mask - Street Art by Soon in Berlin

Robi The Dog

Playing At Pilots - Street Art by Robi The Dog in Berlin

El Bocho

Little Lucy must be the most inventive sweet-looking homicidal maniac in the world.  El Bocho is still finding ways to depict her killing Kitti on Berlin’s walls.

Little Lucy with Kitti in the Blender - Street Art by El Bocho in Berlin

Bosso Fataka

Based in Berlin, Bosso Fataka takes discarded items and with spray paint, cling film (plastic wrap) and a large dose of imagination creates sculptures in the streets.

Mr Crap - Street Art by Bosso Fataka in Berlin

See more from Bosso Fataka on Facebook.

MIMI The ClowN

Clown Plays Guitar - Street Art by MIMI the ClowN in Berlin

.FRA

Speak Louder - Street Art by .FRA in Berlin

Unknown Artist

A post about Street Art interventions on the London Underground recently went viral (though the photos have been floating around for years) and last week I saw this ‘Booze Bin’ at a Berlin S-Bahn station (albeit an underground one).  Thanks to Ebe of Back to Berlin and Beyond whose Instagram photo led me to this one.

If anyone has any details about the artist please let me know in the comments.  I’d love to see more of this clever work in Berlin.

Booze Bin - Street Art by Unknown Artist in Berlin

Some of the photos in this post may be familiar to those who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  Expect more of the best of Berlin Street Art here soon.

Sunday Documentary: The Tunnel

People At The Berlin Wall At Schwedter Strasse - Still From NBC Documentary - The Tunnel

Photo: Still from The Tunnel – NBC

Produced by Reuven Frank and narrated by Piers Anderton and first aired on 10 December 1962, the NBC documentary The Tunnel follows a group of West Berlin students determined to help people flee communist East Berlin.

Featuring footage shot inside the tunnel under the Berlin wall, the programme offers a unique insight into the remarkable efforts some were willing to go to in order to secure the freedom of others.

The tunnel stretched 120 to 140 metres below the border from Schönholzer Strasse 7 to Bernauer Strasse 78.

As the film points out the intention was to free many more East Germans but the tunnel flooded after 29 people had used it to cross from East to West.

The Tunnel

The documentary and the story it depicts also inspired the film Der Tunnel (2001) and the documentary Der Tunnel: Die Wahre Geschichte (1999).

Der Tunnel (auf Deutsch)

Der Tunnel: Die Wahre Geschichte

Unfortunately, embedding has been disabled for this video but you can find it here.

Berlin Songs: Parlez-vous anglais ? – Last Paradise On Earth

Parlez Vous Anglais ? - Last Paradise On Earth Promo Photo

Photo: Damien Stein

The eagle-eyed Urban Explorers amongst you may recognise the location of this promotional shot for the new song from Paris / Berlin based outfit Parlez-vous anglais ? as it’s the basketball court at Kaserne Krampnitz.

The video for Last Paradise On Earth, a catchy bit of Disco-Synth-Pop was filmed at a number of Berlin locations, including Spreepark, Eisfabrik and the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park.

Parlez-vous anglais ? – Last Paradise On Earth

The new Parlez-vous anglais ? EP, Dancing On The Other Side will be released in March 2014 and they will be in Berlin for a DJ set at Intersoup on 31 January 2014 with a live show to follow at Kaffee Burger on 28 March 2014.

Parlez-vous anglais ? - Dancing On the Other Side Artwork

Artwork: Paul Roche

If like me you’re new to the band you might also like to check out their previous EP.

Parlez-vous anglais? – Sunglasses and Shirts

You can see more from Parlez-vous anglais ? on their Facebook and Soundcloud pages.

Klassiker 2014 – Elderly Germans in film poses

Cabaret - Contilia Gruppe / Werntges Studios (pensioner Martha Bajohr poses as Sally Bowles)

Photo courtesy: Contilia Gruppe / Werntges Studios

Proving that the old like to have just as much fun as the young, a group of pensioners in Germany have recreated scenes from classic films for a 2014 calendar.

Klassiker 2014 was conceived by the Contilia Gruppe, a healthcare company whose interests include a number of residential care homes in Essen, as a gift for residents and employees.

Shot in a professional photo studio (Werntges Studios) the models aged 75 to 98 struck poses from films including Blues Brothers, Saturday Night Fever and Titanic.

My personal favourite, with a Berlin connection of course, is Martha Bajohr as Sally Bowles from Cabaret.

You can read more about the project (auf Deutsch) on the Contilia website and download a pdf version of the entire calendar.

Gemüse Kebap in Prenzlauer Berg

Gemüse Kebap (Chicken Döner) Berlin Prenzlauer Berg Close Up

A viable alternative to the long queues at Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap (and for me the schlep to Kreuzberg), the simply named, Gemüse Kebap has opened on Kastanienallee in Prenzlauer Berg.

Legend has it that the Döner Kebap (or Doner Kebab) was invented in Kreuzberg so it’s no surprise that it is one of Berlin’s most popular snacks.

Serving a variation on the traditional lamb or veal (a combination of chicken and roasted vegetables with the usual trimmings), Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap, is one of the city’s most popular Dönerbuden.  As Mustafa’s has been in numerous Berlin guidebooks and has rightly gained a solid reputation, and achieved a kind of cult status, eating there normally involves a considerable wait.

Gemüse Kebap on Kastanienallee has two advantages over its more famous rival:

  1. Indoor seating: particularly welcome during a Berlin winter.  The tables and chairs are repurposed wooden pallets.
  2. A significantly shorter wait: that could well change though when word gets around.

On my two visits to Gemüse Kebap, my Döner was ready within just a few minutes and bang on the money for flavour.  The meat and vegetables were well cooked and seasoned, the salad fresh, the sauce spicy and the finishing touches – crumbled Feta cheese and a squeeze of lemon – for me, the crowning glory.

Gemüse Kebap (Chicken Döner) Berlin Prenzlauer Berg Close Up

Like Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap, the new Gemüse Kebap in Prenzlauer Berg may well benefit from its proximity to another of Berlin’s landmark eateries.  The queues for Mustafa’s sometimes stretch along Mehringdamm to Curry 36, whilst Gemüse Kebap is only a short distance from another of Berlin’s most popular Currywurst BudenKonnopke’s Imbiß.

For me, the only thing missing at Gemüse Kebap is beer but there are a number of Spätis on Kastanienallee so the beer drinker’s thirst can be easily satisfied.  And it’s also very near Berlin’s oldest BiergartenPrater Garten – so in the summer, a Kebap will be the perfect food for soaking up a few Feierabend beers.

How Animals Eat Their Food (and What Does The Fox Say?)

How Animals Eat Their Food (T-Rex screen print from video)

Photo: Still from How Animals Eat Their Food by MisterEpicMann

I have reached an important turning point – my nephew is telling me about YouTube videos I should watch.

At the end of the summer, two weeks after I introduced him to Ylvis – The Fox (What Does The Say?), my nephew, Owen (who was 8 at the time), told me during our fortnightly Skype call that I had to watch How Animals Eat Their Food.

He then fell off the sofa because he was laughing so much listening to me laugh at the video.

I realise that as this was the most popular YouTube video in the UK in 2013 and has almost 94 million hits at the time of writing that it is likely that you have seen this already but just in case…I hope you find it as funny as Owen did.

How Animals Eat Their Food

Now, with over 334 million hits, it is even more likely that you have seen the video that inspired his suggestion - Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!

Ylvis – The Fox (What Does The Say?)

Berlin Songs: Sam Smith – Berlin

Sam Smith - Berlin (Radio 1 Live Lounge) - image courtesy of BBC

Photo: Courtesy of BBC

BBC Sound of 2014 winner Sam Smith chose to cover RY X’s Berlin on a recent visit to the Radio 1 Live Lounge.

BBC Sound of 2014 was compiled from the three choices of 170 DJs, critics and bloggers of the acts to watch out for in 2014.  Past winners include Adele, Ellie Goulding and 50 Cent and last year’s winner Michael Kiwanuka featured in my A Year in the Life of Berlin post as the video for his song Tell Me A Tale was filmed in Berlin.

The Longlist, the 15 most hotly-tipped acts, can be found on the BBC website and I’d recommend checking it out.  You’ll certainly be seeing a lot more of some of the names on it over the next year.

Sam Smith – Berlin (Cover Version)

For anyone not familiar with the song, here is the original version.

RY X – Berlin

Suspended – Alice Pasquini’s Giant Sketchbook

Suspended - Street Art by Alice Pasquini aka AliCé in Berlin

Alice Pasquini, aka AliCé, has been back in Berlin and left the city a present in the form of a giant mural on the side of a building on Warschauer Strasse.

Suspended - Street Art by Alice Pasquini aka AliCé in Berlin

Previous visits to Berlin in April 2012 and December 2012 saw Alice paint a selection of pieces across the city but her latest work in the German capital takes things to another level.

Resembling a page from her sketchbook, Alice painted the series of portraits of a young woman, entitled Suspended and covering 150m2, over the course of 6 days.

Suspended - Street Art by Alice Pasquini aka AliCé in Berlin

Suspended - Street Art by Alice Pasquini aka AliCé in Berlin

Suspended - Street Art by Alice Pasquini aka AliCé in Berlin

Suspended - Street Art by Alice Pasquini aka AliCé in Berlin

Suspended - Street Art by Alice Pasquini aka AliCé in Berlin

Suspended - Street Art by Alice Pasquini aka AliCé in Berlin

Unfortunately, illness prevented me from catching Alice painting the wall but you can see a series of shots of the work in progress by Jessica Stewart of Romephotoblog on Alice’s Facebook page and Instagram feed.

Nit de San Joan in Palma de Mallorca – Drummers, Firewalkers and Fireworks

Nit de San Joan in Palma de Mallorca

If, like thousands of Germans, you decide to take your summer holidays in Mallorca (Majorca to the English) and happen to be there for Midsummer I would highly recommend the Nit de San Joan (St John’s Night) celebrations in Palma de Mallorca.

I was visiting friends in Can Pastilla when the event took place this year and this was one of my highlights of my holiday.

Nit de San Joan (St John’s Night) is a celebration of the summer solstice and particularly significant in Catalonian areas. Also known as Nit del Foc (Night of Fire), in Palma de Mallorca revellers gathered near the cathedral, La Seu, where ‘demons’ sent showers of sparks into the crowds.

If, like me, you want to get up close and personal with the action I would recommend wearing a long sleeved cotton top – the sparks sting a bit when they hit you.

If you can’t wait a year for the next Nit de San Joan celebration here’s a short video of my experience.

Nit de San Joan (St John’s Night) in Palma de Mallorca