Author Archives: andberlin

Berlin Songs: Solomun – Kackvogel

Still from Solomun - Kackvogel featuring Friedrich Liechtenstein from the Edeka Supergeil advert

Still from Solomun – Kackvogel featuring Friedrich Liechtenstein from the Edeka Supergeil advert

An advert for the German supermarket chain Edeka went viral recently. My social media streams have been full of ‘Supergeil’ all week. The star of the advert is Friedrich Liechtenstein, a German musician and entertainer.  He also stars in the video for Kackvogel by Solomun, dancing through the streets of Berlin and eventually fighting with a man in a bear costume under a bridge near Alexanderplatz station.

Solomun – Kackvogel

Sunday Documentary: Nazi Megastructures – Fortress Berlin

Flakturm in Humboldthain Park: Screenshot from Nazi Megastructures - Fortress Berlin by National Geographic

Photo: Screenshot from Nazi Megastructures – Fortress Berlin by National Geographic

The National Geographic documentary, Nazi Megastructures – Fortress Berlin, tells how, determined to fight on to the bitter end, Adolf Hitler, with the help of his architect, Albert Speer, attempted to turn Berlin into a fortress with World War II approaching its conclusion.

Having turned the tide in the war, the Red Army was making significant progress into Germany.  At Seelower Höhen (Seelow Heights), near the Polish border, irrigation ditches were widened to act as tank traps, slowing down the Soviet army’s advance on Berlin.

The outer ring of Berlin’s defences was a natural obstacle, the Teltowkanal (Teltow Canal), and considerable armaments have been amassed at Flughafen Berlin Tempelhof (Tempelhof Airport).

The city was further protected by three enormous Flak Towers, concrete monoliths mounted with heavy artillery, of which only the Flakturm in Humboldthain park remains today.

At the centre of Hitler’s defences is the Führerbunker, from where he directs his forces in their last desperate attempts to hold Berlin.

A mixture of archive footage, computer reconstructions, and expert opinions with the likes of a tour guide from Berliner Unterwelten (who offer tours of the surviving Flakturm, as wells as other architectural treasures under Berlin) Nazi Megastructures – Fortress Berlin is a fascinating portrait of Hitler’s ultimately futile defence plans.

Nazi Megastructures – Fortress Berlin

Berlin Maps: Rents, Crime, Transport and Planning

Over the last couple of weeks a number of posts have popped up in my Social Media timelines with links to maps of Berlin.  The maps provide valuable insights into the history and development of the city and/or useful tools for residents and future residents alike.

Interactive Map of Berlin Rents and Affordability

Berlin Rents and Affordability Interactive Map Screenshot

Source: Berliner Morgenpost

Published by Berliner Morgenpost under the title Neuvermietungen: Wo Sie sich Berlin leisten können, and based on the GSW Wohnmarkt-Report 2014, this interactive map allows you to determine where you can afford to live in Berlin.

The data is based on properties offered for rental in the first three quarters of 2013.

A slider allows you to select a monthly net income for your household and by selecting the number of rooms required (bedrooms +1), the map will display rental data for each of the areas marked on the map.

The map is colour-coded to show the percentage of household income required to rent the given properties (typical area in m2).

There is also a very handy comparison with prices in 2008 for those interested in the development of the property rental market in Berlin.

Click here for the Neuvermietungen: Wo Sie sich Berlin leisten können interactive map of Berlin rents and affordability.

Via überlin on Facebook

Berlin Atlas of Crime

Berlin Atlas of Crime Interactive Crime Statistics Map Screenshot

Source: Berlin Atlas of Crime by Tobias Burri and Lars Bullmann

The Berlin Atlas of Crime is an interactive map created by Tobias Burri and Lars Bullmann that visualises criminal activity in Berlin for 2010 and 2011, with data taken from the August 2012 report of the same name, as produced by the police of the Federal State of Berlin.

The dropdown menu allows the user to switch between overall crime statistics or specific categories of crime: Robbery, Mugging, Arson etc. to create a Heatmap.  Clicking on each district of the map displays more detailed crime figures.

You can find out more about the data represented in the ‘About the Project’ section of the website.

Click here for the Berlin Atlas of Crime interactive map of crime statistics.

Via Digital Cosmonaut on Twitter.

Interactive Berlin Transport Map

VBB-Livekarte Interactive Berlin Transport Map Screenshot

Source: VBB

Currently in a test phase on website of VBB (Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg), the provider of public transport for Berlin and Brandeburg, the VBB-Livekarte is an interactive travel map.

The user selects the transport options required and the currently active services move along their routes on the map.

Whilst it is still in development (U-Bahn and bus data is not currently available) this is an interesting development and once full, real-time data is available with be an invaluable travel tool for Berlin.

Click here for the VBB-Livekarte interactive map of Berlin public transport.

Via berlinish on Twitter.

Figure-ground Diagram (Schwarzplan) of Berlin (2010)

Berlin Schwarzplan (Figure-ground Diagram) 2010

Source: Shlur

Schwarzplan is the German term for a Figure-ground Diagram, an architectural map, which is described by Gareth Davies on Shlur:

Mostly used by city planners, architects and urban designers, the idea of a figure-ground diagram goes back to 18th Century Rome, when Giambattista Nolli created a detailed map of 12 copper plates using the same basic principle. White symbolises unbuilt space, such as roads, parks and squares, and black indicates built space in terms of the ground-plan of the buildings. The result is something both abstract and filled with detail, a kind of practical Yin and Yang of the city. Figure-ground diagrams help to see the ratio of built space to that of empty space, enabling city planners to envisage areas that are conducive to a good communities, have a human scale and don’t lead to a disconnectedness between buildings and the further urban fabric.

The article on Shlur has further maps of Berlin that show it’s historical development.  The comparison of the maps from 1940 and 1953 show the shocking extent of the destruction of Berlin in World War II.

Click here for for the Shlur article: Schwarzplan – Maps in Monochrome.

Via Slow Travel Berlin on FB.

Schiller Burger Berlin

Chilli Cheeseburger and Süßkartoffel Pommes at Schiller Burger Berlin

I’m certainly not the only one, but since I arrived here I’ve been trying to find Berlin’s Best Burger and, for me, Schiller Burger is one of the best.

As they recently opened a third Berlin location, I’m obviously not the only one who thinks so.

A common theme runs through the décor at the three locations: Herrfurthstrasse 7 in Neukölln; Schönleinstrasse 34 in Kreuzberg; and Wühlichstrasse 41/42 in Friedrichshain.

Menu and Counter at Schiller Burger Herrfurthstrasse Berlin

Neon Lit Interior at Schiller Burger Wühlichstrasse Berlin

Schiller Burger Wühlichstrasse Berlin Menu

As all three have limited indoor seating, it is worth noting that it is possible to take burgers from the Schiller Burger on Herrfurthstrasse to the Schiller Café a little further along the street – handy in the winter months.

When the sun is shining there are also lots of outdoor seats along the pavement here and Tempelhofer Feld is just around the corner if a summer burger picnic is your thing.

Schiller Burger Herrfurthstrasse Berlin

My burger of choice at Schiller Burger is the Chilli Cheeseburger (referred to on the menu as the Wallenstein).

There are slight variations between the burgers at the various locations in Berlin – the Chilli Cheeseburger, for instance, comes with Nachos at the Friedrichshain restaurant.

The basic idea is the same though – juicy, medium-cooked beef, cheese, salad and the kick of a generous serving of Jalapeños in a homemade bun (which is certainly part of what elevates this burger).

Chilli Cheeseburger at Schiller Burger Berlin Close-Up

Another of the big draws of Schiller Burger for me is their Süßkartoffel Pommes (Sweet Potato Fries), which have an extra crunchy texture and a sweet flavour that enhances my enjoyment of the spicy burger.

Süßkartoffel Pommes (Sweet Potato Fries) at Schiller Burger Berlin Close-up

To complete the ultimate threesome I add the Aioli – a garlicy punch that ensures maximum enjoyment and knock your socks off breath afterwards.

And to wash all that down I’d recommend a Bayreuther Hell.

Luckily for burger fans, Berlin seems to be teeming with top-notch burger joints, and Schiller Burger is up there with the best.

Sunday Documentary: Do Communists Have Better Sex? (NSFW)

Do Communists Have Better Sex Cartoon Still 2

Photo: Still from Do Communists Have Better Sex Cartoon

The 2006 documentary ‘Do Communists Have Better Sex?’, explores the sexual attitudes of Germans and in particular the differences between the mind-set of East and West Germans when it comes to sex and sexuality.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, scientists were keen to study the sociological and psychological differences of the previously divided people of the newly re-unified nation.

With footage from numerous TV programmes and public information films, the documentary examines the paradox that in the more controlled society of communist East Germany, people are more satisfied with their sex lives.

It is suggested that against the backdrop of seemingly overt sexual openness: pornography; nudity; Frei Körper Kultur (FKK); and prostitutes brazenly offering themselves on well-trodden streets, like the area around Berlin’s S-Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten, sex was not openly discussed in the more liberal West.

Do Communists Have Better Sex Cartoon Still 2

Photo: Still from Do Communists Have Better Sex Cartoon

In East Germany where abortion and prostitution were illegal, sex education and sexual discussions were more prevalent.

At 45 minutes, all I could think was ‘Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!‘ because of Ylvis’s What Does The Fox Say?

Due to the subject matter and the inclusion of numerous scenes of nudity (including the obligatory naked volleyball shots) , the documentary ‘Do Communists Have Better Sex?’ has been age restricted by YouTube so you will need to sign in to view it.

Do Communists Have Better Sex? (2006)

Vermibus – Dissolving Europe: The Ad-busting Street Artist At Work

Vermibus - Dissolving Europe - following the artist as he realises his latest ad-busting campaign

Photo: Still from Vermibus – Dissolving Europe by Xar Lee

Dissolving Europe follows Berlin artistVermibus, who uses solvents to alter posters in his ad-busting Street Art, as he travels around Europe for his latest project, described by the artist on his Vimeo channel.

Dissolving Europe is the new public artwork that stormed Europe this year from Vermibus. Using a dubious inter-rail ticket, Vermibus set out with a set of 90 keys and his pallet of solvents to physically and temporally highjack the western world of advertisements in the name of fine art.  Each site is carefully deliberated with its environment, from Rolex boutiques, to archaic museums.  The system looks simple in movement: unlock and roll the advertising poster to create a huge blank gleaming white breath of fresh air in the urban environment. The advert then undertakes the process of counter action painting using a series of solvents and brushes.  It is then replaced in another site, another city, another country.

Vermibus – Dissolving Europe

I’m yet to see a Vermibus piece in situ in Berlin but I did see his work at Stroke Urban Art Fair 2012 and Stattmarkt.  And for now, I’ll just keep my eyes peeled as I wander the streets in the hope of seeing the real thing.

Sunday Documentary: Sub Berlin – The Story of Tresor

Removing the Tresor sign - still from Sub Berlin - The Story of Tresor

Photo: Still from Sub Berlin – The Story of Tresor

Tresor was at the vanguard of the Techno movement in Berlin as the city adjusted to its post-reunification status.

Berlin newcomers and the press hail Berghain as one of the world’s greatest clubs but Techno lovers of the 90s and early 00s will say ‘you should have been in ‘the old Tresor’.

The old club on Leipziger Strasse was torn down in 2005 as part of the redevelopment of Potsdamer Platz.  The building housing the original Tresor had a checkered past.  It was previously the vault under the Wertheim department store, seized by the Nazis and subsequently destroyed during the bombing raids of World War II.

Tresor re-opened in 2007 in Heizkraftwerk Mitte, a former power station on Köpenicker Strasse, and a new shopping mall is currently being built at its previous location on Leipziger Strasse.

Through interviews with clubbers and DJs who were part of the story, photos and video footage, Sub Berlin – The Story of Tresor, a 2009 documentary by Tilman Künzel tells the tale of Tresor from its opening in 1991 to the closure of its original location in 2005.

Sub Berlin – The Story of Tresor

Ohrwurm: Adel Tawil – Lieder

Und ich singe diese Lieder - still from the video for Lieder by Adel Tawil

Photo: Still from the video for Lieder by Adel Tawil

Lieder by Adel Tawil should possibly come with a warning as it is essentially 32 Ohrwürme in one (if my Maths is right).  The English translation of the title is ‘Songs’ and the lyrics refer to other songs, e.g. the first line ‘Ich ging wie ein Ägypter’ – I walk like an Egyptian – is a reference to the 1980s hit by The Bangles.

In my efforts to learn German, I have completed the whole Rosetta Stone course and I’m working my way through Duolingo.  Georg of Digital Cosmonaut has often suggested listening to German Hip Hop as a learning tool and when I heard this pop song I got a glimpse of how that might help.

The fact that so many of the songs used in Lieder are familiar to me makes translating the lyrics and working out the references a fun way to improve my Deutsch.

This video posted on Adel Tawil’s YouTube channel includes the lyrics and some pictures that make deciphering the references a little easier.

Adel Tawil “Lieder” (Lyric Video)

If after watching the video you’re still a bit unsure of the lyrics here is a very handy table from the Wikipedia.de article for Lieder by Adel Tawil.

Text Anspielung auf
1. Strophe
Ich ging wie ein Ägypter, Walk Like an Egyptian – The Bangles
hab’ mit Tauben geweint. When Doves Cry – Prince
War ein Voodoo-Kind, Voodoo Child – Jimi Hendrix
wie ein rollender Stein. Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
Im Dornenwald sang Maria für mich, Maria durch ein Dornwald ging
ich starb in deinen Armen… (I Just) Died in Your Arms – Cutting Crew
…Bochum ’84. Bochum – Herbert Grönemeyer
Ich ließ die Sonne nie untergehen, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me – Elton John
in meiner wundervollen Welt. What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
2. Strophe
Ich war willkommen im Dschungel Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
und fremd im eigenen Land. Fremd im eigenen Land – Advanced Chemistry
Mein persönlicher Jesus Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode
und im Gehirn total krank. Insane in the Brain – Cypress Hill
Und ich frage mich wann werd ich, werd ich berühmt sein, When Will I Be Famous – Bros
so wie Rio mein König für die Ewigkeit. König von Deutschland – Rio Reiser
Ich war am Ende der Straße…angelangt, End of the Road – Boyz II Men
war ein Verlierer, Baby! Loser – Beck
Doch dann hielt ich ein Cover in der Hand, Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine
darauf ein Mönch, der in Flammen stand,
Kurt Cobain sagte mir, ich soll kommen wie ich bin. Come as You Are – Nirvana
3. Strophe
Ich war einer von fünf Jungs, The Boyz
„One Minute“ aus, dann war’s vorbei. One Minute – The Boyz
Ich sang nur noch für mich,
für ’ne unendlich lange Zeit.
Dann traf ich auf sie Annette Humpe
und sie erinnerte mich. Du erinnerst mich an Liebe – Ich + Ich
Wir waren Welten entfernt Ich + Ich
und doch vom selben Stern. Vom selben Stern – Ich + Ich
Refrain
Und ich singe diese Lieder,
tanz’ mit Tränen in den Augen. Dancing with Tears in My Eyes – Ultravox
Bowie war für’n Tag mein Held, Heroes – David Bowie
und EMF kann es nicht glauben. Unbelievable – EMF
Und ich steh’ im lila Regen, Purple Rain – Prince
ich will ein Feuerstarter sein. Firestarter – The Prodigy
Whitney wird mich immer lieben I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
und Michael lässt mich nicht allein You Are Not Alone – Michael Jackson

Source: Wikipedia

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.