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Showing posts from December, 2012

Preview: Silvester Savvy

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I've been getting plenty of requests for New Year's Eve tips for Berlin and have been reluctant to provide any suggestions for two simple reasons: 1) I won't be around and 2) frankly, cheap underground parties are as rare as hen's teeth at New Year's Eve.  December 31st is probably the only time of year when the average Easyjet setter is actually better off staying home, as party prices rise enough to offset any of those great deals that they fly across Europe in the hope of finding.  It's a day when buses, tents, backyards and probably even large cardboard boxes sitting unattended in alleys will suddenly be converted, with the aid of a disco ball and a bouncer, into 'venues' charging for entry.

New Year's Eve (Silvester as it's known in Germany) is all about finding a place that offers the best quality of experience for the relatively high price.  The Burning Man New Year's Eve party at Urban Spree seems to cover a lot of bases.  Although …

Preview: A Free Party In A Pear Tree

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I have some appalling fantastic news: there's only two days left until the 2012Apocalypse Winter Solstice!  After Friday, everybody can breathe a sigh of relief because they'll never ever have to go through Christmas again the days start getting longer!  Better yet, the End Times carnage New Year's Eve is just around the corner!

Sorry for all the scratched-out phrases.  I just wasn't sure whether this week's entry should be about the surviving the end of the world or about having a 'holly jolly Christmas'.  Should I be telling readers to stock up on stollen and head for the nearest Weinachtsmarkt, or to stock up on ammo and head for the nearest air-raid shelter?  Should everybody be singing "peace on earth and good will to all" or screaming, "OMFG the aliens just touched down we're all gonna dieeee"?   Sigh... every year writing these Christmas previews just seems to get more and more complicated...! 

As usual, Berlin's party…

Interview: Subculture to Subcouture

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As quickly as capitalism snaps up new fashion styles, the underground cultures that spawned them cease to exist.  A glance around the Mitte quickly confirms that there is no longer any culture, subculture, counterculture, sexuality, spirituality or philosophy that does not have its own, dedicated boutique shop.  Meanwhile, the radical squatting scenes that popularized 'the Berlin style' have been evicted from the area en masse. Many people from those same scenes have accordingly abandoned fashion and art as a means of conveying their message, after seeing how quick its merchants are to abandon ethics and cash in at the slightest hint of popularity.  And yet, by ignoring the impact that art and fashion have on culture (whether underground or above-ground) those radicals are fighting the system with one hand tied behind their back. The organizers behind last week's Cult of the Personality: Commercial Christmas Special at Food/ZMF aim to cut through the ties that bind them.

Slumming It With Santa

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There are dozens of Christmas markets (known as 'Weihnachtsmarkt' in Germany) in and around Berlin where a person can sample fine chocolates, buy luxurious doilies and perch on outdoor stools under a gas heater while sipping hot cocktails.  I am not  going to talk about any of them in this entry.  No - this entry is about the kinds of places Santa goes after a hard day of waving at tourists to dwell on more pressing themes like gentrification, greed and Guantanomo Bay, while chugging a Sterny.  There is a reason why he wears red and black after all, and it's not to please his corporate masters at Coca-Cola.

Read on for a shortlist of the places that Santa goes to when he feels like stuffing a lump of coal in some capitalist's stocking...

They can't afford Christmas turkey dinner, so the organizers of the Cult of the Personality: Commercial Christmas Special at Food/ZMF are going to 'eat the rich' instead.  Every product that's on offer at their Christm…