Slumming It With Santa

Bad Santa street art in Ostkreuz
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 Christmas special has been tailor-made to snap consumers out of their Crimbo-coma.
The one-off event includes a Gothic fashion show with models 'swathed in hooded draped black cloaks, boasting luxurious necklaces', according to their press blurb.  These outfits are intended to 'replicate figures of Guantanamo bay prisoners'.  Interesting.  There will also be a DIY-punk fashion show where the models will accessorize their outfits with 'Sternburgs, kebab's and cigarettes'.  Later in the night they'll have DJ's and a gig by the band Mystic Knights

Stadtbad Oderberg, pre-renovations
Also at Food/ZMF there's a Commercial Christmas Market on December 8th.  Stalls will be done by the likes of upcycling collective Trial and Error.  There will also be prints by Lysergic for sale, 'zines, experimental photography and plenty of Gluhwein and cakes to go around.

Santa's subversive spree continues with an arts market at Warschauer Strasse's new cultural hub, Urban Spree.  Unscene Berlin readers were the the first in Berlin to learn about this venue back in July, when it first opened.  Its Voodoo Market will feature jewellery, crafts, a nail bar, music and DJs, plus gift-wrapping.  The entrance costs 1 Euro.  Bargain! 

The annual Christmas Stattmarkt is on until December 16th at Stattbad Wedding, a disused swimming pool that doubles as a nightclub.  From the pictures, the market looks like it will be more of an art exhibit than last year's market was.  The 3-5 Euro entrance fee might still be worth it, though. 

The Weihnachtsrodeo market in Prenzlauerberg's Stadtbad Oderberg looks like it will probably host the largest number of hipsters, but it also offers the largest amount of art stalls - 65 or more at last count.  

Last but not least, there is the End of the World Market, running from December 20th to 23rd in Storkower Strasse.  Why the name?  Well, centuries ago, December 25th was actually the longest night of the year.  Ancient people thought that the sun was dying at that time, so they'd light fires and candles to try and bring it back to life and save their own skins.  In modern times, the shortest day of the year falls on December 21st.  However, that ancient death/rebirth association lives on in the legend of the birth of Christ.  This year, however, the deathly undertones of Christmas have been brought to the forefront by the fact that the Mayan Long Count calendar ends on the same day as the winter solstice: December 21st 2012.  The more paranoid elements in the Christian west have interpreted this coincidence as meaning that the End of Days has come, and the End of the World Market at the Villa Kuriosum is just one of dozens of events in Berlin that have taken advantage of all the hysteria by adopting an apocalyptic theme.  Visitors are invited to bring anything useful, strange, rare, homemade or useless or swap at the market's swap shop.  Because in Berlin, even the end of the world doesn't have to cost you a bundle.

Cheers and season's greetings from S@ant@ Cl@us!


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