Party Report: 25 Jahre Mauerfall @ East Side Gallery

What some East Germans thought the world on the other side of the Wall looked like.

Who: Dr. Motte was the headliner... we missed the rest of the acts due to some bad planning.

What: It was a free party/demo to protest the destruction of the East Side Gallery (a piece of the Berlin Wall painted by artists in 1990).

When: From the late afternoon on Nov. 9, 2014 until late at night

Where: The East Side Gallery, by Ostbahnhof S-Bahn.

Why: Because the East Side Gallery is a monument to freedom.  During the Cold War, you couldn't touch the Eastern side of the Berlin Wall without getting arrested... hence why so many artists got a kick out of painting on it once the border had opened. And also, it kind of means a lot to the people of Berlin, Germany and the world (duh).

How: DJ's played, speeches were made, and gluehwein was served.  Dr. Motte riled the crowd up with a speech at one point, raging about the fact that one of the new hotels being built alongside the East Side Gallery is owned by an ex-Stasi officer.  'They were watching the Wall before and they're still watching it now!' he shouted. 

"Is it just me, or do the kids at parties keep getting younger?"
Two little kids were giving it large on the riser, next to Motte.
Super tolle!

The 25th anniversary of the 'Mauerfall' (fall of the Berlin Wall) last Sunday was in some ways similar to the original event.  Throngs of people gathered at the old checkpoints, and all along the path of the old wall.  But instead of trying to break down any barriers, these tourists formed a solid mass of stationary bodies, gazes fixed intently on a line of white balloons like they were under a spell. 

The balloons were meant to be released into the sky at exactly 7:00 p.m.  It was supposed to be one of those magical, cathartic moments where everyone would look up into the clear night skies and watch the symbolic 'bricks' drifting away on their clouds of helium, dissolving from view like the Wall itself.  Except it was drizzly, and dark, and foggy, and people were lucky if they could see from one side of the Spree to the other.  And then the balloons were late being released, and a bunch of them got stuck on the posts that were supposed to release them.  Before the show even ended, thousands of non-plussed Germans were already trudging back toward  Ostbahnof, muttering darkly amongst themselves and trying to erase the whole disorganised debacle from their minds.  Those poor organisers. 

People from the party helped to clean up
the balloon stands.  Or maybe they were stealing them. 

We weren't really sure.
Meanwhile, a little ways down from Ostbahnhof, a different kind of celebration was happening.  An angry celebration.  The founder of the Love Parade and Berlin resident Dr. Motte was playing a banging set of 1990s techno, trance and acid to a small, diehard crowd of protestors and Berghain-leavers brandishing Sekt. The theme of the party was 'Die Mauer Muss Bleiben' (the Wall must stay).  They weren't saying this out any perverse sense of rebellion, but because they wanted to make a very important point.   

The city of Berlin is currently allowing the development of a strip of land between the East Side Gallery and the river Spree into condos.  That strip is also knowns as the Death Strip because, well, anybody who entered it during the Cold War era was shot on sight by the Wall's guards.  Since the East Side Gallery  is kind of in the way of the cranes and machinery needed to build these condos, parts of it have been removed to allow access.  And it's not over yet:  pieces of the gallery will continue to be dismantled and 'relocated' until the building work is complete.  And after that, who knows what'll happen to them? Maybe they'll be sold off, or ground up and used to make cement.  (Well, that last suggestion is unlikely, but you can never put anything past the local government.  They've got a bit of a reputation for demolishing any remnant of the city's Cold War past). 

You can find East Side Gallery Retten's future events by checking out their blog.


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