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Falckensteinstr. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard.

Falckensteinstr. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard.

1. To love dogs. I used to have panic attacks, when I saw a dog, and I never wanted to have one myself. Berlin changed it all. From big to small Berlin dogs never bark, never jump, don’t wear a leash and can sit outside the shop without making a move or noise what-so-ever. See for yourself here.

2. That the artist has to know how to sell. You are the product, the marketer and the seller all in one.

3. To love beer. Before I moved to Germany, I strongly disliked this type of alcohol. Now I can tell the tourists what is what. I also learned that your bathtub is your beer fridge for the house party. And if you haven’t drank beer in -10, you have not been to Berlin.

4. That Berlin has the best Zoo in Europe. When you’re sad, I strongly recommend visiting this place, where you can easily spend the whole day.

5. To make the bridge bounce while dancing on it (Modersohnbrücke in particular). Get DJs, get a good stereo system, invite people, make a party, let the heavy cars still go over the bridge, dance like none is watching, make it bounce, feel it!….

6. That unfortunately yoga and being vegan can be fashionable. After several years of living here I got a flock of sheep impression. Because people without reason are trying to do both and are not realising, that it does not suit every body, and both vegan lifestyle and yoga can do harm. Yet on every corner in Berlin you now will find a yoga center and even though Germany has really good meat and lots of farms and farm product delivery options, Berliners are trying to avoid iron and take B12 Vitamin. Dear readers, everything should be in balance. I have vegetarian/vegan friends and I respect them. Find your reason first, and make sure your body agrees with it.

7. To multi task. German classes in the morning, work until 20:00, meeting friends in the evening + contributing to 10 other projects at the same time.

8. To cook crackers and bread without flour and eggs. I worked for a paleo restaurant, where I learned the secret.

9. To cycle in Neukoelln. Neukoelln inhabitants have a tendency to stop their cars randomly in the middle of the street, they also ignore traffic lights which turns a cyclist experience into survival.

10. To travel with soup pots and baking dishes on the underground. Shared food parties is a normal practice here. Great and sweet idea too!

Kottbusser Tor. A part of a university project.  Don't have the name of the author, if you know please drop me a line.

11. That the trash bags can cost €3,50 when they’re bio  supposte to normal ones for €0,59. Recycling is a big thing here.

12. What means an amazingly relaxed big city life. It’s the capital, but there is no stress and no rush. No rush in the morning, no rush in the evening, no rush for the party…

“There just isn’t really this fear of missing out,” Mr. DeNorch said. “You just feel like wherever you’re at is fine. You’re just having a good time.” … “When you want to go out to the club, you grab a beer on the way,” he said. “You can buy some weed on the street so you can smoke a joint if you want to. There’s all these little things you can do here that you can’t do there to get you in the mood.”

“In New York specifically, there’s a huge amount of stress about what you’re doing tonight and where you’re going to be in the city and who you’re going to be with,” said Mr. Ladner, a founder of the Janus party. 

Read full Article on NYTIMES

13. A feeling of blended genders. Berlin is the city where I’ve received the least amount of compliments. In here you forget that you’re a woman, as it does not matter how attractive you look, people seem to not pay any attention, because they like it all: any size and any gender. There are both negative and positive aspects of this, yet this is typical Berlin.

14. That Berlin is a temporary stop for many of us.

“It’s like living in an airport here in Berlin”
Ben Sömethingorother

15. That work and parties in Berlin are like black and white. “…half of all Berliners make under 1500 EUR a month, and a third less than 1000 EUR” (source)

Berlin is the poorest German city, with highest unemployment rate and half of the expats are receiving the job-centre benefits. Berlin is the place where jobs don’t last long. And it’s also normal if you have not been paid up to a year, but then you might want to go to the lawyer. On what really is happening in Berlin and the city’s mayor you can read here.

As about the parties – they are always here: cheap or absolutely free, 7 days a week. On a hot summer weekday all the parks in Berlin are full with jobless people or people who do odd jobs. Berlin parties more than it works. If you are considering Berlin as your next career destination, please think of Hamburg first.

16. That Berlin’s tech startup scene is far behind the Silicon Valley, and that we Europeans are modest in comparison to brave Americans, who can sell an old three-leg-chair without blinking as a brand new one.

17. That bio products in Germany are at least 95% bio, full stop. My research on eco label in Germany you can read here.

18. That a Berliner is a traditional North German pastry similar to a doughnut with no central hole made from sweet yeast dough fried in fat or oil, with a marmalade or jam filling and usually icing, powdered sugar or conventional sugar on top. 
John F. Kennedy‘s words “Ich bin ein Berliner” are standard German for “I am a Berliner”. Mentioned in Len Deighton‘s 1983 novel Berlin Game, an urban legend has it that due to his use of the indefinite article ein, Berliner is translated as “jelly doughnut”, and that the population of Berlin was amused by the supposed mistake. The normal convention when stating a nationality or, for instance, saying one is from Berlin, would be to leave out the indefinite article ein. Throughout the 1980s, the legend was spread even by quality papers and reputable media like The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC or NBC.

A berliner in a box by Dorit Bialer http://iwanteverything.de/

19. I also learned that giving a birth and remaining skinny is a normal practice in Berlin. The answer to “how?” I still haven’t found.

20. That it is okey to be explicit, naked and have sex in public spaces. Freedom to everyone. Just be yourself. No judgement, no fashion, no boundaries. From train station to night life. Berlin is possibly the most sexually open city on earth, that also makes a stable classical relationship almost impossible. Berlin greets open relationships, swingers, gay/lesbian/transexual, BDSM and other experimental loving methods.

“Ask any straight woman over 30 and she’ll tell you that the odds of finding a committed man in this city are about as high as unearthing the Holy Grail. Is there any hope for the single Berlin female?”

– See more at: http://www.exberliner.com

“Men are like toilets. They’re always occupied, and when they’re not – they’re full of shit. Well, welcome to Berlin!”

                                                                                                                           – Emilie

P.O.P Berlin

P.O.P Berlin

Clarchens Ball House Berlin. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Clarchens Ball House Berlin. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Exploring Berlin has been truly exciting for all three years. Secret venues, old theatres at midnight, weird parks, abandoned spy stations, life under the ground, inspiring personalities were found and met within this time, but only three summers later I’ve visited Clärchens Ballhaus. Built in 1895, the once-grand building has been through a lot. On September 13th 1913 Fritz Bühler opened the dance hall „Bühlers Ballhaus“
(Bühler’s Ballroom) in the back of Auguststrasse 24/25, which now ended up in the touristic center full of stylish onlookers and happy locals. It became known as Clärchens Ballhaus after Bühler was killed in WWI and his widow, Clara, took over the business.

During the peak, there were some 900 dancing establishments inBerlin, then already known for its nightlife, though just a few have survived. With such fierce competition, Clärchen’s dance hall on Auguststrasse in the city center had to find creative ways to attract customers. After the war ended in 1918, “Aunt Clärchen”, as many called her, held events for widows, who danced with each other because men were scarce. Meanwhile, the opulent upstairs ballroom was rented out for outlawed sword fights that often left the floor covered in blood.

Now the place is still holding the old dancing like: swing, cha-cha-cha, tango etc. And if you’ve never done it before, they will teach you. Ground floor has a bar and a kitchen, the lush gardens are buzzing with people sitting among various bushes and grape trees. Regular concerts and dancing make it the Ball House for what it stands. The famous Mirror Room can be rented for private events, and it’s probably the most impressive open space in the entire building. Quentin Tarantino used Clärchens as a location for his film Inglorious Bastards.

Lona Jakob is the oldest Ball House visitor, informed Spiegel in 2013. At a spry 91 years old, she is the oldest regular guest at Clärchens Ballhaus. It’s where the former ballerina met her late husband in the 1940s, and where she returned late in life after his death to rediscover her love of dancing. Now, she dresses up in sequins and heels (despite breaking her leg not long ago) to come dancing here with friends and her daughter every Sunday. And now, as then, she always waits to be asked to dance.

There are tons of stories in the walls of these building, most of them we will never know, but we can feel the spirit and enjoy it until it lasts. Breath it in.

If you want to have a coffee with me there, feel free to drop a line.

The Mirror Room. Image taken from: http://peutereycitymag.peuterey.com/

Image taken from: girlitude.peugeot.it

Clarchens Ball House

Clarchens Ball House. All rights Reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Clarchens Ball House. All rights Reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Clarchens Ball House. All rights Reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Clarchens Ball House. All rights Reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Clarchens Ball House. All rights Reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Clarchens Ball House. All rights Reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Clarchens Ball House. All rights Reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Clarchens Ball House. All rights Reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Clarchens Ball House. All rights Reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Clarchens Ball House. All rights Reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Clarchens Ball House. All rights Reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

 

Clarchens Ballhaus in 1920s.

Ramones. Image taken from: http://www.spin.com/

The proto-punk band RAMONES was one of the most influential bands in the beginning of the 70s on the emerging music scene of New York. They played one of their first shows at CBGB‘s in 1974. The songs they played were very fast and very short; most clocked in at under two minutes.  Legs McNeil, who cofounded Punk magazine the following year, later described the impact of that performance: “They were all wearing these black leather jackets. And they counted off this song…and it was just this wall of noise…. They looked so striking. These guys were not hippies. This was something completely new.” They have influenced such bands as Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned.

“All the other singers [in New York] were copying David Johansen [of the New York Dolls], who was copying Mick Jagger…. But Joey was unique, totally unique.”

Dee Dee


DANNY FIELDS

[regarding Joey] And all of a sudden, girls were paying attention to him. Girls who weren’t on medication.

And so it happens that there is the RAMONES museum & bar in Berlin on Krausnickstr. 23, 10115. It was opened on the October 8, 2008. 

ramones museum berlin

Ramones Museum Berlin. Image taken from the FB page

Danny Fields was the manager of the Ramones, as well as Iggy and the Stooges; he has worked in various roles with Jim Morrison, the MC5, the Velvet Underground and the Modern Lovers. Danny was also a technical assistant at Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory. 

 

Danny Fields will give a lecture on the history of punk book PLEASE, KILL ME at the Ramones Museum,

Berlin, this Sunday 27.04.14. at 20:00

Entrance possibly free

Facebook event

DOWNLOAD “PLEASE, KILL ME” in PDF

The Ramones. Image taken from: http://rockstarwallpapers10.net/

 

Image taken from: http://www.aspirantsg.com/

Image taken from: http://www.aspirantsg.com/

Freelancers and independent professionals are a growing and vital part of the European workforce and economy. Politicians at all levels of government need to understand and address this important demographic. Ahead of the 2014 European Parliament elections, we, the freelancers of Europe, call on government and businesses to:

Recognise freelancers!
Give us official status at all levels of government and bureaucracy. Realize that we’re not the same as small and medium enterprises or other activity categories. Remember us when you create policy that affects us.

Give us access!
Make sure freelancers can access all government services, bid for official contracts, access training programs and qualify for funding.

Count us!
Include us in all official statistics, and study our demographic better. Don’t put us together with other small business categories.

Give us a voice!
Talk to our representative organizations, give us a seat at the table and appoint an EU freelancers’ envoy to champion our concerns.

Treat us fairly!
Pay us on time. Write contracts that treat us ethically.

Follow this link to sign up the petition: http://www.freelancers-europe.org.

Together we can make a difference! Freelancers deserve better work, health and pension conditions! 

Fight for your Rights!

Fight for your Rights!

Twin Peaks.

After 25 years from the last episode of Twin Peaks, the spirit still lives and the fan base is still growing. These Lynchian places where are they?

There are several Twin Peaks related bars in the World. There is The Black Lodge in Bulgaria, which is more for metal heads; there is The Black Lodge in Vancouverwith impressive well thought through design, there is Black Bear Lodge bar in Brisbane, Australia, “where stag heads, fir trees and Johnny Cash rule, the red velvet curtained stage still provides the back drop and ‘a cast of Blue Velvet characters hang out.” And there is a restaurant/sports bar chain called Twin Peaks  in DallasTexas, which did not impress me at all.

Inspired by the deeply strange Club Silencio in Mulholland Drive, the film director himself has opened a nightclub in the French capital. Everything from the toilet bowls – black on black – to the saltiness of the nuts on the bar was decided on by the master himself. He even created the 1950s-inspired furniture, the chairs designed to “induce and sustain a specific state of alertness and openness to the unknown”. (the Guardian) And here you can still smoke inside; and of course there is a small Blue Velvet stage.

Silencio. David Lynch club. Paris. Photo: Copyright Alexandre Guirkinger | Silencio

Silencio. Image taken from artinfo.com

Yet, there is another Lynnchian place on earth, and it’s in Berlin. It’s been here for a while, but it has just relocated (well a few months ago) to Kreuzkölln. It is also called The Black Lodge, and we are totally ok with it. The place is nicely hidden on Sanderstrasse 6, and there is no indication that this is the Twin Peaks bar; because the old huge signboard says something unrelated and the windows are masked. The first room is completely black except for the ceiling and radiators; it is also a bar which is pretty ritzy. On the walls there are two gold framed mirrors and the white candles on tables, typical. The bar has a great selection of strong dutch beers and a mix between cocktails and long drinks. The prices are standard. The 2nd room is more exciting if you want to get the real feel of the Black Lodge, as it has red heavy curtains and the stripy floor; however it is very narrow, suppose to the real spacious room in the TV series. The tables are tiny and you sit along the wall. There is a hidden door which leads you to the restrooms and.. yet another room, which is totally bizarre because it’s a smoking area and it looks like a typical Berlin bar, grey ragged walls authentic furniture, all in all totally not fitting the mood of the previous two rooms. I’d would paint it black and put an owl there or at least a framed Laura Palmer photo, like Madame Claude did. If there was no 2nd room, you’d never get a Twin Peaks feeling, other than that it’s a lovely stylish bar, which gets 4 stars from me, and we’ll ignore that 3rd room.

P.S. They make fantastic event posters; check their Facebook page.

The Black Lodge. Vancouver.

 

Berlin, Kreuzberg. Image taken from: happyjourney.co.uk

I’ve been in Berlin long enough to explore most of the search engines and now I am able to tell which are worth spending your time on. I ignore Craigslist in 99 cases out 100. I found my 1st job there, which lasted only 2 months, and never ever found anything decent again. Most of the time you do not even get a reply, because of the extreme expat overload.

After 2,5 years my search expanded up to 10-15 pages, which I will happily share with you. While to find a regular, 40h arts/culture related job with a contract in Berlin is almost impossible (especially if you’re just like me B2, or around that level); I still managed to get some really nice projects. And I am talking here about the jobs where you come with a certain level of professionalism and competence, I’d like to leave behind jobs like waitressing and bar tending; those you find just by popping in every bar/cafe you like and leaving your CV.

Job hierarchy. Image taken from: http://venturevillage.eu/

Job hierarchy. Image taken from: http://venturevillage.eu/

My first advice, use LinkedIn! Especially if you’re an IT specialist/ business expert/graduate.

http://www.thelocal.de/ (for English speakers)

http://www.jobisjob.de/ (a mix of jobs)

http://venturevillage.eu/jobs/ (tech jobs)

http://www.onstartupjobs.com/?job_listing_region=berlin (jobs at startups, a great a list!)

http://marsjobs.net// (jobs at startups)

http://itsinberlin.com/jobs-in-berlin-startups/ (jobs at startups)

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/279887/1000jobs.html (jobs at startups)

http://www.designmadeingermany.de/jobs/ (a mix of creative jobs)

http://www.gruenderluft.de/ (a mix of jobs)

http://jobs.meinestadt.de/berlin/ (a mix of jobs)

http://somewhere.com/ (create your work portfolio and let the employers find you! At first I found this as a really great alternative to all the boring online application websites; they would connect you to all sort of interesting employers; which ask you random, but work related questions online, and depending on your answers could schedule an interview or just add you to their archive of “good candidates”. I was extremely excited about this, because I’ve probably filled in at least a thousand work applications and wrote a bit less than that cover letters in my life; and here you did not need ANY of this. Oh, what a relief!  And the most importantly I got job interviews!

Later they have changed their policy, to exactly what I said above “create your work portfolio and let the employers find you” – does not work. The workers of Somewhere try really hard to show their interest in you, yet NO real employers approach you. But I keep on returning to this page time to time, in case there is a good change. They’re young and growing, and they will see themselves eventually what really works for the job seekers, as employers won’t come to you, it’s THEIR time, you have to come to THEM.

http://www.creative-city-berlin.de/en/ (A very useful source for any creative in Berlin, bookmark this and check regularly. Not only they have art/culture related job positions, but as well as they help you with your own projects and fund raising)

http://www.dasauge.de/ (Another extremely good website for the creatives)

http://www.creativeset.net/ (a mix of creative jobs)

http://www.designerdock.de/ (highly professional design jobs)

http://www.12designer.com/en/about.html ( a mix of design jobs)

http://www.xing.com (German LinkedIn, they like it!)

http://www.gruenderszene.de/ (a mix of jobs, one of my favorite search engines)

http://www.berliner-jobmarkt.de/Search (good for the young people, offers a lot of internships)

http://www.kreativjob.com/ (speaks for itself)

http://www.jobsinberlin.eu/ (a mix of jobs)

http://www.crew-united.com/ (everything film related)

http://artconnectberlin.com (art jobs, internships, events and more)

Warner Brothers

I’ve done tons of free work in Berlin: photography, editing/reviews, PR etc. That gives you new experience, accreditation to the best festivals or concerts in Berlin, yet does not pay your rent. If you want to get paid, forget about any film festivals or even events like Transmediale. I was offered to be a runner for Warner Brothers, who had 2 day shooting in Berlin. My task would be – responsible for thousands euro worth equipment (ARRI) and serve the director, making sure he’s all happy in his chair, he can see the preview of the shot material and his coffee is always warm. 12h at least on a set each day, for €55,- ! When I pulled off, they were, to put it mildly, very disappointed. They would say later via e-mail, that with such attitude I will not get far in the film industry. Oh, what a shame, now I don’t have Warner Brothers on my CV, and I did not get €55. Besides, they called IT an INTERNSHIP, and never mentioned THE name of the company until I saw them in person. Two weeks later I’d be an extra in a student film, drinking beer in a bar, that’s all I had to do. 2h of shooting – €20. Found via Crew-United.

Speaking of extras, if you want to be an extra, and you’re desperate for money, register at:

http://agentur-filmgesichter.de/ – they really send e-mails with offers. But be ready for 10h sitting and waiting and be in front of the camera for an hour max. Bring a book. You get free food and they also pay €55 (sometimes a bit more), but at least you’re not doing anything highly responsible; and it’s barely a job, if you read for 9h, it’s just boring to death, but I’ve done it. There are many more websites which look for extras, but I never really got any calls from them. Just make sure you do free photos in their photo studio; and then you’re in the active list.

The problem of Berlin – there are too many freelancers. Not that they want to be independent, they’re forced to, because the company would not sign a contract. And you end up paying your health insurance yourself, with up to €600/m and you have no pension scheme, or do you? Very cheeky. But even if you do some freelance work, make sure you sign some sort of freelance contract; otherwise you might not get paid.

Transmediale - the largest digital art festival in Europe, exploits theirs interns like slaves for €135/m.

Transmediale – the largest digital art festival in Europe, exploits theirs interns for €135/m.

viel Glück!

No Pants Day. London. Image taken from http://i.huffpost.com/

The No Pants Subway Ride, an annual event organized by New York City prank collective Improv Everywhere.

The first No Pants Subway Ride took place in 2002 with seven riders and has grown since then. The event has expanded considerably over the years. In 2013 over 4,000 people participated in New York and tens of thousands more participated in 60 other cities in 25 countries around the world.

Hornet – Gay Social Network supports a lot of events and causes.

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KaterHolzig. Image taken from germany.travel

One of the best Berlin clubs, Katerholzig, has held its last party on January the 5th, 2014.

First there was the Bar 25, it was an internationally recognized techno wonderland on the river Spree, which was opened in 2004 and closed in the year 2010 after a 5 day-long party. Gentrification. Bar 25 itself was a symbol against gentrification (see the image on the bottom), every summer it was closing for a winter break without knowing for sure if it will get reopen next spring.

People who have experienced the Bar 25 say it was the best of the best. “It has changed Berlin’s party landscape, supported and even made the careers of many now famous DJs”. The legend which is now immortalized on film by Britta Mischer and Nana Yuriko.

See the trailer below, and watch the full film HERE.

Not long after the Bar 25 closure, the owners have opened KaterHolzig, a night club with a similar concept in the same area by the river Spree. The yard was also made out of wood with several DIY constructions and little lamps hiding under the stairs. From the outside it looked like a squat, reminding me of KØPI, half-demolished 5 floor building, all in graffiti and posters. On Saturdays they had a market with people selling organic food and self made clothing. This was the only time you could do some snaps of this place, during the night you could have been easily thrown out for just photographing your buddies.

Katerholz just like Barghain and many other clubs in Berlin had a strict and unexplainable face control. “No” meant you are not getting in tonight. People who went to the Bar 25 concluded that KaterHolzig was a hipster version, but I personally don’t like labels. And for someone from Latvia, this was still a pretty damn unique place. Of course, the stories about the famous Bar 25 brought tons of tourists to KaterHolzig, and the atmosphere changed. But it was voted as the 3rd best Berlin nightclub by 10best.com

The rumors about Katerholzig closure were going around for a long time, until December 2013, when it became clear this Silvester will be the last one for this place.

“I stumbled across this place on a Monday evening after I rode my bike past it and heard the thumping beats and faint flashing lights from the street.  I was drawn in and since I had no idea what this place was, it felt like a night out at Burning Man coming across a party.  There were people out front chatting and smoking and the little shack was ensconced in smoke with beat flowing out and the silhouette of people dancing inside. 

I ended up going in and there was a really good vibe.  Turns out most of the people there were dancing still from Sunday night so a bit cracked out of a crowd, but hey that still reminded me of Burning Man.  Anyhow, I met some awesome fun folks and even got added to the guest list for later in the week when I returned.  That’s when I realized that I was only in the “Kiosk” front shack and that there’s a big old club behind it too.”

Gene X, CA.

“This place is crazy, one room is with techno music the other with a theater show and then you find yourself in the middle of a hot jazzy berlin jam session, it’s exciting!”

Contrabass O., AL

What’s next?  There are rumors about Bar 25 reunification. The time will show, yet you and me who have been there, are a part of a history, and this is pretty good feeling.

Edited Jan 9: “They’ve already started to realise a new project on the other side of the river where bar25 used to be. these people don’t give up that easily. good on them.” – Liyona

Edited Jan 10: “Dirty Doering on air last night, one of the main protagonists behind the now closed Katerholzig and the manager of Katermukke. It doesn’t get more Berlin techno. Enjoy! Tracklist & more here: http://bit.ly/DirtyDoering ” Electronic Beats

Kater Holzig. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Kater Holzig. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Image taken from http://finn-johannsen.de/

Kater Holzig. Image taken from http://www.luciundcoma.de/

© picture alliance­: dpa

© picture alliance­: dpa

Because Germans have a program called Food Sharing.

We all happen to buy sometimes too much, or the wrong item, or we simply go for a holiday and need to empty the fridge. Or maybe you had a birthday party with lots of cakes and salads and now you don’t know how to finish them all. There are many reasons why we throw away food.

Foodsharing.de found the way to save the products we cannot or don’t want to consume anymore.

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Karl Marx Allee. Image taken form I Love Berlin Facebook Page.

Karl Marx Allee. Image taken form I Love Berlin Facebook Page.

Most of you probably have heard about the project called Humans of New Yorka sincere photography assemblage by Brandon Stanton. He is collecting stories, the media would never be able to tell. He has stopped over 10,000 strangers asking very personal questions, and these people shared their life stories with the whole world.

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