the door

Lubricating Social Frictions


"Serve Yourself" says the caption over this urinal in Strasbourg, France.

“Serve Yourself” says the caption over this urinal in Strasbourg, France.

The image of the industrial economy as a great machine oiled by the sweat and blood of its workers has been a common trope for Marxist and anti-capitalist writers. Much has changed since the industrial revolution inspired such metaphors, but the costs of lubricating social processes remains a relevant issue in these post-industrial, accelerated, and uncertain times. Based on the last two decades of social and cultural studies, one could gather that the world we live in is becoming increasingly fluid (Bauman) and mobile (Urry). But what enables social and cultural “matter” to flow at increasing rates?

This question is inspired by discussions that took place during the Touring Consumption conference at Karlshochschule this past weekend (more…)

Mörchenpark Update


A stencil advertising the Mörchenpark open-house day. Taken (with thanks) from the Mörchenpark Facebook page.

Mörchenpark (including the Holzmarkt project) continues to develop. Already there’s a Facebook page, which seems to date from before the actual open-house event last week, based on the posts and the photos. Thanks to the wonders of tagging, you can actually find a lot of images of the event by looking through “Photos of Mörchenpark” on the Photos page. But also, this morning the Kater Holzig mailing list got this Sondermitteilung (Special Announcement):

(more…)

Mörchenpark and Holzmarkt: In the Ruins of Bar25


The junk-mountain with a carrousel in the foreground.

Back in the fall of 2010, Bar25—that infamous den of excess, escape, hipsterdom, confetti, and exclusiveness—finally closed its doors. The space lay fallow through 2011 as the city (through the public sanitation company, Berliner Stadtreinigung or BSR) prepared sell off the property. Now, the premises are going on the auction block, and the former management team of Bar25 is raising money to buy it back.

But they won’t be rebuilding Bar25 anytime soon. (more…)

Happy Calendar-Reboot!


Despite having just flown back from Canada two days ago, I’m already back into the nocturnal rhythms of Berlin. In fact, I used jet-lag to my advantage: I got home in the early morning, slept during the day, got up at 8pm, and then got ready for a night at Watergate (the Vakant + Dumb Unit label night). And then, the same routine the next day for the Final Friday night at Panorama Bar, with Margaret Dygas, Cassy, and Dinky (and Matthew Styles). Now, I’m making use of a brief pocket of quiet while my houseguest sleeps to post this message. In a couple of hours, we’ll have dinner, count down to midnight at a friend’s house, nap until 6am, and then head out to the insane Silvester party at Berghain/Panoramabar. The line-up features primarily the nightclub’s resident DJs, but there are also a few guests (e.g., Soundstream, Deetron) and even a few surprises (i.e., Andrew Butler of Hercules and Love Affair). The whole thing runs from Saturday midnight until late Monday, and will require a couple of cycles of dance+go home+nap+eat+dance.

It’s been interesting to see how the massive influx of tourists has impacted Berlin’s nightlife in these past days. Thursday night at Watergate involved a ridiculously long line (for a Thursday) and a crowd that seemed to be primarily populated by tourists (including tourists from other parts of Germany, mind you). I made the acquaintance of two guys from Munich, one from Beirut (Lebanon), one from Chile, and several American ex-pats (now living in Berlin). And, of course, there were French- and Italian-speakers everywhere, mostly making themselves noticeable because they can’t seem to resist the temptation to try to jump the queue for the door, the bathrooms, the bar, etc.

Friday at Panoramabar was similar but different: there were tons of tourists in the queue for the door, but proportionally less of them seemed to make it in—or, rather, only certain kinds of tourists seemed to make it past the bouncers. The queue was insanely long when we arrived around 1am (which was admittedly far too early for Berliners and part of the reason why the proportion of tourists was so high), running all the way back to where the taxis were. The wait would probably be 1.5-2 hours. I was with 3 friends, so I left two of them at the back of the line, and then I went to the door with one of my friends and approached the door. Since I’ve been something of a regular at the place, I was relatively confident that I could walk directly to the door and the doormen would wave me in, but I was less certain that I could bring in 3 other people. So, my strategy was to approach the door with one other person, and then ask if I could bring in two more people. As I expected, the doorman Andrej saw me and waved me in. “A quick question,” I said in German, “I still have two other friends stuck at the back of the line. Could I bring them in with me?” “Only two?” he said, sternly. “Yes, yes. Just two more people.” “OK, fine.” And, with that, I ran back to the far end of the line, picked up my other 2 friends, and went in. The rest of the night was too long and crazy to relate here, but suffice it to say that I met a lot of locals, non-local Germans, local ex-pats, frequent visitors, and tourists.

OK, time to go gird my loins! I have a lot of hard work ahead of me.

Berghain Attacked By Cuteness


I Heart Berghain

I ❤ Berghain. Part of a "I ❤ Berlin" photo competition

Just look at this cuteness. LOOK AT IT, I SAY!! Don’t try to deny its overpowering adorability. Let it wash over you.

So, according to the folks at iHeartBerlin.de, this picture comes from a series of images they created for a photo competition, the rest of which you can find by starting here. The competition was put on by Mobile Sessions (which seems to be organized by Sony Ericsson).

You know, taking this picture along with that video for Minilogue‘s “Animals” track (see video below) and the graphic design for the Masomenos record label (also see below), I’m thinking that I could write a whole article on minimal techno and cuteness. Also, someone needs to write an article on pictures of the exterior of Berghain (since pictures of the interior are forbidden during party hours); I bet that there are some interesting patterns to those photos… (more…)

Last Weekend in Berlin


Hello there! I bet you’ve been wondering where I’ve been. The short answer is: in Chicago. The slightly less short answer is: on the job market and applying for every fucking post-doc on the planet. So, things have been a little busy over here. Also, relocating across the Atlantic, writing new dissertation chapters, revising old dissertation chapters, submitting two new journal articles and reviewing two books is keeping me rather occupied.

But I’m back. I’m no less busy—that’s for sure—but I have days and days worth of ideas and stories that I want to publish here and I’m quickly realizing that there is never a “good time” to sit down and write new, unsolicited, non-deadlined material. But before I even post a link to that amazing set of sketches about Berghain or comment on the recent spate of homophobia-related violence or write a short essay on the problem of doing academic work on a “fun” topic…I want to indulge in some nostalgia and write a brief review of my last weekend in Berlin this summer. Some of the events described here will reappear as a feature in Resident Advisor very soon (i.e., the Luna Land party and the drama behind it), so stay tuned for that, too!

Part of what made this weekend especially epic was the presence of a friend from Britain, whom I had met last spring at DEMF / Movement (in Detroit). In the interest of privacy, I’m going to give him the obviously fake name of Milhouse, which should also make for some amusing resonances with The Simpsons as you read through this.

Luna Park - Broken Swan Ride

The Swan Ride at Luna Park...without the swans

Thursday, Aug 26: Heiligenfeld #1 at Watergate

Milhouse arrived in the early afternoon, (more…)

After DJ Bios, Comes Guest-List Etiquette


Just a few days ago, I wrote a satirical-but-I’m-only-half-joking post on “DJ bios,” the marketing strategics that go into them, and the clichés that make them sometimes absurd and unreal. And then, just this morning, a friend of mine sends me a link to another blog, where the author gives tips on “How to be a shitty plus one.”

Here’s a bit of explanation for those who aren’t familiar with this bit of shorthand: (more…)