tourism

The Techno Jet-Set: Tourism, Mobility, and Money in Berlin’s EDM Scenes


Yes, there's a company dedicated to techno tourism. In fact, there are several. This was taken at the FLY BerMuDa party in early November, 2011

As I was conducting an interview a couple of nights ago, I realized that I didn’t have a publicly-accessible and easily-readable description of my current research project on so-called “techno-tourism.” If you read my article on the Spreepark party in Resident Advisor last fall, you probably already have an idea of what this project is about: the waves of travelers coming to Berlin for its nightlife scenes, many of them enjoying a kind of international mobility that used to be the exclusive domain of wealthy “jet-set” elites. The framing of my project is pretty much directly indebted to Tobias Rapp’s book (Lost and Sound: Berlin, Techno und the Easy Jet Set, 2010) and his coining of the word “EasyJetSet,” which highlights the similarities to and differences from an earlier era of luxury “jet-setter” tourism.

There’s a lot to be said about this project, about the earlier research that has been done on tourism, the economic and social factors, and so on, but here’s a concise summary of the most relevant points. (more…)

Checking in from Berlin


My name in graffiti on a mail box

I think that's my name as a graffiti tag, on some sort of electrical box on Sonnenallee in Neukölln.

OK, OK. I know that it’s been a while since I’ve checked in on here (since Grenada!) but here’s what I’ve been up to in the past month or so:

  • Travel to and from Grenada
  • Attempt to sell off most of my furniture and my car
  • Get my !@#$ing PhD diploma and attend Convocation with my parents
  • Pack my entire life into boxes, load it into a U-Haul truck while some guy yells at us about blocking the alleyway, and then drive it 8 hours to Canada
  • Store most of my crap at my parents’ place and try to shove the remaining articles into 3 pieces of luggage
  • Remind Canada’s bureaucracy of my continuing existence
  • Spend a week in Toronto seeing friends, visiting old haunts, and having meetings at my alma mater
  • Spend about 20 hours in 3 flights taking me from my hometown to Berlin-town. Screaming babies were a bonus feature
  • Eat roasted chicken from City Chicken (Neukölln) and get plastered on wine and Sekt before finally crashing on my friend’s floor
  • Make a deposit at my Hauptmieterin’s (sublessor) bank account and retrieve the keys to my apartment
  • Schlep my numerous bags to my new apartment and settle in
  • Begin the long process of announcing my presence to the German bureaucracy
  • Struggle endlessly to unlock my iPhone 4 so I can use a reasonably-priced German SIM card
  • Re-stock the kitchen
  • Oversee repairs to the bathroom of my new apartment, which seems to involve plaster and sweaty men (not the sexy kind)
  • Orchestrate and attend reunions with overlapping circles of friends (and attempt not to alienate anyone in the process)
  • Sleep, eventually.

And now I’m in Berlin. (more…)

Inkonsequent in Berlin: Golden Gate’s Reimund Maria Spitzer on Bar 25 and Gentrification


You folks might recall that I wrote a feature story for Resident Advisor a couple of months ago that provided a sketch of the circumstances around the Luna Land Party in Spreepark Plänterwald. The story was mostly about the bizarre history of Spreepark itself and the rising tension between the Berlin institution, Bar 25, and the American promoter, minimoo, that organized the party there. But another important part of the story was the gentrification going on in Berlin’s entertainment districts, particularly the way that urban redevelopment projects like Mediaspree were putting pressure on Berlin’s nightclubs. This pressure had put Bar 25 in the position of announcing its “final” closure for at least four years running; each time, somewhat miraculously, they managed to extend their lease for a bit longer. This fall, however, the bar was closed for good. A few days after my story was published on RA, YouTube video began to surface showing Bar 25’s premises, empty and razed to the ground. After years of holding massive closing parties and then reappearing in the spring, it seemed that people needed some visual evidence that Bar 25 was really gone.

But Bar 25 isn’t the only bar / club in that area that has been under pressure. (more…)

Party in Chicago? Survey Time!


Hey folks, do you party in Chicago? Are you (or were you) a part of any of Chicago’s Electronic Dance Music scenes? Well, then LMGM’s Super Funtastic Surveygasm is just the thing for you!

Well, OK, maybe it’s not as funtastic as the title suggests; and it’s probably not going to give you an orgasm (if it does, don’t tell me). But you will be helping me out and contributing to a better understanding of the Chicago scene(s). This survey is primarily background research for a magazine/journalism article I’ll be writing soon on “Clubbing in Chicago,” but I’m also planning to use the results as another source of data for my own dissertation research (for which Chicago is one of 3 main research sites). As an added plus for all those who participate, I’ll be publishing some of the preliminary data on this blog; also, on the survey form, you can opt-in to be contacted when I publish the results.

The survey is anonymous and should take no more than 15 minutes. So, grab a drink, make yourself comfortable, and click on the image of Mr. HappySurvey below to begin:

Link to Survey

Suggestions Needed: Berlin, Summer of 2010 tracks


Perhaps it’s too late for your hazy memories, but: what were your tracks of the summer of 2010? Much like the project I started last year, I’m planning to put together a DJ mix that reflects the sounds of my recent trip to Berlin. This is primarily directed at folks who were in Berlin last summer and were hearing the same tracks I was, but I’m still happy to have suggestions to people who were partying elsewhere. If you were hearing a track all over the place during the summer, post it in the comments! Here’s my preliminary list:

  • The Gathering. “In My System (Jeff K System Mix).” Silver Network. [Marc Schneider & Jan Krueger played the fuck outta this track that summer]
  • Axel Boman. “Purple Drank.” Pampa. [“I woke up with your name on my lipsssss…”]
  • Laserkraft 3D. “Nein Mann.” Sme Music. [OK, not really; this wasn’t on any of the dancefloors where I went, but the track made the rounds of all of the Berlin party kids]
  • Akabu. “Another World (Andre Lodemann Mix).” Z Records. [I could be wrong, but I believe there’s a bit of Debussy’s La Mer on here.]
  • Kink. “E79.” Ovum.
  • Maya Jane Coles. “What They Say.” RealTone Records. [Apparently, the vocal sample is from a DJ Sneak track]
  • DJ Koze. “Blume der Nacht.” Pampa. [As featured on Superpitcher’s amazing RA Podcast]
  • Davide Squillace. “The Other Side of the Bed.” Desolat.
  • (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…)

Pathologizing Crowds: Love Parade 2010, Death, and the Problem of Crowds


Yes, yes, I’m a bit late to be commenting on the tragedy at Duisburg. The story has been covered in print and online endlessly since the event last Saturday, and the German press has been reporting daily on the personal and political aftermath. There’s even a Wikipedia page devoted to the disaster already. In a nutshell: there was a huge turnout at the Love Parade last Saturday (July 24), which was held in Duisburg this year, and overcrowding in the tunnel which served as the only entrance and exit to the even site led to a panic and a stampede, killing 21 and wounding more than 500 (note: initial reports counted 19 dead, but two others succumbed to their wounds a few days later).

I’m not planning to describe the event in any detail. Der Spiegel has been providing thorough English-language and German-language coverage of the event and its aftermath, including descriptive details and arresting photography. I’m also not writing here to respond to the disaster from the point of view of the Electronic Dance Music community; Will Lynch has already provided a clear and concise report of the event at Resident Advisor, and Emmy over at What Time Is Your Flight? has reflected on the impact of this event on dance music/festival communities and has gathered together news coverage and video from the event.

What I want to talk about here is crowds. (more…)

Surrogate DEMF Reviews, While You Wait


Despite having been back from my travels for two whole days, I still don’t have any notes from either the Detroit or Montréal festivals to post here. Don’t worry, I have lots of fieldnotes with lots of pictures and anecdotes; I just need to write them in decent prose, sort through my photos, and decide on how I’m going to organize things (chronologically or thematically?).

In the meanwhile, though, check out this review of the first day of the Detroit festivities (the Movement Festival a.k.a. DEMF), written by one of the British lads that I met during my travels (more about that when I finally write my own event review). He wrote it for Data Transmission, an online magazine / social media hub for electronic dance music that resembles Resident Advisor but is more UK-centric. Actually, it’s interesting to compare the reviews by both sites, since they have a different roster of writers, a different editorial philosophy, and a different (but overlapping) target audience. Here are the two reviews side-by-side:

By the way, the photos for the Data Transmission review were taken by my own very dear Rémi, who accompanied me through both Detroit and Montréal. The story of how that came about goes back to a few days before the festival in Chicago…

From Detroit/Montréal with love


Hey folks.

Yes, I know; I’ve been rather lax in updating my blog lately. I’ve pretty much disappeared off the face of the earth for a couple of weeks. I’ve had a houseguest with me in Chicago for a while, and then we set off to Detroit and later Montréal for various electronic music festivals (DEMF/Movement and Mutek, respetively). I’m hearing lots of great music and having lots of interesting encounters that will make for some very amusing reading sometime soon, but for now it’s all I can do to take some shorthand notes and keep going. As it is, I’m missing an experimental electronics concert to write this (I think I’ll be able to catch the last part of it). In the meanwhile, here’s one of my favorite pictures of the Detroit Electronic Music Festival / Movement.

At the TV Lounge

The "SHXT SHOW" party at the TV Lounge