Sunday, June 22, 2008

Equal Rights for the Unequal

Under the slogan "Equal Rights for the Unequal" Berlin´s Rainbow Fund presents its fifteenth annual Lesbian and Gay Festival - Europe's largest - this weekend. As usual, it´s being held in the traditional gay stomping ground around Nollendorfplatz in Schöneberg. The festival will take place in the area bounded by Motzstrasse, Eisenacher Strasse, Fuggerstrasse and Kalckreuthstrasse, spreading over 25,000 square meters, and featuring the Worlds of Sports, Radio, Travel, Film, AIDS and Politics, as well as other exhibits from a wide range of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups. Along with dozens of information booths and market stalls, there will be a varied range food, drinks, fetish, associations, handcrafts, whatever. And on both days of the festival, there is as well performances at The Connection with house and techno music (Amongst others situated in Fuggerstr the Connection Disco, open Friday and Saturday, is one of the oldest and is legendary in Berlin. It is in the same building where Romy Haag had his West Berlin tansvestite show. The disco has three bars and three floors together with a huge dakroom for labyrinthine cruising. The music is Techno/House with various guest DJs.), the "Disco Ball" with hits of the 70s and 80s, the "Queer Media", a mix of lesbian and gay entertainers and DJs, as well as the "Women´s Showcase". Again this year the high point of the festival will be the Personality Interview Show, »Das wilde Sofa« (The Wild Sofa), taking place on the Main Stage at the corner of Eisenacher Strasse and Fuggerstrasse. Between three and four each afternoon, Gerhard Hoffmann and Biggy van Blond will put guests from politics and culture through the meat grinder for the delight of all. Following »The Wild Sofa« on Saturday, there was a varied programme of rock and pop until 11 pm, and on Sunday until 10 pm. With more than 350,000 guests expected over the weekend, the festival´s beer gardens, cocktail bars, stages and dance floors transforms the area around Nollendorfplatz into Berlin´s favourite party quarter. It opens at 11:00 a.m. Last night was a beautiful one and you could notice in the air, simple happiness. It must be the only time of the year that gays are just happy to meet. No agressivity in the looks, just a recognizable sign that we belong to the same community. We share drinks, we meet people we know and if you're walking with friends, you're pretty sure you will stop every half meter to say hello and hug. But even with the crowd, It stays very quiet. After midnight, people are requested to go inside the bars because the booths must close but there are so many people that everyone stays outside. You just can't stay inside : too warm, too loud, too crowdy. And after a while you don't even have enough strenght to carry on partying. The mayor of the city came by for the opening with his man and managed to congratulate some people on booths. A bit political oriented but It belongs to the job, so all OK. We had dinner at the Raststätte, which is the same house as Moebel Olfe. We had dinner outside while DJ Tropical was doing a set inside but we still heard what was happening. Then back to the streets to share one "for the road".

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