Sunday, June 28, 2009
The alternative demonstration Transgenialer CSD yesterday was a success. We followed the road from Freidrichshain to Kreuzberg as planned and everyone arrived at Oranienstrasse. After that, the convoy stopped and there was a little time when we didn't move, keeping on listening to the music and starting drinking glasses, bought at the bar nearby, such as Roses bar or Bierhimmel. You will notive those bars on the picture above. The good thing with those big events is that you're always sure to meet people you know, even only from face, and sometimes also the meeting brings surprises. Anyway, sat on the road or on a bank, we drank some glasses and decided to have a rest before starting the night. Though we wanted to start with the Suicide circus, we changed our plans because some of the people we met told us that the party to be was at Festsaal Kreuzberg named FAB 01, the queer electro rock cabaret, and it was true. The mood was excellent, we had a garden to enjoy cigs and drinks, the night was not too cold and the shows and DJ's made us have a good time. We decided nevertheless after that to change location and try the Suicide circus because we said we would but unfortunately, It was not what we expected and the music was too techno when we wanted to dance on minimal. So after another drink not even finished we decided to end up at Club des visionnaires. This is a place we love, we often go there after work for the apéritif or like last night, for the after party. Music is always good, people friendly and you can see the day rising at 4:30 A.M drinking wine on the river Spree. Some of my friends wanted to carry on at berghain's but I really had no any strenght to follow them. I just returned home, listening to Lover undercover.
I spent a few days outside the city last week. I really needed it, almost 6 years without any real holiday, OK, I know, I lived in Barcelona, went skying a few times and some long week-ends in and there but you know what I mean when I say real holiday : traveling outside the grey city where winter lasts forever and even when summer is officially open on your calendar, you don't really see the nose of it. The last years have been rich in events and emotions, met new people, lost some others, and my body started to say "hellooooo, I'm here, take care of me, have a rest" which means It is time and the limit should not be overpassed. I didn't have a big budget for the journey neither much time to organize the whole thing so I decided to wait and see until the last minute. Actually that was a good step because I had such a wonderful time, short but intense, in Spain, visiting the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. It's a place I wanted to visit since a very long time because everyone who went there told me It is worth it and frankly said, It is. Definitely. Incredible. beautiful. Amazing. But, my advice would be first, not to forget to protect yourself from the heat and sun if you go during the summer season and second (very important), book your ticket in advance or you will not get in. And I would recommend to book your entry early in the morning so you will not be too much disturbed by the heat (It reached 40°C that day), by the flow of tourists (which can be quite disturbing sometimes, especially in groups in the long corridor and small rooms) and you will have time to relax in the amazing gardens full of flowers and terrasses refreshed by water spots. The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex of the Moorish rulers (constructed during the mid 14th century), occupying a hilly terrace on the southeastern border of the city. Once the residence of the Muslim rulers of Granada and their court, the Alhambra is now one of Spain's major tourist attractions exhibiting the country's most famous Islami architecture, together with Christian 16th century and later interventions in buildings and gardens that marked its image as it can be seen today. This palace structure was started after the Reconquista, the reconquering of Spain performed by the Christian kings, started. This adds to its aura. While the illiterate Christians were advancing, Spain reached its highest cultural level ever, but under the Muslim rulers. The slender structure of Alhambra, the breathtaking details, the celebration of life, the mixture of nature in men's design, all underline what tragedy the return of Christianity in Spain was to be for centuries to come. Alhambra consists of palaces built by several rulers, each had his own. The carrying idea behind several of the buildings of Alhambra is nothing less than an attempt to create a duplica of Paradise on earth. The romantic design is made up of a mixture of slender columnar arcades, fountains, and light-reflecting water basins. Most prominent is the Lion Court. Granada was lost to the Christians in 1492, and when the Reyos Católicos, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella died some years later, Granada was chosen for their burial. Perhaps the Muslim dreams of Paradise moved even the cold hearts of the two. The Alhambra consists of 3 parts : The Royal Palace, which is the most famous, which in itself consists of 3 parts : The Mexuar, the Serallo and the Harem, where the Lions' Court is the centre. In addition to the Alhambra comes the gardens of Generalife and the fortress of Alcazaba.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
So today is the CSD in Berlin. As usual, thousands of people will attend the event and I know from someone who flew yesterday back from London that the aircraft was full of men and women coming here especially for this week-end. So the programm is very interesting this week-end if you wish to party all week-end. But, as I did last year, I will not go. The CSD for me is not that interesting as It is the same in all countries. I approve very strongly the event but for me and in the city I have more acquaintances with the Transgenialer CSD which is a better sign of the fight for the rights. You will find this year again the subjects such as "against discrimination" and "civil rights" but more I find this demonstration more political than the CSD. The route this year will start in Friedrichshain and will end in Kreuzberg in my beloved Oranienstrasse where I will meet friends and take some pictures. Political party members are not invited for speeches. The moto this year is : "We hear tolerance behind whom the bare repression, the discrimination and the fact of being a misanthrope hide. Groups of the persons are defined as minorities except the normality, are reduced and are played the one against the other one. At best they are, tolerated or are accepted. It hides nothing of the racists, homophoben, transphoben, violence, misogyny, hide of the not beautiful, not young, not rich, not white, disabled, politically uncomfortable persons which is in this society - and, regrettably, also inside our scenes - the everyday life. We see the daily violence in a patient, in the own luxuriance of profit the stifling system which knocks down us in the crisis, produces nothing as exclusions and throw up to us then its tolerance in front of our feet. We say No! to discrimination! We say No! to economy of the training. Free access for all! We say No! To the no access to the residential zones! We say No! No person is illegal! We say No! to ethnicity of the crime and the conflicts! We say No! to the infinite exploitation of the persons and the resources. For the abolition of the old mechanisms of power (WTO, IMF, World Bank) and the international organs which stop the destruction of the earth ! We say No! For the privatization of the public goods. Health, water, meal, training for all! We say No! In the straight normality. For the abolition of the order of gender! We say No! to racism! We say No! to anti-Semitism! We say No! to sexism! We say No! to homophobia and trans-phobia!". After this faternoon, already full of surprises and images I am sure, a little rest will be needed. Probably a meal together with friends before going to party to relax and celebrate the day all together. I guess our choice will go tonight to Suicide circus which is the new place"to be". Hopefully the weather will not be rainy as it shows now. The party scheduled will not have much to do with the subject such as DJ Namito says "The Iranian movement of democracy needs us more than here in the separate becomes aware. Every shape of the solidarity outside the country (except the earth) is perceived with the biggest satisfaction and gives to the people farther the push who risk every day their life so that they live as you and me freely. Each of us who appears on Saturday, 27.6 in Suicide circus , enters free of charge! Why green? The green is not only the color of the hope but still the color of the movement of democracy in Iran!" Other Dj's will play as well under the moto "NAMITO - "11" Record Release Party" like Daniele Papini (Kling Klong - Break New Soil) and Diringer (Kling Klong).
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Now who said the Germans have no sense of humour? Well if you ever believed that disgracefully ill informed stereotype then more fool you as the case for prime German (albeit disgracefully tasteless) German humour is amply made with Oliver Rihs rich black comedy Black Sheep (Schwarze Schaffe) Set in suburban Berlin, Schwarze Schaffe tells the multilayered tale of several very differing groups of characters following their downward spiral into darkly humourous oblivion. First there's struggling former student Charlotte Heinze struggling to make ends meet whilst her alcoholic boyfriend Peter (a failed artist who can only paint abortions) continually embarrasses her in her day to day dealings ; then there's unemployed former Rolex hand model Boris Wecker whom after conning his way into bed with a high flying Vogue staffer (the gorgeous Barbara Kowa as Nadja) decides somewhat misguidedly that the only way to get money to be with his potential love would be by getting his good friend Roger to lop his hand off for the insurance money ; then there's the two lazy gay stoner anarchists who are plotting to get their flat renovated on the cheap but are distracted by the square jawed actor they meet ; then of course there's the two cycling Satanists who plot to carry out a sordid blood ritual to try gain wealth and fame (though finding a suitable female sacrifice proves problematic for the witless duo) and finally there's the trio of hormonally challenged young Turkish lads (Ali, Birol and Halil) who spend the duration of the movie trying as many (growingly hilarious) ways as possible to get their wicked way with girls, any girls! And so the scene(s) are set for one of the most delightfully absurd comic farces you'll have seen in quite some time. Director Rihs takes a massive gamble with a venture such as this ; comedy can so easily fail, especially so low budget comedy with relatively new performers, but he manages to carry it off well with a truly impressive and pretty much faultless movie. The film is shot mostly in black and white (with well utilized splashes of colour on occasion) and the layered snapshots of candid suburban absurdity is somewhat akin to the content of the Clerks series but what Schwarze Schaffe does have is a sense of believability (even within some of the downright absurd moments) that shows a mature aspect. It should be noted that this is certainly no Woody Allen experience as, particularly so in the films final reel, there is moments of jaw dropping bad taste that will test even the most hardened of sick monkeys viewing. Tasteless doesn't even begin to describe some of the films more outrageous moments. Schwarze Schaffe is for me one of the most intelligent and satisfying black comedies to hit the screen in quite some time. The success of Schwarze Schaffe, whilst in the main can be attributed to director Rihs and co-writer Olivier Kolb, should also be accredited with the cast who deliver sterling performances throughout (with particular note going to hapless Satanists Daniel Zillmann and Kirk Kirchberger along with Jule Böwe as the downtrodden Charlotte) who alongside the blistering score by Ramon Orza make for 90 minutes or so of highly refreshing comedic fun.
I guess people in Berlin thse days must be a bit depressed. I can understand why because we had such a beautiful April that nobody believes we have storms in June. Last week-end, I even thought of putting back the heating. So the result of that situation is : party. And to make you decide, the choice of the title makes no doubt “Fuck me now, love me later” at the Arena or “Fuck me like a whore” at the new Suicide Circus Suicide circus where I have to go to. I’d be surprised to see that on the dance floor. But tonight is dinner at home and then probably, like almost everyday this week, the last drinks at Bariton's.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I tried a new restaurant, but this time not in my neighborhood. It is in Kreuzberg, in the very trendy area in Bergmannstrasse. It is called Foodorama and It is said to be organic food. I don’t really know what It means but we expected to be bio cuisine. I guess it was. My friend booked the table for 5 and I arrived the first one when the ones hat their aperitif somewhere else. The welcoming was not very good, I must say. It is true I was not very well dressed but I had a party after the dinner and I didn’t want to return home to get change. So let’s say I was “casual” and the girl at the entrance looked at me from head to toe. So from the first look, she was not my friend. I sat waiting some minutes and my friends arrived and then everything went better. I must say that It is not expensive but good, not the best restaurant in town but somewhere to go if you are in the neighborhood, with its design pure, white and dark green walls together with wood tables for 6 and the bar welcoming you. The thing to remember is that with this type of restaurant or shop, you will see that the area is modeling itself as new. This happened in Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg, now It’s coming in Kreuzberg. It shows you that the city is still evaluating.
I was very happy last evening to go and see Snow White directed by the modern ballet dance theatre directed by Angelin Preljocaj at the Staatsballett. I follow his career since years now when I was still living in Paris and I never was disappointed. Sometimes of course, happier than other times but I enjoyed every show. The first time I saw one of his ballet in Berlin was years ago. It was not well known and I knew I would only meet either French or connoisseurs. I prefer this kind of public because they can appreciate and they will remain silent during the show, not feeling disturbed because there is no music. Unfortunately, this was not the case this time. Of course this bitch ate the apple a new time. Since all these years, she still did not understand. I guess It is the only possibility she found to meet the prince and receive the kiss. Actually, I would have appreciated if some people sitting in the room had eaten the fruit too. The stage was perfect for the piece but the number of seats was too important, meaning there was too many people and not the ones who they know what It is all about. It’s OK if you don’t like it. Everyone has a different taste. But please stop bothering me because you feel out of place. Where you see pornography, I see art and where you see one funny dance step, I don’t understand why you laugh. Nevertheless, I was very happy to be there, I see with Angelin Preljocaj always something fresh and enjoyable.
It’s done. In France, transsexuals will not be considered mentally sick anymore. Until now, they could of course benefit of the social security because of their treatment but at the condition to be declared. Trans feel this admission as stigmatizing because it opens the door to confusion between gender identity trouble and psychiatric affection. But the health ministry assures that the medical care will stay in place. The value is a strong signal to the community following the international day against homophobia, which subject this year was transphobia, understand phobia of trans people. This initiative is the last (and ultimate ?) step for the acceptance by the French society of transsexual people. It is also a debate that medical community talks since always without really understand the real causes. The words you use can be as well misunderstand. Transsexualism must of course be distinguished from homosexuality but also from transvestitism which implicates that you know you belong to your gender and even though you change medically your outside appearance. Not to mention the confusion with the different states (intersexual ?) that you follow anatomically and physiologically between man and woman. The “real” transsexual lives permanently with the feeling that the gender is wrong, so comes the quest of changing the sexual status, legally and physically. Because surgery can help, right should have follow. It is in 1965 that France started to think about it. Surgery only resolved one piece of the puzzle and let justice decide or not to proceed the change on the civil state. It is interesting to note that for those people, they have a disgust for the genitals that they wish to make disappear. Sexual life is poor, as much for the libido than for the body. They often say they expect a satisfying sexuality following the body transformation, though It is not the first target of their desire but mostly the change of the body because of the legal change. Only since about 30 years that Transsexualism passed from the dream to reality, thanks to the progress of surgery. In March 1992, the European Community condemned France because It said that to refuse a change of civil state was a violation of European Convention of civil rights and fundamental freedom, regarding the right of private life and family. A few months later France recognized the right for transsexuals to change civil state, exactly like Sweden, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Turkey, Finland and Spain. That is to say that France still has the capacity to accept differences that yesterday were stated socially unacceptable.