Articles by Paul

Originally from Lancashire in the north of England, Paul Scraton is responsible for Company Communications at The Circus. If you would like to get in contact with him, you can reach him by email at paul.scraton [at] circus-berlin.de

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Over the past three years we have welcomed many fascinating speakers to The Circus as part of our series of monthly eyewitness history talks in cooperation with the ZZB (Centre for Witness to Contemporary History). It has been wonderful to hear of the personal experiences of people who have lived in our city, and the tales they have to tell, and we are always extremely happy when they want to come back to speak to us again. Salomea Genin spoke with us in March, and it was an absolutely fascinating evening…

Salomea Genin was born in Berlin in 1932 to Polish-Jewish parents, and the family fled the Nazis to Australia in 1939. By the early 1950s Salomea was a committed member of the Australian Communist Party, and visited the German Democratic Republic as a delegate of the World Youth Festival. Out of this visit was born a desire to help build an anti-fascist state in East Germany, and in 1963 she moved there. Twenty years later she came to the realisation that she had willingly participated in what was a police state, and in turn this led her to join the political opposition and build a new life, even before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of East Germany.

We are really excited to be welcoming Salomea to The Circus on Tuesday 25th March to hear her story of exile and the joy and anguish of her multi-faceted homecoming. As always, the talk will be in English, open to all and free of charge, although we will be collecting donations for the ZZB to help them fund their important work.

Eyewitness History Talk: Homecoming – A Jewish Australian in the GDR
Speaker: Salomea Genin
Date: Wednesday 24th September
Time: 6pm
Venue: Fabisch at the Circus Hotel, Rosenthaler Platz 1, Berlin-Mitte

Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-M0804-754 / CC-BY-SA

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Browsing our favourite neighbourhood book store this week and we spied a familiar face on the front cover of the new book The Craft and the Makers: Tradition with Attitude, published by the good folks at Gestalten. Our head designer Sandra Ernst had discovered Daniel Heer’s workshop on Rosa Luxemburg Straße and had really admired his stools and daybeds, built out of wooden with leather straps.

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As is made clear in the book, Daniel Heer is following a family tradition in craft – his family have been making horsehair mattresses in Switzerland since 1907 – and since his move to Berlin he has forged his own path whilst at the same time keeping a link to the past. Sandra approached Daniel to work together as part of the renovations at The Circus Hotel, and he is creating a new room divider for between the reception area and the Fabisch Restaurant:

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Using natural materials, we are really excited to see the finished article installed in the Hotel, and if you are interested in the book, check out the library at Fabisch… a great read and inspiring to discover all those craftsmen and women dedicated to their work.

Daniel Heer’s website

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On Saturday evening we welcomed a fine collection of writers and translators to Katz & Maus for a literary evening organised by our friends at Readux Books entitled ‘The Wall, the City and the World’. This is the title of an upcoming Readux release by Eliot Weinberger, who was on hand to read a couple of different pieces of his work, but before he took to the microphone we had some other very special guests with us.

Readux publisher Amanda DeMarco introduced the event and then welcomed Maren Kames to the stage. Maren read some of her poetry (in German) and then Amanda followed with her translations of the work. Next up was David Wagner, to read a short extract of his work Mauerpark in German, before translator Katy Derbyshire presented her translation of his love letter to the park in English. The evening reflected on both the world at large and the Berlin that we know and love, and it was a fantastic experience to welcome these very talented writers and translators to the Circus, as well as the many literary lovers who found their way to the basement of the Hostel to listen to them speak.

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Starting tomorrow at the Moviemento cinema in Berlin Kreuzberg is the fourth edition of the Down Under Berlin, the Australian Film Festival. This year the festival is operating under the motto “Make It Home”, and it runs from the 11th to the 14th September, so if you want to catch some of the best storytelling from the other side of the world, you need to head down south over the next couple of days. Here’s some more info from the festival themselves:

“Down Under Berlin – Australian Film Festival was established in 2011 and has developed into the largest film festival in Europe dedicated to Australian and New Zealand film. As such it provides not only a window to the unique storytelling, cinematography and stories from Down Under but also a platform for filmmakers, who want to present their work to international audiences in Berlin. Down Under Berlin seeks to strengthen ties with the German film industry and presents a wide range of films including Indigenous cinema, short films, documentaries, experimental films and features.

Each year Down Under Berlin recognizes outstanding work of up-and-coming Australian and New Zealand filmmakers with its two audience choice awards in the following categories: The Down Under Berlin Audience Award for best short, feature or documentary and the New Talents Showcase Audience Award for the best student film.”

You can find out more information, including a full progamme of screenings, via the flyers we have in the reception of The Circus Hostel and Hotel, or check out the Down Under Berlin website.

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Writers from around the world are descending on the German capital as you read this, for the fourteenth installment of the International Literature Festival. Over a hundred authors from more than fifty countries will be in Berlin for a series of readings, discussions, interviews and more, with much of the action taking place at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele in the west of the city.

Although many of the events are in German/translated into German, there are a number of readings and other events taking place in English, including those from Pulitzer Prize winners Junot Diaz, Jhumpra Lahiri, and the winner of the 2014 Leipzig Book Prize, Pankaj Mishra, who will be opening the festival on the 10th September. The English language magazine ExBerliner has a good round-up of the English language events on their website.

The festival runs from the 10th to the 20th September and you can find more about it, including the full programme, on the official website. Meanwhile, here at the Circus we have a literary event of our own as we host our friends from Readux on Saturday 13th September, whilst across the park in ACUD there is the opening edition of a new literary Salon which looks like it is also going to be a wonderful evening of words here in Berlin.

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We have something very special coming up on Saturday 13th September at Katz & Maus – a reading hosted by our favourite publishers of small-yet-perfectly-formed books Readux. Three times a year Readux publish a series of four teeny-tiny books of (mostly) translated literature in English. Sometimes stories, sometimes essays and sometimes poetry, one thing is for sure is that they are perfect to slide in your pocket for that next train or plane journey, and if you want to get a copy to see for yourself, then we sell them in the Circus Hotel.

On the 13th Readux will be crossing the street to the Circus Hostel for an event hosted by Readux Publisher Amanda DeMarco, under the title “The Wall, the City, and the World”. This is the title of Eliot Weinberger’s upcoming Readux release, and Eliot will be at the Circus to give us a sneek-peak (and the only chance you will get to buy an advance copy). We will also hear from two of the stars of the last Readux series – David Wagner and translator Katy Derbyshire – about the Mauerpark, in keeping with the Wall theme, as well as poetry from Maren Kames.

Sounds good? The event will start at 7pm, and after the reading there will be plenty of time to stick around for drinks and some good conversation. We are really excited to be welcoming the different members of the Readux crew to the Circus, and we are sure it is going to be a great evening.

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From yesterday until the 7th September is Berlin Music Week and there are all kinds of events taking place at venues across the city. But we wanted to highlight First Week Take Berlin, which is a showcase of new and up and coming acts hosted by a number of different venues in Kreuzberg. Tickets for the two day event (4th and 5th September) cost €22, and there are way more gigs taking place than we have space for here, so we have picked one of our Circus favourites, who has performed here in the past, and whose music we love very much… Phia.

Here’s her bio from the First We Take Berlin website:

“The Berlin-based Australian uploaded her track “Do You Ever?” to her Soundcloud page in late 2013 and it quickly racked up over 30,000 plays, featuring on MTV’s “Faking It”, receiving regular rotation on Berlin radio and prompting Indie Shuffle to dub her “one of the most underratedof Australia’s musical exports”. Born in Melbourne, Australia, Phia, otherwise known as Sophia Exiner, studied classical and improvised piano at university, before growing restless and moving to Berlin, Germany. Recently invited by Rolling Stone Magazine (Germany) to record a David Bowie cover for a special CD compilation, Phia and her producer Josh Teicher are finishing the mixing of the album this summer, in-between touring and playing festivals.”

Phia is performing at Listen to Berlin @ Fluxbau tomorrow evening, and is due to take to the stage at 9.45pm.

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One of our favourite literary blogs Love German Books and our friends at Slow Travel Berlin are launching a new literary event next week at the ACUD club – just around the corner from Rosenthaler Platz. It looks like a fun evening of readings followed by the excellently named DJ Döner Summer on the decks… see you there?

TEENAGE KICKS!
an evening with Brittani Sonnenberg and Christiane Neudecker

Two writers – one American, one German, both with teenage protagonists. How do they create believable characters without getting patronizing or embarrassing? How do they capture the language and the lives of their teenage narrators? What’s the hardest thing about drawing on your own youth as literary material? And are teenagers the same the world over?

Brittani Sonnenberg will read from Home Leave and Christiane Neudecker will give us a sneak preview of her work-in-progress, Sommernovelle, with English translation – all in conversation with translator extraordinaire Katy Derbyshire.

Stick around afterwards for drinks and conversation with musical kicks selected by DJ Döner Summer: soul, funk, electronica, chill out, experimental and lit-beats.

Tuesday, 9 September, 8 p.m.
ACUD Club (rear Hof)
Veteranenstraße 21, Berlin-Mitte
€ 3 on the door

Facebook Event Page

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