Our Neighbourhood

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KW

There is a festival going on in Berlin-Mitte and the south-western part of the city with nearly sixty international artists involved. First hosted in 1998 the Berlin Biennale has developed to become one of the world’s most famous events for contemporary art. Curated by Juan A. Gaitán, canadian-columbian author and curator, the works discover the intersection between historical narratives and individual experiences.

Two venues chosen for this year’s festival are places you probably won’t think of whilst preparing a quick trip to one of the liveliest metropolis in the world and therefore well worth a visit: the Museum Dahlem and the Haus am Waldsee. Both idyllic ally situated they show works that deal with the past – new productions by artists from former European colonies in Asia, America and Africa. Another venue for the festival is a little closer to home, and within walking distance of the Circus, the KW Institute for Contemporary Art which you will find on Auguststraße.

 

babylon2

First, one and only silent film organ festival takes place at Babylon Cinema for the 5th time. Between the 18th and the 27th of July you can watch 21 movies shot between 1918 and 1929. Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and Pandora’s Box were breaking taboos back then and still show what impact the First World War had on artists and their creations. Anna Vavilkina gives you the feeling of being in one of the famous cinema palaces back in the 1920s. babylon1

She is the only permanently employed organist in the country. During the festival she is accompanied by Viennese componist Florian C. Reithner. Their interpretations revive the director’s work and emphasize the emotional moment of this art form that is way more than just cinema without spoken text. It gave me the shivers – in a very positive way!
Go and see stars like Conrad Veidt, Louise Brooks, Anita Berber and Greta Garbo in their most famous roles.
And for those who won’t make it there until the 27th – no need to worry. Every Saturday at midnight you can watch a silent film for free! Check out their website for more information and other upcoming events: www.babylonberlin.de

It is Fashion Week in Berlin, including Bread & Butter at the former Tempelhof Airport, and we’ve been bitten by the shopping bug. What could be better than spending a day exploring the neighbourhood around the Circus, visiting some of the small stores here in Berlin Mitte to find your new favourite piece. Within walking distance of Rosenthaler Platz there are loads of places where you can spend your hard-earned cash, and so we have picked some of our favourites that can be reached on foot in just a couple of minutes:

XVII

XVII_One

This is a paradise for vintage addicts, and Maria has gathered together a beautiful collection of collector’s items at XVII, from Valentino via Ralph Lauren and MCM – everything a women’s heart logs for. The icing on the cake? Fantastic fashion advice… well worth a visit!

Steinstraße 17
www.xvii-store.com

lala Berlin

Cool femininity meets high quality materials – cashmere, silk and light cotton emphasise the styles and cuts created by Leyla Piedayesh, a German-Iranian designers. The light and airy store has been selling Urban Chic since 2006, and word has spread to the stars: lala Berlin and its attention-grabbed patterns and prints have become synonymous with the red carpet. Everyone who wants to take a closer look will be welcomed warmly by the staff.

Mulackstraße 7
www.lalaberlin.com

Butterflysoulfire

Maria Thomas and Thoas Lindner not only took part in the creating of costumes for the ‘Red Bull Flying Illusion’ but they also design elegant, simple and refined pieces with a touch of extravagance for both women and men. Art lovers might also be interested to know that Thoas’ collection of 150 ‘Hungry Ghosts’ sculptures, inspired by East Asian Mythology, are also available at the store.

Mulackstraße 11
www.butterflysoulfire.blogspot.com

The Shit Shop

Whether you love the name or hate it, it certainly attracts attention, as do the owners Bonnie Strange and Lena Nußbaum. Here you will find not only Bonnie’s own collection – ‘The Shit’ – but also bigger brands and well-selected designer labels that you won’t find anywhere else in Berlin. And for those who want to show some colour: get your nails done – and how about a ‘My Little Pony’ on your ring finger?

Rückerstraße 10
www.theshitonline.com

Potipoti

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(Photo by PSCFOTOclick@pscfoto.net)

Graphic design, art, fashion – and sustainability! Silvia Salvador and Nando Cornejo show us that you can combine all these elements and look fantastic. The clothing and accessories meet every budget, and I myself have an eye on the espadrilles, which are part of the new collection and made in Spain.

Rosenthaler Straße 66
www.potipoti.com

Arseniko

Nadia Barcella has owned this store for forteen years and brings together Italian, Swiss, Scandinavian and German designers, who all produce their sustainable fashion in Europe. Under the slogan “shopping goes awareness” you can discover a lot of colour and cuddly materials, and get the chance to discover some new young talents: once a year Nadia invites two students the chance to produce their own pieces at her store in Berlin

Dirckenstraße 45
www.arseniko.com

Novacane

Sneakers, sneakers, sneakers… and streetwear! At Novacane you will be blown away not only by the interior design but also the wonderment of which shoe will find its way into the store. Facebook will keep you up to date. At the same time, Bastian Braun’s concept is not only defined by fashion: the owner’s taste in music and streetart are what makes it a perfect store all round.

Linienstraße 205
www.novacane-store.com

rau Berlin

This is where they will take the measure of you… and the elegant and timeless leather trousers (for men and women) that are tailored individually by designer Martina Rau. The focus is on the person who wears the product, and not the piece itself. Fashion does not function as a costume, but instead dresses and caresses. That’s why the unique shapes flatter every figure, and because the production is entirely Berlin-based, you get fashion that is not only exceptional, but fairly-produced as well.

Steinstraße 7
www.rauberlin.com

Cantatatanz_Dieter Hartwig

If you have spent the last few weeks down in Katz & Maus or elsewhere, watching the World Cup, then you might fancy a bit of a change of scene this week. Yes, the semi finals and the final are still to be played, but there are some free nights coming up and we’ve got a tip for you that is taking place at the Zionskirche, just a short walk up the hill from The Circus and Rosenthaler Platz.

NICO AND THE NAVIGATORS are a theatre ensemble based here in Berlin that have been home to a good number of well received productions over their fifteen year history. In 2011 their CANTATATANZ – an evening of music, performance and a collage-like composition based on the baroque musical artistry of Johann Sebastian Bach – was such as success that in 2014 they have brought it back to Berlin. The performance features dancer Yui Kawaguchi, countertenor Terry Wey, and musicians Jakob David Rattinger, Mayumi Hirasaki and Eugène Michelangeli, and it is fair to say that the Zionskirche itself, as the venue, plays an important role in the visual language of the piece.

Here’s what they say themselves about what you can look forward to:

Employing a sensitive theatrical language that incorporates instrumental music, song, dance, acrobatics and drama, NICO AND THE NAVIGATORS draw on the models of classical music to compose new sound and image landscapes that later reveal quite distinct ways of thinking to the audience. The working method of “guided improvisation” opens up a creative dialogue between the arts, the concerted interplay of which in the course of rehearsals is then condensed into a single evening in a series of tableaux.”

There are performances on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th July, and tickets start at €14. You can book them in advance through the Radialsystem V website. If you want to find out more about CANTATATANZ, including photos and videos of previous performances, then check out  the NICO AND THE NAVIGATORS homepage.

Photo credit: Dieter Hartwig

Picto

We have long been fans and friends of the Pictoplasma festival, and to celebrate their tenth anniversary they are staging a group exhibition of works by over a hundred artists, designers and illustrators who have been involved in the project over the past decade. The gallery is open until the 11th May, and can be found at Kaufhaus jandorf on Brunnenstraße, just a short walk from the Circus. Here’s what they have to say about it:

“The Pictoplasma Portrait Gallery examines the genealogical dimensions of figurative aesthetics in the postdigital age. The installation is part of Pictoplasma’s ongoing investigation into the limits of face creation and animism. What are the minimum requirements needed for something to pass as a face and at the same time arouse maximum empathy in the viewer?

The unifying format of the portrait has been chosen for a reason: even its classical manifestation portraiture has always been less about recreating a person’s appearance than bringing out their true personality as they “look back” at the viewer from inside the image. At the same time the genre has undergone constant change, through first analogue and then digital photography. The exhibition presents paintings, busts, sculptures, animated video portraits by today’s most influential creators of character-driven visuals – also extending this list to accommodate the current obsession with self-portraits taken on a cellphone, gathered by Pictoplasma in an open call for #CharacterSelfies.”

You can find out more about the Gallery, and see some examples of what you can expect when you visit, on the Pictoplasma website.

UVR

(above: Udo and Dirk from UVR Connected)

Eagle-eyed readers might remember that we recently took over the ground floor space of the Circus Hotel, that used to house a kebab shop. Well we are pleased to announce that we have found a new tenant for the space and we are sure they are going to be a great addition to Rosenthaler Platz. UVR Connected is a Berlin fashion label that currently has three shops in the city, and this will be their fourth. Alongside carefully chosen brands, UVR Connected stores also sell their own collection, much of which is produced in the countryside north of Berlin in a region known as the Uckermark. Using fabrics from Italy and France, UVR Connected creates clothing that is timeless, classic and, in their own words, “grown up”. We think it is great that we will have on the square another local company, committed to production in Germany and Europe, and we are looking forward to welcoming our new neighbours to the square.

review 2013
So what did we get up to over the past twelve months? Well, as we flick through the archives we can see that there was quite a lot…

We spent most of January renovating the lobby and reception area of the Circus Hostel, to make sure things were fresh and new as we entered the New Year. In February we launched Issue #4 of our magazine, got serious on Twitter, launched a new tour as Ally took guests around some of the best street art in the city, oh… and won some awards for both the hostel and the hotel.  As spring approached we enjoyed the sun, as well as new TV channels in the hotel and our regular eyewitness history talks, whilst into April and The Kitchen at the Apartments featured in a book from Gestalten, we launched the Café Conversations at the Hostel, the behind-the-scenes team moved into a new office, and Berlin became the unlikely sporting capital of the country (at least until Bayern Munich had the last say).

Into May and we could not help ourselves with our Eurovision Song Contest Party, the company featured in the Volksbank annual report, and we made more improvements to our hotel roof terrace. June began with sad news as we said goodbye to two close friends and partners of the Circus, Terry Brewer and Michael Kersten. We spent a nice evening with our neighbours in the Fabisch courtyard, Mike launched his Berlin Wall tour, we created some new neighbourhood maps, and we began our summer series of yoga and sundown drinks on the roof terrace.  As the summer progressed we received commendations for the hostel, the hotel and the apartments, gave our lion a name, launched the Kitchen Culinary Club… and, oh yeah, the company bought the Circus Hostel building.

Into the autumn and time to take a break? Not a bit of it… as we brought Oktoberfest north to Berlin and welcomed the return of Berliner Abend to Fabisch, taught the world Berlinerish, were nominated for SO!Apart awards, held the last ever Karaoke Klub and celebrated five years of the Circus Hotel… including a party and all as Jared and Felix began to cultivate their tasches for Movember. We ended the year as we began, with further renovations on the ground floor which led to the opening of our new gastronomic space called Katz & Maus, before we could relax into a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

See you in 2014!

Baustelle

If you have been staying with us over the past couple of days, or indeed have just looked at the picture above, you will know that there is a teeny tiny amount of chaos on the Rosenthaler Platz at the moment, as they do some work on the tram tracks that run past the Circus Hostel and Hotel. But what does it mean for you? Well if you are trying to get to us… not much. All our directions, from the airport or the train station, suggest a route which uses the U-Bahn (the underground) which is unaffected by the work going on above the surface.

Once you are here, there are some changes to the transport network beyond the U-Bahn, which might impact your exploring of the city. The tram M1 which usually runs from Prenzlauer Berg down into Mitte and vice versa has been diverted. If you want to head north, to Prenzlauer Berg, then you can walk up the hill for five minutes to Zionskirchplatz where things are running as normal. If you want to get down to Hackescher Markt, a replacement bus will take you from Brunnenstraße to S-Bahn Oranienburger Straße (where you can change to a tram) or to Friedrichstraße station, where you can catch the S-Bahn. If you are not at all sure… come and ask us at reception, and we will get you where you want to go.

But the positive news is that with these new tracks the trams will – supposedly – be quieter in the future, which can only be a good thing!

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