Berlin Hub




5 Things You Can't Miss in Berlin, Germany

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This weekly travel column is brought to you by ManAboutWorld, an immersive digital gay travel magazine for iOS and Android devices from Billy KolberEd SalvatoKenny Porpora, and nearly 75 Global Correspondents.

Berlin’s been on the receiving end of some backlash as of late. Having been the reigning king of cool for so long, it’s now even trendier to lash out against it, to claim Berlin is ‘over’ and to declare a dozen or so burgeoning the cities “the new Berlin!” But these headlines are mostly unfounded, and while we suspect travelers have grown bored and weary with media’s constant and sometimes hyperbolic praise of Berlin, they’ve not yet grown tired of the city itself. Step one foot in Berlin and it’s still every bit abuzz and edgy as it ever was. And we have a couple reasons why it might be time to check it out.

The first is Berlin Gay Pride (known locally as Christopher Street Day) takes place June 21-27, with festivities and events spread over the week.

7977616909_065eea412c_zThe other is a bit more hardcore: Folsom Europe the world’s biggest leather party (September 12-13). This two-day celebration of kink and fetishistic debauchery, where anything goes and nothing shocks, is a crowded, sweaty, festival of whips and chains, furries and slaves, collars and ball-gags, daddies and maids. And if that weren’t enough, it’s being held for the 12th year in Berlin, full of Germans who always manage to make any sexual act that much dirtier. So break out the nipple clamps and Gun Oil, because things are about to get messy.

 Here are our top 5 things we're loving in Berlin this spring.

1. Hotel 25 Hours: This new design boutique (think urban jungle chic) in the heart of Charlottenburg is a short walk to Schöeneberg. Judging by the hotel’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs that read ‘Please place aspirin in front of the door and leave,’ (along with 24 other options) they seem ready for the many hangovers that await them. The property has small but chic rooms, and has become one of the city’s best lifestyle hotels.

2. La Mano Verde: There’s currywurst on every corner in Berlin, so we wanted to steer you toward a new trend we’ve come to notice in this city that’s full of them: Berlin has recently become the vegan capital of Europe. And La Mano Verde is the original, serving an extraordinary vegan menu within walking distance to Schöeneberg. Their spaghetti de la mer is a must. 

3. Schwuz: This gay club is in a former beer beer factory at Rollbergstraße 26, and one of the nicest gay places to hang out in in Berlin. The crowd tends to be on the younger side. Ivery Friday is a themed night. 

4. Tiergarten: If it’s a warm and sunny day, the grassy knolls of the Tiergarten are Berlin’s sunbathing and cruising spot. Walk or bike up Hofjägeralle from Mitte towards the famed Victory statue column, and then take the first left trail into the woods before the column. Meander at a 45 degree angle into the park, heading towards the Lion Bridge. You’ll find gays spread in two areas, one predominantly clothed and one delightfully naked (well, delight is in the eye of the beholder). Cruising happens around the bridge by day and near the table tennis courts by night. Watch your wallet! See the Discodamaged.net Google Map for precise locations.

5. Schwules MuseumFor anybody with even a passing interest in LGBT history, the Schwule Museum which moved to Lützowstraße 73 in Mitte should definitely feature on their itinerary. Literally translating to “Gay Museum,” it is dedicated to preserving and celebrating all aspects of LGBT life through a variety of exhibitions, lectures and workshops hosted during the year. Its permanent exhibition is dedicated to 200 years of gay culture, while temporary exhibits honor gay icons such as Oscar Wilde and Marlene Dietrich.

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For even more insider recommendations in Berlin for other destinations around the globe and in the U.S., get ManAboutWorld Magazine on iTunes (iOS) or Google Play (Android). 

And ManAboutWorld is now on the iPhone! Android coming soon. To download for the iPhone, click HERE.

Image credits: Top: Fabiana; Right: Lilas59; Bottom (Berlin Wall in the Newseum in Washington DC): John Pastor


Grindr Accuses Dutch Artist of 'Entrapment' for Luring Users into Public Art Exposé: VIDEO

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Dries Verhoeven, a gay Dutch artist, is making a public spectacle of himself in a busy Berlin intersection and angering quite a few Berliners in the process. His art project is called 'Wanna Play?' and he describes it, in part, like this:

DriesverhoevenThe Dutch artist Dries Verhoeven is going on a search for answers, taking his own gayness as the starting point. For 15 days he is living in a glass space, visible to anyone who passes by. He is communicating with the outside world exclusively by means of Grindr and similar apps. The men that he meets online will be invited to join him to meet each other’s non-sexual needs. Anyone who downloads the dating app can see the profile shown here on his mobile phone. All photos will be represented without identifying marks. All chats will be rendered anonymous.

(read full 'about' page HERE)

Except that it has turned out to be not so anonymous for those who interact with Verhoeven, Same Same reports:

One particularly annoyed Grindr user wrote on Facebook that the artist had not mentioned to him that he was doing a project, and when he turned up to the square he was shocked to find his messages had been shown in public.

“Consider what it would feel like,” he wrote, “to walk into a public space looking for an address of a person you are meant to have a private encounter with, only to see your picture and your words projected onto a wall with a large group of people watching and reading, many of them pointing and laughing. People called my name!”

Another annoyed commenter added: “This is completely disgusting and not related to art at all.”

A third: “Your project is extremely exploitive and cynical, putting people’s privacy and safety at risk.”

BerlinVerhoeven's project seems to have sprung from an addiction to and subsequent dissatisfaction with the shallow social scene resulting from the rise of hook-up apps. He writes, on the project's "about" page:

I realized that many times it wasn’t sex that I was looking for, but more the affirmation that I got from the sex. The sounds of the various apps had the effect of a slap on the back, an incoming message meant interest. I felt like a teenager who needs the approval of his classmates and so conforms to their rules and their jargon. In less than half a year my texts had been reduced to simple headlines like “Hey there” and “Whats up?”, my photos did not show the man that I was, but rather a bad imitation of the typical torso photos.... The men that I met then were the trophies of my digital hunt. The more their outward appearance fit my ideal image, the higher their value in the imaginary ranking that I kept of them and of my own accomplishments. The sex was not the final goal, but it was a pleasant occupation while maintaining our Grindr market value. I felt like a superficial illustration of myself, a man that could fulfill many sexual fantasies, but who rarely went to the movies with a stranger. I hadn’t brought anyone home to the family for Christmas in years. Grindr kept me from dealing with my single life. A feeble surrogate, but good enough not to feel lonely. I decided to delete the various apps from my mobile phone.

2_verhoevenGrindr objects to the project, and its spokesman told Same Same:

“While Grindr support the arts, what Dries Verhoeven is doing by luring Grindr users under false pretenses is entrapment. This is an invasion of user privacy and a potential safety issue. “We encourage other users to report his profile by using the ‘flag’ function on our app, so we can take action to ban the user. Together, we will work to keep these users out of our Grindr community.”

Verhoeven yesterday posted a response to the outrage on Facebook:

 

Today, he added: "Up for meeting up someone who questions my project in real life. I hope to meet on a non violent basis, in an approach to mutually understand each others point of view. (Things you post here are visible to the audience. Just consider if you are ok with that)"

The project is scheduled to continue for 11 more days. You can view a livestream of Verhoeven's "Box" HERE.

Watch an interview with him, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Grindr Accuses Dutch Artist of 'Entrapment' for Luring Users into Public Art Exposé: VIDEO" »


Shia LaBeouf Wears Paper Bag to Berlin Film Festival: VIDEO

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Shia LaBeouf arrived at the Berlin Film Festival for a screening of his latest film Nymphomaniac, directed by Lars von Trier, wearing a paper bag that said "I am not famous anymore."

The incognito arrival came hours after a bizarre press conference in which he answered a single question. LaBeouf, who was also missing a tooth, was asked about his multiple sex scenes in the film and said,

"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much."

The line was taken from the film "Looking for Eric" and said by French soccer star Eric Cantona.

Check out clips of the bizarre behavior, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Jimmy Somerville Makes Shock Appearance at Street Musician's Performance of His Song: VIDEO

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A street musician performing Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy" in Berlin was shocked when singer Jimmy Somerville suddenly appeared and began singing with him.

"Is it you?" the stunned musician asked.

"It's me, it's me," Somerville laughed.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via gawker)

Continue reading "Jimmy Somerville Makes Shock Appearance at Street Musician's Performance of His Song: VIDEO" »


Thousands Protest Russia's Anti-Gay Laws in Berlin: VIDEO

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Approximately 5,000 people took to the streets of Berlin on Saturday to protest Russia's anti-gay laws, the HuffPost reports:

Organized by the Enough Is Enough group, the event was aimed at raising awareness of the human rights abuses taking place in Russia.

Many protesters at the afternoon event called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi (scheduled to open Feb. 7, 2014). The march ended with a demonstration in front of the Russian Embassy on Berlin's Unter der Linden street, with the iconic Brandenburg Gate as a backdrop. Protesters held signs saying "Enough Is Enough," "Stop Homophobia" and "Putin Go Homo."

Demonstrators included people of all ages and seemed to receive positive responses from spectators.

Watch The Guardian's video of the event and interviews with protesters, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Hitler And Putin: History Is Repeating Itself

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In all the news around Russia's anti-gay pogrom, one comparison that gets brought up again and again is Putin to Hitler, Godwin's Law be damned. The comparison shows even greater similarity when set side-by-side with the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Over at AmericaBlog, John Aravosis provides a quick history lesson on how the IOC responded to Der Führer's campaign against the Jews.

In short, IOC chair Baillet-Latour was appeased by Hitler taking down anti-Jewish propaganda for the duration of the Olympics, but "asserted that the agitation against participation [in the Olympics] was exclusively a political campaign, citing as evidence the fact that none of the national Olympic committees now opposed having the games in Berlin."

And thus the maxim about being doomed to repeat history becomes ever more ominous.


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