Strip in style
Shed those inhibitions - along with everything else: burlesque is back in town. Just pull out that sexy lingerie, slip on those dainty high heels and head down to the Schönheitstanz Berlin Studio of erotic dance. Here, the fabulous and fabulously sexy Lady Lou will help you channel your inner Gypsy Rose Lee. Trained in classic burlesque dancing, the New Zealander has been performing for over seven years. Now she shares her knowledge and passion with punters here in Berlin - a casual crowd that mainly consists of 30 and 40-something German professionals. Schönheitstanz Berlin is the only studio in the country that specializes in all forms of exotic dancing including pole, lap and strip tease. Its girly pink interior provides a safe and comforting environment in which to release any remaining prudishness. No matter what the incentive - trying something new, getting fit, feeling sexy or sprucing up your love life - one thing is for sure: you'll leave the class seductive as never before.
Schönheitstanz Berlin Studio, Charitéstr. 4, Mitte, S-Bhf Friedrichstr., Tel 889 44 835, Mon 16:30-18:30 and Wed 4:30-16:30, courses are held only once a month, twice for two hours on Sat and Sun, www.schoenheitstanz.de
Deluxe fashion tour
If you don't have a stylish, cultured friend to take you shopping in Berlin's most avant-garde designer boutiques and you are too lazy, inexperienced or new in town to know where to start, then your worries are over. GoArt!, a local agency founded by the art critics and curators Miriam Bers and Stefano Gualdi, offers just the expert advice you're looking for. Their diverse services include customized guided fashion tours (you can choose the language, the number of hours etc) through the fascinating world of Berlin designers. A young specialist (often a fashion student) will lead you through Mitte's trendiest streets, mostly around Weinmeisterstr. underground station, to those up-and-coming Berlin labels everyone talks about - from Starstyling and Bo Van Melskens, to Bless, Van Reimersdahl and many more. In the course of your travels, you will get to hear some pretty interesting stories about their previous lives and present achievements. You can either choose to have your own private tour, specially tailored to your taste (from €79 an hour), or share the experience with a couple strangers in the public tour on Saturday afternoons for a more affordable €15 an hour.
Go!Art, Tel 3087 3626, www.goart-berlin.de
Speaking of cool, fashionable friends, if you are not yet a member of the exclusive shopping community Brands4Friends, here's your chance to hop on board with the coolest, most fashionable friend of them all: EXBERLINER. Since its September 2007 launch, Brands4Friends has grown amazingly fast from a limited network of friends and corporate partners to the current 1,300,000 members in Germany and Austria - its numbers peaked at 10,000 sign-ups in just one day. The largest shopping community in Germany now employs about 80 people at its Berlin headquarters, a number expected to swell to 200 with the company's imminent European expansion. You can access Brands4Friends through invitation only - but once in, please feel free to invite your own friends. You will get 40 to 70 percent off of clothes and accessories by popular high fashion and street wear brands for men, women or kids: Calvin Klein, Converse, Missoni, Laguna Beach etc. Every day a new brand is offered for three days at a discount price - but as the stock is pretty much ausverkauft after 24 hours, you better jump out of bed at 7am on the first day if you want to snap up the best bargains. Can't wait to join? Just go to exberliner.brands4friends.de and register by the end of January to access this discount shopping paradise!
New word order
The cosy setting provided by Kreuzberg's Mano Café suits Berlin's newest - and most cleverly named - open mic series perfectly. In answer to the prayers of eager but underexposed entertainers, Mike Haelinger and Lissy Romanow decided to provide a random assortment of mostly English-speaking poets, storytellers, actors, monologists, musicians, comedians, clowns and so on with five minutes of stage time in which to flex their performing muscles. Held on the second Thursday of the month and attended by an enthusiastic audience, New Word Order also thoughtfully includes one or two featured acts to help relax nervy first-time performers. The next open mic night will be on January 8: doors open at 9pm, but if you're hoping to perform, be sure you get there early as only a limited number of spots are available. All languages are welcome.
New Word Order poetry/music/performance open mic, Mano Café, Skalitzer Str. 46a, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Görlitzer Bahnhof, 2nd Thursday of each month, 21:00