The Best of Berlin in October

This month Exberliner, Berlin's leading English-language magazine, highlights a travel writing workshop, a killer iPhone app and locally produced pasties.

The Best of Berlin in October
Photo: Exberliner

‘Travelling is easy, writing is hard…’

Ever thought of turning those travel journals into cash? Hopeful local writers should not miss the ICD’s international Travel Writing Workshop, here for the first time in Berlin: experienced globetrotters Dea Birkett (of The Guardian and Serpent in Paradise fame) and expat Goethe Institut blogger Rory McClean (his bestsellers include “Stalin’s Nose” and “Under the Dragon”) will be instructing budding travel writers on their art and, perhaps more importantly, on how to pitch and how to get published. The workshop can serve as a kick up the backside for any lazy writer – a place to network, to try out new ideas and hear those of the eclectic gathering. It even offers the chance to pitch to a real-life travel editor: the guest this time is The Guardian’s Berlin correspondent Kate Connolly. Past guests – editors from major British newspapers, magazines like Real Travel, websites like and books like the Rough Guides – have discovered new talent at ICD (Institute for Cultural Diplomacy) workshops, and workshop graduates have written for all manner of media outlets around the globe. Both beginners and wizened wanderers can attend – go with your ideas and be prepared for a friendly, fascinating day. It’ll be worth every cent of the (somewhat daunting) €145 entry fee!/JB

TRAVEL WRITING WORKSHOP, Oct 10, 10:30 | ICD House for Arts & Culture, Kurfürstendamm 207-208, Charlottenburg, U-Bhf Kurfürstendamm, Tel 2360 768,

A Killer Music app made in Berlin

Berlin nightlife has shown that anyone with at least five fingers can be a DJ, and anyone with at least one of those fingers and an iPhone will buy apps to banish boredom. So there’s logic to longtime Berlin expat DJ Jason “Donna Summer” Forrest’s new Star6 iPhone app (developed with Agile Partners), which he claims is the world’s first fully-functional sample-manipulation instrument controlled by an iPhone. As Forrest told us: “You can sound like Daft Punk while you’re riding the U-Bahn.” Beats buying a copy of Motz to keep yourself occupied. The app is based on a diverse set of audio processes that can change the pitch, speed, gate, size and randomness of your samples (all independently from each other), plus a few effects like delay and distortion. Now, if only it could be used to hijack the sets of iTunes DJs… Forrest is posting scads of promotion videos: seek and ye shall find./DS


Art for shelter

The idea is as old as humankind – give some, take some and we’ll all be happy bunnies peacefully minding our own business. While the name’s a bit misleading, Hotel Marienbad’s collaborative concept Art & Shelter is an intriguingly multi-disciplinary, non-profit approach to creativity. Since its launch early last year, a series of artists have been offered accommodation at a two-room suite near the KunstWerke in exchange for their imaginative output. Depending on who’s doing the thinking, the resulting science fiction readings, electropunk gigs, screenings and conceptual installations can last for an evening or several weeks. The poetic atmosphere and flexibility of the project space has so far pulled in a mix of unconventional creatives and avant-garde aficionados.

Francophiles with a sense of humour should enjoy the current exhibition by Sarah Ortmeyer: in “Homage to the Eiffel Tower.” She has decorated the suite with mundane objects that mirror her personal obsession. From triangular salt and pepper shakers to toilet-paper-roll pyramids and a chocolate souvenir, the place is packed with references to the Gallic landmark. If you happen to be in the area, pop round for a free peek./JK

Art & shelter | Hotel Marienbad/Kunst-Werke, Auguststr. 69, Mitte, U-Bhf Oranienburger Tor, Tel 2434 590,

Kinky Nipples

When it’s not busy feeding a baby, a nipple can be awfully sexy. Throw some cute nippies (a.k.a. pasties) on them and you’ll be sure to impress on a first date. Nippies are those cute, colourful and occasionally sequined saucer-shaped nipple covers used onstage by strippers the world over. As French performer/Nippie designer Clarisse helpfully points out: “They uncover the whole body without actually showing it all. It’s a fun way to tease the audience.” And now they’re taking over Berlin: straight from the burlesque scene to a Sunday Flohmarkt stall near you. Clarissa sells her personally-designed nippies at select locations across the city, too; when she is not here, you will find her knocking ‘em dead in Paris with her unique amalgam of cabaret, rockabilly and tattooed flesh. Her products, she says, have mass market appeal. “Pretty girls and even clean-cut boys buy the nippies: they make an ideal gift, even if just for the nice packaging!” You heard that, ladies (and clean-cut gents): it’s time you dressed to impress./DH

Nippies are available at: Mauerpark Flea market (Bernauer Str. 63, Mitte, U-Bhf Eberswalder Str.); Savage Store (Grünberger Str. 16, Friedrichshain, U-Bhf Frankfurter Tor); and online

Click here for more from Berlin’s leading monthly magazine in English.

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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.