Edward Albee and ‘l’art pour l’art’
Play2c founder Krisana Locke came to Berlin fleeing the ambition and ego of the New York art scene. She wanted to create ‘l’art pour l’art’, and figured Berlin’s creative laboratory – young, experimental, anarchistic, liberating – was just the place. With her friend Ali von Stein she found the loft space at the foot of Oberbaumbrücke in 2008, a 240-squaremeter former flour mill with nine huge windows, and turned it into a high-quality studio. Now, artists come together on the oiled wooden dance floor for theatre courses, dance lessons, and yoga classes. What they share is a love for creative vision and artistic excellence in theatre, film, and performing arts. Play2c has their own theatre company; their latest production is Edward Albee’s “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?”, on this month at English Theatre. Play2c brings together an international crowd of theatre veterans and young talent; English is the lingua franca. And Krisana has now finally found the space where she’s free to make ‘just art’.
Play2c Performing Arts, Schlesische Str. 38, Kreuzberg
Acting and theatre courses in English: 12 classes for €180
The Goat at English Theatre Berlin | Nov 1, 12, 13, 14, 20:00
Fidicinstr. 40, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Platz der Luftbrücke
Rosemary Collins arrives in Berlin
The days of the Kreuzberg Rockkneipen may finally be numbered. So, what’s next? Looking for a third way between retro-interior bars reminiscent of Prenzlauer Berg’s Casting Allee and the schicki-micki places where, perched uncomfortably on futuristic furniture, you’ll poke the slices of sloppy cucumber floating in your Martini while trying to block out the lame beats of lounge music? Fetzo and Locke, two Kreuzbergers at heart, opened Lockemüller at Spreewaldplatz two months ago. After a fulminating pre-opening outdoor rave on the first of May, Lockemüller has become a cozy, down-to-earth bar. With dark wood and golden walls it’s classy and clean but with that certain urban edge; the back wall is decorated with the collected parking tickets Locke has received over the years, and a street art-style painting by Andreas Golder. The drinks are mixed with homemade syrups and the cocktails change every day, from Rosemary Collins to Nimm 2, with traditional German children’s candy included. Lockemüller is a place to hang out and meet friends but also to get a little crazy: watch out for their “Ghetto-Uno” card game nights, evenings when a friendly stylist cuts your hair while you sip your cocktail, and karaoke events soon to come.
Lockemüller | Spreewaldplatz 14, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Görlitzer Bahnhof, open daily 19-late
Dubstep in Mitte
People who were around back then still fall into a dreamy trance when talking about the 1990s, when after the Wende everything seemed possible. WMF has always been emblematic of those good old days, and after some years of absence, the club legend has rebuilt its notorious bar counter (a relic from “Erich’s Lampenladen,” the Palast der Republik) in the former GDR Fernmeldeamt (telephone exchange). But this time, instead of hosting just another party mecca, the WMF people have turned the rest of the old building into an art space. Independent offtheatre Theaterdiscounter moved in, and so far 55 artists have set up studios, paying the cheapest rents imaginable in Mitte these days. WMF was always visionary: back in the 1990s they were playing drum’n’bass and then house when everybody else was still clinging to hip hop; today they are one of the pioneers in hosting dubstep parties. But with regulars like Modeselektor, Pfadfinderei and Jahcoozi they remain Berlin-based, keeping the memory of their heritage and the legendary 1990s spirit alive.
Ehemaliges Fernmeldeamt | Klosterstr. 44, Mitte, U-Bhf Klosterstr
Theaterdiscounter | Oscar Wilde’s Bunbury (in German), Nov 18, 19, 25, 26, 28, 29, 20:00
The bright side of gentrification
Wedding was these artists’ universe long before it appeared on any art scene insider’s map. Nine years ago, Les Schliesser, Daniela Brahm, and Anna Schuster opened up their workshops in a former printing factory – they had fallen in love with the building’s eccentric 1950s architecture, and with the idea of creating a space for art in the desert. Finally in 2007 they convinced two foundations to buy the land, and now run ExRotaprint. Two years later, rents are still cheap in Wedding, more than a third of the population have immigrant origins, and unemployment rates run high. The ExRotaprinters know that they are “gentrifiers” in a way, part of the inevitable change in an area set in motion as artists move in. But they emphasize the positive connotations of gentrification as well -they’re not overrunning Wedding, but helping to stabilize it. ExRotaprint not only brings artists to the neighborhood (just 10 minutes away from the fancy Mitte galleries), they also host social projects like a language school run by Kurds and craft enterprises. They encourage their arty tenants to offer internships to young Weddingers – some of whom were recently accepted into art schools.
EXROTAPRINT | Gottschedstr. 4, U-Bhf Nauener Platz, cafeteria open Mon-Fri 10-16