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The Best of Berlin in February

Exberliner · 4 Feb 2010, 11:00

Published: 04 Feb 2010 11:00 GMT+01:00

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Stepping out of the elevator and into Pan Am Lounge is like travelling back in time a few decades. This private party and event venue in the heart of the old West not only boasts breathtaking views of the Gedächtniskirche and Siegessäule - it has also managed to retain its original 1960s décor, down to the very last ashtray (not to mention the hand-painted wallpaper featuring a scene from the Boston Tea Party). “It’s like entering a film [read: Catch Me if You Can]: it’s a complete conservation of sexy, stylish 1966,” boasts Pan Am’s owner Natascha Bonnermann. This time machine experience swept the former dancer off her feet. When, in 2005, the lounge reopened after years of disuse, it was she who had awakened the former penthouse suite of the “Pan Am ghetto” from its Sleeping Beauty state to create a sense of personalized intimacy, “like being at home at Rock Hudson’s.” And for those too young to catch that cultural reference – well, Bonnermann insists the Lounge’s allure spans generations: that its heydays live on in a sort of collective consciousness… It’s that cool. “You are never alone here,” she says, running her hands along the wood-paneled wall and over the back of a leather armchair. “All of the generations of PanAm are here… You can feel the spirit.” Once the hub of PanAm airline employees in the 1960s and 1970s, today’s lounge caters to clients of differing budgets and visions by offering all-inclusive packages that can include food and entertainment. Oh - and did we mention that the staff dress up as stewardesses and airline pilots?/EP

Pan Am Lounge | 10 OG, Haus Eden, Budapester Str. 43, Tiergarten, U+S-Bhf Zoologischer Garten, Tel 030 72626 7541, www.panam-lounge.org

War and peace

With its cluttered windows of Russian war paraphernalia and rundown exterior, the small Senefelderplatz storefront of OG 107 looks rather uninviting… until closer inspection. Next to a mannequin armed with a machine gun, among pictures arranged in a small shrine, sits a portrait of Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist who was shot after openly opposing the war in Chechnya. The shop’s owner, a Ukrainian named Sergey Steuer, is an intimidating, 6-foot-tall man with melancholic eyes smartly dressed in camouflage pants and a military chapka. Like his shop, he is not short of contradiction. A former doctor and self-professed anti-militarist, he undertook a complete lifestyle (and wardrobe) change when he opened OG 107 (a reference to his favourite colour: the olive green of the German army uniform) seven years ago. “Doctors hate diseases, but they need to know everything about them in order to fight them. In the same way, we need to know everything about war and violence in order to understand it.” That’s presumably why Steuer’s shop stocks rows

and rows of military memorabilia. Russian military jackets, hats and shoes line the walls. Belts, scarves and weapons hang from the ceiling. The majority of these become costumes for film and theatre productions - most notably the German war movies Die letzte Schlacht (2005) and Die Luftbrücke (2005). Steuer’s collection also includes his own photographs (some of these – namely the shots of his children in military uniform outside the shop - have caused a certain amount of controversy). OG 107 could almost function as a museum - and a chat with the talkative owner will only enhance the experience./AW

OG 107 | Kollwitzstr. 2, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz, Tel 030 22435051, Mon-Fri 14-18, www.og-107.com

Story continues below…

Bloody tampons...

We live in a city where we get paid to reuse beer bottles, and yet every month we females - you can’t be blamed for this one, boys - create a monstrous pile of used tampons and sanitary towels without a second thought. On average, each woman uses 11,000 tampons or pads in her lifetime. So what’s the answer - reusing your tampons? No, no. That perfectly designed silicon bell called the Mooncup is here to save your bank balance, your health and, in short, the world. It’s simple, economical and ecological: you pay between €17 and €20 and it’s yours until menopause. No more monthly payouts of €8 or more when you find yourself in a tricky position. Just remove the Mooncup, rinse it, then fold it and whack it back in. Plus, remember that the ‘natural cotton’ in your tampons is not porcelain-white when it is picked: it’s been bleached to create a ‘hygienic’ image, and small residues of that bleach remain in your body after use. Not good. And last but not least: imagine the amount of tampons and towels used by one woman each month. Multiply this by 12, then multiply it by the number of women who have access to sanitary protection at all, and you’ll get the nasty picture: hygienic commodities turned land and sea pollutants. Heavy periods, swimming, travelling and sleeping are all friends of the Mooncup. So next time you go out to take your bottles back to the magic Pfand machine, why not order a Mooncup from your local chemist? You’ll even be able to order them through EXBERLINER soon. Get your Mooncup and save the world! (We’ll take Berlin, one vagina at a time!)/SG

Exberliner (editor@exberliner.com)

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