The Best of Berlin in May

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17 May, 2010 Updated Mon 17 May 2010 11:00 CEST
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Exberliner, Berlin's leading English-language magazine, this month gets ready for its movie close-up in Babelsberg, fights for inner peace and squats the city.


Behind the scenes

Ever wondered where The Pianist, Sonnenallee and Inglorious Basterds were filmed? Or where Germany’s favourite soap opera, Gute Zeiten Schlechte Zeiten, takes place? Founded in 1911, Potsdam‘s Studio Babelsberg boasts a rich history of cinematic successes. The studios initially rose to fame with classics like Der blaue Engel, starring Marlene Dietrich, and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Now, Filmpark Babelsberg offers numerous cinema- themed attractions. Many of these are geared towards kids, but the park also hopes to appeal to cinephiles by offering insight into what goes on ‘behind the scenes’. Visitors can catch an animal show demonstrating how our furry friends are trained for film work, take a tour of the submarine set used for the film Hostile Waters, or amble along the “Straße der Giganten”, the park’s main boulevard lined with film and TV characters like King Kong and the Sandman. One of the Filmpark’s highlights is the stunt show, an action-packed display of flying motorcycles and men on fire. For a more mellow cinematic experience, head to the “Atelier die Traumwerker” to witness the creation of sets, costumes and makeup. With prices ranging from €13 (for children) to €20 (for adults), it’s best to make a day of it.

Filmpark Babelsberg | August-Bebel-Str. 26-53, Potsdam, S-Bhf Babelsberg, Tel 0331 7212 750, Mon-Sat 10-18,

Fighting for (inner) peace

Yoga’s definitely become too mainstream and you just can’t get your body around the pilates… but you still want to relax, tone your torso and improve your health? How about some Taijiquan (or “tai chi chuan”), the ancient Chinese martial art, which combines meditation and fighting techniques. It’s a discipline that attracts a variety of characters – lissom types in stylish sweats, the computer geek who never made the football team, and the butch girl you know could kick your ass. Those who are tired of female-dominated yoga classes can rejoice: with a 2/3 majority, you’ll find plenty of male company in Hannover-born Nabil Ranné’s class at the Kulturbrauerei. Nabil has practised taijiquan for 13 years and started teaching at the Kulturbrauerei’s Kampfkunstschule Madang last February. His small classes (about 10 students) provide a friendly and intimate atmosphere in the lofty studio space. Nabil practises Chen taijiquan, a style named after the family who created it. In his classes, taught in both English and German, he teaches the taijiquan forms. The ambitious can try to master “yilu”, the first form (it comprises 83 sequences), and “erlu”, the second form (which has 72). These consist of slow, concentrated movements that improve body strength while having a calming effect on the practitioner; more advanced students can use them for self-defense. Nabil says taijiquan functions as a “mirror of your own life”: your taijiquan skills will develop as your life progresses. Classes run once a week; they cost €30 a month for members of the Chen Stil Taijiquan Netzwerk Deutschland and €35 for everyone else.

Chen Stil Taijiquan | Kampfkunstschule Madang in der Kulturbrauerei, Schönhauser Allee 36-39, Hof 4/building 9.2, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bhf Eberswalder Str., Tue 8-9:15, Tel 0179 2990 416,


Diversity. Biodiversity. Sustainability. YAWN. (And well you might.) Such words start to swim before your eyes in a blurry pool of well-meaning meaningless. But wait! Pray read on! There are people on Planet Berlin who care for our urban environment! Who think deeply about why Berlin is special, what makes it different, and consider ways to maintain a high living quality on an economic (cheap) and sustainable (long-term) basis. Welcome to the happy-hippy spray-painted Lohmühle Trailer! When it takes up temporary residency in front of the Natural History Museum, this online blog station will be bedecked with anti-gentrification and other protest slogans - you will be able to write your own, and furthermore add comments about your ideas for keeping Berlin cool on the Lohmühle Laptops. For one day only, the city’s uninvolved, apolitical expats can connect to their habitat and contribute, in however small a way, their VISION of Berlin. It might even provide an amusing twist to the end of a night out, open all hours as it is. Friday night a “Themensalon” kicks off with talks about sustainability by clever people who will tell us how we should power the city, what we should eat and where we should live. SAVE BERLIN… and see you at the caravan, painting sheets and chatting squats!

DISAPPEARING DIVERSITY | Wagenburg Lohmühle, May 14-15, 14:00, Museum für Naturkunde, Invalidenstr. 43, Mitte, U-Bhf Naturkundemuseum, Themensalon, May 14, 21:00, Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 43, Mitte, U-Bhf Brandenburger Tor, Tel 030 4737 2308,



2010/05/17 11:00

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