Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bootie Berlin Goes Well, and Berlin Snacks Continue to Be Awesome

I have to say I was a bit skeptical about the inaugural edition of Bootie Berlin last night; first, it was happening at the Silver Wings club, which is located, crazily, in the old Templehof airport building complex. Templehof, as anyone familiar with WWII will know, is the airport that kept kept Berlin alive when the Soviets closed off access to the city, and is also one of, or maybe the, largest, like, structure, in the world. But it's also a bit out of the way, meaning anybody coming to the club had to really be coming to the club, not just strolling by. But by about midnight, which is actually early for Berlin nightlife, a good crowd had assembled, and when I went on around 1 I had a nicely full dancefloor, who cheered for the new track I made, a mashup of German dancehall combo Seeed and a remix of Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy." (Perhaps in celebration of Gay Pride which the Berliners are also celebrating this weekend).

Sheer exhaustion after getting back from the gig around 6am led me to sleep until 3pm, something I never ever do back home, but thankfully, the Freidrichshain neighborhood I'm staying in has adjusted to the nocturnal habits of its inhabitants and most restaurants say "Frühstück: 10:00 - 16:00" ("Breakfast, 10am-4pm"). Which is how it SHOULD be, goddammit! And this isn't just any breakfast, this is, well, look:

Thick crumply bacon and fried eggs and side salad and multiple bread choices and glgaglgarrrrhghgh. And that was like 4€50, which is just over $6. Not bad, especially for the DJ on a budget.

Also I wanted to mention visiting the Holocaust Memorial near the Brandenberg Gate on Thursday, which was more interesting than I expected. The memorial opened in 2005, and I remember seeing pictures of it around magazines and whatever: a grid of variously-sized concrete blocks, only a few inches high at the perimeters but up to 15 feet high in the center. In pictures, it honestly seemed kind of... pedestrian, I hate to say, like, "okay, gravestones, I get it." But in person, I had a weird experienced that made me appreciate it more. My new Berlin friends had been giving me a tour of the city that day, so there was a group of five of us walking around. The memorial itself isn't separated from the sidewalk so you just can sort of walk in casually. I stopped near the edge, where the concrete slabs are just ankle- or knee-height, to fiddle with my camera and stuff, as my friends continued on, jabbering loudly as we'd been doing all day. I finish taking a picture, probably just a few seconds of distraction, and when I look up, my friends have disappeared. They've walked deeper into the taller slabs, obviously, but it was so sudden: one minute they were next to me, and the next, they were just gone, and I had no idea where they were, and even their voices were weirdly distant echoes that I wasn't even sure were coming from them. I had that brief, instinctual moment of fear, like when you think you've lost the group you're with in an unfamiliar city, which made me laugh for a second, because of course I knew right where they were, generally, but then it suddenly hit me that this might be part of the point of the memorial's structure. Walking into it with a group, you are inevitably separated from them, almost without warning, and left alone, with only fleeting glimpses of other people down the empty rows. It gives you the faintest clue what it must have been like, having people around you, friends and neighbors, suddenly just disappear. The uneven, hilly floor of the memorial is also surprising -- you're walking amongst ankle-height stones at the edge, thinking this is nothing much, and then before you know it you're plunged into darkness, lost between towering concrete slabs. I'm still not sure it's great art (nor am I exactly sure why they had to make clear it's only a memorial to Jewish victims) but it does prove that you have to see some stuff in person.

Anyway. Tonight was supposed to be a more mellow party at a small neighborhood club called the U5 (named for the subway line the space used to be an entrance for) but it turns out some big bar-hopping group thing has made it a stop on their tour and some big Germany TV station is coming by as well, so who knows. I've got to get over there and see if I can make my laptop plug in to their video system for Party Ben video fun times.

Oh and hey: thanks to Dr. Waumiau for playing a bunch of my stuff on his webcast, and to Andre Angenfeld for playing a Party Ben mini-mix on Fritz 102.6FM here in Berlin last night!


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