Across the globe countries celebrate the International Worker’s Day on the first of May. In Germany, this day has a delicate background that still has a strong impact in 2010.
"May 1" Poster hanging on a building
If we take a brief look at German history, May Day was first celebrated in 1919 as a one-time holiday under the leftist revolutionary government. Only in 1933 under the Nazi dictatorship did this day became an annual national holiday. After the end of World War II in 1945, the allies decided to keep the holiday on the calendar as an anti-nationalist, peaceful day.
The other day, a friend invited us to the bar Madame Claude in Kreuzberg to celebrate his birthday. Never having been to this bar, I was not too sure what to expect because it is named after France’s most famous prostitute of the 60ies. From outside, however, Madame Claude looks like a small and rather nondescript location. Unlike what I had in mind, there were no bright flashing lights on it, and as I entered I was relieved to find a rather normal bar, the name only a misleading gag.
Upon walking into the main room of the location, I heard someone in the back yell “Red Hot Chilli Peppers.“ People around him applauded, while some guests groaned at his speed. The DJ congratulated him; he had just earned a point at what I learned is Madame Claude weekly music quiz. The person with the most points at the end of the game wins a bottle of wine and everyone was trying to get that bottle. The bar was full, every seat taken. Then I noticed some free tables and chairs – on the ceiling. Suddenly, everything was upside down.
This is a preview of Optical Illusions Capture Berlin.
The other day I was strolling through the streets of my neighbourhood, when I made an exceptional discovery. On the other side of the street I saw a colorful chaos that usually would be used as a store. It raised my eyebrows though because it did not seem to be selling anything. As I came closer, I could decipher the name of this place: “Art X-Berg – The Smallest Movie Theater in the Universe.“ Someone had transformed a store into a cinema/museum dedicated to film. The decorated window front was covered with newspaper articles, large colorful drawings by children, and pictures of famous movie stars.
Looking into the window I got dizzy: This was the imaginatorium of a serious collector; he had everything that would delight any movie fan, all jammed together in one place. Of course I wanted to go inside and see what else belonged in his collection. But I was put to a halt by a red-and-white barrier with a note hanging from it that read “I’m out at the moment, call me.“
For some years now there has been an ongoing tug of war between two of Berlin’s hippest districts: Kreuzberg and Penzlauer Berg.
Which one deserves the title for the most popular district? As a happy Kreuzberger I have already made my choice, but I must admit that there are occasions when I get curious to see how green the grass is on the other side. So, last night I ate out at the infamous White Trash, a deluxe fast food venue in Prenzlauer Berg.
When I first heard the name I had to chuckle. Oh my, what was I to expect?! On my way there, I made the fatal mistake of asking people for directions to “White Trash.“ They all either gave me a funny look or mumbled something like “Is she serious?“
After four successful days of the latest in literature, comics, and audio productions, the Leipzig Book Fair opened its doors one last time on Sunday. With the most visitors to date, the organizers of the book fair can look back on a delightful event. Europe’s largest literary festival “Leipzig Liest” (“Leipzig reads”) took place parallel to the book fair. One of my fist stops in this festival was at the Moritzbastei, an old bastion that was built in the 16th century.
In the cellar of Moritzbastei
In the nostalgic cellar of the Moritzbastei the “Lange Leipziger Lesenacht” (“long night of reading”) gave young and upcoming authors the opportunity to read to a small audience. It was so special because you could enjoy this rare event until late into the night.
The first day of the Leipzig Book Fair came to an end with an anticipated award ceremony, honoring authors in three categories with a prize endowed in total with € 45,000.Amongst the nominees was 18 year-old Helene Hegemann with her highly debatted debut novel, that first caused an outcry of astonishment, which later turned to loud groans of dissapproval because parts of it were found to be plagiarised.
Girl showing the boys how to play Pokemon
The question of originality arised, leading to a nation-wide discussion of her book “Axolotl Roadkill”. To the delight of many, (and to the disappointment of some) Helene Hegemann did not win the prize, instead it was Georg Klein for his “Novel of Childhood”.
This morning at 9 AM the annual Leipzig Book Fair successfully kicked off four days dedicated solely to literature, new book arrivals, and other book-related events. More than 2000 publishers from 39 countries are here in Leipzig to present not only their newest publications, but also to take a look at the journey a book undergoes before it lands in our hands.
This year’s extra-program “Leipzig Liest“, which I have renamed the “LL“, invited 1500 authors from across the nation to come together and read texts to their fans in cafés and bars. Almost every café in the saxonian city can call itself a proud host to a reading event of the “LL“. Tonight promises many cool events at even cooler locations, like a reading with jazz at the jazz-bar Spizz and several readings at the renouned Moritzbastei.
This is a preview of Live from the Leipzig Book Fair.