Sunday, July 18, 2010

the sound of summer

I have yet to meet someone who genuinely flat-out does not like music. It connects people, helps us through tough times and quickens us when emotions are soaring.

Connected to the latter is the well-known phenomenon of striving for "the perfect holiday soundtrack", which generally hits sometime in the sunny months of June and August.

In the past years, I've put endless efforts into assembling a playlist that is of a light and stimulative nature, works both by the poolside and during longer car rides and reminds me of fun and carefree days with friends without being distinctly associated with previous events or travels. This year, in line with my newfound hang loose-attitude, I've decided to skip endless hours of record sampling and found someone else to do it for me:

The people at RCRD LBL (free MP3 a day, anyone?) have teamed up with Saludos and produced the ultimate summer holiday mix cd. Available as a free download, Cheers to the Summer: 2010 Summer Soundtrack includes tracks by Mishka, The Like, Femi Kuti, White Denim, The Drums and many others. Simply enter your email address, and you will receive the compilation as a .zip file, which can easily be copied into an empty playlist folder in the music player of your choice.

I'm already hooked to my new favourite summer track: The Sunshine Song by The Candle Thieves. Don't miss out on this grand opportunity to lay your hands on free music NOW!

PS: If you don't feel like sharing your email address, you can also stream the playlist online.

(all images by Soludos/RCRD LBL Cheers to the Summer)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

.HBC Couture - Designer Scouts II

Originally determined to skip Berlin Fashion Week as a whole (courtesy of the blazing heat that Berlin seems to be blessed with these days), only the Designer Scouts event at .HBC could lure me out of my air-conditioned appartment, dressed to the nines and ready for four hours of fashion, music, drinks and good conversation.

Here's the short film of the shows which I shot and edited:

(click here for higher resolution and better quality)

*For more photos of the event, check out the official Designer Scouts website. You might also be interested in my post on the previous show which took place in January.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

travelettes flea market

Berlin is known for it's variety of Sunday morning flea markets and the hidden treasures that can be found at these. Mauerpark, Boxhagener Platz, Neukölln: no tourist goes back home without having obtained a little something to show off to friends and family (What, a 10€ handsigned Iggy Pop vinyl AND Levi's denim cut-offs for just 2€?).

Last Sunday however, there was an addition to the classic Berlin flea market repertoire: the 1st flea market, themed Holiday. Since Travelettes is an online travel magazine/blog for girls, only ladies planning a trip in the near future could participate and sell their stuff. With a 1-month surfing trip throughout Europe lined up for myself, I was slightly intimidated by the rest of the sellers, many of which were planning to explore Australia, India or Thailand.

Nevertheless, it turned out to be an incredibly pleasant day. Katja Hentschel, journalist and mastermind behind the entire function, did not only provide the perfect holiday playlist to set the mood, but also supplied us with enough coffee and snacks to last the day. Visitors were able to browse through heaps and heaps of vintage clothing and shoes, self-made jewelry and accessories, as well as enjoy cold drinks at the bar or receive a 1€ manicure at the door.

Thanks to the enormous amount of positive feedback, there may be another flea market at the end of August - so keep your eyes open!

More photos and video can be found on the Travelettes website.

Friday, June 4, 2010

sideseeing berlin: take a stroll

Who's in for a little fashion, art and music this sunday? Sideseeing is an open air market/fair comprised of numerous stalls selling self-made jewelry, fashion and design items by local designers. It's known for attracting a colourful crowd of people, delicious refreshments and an entertainment programme that's just as awesome as the items for sale ;)

Come and check it out! This Sunday, 13:ooh - 2o:ooh at Maybachufer Neukölln (more info on the sideseeing website).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

MELT! picknick

As I'm typing these lines, a mere 140km away from Berlin in the city of steel Ferropolis (near Dessau), Melt! resident DJ Markus Welby is already serving the first course of finest electro tunes. The musical banquet that Melt! Picknick rightfully can be described as will continue with Simina Grigoriu, a brunette bombshell who happens to double as first-class techno DJ and producer. And if the weather permits and (the predicted) heavy rainfall doesn't bust the party, these phenomenal acts will be followed by none other than Fritz Zander, Fritz Kalkbrenner and Robag Whrume. The grand finale a.k.a the cherry on top of this electronic feast will be a live set by the great Paul Kalkbrenner. Ever since Berlin Calling, this Berlin-based DJ has created a name (or shall we say legend?) for himself even outside the spheres of electronic music and Berlin underground parties, and made his way into mainstream. Whether that's desireable or not remains questionable, his bank account is certainly thanking him.

And while I'm sitting here in Berlin, receiving text message updates about the awesomeness of Melt! picknick by friends and secretly wishing that it would start raining so I'd have at least one teensie reason to be glad about getting stuck in Berlin (for personal reasons), I'll definitely round up a few photographic and video impressions post-picknick to share with you what we may have missed out on.

Ps. It just started raining cats and dogs...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

the sunny side of life

"We start to party when others go to bed!" a Norwegian tourist proudly proclaimed last weekend, leaning against the bar at Zur Möbelfabrik, sucking on his Vodka Lemon and feeling oh so Berlin. I daresay it's not very unconventional to begin a night by catching the last S-Bahn (during the week) or running into a Kaiser's supermarket just before it closes at 24:00h to stock up on whatever will last you through the night. What many visitors and tourists are unaware of, however, is that here in Berlin we don't wait until the sun goes down to have a good time.

Especially in the summer time, all sorts of festivities and celebrations draw crowds of young and old to the streets of Berlin. The first of May - traditionally a day of street riots and political protests - nowadays also encompasses street fairs and open-air parties all throughout Kreuzberg and the Wrangelkiez. This year, one could enjoy some fine electro tunes in front of Luzia (Oranienstraße) and around the Spreewaldplatz (Görlitzer Park).

Last fall, 350 participants attended an anti-climate change demonstration which doubled as a silent rave party throughout the streets of Berlin-Mitte. While political activism and environmental consciousness stood at the forefront of this event, the tunes of legendary Dr. Motte and Dj Dirty Doehring (Bar 25) caused every electro-loving Berliner's heart to skip a beat.

Among the annual Karneval der Kulturen and Bergmannstraßenfest (which are coming up this and next weekend), there's a bunch of low-key and semi-secret rave parties taking place in and around Berlin all throughout the summer. To figure out the when&where, keep a lookout on the internet (Facebook; Berlin-based blogs such as ...or simply ask one of the many hipsters milling around Görlitzer Park ;)

Having said that, I would like add that these parties rarely end when the sun sets... so even if you prefer spending the daytime hours in bed (and can actually afford to do so), you won't miss out!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

what summer is all about...

this one's for all the ladies out there...

"He who moves not forward, goes backward" (J.W. v. Goethe)

I probably don't need to lecture anyone on the profundity of Goethe's thoughts, although I would like to point out how applicable these can be to our personal life from time to time. I started to give free reign to my thoughts and creativity here at la Berlina little over a year ago and only recently decided that it was time to try something new, something different. In a flash of inspiration, I wrote a piece entitled "The 101 on Open-Air Festivals", which - to my great delight - was published on only hours later.

Launched by the Berlin-based globetrotting photographer and journalist Katja Hentschel, Travelettes is an online travel magazine/blog aimed specifically at the needs and interests of female travellers. It's the place to read about local fashion trends and insider's shopping tips, get the low-down on cheap accomodation and good eats, and figure out when and where to party - and with whom. Whether you're looking for advice on how to score super-cheap flights or how to pack light (for real!), a travelette may just have the answers you are looking for!

"The travelette gets a manicure on Monday and Tuesday will go off to hike in the Himalaya. She does not conform to conventions and thinks Paris Fashion Week is just as exiting as stomping through the Amazon rain forest in rubber boots. She worries about matching colors but laughs off mosquito bites." (

I've been avidly reading the articles on even before I started contributing myself, and have come across a number of helpful pointers - the latest being Jaclyn's series of posts on couch surfing (see here and here).

Without further ado, I recommend you check it out and, if you share our love for travelling/journalism/photography, consider contributing yourself!

Monday, May 17, 2010

melt! klub weekender: LCD Soundsystem à Berlin

Anyone still convinced that all Germany has to offer is bratwurst and beer has clearly never been around long enough to experience what its really like around here. Another common misconception amongst travellers is that the only place to have fun in Germany is in larger cities like Munich, Hamburg and of course BERLIN. Au contraire: especially if you're considering to stop by during the summer, it might of interest to check out one of the many open air music festivals traditionally located in smaller towns and villages.

A true gem of the German festival scenery is the Melt! festival, which takes place annually in Ferropolis, the "city of steel" (near Dessau, Germany). The lineup for Melt! 2010 (July 16 -18) is no less impressive than that of the past 12 years. Among popular indie rock acts such as The XX, Miike Snow, Bonaparte, Johnossi and Two Door Cinema Club, a multitude of legendary DJ acts will heat up the crowd (can you spell Booka Shade, Tiefschwarz or C-R-O-O-K-E-R-S?). If you're still not convinced, check out the entire line-up here.

Anyone unwilling to leave the comfort of good old Berlin for some good music and Melt! atmosphere had the opportunity to check out the Melt! Klub Weekender, which took place May 6 -8 smack in the city centre. After performances by "Errors" and "Yacht", no other than LCD SOUNDSYSTEM took the stage and played an incredible (almost) 2 hour set. Walking home that night with the 1/2 drum stick that hit me during the Errors set and humming "New York I love you, but you're bringing me down", I knew the 20€ for a Melt!Klub day-pass was money very well spent.

stage jam-packed with equipment
Errors frontman Simon Ward
LCD Soundsystem

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

happy birthday ♥

When I wrote my first post for laBerlina a year ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. No idea about the press accreditation I would soon receive for all kinds of events in and around Berlin. No idea about the after-show parties I'd attend and the contacts I'd make there. No idea about the sweetness of Fashion Week and goodie bags and getting to see Berlinale films for free. No idea about the video I would shoot of a Silent Climate Rave here in Berlin that would spread across the internet in no time. In short: I hadn't yet realized that I could apply my love for writing, photography and artistic production and create something that other people considered interesting and worth reading.

Thus, I extend my utmost thanks and gratitude towards everyone that's supported me along the way. A big thanks goes to my family and friends for encouraging and inspiring me. Another thank you to all of the PR assistants and event planners who gave me a shot by putting me on their guest lists. But most importantly: a big fat thank you to everyone that actually takes the time to read the mess I create around here! I have received a lot of wonderful feedback from friends and friends' friends around the globe - merci beaucoup!

I haven't been posting for a while, mainly because I was preparing for important exams and because I've become involved in another project,, which I will make sure to introduce more thoroughly soon. With exams and stress behind me and a wonderful summer ahead, I can't wait to start writing again regularely.
With that in mind, muchas gracias para todo y hasta pronto!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

H A I R.

Hi Barbie!
Lily Donaldson, shot by Matthew Donaldson

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Florals are for middle-aged women with weight problems."

There are few designers that have influenced the fashion industry to the extent that Karl Lagerfeld has. Thus, reading the above statement on his twitter a few months back almost made me re-consider last year's spring break purchase, a floral dress I bought during my stay in beautiful Vienna. Then, however, I decided that even a creative genius like Mr. Lagerfeld can be wrong every once in a while ;)

And since yesterday was one of the first sunny and not-so-freezing days here in Berlin, I decided to be "brave" and take my baby for a walk around town...

Friday, March 5, 2010

you be my matt, i'll be your kim.

Thanks to, I have discovered many brilliant artists which otherwise may have remained unknown to me for a long, long time. Today, one of the site's suggestions to me was Matt&Kim, a musical duo from Brookly, New York. Check out their fantastic song (and corresponding video), Daylight. It's been stuck in my head all day...

Monday, March 1, 2010

be there or be square.

because they are all so cute i want to put them in my pocket.

culinary cinema

As a kid, I repeatedly refused to try peanut butter & jelly sandwiches because I was convinced that there could be no way two so seemingly different things could go well together. Imagine how distraught I was when, at the age of 14, I reluctantly had a tiny bite of my sister's pb&j sandwich... and realized I had just tasted one of the best snacks of all time!

I share this anecdote because I firmly believe that some facts exist simply to be proven wrong. Like the fact that when you go to the movies, you should eat popcorn. Or nachos with cheese dip. And lots of candy on the side. I remember various instances at which I exited the cinema feeling like a junkfood wastebasket, not at all content with myself. Little did I know that one day, I would be introduced to the concept of 'culinary cinema'.

The idea is simple: participants first attend the private screening of a selected film, which is preceded by introductory words of the film's director. Afterwards, they take part in a group lunch (or dinner), which is prepared to match and reflect the previously seen film.

My friends and I went to see The Rainbow Warriors of Waiheke Island, a documentary by the dutch film maker Suzanne Raes. The movie tells the story of a group of first-generation Greenpeace activists, who set sail on an old barge with the intention of protecting mother earth from the dangers of nuclear waste transports, whale hunting and other risky businesses. Scene snippets from old Greenpeace film archives are contrasted with coverage of the former crew member's live's today. The focus of the film lies not only on an accurate depiction of the activists' lifestyle in the seventies and eighties, but also on the detonation of two bombs in 1985 which had been placed on the ship by french secret service agents, destroying the vessel and killing a crew member.

After seeing The Rainbow Warriors of Waiheke Island, we enjoyed a meal prepared by Wam Kat, peace activist and former crew member of the Rainbow Warrior himself! Although his days of sailing the seas are over, Wam Kat is still a vehement peace activist. He works as a cook at political protests and demonstrations around the world, and has recently publish a book entitled 24 Rezepte zur Kulinarischen Weltverbesserung (recipes for improving the world through culinary means). Subsequently, the 3-course menue which he prepared for us consisted entirely of vegan and wholefood products. My personal favourite: vegan apple crumble. Hmmmm!
.Q & A session with Raes and Wam Kat

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

99fire film award ceremony: review

"I was just in it for the thrill, the concept is so unique" one of the contestants told me at last week's 99fire films awards ceremony in the Berliner Admiralspalast. Admittedly, he did look very snug: suited up, free drink in hand, and surrounded by prominent figures of the German TV- and film industry. Probably a little more exciting than the average German twenty-something's Thursday night...

The grand prize of 9.999€ went to Sofia Bavas and her crew for their film "Zinkowski - Gegen den Rost der Welt". Further awards were given out in the category "Best Camera" and "Best Idea". All winning submissions can be viewed on the 99fire films website.

Bavas and her crew receiving their award from German actress Bettina Zimmermann.


It's times like the Berlinale when you wish the day had 48 hours and things like school and work didn't exist: a world in which all you had to do was sit back in the red velvet seats of a cinema, armed with pocorn and ready to enjoy the screening of yet another brilliant film.

Sadly, this dream world is as far away from my reality as it could possibly be at this point in time. Final exams are inching closer and closer, and leisure has become I vaguely remember from Christmas break. But - enough with the whining, life is too short to waste it with complaints and self-pity! That in mind, I ventured out of the coziness of my apartment and into the snowy city to see what this year's Berlinale had to offer.

Apart from attracting esteemed figures of the international film industry, the Berlinale also serves as a great platform for up-and-coming film makers. I was able to watch Zona Sur (directed by Juan Carlos Valdivia), the first Bolivian film ever to be part of the Berlinale. While Zona Sur has already been screened at various international film festivals and can boast a number of award nominations, hispanic cinema remains underrepresented in our culture - which is a shame, considering the masterpiece that Zona Sur can rightfully be described as. I shy away from trying to summarize and analyze the film, since it's images and dialogues speak far louder than the written word can.

To find out more about the film, visit the official website.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

99 seconds...

... isn't a lot of time. Barely enough to eat a Snickers bar, and not even close to the time it takes for my internet browser to open after I restart my computer. 99 seconds can pass so quickly, unnoticed and insignificant.

Sometimes, however, 99 seconds is more than enough time. Take the 99 fire films award, for example. It was created in 2009 and serves as a platform for everyone willing to dive into the creative pool of film making. Amateur directors and film fanatics are just as welcome as anybody else to register online and participate in the competition.

This year's registration is already closed - and time has run out! Competitors had exactly 99 hours to produce a short film on a specific topic, which has yet to be revealed. Nine lucky finalists will present their work at the official awards ceremony in the Admiralspalast Berlin on Thursday, Feburary 18th. The winner of the 99 fire films award will then receive the prize of - you guessed it - 9.999€. Further prizes will be awarded in the categories 'best camera' and 'best idea'.

Screenshots of the winning submission of 2009, "Schlafstörung":

This event is running simultaneously to the Berlinale, Berlin's international film festival, which I will soon be reporting back from - so keep comin' back for more ;)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

when i cruise the streets of berlin, they are filled with music

soul food

Previous to my first culinary experience at Satyam, I had associated Indian cuisine with chicken tikka masala, mutton madra and a lot of bathura (baloon-shaped fried bread). Today, I stand corrected. Indian cuisine by no means needs to include some form of meat to be rich in taste. In fact, all of the dishes offered at Satyam are strictly vegetarian and organic and can be prepared vegan upon request. The menue includes soups, salads, tofu and vegetable dishes, and specialties from southern India.

However, eating out at Satyam is more than just a treat for the tastebuds. Before placing their order, customers are invited to take a simple multiple-choice test, thus defining their Dosha-type. Upon learning which of the three elements of Ayurveda they match most closely, guests may also order from the special Ayurveda menue.

Most notable about this restaurant are quite frankly the staff and the kindness with which customers are treated. You can expect complimentary chapatti and extensive assistance in choosing from the menue, should you need any. The ayurvedic mindset conveyed at Satyam is very sincere. Upon delivering our compliments to the chef, the latter responded, "the food will always taste good if it is consumed by kind and polite people". Delicious food and a feel-good atmosphere - what more could one ask for?

Satyam is open daily, from 11:30h - 24:00h. It is located on Goethestraße 5/ Ecke Knesebeckstraße, 10623 Berlin. Main dishes around €7. For more information, simply stop by or have a look at the website.

Monday, February 1, 2010

stop motion sensation

I hadn't heard of Oren Lavie until my good friend Jacob messaged me the link to this video, accompanied with the words "why can I see you doing something like this?". It's good to know that I have friends who know me quite well, because I developed an instant liking for Lavie's work upon watching Her Morning Elegance.

A quick Myspace search (yes- some people still have Myspace...) revealed that Oren Lavie not only works as a singer/songwriter and director, but also as a playwright and "writer of funny books for sad children". Lavie further discloses that he often daydreams, almost always has cold feet and "enjoys squeezing big worlds into small spaces". Her Morning Elegance is the first single release of Lavie's debut album The Opposite Side of the Sea and was recently nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award in the "Best Short Form Music Video" category.

For more information and a few fun facts about the video production, have a look at Lavie's Myspace blog or his web site.

fake freckles

Spotted on the runway for Tillmann Lauterbach, Mens Fashion Week in Paris. As seen in the film "Männer mit Make-Up" by Nathalie Weiss, the freckles were airbrushed on with a self-made stencil. Makes me wish it was summer again!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

take the A-TRANE

There are few things you can do on a Saturday night out with the family that involve getting home at 2:30 am. Apparently, hitting Berlin's best jazz club is one of them.

Last night, the A-trane was filled to the brim with jazz lovers anticipating the performance of Torsten Goods, one of Germany's leading young jazz guitarists. Goods can boast an impressive resumée despite his mere 28 years of age. During his studies, which he completed at the renowned New School University in NYC, Goods played with and learned from the likes of John Scofield, Jack Wilkins, Mike Stern, Peter Bernstein, Howard Alden, Frank Vignola and Les Paul. He was the only European finalist in the "Thelonious Monk Jazz Guitar Competition" in Washington (2005) and has performed throughout Europe, Asia and the USA. As one of his biggest musical influences, Torsten Goods names the Grammy Award-winning American jazz musician George Benson, who also inspired Goods to sing along to his songs.

Instead of simply promoting his newest album "1980", the much-acclaimed jazz musician and his band presented a musical potpourri of jazz classics. Despite the dazzling effect that his silky-smooth vocals and virtuosic guitar playing had on the audience, Torsten Goods did not claim the limelight. He left plenty of opportunities for his band members to impress equally as much. The on-stage communication between Goods, Olaf Polziehn (piano), Christian von Kaphengst (bass) and Martijn Vink (drums) further illustrated how good live performances are the product of mutual respect, passion for music and of course, talent.

Surprise guest of the night: the much celebrated German trumpet player Till Brönner. While tickets to one of Brönner's concerts may internationally be priced at $40 or more, it is not uncommon for him to spontaneously stop by the A-trane for an on-stage jam session. Welcome to Berlin, baby!

top- Torsten Goods and band; bottom- surprise guest Till Brönner