Dance, Dance, Otherwise We Are Lost

March 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve seen a Pina Bausch performance at BAM (the German choreographer debuted her insane dance theater in the ’80s). It was pretty challenging to watch because of the repeated repeated sequences. But she did some pretty awesome theatrical staging — including covering a stage with tons of soil (Rite of Spring).

German director Wim Wenders recently made a film to celebrate Bausch (who died in 2009) and her dance troupe. In it, the performers talk about their experiences (Pina once said something about how she sees each of her dancers as a different color that she can paint with), and perform some scenes. Yes, it’s repetitive. But it’s beautiful. And in 3D for some reason! You should definitely watch the trailer.


Friends Don’t Let Friends Take Them to Club Tresor

March 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Many things happened on Friday night. I flew Easyjet from London, which was like taking the westbound LIRR. We ate dinner with a bunch of Italians at a Jamaican restaurant in a Turkish neighborhood in Berlin. We squeezed into a tiny unmarked bar with a great name (Paloma!), a great vibe, and a lot of smoke. We beat the system at Horst, where they charge one euro for every cocktail glass you return (we out-bussed the busboy and made our money back at the bar). And we went to the worst club in the world. It’s called Tresor.

I know what you are thinking — the name is a huge red flag. It sounds like a place you’d find in Vegas, with red lighting, and cocaine stalls, and men with small, sweaty pony tails. You’re thinking: I bet there’s a sublevel dance floor they call Hell, where hardcore techno is pumped into the dark for 72 hours straight.

And you are absolutely right. But we went anyway, to see for ourselves.

Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife

March 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Berlin can be dangerous for children.

Chocolate? Or knives?

Balls of Fury

March 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

After a healthy dinner of beer and mustard-smothered bread dumplings, we walked by a dingy, graffiti-covered building with sheets of plastic duct taped to the windows. Ah! Just the kind of place that piques Mister Saturday Night’s interest. We went inside.

Smoky and yellow lit, the concrete space looked like a teen rec center from the Soviet ’70s. But the vibe was laid back and club housey, and the music — Afrobeat, salsa music, West African funk — awesome. We bought some cheap beers from a nice bartender behind a drywall counter and sat on folding chairs lined up around the main attraction: a single ping pong table. Circling it were 20 or so grungy girls and guys with paddles in one hand (beers in the other) playing single-elimination table tennis in the round. We heard it’s like this every night, you can just borrow a paddle and jump in. Way cool.

It’s called Dr. Pong.

Andante Espressivo

March 15, 2011 § 1 Comment

This is a view from the Spiegelsaal adjacent to Clarchens Ballhaus. It’s a dilapidated old ballroom with only half of its ornate molding (the other half looks like it was bombed out), peeling paint, a precariously hung chandelier, huge candelabras dripping with wax, and very rustic flower arrangements.

It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for!

Little Boo’s in town; we strolled Mitte Sunday evening in search of some light entertainment. Lucky for us, this crazy old place is a weekly gathering spot for trios and quartets. It’s illuminated by candlelight and filled with the sounds of harp, violin, viola, and flute (played by a man who had the kind of haircut that only a flutist would dare to wear). They played Jacques Ibert (so good) and Claude Debussy and GideonĀ  Klein.

Off to the side is a small room with a neat chrome bar serving aperitifs. I ordered an aperol spritzer and two soft pretzels and was pretty much in heaven.

If you are ever walking down Augustrasse on a Sunday with your mom and dad, you should take them. It will be perfect.

Turn Water Into Whisky

March 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

I took a wee sip from our specialty reserve single cask souvenir — which we bottled ourselves at the Balvenie distillery. (The process of filling our own bottles reminded me of priests preparing the sacrament at church. See: copper tray, funnel, and cylindrical whisky ladle. Doesn’t it look like an altar?)

I am trying to save the whisky for special occasions (and for when the cost of said Scotch doesn’t sting the lips with each sip). But I couldn’t help it.

Captain Ammonium Chloride

March 11, 2011 § 3 Comments

My mom conditioned me to love Good & Plenty.

But I never knew the love that was salty licorice until I lived with a Norwegian. She would come back from Oslo with crumpled paper bags filled with the saltiest, chewiest, most bizarrely shaped licorice candies. And I would eat them all while she was at the gym.

I only know of one place in NY that has a good selection of Scandi licorice, but here in Berlin there is a whole shop devoted to the polarizing treat, with varying degrees of Salmiak (the savoriness that makes your face pucker).

The boutique is called Kado, and it’s tucked away on a neat little street in Kreuzberg. Luckily the Girl Detective — who always enjoys a novelty and a candy snack — was in town, so we went on a black licorice bonanza together.

Clear glass jars of gummy treats are lined up according to region (Italy, Finland, etc.) and salt/sugar profile. There are super cool tins of nibs, antique scales, and one of those old-fashioned cash registers that crank and sing!

The digs and concept are super fresh, despite having been around for 14 years. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re the kind of person who can appreciate watching a grown man puff on a licorice pipe, it’s worth the trek.