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Poor, but Sexy

Reflections on Berlin Scenes

Edited By Geoff Stahl

Poor, But Sexy: Reflections on Berlin Scenes offers readers a varied cross-section of the city’s scenes, providing a prismatic view of one of Europe’s mythical cultural capitals. The authors gathered here address a range of topics, including Turkish gay clubs, queer filmmaking, record labels, the legendary Russendisko, electronic music festivals, the city’s famous techno scene, the clandestine dimensions of its nighttime club culture, and the fraught emergence of the Mediaspree. With the shifting context of post-Wende Berlin its backdrop, this collection puts into relief an electic array of case studies, presenting to readers interested in exploring urban issues a number of critical and analytical perspectives on the city’s cultural life as it moves into the twenty-first century. Poor, But Sexy is an important contribution to the critical analysis of the cultural spaces in the city, and allows readers access to one of the few scholarly overviews of Berlin’s varied cultural life available in English.
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Russendisko and the German-Russian Folklore Lineage: David-Emil Wickström



Russendisko and the German-Russian Folklore Lineage

The Russendisko is a sound-system, in other words a DJ-collective with two people, those being me and Wladimir. […] We play music, which we like. […] That is music from the former Republics of the Soviet Union. [The songs] are primarily sung in Russian, sometimes in Ukrainian or […] Belarusan.(Gurzhy, Translation by D.E. Wickström)

The Russendisko is a fortnightly music event hosted at Tanzwirtschaft Kaffee Burger, a club in Berlin-Mitte.1 Run by two post-Soviet emigrants, the musician Yuriy Gurzhy (from Kharkiv, Ukraine) and the author Wladimir Kaminer (from Moscow, Russia) the event was born in 1999 and gained in popularity, especially after Wladimir’s highly popular debut book Russendisko was published in 2000 (Kaminer). The music played is linked to the former Soviet Union and for the die-hard fans there are also music compilations, in part released by their label Russendisko Records founded in 2004, and fashion accessories (t-shirts, underwear).2

Due to its regularity, the event itself provides a space for communication between the participants, the DJs, and musicians whose music is played and the organisers, in other words it acts as a social hub providing the basis for a musical scene. This network of actors is dynamic with shifting roles: e.g. Yuriy and Wladimir play double roles as the main DJs and organisers (Yuriy even a third role as a musician), the ← 43 | 44 → featured musicians also function as guest DJs and visitors...

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