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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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Berlin Capitalism: The Spirit of Urban Scenes: Anja Schwanhäußer

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ANJA SCHWANHÄUßER

Berlin Capitalism: The Spirit of Urban Scenes

The ruined silhouette of the old brewery contrasts against a moonlit sky. The dark brick walls of the squat pump the profound sounds of the techno beat. Behind the furry curtain, a ‘hippie’ woman with wild curly hair, she moves her bonnet to another corner of the table to uncover the sign displaying the admission fee: 3 Euro. I pay, sign in for the e-mail list and enter the heart of the factory. A giant rusty crook reaches down from the high ceiling. Scrubby looking people mix with cowboy style fashion queens, punk leather jackets mix with vintage evening dress, all dancing to the electric sounds from the DJ’s desk (summary of field notes from 16 Dec. 2002).

[Two weeks later…]

I visit the former GDR Congress Centre at Alexanderplatz for a New Year’s Eve party, organised by another popular party collective. Admission is 10 Euros and I am surprised to see that a Berlin beer company sponsors the event. I find the same crowd plus approximately three thousand similar looking people enjoying the 1960s ambiance of the building. The cupola of the main hall shines like a galaxy. This time, the vintage evening dress look is the majority (summary of field notes from 2 Jan.2003).

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