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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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The Unbearable Hipness of Being Light: Welcome to Europe’s New Nightlife Capital: Enis Oktay

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ENIS OKTAY

The Unbearable Hipness of Being Light: Welcome to Europe’s New Nightlife Capital

In a fashion analogous to the phoenix, the city of Berlin has been reborn from its ashes. This is so not only because it has been a constant construction site since its destruction during WWII, but also because, for the second time after the fall of the Wall, it has become the party city in Europe. Having lost its distinctive charm as the popularity of techno withered away towards the end of the 1990s, many argue that it became commercial and mainstream, with the recent rise of Electro (house) and Minimal (techno) as well as the liberalisation of the European flight market (Rapp 2009), Berlin has now regained its status as the number one nightlife destination in Europe. At the same time, having overhauled such rivals as Paris and Barcelona, Berlin is on the fast track to become the new European centre of culture/creative industry. The main idea here is that these two phenomena are interrelated.

Berlin, already famous in the 1920s for its decadence, has a long-standing tradition of avant-garde/artistic/subcultural activity. One reason for this is the special status it had during the Cold War. As West Berlin was a small island in the middle of the socialist East, for many West Germans it was not a very desirable place to live. Hence, it was a refuge for the more marginal, artistic types who, for example, wanted to be...

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