Berlin Biographies

Yes Wow Museum Berlin presents: The Berlin Biographies…

Episode#1

Radical Love

The other day I was on the Ubahn going somewhere in Berlin. Everything seemed pretty standard; a train wagon full of people, a few dogs here and there, a strange liquid streaming down the walkway, people collectively staring at each other until they were noticed and a few drunk people that might have had something to do with the liquid moving slowly past my Birkenstocks. As I glanced around the train, I was thinking about living on the land, the time I had spent in the past and the life ahead of me which I intended to also spend a large chunk of in that same way. I was thinking about how ready I’ve been to leave the urban world, and all the complexities that come with it. I always imagined living outside of the city, with the earth, and occasionally coming into the city the share and celebrate and co-create music and other arts. Suddenly, my eyes stopped at the small TVs that the new trains have installed high up on the ceiling. I usually never pay any attention to them but this time I noticed that the screen had info about a march against Nazis in Berlin. It was inviting everyone to join in the march and fight against hate and racism in Germany. I thought to myself, am I reading that right? It wasn’t news to me, but I’m just so used to people not realizing the significance of Nazis in Germany.

Now that I actually think about it, I remember seeing something similar in the US. Last year, while waiting for a train in Oakland, California, I noticed a large advertisement posted and framed on the station walls. It was an ad published by a radio station, it could have been NPR, but I honestly don’t remember. Apparently, there had been a massive survey that asked white Americans how often they think about race. The overwhelming majority didn’t think about race very often at all. The ad compared that to how often people of color think about race, which is quite the opposite of those white folks in the survey. The ad simply said that this free mental space, where race is not thought about (regardless of what it may be filled with instead), was an expression of white privilege. The ad found a way to say all of that in just about three or four short sentences. And nothing more. When I read it, I felt similar to how I felt in Berlin last week. Surprised and confused. “Who let that happen?” It was a bit too true, too transparent, to have mainstream public advertising space. Though I was so happy to see it. It was strange, to feel happy and then a moment later continue walking through the world as it is. The socio-political history of the U.S is obviously quite different than Germany (and in many ways not so different), and all of that context (including who paid for each advertisement in those trains and what organizations were behind them) needs to be considered if we compare the two.

I’ve heard both Germans and North Americans say that Germany has dealt with its past, and that the United States has failed to do so, even as its past continues to rise to the surface. First, yes there is a difference between the two countries, and even though I prefer to live in Germany over the U.S, it isn’t that simple. Things are complex and it is a complexity that this post won’t be able to honor. Anyway, there are protests against Neo-Nazis in Germany because there are Neo-Nazis in Germany. And a number of them are police officers, which you’ll find if you do your research. As far as the U.S is concerned, U.S history isn’t history. That’s while it’s still happening. Slavery is legal if you’re in jail, the KKK and white supremacy in general still play a key and deep-rooted role in the “justice system”, segregation in the education system is still observable in many parts of the U.S, health, income, access to various resources and even life expectancies between African American and white neighborhoods across the country are grossly unequal. And if you were to do your own research you would be amazed at how deep the rabbit hole goes. With that being said, I’m so happy to live in Berlin right now and not in the USA, it’s just a bit easier to breathe. Not easy, but easier.

What’s the point of all this? History will never be “dealt” with, and I don’t see racism going anywhere anytime soon. Any attempt to deal with global, national and personal history is and will continue to be a constant work in progress. A path and a way of thinking, living, speaking and holding the world, its make-believe nations and the precious people who inhabit them accountable. Saying something. Doing something. Thinking something. Demanding justice. Working for peace. Practicing radical, humble, unconditional LOVE. It’s harder than it sounds and worth more than we can imagine.

So, how’s your path going? How is your love manifesting? - I hope you enjoyed this edition of Berlin Biographies. — If you ever come to Berlin and you’d like to see a space that tells the story of what was, that came to be from visionary immigrant artists developing their visions over 20 years, and in a place that gentrification hasn’t quite touched yet…stay here: http://bit.ly/LuxuryLoftInDavidBowiesBerlin

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Yes Wow Museum Berlin presents: The Berlin Biographies…

Episode#2

Berlin’s food

Berlin’s food and restaurant scene is legit. Growing up in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, I had a nearly ridiculous variety of foods and restaurants to available to me. Ethiopian, Chinese, Danish, Tibetan, Vietnamese, Japanese, Ghanaian, Jamaican, Brazilian, Black southern, Indian, Italian and of course, unquestionably the best Mexican food to be found outside of Mexico (although some of it isn’t actually from Mexico). Since moving back to Europe and making Berlin a home, I haven’t actually missed much of the cuisine other than the dried bulk section at organic markets, and burritos. The food and restaurants available in Berlin cover a pretty large piece of the world map and it’s pretty refreshing to pay 5.00 EUR for the same delicious Indian dish that would cost 13.00 USD in the Bay Area.

One of the most recent places I’ve discovered is a colorful and cozy vegetarian and vegan restaurant called Seerose. You’ll find it in Keurtzburg just across the street from the Sudstern Ubahn station. Kind people and a simple interior with wooden dinner tables like at grandma’s house (somebody’s grandma), warm lighting and of course candles in the evening. The restaurant offers Mediterranean buffet style meals with large collections of salads, couscous, lentils, grilled potatoes and so on. They really do pile on the food and every plate that was served looked delicious. Seerose also makes pies, cakes and offers a nice collection of organic wines. You can find it at Koertestr. 38, 10967, and if you’re into playing chess I recommend that you bring a board, order some wine or tea and enjoy the view from the sidewalk. You might also want to have a conversation about resisting fascism while you’re at it.

After the Seerose, if you feel like a walk you could continue in my footsteps and wonder around an old and beautiful forest graveyard just across the street. There you’ll find many graves from the 1800’s, majestic trees and a white cat that lives in the graveyard whom you can talk with until you’re ready to accept that she’s not a social cat and doesn’t want to talk with people. Which is probably why she stays in the cemetery, I concluded. For all food and cat lovers, Berlin is here.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Berlin Biographies. — If you ever come to Berlin and you’d like to see a space that tells the story of what was, that came to be from visionary immigrant artists developing their visions over 20 years, and in a place that gentrification hasn’t quite touched yet…stay here: http://bit.ly/LuxuryLoftInDavidBowiesBerlin

Thanks for reading! :) If you enjoyed this article, hit that heart button below ❤ Would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

Yes Wow Museum Berlin presents: The Berlin Biographies…

Episode#3

People flock to YAAM to dance!

As the summer finalizes its arrival in Berlin, my wonderings branch out of the mind and onto the streets in search of musical and art-filled summer fun under the sun (and moon). The options are seemingly endless, and among them is a particularly lovely place. In the funky city of Berlin there is a space called YAAM: Young African Art Market. In the least, YAAM is a club, beach bar and galley that sits on the Spree River just by the Berlin Ostbahnhof train station. For the past 20 years YAAM has offered a mostly outdoor space for the gathering of people from around the world to enjoy, celebrate, create and share art and music magic. YAAM’s art and creative gallery hosts a collection of inspiring workshops and interactive events showcasing international artists from a variety of genres and styles. The space offers a pretty unique collection of creative activities that demonstrate an impressive cultural coexistence and celebration of it. Check out the beautiful outdoor area below in a photo a snagged from web. There are also weekly Kundalini Yoga sessions taught by a woman from Italy with 10 years of teaching under her belt, according to her. People flock to YAAM to dance to Reggae, Dancehall, Hip Hop, Pop and Rap, and this is a bit refreshing as Berlin is notorious for and saturated with Techno and House music. As far as I’m concerned, it’s important to have variety in my groove, especially in Berlin as I’m not a big fan of Techno and House. Forgive me for living here and saying this, but I could honestly live without it if need be.

With all this being said, YAAM has also had a tough past considering that the space has been forced to relocate a number of times over the past twenty years due to the city’s building plans and the ever-changing landscape of Berlin. There were actually some pretty serious protests against the closing of YAAM that ended in the city giving the current location to YAAM instead of other bidders. Which was a pretty important action because YAAM has and continues to pay an important role in Berlin’s social and cultural landscape. Take a look at their event calendar, it’s off the hook. Here’s to the Young African Art Market! - I hope you enjoyed this edition of Berlin Biographies. If you ever come to Berlin and you’d like to see a space that tells the story of what was, that came to be from visionary immigrant artists developing their visions over 20 years, and in a place that gentrification hasn’t quite touched yet…stay here: http://bit.ly/LuxuryLoftInDavidBowiesBerlin

Thanks for reading! :) If you enjoyed this article, hit that heart button below ❤ Would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

Q DeRHINO·
9 min
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