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For many years, Café Espera on Sonnenallee was something of an institution: its location by the M41 bus stop made it perfect for sitting outside and watching the world go by. Few cafes were as diverse, down-to-earth, welcoming and yet so good – it was a place that managed to unite everyone in the district. When owner Deniz had to move out at the beginning of 2022 after being unable to extend the shop’s lease, all of Nordneukölln mourned. To keep the regulars happy, Espera held pop-ups at neighboring Two and Two, forming a partnership that has now culminated in Deniz taking over the shop from its owner Tose, who is moving onto fresh pastures after 10 years in the biz. Now once again you can enjoy quality no-frills coffee and a Laugenstange with cheese while chatting with the same team about the same neighborhood. You can also watch the local hustle and bustle at the bus stop – only this time it’s a different route. While we will surely miss Two and Two’s lemon iced coffee, Espera’s revival is one of the best bits of news we’ve heard all summer, proving that farewells bring new beginnings and giving hope that, despite the rapid changes in Berlin, all is not yet lost.
Text: Hilka Dirks / Photos: Savannah van der Niet
CARTOONS, MYSTERY COMICS, ANIME RARITIES AND GRAPHIC NOVEL PICKS — INSTORE AND ONLINE AT MODERN GRAPHICS
Superhero stories, Japanese manga and limited edition action figures stacked as high as the ceiling. In Michael Wießler’s bookshop Modern Graphics on Kreuzberg’s Oranienstraße, you’ll find no shortage of gems from the world of Marvel, DC, Tintin, Asterix and the like. It’s a beautiful chaos that has existed since 1991. If you can’t find the comic you’re looking for or want to browse at home before you buy, Modern Graphics also runs an online shop on eBay. It comes courtesy of eBay Kleine Shops, where you can shop locally online and discover diverse traders from the comfort of your sofa 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you’re looking for that precious Pokémon or Yu-Gi-Oh! card you’ve been missing or have a nephew’s or cousin’s birthday coming up, you’ll find what you need here.
The physical shop has graphic novels in German and English plus merch from Japan’s Studio Ghibli. And then there’s the comics, which you could easily spend hours reading. There’s appeal for everyone, not just for collectors. In addition to his regular shop in the heart of Kreuzberg, owner Michael has opened two more branches in Berlin: one manga-filled shop at Europa Center on Ku’damm and another in 2016 in Prenzlauer Berg which is focused on French comics, graphic novels and children’s comics. And if you shop online with eBay, you can order special comics from the USA and see the entire range of the three Berlin shops at a glance. Let the deep dive begin!
Text: Alison Musch / Photos: Arundhati Shenoy
The name Wutzsee sounds a little less romantic than, say, Bernsteinsee but you’ll surely encounter fewer crowds at this small lake in Brandenburg. With some of the clearest water in the state, Wutzsee in Lindow am Mark in the Prignitz region offers several natural bathing spots surrounded by pines and oaks that offer ample shade. Sun worshippers won’t miss out either, with narrow sandy beaches perfect for tanning sessions. From the end of the road Am Wutzsee, a narrow forest path leads to a small bathing spot that is easily accessible for families. The second spot is a little further, though the 7.5km forest walk is fun to do, even in winter.
If you fancy something sweet after the walk, make a stop at the Süsse Ecke, a cafe with espresso, ice cream and a nice view of the lake. Another stop you can make is the architecture and culture of Lindow and its monastery, but this time we stuck to the summer highlights: the rustling of the leaves in the wind, reed banks, water lilies and the cool, clear water. We’re not alone in liking Wutzsee: it’s been recommended by Markus Kavka in Christoph Amend’s Zeit Magazin newsletter, among others.
Text & Photos: Nina Trippel
Let’s get some fresh air in here, please! That’s something we’ve often heard, said or thought these past few weeks as we’ve been fanning ourselves. The open-air summer festival Airing Out in the Schlüter Courtyard at the Humboldt Forum is just what we needed. For four long weekends – from Thursday to Sunday – there will be a fresh breeze of culture in the form of music, words, art and performances, all outdoors and for free. Artists, activists and performers will present diverse concerts and DJ sets: soulful rhythms, Afro Disco, pop and traditional Anatolian music, French-Moroccan psychedelic rock and Congolese sounds with reggae and jazzy vibes. International and interdisciplinary, the program includes discussions, films and live performances by local, international, transcultural and cross-genre artists who explore questions and forms of civil and artistic protest.
Pop-up installations and the Schöneberg Youth Museum will be a part of the program, and there will be numerous activities for children and young people such as the open-air picture book cinema and theater for children on Saturdays. A highlight is bound to be the German premiere of the play “City Horses” as part of the Tanz im August festival. One thing is for sure: Berlin is getting hotter and hotter and a refreshing breath of air and culture is what we have been longing for.
Text: Alison Musch / Photos: Xander Heinl & Sebastian Kempff
Schlüter Courtyard at Humboldt Forum, Schlossplatz, 10178 Berlin–Mitte; map
Airing Out open air in the Schlüter Courtyard
Until 20.08.2022 Thu, Fri & Sat
March 13, 1991: a crowd of club kids from East and West Berlin descend into the vault of a former department store on Leipziger Straße. Behind a giant steel door is a bare basement where, for the first time, ravers dance to Detroit techno until the morning light. Fast forward to today and the name of that club – Tresor – will be familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in nightlife. But how did it actually feel to step out onto that hallowed dance floor all those nights ago? A new exhibition at Kraftwerk Berlin, Tresor 31: Techno, Berlin und die große Freiheit, brings back the now-demolished club as it marks 31 years since that opening night (covid prevented a 30th bash). Indeed, one exhibit goes so far as to recreate the original space: “Stomping Ground” by Dutch artist Anne de Vries looks like Egyptian ruins but is in fact a lifesize Tresor carved out of sand complete with subwoofers, beer crates and toilet cubicles. It is the highlight of an exhibition that includes three floors of filmed interviews, private photos, vinyl records and faxes that document the club’s heydey.
As you make your way through the industrial bowels of Kraftwerk – a building that houses the present-day Tresor – soundscapes, interviews and music from the club’s namesake label are pumped into your ears via smart headphones. You hear from Tresor’s original team including flamboyant founder Dimitri Hegemann who recalls the once-in-a-lifetime chaos and freedom of post-Wall Berlin. Another interview with Hegemann’s colleague and club manager Regina Baer takes on new poignancy following the announcement of her death last month. Many of the youngsters who attended that 1991 rave will now have children of their own. You leave the exhibition hoping they too will get to feel the limitless freedom and community that pioneering spaces like Tresor made possible.
Text: Benji Haughton / Photos: Frankie Casillo