"Blogging isn't journalism, it's graffiti with punctuation."

Posts tagged “Berlin

My Writing Space

I once blogged about my writing practice and process, and I feel this is a nice dovetail: my writing desk and space. We all need to carve out our own little nooks in this world, and this tiny corner is mine.


This where I do all my writing: all my short stories, all my blogging, and all my freelance articles are done here, including a little doodling and reading now and then. I decorated it like this because I think it reflects me and my personality best. Some people prefer really modern, sleek, office-y, stainless-steel-type designs, and others prefer a kind of non-descript, antiseptic look. But I wanted my space to be peppered with all of the things that inspired me, visually and spatially, and all the things that really mean something to me.


For example, these are my Lebanese grandparents making-out on their front porch in Montreal circa 1948. I typed out that Bukowski quote on my typewriter. All the picture frames were bought from London flea markets, but a few I found discarded on the sidewalk. Who throws out gorgeous picture frames?!


That photograph in the foreground of the two 1920s women pushing the pram: I have no idea who they are. I found them discarded on the flea market grounds in Brussels right before the sky opened up and an incredible tempest washed everything away. I feel like I saved them.


Those are Belgian telegrams, and also some French postcards ad German letters, which I bought from their respective flea markets. I typed out the quote at the bottom, and I found the image of the typewritten quote at the top online and then printed it out on photographic paper at a pharmacy in London.


I got the antique iron keys from a friend who bought them for me when I was living in Copenhagen. I typed out the Dumas quote, and it sits on a small blue photo album from the 1940s that I bought in Paris. The vase & saucer I got at a London flea market, and the typewriter ribbon tin I bought at the Brooklyn flea.


The pill bottles in the foreground I got at a flea here in Toronto. The red-cover books in the background are all travel guidebooks from the 1920s, 30s, & 40s. It’s so interesting to read about “where to find a public bathhouse in London,” or about how many Francs you can get for your Crowns, Half-Crowns, Shillings, and Sovereigns. There’s even a section on why French customs strictly prohibits British matches from entering the country, but you can bring your own cigarettes. Also, air travel was so new, that they don’t really mention it. They only mention taking the ferry from Dover to Calais! The guidebooks have fold-out maps and even photographs. Looking at Amsterdam then and comparing it to now is such a mind-fuck.


That’s a Bukowski quote.


I bought that cigar box from a flea market in Düsseldorf. I put all of the small monochrome photographs that I bought from flea markets around Europe in there. A note about the photographs: I don’t know the people. I am assuming they’ve all passed, seeing as how their personal family photo albums were for sale on flea markets. I buy them because they look so happy. I like their faces. Also, sometimes going through private photos reveals some interesting secrets, as I wrote in an essay for VICE recently … And if they’re not in the cigar box….


… they’re hanging on my wall. From left to right, I bought him in Brussels, him in Copenhagen, and her in Paris.


That babe second-from-right is my Mum when she was 18. The rest, left to right, Brussels, Brussels, Berlin, and the child on the right is from Amsterdam.


These ladies are so old, they’re beginning to fade, but I love them all the more because they’re so bad-ass. On the left, I bought them in Paris and on the back it’s dated June 18, 1929. On the right, I bough her in Brussels, it’s dated August 18, 1922. She’s so fucking cool, I can’t even. I’m all out of evens.


Bought both from Brussels. Street scenes and street photography from the early 20th century are so amazing to me. I love the composition of the left photo! Right photo on the back is dated May 1942 and it says they just returned from shopping.


There’s my gorgeous bee-yooot. Read this for the story behind the provenance of this baby.


Some of the books that really moved me that are resting on my desk are All That I Am by Anna Funder, The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway, The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert, and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières.


I feel like I become a different person when I sit down at this desk. Outside, I’m gregarious and silly and hungry and moving and yelling and dancing and what not… but here, I am something else.


I have a lot more upcoming publications yet-to-be-announced, but now you know where I was when I wrote them.

Remember to update your links and visit the new home of ChristineEstima.com!
NewWEbSite!

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My latest VICE essay: Germany’s flea markets have a dirty little secret

vicethird

You guys know I’m a huge flea market nut. I’ve blogged about the stuff I’ve found before. But the flea markets I used to patron in Germany when I lived there (specifically Cologne and Berlin) all carried lots of Nazi junk, which for a Canadian, is not something you ever get used to seeing. In this piece, I talk about the disturbing nature of these pieces, and also how they have affected me.

I feel like our morbid interests aren’t inherently good or bad. It’s what we do with those interests that’s important … I think learning from this stuff is a positive thing.

Click here or on the above photo to read it.

I took all of the photographs featured in the piece. The one of the framed monochrome photographs on a mantle is actually in my bedroom. Those couples just look so happy!

If you missed it, read my last VICE essay about my stint on reality TV, or my first VICE piece about my wicked-awesome eyebrows.

Fanks for reading, munchkins.


2014 was the GIF that kept on GIFing

By the time you read this, I will already be out gallivanting through New York City, Brooklyn and Queens, hunting Space Invaders, Banksys, Hanksys, Swoons, and many more of my favourite street artists. I am here for a month, housesitting in the Upper West Side. I end this year the way I began it: on my own terms, and travelling. I have never been more free.

And I win.

Enjoy some of my greatest goofy 2014 hits, in GIF form!

Rolling my eyes at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof, leaving Germany for the last time.


Dancing on the streets of Bonn.


Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science, built by… uh… Stalin.


The best Klezmer band in Brussels right outside my window!
(hit the volume button on the bottom right corner of the vid)


The Berlin eyes have it.


The ghosts in Shoreditch’s windows


Art imitates life imitates art.


Guns in Copenhagen are beating like hearts.


Brick Lane street art goes largely ignored. (It says, “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”)


Where’s the Space Invader?


I like to call this one, “Ew, I smell that, was that you?”


I like to call this one, “Oh is that really what you’re wearing? How…  brave…”


I like to call this one, “Is that a bee or a fly?”


I like to call this one, “I just had a small stroke.”


How I talk to Cats (part 1), filmed whilst housesitting in London.


How I talk to Cats (part 2), filmed whilst housesitting in Copenhagen


How I talk to Cats (part 3), filmed whilst housesitting in Enkhuizen (the Netherlands)


Now let us go out of 2014 with a bang, just like we did in Paris…

Goodbye 2014. I hope I never see you again.


2014: The Year That Taught Me Exactly What I’m Made Of

I don’t know how to start this entry so I’ll just launch right into the heart of it:

I spent most of this year homeless, broke and starving on the streets of Europe.

And I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Most of you read this blog soley for all the amazing street art that I find (as you should, I have found some incredible and moving stuff!), and I don’t really talk about myself on this blog anymore. I’ve barely posted any photographs of me on here this year, so let’s change that right now before I launch into it all…

wind in my hair on Make A Gif

 

Ahhh, that’s better.

So here’s the skinny

I will try not to ramble on for brevity’s sake and because everyone has ADD, but perhaps you might take 5 mins to read this, as this post, like most of my posts, will be mostly photographs anyway.

I started off the year in London. It was rough from the beginning. I was freelancing a lot to pay my bills, but money was still tight tight tight! My friends kept insisting on paying for me just because they wanted me to come out and see them, but I felt pretty shitty about having my friends pay for me. I mean, they offered, but what kind of woman does that make me? Always relying on the generosity of friends? I refused the majority of the time.

Still I managed to have some wonderful early experiences in London, like being invited to speak THREE TIMES at Spark London, which is a live-storytelling event.

This below video is from my first and most popular story. It has almost 6,000 views on YouTube, I guess it resonated with people.

Also, as many of you remember, I was cast in Channel 4’s documentary series, First Dates. My episode, the premiere episode of the season, had millions of viewers and broke the internet. Here’s the trailer and some screencaps from my small screen glory:




But life in London was still giving me headaches. I won’t go into too much detail on this point, but I was being sexually harassed by someone who had stolen all of my contact details and had been to my house. I had to call the police just to get him to stop. I couldn’t even get him arrested, I could only get them to force him to stop. It was truly frightening to be the victim of something like this that was completely out of my hands. I didn’t know this person at all, and to have my details stolen like that and used for such nefarious purposes really shocked my system. I didn’t leave my flat for a week because I was petrified to walk outside and find him there. Bless the London Police, they were so kind and understanding and helpful and full of useful information.

But the money issue started to grate on me. London is too expensive for a freelancer like me, and when my uptight and awkward landlady (who would burst into my room when I was sleeping naked and demand I get her a paracetamol because she was sick… or would bore me to tears by yammering on about her ridiculous love life like it was any of my business) decided to raise the rent on me for no good reason, I decided enough was enough. London clearly doesn’t want me here, so fuck it, I’m leaving for something better.

Homeless

I consciously chose to be homeless. I stuffed everything I owned in the world into my backpack, and set off for mainland Europe. I didn’t have the money to pay rent, so I decided I just wouldn’t pay rent. I would get by with Couchsurfing and Housesitting. And those housesitting gigs would last for months, so I would get to stay in these cosmopolitan European capitals for free; places like Copenhagen, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels (and a smattering of smaller rural towns).

But it wasn’t easy. I was so broke that I was living off of €40 a week. A WEEK. That’s how much most people spend in one meal, and that is what I was LIVING off of for a week. There were some really lean moments where I was like, “Should I put the peanuts in the yoghurt, or have the peanuts as a side-dish?” For  example, the entire month that I lived in Paris, I only spent €150 in total, and that’s being generous. I couldn’t afford to take the trains anymore between cities, so I started hitchhiking… which any woman will tell you is, well, interesting. (The one time that I posted on Facebook about my hitchhiking, a friend that I haven’t seen in about 15 years since high school transferred money into my PayPal and wouldn’t take no for an answer. She was like, “TAKE IT AND GET ON A TRAIN DAMMIT” and I was moved to tears. People can be so kind). I’m ashamed to admit that I did a bit of dumpster-diving when I needed to. But the worst it ever got was when I was attacked in Brussels and in Paris. In Brussels, this guy smacked me right across the face in broad daylight. On the Paris Metro, I walked away with a huge welt on my thigh that lasted a month, and the tissue there is still sore, if I’m being honest.

Life as a waif isn’t all romantic and adventure. Sometimes it is pure depravity and despair.

But, for as bad as it was sometimes, I felt like going through all of this was good for me. Like I really needed it. The whole point is to go through a river of shit. The whole point is to crawl up a long ladder on your knees. That’s the whole point. Because it taught me exactly what I’m made of. I am resilient when the shit hits the fan. I am resourceful and crafty, sometimes hustler-charlatan, and sometimes the lucky beneficiary of the kindness of strangers. I never gave up. Going through the worst time of my life, oddly, was the best thing for me. I truly feel like the worst year of my life was also the best year of my life. I am so grateful this happened to me.

So how did I end up back in Toronto?

I was making some money freelancing, so I wasn’t completely in the shitter. I was even translated into Swiss-German when I sold a couple of articles to AufBau Magazine (and they paid me in SWISS FRANCS too! When you exchange that into Canadian dollars, it was more than double. I was like PIZZA FOR EVERYBODY!). But I couldn’t afford the planet ticket home. Then, the Polish Ministry of Economy who sent me on my #Polska14 adventure that you can read about here, paid for my transatlantic flight home. Without that, I would still be a wandering European nomad with no fixed address. So thanks, Poland!

Finding Meaning

Along this strange 12 month journey that was 2014, there were a lot of poignant and unique moments that will never come again. I was in Copenhagen during the Eurovision Song Contest, I was in Berlin when Germany won the World Cup, I was in Paris during the 70th anniversary celebrations of the liberation of Paris, I was in Amsterdam for their Remembrance Day, and I was in Brussels during Nuit Blanche.

I think one of my favourite moments of the entire year was in Amsterdam when my friend Laser 3.14 dedicated some street art to me.

But my favourite thing to do in all of these places (other than photograph street art, of course) was to visit the flea markets every weekend. Because I had no space in my backpack to actually buy anything of substance, the only thing I could buy on the flea markets were old love letters and monochrome photographs from 1900-1940s. The only spot I could keep them was in the space between my iPad and its case, because it was the only spot to keep them flat and safe. After a while, that little slot was bulging.

Here are some examples of what I managed to procure:

Most days I would spend all the money I had saved for eating on these photographs. I usually only ate 2 small meals a day anyway, and would load up on coffee during the day to suppress my appetite.







The small moments I never blogged…


Dancing with friends in London! Everybody in this photograph looks cool except for me. I need to increase my cool-game.

Celebrating World Cup in Berlin with friends! Aw Eric, tu me manques!

Enjoying the view of Berlin from the Klunkerkranich with my two favourite Germans!

Acrobatic performers at the Boxhagenerplatz flohmarkt in Berlin!

This photograph and street-art-hunt made it to the front page of WordPress!

In London, I was cast in a movie, and the costume/hair/makeup would take an hour every day. I was playing a 16th century Spanish lady in King Phillip’s court. My hair was teased, pinned, curled, and yanked within an inch of my life. That hat had to be SEWN INTO MY HEAD to keep it in place. And the corset & neck piece dug into my skin and took out huge chunks of flesh.

This is what my hair looked like after all the pieces were taken out of it.


Hanging out inside an 800-year-old tree in Copenhagen.


Overlooking Copenhagen!

At the Jewish Memorial in Berlin, which is a re-staging of a photograph I took of myself 8 years ago

Berlin olympic stadium … fuck yeah jesse owens.


Sachsenhausen….

Fireworks soar above the Brandenburg Gate the night that Germany won the World Cup

A massive drumming/capoeira parade in Paris that I just happened to stumble upon. They basically shut down Boulevard Saint-Denis!

Click on the volume button to hear! I made this and many other Vines, btw.

My last night in Paris, I cycled to L’Arc de Triomphe and just sat there, watching the city run circles around it.

Nuit Blanche in Brussels was a rainy, glorious night I will never forget. I love Brussels so much!



Overlooking the small medieval-walled village of Regensburg in the south of Germany.

Leaving Berlin, and for the last time too…

Dancing with the gang in Dalston… as all the hipsters do.

This was my housesit in Paris; a two-bedroom flat all to myself. Yes, I am a huge asshole.


And this was my housesit in Amsterdam. Being homeless isn’t all that bad.


Somedays I would wake up in my housesit and just be so happy!


Although, when I was Couchsurfing, some days I would wake up looking like this. Ugh. Don’t fuck with a recently-awoken woman!

Snugglecat in Brussels loves his kisses!


I saw Nils Frahm live in concert four times this year (for a total of 5 if you include last year).  Luckily he performed free concerts, so my broke-ass could still get a little culture. I saw him twice in Copenhagen….


…once in Berlin

…and then in Toronto!

Favourite 2014 Street Art Hunts


I found some amazing works this year, so it’s hard to pick the BEST, as everyone is a winner, but here are some highlights!
#1 Space Invader does Star Wars in London!

#2 Accidentally finding a Banksy in Copenhagen!

#3  El Bocho in Berlin, baby!

#4 Icy and Sot on the streets of Amsterdam!

#5 Finding 183 Space Invaders in one month in Paris!

#6 Jimmy C’s Ziggy Stardust mural in Brixton!

#7 Pablo Delgado in Dulwich!

#8 JR’s “wrinkles of the city” in Berlin!

#9 Roa in Dulwich!

#10 Phlegm in Dulwich!


Here are my greatest street-art hits from Instagram! What a year it’s been!

Favourite 2014 Albums

#1 Spaces by my beloved Nils. Although it came out in late 2013, it really picked up steam in 2014 so that’s why it’s included here. I would walk around my neighbourhood in South London (Crystal Palace) and would listen to Spaces as I wandered up and down the hills, and it kept me sane. Lend an ear to song “Says,” it will be the best 8 minutes of your life, I promise.

#2 Are We There by Sharon Van Etten. I would wander around Kreuzberg and Neükoln in Berlin, along the canal, sit on Admiralbrücke, drink a cola from the Späti, and listen to “Our Love” or “I Know” off this album and feel like someone else understood me finally.

Favourite 2014 Singles

#1 Enemies by Hannah Georgas. The song is simply gorgeous, but it was the music video for it that left me breathless. There’s something about that man’s face. I think it was his eyes. He broke my heart.

#2 Habits by Tove Lo. I know this song was pretty overplayed by the end of the year, but when it first came out, I would walk around Berlin during those hot summer nights when it’s still light out at 9pm, photograph street art, listen to this, and sing when I was sure no one was listening.

Favourite 2014 Films

#1 Grand Budapest Hotel, obviously! I saw this in London with Robin and we couldn’t stop talking about how great it was for hours afterward.

#2 Boyhood. I saw this in Berlin with David and he fell asleep during it, so it could have used a tighter edit (3 hours is too long, guys!) but it was still a tour-de-force.

Speaking of men…




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I was never lonely this year, let’s put it  that way.
Also… OMG BEARDS. EVERY MAN I KNOW HAS A SWEET, SWEET BEARD.

When it comes to the end…

Like I have for the past three years, I will be spending New Years in a country other than my own (2012 in Germany, 2013 in London, and now 2014 in….)

New York City!!


I’ll be housesitting (obvi) for a month (until the end of January) in the Upper West Side. Another place to live rent-free, another amazing city. I haven’t been in NYC since 2012 so it will be great to rediscover all my favourite places (Bushwick here I come!!) and also discover places I never knew before (I’m coming for you, Adele Bloch-Bauer).

NYC, like all the other cities I have lived in this year, is one of those places where you’re never bored. And if you are, you are doing it wrong.

So I’d like to end 2014 on a similar note:

“I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say.
I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing.
So you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.”

-Louis C.K.

2014 was never boring. May that continue in 2015.
See ya in NEW YORK CITY!!!


#NilsFrahm live in Toronto: A fangirl review


My beloved Berlin pianist Nils Frahm played a sold-out show in Toronto a few days ago, and I was lucky enough not only to grab a ticket, but after the first song Says, he invited us to sit on the stage with him, so I was literally sitting at his feet as he played, a mere metre away. This is the fifth time I’ve seen him live in just over a year, previously I’d seen him in Cologne, twice in Copenhagen, and also Berlin. When you watch him live, you become entranced by his fingers and his arm muscles which seem to be moving faster than your eyes or your camera lens can see. Notice in the pic above how my camera can’t even keep up with his hands. He plays three pianos at once and pulls this amazing orgasm face when he gets really into it.

You heard me.

Anyway, after the show, I told him it was my fifth time seeing him, and he was like, whaaaaaaaaaaaat? I told him I even saw him in that play he did in Copenhagen earlier this year. And he was like, you’re here now? I said I just returned a month ago, and he was like, you never said hello after the other shows! He was delightful and I was a total fan girl. He’s adorbs and I want to fold him up and take him with me everywhere in my pocket…. or something.

Anyway, enjoy my pics from the show. I WAS SO CLOSE, YOU GUYS.


The toilet brushes were the best part.


Word on the Street in Paris


This above and below is by Seth aka Globepainter, near Rue Mouffetard coming down from Place Contrescarpe. I love how expressive and bold they are, with the thick lines and rounded curves. And the childlike enthusiasm.

And the disappearing into walls…


Ha! Look at this slug trying to be a repairman! I think my favourite detail is the tool belt. I found this near Abesses metro station.


This is a classic Jef Aerosol piece that I’ve photographed many times before in other cities.


Nina Simone by Miss Me. The first time I found a Miss Me was in Montreal, but I also found her work in Berlin when I was living there this summer. She’s also in Paris! Good for her! Canadians are taking over the planet, just you wait. I found this in the hilly staircases of Montmartre.

TYPEWRITER PORNOGRAPHY. by WRDSMITH

see him?


J’ai demandé à la lune….


I suspect the artist behind this carebear piece is the same artist behind The Kiss (pixelated) that I blogged about last week.


The following, including this one, were all found on Rue Denoyez. The last time I blogged from Rue denoyez was 2 years ago, and this time the experience was much less enjoyable, because of all the disgusting sexual harassment that happens in the Belleville area. I literally had to run in, photograph, and run out. I was being hounded at every corner. Seriously Paris, fuck you. Do something about your sexual harassment problem.

 

Arbeit Macht Lazy, huh?


There was no artist name next to this one, anyone know who’s behind this? It’s great, wasn’t far from the Victor Hugo museum…

Ha ha ha.


It’s an animal menagerie at Porte de Vanves.

Check out my Paris category for all the wonderfully cool finds I’ve photographed over the years, from street art to writer-hangouts to relics of the past, and everything in between.


#C215 in Berlin


I’m pretty ashamed. I have wandered up and down Skaltizer Strasse near Kottbusser Tor probably a bajillion times, but I only recently found these two C215 pieces there. What am I, blind?

Jeeeeez.

And not too far from the last C215 piece I found…

They were only a few doors down from each other too.

Get it together Estima.

Check out my C215 category for more of his work that I’ve photographed around the world!


Mr Fahrenheit’s dead celebrities

The last time I blogged about Mr Fahrenheit was in London, which is the only city I’ve ever found his work in, so I’m assuming he’s a Londoner. This past week, I found some of his stencils in the Friedrichschain area of Berlin, so looks like the man got himself a rail pass:)


Whenever I think of John Lennon, I also think of JFK and Indira Gandhi, who were also assassinated.
The lesson here, munchkins, is if you don’t want your children to be assassinated, don’t name them after an airport.

WOCKA WOCKA WOCKA.


Alice Pasquini in Berlin

Now I know what you’re thinking… Alice? Who the Fuck is Alice?

(see what I did there?)

(I’ll get my coat)

(omg parentheses)

I’ve blogged Alice’s work before when I first found it in London, and now she has hit up Berlin. You cannot walk 5 metres along Skatlizer Strasse toward the Oberbaumbruecke without running into 20 Alice pieces!


This one was actually ON the Oberbaumbruecke!


Ah yes, this mirrors my life as of late. Oh dontcha just love those balmy Berlin nights…
Ahem… but enough about me… back to Alice!


The Red Angel of Körtestraße

“Der rote Engel” as they say. I found her one day, walking along Körtestraße in Kreuzberg, a street I had walked along many times before, but I had somehow missed her. Because I was looking down.

To find angels,  you must always look heavenward.


She has the eyes of an angel. Look at the glistening glimmer.


I had never come across xi-Design before but I am now a fan.


One day in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

In my life, I have visited two concentration camps: Auschwitz (which I decided at the time not to post my pictures) and Dachau (which I decided not to blog about at all). I have always believed, however, that if you are in the area, you really should make an effort to go to them. So, being stationed in Berlin for the time being, I knew I had to go to Sachsenhausen.

I don’t want to say very much in this post. Jeff and I spent six hours at the camp, and walked out of there drained. So I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

This I will speak about, because this is such rivetting history, and new things are being discovered all the time at these places. In 2003, a construction worker at the Sachsenhausen visitors centre was taking down a partition wall when he heard a crinkle and a smash within the wall. Inside the wall, he found a bottle hanging from a wire, with a note inside. As he had smashed through the wall, he had smashed the bottle, so the note was now accessible. It had been written and left there in 1944 by two Sachsenhausen inmates! They had probably been able to leave this message in a bottle because, in all likelihood, they had been assigned to build the wall. The note was written by two guys who were both political prisoners and had been there for years, even before the war started. One guy, Anton Engermann, was from Cologne and lived on Severinstrasse! I know that street! He wrote  that he had been there since 1937 and said “When will I see my love in Frechen, Cologne once more? But my spirit is unbroken.  Things must get better soon.”

The great thing about this story is both men survived the camp and the war. Engermann lived to the ripe old age of 82, but died in 1983, well before this note was found. The other man, Tadeusz Witkowski, supposedly emigrated to Canada, but no one knows of his whereabouts or if he’s still living, they haven’t tracked him down. If he’s still alive (unlikely but possible), it would be cool to ask him questions about how and why the men left this note.


As a final note, if any of you have seen the Oscar-winning film The Counterfeiters, it takes place at Sachsenhausen. I saw the film earlier this year and had forgotten this is where it takes place. Upon visiting Sachsenhausen, and being able to see some of the forged British pound notes they created, it really brought the whole thing together. Highly recommend you watch the film.


Mannschaft

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Berlin is so hungover.

What a great night, and what a great time to be in Germany. Last night the Brandenburg Gate exploded in cheers, fireworks, chants, spotlights, and an outpouring of joy. The night sky burned brighter than the day.

How often does a gal get to be in Germany when Germany wins the World Cup? An epic experience indeed. Last night I was a witness to history.

Berlin is a place that, beyond all reason and dark history, resurrects one’s soul.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the sun is shining, and the city awaits this little Canadian lass.


RAE, #Roa, and #JR in Berlin!

I haven’t photographed a RAE since Brooklyn, I don’t think… no wait, I think I found one or two in London. But YAY! RAE was here in Berlin last week and I photographed his stuff mere days after he had erected it. GO ME!

In all honesty, I wasn’t looking for a RAE, we were just going for a stroll one night through Friedrichschain and found it by accident. Those are the best kinds of finds 🙂


Philip’s impressed. He insisted we snap this pic. Who am I to say no?


This ROA bird was in the RAW area of Berlin (near Revalerstrasse), and it looks really old, like his old style. I don’t know, but the fact that it’s still around is pretty sweet.

Maybe it was done hastily, and hence the kind of unrefined style?

Remember a few posts ago when I went hunting for the remnants of JR’s “Wrinkles of the City” from last year across Berlin? Here’s one that I missed, it’s at Warschauerstrasse, looking pretty worse for wear.

Here’s what it’s supposed to look like.


I’m just so impressed these pieces have withstood the elements and other graff artists!

Check out my ROA category and my JR category for more of their works that I’ve photographed around the world!


#ElBocho Berlin Baby

I’ve been finding so many El Bocho’s lately, the man is gonna think I’m following him around Berlin.

Which I am.

Shhh, don’t tell.


Hometown feeeeeelings

Miss my plattenbau


I had to.

Check out my El Bocho category for more of his work that I’ve photographed around Germany!


#48hNK: scenes from the 48 Stunden Neukölln Arts Fest in Berlin

The 48 hour Neukölln arts fest is very much like Nuit Blanche in Toronto, except it lasts for 48 hours, and it’s not in the freezing cold. Berlin has always been known for its arts scene, and for welcoming artists from all across Europe into their embrace, so this was a perfect way to induct me into the wonderful German hipster dudebro artistic experience.

Obvi, I adored it.

I got drunk on it.

I ate that shit up.

First we found these artists who gave us a tutorial on how to make street art stencils. Of course, I plopped down to make a masterpiece. *cough*

x-acto, baby.

 

“Courage is…”

This was a guerilla poetry space, where thousands of newspaper headlines were chopped up for us, and we got to fashion poetry… like one would fashion an anonymous ransom note! Or like refrigerator magnet poetry. Or like found poetry.

And so on.


This was ours. “I think to be seduced is the right solution.”


This was someone elses. The wall behind it said “Courage is…” so this poem finishes the sentence with “…unlikely to result in vaginal dryness.”

I’ll get my coat.


Courage is… “What was going on in the East German sky without us.”


Chris, there’s a giant frog with a cell phone growing out of your back.


Then this tenor emerged from his balcony and sang Nessun Dorma to all of us down below. It was the crowning moment of the fest, for me.

There were 1000 origami cranes. There was a pillow fort where we affixed our adult dreams to. There were shopping carts woven into a circle. There were art-convenience-stores. There were angel-birds. There was sunshine. There was FIFA. There was dancing and music.

There was Berlin.

**Unless bearing my watermark, all pics are copyright Moneim Eltohami.


#Banksy’s original Flower Chucker in Berlin

Kunsthaus Tacheles was a centre for artists, vandals, graffitists and other culture-jammers to gather in an old 1907 arcade that was partially demolished by the DDR, located near Oranienburger Strasse. It was officially closed down a couple years ago, and now it is completely blocked off and surrounded by fences, walls, hedges, and wire. There’s no way in. But on some of the walls that are still exposed, artists continue to tag.

Anyway, the other night I’m watching the object of my affection Benedict Cumberbitch … er.. batch.. Cumberbatch in the film The Fifth Estate, and I notice they filmed an entire section at Kunsthaus Tacheles before it closed down. They filmed inside and out. During the scene where they’re leaving, I noticed something that nearly made me spit out my tea.

An original, famous piece by Banksy. His most notorious work: the Flower Chucker, which looks like this.

And here’s the scene here:

banksy fifth estate

HOW DID I MISS THIS WHEN I WAS WALKING BY?!

So I went back to try and find a way in, or maybe a ledge to perch from, or maybe just a gap in the wall so I could photograph it.

I went to every business surrounding the Kunsthaus and asked everyone if they had access to the fenced-off area, just so I could take a photo. No one could help.

Finally, I found a crack in the tarped-over fence big enough to shove my hand through. Camera firmly gripped in hand, I tried to snap as many pics as I could at such an awkward angle.

 

BUT I STILL NOW I HAVE SEEN WITH MY OWN EYES THE FLOWER CHUCKER!

Check out my Banksy category for more of his work that I’ve photographed around the world!


Long-legged Berliners

Germans, in general, are super tall (bless ’em). Everyone towers around me because I’m a bite-size pipsqueak. So I’m wondering if local artist Mij K Do is trying to comment on the height of Berliners with his super-long-legged subjects.


Ratting on #Roa

In my last Roa post, I spoke of how hard I had tried to find more Roa‘s around Berlin and was coming up empty every time. But then a buddy over at andBerlin.com let me know that the Roa rats on Schoenhauser Allee were still there, even though I had struggled in vain for an hour to find them previously. I tried a second time, and bam. Instant Roa-gratification.

Aw yeah, that’s the stuff.

Look at the detail from each spraycan stroke. I can’t even. I am out of evens.

Check out my Roa category for more of his work that I’ve photographed around the world!


#ElBocho: Berlin ist sexy und das ist gut so…

Since posting my last piece on El Bocho, I have found so much more of his stuff! It’s so great to live in a city where not only is the artwork on every corner, but you can become familiar with the artists and grow to appreciate their body of work.


He’s gone and I’m still here.


Who rips apart an El Bocho?!! Sacrilege.

Check out my El Bocho category for more of his work that I’ve photographed across Germany!


War is coming


FINALLY SOME ATTENTION!


WAR IS COMING!


I TELL YOU, IT’S COMING!

Don’t mind me…