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Two weeks ago, I went to Pale Blue Eyes, on the Kastanienallee. A very nice shop “full of great clothes from Cheap Monday, Velour, Mini for many, Dr Denim, Resteröds, Refined by Bobbie Burns, Whyszeck. And a collection of selected second-hand clothes handpicked by us in California!” dixit the owners. Damn right! I bought myself one grey slim from the new Cheap Monday’s collection and it’s on my butt since then. Just love it, perfect color, size… I also found a beautifull dress, nice cut and everything but when I tried it on again at home I felt enormous. So it’s not the dress fault but fucking winter that makes you eat like your are pregnant of twins.  Anyway, the point was not to talk about my ego issues. Oh, I also took a bootle of Held Vodka, I mean who knows what tomorrow will be made of? I thought that too.

Marcus, Anders and Anna are the lovely owners of the shop, they’ll treat you well all along. Not bothering you like “oh you should try that” (when indeed you should try that on, man). So have a look while you’re around. Last but not least, the new shoes collection from Minimarkets underlabel, Mini for many just look awesome. Oder?! I need to get myself a pair before it’s too late. And guys, you’ll find everything you need to look hot enough for spring. Okay. Almost.

Pale Blue Eye

Kastanienallee 50/51

Berlin, 10119

030 / 5449 1867
Mon – Fri:
12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Sat:
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm

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© Bongoût

Meeloo” Gfeller and Anna Hellsgård opened the doors to Bongoût shop and gallery in 2008, on the Torstraße, Berlin Mitte. Showcasing original art works, as well as selling books, multiples and prints, the name was inspired by ‘The Cramps” song “You Got Good Taste”. Translating this into French, Meeloo came up with the combination ‘bon goût’. “This space is considered a place where contemporary art meets graphic, underground art, as well as numerous forms of sound and visual cultures. At this point Bongoût transcended into a public platform for dialogue between artists.

I knew Meeloo’s art from the posters he made for King Khan & The Shrines (I know it is pretty reductive, but I’ve learned better since!). I went to their gallery for the first time last summer, and had a crush on it. This is quite funny, because when walking on  Torstr. you pass several galleries, white empty rooms, cold and a bit “yuppie-hey” (know what I mean?). But Bongoût is so different, first, you are not scared to go in, the entry room is full of colors, not like a crowed shop though, with books on the shelves that you can touch and read without a bad look from the employee. Then, you can enter the second room, the proper gallery, where you’ll find a new artist’s exhibition every month. There is no proper relation to all the artists that have the luck to be shown there. They have been chosen because Gfeller and Hellsgård like their art, and be sure those two got good taste. I have met them for a little chat on a winter night, they were tired but kind enough to give me a feedback about the gallery, their art, their work and feeling about the city.

Exhibition: Schöne Neue Welt | Laurent Impeduglia & Kottie Paloma © Bongoût Gallery

Meeloo is French, but spent his childhood in Berlin, while Anna is Swedish. They met in 2001 and spent one year and a half in Bordeaux but didn’t like it so much, so they came back here. And they love it. Meeloo came up with the Bongoût concept in 1995, publishing small books. When the duet started working together, they were more focused on silkscreen books publishing and graphic design for bands, like posters and record covers. They made a bit of money with that and in 2004 they published a series of books presenting different shields of art. The idea was to build a bridge between contemporary art and graphic design. So Bongoût is basically two companies, one focuses on silkscreen books and graphic design, the other being the gallery itself. The whole being a fusion of ideas and collaborations.

© Bongoût Artists Book editions

To them, Berlin has changed, it’s still cheap but not as it was before, and the Berliner dream is quite over. If you want to succeed here, you need to involve yourself, speak german, work with german people. Connect with people living here. It is indeed a hard city, so you need to export yourself. More than half of the work they are doing is demanded by Americans, Asians or Europeans companies, except the posters that are requested by some berliners. Most of the jobs come from Frankfurt, New-York, Paris… When berliners show up, it’s always starting with “we don’t have money”… You got it. They see Berlin as a metropole, like all the big ones with its multicultural component, the positive side of Berlin is that you can start from the scratch, and build a project with a small amount of money. Though, it has to be solid, or you will end up leaving the town quite quickly, cos living of your art, even here, is definitely not easy. When you ask them if there is an “art scene in Berlin”, they will answer by the negative, they don’t believe there is an art scene in a city, it is more a marketing concept. There is not such thing like a Berlin school, or art movement. They are all coming from different places and they are mixing those information with what they found in town. Therefore, they express it with different languages and feelings so it cannot be one voice for all of that.

© Walid Abdellaoui

Meeloo and Anna don’t like to do the same thing twice. It’s important for them to not repeat themselves. The frame of Bongoût is not a movement, or a style but what influences its owners, what they do like, and what they want to share via the gallery. That is why this is not a “regular” art gallery, cos their interests go from illustration, photography, abstract painting, video to underground cinema or music. That’s why some people can be lost and miss the point or the connection to what they see in Bongoût exhibitions. It’s a mix of arts, like you can find it in their Mollusk books. A bunch of things, that represent separately their own pieces of art, where the purpose is the aim and the combination the whole. What matters to them is that the body of work they do makes sense, speaks for itself, rather than having a “style”. The aim of Bongoût  is to be complete and free and not to follow the same lines over and over. They are not structured like a formal gallery with a strict agenda. They don’t dig the market to be the new hipsters, they just do what they love and you can feel it all over the place. Bongoût is 15 years old in two months. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag BonGoût!

Bongoût
Torstraße 110, 10119 Berlin, Germany
Opening hours: Tu-Sa, 12 – 7 PM
Contact: info [at] bongout.org
www.bongout.org

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The Establishment

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© Sarah Christoph

We went to this new Xberg venue* last saturday with Megan and Marina to see The Sun And The Wolf, New Zealand’s dudes based in Berlin: Say Cuzzy Bro! Some stunning psychraw (the words are not from me but do make sense) and definitely not only, the rhythm is real tight and the two guitars ping pong each other playfully and powerfully. They’re able to bring back some stoner feelings in their seventies psychedelic set. Summer of love mixed with modern flair and bitter taste, those pals surely got it. They’ll play at Privat Club – Pücklerstrasse 32, Kreuzberg for the FAVE RAVE Vol.2 and you should bring your butt on it. Maybe if you’re lucky they’ll let you play the tambourine stick. Yay!

© Sarah Christoph

The Establishment was fun, since the cops showed up right after the first band played, and we really thought it was over. The second set could not last more than 30 min. Gross. In da place was also a tiny lil red room, classical music running from a nineties ghetto-blaster (?) and a bath tube (seriously), you could hang on there and talk craps, the lights and the music made you feel you were smart (seriously part 2), and beautiful (seriously part 3) and when you pee in the bath tube it turned into gold (?)(but seriously, Phil Collins get out of my body). Well, not sure the place will gonna make it till spring (because of the cops and the neighbors), but the concept wasn’t that bad. Oh, and there were also heart-shaped balloons dancing at the window (no kidding -there was a trick, Peter even found out after some hours staring at them).

© Sarah Christoph

Thank you Sarah for letting me steal your great pics! You can find more photos in her blog: Sarah through the looking glass.

* Well, the little square room downstairs was not really what man call venue, since more than 30 min in it made you suffocating (germans again maybe? I really gotta stop this bad jokes or they gonna kick me out the sooner the better). Anyway, the place is nice and the owners are even more.

**I had a thing with brackets today.

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My Life in Orange

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Jobs and Berlin. That is just the pain in the ass ever. No news about it. But when people tend to complain all the time, I’d like to remind them that the problem is not only the job situation. I mean come on, who is speaking good enough to order a wiener schnitzel with cream and mushrooms? That’s what I thought. Anyway, two things you do need to know when moving up here. If you are an artist, musician, or whatsoever that is related to a self-centered hobby, well, good luck with that. You will find a load of non-german guys to drink with. That will be much fun and you’ll be totally broke in no time. Though, this is quite the place in Europe to shake your butt, and you will find a lot of talented people to work and spread your bitterness with.

Second, you are not an artist. You’re just a basic thing that needs to find a job quickly, cos mommy told you that monthly incomes are the key to your safety. You’re not a kick ass in german, could be worse (see first category), but, seriously, is it possible to talk in german all day with like real sentences? After one year in the city, I can tell you that 10 years won’t be enough to deal alone the ladies from the Bürgeramt.

I was quite lucky. I found a job in not even one month. And dude, what a job. The beginning of my life in orange for a couple of months. It was my first time in a call center. You cannot be much exigent. As good as your resume looks, you don’t speak good enough. So here you are, in this crazy orange open space, craving to be back in Paris and having a real career. AND, you are not even in Berlin, oh my god. You are in Potsdam-ned, it means that it takes you 1h15 of travel twice a day. In the Regional -suburban trains that are so full that you want to die, and it makes you wonder if germans do that on purpose, like an old habit. Anyway, well, then there’s the job, not much else to say. Worst thing ever. But seriously. All the morons are upon you. They got a bunch of words that totally mean nothing, flow-walker-team leader-shift manager. Actually, it is a sociological experiment and the outsiders are definitely in the happy place. At least, you know you’ll be out of it sooner than later. And you certainly don’t want to get a promotion. I stood it 8 months, I don’t know how I managed that. Well, the safety of the pay, plus the no-brain situation. You can show up hungover, living-dead, you can still make your job! How awesome is that. I admit, it makes you go banana, that is for sure. I’m now over it. I’m experiencing another kind of situation. A real job (brain needed), 10 min from home. Still, german offices got their little spicy thing you want to crash your head on the wall. That’s an other story. Also, girls are mean. That is for sure.

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