A globetrotting bibliophile with a permanent address in Wilmersdorf, Eve Lucas was born in the UK to a German mother and lived in London, Paris, Bonn, Moscow and Washington DC before winding up in the German capital. She was Exberliner’s book editor from 2005-2010 and, after a brief absence, re-joined the staff as film editor at the end of last year.
When I came to Berlin in 2003 after years in Washington DC, an English-speaking friend recommended the Exberliner to me. I’d spent five years using my former local city mag, the Georgetown Courier, to clean up after the dogs and was pretty impressed with what the Exberliner had to offer: edgy, to-the-point reporting that encouraged me to get out and about in a capital that I barely knew.
On one of these trips, typically undertaken by bike, I passed the massively dark construction site that was to become the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe and an idea took root: an interview with the architect Peter Eisenman. I pitched the idea and got a green light from editor-in-chief Nadja. And that was it: the beginning of a totally unforeseen professional era.
The interview itself (a phone interview, always problematic) was marred slightly by my recherché insistence on the difference between iconic and indexical signifiers, but Eisenman called me on it and I learned an important journalistic lesson. Don’t be too smart, it’ll make you look dumb – and don’t get defensive.
In those days, the Exberliner offices were still on Jablonskistraße. A couple of smallish rooms without, as I remember, a real seating area for visitors. That changed in Metzer Straße, but the Altbau setup, despite the proverbial high ceilings, was cramped. It’s only on Max-Beer-Straße that the offices have taken on that open-plan All the President’s Men look that resonates investigative journalism. Coming from the more bourgeois Charlottenburg/Schöneberg part of town, I’ve come to appreciate the noisily industrious HQ. Talk is welcome here, especially if it’s contentious.
Before taking on the film pages this year, my work for the Exberliner involved mainly reading books. We used to hold a monthly literary/music salon at Kaffee Burger and I scouted for Berlin-based English language writers to come and read. We got a pretty good crowd going, and it felt very Greenwich Village to step up to the mike and introduce whosoever I’d ferreted out from his or her creative isolation.
A couple of the early staff and Ioana, one of the founders, have moved on. Old and new faces come to Exberliner’s legendary Christmas parties, from one of which I very nearly didn’t make it home. On the day after that particular outing, I asked myself whether I shouldn’t consider a more sedentary professional environment. But it was just a blip…