Quirk, quirk, quirk. I watched Scott Pilgrim vs. the World this week and it had tons of attempted quirk. And even though the quirky video game/retro product labels/’anti-sellout’ youth-baiting references were incredibly simple and maybe even seemed five to seven years too late, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It dredged up all the quirky nostalgia of a person who lived through the references. I didn’t even get that annoyed.
The thing to make one hit the pause button (if you abandon your larger critic goggles and just try to enjoy) is that there certainly were a lot of cool, quirky people around in one spot. Somehow every zine-y archetype you’ve ever read about was scrunched into these few locations, in this one town, in this one film. Where the hell is it really like that? Well, Berlin, of course – but not so clichéd. The quirk belongs to the partiers that all have their distinct personalities and let it shine out on the streets (or in the clubs). Let me show you where and how this weekend.
First off, I’m not really one to attend ‘art’ events (at least officially deemed ones), but for getting so many cool faces in one room, I have to recommend the AKA 1st Year Anniversary/”Ego” Group Show (Fri, Nov 12 @ AKA). With so many interesting names on the artist roster, one would think that saying anything critical would be impossible, since chances are that one of the people standing next to you is the artist. No matter – this a treasure trove of top-notchers. And the “ego” there might turn it into something of smashing affair for a mere gallery exhibition.
To get the party quirk going, I’m for sure going to be hitting up the “stopping in Berlin for one night only” party, Pleasure Island (Fri, Nov 12 @ Monster Ronsons). The island for ‘wicked boys’ in Pinocchio is only far off in the sense that boys won’t be the only ones getting wicked there. I hope we all get turned into donkeys by the end of the night.
On the flipside of wicked are the decidedly quieter but no-less fascinating ‘normal’ portraits of prostitutes, rent boys and workers of the streets at the vernissage of Sex Ist Arbeit! (Fri, Nov 12 @ Pantocrátor Gallery). Kathrin Grissemann strips the social bullshit from sex workers and provides another contribution to destigmatizing the world’s oldest profession. Berlin might already be quite open to this POV, but that shouldn’t be any reason to stop the discussion.
Continuing the idea of enlightening while entertaining, Body Language: What’s queer about queer pop? (Fri & Sat, Nov 12 & 13 @ Hebbel am Ufer) offers some serious discussion possibilities about queer appropriation in pop while watching some of the most varied and wild performance art in Berlin, from former Jessie Evans cohort Bettina Köster to lesbo dance-pop trio, Men. Expect glitter.
From party games to clubs to art to explorations of ownership in pop culture, quirk is the gel that lubricates Berlin.
And even though this isn’t a weekend tip, my favorite political pop provocateur, M.I.A. (Wed, Nov 17 @ Huxley’s Neue Welt) is performing later in the week. I don’t care how played out “Paper Planes” is, I’ll take it. It’s punk as fuck.