Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Black Box Checkpoint Charlie

Another exciting offer this week: in addition to the final copies of Berlin for Young People, the last few copies of Berlin in the Cold War are also on sale for only $1 on Amazon!

In honor of this auspicious occasion, I went over to Checkpoint Charlie to see the Black Box, a current installation on the Cold War. The multimedia exhibit includes an extensive timeline of the peaks and valleys of political tension between the end of World War II and the most recent NATO assembly. The scope of information leaves you with an excellent idea not only of the Cold War itself, but with a full sense of the events leading to it and its far-reaching implications. It’s refreshing to see such a comprehensive overview of the Cold War, which dominated the global political landscape for almost half a century.

Of course, Berlin was among the places most affected by that tension, and to see an installation here in Germany’s capital is an interesting experience. On one hand, the entire city is an installation of sorts, still bearing the scars of the division. Berlin is a city perpetually under construction, much more changeable than most other European metropolises. 

The photos of Cold War Berlin were the most striking for me; I recognized many of them from my own copy of Berlin in the Cold War. Seeing images of streets I’ve walked down myself during that period is almost surreal, particularly major centers like Potsdamer Platz and the Friedrichstraße area. You can see several photos from our book on our Pinterest page and click over to Amazon to get the full volume! If you get a chance, also check out the Black Box at Checkpoint Charlie, and look forward to the opening of the Cold War Museum on the same site, which is set to happen sometime next year!

Until next time, Vanessa

Monday, August 18, 2014

Berlin for Young People

Berlin for Young People—now on Amazon for just $1!

Hi! Vanessa here, with some exciting news:

The final copies of our city guide, Berlin for Young People, are now available for just $1 on Amazon! Snag yours today, as there are only a few left!

Included in this great guide is information on local sights, events, restaurants, bars, and clubs, as well as useful addresses, maps, and much more. The book is divided into three main sections on transportation, Berlin culture, and places—which are sorted by neighborhood—and also includes chapters on Potsdam and assorted useful tips.

As I’ve said before, Berlin is an amazing city with something for absolutely everyone. That’s wonderful, of course, but it can also be a little overwhelming sometimes. With this guide, you’ll be able to find exactly what you’re looking for. Get yours while they last!

Until next time, Vanessa

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Great War in Berlin

Hello, everyone! Vanessa here, writing to share some thoughts on the World War I exhibit currently on display at the Deutsches Historisches Museum and Prayer After the Slaughter, our new book of short stories and poetry on the First World War by German satirist Kurt Tucholsky.

August 2014 was the 100th anniversary of Great War’s beginning. The word century tends to carry a certain weight and distance with it—especially for someone like me, who hasn’t yet been alive for a quarter of one—but in discussions of world-shattering events like World War I, it suddenly takes on a disturbing air of immediacy. Walking through an exhibition on the myriad ways in which the Great War affected each and every corner of the world, I found myself thinking things like, “This was only a hundred years ago?” And if those photos and accounts are so shocking to a person whose concept of war has been colored from the start by the nuclear weapons debate and graphic, 24/7 news coverage, I can only imagine the effect it must have had on people back then, for whom automatic weapons were a wholly new and terrifying idea.

Der Erste Weltkrieg at Berlin’s Deutsches Historisches Museum, is a fascinating mixture of information and artifacts, which creates a beautiful (while harrowing) portrait of one of history’s greatest tragedies. Of particular interest to me as a student of art and culture were some great Expressionist paintings, which manage to convey a very personal and compelling account of the violence and chaos in an unusual way. This unconventional approach brought to mind Kurt Tucholsky, one of Germany’s greatest satirists after the Great War.

Tucholsky, who himself served as a soldier in World War I, has been described by Anne Nelson (author of The Red Orchestra) as having “the acid voice of Christopher Hitchens [and] the satirical whimsy of Jon Stewart, combined with the iconoclasm of Bill Maher.” It’s easy, then, to imagine his writing—which was eventually banned by the Nazis—causing a stir, as humor isn’t necessarily the first approach one might take to dealing with something as devastating as World War I. But reading the stories and poems in Prayers After the Slaughter, one realizes that Tucholsky’s wit is anything but improper; his distinct voice, full of insight and nuance, provides a unique account of those years, especially in light of his perspective as an artist and pacifist with firsthand experience at the front. I encourage all of you to check it out in commemoration of this 100-year anniversary. You can get your very own copy here!

Until next time, Vanessa

Thursday, August 7, 2014

An Anniversary in Berlin, and: Meet Our New Intern

Hello, out there! My name is Vanessa, and I’m a 20-year-old university student from California spending the summer in Berlin. I’m delighted to be joining the Berlinica team and to have the opportunity to share my experience of this wonderful city with you all.

I first came to Berlin in January of this year to complete a German course at the Goethe Institut before spending the spring semester at the University of Vienna. In just eight short weeks I absolutely fell in love with the German capital and was devastated to be leaving so soon. Sure, Vienna is a beautiful city—and a perfect one, theoretically, for a German Studies major interested in arts and culture—but it’s definitely no Berlin, so I made up my mind to come back once classes ended.

What sets Berlin apart is that there truly is something here for everyone. In the past couple months, I’ve convinced several friends to visit and always tailored our itinerary to their individual interests; so far, not one has been disappointed. All sorts of exhibitions, shows, and events are on every day: history, media, architecture, literature, politics—enthusiasts in any or all of these fields are guaranteed to be satisfied.
It’s my goal to bring a few of these great events and places to Berlinica readers’ attention, in particular those with interesting connections to what we’re currently working on. Coming up next week, I’ll be writing about a World War I exhibition at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in conjunction with our recently published collection of poetry and short stories from Kurt Tucholsky on World War I, Prayer After the Slaughter. Stay tuned!

Until next week, Vanessa


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