#146: Airport closed, Alex tunnel, SLAY, Sean Penn, Berlinale
Maurice's favourite festival
Dear 20 Percent,
I don’t know why you moved to Berlin. A job? Love? Or maybe the culture and nightlife? For me, it was surely the latter: those epic Berlin nights, those gallery openings that end at dawn, those events you somehow end up at that are fantastical hybrids of art, music and fun.
At least when I moved here (which, granted, was a while ago), culturally at least, the city did feel more forward-looking and more interesting than most other places I'd been. And one event always embodied that feeling for me: CTM, the long-running festival that, in its own words, “connects multi-perspective experiences, critical reflection, hedonism, and collaborative learning”. Sounds like art-world PR BS, but CTM really delivers: exhibitions, concerts, discussions, DIY electronics workshops and participatory labs — by artists and visionaries from all over the world. The 2023 edition kicks off in earnest this Thursday.
In short, it’s the cultural happening in the city that, for me at least, has still got it.
Anyway, I wasn’t paid to write this, I just love CTM. This year’s theme is “Portals”. Here’s the programme. If you’re like me, you won’t recognise a single name. But that adds to the pleasure of discovery. Just pick something and go.
More news below!
P.S. A huge thank you to power utility Ostrom, for their continued, generous sponsorship of 20% Berlin. Check ‘em out below!
BER completely closed on Wednesday
A nationwide public sector strike involving ground personnel, air traffic controllers and admin staff means the entire airport will be shut down on Wednesday, January 25. About 300 flights carrying 35,000 passengers are expected to be cancelled. Holger Rössler, spokesman of the union Verdi, said the strike was deliberately not planned during next week’s school holidays, so that parents with small kids wouldn’t be affected.
As you probably know, the U2 station at Alexanderplatz has been partially closed since October. Travellers have to take a shuttle train between Senefelderplatz and Klosterstraße. The wall of the 100-year-old tunnel was damaged during construction of a high-rise directly next to the station. This Wednesday, the BVG, transport czar Bettina Jarasch (Grüne) and Covivio, the French property developer building the high-rise, will meet to discuss what to do about the station. Citing an anonymous source at BVG, Berliner Zeitung reports that a new build of the station might be necessary — which could mean at least a year of Schienenersatzverkehr (bus replacement service) on this busy U-Bahn line. One reader nailed it on Twitter: “Big BER vibes”.
Cash for SLAY
Hey, there’s yet another new social network in town! Berlin start-up SLAY is supposed to encourage teenagers to have positive interactions by nudging users to say nice things about each other. The company just raised €2.5 million in seed financing that it wants to spend on its official launch. The “positive-only” app has been out for Android and iPhone since last year. Among its backers is German footballer Mario Götze.
Who knows how long SLAY will be around but we already know who’s been here for over a year: Us! And you can help us keeping slaying with this newsletter by dropping us some cash over on our Patreon. Danke!
Sean Penn at the Berlinale
Sean Penn’s Superpower, a documentary about the Ukraine war and President Zelensky, will premiere at this year’s Berlinale Special Gala event. “The Berlin Film Festival runs will take place exactly one year after the outburst of the war, and maybe showing this film in Berlin has a more relevant meaning that in any other place because we are close to Ukraine, because Ukrainian people live in Berlin, and also because of the political value of this film,” said Berlinale artistic director Carlo Chatrain. The Berlinale, which runs from February 16 to 26, released the line-up of its Competition on Monday.
Ten years ago, Berlin eccentric crooner Friedrich Liechtenstein released his viral video Supergeil (super awesome), which he later adapted into a extremely popular commercial for Edeka supermarkets. A peculiar version of the video spliced with images of German weapons systems (and probably produced by the Ukrainian defense ministry) appeared online to thank Germany for its military aid so far to Ukraine — and to ask for tanks.
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