#daydrinking #shampain #prosecco #berlin
Dance History Sunday! Martha Graham, pioneer, visionary, and Mother of Modern Dance. #DanceHistory #marthagraham
Berlin Journal, Part 4
I had my first party last night. I think it was a smashing success. Only twenty people or so showed up, but considering the size of my room, I think it was just right. I drank heavily all night, starting with the wine that I was cooking with. Vast quantities of wine were consumed by everyone. And beer. And gin. Dalton invited friends of his, but as I expected, they were mostly solitary, stuck up creatures. Nothing annoys me so much as that. Around 1, I kicked everyone out and we went to an underground bar, Der Kellar, up in the north of Neukölln. It was 8 euro to get in, so I didn’t drink anything else there. But the music was good, and glitter and confetti littered the floor. It was very Berlin. Being very drunk, and convinced that my friends had left me, I departed around 3 or so. I was rather annoyed by those other gays, I think, because at the bar, they were more insular than before.
As I was making my way back down Karl-Marx Strasse, I ran into the rest of the group. I sat and talked with them for a while. Still being very drunk, and the party being disbanded, another girl, Amelie from Denmark, and I tried to make our way to a gay bar (it being 4 by this time). We didn’t find one, but settled on a quiet place, and had gin and tonics and discussed Beyoncé and third-wave feminism and queer theory. I’m frankly surprised that I was still awake and cognizant by this time. We left, and somehow I made it to my flat. I vaguely recall being convinced that someone was following me, and so I picked up a broken bottle for protection, which is why I woke up at 2 in the afternoon with dried blood on my hands.
Surprisingly, my hangover wasn’t as awful as I thought it might be; nor was my apartment as trashed as I thought it would be. I spent most of the day cleaning and drinking tea. I’m surprised at how easy the place was to clean; in the states, a party of 20 or so would have trashed the apartment, but no, except for the dirty dishes stacked neatly in the corner, there wasn’t much mess. It was fantastic.
I went to a bar tonight. It’s apparently the place to go— SchwuZ (meaning something like ‘gay central’). It’s about 15 minutes from my place. As soon as I got there, I wish I had gone in drag. Queens were everywhere. I actually followed a queen in.
I passed out after that; I think it was around 5 AM that I stopped writing, or rather, fell asleep. I followed this queen into SchwuZ and made my way through the crowds. It was pretty full when I got there at 12:30 or so, so I couldn’t imagine it getting more full. But more and more people kept streaming in.. There were three separate dance floors; on played oldies, one top 40, and one was techno. I constantly moved between the three. I think I did because I felt so self-consciously alone in the middle of this sprawling, industrial club. I wanted to hide, escape those judgmental stares of the men who could so clearly tell that I was different.
Faggots are still faggots wherever you go. There were still the stare; the thirst; the smoke. Some things don’t change. And so I danced. I sought that place of pure abandon, where I could stop worrying about if I was pretty enough - everyone in this country is gorgeous and tall - or the fact that I’m alone, or the hunger I felt for physical attention. I danced to forget. But you cannot forget for long. Perhaps I wasn’t drunk enough.
There was one man though, who was kind - Ike, I think his name was. He wore flannel, glittering jewelry and heels. I told him my name is Guillaume, and that I’m French-American. People seem to dislike you less if you’re not fully American. They have less disdain for you. Also, ‘Kelsey’ is not a common name here, and the Germans can’t seem to pronounce it. So I rechristened myself as Guillaume. Maybe next time I’ll pick a name that is a little less foreign sounding to my ears. But it was good to have a persona, a mask, to wear. His drag queen friend invited me drunkenly to the Kit Kat Club, but since it was almost 4, I demurred. Besides, the last remnants of the wine I drank were almost expired and I felt the urge to write and sleep.
I woke up at 1 today, and feeling the urge to spend money, I made my way to Friedrichschain in search of a flea market. It’s huge; it takes up the whole park. The stalls were packed with people when I arrived around 3. There wasn’t anything I needed in particular - certainly not the furniture, though there was some stuff that I liked - but I bought some things. There was a lovely Canadian woman peddling soaps and we ended up talking about Coco Peru of all things. I also bought a small silver earcuff - which I’m currently wearing in my right nostril - and a pendant with the face of the Maschinenmensch. And now I’m in a twee little cupcake shop around the corner, drinking coffee. The music they play in here is fantastic - New Order, the Shins, Kraftwerk - but the cupcakes are too rich for my taste.
I feel the need to reinvent myself in this city. I want to cut my hair, dye it blue, pierce my nose, get a tattoo. There drastic changes though are not what I came here for. I came here to dance, to work. Or maybe I did come to run away from something. Maybe it’s from myself. Maybe this whole city is one of runaways. It remains to be seen.
After the cupcake shop, I made my way back to the Bahnhof, and eventually made my way to Alexanderplatz. I almost considered going into a church for the Anglican service at 6:00, but then thought against it. I wouldn’t feel appropriate walking in, especially with the Maschinenmensch, an icon of modernism, debauchery and destruction draped so casually about my neck.
And then I began to consider my saints, my icons. Who is guiding me at this point, anyhow? Certainly not Jesus. So I appeal to the spirits that inspire me:
- Saint Edie, for playing the hand that you’re dealt and resilience in the face of adversity. "What the relatives didn’t know is that in dealing with me, they were dealing with a staunch character."
- The Maschinenmensch, misandrist icon, seducer of men, destroyer of cities;
- Saint Tallulah, for guidance when I become too self-pitying, and a reminder to never take myself too seriously. "Nobody can be me. Even I have trouble doing it sometimes."
- Saint Walt, for doing it yourself, and to embrace the lyricism of life, its triumphs and its failures. "I am vast. I contain multitudes."
I don’t know about you, Miss Kitty, but I feel so much yummier. #threeweekswithoutdrag #eighteurolashes #IamwhatIam #Imcomingout #berlin #beardedlady
When life gives you mayo on your currywurst, make fry sauce
Because seriously, mayo on fries?
Also, fry sauce is the best of both worlds: mayo and ketchup
Berlin Journal, Part 4
I’m currently sitting in the dancer’s lounge at Tanzfabrik. I’ve just finished my first class of the day, gaga. It’s funny to me how enthusiastic I am to take a gaga class because I used to hate it so much. But now it feels like home. It’s something familiar in a brave new world.
I love this building on Möckernstrasse; the white walls, the open windows that bring the promise of work. And this is work; I’m taking about four classes per day- today, I take gaga, then training with Gisela, then contemporary then pilates. I often don’t get home until well past 10 at night. But that’s also because Neukölln is a tad far, especially by bike.
My apartment was the first one that I visited. I’m not enthusiastic about the price- 375 euro for a little less than a month- but compared to the other two apartments I was, this place is a palace. A temporary one, to be sure- I’m only here until October 6- but at least this place isn’t a squalid mess. And though the idea of living in bohemian squalor was once the subject of many a romantic fantasy on my part, when faced with the reality of the situation, I will be pick more expensive over dirty every time. that being said, that mindset will probably change once the money runs out. But hopefully I’ll be able to find a nice apartment that still has heating and a washing machine.
As I bike to class, I find myself in the middle of Tempelhof field; the quiet of Neukölln yawns behind me; in front of me sprawls bustling Kreuzberg. To my right, on the north side of the airfield, lies the crumbling remains of the airport. I don’t know if it’s still in use, but it’s gigantic, and I can tell that at one time it would have been considered impressive. Its grandeur seems dated now though, like some great Soviet palace that saw its glory days in the Cold War. It seems to take forever by my groaning bicycle to get to Kreuzberg- the runway I’m on is well over a kilometer and a half- but steadily, the dashing cars of Tempelhoferdamm get bigger and I make it to the fence. I bike down to Bergmannstrasse and take a left onto Kreuzbergstrasse. It’s bizarre to me how streets transform into something else completely different so suddenly. I make my way down to Möckernstrasse, where I turn into number sixty-eight. the walk up— our studios are on the third floor, with no lift— seems daunting, and my legs groan in protest. But, seeing as I’ve made it this far, I’ve no interest in biking back. It’s time for class.
Coco Peru in Berlin
I was at a flea market in Friedrichshain this afternoon, and found myself looking at a stand selling handmade soaps. One of them was called ‘Coco Puffs’ and much to my delight, it was inspired by Coco Peru. I bought some and it’s like Tension Tamer Tea for the skin.
Finally, I call on the spirit of Walt Whitman, for doing it yourself, and to embrace the contradictions and the lyricism of life.
"I am vast. I contain multitudes."
I call on the spirit of Tallulah, for guidance when I become too self-pitying, and to remind myself to never take myself too seriously
I call on the spirit of Little Edie, staunch character and accidental fashionista, to give me resilience through adversity and to play the hand that I’m dealt in life
I call on the spirit of the Maschinenmensch, that icon of misandry, seducer of men, destroyer of cities, to guide me
Berlin Journal, part 3
How on Earth was I convinced that I could find an apartment in this city in 5 days’ time? I checked out of the hostel this morning- the better for it; I find it grating to share a small room with three other men- and were it not for Dalton’s extreme generosity, I would be homeless. Sydney says I’m ballsy for moving here without an apartment. Part of me thinks it’s just plain stupid.
Friday was a terrible day. I found an ad for a 60 euro iPhone 3 on Craigslist. I offered 70 for it because people will snatch up anything in this city, or so I thought. I then got lost in Neukölln trying to find the damn place. I finally found the place— an obscure corner, several blocks away from one of the larger roads. Then, I set off for Ku’damm to get a SIM card at the only Vodafone I knew of.
Ku’damm does not impress me. It’s too much like America— there are Dunkin’ Donuts, Urban Outfitters, a giant McDonald’s; in other words, the giant chains that I’m trying so hard to avoid— but I went there anyhow. I bought at SIM card for 45 euro and went back to the hostel to figure out my phone. What the girl didn’t tell me is that the phone barely works for all of the malfunctions it has. The touch screen barely works at all and will randomly open and close various apps. Not to mention that it won’t update, so I can’t download anything that would be remotely useful to me. So that 100 euros was essentially wasted.
In the hopes of finding an apartment, I followed a lead from a dancer at Marameo, because she had a spare room. So, I journeyed down south to Eisenacherstraße. Right as I was about to transfer stations at Hermannplatz, I was caught on the U-Bahn without a ticket. I suppose that all good things must come to an end, but the embarrassment that I felt went nicely with the 40 euro fine I was slapped with. The address that I supplied in Georgia is no longer current, however, but I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt me.
When I finally made it to the place, I was more or less informed that they were looking for a German speaker. On the way back to Nollendorfplatz— this time with a purchased and validated ticket firmly in my hand— I could have cried from the frustration that I felt.
The night ended on a better note though. One of my roommates, a Portuguese man whose name I forget— let’s call him Bruno—took me out to dinner in Schöneberg. I’d been avoiding the gay district out of intimidation on my part, but he took me to a lovely Italian place. We drank delicious red wine and ate pizza and chain smoked the whole time. Already tipsy by the end of dinner— I eat so little here and the alcoholic content is so high that it only takes about two beers before I’m tipsy— we stumbled along to Tom’s Bar on Motzstraße. He bought me a whiskey and we talked. Men where everywhere. Hardcore porn was playing on the walls. Madonna, Blondie, Donna Summer remixes blared over the loudspeakers. My head was swimming as I led him to the darkroom in the basement.
The ceilings were low, the light was dim, and men of varying ages, sizes and ethnicities were everywhere, milling aimlessly around. We found a quasi-deserted corner and began kissing, then touching. He must’ve been twice my age, but I don’t know. It wasn’t something we discussed. As soon as we began, men swarmed around us. It was like being back at Midtowne Spa. Fearing for my valuables— signs were posted everywhere, warning of pickpockets— I suggested that we leave for the hostel.
Our ardor could not be contained, and so in the courtyard outside the hostel, in the shadows of the solitary tree, we resumed. I eventually suggested we go inside. To our dismay, both of the other men were asleep in our shared room, and so, with nowhere else to go, we went to the tiny bathroom at the end of the hall. We stripped and began again, until we were both on that cold tile floor. We went to bed separately. He was very tender with me. But I had no wish to do it again. When he came back to the room last night, I left in search of a meal; I didn’t want him to get the wrong impression. I returned home, swaggeringly drunk, and passed out on the bed in my underwear. He kissed me on the cheek this morning as I feigned sleep. He was very sweet, all in all.