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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Adventures in Berlin: the Kunsthaus Tacheles

Guess what–I’m going back to Germany next week! Just for a week this time, to Bavaria, and I am really excited for the Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg. I have five or six blog entries left for the first trip, so I’d better finish it up already. I’ll schedule the last few to appear while I’m away. (I’m also trying to wrap up a draft of Petty Magic to send to my agent, so most of these last entries will be pretty much photos only.)

Last week I posted a video clip of the unusual disco ball at the Kunsthaus Tacheles, definitely one of the coolest/weirdest spots in Berlin. Artists moved into this bombed-out department store after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and it has bars, a café, and a nightclub as well as artists’ studios.

You walk through an archway (handmade jewelry for sale beside an old van covered in graffiti, and set into the wall above are majestic stone figures dating to the building’s first act) and out into an open sandy space with car seats set around picnic tables as well as random sculptures, all from found materials, like so:

There is graffiti on almost every surface, especially on the stairwells that lead to the studios and galleries upstairs. Alas, none of my interior or nighttime photos are good enough to show you.

This courtyard space felt like a playground for those of us who will never consider ourselves grown-ups.

Something else I didn’t get a picture of was a huge rocket-shaped metal thingie in the yard that had a metal ladder (like you’d see inside a submarine) leading up to a dark round opening near the top. I told some of the people on our pub crawl (I had been there earlier in the day, and so could speak with authority) that it was known as The Vomit Rocket, and that they should climb up the metal ladder and do what they must, but fortunately nobody had had that much to drink.

But my favorite part of all was in a hallway upstairs: a full-sized “photo booth” fashioned out of cardboard, with space for both the artist and his subject to sit. Along with a very modest price list, a sign read (in English):

Choose Your Master:

(And there might have been a couple more, I can’t remember now.) I only wish the artist had been in attendance.

1 Comment to Adventures in Berlin: the Kunsthaus Tacheles

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    November 29, 2008 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Why does Kelly look like a little beggar girl?

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.