Berlin is changing.
Places that were institutions when we arrived in 2015 are closing down, or having to move. I grew up in Manhattan, and I have seen this story unfold in Chelsea in the 80s, and in San Francisco in the 90s.
Beloved dancehall Clärchens Ballhaus is one of the institutions in transition. The building has been sold. The current operator, Christian Schulz, says his lease expires at the end of this year. The ragged old beauty of a building is going to be renovated, and more will be revealed. We can only hope for the best, a space that the community can continue to enjoy and not condos.
I desperately wanted to go before they close at the end of the year, to draw a dance session.
But with my health issues and endless medical appointments, making a plan to attend a dance session was very tough.
Instead, my hub and I used a gift from my mom-in-law to go to a fancy dinner-with-dancing for our five year wedding anniversary. It was held in the SpiegelSaal or Hall of Mirrors, with fantastic music, and lucky for me, there were some terrific dancers!
Above, my husband enjoys the music.
His rapt expression is because he‘s listening to the amazing band play The Flight of the Bumblebee, which he says is extraordinarily difficult to play on the piano. The band was Pan Marek on Drums, Alexej Wagner on guitar and Eugen Miller on double bass and vocals, as well as the marvelous piano player whose name I gotta get. He looked like a biker Deadhead but he was superb on the keys!
Clärchens Ballhaus is, as it were, a kind of story machine, a site of conjecture. The German illustrator and photographer Heinrich Zille had his regular place at the bar, where he used to sit and draw. And Otto Dix painted the poster in 1931, which is still used today.
lovely quote from TripAdvisor of all places!
Here is the suave drummer dancing with an audience member!
I can’t begin to say how grateful I am that the monthly financial support of my Patreon Patrons makes it possible for me to document Berlin history like this.
I believe these people and places and their stories matter, and I’m able to share them because I’m crowdfunded and can be flexible in managing with my limited resources. Thank you, always.