One of my favourite events of the year is coming up this weekend: 48 Stunden Neukölln. From Friday evening until Sunday evening, the district is awash with an absolute flood of cultural events, from exhibitions to installations to screenings to performances to plain old parties and everything in between. All of it free. So many different venues around the district take part, from galleries and bars to Spätis to churches. You can stumble across something going on in a shopping mall or an U-Bahn station. And in the evenings especially, the action inevitably spills out from the venues onto the sidewalks, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll get all swept up in the streets pulsing with life and laughter and beer and music and you’ll think to yourself, Damnit, I love living in Neukölln. Or maybe you’ll think, Damnit, why don’t I live in Neukölln? OR maybe you’ll just think, Damnit, what’s all this dog shit doing everywhere; can we go back to Prenzlauer Berg now? Anyway.
A few basic tips: get your hands on one of the paper guides/maps, which break down the happenings Kiez by Kiez and make the whole thing much easier to navigate. Because, let’s face it, the event’s website is just… not good. If you don’t see guides left at any of the venues, head to one of the Infopunkte to stock up. The main one is at the Passage Kino at Karl-Marx-Str. 131-133, but if that’s too far south, there are others–do a search for “Infopunkt” on the website for locations.
If you’re still overwhelmed, my tip would be to focus your wanderings around the triangle formed by Boddinstraße, Reuterstraße, and Karl-Marx-Straße. Then, after that, the rectangular (trapezoidal?) area east of Donaustraße and north of Wildenbruchstraße. (If you end up wet in the canal, you’ve gone too far east.) I’d like to suggest the Schillerkiez, which has just taken off in a mad way since I last lived there one and a half years ago, but I must confess that I haven’t kept up with all the new places that have opened up there since I moved. It’s a small Kiez, though, so just go a-wandering and you’ll find something.
One final note before my picks–as I said above, the best part of 48 Stunden Neukölln is the early evenings, wandering around and discovering the street life. However, a pesky little thing called The Law shuts down loud outdoor events after 22.00, and in past years, I have seen police come and disperse crowds hanging around outside after this time. So I’d recommend treating 18.00-22.00 as peak discovery times and aiming to find a party or bar to be in post-22.00.
Without further ado, my personal must-sees for the weekend:
This project space, housed in–you guessed it–a former Finanzamt, can always be counted on to stage really clever events at the intersection of art, performance, and literature. Last year, they staged a “Poesiebüro,” or poetry bureau, with poets to write live poetry “prescriptions” to address whatever was ailing you. This year, they’ll be creating “Schmittkopf’s Machine,” a “transmedial real time machine simulating processes of an unknown brain,” using slide projection, sound, a typewriter, voice, and live scribblings to “unfold the poetic mechanics of someone else’s memories.”
Schönstedtstr. 7 | Machine will be active Fri. and Sat. 21.30-22.30 only! | Facebook event
I must confess to not being a giant fan of the Fuchs und Elster bar on Weserstraße. It’s somehow become the Hotel Bar of Kreuzkölln–far too popular and the crowd far too young for my taste. That said, the owners also put their efforts into other interesting pursuits and events, such as last summer’s big Sommerfest at the pool on Columbiadamm. They’re also behind the new Klunkerkranich, an outdoor bar/urban garden/project space on the roof of the Neukölln Arcaden mall. This weekend, the high-up space will be hosting more art and performances than you can shake a stick at, though I suspect the main draws will be the DJs and the bar. Check the Facebook event for lineup details. After midnight, the party will move on to the Fuchs und Elster.
Karl-Marx-Str. 66, take elevator to 5th floor | Fri. 16.00-24.00, Sat. 12.00-24.00, Sun. 12.00-19.00 | Facebook event
Yes, really, a bakery. This old, old bakery in Friedelstraße has been under renovation for ages and won’t officially reopen until July as some kind of bakery-meets-bar. On Friday, they’ll be celebrating a sort of pre-opening by hosting a series of readings. I’m really curious to see what they’ll do with the historic old place. And just check out the photos on their new website as well as this photo of their renovation update–these people are clearly a riot.
Friedelstraße 30 | Fri. 19.00-22.00 | Website
Free boat rides on the canal! On Saturday from 18.00-22.00 and Sunday 11.00-19.00, a boat will leave from the Wildenbruch Bridge every hour, on the hour, for boat rides and serenades from live bands. The lineups for the boats are sure to be long, though.
And finally, whirling dervishes! The Sufi center on Wissman will be hosting free shows on Friday and Saturday at 21.30. Sip some Turkish tea and let the dervishes make your head spin.
Viel Spaß, Neukölln fans! Go forth and prosper.