Mitte graffiti pics | Tacheles | Bearpit Karaoke | Yard5 | Burningman

Okay, I felt I had to re-write this post, tweak it a bit, so that it’s reflecting curious aspects of the community of Berlin which I’m living in, as opposed to merely references of my capability to be a brat ‘-)) In this text I’m describing content relevant to the pictures below; referencing Mitte graffiti pics, Tacheles, the Bearpit Karaoke experience in Prenzlauer Berg’s Mauer Park, Yard5 and ultimately, Burningman, because of the fact that Berlin has aspects within it’s spontaneous art happenings, to that of this desert music and arts festival in the state of Nevada in the United States.

The images that you see below are mostly pictures of graffiti figures that I find interesting; some discovered wandering in a hinter hof (second auxiliary courtyard) near the Hackesche Höfe in Mitte. Notice that some artists’ themes appear in different locations! I find it amusing to re-discover various figures, images and stencils … appearing in different parts of the city.

I also have some photos of the famous & infamous Tacheles, an old building that survived having been bombed in World War II, which was squatted at one point by artists who then legally were given the right to remain there. The place has been struggling and teetering with battles from within, among the various people who inhabit the place as well as with the town government authorities to hold its’ lease, which is reflected by their website, to ‘save’ the place.

It’s been a tourist attraction for years, since not only have artists’ had their studios there which are open to visitors almost 24/7, but there has continually been a thriving art scene on the property; a movie theater, another large stage and theater to host events and a number of bars within the building which each have their own unique character, some of which feature live bands nightly. The vast outdoor grounds are what has given this place its’ best feature, where there have been all sorts of performances; from a stage with live bands, to jugglers, fire twirlers, gardens that have been created and various other installations.

The place, particularly on warm days and evenings, is rampant with tourists and locals who enjoy the various music and arts that it offers. I’ve featured a few pictures of the art there, and of the art of some of the resident art studios. In fact, when I was in Berlin in 1996, I discovered an Israeli artists’ interactive work on display for several months in the huge courtyard of Tacheles, and was impressed enough to write about it then. He entitled it “The Peace Tent”. Yes, there really are aspects of Berlin that are faintly similar to Burningman.

Okay, now that I’ve mentioned the word, I have to add this link to an article I wrote after my first experience attending the Burningman festival in the Nevada desert of the United States, which is at this very moment, August 14th, in its’ final preparatory stages – it peaks and the Man is burned, in the last days of August/first days September. A friend of mine from San Francisco who was visiting me in Berlin a few summers ago, commented as we bicycled around Berlin, that Berlin is similar to Burningman, and he opted for the word ‘Berlinman’.

The official burningman site is

And as the theme changes each year, here is the one for 2010.

One of these pics features my new friend Jaheed, a native New Yorker who’s been living in Amsterdam for the last 5 years, and just moved to Berlin 3 weeks ago to pursue his music career here in Berlin, where there’s a lot more happening and constantly spontaneous cool things going on throughout the city. One of the pictures below is of Jah feeding a bird that one of these artists’ created, “a BP bird” referring to the BP labeled Gulf Oil Disaster.

Jah and I had sang together at the bearpit karaoke on Sundays in Mauer park, the song by Estelle feat. Kayne West “American Boy”.

Jaheed “JahOfYork” Bell, Singer/ Songwriter –

I must mention this fabulously popular outdoor karaoke event, which is becoming an institution in Mauer park – ‘Bearpit Karaoke’, which takes place – weather permitting – every Sunday in Mauer Park, in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin.

Joe Hatch, who’s an Irish guy living in Berlin, is the originator of this massively successful event. He’s rigged a bicycle with a trailer to transport the speakers, his laptop with the songs and from which the singer can read the text, and the mics…which he sets up on the already built stage and amphitheater existing in Mauer park. Mauer = wall It’s one of the locations of the former wall, which was constructed by the Soviets August 13th, 1961 to contain the tendency of the East Germans to want to flee their regime. A wall to imprison people from escaping their own territory basically, because they must have felt that it was inherently hostile. Nice!

Back to the bearpit karaoke. It started a handful of years ago, with a trickle of people attending, and has burgeoned this past summer of 2010 into this crowd of onlookers, spilling out beyond the seating capacity. The significant catch of this particular karaoke, is that the audience are not merely passive watchers and listeners, but actively singing, swaying, dancing and sometimes even jumping up onto the stage to dance along with the singing act. It’s great fun for a divers crowd of all ages and backgrounds, and the people who participate reveal this same mix – from 11 to 92 year olds’, with every imagined type of act – mostly R rated.

Among the pictures are also some of a recent vernissage – gallery opening – of ‘Yard5’, a shop catering to graffiti artists located in the Friedrichshain neighborhood of Berlin; featuring paints, tips and hiphop fashion.

-.-.-.-.-.-. and back to some personal encounters of Carol the blogger, on her bicycle, which I found amusing !-)

Earlier this week, on Tuesday August 10th, I had this full-on productive day, filling me with energy as I accomplished one thing after another. I was stoked with the flow I was in. As some friends from the US would say – as they coined the term – I was ‘on 11’ : on a scale of 1 – 10 !-) At one point after blazing through one major intersection on my bike – using my own judgment as opposed to heeding the traffic signals to dictate to me when I could go, and subsequently slicing a corner of the next one; cutting into the lane facing the wrong way traffic as a car turned from the other direction behind me. This little car caught up and a Turkish guy – late 30’s-early 40’s – with his girlfriend seated in the passenger seat yelled loudly out his car window, fully aggro, “are you CRAzY?” To which I spontaneously answered with a wide grin, because I was happy, “YeS, i am !!” I continued riding in the wrong direction in the lane next to him at the same pace, then added with still a big smile, laughing at this point, “and i LiKe it!”. At this point, his anger melted into laughter and he said something like, ‘blah, blah hippy chick’ ….ha! I’m still laughing about the encounter !-)

…..Along with another one, when a stuffy German man raised his voice as I was riding by on my bike in the twilight and I had surprised him. He yelled out “LiCHT” to put my bike light on, and my voice drifted back to him as I sped away, “Ich HaBe Kein……………………Bock” The word trailing at the end, subtly changed the meaning, from “I don’t have one”, to I don’t want to” He hadn’t heard that last word. I just started laughing, to myself.

Yeah, well, the adventures of maneuvering on the streets of Berlin on a bicycle, which is actually an extremely friendly bicycle city in fact! Lots of bike lanes built into the pedestrian walking areas as well as designated lanes painted onto the roads, if the bike traffic happens to spill onto the street.


About carolkeiter
Aspiring writer, artist, musician and composer who was born and raised in the United States and has resided in several European countries. Communication is my forte; both through using various tools and in approaching people of divers backgrounds to gather information. Speak conversational - advanced intermediate - French, German and Spanish. Love interacting with people in cultural centers as much as going to remote places to learn more about the different creatures that share our planet. Love of the outdoors and of a variety of outdoor sports. Driven to learn and expand my own consciousness and understanding through curiosity and love of life. Creative skills merge with analytical ones, leading to an interest in a myriad of topics; ranging from politics, economics, science to environmental. Motivated to use my art, music and writing to support and educate people towards humane practices that support and respect all of life, including practices supporting a healthy planet.

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