Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Descending into the Seedy Underbelly of Berlin ... sort of

We went to the Leather Club to find a strap-on full leather gimp suit for our dog.  It’s a sausage dog, so the dimensions would have to be just right.  We pushed through the heavy plastic vertical slats that you would find in any meat locker or a leather shop in Berlin and into the leather accessories section.  We looked at the usual bondage masks with the zipper-faces and ball-gag mouth pieces.  We checked out the garden variety leather-and-steel-ringed penis sheaths and giant black double dongs.  We were starting to think this place was just way too gay for our hound dog.

“Why don’t we just take four of those leather ringy penis thingy sheaths and just put one on each of the dog’s legs?”  I ventured.

“No,” she said, “those things are black leather and the dog is black.  You wouldn’t even see the fucking things against his fur.”

“But they’ve got the silver ringy thingy and…”


We descended further down the rabbit hole.  In the next room there was a mini bar.  We each grabbed a bottle of beer before wading through the art fags who had gathered for the art show that was going on (incidentally) at the Leather Club while we happened to be shopping for our Full Doggie Jacket.

“Fear,” the barman said.

“No, I’m not afraid.  I’ve seen this shit before in S.F.  Giant black double dongs don’t even raise my eyebrow any more.”

“He said vier,” the guy next to him said, “Four Euro for the beers.”

“Cute dog by the way,” he added.

We gave up on asking for the doggie section.  Clearly these fags were way too conservative for the kind of canine costuming we had in mind.  Another back room separated by yet another wall of those heavy plastic vertical slats.  We had just watched a b movie about a missing girl and a sex dungeon with hallways and rooms separated by these exact same clear plastic curtain slats.  Fucking rabbits and their fucking holes.

The next room was a small boxed-in section of a corridor leading further down the rabbit hole.  A small group of college-aged girls sat on a leather bench talking, drinking and smoking.  A gay fuck film was projected on the wall above them.  They were completely oblivious and unimpressed.  We walked on.  The maze continued.  There were dozens of side compartments and ante rooms with the same redundant vertical plastic barriers.  Some had benches and ropes.  Others had handcuffs and small beds with handcuffs on the posts.  It’s just not enough for some people to render a simple ass pounding.  Apparently some people need the Gimp from Pulp Fiction and a bed with a set of handcuffs.  There were buckets in each room and the little woman wondered what they were for and I didn’t EVEN wanna go there.

Deeper down the hole we saw a back room with more rooms and a couple of gay guys standing around.  I got the words ‘hinter’ and ‘nicht’ and some head shakes.  We get it.  No straights allowed.  We left the den of iniquity with our dog just as we had walked in.   The dog looked up and wagged his tail.  He would get no leather action that night.

*photo taken from a website far more depraved than this here blog

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Famous Donut Munchers

I believe the Secret to Life(tm) is to find some little unimportant thing that you love, then proceed to love it absolutely.  I loves me my berliner jelly donuts.  I gotsta have them at least once per week or I would not go on living.  Shit, I'd eat them every damn DAY, but if I did, I would not go on living.

Here are some of my favorite donut quotes of all time.  One of them I just heard last night:

"Personally, I think some things are our own choice and some things are predetermined.  Let me give you an example: if I walk into a donut shop I do so out of free will. But once I am there, it is my destiny to eat every single jelly donut they have."

- Craig Ferguson, late night talk show host

"Donuts.  Is there anything they CAN'T do?"

- Matt Groening, The Simpsons

"I owe it all to the little chocolate donuts."

- John Belushi

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Meet the Street

I’ve been stalking an individual quite by accident.  I didn’t set out to be obsessed; it just followed naturally.  First I took notice, then I started taking photographs, discreetly at first, then more planned and executed.  Then I found out the name of my subject was just an Alias.

You can see the works of street artist ‘Alias’ all over Berlin.  His works are fresh but familiar, political without being arrogant, and invasive while still within the context of the environment.  If you’ve lived in Berlin for a while you may have seen his works.  I’ve even used some shots of his work in previous blogs when I’ve run out of pics of donuts or beer.

I’ve always been fascinated by urban decay.  I’ve taken so many pictures of cracking walls, peeling paint, chipped bricks and rusty metal to completely reconstruct a 20th century city completely from my images.  I’m drawn to the way that the Earth takes it all back in spite of the best construction materials we can stack in stony rows.  In the midst of all of this decay, some no-talent kids like to steal a spray can or two and leave their mark—like dogs pissing on each wall they pass.  Others make it a point to beautify their environment, to cover the corrosion with the bright colors of a vivid imagination.  These people are street artists, and should in no way be associated with common taggers and vandals.  A street artist uses the cityscape as his gallery, effectively bypassing the entire nepotistic and ego driven ‘what is art’ gallery world largely run by elitists.

Alias is one such street artist.  He works with stencils based on photographs; he applies these stencils and paper stickers in amusing locations and vanishes.  The image can be of a boy sitting on a bomb, a boy morphing into a cat or—one of my favorites: a screaming woman with the words ‘Don’t be afraid, it’s only gentrification!’

A while back I went to the opening night of an Alias exhibition of new paintings entitled ‘My Belly Is Mumbling.'  Apparently when he is not spraying and pasting up city walls, Alias plies his trade in more tried and true venues.  At the show I wondered if Alias would show his face, since the legal status of street art is dubious at best.  At the West Side Gallery, I was pleased to see a variety of well-executed Alias pieces committed to canvas, wood and rusty metal doors.  This gave the effect of viewing pieces which were ripped from the city walls and brought into the gallery.

The place was abuzz with the usual art people and fashion victims.  We sat and wondered if Alias was lying low, incognito in the midst of his audience, hiding just stage left of the spotlight.  Maybe it’s the guy with all the girls and booze around him seated on the couch.  Perhaps it’s the quiet dude with the paint-spattered pants leaning on a pillar.  We went to the gallery mini bar for a drink and plied the barman for information.  “Is Alias here?  Do you know him?”

To which the barman replied, “No…um…maybe….ummm…would you like a drink?”

For info on the upcoming Alias show:

A Flickr Alias group with more Alias art than you can shake a stick at: