Living in Berlin as we do, it’s nearly impossible to find a weekend with nothing good happening. Whether your tastes run toward esoteric DIY events or massive mainstream raves, this is a city where the phrase ‘nightlife’ encompasses quite a few meanings. Gods know, we have a story or two to tell, and we’re sure you do too—after all, Berlin isn’t the center of the universe (stay tuned for our readers’ notes on their hometowns to get the scoop on that) and there’s a plenty of options for the international clubber seeking something truly special—or, at the very least, a big loud box to provide a sonic diversion. When we asked you where you spent your weekends (and occasionally chunks of the weekday), you had plenty to tell us.
Last year your favorite venues were A38, Berghain, The Silent Barn, Millenáris Teátrum, and the sadly-departed Raum. This year started with a reversal of fortunes for last year’s first and second place winners…
Whether you go there for the multi-day, mind-bending parties featuring some of the world’s most celebrated DJs, or for the variety of live concerts that run the gamut from John Maus to Godflesh, Berlin’s Berghain (and its house-flavored sister club Panorama Bar) is widely considered the best party spot on Earth. It even prompted the development of a controversial “How To Get In” app, though if you actually need such a thing, you probably shouldn’t be there in the first place.
Coming up second this year is the Budapest party-boat, and the stunning Danube location combined with the amount of interesting live acts (when else are you going to have a chance to see The Tiger Lillies on a freakin’ boat?) make it one of Europe’s most notable locations for locals and tourists alike.
This artist-run Vienna club was formerly a sauna, but now the hottest thing about it is the wide variety of killer DJs who frequent the decks (apologies for that pun; an uncle wrote this) as well as the cultural events that happen in their art space. Their outdoor deck even has a pool—a vital necessity when you’ve been chemically motivated on the dance floor for the last seven hours.
There’s just something so appealing about repurposing industrial spaces in the name of nightlife. Situated in a massive former newspaper printing facility, Trouw’s rotating blend of high-intensity DJs make it an excellent place to lose yourself for a night or three in Amsterdam. It even has a restaurant, so there’s no need to go hunting off-premises for things to keep your energy up (food, we mean). If you need more info, we even did a Slices special on it—so you know it’s quality.
5. Culture Box
The grittiness of this Denmark club is balanced nicely with it’s high-class sound system and the equally classy acts who use it. The perfect place to wind down after wandering around the nearly-model city of Copenhagen (though we prefer the beauty of the houses of anarcho-community Christiania ourselves). ~
Click here for more results from our 2013 Readers’ Poll.
Nowhere is the contrast between the progressive drive of Hungary’s creative class and the current government’s reactionary politics more visible than in the sprawling capital Budapest. The city is known as the Paris of the East for its art nouveau architecture and flâneur-friendly boulevards, though extreme budget cuts and rampant racism under Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s nationalist Fidesz party are rapidly degrading its potential as a creative hub in what many see as an only nominally united Europan Union. We met six protagonists from the city’s varied art, music and cultural scenes who remain cautiously optimistic about their individual futures amidst the collective crisis. This is the fourth of a six-part series. Read the third part here, and the fifth part here. All photos by Rosalia Kullick.
4:00pm: Coffee with András G. Varga
I have a strong commitment to culture and a keen interest in music and fashion. In 2008 I graduated from Corvinus University in Budapest with a masters degree in start-up management. This means that whenever a small shop or label wants to set up in Budapest’s utterly un-transparent and restrictive cultural environment, I can be of potential help. I’m proud to say that I was the babysitter for many ambitious start-ups and helped entrepreneurs to establish their brands, equipping them with the skills to survive in Hungary’s post-socialist, turbo-capitalist ecosystem.
Today it’s pretty difficult to start an enterprise in Budapest: it requires a lot of capital and the local market is small, isolated and inflexible. However, I remain an optimist and believe that willingness and creativity will go a long way. One thing I always tell my clients is that they not only have to serve the increasing number of tourists in Budapest, but that they also have to think internationally. They have to leave their own language behind and learn English in order to form international networks from the very beginning. In that sense, the A38 people have done just the right thing by opening their business up to an international audience. The same goes for a new generation of DIY record labels like 8ounce and Farbwechsel, fashion brands like NUBU and Nanushka, and many other artists and designers fluent in international business strategy. Not a single one of them would have survived if they’d focused on the Budapest scene alone.
One of the problems is that people here still expect support from state subsidies for their creative ventures. I think that instead we have to have initiative and I see it as an integral part of my work to bring people together and to convince them that they can help each other by pooling expertise and creating symbiotic networks, as it’s only through these means that you can grow. When I lived in London, I witnessed a kind of pro-active, community approach to running small businesses, and by contrast I’m always a little shocked when I encounter a certain kind of Hungarian ignorance traceable to a lack of trust and self-confidence. I truly believe Hungarians have many overlooked talents and that they have the potential to achieve great things. Likewise, I am certain that this city will revive itself in a couple of years in the same way that Berlin has regenerated itself over the last two decades. There are many parallels between the two cities, and you can already sense that Budapest could and will ultimately style itself as a hub connecting the west and the east. Yes, we’re going through a dark time at the moment, but I feel that the creative prospects of this great capital will come back stronger than ever. That’s why I’m always eager to help foreign magazines when they’re preparing city guides or editorial spreads about Budapest. I can become almost evangelical when they ask me to introduce them to all the members of the city’s burgeoning contemporary art, music and fashion scenes. There are many, many reasons to remain optimistic.~
When it comes to live or social music pleasures, the quality of the venue is often paramount. Is the sound good? How’s the lighting? The staff? But, above all, how’s the atmosphere? This quality can make or break a space—believe us, we know. We’ve been all over the world in a variety of different spaces. But this isn’t about us, it’s about you and where you love to go to hear music and bands you love. Apparently, where you love to go is on a boat—at least if you live in Budapest. The floating venue A38 has quite a few fans, and as a result it topped our poll as your first choice for partying.
In second place was Berlin’s famous Berghain, of which much has been already written… Odds are that if you’ve ever visited the German capital city, you’ve payed a visit into the huge ravespace, hovering around the booming Funktion-One speakers, and got up to all sorts of illicit fun around the bathrooms. Perhaps you wandered over to the smaller Kantine, where a host of fantastic live show regularly take place—we ourselves saw quite a few this year, including Chelsea Wolfe and Purity Ring. Whatever you did, it was most likely fun—unless it involved one of the notoriously long lines to get in.
Third place goes to one of New York City’s longest-running DIY venues, The Silent Barn. The rough-n-ready space saw quite a few problems last year after being raided by police (due to it also being a home for the artists who worked there), vandalized, and robbed. However, they’ve recently relocated from their former home in Ridgewood, Queens to the more centralized Bushwick. The new space is properly zoned for living and commercial use, so we’re hoping this means a beautiful 2013 for a beautiful project.
Yet another Hungarian space comes in fourth, the Millenáris Teátrum—which leads us to wonder: do we have a ton of Budapest readers or what? Or maybe you just have very fond memories of our 2012 Budapest EB festival? Whatever the case, köszönöm!
Tagging behind the Teátrum is another DIY space, again located in Berlin. Raum, the series of warehouse-based spaces that operated in the rising artist’s quarter of Neukölln, hosted some of the year’s wildest and heaviest parties from some of the weirdest locals, including Sameheads, PURGE, and Noisekölln. If you were an ex-pat, weirdo or just in need of something different, you probably showed up here at least once in 2012.
The 7th prize—a premium Spotify account—goes to Lukas Nickel, Münster, Germany.
Your favorite music video of 2012 will be following on Wednesday, December 26th. Find all poll results in here.
As we all expected, things get a little more complicated when it comes to food. To quote Miss Piggy: “After all the trouble you go to, you get about as much actual ‘food’ out of eating an artichoke as you would from licking 30 or 40 postage stamps.” Well, we asked you to tell us your favorite restaurant—and we got more than 200 different answers from you. But five restaurants/institutions received more votes than any other place.
1. My own kitchen / Home / My mum’s / Home is where the heart is
There’s no doubt that if you know how to prepare a decent plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce in your own kitchen you’ll survive every kind of trouble—because this means you can always invite your friends to join you (and they’ll like your dishes). Here are the five basic rules for immediate success: As for the spaghetti, make sure it’s cooked in salted water (for every 100g of pasta you need one liter of water and 10g of salt) until they are al dente. Your Italian friends will rightfully avoid your table if you don’t internalize this commandment. As for the sauce, only use olive oil, never butter. Heat it up but don’t let it burn. Add salt, garlic and a little bit of red hot chilli pepper, then pour in the tomatoes. Don’t add anything else. Let it boil for a few minutes until it’s a sauce. Synchronize the time the sauce is ready with the moment you take out the spaghetti from the water. Serve it with freshly grated parmigiano or pecorino cheese. ~ Photo: Max Dax
Many people like McDonald’s (as there are many who hate it)—and both have their good reasons. In our regular column Fast Food, Thomas Schoenberger and I discuss the many aspects of cooking and the micropolitics of dining. In episode #14, we conversed about McDonald’s:
Schoenberger: McDonald’s is a very good example of a system that is stronger than everything else. McDonald’s—or Burger King for that matter—is like a dictatorship: Nobody has any rights—neither the guests nor the people at the cashpoint. You want more ketchup? That’s 20 cents extra. A seller at McDonald’s probably gets fired if he or she doesn’t ask every guest, and I mean every single one without any exception, if they could consider ordering the full menu instead of a plain burger. That’s how they maximize the turnover.
Dax: You cannot order your burger rare or medium rare at McDonald’s. This would already bust the system. A perfect system by the way, don’t get me wrong. It would never occur to me to really have “dinner” at a fast food restaurant such as McDonald’s, but I am certainly willing to give props whenever appropriate. ~ Photo: Max Dax
You happen to still not like McDonald’s? No problem. Vapiano is the slow food version of your favorite burger parlor. Located in almost every major city in the (Western) world, Vapiano offers Italian standard dishes for good money. Even wine in bottles served at your table becomes affordable. For instance the Adobe Gewürztraminer from Chile, “a beautifully floral and exotic wine, with enticing perfume and a slight sweetness” comes for €18.50 a bottle. It’s still money, but nothing compared to the prices you’d pay in a proper Italian restaurant. Vapiano‘s mission statement seems to catch the zeitgeist: “Somewhere between the nicest of fast casual and hippest of casual dining restaurants.” ~ Photo: Vapiano
4. The pizzeria at the end of my street
Sometimes nothing will quell the desire for comfort food other than a slice of the rucola e crudo with extra mozzarella from the guys that know your name and your regular order. Think of all the great records which would have never seen the light of day if it wasn’t for the act of sending the bassist out at 11 p.m. to go pick up a takeaway from the restaurant two doors down. ~ Photo: Max Dax
5. A38, Budapest
A38 is more than just a restaurant, it’s a venue, a bar and a cultural hub that caters to and reflects Budapest’s burgeoning music scene. ~ Photo: Nagy Géza
The 9th prize—a one year subscription to a Musicload pro account—goes to Donat Radas, Zagreb, Croatia.
Your favorite TV show of 2012 will be following on Monday, December 24. Find all poll results in here.
Graduating in 2011 with an award-winning collection, footwear designer Júlia Káldy has created some praiseworthy collaborations with two rising starlets in fashion and music. While her shoe collection for London-based fashion designer Eleanor Amoroso hit the catwalks of London Fashion Week, her more recent project with EB-favorite singer Zola Jesus hits the stages worldwide. The Hungarian designer let us step into her world of feet.
You graduated at Moholy-Nagy University of Art And Design Budapest (MOME) with MA last year, what was the philosophy behind your graduate collection?
I was inspired by shoes that are wearable sculptures. I had the idea to experiment with footwear as if an object that is also wearable. This idea had been developed to a 9-pair collection which showcased a range of footwear started from more complicated sculptural objects to very simple and wearable street shoes by four phases. I used the same leather material for all pieces, this so called Caucasian tone which fits to the white skin, in order to fuse the shoes with the feet. I like to think about human body in its complete silhouette and form where footwear fits as harmonic and invisible as possible.
How was the feedback on your graduate collection?
Very positive! And it was a great self-confidence bomb for me. I got the first nice response when I got the possibility to present my works made during my Erasmus semester in Copenhagen for the renowned Italian interior designer Paola Navone. She gave a presentation at my university about her works and some select students could consult her and she really liked my concept shoes. It gave me a strong eagerness to continue with developing my idea. Also, I was so happy to get the prestigious annual prize from the president of the university for my diploma collection. Actually it was my introduction to the professional circles in Budapest. My diploma collection got also a nice feedback at several blogs worldwide from Holland to the States, maybe the Designmilk post was what I was the happiest about.
What happened since then?
I got an assignment from a British designer Eleanor Amoroso to create custom-made shoes for her SS12 collection. She liked the result and her catwalk show was covered by many magazines last September. It was a lovely story; she was looking for a footwear designer to work together and I emailed her my portfolio on the Not Just A Label website. She liked my works and wanted me to design her exclusive, bespoke shoes for her show at London Fashion Week SS12. It helped me a lot that Not Just A Label featured my collection before, I’m very thankful that they believed in me and pushed my works, I also met Stefan [Siegel, founder of NJAL] in person at the Fashion Video Festival in Budapest last year.
Recently I also had another collaboration with a Hungarian fashion designer Dóri Tomcsányi, we had a catwalk show at the fashion days of a commercial magazine. Working with her was really inspiring, I have never done similar like that, to work and think with someone so closely together.
Do you believe only in collaboration or have you ever thought about designing garments on your own?
That’s very interesting you’re asking this, because I was just thinking about this lately. Since my last collaboration I realized how much I miss it. I’m not sure to start to do this all thing on my own. I liked working with Dóri because somehow what she did up on the body fitted perfectly what I did down on the feet, I couldn’t do it better. I think I would trust and leave it to someone how can do it much better than me. As far as I can resonate with someone for the same style and design; I wouldn’t start to design clothes on my own.
Mostly I’m working independently, but as soon as I start to work in team, my limits get extended; it may give me more inspiration. I’m always looking for people who inspire me personally and professionally and we can do something interesting together.
What are your style characters?
I think I create very strong-featured shapes that dominate the foot. If I want to emphasize the shoes, I never try to pair it with a too characteristic garment, but keep them simpler. Simplicity is always important for me. Another thing what I like is the sharp contrast. Be it hidden or unhidden, something in its form or in color which makes it different is preferable. When you take it and a blood red inline gets visible, that gives a nice dynamics to the object. I like playing with this idea: Make it simple, well-made, out of quality leather, topped with a little surprise.
How did you get know each other with Zola Jesus?
Last September I received an email from her like … “this is Nika Roza Danilova, a singer and I saw you design shoes, can I buy one?” Her name was familiar and I checked it and found out that she is Zola Jesus. I replied her that I’m happy that she found me, and was wondering why not to make a capsule collection for her. I said if she is open, I could do some sketches based on how I see her style. After I sent her the moodboard she was overwhelmingly happy how much our taste matched. It turned out that we like similar things and artists, for instance Tara Donovan’s monumental installations or Zaha Hadid’s organic architecture. She couldn’t believe it; it was like a fairy tale. I met her while I was in New York in February and I could give her the first model of the collection. She was crazy about the shoes, she took them on and said she won’t take them off. It was such a good feeling that she loved my handicraft stuff. Later I heard that during her Europe-tour she will give a concert in Budapest too.
What about the future?
I’d like to keep on working together with Zola Jesus. I’m doing my academy degree at the university and will teach from September. And I want to start my own business and design bespoke shoes on an on-demand basis.
Zola Jesus will perform in Budapest on 7th April 2012 at A38 ship, more information and ticket raffle here.
Photos about Zola Jesus: Júlia Káldy / Campaign images: Éva Szombat / Head image: Olga Kocsi, styling: Patrícia Nóra