Sunday, January 31, 2010

Letzte Woche

I need to post more than once a week so I can avoid these "week in review" posts...I'll work on that.
In the meantime, last week in review:
Tuesday was our fourth supper club! You can read all about it here. We had a Meditteranean-themed menu and were at full capacity again with 12 people! It was a good group and we had a lot of fun. Plus the food was delicious, if I do say so myself.
On Wednesday our friend Linda, who works at a gallery in Mitte, had invited us to their latest opening. I have been meaning to make it to the gallery for ages, and finally I went! The show was interesting and some other friends also showed up. New friends were made--in fact, I met a guy who participated in the same Halloween costume contest as I did! He had been dressed as the joker...I of course was a zebra. We had a good laugh when we realized. Small world...
Afterwards some of us tumbled down into Kreuzberg to go to the music quiz at Madame Claude's, where Charlie was quizmaster. We were at the back of the bar and couldn't hear too well, prompting half our team to give up. I wouldn't let the competitive flame go out, however, and moved to the front, squatting on the floor in front of the DJ booth. Another teammate joined me, and based solely on our efforts we ended up tying for second! So we weren't too embarassed.
The walk to the bus station through snowy Görlitzer Park in the near-darkness was gorgeous.
Thursday I went to morning yoga and in the afternoon Josh and I caught two movies in a row. Where the Wild Things Are, which I'd wanted to see for months, was a slowboiler of a movie, plodding along through gorgeous scenery without much actually happening. After that we saw Sherlock Holmes. The verdict? Certifiably badass.
Friday night we had a party at the apartment! After sleeping in (the first time in ages!) and going to the gym, I spent the rest of the day laying in supplies and cleaning the apartment. We had to shovel the snow on the balcony into piles so that people would be able to go out there to smoke. It also made a convenient outdoor fridge.

Soon enough people started showing up...then more people...then more people.
The cops came. They did not come into the apartment. They simply told us, with a smile, to turn down the music. We did, and told people to keep a little quieter. Josh knew, from previous party experience, that it was a three strike system, so we figured the first warning was not a big deal.
Twenty minutes later and some arriving guests tell us there are four cop cars in the street. Then suddenly 8 policemen are charging up the stairs and chomping at the bit to come into the apartment. We argued with them up and down but they insisted on shutting the party down, right there and then. No third warning. No respect.
We told them to stay on the landing, that we would handle it, but as soon as we turned to do so they swarmed into the apartment. Many Germans in attendance corroborated our belief that this was illegal.
They started turning on lights and kicking people out. Meanwhile I was standing in the hallway telling them to get the EFF out of my apartment, that I did not invite them in, that they had no right.
Able to tell that I was not a native German speaker, they spoke condescendingly, saying the police always have the right to come in to someone's apartment if someone else has made a complaint. This, I was told afterward, is patently false, but I started backing off because it occurred to me that I really don't know the law here, and I didn't want to cause too much trouble.
Until I noticed one pudgy old cop, who'd been particularly rude to me, standing defiantly in the middle of my bedroom, even though no one was left in there.
I told him to get out. He refused. This is my bedroom, I said calmly, you need to leave. No one else is in here. Get out. He refused. Tipsy enough to get bellig, I then started yelling at him to get out, and even attempted to push his arm. It was then that he asked for my passport. I refused. No. No. Why?!? No. But then all the other cops got in on it, saying to refuse was a crime, that it would be a 1000eur fine if I didn't comply, etc. Again, I would have fought more if I felt like I knew the law. But I didn't. And they insisted that it wasn't just a noise complaint, that someone in our neighborhood wanted to make a formal complaint, and that they were obliged, for this reason, to take down my information.
I kinda think that they were just bullying me because they could tell I was a foreigner and that they got pissed when I started fighting back so they pretended it was more serious than it was. Either way they acted really disrespectfully and all the locals who witnessed their behavior swore up and down that it was illegal and a few even took the officers' badge numbers and promised to report them.
The party was over of course but it was good while it lasted and most people ended up in the same bar downstairs so it was ok. we are legends.
If and when I get something in the mail from the cops, I think we have plenty of reason to fight the charges.
Last night was considerably more tame. It was the Lange Nacht der Museen (long night of the museums), when many museums in Berlin are open from 6pm-2am and one ticket will get you into all of them. I had been excited for this for a while and headed out to start with the Hamburger Bahnhof, the contemporary art museum.

Only to find it...closed? Turns out it wasn't participating in the long night. Neither were any of the Museuminsel museums except the Bodes, which I'd already seen. When I finally got my hands on a pamphlet with actual information, turns out most of the participating museums were small and not too noteworthy.
But I had already bought my kombiticket so I decided to make the most of it.
I saw the George Grosz exhibit at the Akademie der Künste and it was a good excuse to pop into that cool building for the first time. Pariser Platz looked lovely dusted with snow:

I saw "Utopia Matters!" at the Deutsche Guggenheim, which was an interesting mish-mash of an exhibition with works from Pre-Raphaelites as well as Russian Constructivists and others. They had a cool gift shop, and it was also a cool building with a glassed-in courtyard.
I stopped in to the Berliner Dom because I'd never actually been inside and it was absolutely gorgeous. Plus they were having a choir service and it was lovely, lovely, lovely.

I walked over to the Nikolaiviertel, the oldest neighborhood in Berlin (we're talking medieval) to a small historical house museum, the Knoblauchhaus, and a Rococo palace, the Ephraim Palais, which is a museum of Berlin history and art, currently with exhibits on artworks dealing with the Berlin wall. They're two museums I probably never would have gone to on my own time, so that was really worth it.
I then decided I was too tired to make it to the Jewish museum, and got home around 12:30.
I wish they did this nighttime museum thing more was awesome.
I'm excited to head to England next week!
Bis bald,

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, you should separate the blog posts; the cop story can stand alone. You could call it 'Gestapo Tries to Stick the Jackboot in; Gets The Finger.'

    You are my personal hero for standing up to the SS Cops. They are just as belligerent, arrogant, rednecked and tiny-dicked as cops anywhere else in the world. Only German.