Cloudy but warmer. Our hotel, as mentioned earlier, is right by the old Checkpoint Charlie, and with the fall of the wall a lot of modern new buildings have gone up to make full use of some prime real estate. So it's nice to get on the terrific subways and go to Prenzlauer-Berg, one of the uber-hip neighborhoods in this uber-hip city.
Daniel Best (above, left) welcomes us to the offices of Best Works, where he runs a mini-empire of DJs, including David Canisius (middle), who does the Yellow Lounge, which is a classical music DJ-with-live-performance event. Also joining in is Sadiq Bey (right), ex-New Yorker, poet, and jazz vocalist/composer. We are getting the impression that Berlin is a sleepy town by day, probably because everyone, no matter what genre of music they like, is heading out to the clubs at night. Daniel tells us he's spinning at a new, as-yet-unnamed club behind an unmarked door under a bridge over the River Spree, which wanders through central Berlin. Now THIS sounds like real Berlin, at least in the early 21st century.
Dinner is a fine German meal of beers and chicken. Mainly because the pub only serves beer and chicken. (Except for producer/ contrarian Brian Wise, who goes for the currywurst (above, right). It's a regional specialty, but I'm holding out for the real thing - bought from a street vendor.)
Gisele is game to go, and it takes a few minutes to find the door. A knock reveals a polite, tall young man who clearly intends to keep riffraff like me out. Fortunately, the combination of Daniel's name, the right German words for 'we were invited,' and an atrocious American accent move him to such depths of pity that he waves us in. For free. It's after midnight, and packed. Daniel is there spinning classic American soul, and when I ask if he is familiar with Sharon Jones (Brooklyn's amazing prison-guard-turned-soul-singer), he says she's playing at one of his clubs next week.
It's almost 2am when we leave, and now there is a line of people waiting to get in. To a club with no name, no identifying marks of any kind, no street flyers, nothing. -- John Schaefer