TABLE OF CONTENTS

ON THE GROUND

Berlin

WHEN OUT OF TOWN, THOSE OF US WHO LIVE IN BERLIN regularly find ourselves confronted with the question, “So what’s it like there?” As if we were personally responsible for the city’s reputation as a “happening” place. Sometimes the question resonates with excited expectation, and other times a skeptical tone betrays reservations about all the hype. Depending on my mood, I either add fuel to the fire or adopt a strategy of demystification. For the residents of other major cities, Berlin has undoubtedly become an ideal surface for the projection of all sorts of fantasies: a city with a functioning underground culture, an exciting nightlife, and a lively art scene with a bohemian flavor, where there’s still a lot of drinking and heated arguments, and where there’s still a symbolic struggle over aesthetic questions. All of this is true, but at the same time it’s a cliché, and one that we all

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