Keep on partyin’ past 30 with Munich’s DJ

Keep on partyin' past 30 with Munich's DJ Older people want to party too! By older I’m talking about the 30+ crowd. To set the mood just right DJ Perkins appeals to the 30+ crowd’s love for the Rave and House music they grew up on at a party in Munich.

DJ Perkins describes the event on Oct. 18 as:

Ein Abend elektronischer Tanzmusik für das gehobener Alter mit all den Klassikern vor 20 Jahren und dem neuen Sound aus den Clubs, abgemischt von und mit Mr. DJ Rob Perkins.

>> A Night of electronic dance music for a sophisticated age group with all the classics from 20 years ago and the new sound of the clubs, mixed by and with Mr. DJ Rob Perkins.

Keep on partyin' past 30 with Munich's DJ

This particular Ü30 party is one of many of these kinds of parties happening all over Germany. Check out this more than a party website, which allows users to view and buy tickets to Ü30 parties almost daily all over Germany. This gives you an idea of just how popular this kind of party is.

Wondering why Germany has so many of these parties geared towards a slightly older crowd, I came across the following data.

Keep on partyin' past 30 with Munich's DJ

Divorce is "in"

Germany has become fairly well known for having a lot of divorces. The article Divorce at Germany’s Newsstands from Deutsche-Welle claims that “splitting up is ‘in’ among Germans.” To check this claim for empirical solidity I turned to a Scheidungsrate (divorce statistic). There has indeed been a nearly constantly rising divorce rate in Germany, changing from 30.0% in 1991 to 50.9% in 2008, with a peak of 55.9% in 2003. While it may be an interesting point, I cannot explicitly determine a causal relationship between a rising divorce rate and lots of crazy 30+ parties in Germany.

Yet the divorce rates are really high in America too. There also are 30+ parties in America. I found that most of the 30+ parties in America seem to have an obvious naughty allure. By this I mean the American 30+ parties are labeled with words like ‘flirty,’ ‘singles,’ and ‘sexy.’

So far, I have contacted DJ Rob Perkins about this event and am still waiting to hear back. These are the questions I asked the DJ in a comment on his blog.

Sag DJ Perkins,

Wie ist die Party gelaufen? Waren Alle gut drauf? Standen die Leute auf deine Musik/ Mixes? Machten die Leute auf der Party rum?

Ich poste in der naechsten Woche wieder ueber dein Blog, und zwar besonders ueber diese Party und Beziehungen allgemein in Dtschlnd.

>> Say DJ Perkins,
How did it go at the party?  Was everyone in a good mood? Did the people like your music/ mixes? Were people getting it on at the party?

Comment to support a response from the DJ himself!

Restaurant Blasphemy: Contre le Guide Michelin

Photo by leafar

In France, the Michelin Guide has long been considered the “Bible of Gastronomy.” Ever since its naissance in 1926, the Guide Rouge has held a lot of pressure over aspiring and established French chefs: “Michelin wasn’t merely a source of approbation; it defined what it meant to eat well in France. In this sense, it was as much a beacon for haute cuisine’s practitioners as it was for its consumers” (Steinberger).

According to Anthony Bourdain, there is a bold new direction of French cuisine in defiance of the revered Michelin Guide. The Michelin étoile (or star), once regarded as an honor, has turned into a burden. While it was ingenious at the time of its inception – meant to enhance and encourage tourism – the Michelin Guide has now become a form of constraint, preventing originality and creativity in French haute cuisine.

More and more acclaimed French chefs are renouncing their étoiles, fighting against Michelin’s blindness and opacity of selection criteria (not to mention its inspectors’ questionable credibility), and its intense pressure over chefs to hold onto their ratings. Olivier Roellinger became the fourth Michelin three-star chef to “throw in the towel,” after finding his place at the top too stressful. Bernard Loiseau, another three-star winner, committed suicide in 2003, not long after another influential guide lowered his restaurant’s rating. When culinary genius, Joël Robuchon (according to Bourdain, possibly the greatest chef in the last century), came out of retirement, he asked the Michelin Guide NOT to rate his new restaurants.

There are many chefs opting to defy the Michelin Guide in order to follow the l’air du temps – more and more French are looking for casual neighborhood dining, with more investment in convivial atmosphere, simplicity and comfort food. Previous Michelin three-star recipient, Alain Senderens, gave up his famed Lucas-Carton in order to open a bistro-style restaurant that was less stuffy and more affordable. By having a reduced menu, it is easier to keep reasonable costs – and the frequent changes in the menu (due to what’s fresh and available locally) keep customers coming back for more.

Video making fun of Michelin Guide Restaurants

And who knows? Maybe this new wave of rebellion will change French cuisine as we know it. With more and more food blogs and internet sites gaining popularity, the sacred Michelin Guide could be losing its authority once and for all.

*NOTE: Find this article interesting? Take a look at this blog on Le Fooding.

Bringing Bollywood To Berlin

“I’m just happy to be in Berlin. I love it. If you told me to stand up on a tourist bus and dance, I would do it.”

So says Shah Rukh Khan, India’s most popular living celebrity export. “King Khan”, as he is lovingly known, is an Indian actor whose main stage is the Bollywood scene in India. Yes, that is Bollywood, but don’t go looking to the hills of India for a BOLLYWOOD sign. Based in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, Bollywood is the umbrella term used to describe the entertainment industry that produces Indian radio programs, films, theater productions and media. In a nutshell, Bollywood is the Hollywood of India. Bollywood films are narratively on par with western and Hollywood produced films, yet there are a few differences. The first and most obvious difference is the amount of singing and dancing in Bollywood productions.

The second is the melodramatic and emotional tone of many of the Bollywood productions. This is not to say that Hollywood produced films or western films do not contain high emotional narratives. Indeed, because of the amount of whimsy and singing and dancing in Indian films, it has been argued that western films are more realistic because of their reliance on a more serious approach to film and to character portrayal. However, Bollywood films do focus on very serious emotional struggles between their characters, i.e. a father tells his son “Tum mera baita nahi hai! (You are not my son)” and lightning crashes outside. You might think western audiences wouldn’t care for this brand of film-making, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Indian director and producer Yash Chopra had this to say about the German premiere of his movie Veer Zara (A Love Legend):

“I was worried that Germans wouldn’t hang around for three and a half hours; that they would be bored and walk out. But everybody stayed till the end and had tears in their eyes, they were so moved. Such is the power of emotions.” source: http://www.bna-germany.com/interview.html?&L=1

It seems that Germans are drawn to the style of Bollywood films because they are a far cry stylistically from the films that are being produced in Germany and the rest of Europe. Bollywood films make no apologies about their obvious use of sound and situation and lighting to produce an emotional affect on the audience. When you think of obvious plot twists or over-the-top scenarios, you probably think of cheaply made science fiction movies or D-grade horror flicks.

Shah Rukh Khan, Bringing The World Of India To You © oneindia.in

Germans – and Russians also, I found out from a friend – like Bollywood films. Maybe it is because Germans are typically seen as cold, or standoffish, or rudely stalwart that they have been so taken with the whimsical charm of Bollywood films? Or maybe it’s because of Shah Rukh Khan’s washboard abs? Either way, Europeans want to see Bollywood flicks. But the popularity of Bollywood films in Europe is maintained and nurtured mostly by the non-resident Indians who have moved to Europe and Germany looking for jobs and opportunities. Theaters premiere high-budget Bollywood films, and satellite networks beam Bollywood across Europe from India without missing a beat, or note.

Either way, Bollywood has sung and danced its way into the European mainstream on the heels of non-resident Indians living in Europe. We’ll have to wait and see if “King Khan” can continue to satisfy Europe with his next film DON-2, which has begun filming in Berlin.

[ Note: I wanted to call attention to the idea of the celebrity status of Khan presenting Bollywood to the rest of the world. The famous Bollywood style of Indian film-making has been around for decades, yet it is Khan and his films that have become the reflex for most Europeans when thinking about Bollywood films. Hence, his mug (dashing, isn’t it?) appearing numerous times in this article. ]

Hitchhiking Still Sees Thumbs Up

It might be thought of as the best way to be killed by a serial killer in the USA, but in Europe hitchhiking is still trucking along.

Hitchhiking

Trying to get a lift from the outskirts of Stara Zagora to the city centre. Stara Zagora (Стара Загора), Bulgaria. Image © flickr/onnufry

In my father’s youth growing up in England, hitchhiking was a common way of transportation to explore Europe and the world if you were a student or wanderer on a low budget… or if your motorcycle broke down in Germany and you need to get home. Now there are more concerns about safety and the legality of thumbing a ride for your summer adventure – with many people preferring to travel via a rail pass. Yet this has not stopped the hitchhiker culture from continuing to roam.

While my father kept a written journal in the 1960’s, people are now blogging about their hitchhiking adventures. Inga of Latvia is currently chronicling her days hitchhiking from Cologne, Germany with friends she made on facebook. Even putting together a list of unwritten rules for hitchhiking successfully. She is now in Bratislava and will soon be on the move again.

Most posts I’ve found have centered on the safety of hitchhiking – the key part being to hitchhike only where it is legal (most of Europe, but not on highways or autobahns) and to be aware of who you are taking a ride from.

Hitchhiking in Amsterdam

Hitchhiking in Amsterdam, where they have dedicated places for hitchhiking in the Netherlands. Image © flickr/teppo

Of course with the wonders of the internet there are a ton of interesting guides for backpackers, including Wiki guides and more “organized” hitchhiking though ride sharing sites like www.mitfahrgelegenheit.de, where a small fee is paid to the driver for petrol – but many still prefer the uncertainty of thumbing a ride old school, finding their way to the edge of town to catch a ride.

As much as I enjoy being organized, if I am going to backpack and wander across Europe, I’ll do it like my father did, experiencing the adventures good and bad that come with rides from strangers so I can have some interesting stories to tell later.

Paul the German octopus dies

Paul the Octopus, who became famous during the 2010 World Cup after he predicted all of the correct outcomes of Germany’s matches, as well as the final match, died on Tuesday, October 26 at the age of 2 1/2 years of natural causes in his aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen.

During the World Cup, Paul would make his predictions by opening the lid of one of two clear plastic boxes, each containing a mussel and bearing a team flag.

Paul the Octopus predicts Spain over Germany during the World Cup.

We had all naturally grown very fond of him and he will be sorely missed,” Sea Life manager Stefan Porwoll said in a statement.

After the World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands, in which Paul correctly predicted Spain to win, his trainers retired him from predicting matches, and going back to his normal role of entertaining children. A large part of this was because of the death threats that he received, after he caused quite the stir-up in Germany when he picked them to lose to Spain.

It says a lot about a culture when the people send an octopus death threats simply because he picked his homeland country to lose a soccer match. Why are people caring this much simply on what an octopus picks? He is probably picking whichever box has the best smelling food, and the country’s flag is just a side bit.

Regardless, Paul’s is an octopus that will go down in history. At the start of the World Cup, he became an instant celebrity because of his picks, and had since been requested to appear all across Europe. He had his own agent, and was even an official ambassador of the England 2018 World Cup bid, since he was originally born in England before being moved to Germany. Also, “El Pulpo Paul” became so popular in Spain that the northwestern Spanish town of O Carballino tried to borrow him and make him an “honorary friend.” That was just one of hundreds of requests that Paul received to go to Spain. In addition, the Madrid Zoo asked Sea Life if it would be willing to make a deal to bring him in as a tribute to the Spanish soccer team’s victory, either temporarily or for good. But the German aquarium turned down that offer, too.

SoccerLens, an international soccer blog, isn’t grieving at all about Paul’s death, and is excited that people will start getting back to normal soccer now.

Some people love Paul, some will hate him since he didn’t predict their team. Regardless of how people feel about him though, it is obvious that this wasn’t your everyday octopus.

La Furia Roja

Spain fans gather to watch the semifinal between Germany and Spain in Toledo - Andrew Green, Creative Commons

Spain is a country divided. Geographically, culturally, and linguistically, Spain has suffered and thrived by these divisions. Catalan, Asturian, Galician and Basque are among Spain’s myriad distinct languages, each tied to distinct cultures, but all part of Spain.

However, this past summer the country was united; by fútbol. The Spanish national football team, known as La Furia Roja in Spain, won the FIFA World Cup for the first time in history. Moises Martinez, who runs the blog Con Ojos Latinos, was in Madrid at the time of the final match and described the scene after Spain’s victory:

Millones se abrazaron, amigos con amigos, novios con novias, desconocidos con desconocidos, no importaba. Muchos jóvenes y viejos cayeron al suelo llorando. No lo podían creer.
“Millions hugged each other, friends hugged friends, boyfriends hugged girlfriends, strangers hugged strangers, it didn’t matter. Young and old alike fell to the ground, crying. They couldn’t belive it.”

The country was ecstatic. But, beyond that, the country was united.

Or, at least, that’s the impression the rest of the world got. But was this an accurate representation of the nation?

Some signs definitely pointed to yes.

Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta, and Xabi carry the Catalonian flag, returning from South Africa. - Sportskeeda

Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta, and Xabi carry the Catalonian flag, returning from South Africa. - Sportskeeda

Spain’s national team is composed of players from Catalonia,Asturias, Basque Country, Andalusia, Castile and León,the Canary Islands. It can be a little difficult to understand how exactly these partitions work, because they’re not really the same as states in the U.S. These regions are known as autonomous communities, and have unique cultures and centuries-long histories. Thus, the divisions between them are well defined. Xabi Alonso, who plays for Real Madrid, is from Basque country, an autonomous community that has had much strife with the Spanish government in the past. Basque terrorist group ETA is notorious for its relentless use of improvised explosives to demand independence for the Basque country.

Still, the beauty of Spain’s victory in the World Cup, aside from the beautiful soccer they played, lies in the fact that players from all these different regions were able to come together as one cohesive unit. If there was any internal strife or conflict, they didn’t show a hint of it on the field.

I asked my friend Álvaro Guzmán, who writes for The Missourian and is from Pamplona, Spain, about the effect that the team’s performance had on the country.

Durante el mundial, la sociedad española se unió en torno al equipo nacional. Aunque es verdad que hay ciertos sectores que -y están en su perfecto derecho- nunca sentirán a la selección como suya, no es menos cierto que España en su conjunto vibró con el mundial como casi nunca lo había hecho.

“During the World Cup, Spanish society united around the national team. Although it is true that there are certain sectors that -perfectly understandably- will never view the team as theirs, it isn’t any less true that Spain came together for the World Cup like it never had before.”

Este equipo, aparte de hacer un fútbol maravilloso, ha hecho suya a mucha de esa gente por razones que transcienden lo futbolístico. Son gente normal, de todas partes de España (la abundancia de jugadores del Barcelona y de Cataluña, y la presencia de vascos no es baladí) y cuyas personalidades sencillas, sinceras y poco histriónicas han cautivado a toda España.

“This team, aside from playing some wonderful soccer, has appealed to so many people for reasons that transcend the sport. They’re normal people, from all over Spain (the abundance of players from Barcelona and Catalonia, and the presence of Basques shouldn’t be overlooked) whose simple, sincere and not overly dramatic personalities have captivated all of Spain.”

This is the beauty of, if you’ll excuse me, fútbol. It is much more than a sport, as Markus Spier noted in an earlier entry. The simple sport has a unmitigable power unite people, stop wars, and bring joy to people around the world.

I remember going to a local cinema, during the World Cup, that had been showing the games, to watch the United States play Algeria. Most Americans notoriously care very little for fútbol, so I wasn’t expecting much. When I got there, the theater was packed, and the energy was contagious. When Landon Donovan scored the winning goal in stoppage time, the theater erupted.

Donovan’s goal.

Everyone was jumping up and down; hugging each other, and the guy next to me locked me in a compatriotic embrace with such vigor that he knocked over his pint. It was the first time in my life I had been able to feel passionate about the American team, and it was truly a singular feeling.

The country’s reaction.

Watching the video still gives me goosebumps.

If a country that, for the most part, doesn’t care much for fútbol, could be so impassioned by getting into the quarter-finals, it is easy to see how a country that lives and breathes the sport could be united, despite their divisions, by taking home the trophy.

Mesut ist Deutscher

Since the highly controversial publication of Sarrazin’s book “Deutschland schafft sich ab,” Germany finds itself in the midst of a lively debate about integration.

One group of people that has been especially in the spotlight are the Muslims. Just a few weeks ago, when Germany played Turkey in a European Cup qualifying game, the debate reached soccer fans, because both teams had players of German-Turkish origin in their lines.

Mesut Özil (center) during the German national anthem. On the left is Serdar Tasci, who also is of Turkish descent.

Many Germans with Turkish roots also have a Turkish passport and thus can decide what country they want to play for. When Mesut Özil – who is at the verge of becoming a world-class player for Real Madrid – decided that he wanted to play for Germany instead of Turkey, many Turkish soccer fans were in total disbelief. Fortunately, he was mainly treated with a lot of respect for what he has achieved in such an early point of his career, and even Turks are proud of “their Mesut.”

Since then, Mesut Özil has become one of the prime examples for integration. He is portrayed as the friendly young man from a working class background who has truly embraced his German nationality. (And most importantly plays well for the German national team, one might think.)

For 22-year-old Muslima Kübra Yücel, this couldn’t be further from the truth. On her blog Ein Fremdwörterbuch, which was intended to be a blog about her life but now focuses on questions concerning her religious background, she claims that the current debate about integration is a farce.

Ich will nicht wissen, wann und unter welchen Umständen ich als Mensch mit nichtdeutscher Abstammung und nichtchristlicher Religion ein Du-bist-deutsch-Siegel bekommen könnte. Das sind Scheindebatten. Die Realität sieht so aus: Mesut Özil kann – wie übrigens viele seiner biodeutschen Kollegen auch – keinen grammatikalisch korrekten deutschen Satz hervorbringen, ich hingegen schon. Trotzdem gilt er als integriert und deutsch, ich aber nicht.[…] Großartig. Ich habe also einen deutschen Pass, engagiere mich hier, spreche die Sprache und gehe wählen. Aber das reicht anscheinend nicht. Leider kann ich kein Fußball.

[I don’t want to know when and under which circumstances I – a person of non-German origin and non-Christian religion – could get the you-are-German-predicate. These are make-believe debates. Reality is different. Mesut Özil cannot utter a grammatically correct sentence like many of his biologically German peers, whereas I can. Nonetheless, he is considered to be integrated and German and I am not. […] Great. I have a German passport, I am involved socially, speak the language and I vote. But that doesn’t seem to be enough. Unfortunately, I don’t play soccer.]

Kübra Yücel

This incident shows that the current debates about integration are merely touching the surface of the problem. (If you browse through her blog or the blog Just another Hidjabi by her friend Yasmina Abd el Khader, you will find many more.)For Kübra, the debate about integration is ridiculous due to the results and misjudgements about what it means to be integrated when it comes to celebrities (or someone with celebrity status).

She sees nationality as an empty term. She doesn’t say she is German, nor that she is Turkish. On the contrary, she feels that these terms only limit her in what she is and as what she is seen as. She wants to be seen for what she really is: her qualities, ideas, and her character. Maybe Kübra is right and thinking in terms of nationality is outdated. Europe is coming closer together and the EU has been an important step in this development. Furthermore, the western world shares both ideologies and values, and people travel freely between countries. The next logical step would be to include the remaining parts of the world, including the Islamic world. Both blogs give insight into the views of two young Muslimas and utter a call for an open-minded approach to people of foreign cultures in general. As Yasmina puts it: “Wir wollen keine Schubladen mehr.” (We don’t want to be pigeonholed any longer.)