Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Sunday night we were over at Tom and Veronica's place on Karl Marx Str. after eating a quick dinner with Paraic and Fernelly. We figured there's not much to do on Sunday night ... but in Berlin you're nearly always proven wrong from such thoughts.

Since they live right around the corner from Karmanoia and there were rumours going 'round that they were about to be shut down by the Polizei, we blazed a quick J and headed over there. There was a small crowd out front and we learned that the Polizei had indeed shown up the night before and this was it .. the final night for the club. They were holding a private party but the word on the street (hehe, literally) was that the doors would be open to the public at midnight. The time was 11:56!...perfect for a quick spatkauf run for roadbeers. We get back and we're waiting, chatting and laughing. Oh, and outside the doors was a pile of scrap wood, possibly the first pieces of the soon-to-be-dismantled labyrinth Karmanoia was so famous for. All of a sudden the doors burst open - one guy outside was hit by a wayward piece of lumber - and a steady stream of people filter out ... there's music, interspersed with the single file line are orchestra members dressed as skeletons, a dog ... CHAOS, essentially.

What followed was an eerie silent street procession winding up through Kreuzberg and to the canal. The band played a lonely, sad tribute while the M.C. for the funeral said a few words and launched Karmanoia's front door key into a watery grave. Then ... the party started, with fireworks, firedancing, people on fire ... kinda. The walk back was much more enjoyable; everyone's mood seemed to have righted itself back to positive. Sensing this, Tom and I took a moment to duck into another spatkauf for roadbeer replenishment.

We caught up again just in time for the finale. A spontaneous dance party took place in the middle of Hermannplatz, including a hobo-ish guy (inexplicably wearing nice white pants) took an extended flute solo. Afterwards they convinced everyone to lie down there in the square, staring up while the finished with some gritty, smokey jazz tunes.

The cherry on top came right as the last composition faded out: a Polizei Paddywagon pulled up and emptied out - I really can't believe they can fit that many popo in there. There was a moment of tension as the final saxophone note drifted off, and then everyone sat up and started applauding. The Polizei didn't quite no how to react, and actually froze and started smiling bashfully. And appropriately, the crowd disintegrated, moving on to the next project.

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