Since this is a gift guide, right now we could be making all kinds of inappropriate jokes about stocking stuffers and trimming the tree, but we’re bigger than that. Way bigger. In any case, if you’re looking for a gift for your nearest and dearest (or casual acquaintances, or mortal enemies – we don’t know what your gift giving habits are), then we’ve rounded up a choice selection of Berlin-based goodies for the lucky music-, art-, literature-loving recipients on your naughty list this year.
And if you can’t find anything on our list that fits the bill, we also have some great places we can suggest for browsing. The holidays don’t have to be soul-sucking capitalist nonsense, support your local brands and creatives and focus on enjoying the overeating.
Holzinger/Sahihi 2023 Calendar
A perfect gift for the visual arts and dance enthusiasts in your life, Berlin-based photographer Ashkan Sahihi recently collaborated with choreographer and dancer Florentina Holzinger to make a calendar for 2023. Most recently known for her productions of A Divine Comedy and Ophelia’s Got Talent, both shown at the Volksbühne, Florentina’s bold, feminist approach to choreography has put her in Berlin’s spotlight as of late.
Ashkan’s photography captures some of some of the key moments from Florentina’s more recent productions, but perhaps more notably, the intimate behind-the-scenes moments of dancers before and after performing. The calendar year that he has created has 18 months instead of 12, leaving room for the imaginative in-betweenness, dreamscapes, and liminalities that fill our minds during a calendar year. The calendar is printed in a limited edition of 400, all numbered and signed by both artists, and is available for purchase on-site at the Volksbühne and Künstlerhaus Bethanien.
Soft Eis Magazine: Issue 2
Don’t be fooled by the label ‘magazine’, Soft Eis is one of Berlin’s newest boundary-bending publications that more closely resembles an entire book or a catalogue than an actual magazine. Driven by a mission to deconstruct, untangle, and queer one topic per issue, this publication is filled with a wide array of genres, visuals, and design elements. Their most recent release, issue two, tackles the topic of identity through plenty of personal essays, short fiction, poetry, ficto-crit, photography, and everything in between. But possibly the most striking feature of this publication is its unique take on design, which without a doubt sets this publication apart from others. Perfect for anyone who loves a good read, or just generally appreciates well-curated aesthetics, Soft Eis issue two can be ordered directly on their website or via DM on their Instagram.
Das Wasteland Berlin Vol. 1&2 Double LP
If you’re looking for a gift that will really capture the essence of Berlin, then Wasteland Records’ latest release, a double LP entitled Das Wasteland: Berlin Vol. 1&2, is just what you’ve been searching for. Tracing the cityspace through different musical interpretations of the neighborhoods in Berlin, this release is an ode to the city it was born out of. All 17 tracks bring their own raw interpretation of both the individual neighborhoods the tracks are about and the city as a whole, all the while featuring big local players, like Drab City, Hello Pity, Martin Klang, Stony Sugarskull and Otto von Bismark, as well as international artists like Tim Burgess, King Khan, and Saint Leonard. If you know someone who would appreciate a new-wave-cum-scuzz-rock audio tour of Berlin as much as we do, this is the LP for you. It can be purchased on Wasteland Records’ website.
Tresor: True Stories Archival Book
Following Tresor’s summer celebrations and exhibition Tresor 31, the famous club and record label have released their first ever archival book including over 400 photos, works from 20 photographers, and the publication of over 40 stories celebrating the rich history of the club and the music behind it. Tracing the arrival of techno in Berlin in the early 90s to Tresor’s role in the movement, this archival book tells an important story through photographs, flyers, documents, news clippings and oral histories. Tracing Tresor’s story from the beginning when Dimitri Hegemann, Achim Kohlberger, and Johnnie Stieler discovered the abandoned vaults of the Wertheim department store through the club’s relocation and present-day status as a clubbing staple of Berlin, Tresor: True Stories captures some of the rich history of both the city and the origins of techno. The book is available for purchase on Tresor’s website.
Elins Berlin Jewelry
Backed by a mission to make joyous jewelry, Elins Berlin is a great option for colorful, original, sustainably produced accessories. Sourcing organic, raw materials for each handmade piece, Elins produces simple pieces that you can feel good about buying. All of Elins’ products are also packaged and shipped in sustainably produced packaging and are available for purchase online.
Crazy Bastard Sauce Hot Sauces
Some like it hot, and Crazy Bastard Sauce certainly knows how to turn up the heat. From tangy to tear-inducing, these crazy bastards definitely know how to make a hot sauce. Perfect for all of the spice fiends in your life, these locally-produced chili sauces use the really hot stuff if you want it, but can also keep it chill if you’re in the market for some mild spice. Sold in single bottles or in gift sets, these hot sauces make great gifts for anyone who misses what real spicy tastes like since moving to Berlin. There’s even a limited edition hot sauce on sale these days, the winter warmer, which combines a variety of chilis with gooseberry and seasonal spices. All of their hot sauces are available for purchase in the Crazy Bastard Kitchen located at 168 Weserstr. or online.
Very Ugly Plates
One of Berlin’s staples, very ugly plates is a sassy, hilarious take on found art. The artist behind the plates prints witty one-liners on top of found, usually gaudy, sexy, or even terrifying second-hand plates or pieces of china. If you’re looking for a totally unique, totally hilarious, quirky gift, these very ugly plates are exactly what you’ve been looking for. You can either purchase them in-person at Adalbertstr 24 or online.
For Your Browsing Pleasure
If you still haven’t found the right gift, then we also have a few spots in mind where you can browse to your heart’s content! If you’re looking for a good English-language book, stop by Curious Fox bookshop located in Neukolln and Lausitzer Platz 17 for a whole selection of new and second-hand books. We especially love that there’s a whole shelf dedicated of Berlin-based authors and publications inside.
Located right around the corner on Flughafenstr 24 is Ironic Gallery, a fashion-forward vintage shop. If you want to browse an eclectic selection of second-hand designer pieces, clubbing accessories, and so-tacky-it’s-cool clothing, Ironic Gallery is a great place to start.
Finally, Berlin’s edgiest nail salon and shop, ISLA, located at Linienstr 144 is a great place to find striking clothing, accessories, and shoes, or to treat your friends or family to an impressive work of nail art. Recently pairing up with designer Namila to launch their new collection called Confession, and stocking other well-known designers like Rhi Dancey, Guovarde, Snake Divine, Paloma Lira, Sourtai and Silfen, you can be sure to find the sexiest, boldest designs on ISLA’s racks.