Berlin Calling: A Story of Anarchy, Music, The Wall, and the Birth of the New Berlin

Berlin Calling: A Story of Anarchy, Music, The Wall, and the Birth of the New Berlin

by Paul Hockenos


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An exhilarating journey through the subcultures, occupied squats, and late-night scenes in the anarchic first few years of Berlin after the fall of the wall

Berlin Calling is a gripping account of the 1989 "peaceful revolution" in East Germany that upended communism and the tumultuous years of artistic ferment, political improvisation, and pirate utopias that followed. It’s the story of a newly undivided Berlin when protest and punk rock, bohemia and direct democracy, techno and free theater were the order of the day.

In a story stocked with fascinating characters from Berlin’s highly politicized undergrounds—including playwright Heiner Müller, cult figure Blixa Bargeld of the industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten, the internationally known French Wall artist Thierry Noir, the American multimedia artist Danielle de Picciotto (founder of Love Parade), and David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust incarnation—Hockenos argues that the DIY energy and raw urban vibe of the early 1990s shaped the new Berlin and still pulses through the city today.

Just as Mike Davis captured Los Angeles in his City of Quartz, Berlin Calling is a unique account of how Berlin became hip, and of why it continues to attract creative types from the world over.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620971956
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 05/23/2017
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Paul Hockenos is an American journalist and author who writes for The Nation, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Foreign Policy, the New York Times, and many other media outlets. He has held prize fellowships with the American Academy in Berlin, the European Journalism College, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of three books, including Joschka Fischer and the Making of the Berlin Republic, and lives in Berlin.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

Part I West Berlin

1 Learning to Love the Wall 11

2 Bowie's Berlin 39

3 Wall City Rock 66

4 Free Republic of Kreuzberg 95

Part II East Berlin

5 Flowers in the Red Zone 125

6 Glasnost from Below 167

Part III The New Berlin

7 The Miracle Year 201

8 One Nation, One State, One City 236

9 Peace, Joy, Pancakes 258

Conclusion: Berlin Now 280

Epilogue 306

Select Bibliography 311

Notes 315

Photo Credits 321

Index of Names 323

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