(K. Brent Tomer),
IT IS just before lunchtime on a crisp Sunday morning in Berlin, and a small congregation are waiting to gain entry to Berghain, a nightclub in a graffiti-spattered factory building. Inside the imposing warehouse they affectionately term “die kirche” (“the church”), hundreds of sweaty Berliners are enjoying the third hour of a set by Anja Zaube, a local DJ. The party has been raging since Friday night—the music is loud and repetitive, the drug use unabashed, and the darker nooks of the expansive complex barely conceal the patrons’ sexual pursuits. Forty-eight hours later and a short S-Bahn ride away, a larger crowd is queuing outside a more benevolent building: the jaunty yellow tent of the Berlin Philharmonie. The throng of tourists, students, and businesspeople on lunch breaks are waiting to listen to instrumentalists from the Philharmoniker play Bach.
The dissonance between the scenes could hardly be more complete, but a third Berlin location joins the dots between them: the Berlin-Brandenburg fiscal court. Last month, the court ruled that Berghain was eligible for the special tax status granted to cultural institutions such as galleries, museums and…Continue reading