Oct 26, 2008

Fisting Club

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Once a year in october, there’s a so-called “Porn fair” in town. It’s called “Venus” and is in part a real business fair for people producing and trading in smut; in part it’s a show that draws the most desperate and derelict crowd imaginable. Quite independently from that, this year saw the third issue of another annual Berlin event from that corner of contemporary entertainment, the Porn film festival: www.pornfilmfestivalberlin.de.

The schedule of this festival can only be appreciated after familiarizing oneself with a list of abbreviations that categorize the films on show. Homo or Hetero? Explicit sex or none? Fetish or Documentary? The festival has a decidedly artsy approach to the subject – from studying this year’s schedule it’s safe to say that if you’re after some plain glossy porn-o-rama, you’re better off  hitting the video store at the corner. In any case, as festivals go, this one also had accompanying events like readings and performances. And this, finally, brings us to yesterday night’s proceedings.

We had pondered for quite a while if we really wanted to attend a performance that should, from what I had heard, evolve around the subjects of “fisting” and, er, “goldfish”. After downing considerable amounts of vodka, gin and a truly revolting Danish Schnapps named “Gammeldansk”, we called a cab that would take us to one of the shabbier parts of town around Kottbuser Tor, in local speak affectionally called “Kotti”. There, in a derelict former Turkish supermarket still carrying its original name “Tek-Mek”, the festival organizers had set up the porn party venue.

As was to be expected, it was a proper dump. Toilets were provided in the form of Dixie port-a-potties in the yard. The tiled supermarket walls were comprehensively smeared, and all furniture except a bar and two stages had been removed. In these surroundings we had barely enough time to fortify our senses with a couple more beers before, around 1 at night, the conferencier jumped on stage and, instead of a welcome speech, started to strip in tune to hectic electronic drum beats. He looked like a particularly nasty construction worker, hairy and tattooed, not much enhanced by his leather gay attire. He did not strip completely though. He only undressed below the waistline, thus bringing to everyone’s attention that his sex had been surgically altered.  Definitely an interesting thing to behold. He continued to host the rest of the night without pants.

Subsequently, it was time for the first performer – keyword: “goldfish”. A bizarrely made up girl entered the stage, dragging with her a towering aide sporting a monstrous fake beard. She too quickly stripped naked to the relentless beats of electronic music. What followed was… well… the putting of various objects into places they normally don’t belong. If you catch my drift. Among these objects, yes, were two pair of goldfish. They were not harmed – they seemed to be still in high spirits when, after the performance, the surgically altered presenter auctioned them off to the crowd. They fetched 20 Euros. Certainly a good story to tell to visitors admiring them in your living room bowl – “you wouldn’t BELIEVE what these fish have seen!”

Next up was the main act of the night: the “Fisting Club”. Rubber gloves and vaseline were dispersed liberally, and off went the show. Now I know I’m treading on thin ice here, but… it was actually quite enjoyable. Before you call me a down-and-out pervert, consider that: a) it was a lesbian act with the artists being in full control; b) the director of the performance was a quite well-known and established media artist from Taiwan. Lighting, music, costumes and backgound imagery were there, too.

And there was just no way not to revel in the absurdity of it all. There were those two French lesbians on stage, directed by a Taiwanese; the room was full of lesbian, gay, tattooed, pierced, bewildered and amused people – mostly actually women, I’d say. Next to us, a couple, while fascinatedly watching the stage, performed their own little show that involved the heaviest petting possible. Over here, a wildly pierced lesbian couple kissed; over there, the surgically altered construction worker, still without pants, grinned across the room from the bar. All this in a fucked-up Turkish supermarket in the shabbiest part of town at 3 in the morning.

Yep, Berlin certainly loves you.

The Author

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