Berlin’s nightlife, this city is wild!
Berlin is beyond hot!
by Cindy-Lou Dale
What I love about Berlin is its unique and irrepressible ambience which exudes from each building and every citizen; one of acceptance and freedom, tolerance even; embracing all things decadent. There is an air of unretentiousness amongst Berliners who are open-minded and non-judgemental. As such the city is a magnet for non-conformists and creative minds drawn by the bizarre nightlife.
Europeans have a healthy outlook on one of life’s remaining pleasures – Berliners especially so; and flirting with a little irregularity myself I succumbed to the promise of bearing witness to the city’s uninhibited erotica scene.
To gain access to the KitKat Club, of Lisa Minnelli and Cabaret fame, patrons need to theme dress, and that evening’s focus was the twenties – the 1920’s – and the more outlandish the dress, the better.
I’m not certain exactly what I expected when I met Nada Njiente, one of KitKat Club’s erotic dancers, but petite, genial and butt-naked was definitely not it. I endeavoured to avert my gaze from the tiny buds suggesting a bosom and instead fixed my eyes on her lavishly rouged and over-powdered face (and quietly wondered if a coffin scene was part of tonight’s show). We wandered into the nightclub’s red-backlit bar area where we could at least hear one another shout, if we sat real close.
Feeling rather prim and somewhat overly dressed, I ordered a Mineral Water. We exchanged smiles and agreed how good it was to finally meet. Then I began coaxing details from her about how her erotic dancing career got started.
“Throughout my adult life I managed to get myself entangled in relationships that would end in tears. I didn’t want the emotional baggage that came with these liaisons but hankered only after the physical aspects.” She paused for reflection.
“Thirteen years ago I attended an S & M event which I would personally liken to a born-again experience. A Domina on stage invited all those wanting to ‘come out’ to join her. In an instant I knew that this was me. I was overcome with the need for myself and everyone around me to know me for exactly what I was. I subsequently found out that it was the owner of the KitKat Club who helped me on stage. And thus I started my career in eroticism – and I’ve never looked back.”
Nada also stars in a couple of x-rated movies, participates in live sex shows and performs tantra massages.
“I have an insatiable appetite for physical intimacy and need to express these desires as often as I can.” She considered this statement for a moment then added.
“I provide service to a society which places unrelenting pressure on us all to achieve. Some of us succeed, others not, and as such there are a lot of screwed up people out there, people with problems and no one to talk to, nobody who understand where they’re coming from and why they need to do what they do. Often they themselves don’t understand why they need it, just that they do, and if they don’t get it they will quietly go insane.” She lit another cigarette and placed it in a cigarette holder.
“And should this be the vehicle they need in order to express themselves, to be themselves, or just to be in the company of others seeking fulfilment, then so be it.”
Nada tossed her glossy mane to one side and sucked back on her cigarette. The light fell across her gentle face, instantly making her look every day of her 48 years.
“I have an 18-year old daughter,” she proudly announced. “We have a very open relationship.”
“How does she view your profession?” I asked with difficulty.
“She knows what I do for a living and so do her friends. In fact, my daughter’s friends seek my advice and confide in me about personal aspects of their relationships.”
Nada’s boyfriend and onstage partner joined us. Thankfully he was wearing trousers. A top hat, starched cuffs and collar and a bow tie finished the look. He appeared about the same age as my own son who was sitting at home swatting for his final exams.
He swabbed her throat with his tongue then whispered sweet nothings in her ear. Clearly they adored one another. Nada excused herself saying she had to prepare for her performance.
The nightclub was an extraordinary place, musty and dark, unusual art, a swing – I felt my way through the gloom, seeking a good vantage point of the stage. Something nicked the edge of my gaze and made me turn. Sitting on a black leather sofa to my left was a rotund man clad head to toe in a black rubber Batman costume, complete with goggles. He was in the process of indulging a somewhat aroused body part which protruded from a Velcro y-flap. Maybe it was the threesome on the opposite sofa that was doing it for him, or perhaps the middle-aged lady on the dance floor wearing a PVC mini skirt and a cupless corset.
Nobody seemed too bothered by what others were doing, so neither was I. In fact, I felt it unusually refreshing to see so few inhibitions.
I needed another designer-water and headed for the bar. An attractive man, clad in rubber ladies clothing, fishnet stockings and high heeled shoes provocatively draped himself over the bar stool in a come hither manner. His beard looked a little out of place, but none the less, he smiled gaily. “I just love your dress sweety,” he purred. “It just sooo emphasizes your hour-glass figure.”
Cheered by his comment, I wandered back to where I’d placed my camera bag. I sat beside a couple who had evidently tired themselves out with their new battery operated toys and were now in a light, if somewhat delirious slumber; but were instantly revived when a spotlight beamed down on Nada who was dramatically descending a flight of stairs onto the stage.
She wore an ornate red and silver headdress and a floor length silver cape, which she grandiosely discarded within minutes, dancing nude in front of a slowly gathering crowd.
She acted out what was evidently an emotional portrayal of a historic siren’s sexual fantasy. At the conclusion of her performance the audience clapped and cheered politely but were evidently more intent on her next performance.
Nada stepped down from the stage and walked across to a giant tented bed beside the dance floor. The crowd drew closer and a camera-man, who was filming the event for a paying internet audience, knelt beside her.
She reclined seductively and took a sip of wine, some of which she spilt down her front and salaciously rubbed over her body. Soon her co-performer joined and began mopping up the bits she had missed. Soon she had him reclining, orally encouraging his arousal.
I quietly wondered how this young man could perform and remain stimulated under the gaze of such a large audience. Evidently he had also given this some thought as periodically needed to self-encourage his dwindling desires.
It must be said, there wasn’t much variety in their performance which included unprotected penetration and, as I had half expected, the event did not conclude in a happy ending. I’d like to think this joyous intimacy was reserved for their truly private moments.
The audience seemed hooked on this voyeurism and did not venture too far as there was talk of a repeat performance soon.
As Nada and her boyfriend disappeared into the shadows, their performance was replaced with hip grinding music which boomed across the dance floor. Batman had latched his mouth around one of the sagging bosoms belonging to the cupless corset who clearly found this immensely pleasing as she guided his hand to her nether regions.
The bearded mini-skirt invited me to dance, but after a few minutes I must confess I felt rather foolish; more accurately I felt like a fraud. I was intruding in an inner sanctum of inhibition free individuals who understood one another’s needs. I feigned another appointment and left for my next port of call.
Of all the things I am not very good at, living in the real world is perhaps the most outstanding. I am constantly filled with wonder at the number of things other people can do without any evident difficulty, but that is pretty much beyond me. I cannot tell you the number of times I have gone looking for the toilet in a restaurant, for instance, and ended up standing in an alley on the wrong side of a self-locking door. My particular specialty these days is my inability to read a street map. I keep walking around the same block then wonder how I managed to end up back at my original starting point; which is exactly where I found myself 20-minutes later.
A bow-legged man with a dickey knee and a gruff manner came sauntering around the corner. His dog was frantically trying to pee on every vertical surface and in consequence wasn’t so much walking as being dragged along on three legs.
Clutching my inadequate little map I approached him and asked if he could direct me to the underground. He looked at me darkly.
“Kannst du nicht das landkarte lessen? Dummkopf!” I presume it was an impolite statement as he peered at me in bemusement and then proceeded to direct me towards Eastern Europe. I watched him swagger off, dragging his dog along in search of some more uprights.
A cab pulled up beside me.
“Could you take me to Alt Tempelhof 17?” I pleaded.
The cab driver asked where I had been and I naively told him. He began to laugh lasciviously, which progressed to a lung shaking cough of a hardened smoker. His eyes looked back at me in the rear-view mirror; they were shiny and rat-like and from the back seat I could smell his primeval breath. It was then that I realised just how safe I had felt at the KitKat Club and how scary the real world was. I pondered this for a moment and came to the conclusion that the real freaks were all out here, not back where I had just been.
Insomnia, it’s beyond nightlife entertainment!
Insomnia, a members’ only club of self indulgence, was reportedly slightly more upmarket than the KitKat Club. Access was closely guarded by a giant of a man, with prickly blond hair, cropped into a military style. His voice was callous, like an angry Norse god.
“No cameras!” he demanded. “We have a private party tonight.”
I handed him my press card and a letter of introduction from the Tourism Board, which seemed to placate him as I was waved through.
A flight of stairs took me up to a large dance floor with a bar down one end. Off the dance floor were a number of smaller rooms containing larger-than-life dayglow painted images of one’s intimates on the walls and ceilings. Some of the patrons were engaged in foreplay on the dance floor whilst others had gone beyond that and taken their desires to one of the adjoining rooms, one of which was bondage.
A room I found particularly fascinating was one which contained a gynaecological chair on which a female patron was seated. Her pretty blonde-haired partner spread what appeared to be freshly whipped cream over her privates, then disappeared somewhere south with a strawberry between her teeth. She reappeared a moment later without the strawberry but with a face lathered in cream. The recipient seemed immensely pleased with her desert. I was rather impressed that nothing I now saw shocked me.
The other apparatus in the room was also intriguing; I could only but hazard a wild guess as their purpose. I ventured further and found a mezzanine level overlooking the dance floor; several enormous tented beds where spaced around the area for singles, couples or groups to partake in enjoying themselves or one another, an act which was already in play.
I asked statuesque owner, Dominique, what inspired her to open Insomnia.
“Sex is one of the most interesting aspects of my life. I study it, I talk about it, I do it and I teach it. When I was 18 my mother (also a domina) and I opened SM studios – a family enterprise which later changed to Insomnia TV Productions & Party Events, that’s when I started fetish, sex and dance parties. In 2006, my partner and I opened this club – Insomnia. This is a safe room, where the different influences of swingers, S&M, dance, music and fetish combine”.
I hung around the dance floor for a while, taking photos of the performers, but again felt conspicuously out of place. Quite clearly I was intruding on a secret playground for grown-ups, where erotic fantasies took place. I felt certain these folk could see through the rubber-clad façade I was professing.
I stepped out of the wild-west alternative club and wound down my evening of entertainment at Kleine Nachtrevue, a small cabaret club whose owner, Sylvia Schmid, was once a concert ballet dancer.
“About 15-years ago I danced semi-nude in a modern production. The experience was somewhat revitalizing, stimulating even. This was when I decided what I wanted to do with my future.”
Following what I had seen thus far I felt positively refreshed when I saw Sylvia’s first act. Her performance was less of erotic dance and more of cabaret showmanship – she just ends not wearing anything. However, I had only caught the first hour of her show and was lead to believe it gets a little more brazen. Her audience both, male and female, ranging in age from about 30, clearly enjoy her show. When I left there was only standing room available.
The world outside was bathed in that predawn light that seems to come from nowhere. I felt a stab of despair when no cabs were to be found and headed off in the direction of where I thought the underground station lay.
I walked past a couple of roughneck bars and found myself in an unfamiliar area – unfamiliar as in I had not walked by it that evening. Looking around with pursed lips and a thoughtful gaze, I tried to recall which direction the cab had taken. I continued and briefly inserted myself into the red-light district but soon retraced my steps when a she-man scowled at me in a somewhat threatening manner. Evidently she had seen a curb crawler propositioning me but failed to notice the one finger salute I gave him. Back past the rough neck bars I went, then I spotted the underground.
Coming from a long line of anti-sobriety activists – and my research now concluded – I hastened to a little bar across the way from my hotel. I uttered a small cry of pleasure when my G&T finally arrived.
An hour or so later I wandered across the road to my quarters by way of several shrubs and one uncompromising lamppost. I celebrated my safe arrival by making a full circuit in the revolving door so that I materialized into the open once again, before plunging back in and being tossed with startling suddenness into the hotel’s luxurious and towering lobby. The night staff were silently watching me.
“Oh, I say,” I announced to the pretty young receptionist. “I’m going to need a hand getting out of this rubber dress; don’t suppose you could…”
She smiled knowingly. “I’ll get the talcum powder and the shoe horn.”
At the outset, I immersed myself in Berlin’s approach to eroticism and started off at their Erotik Museum – a couple of floors dedicated to the hallowed act of fulfilling one’s desire. It contained objects d’art, Japanese scrolls, cartoons, paintings, tiny ornaments and bedroom accessories of times gone by – even a palm fronded garden of accessories I could quite easily have lost myself in for a day or two.
Beate Uhse Erotik Museum, Johannisthaler Strasse 4, 10623-Berlin
A couple of blocks away from the Erotik Museum I discovered Hautnah, an extravagant fetish boutique who create sophisticated combinations of lace and leather, latex and silk, rubber and satin, producing chic ball gowns and eveningwear accessorised with metal jewellery, as well as trendy clubwear, rubber suits, and adult toys.
The browsing clientele, sipping champagne and listening to a live classical pianist, were clearly well positioned in society judging by the number of Armani suits and Gucci handbags I saw. One flamboyant figure in a red pin-striped Valentino offered to model his rubber suit for me.
What really seems to work well is the ‘Marquis de Sade’ wine cellar in the basement where one can sample a few especially created wines like Domina, whilst selecting a DVD for later enjoyment.
Hautnah Boutique, Ulandstr 170, 10719-Berlin, hautnahberlin.de
KitKat Club, Bessemer Strasse 2-14, 12103-Berlin kitkatclub.de
Insomnia, Alt Tempelhof 17-18, 12099-Berlin, insomnia-berlin.de
Kleine Nachtrevue, Kurfurstenstrasse 116, 10787-Berlin, kleine-nachtrevue.de