Tag Archives: burlesque

Insiders – Sheila Wolf

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This month’s interviewee ranks among Berlin’s foremost burlesque Drag-Queens. When entertainment time is up, she turns into Wolfgang and runs an ad agency. We present: Sheila Wolf!

First things first – how did you become a Drag Queen?

I guess I’ve always had a knack for dressing up. I started as rockabilly as a teen, before I met this drag couple. I was really fascinated about the way they were living. Years later, I started dressing up too and posted pictures on blogs before there was even MySpace. At some point I really wanted to go public. And I did. The adrenalin rush was intense, it almost felt like I was riding a wave. It turned into a hobby. 

Why the name “Sheila Wolf”?

Well.. I felt a little shy at first, so I called myself “Shei”. Of course that turned out to be nonsense. I’m not shy at all! I changed it to “Sheila”. “Wolf” is part of my real name. Wolfgang.

You’re a prominent Drag Queen, run an ad agency and have a family – how do you manage?

It’s all about time-management really. Sometimes important things fall by wayside – the agency, the shows and sometimes even family. It’s not always easy to handle all things well. When it comes to money, the agency comes first. That way I’m independent from the money I make with the shows. It stays more enjoyable that way.

How did your wife react when you revealed you wanted to dress up as a woman?

She was worried – is he turning gay? Does he want to be operated? Or is he just going crazy? Honestly, I think people are either born hetero or gay. They don’t turn gay by some magic force. After that was settled, she was a little concerned I’d fall for one of the young girls in the narrow changing rooms. But the way my dress pinches off my penis… nothing even could happen. *laughs* On the stage I tease men and women a like, but it never goes beyond teasing.

I thought most drag queens were gay. Are there many hetero drags? 

There’s definitely a lot of hetero guys in mommy’s clothes who post it online. They like to dress up in private, but I don’t think anyone does it the way I do in public. It works because for me it’s nothing sexual. It’s a show, a provocation – it’s burlesque!

What do you love about being a drag?

A younger me would have said: I love being able to take a vacation from myself. My personality changes when I get styled. Sorrows and worries just disappear with the dress. Now I’m managing 3-5 performances a week, so it also gets stressful. What still drives me is the chance to connect with amazing people and make new friends along the way. 

Do people sometimes feel offended by your look?

I found this see-through look 3 years ago. It looked like I was nude below. A woman’s body. Of course it’s all an illusion. But sometimes, real tough hetero guys can’t tell in the dark. They approach, expecting to find a curvy lady. What they get is a little different. I think I already caused some heart-attacks. Some get confused by the deep voice and run away, others get aggressive. Then it’s time for me to tell them to calm down and soothe the waves. But the thing is… I really like to provoke.

You were born in Berlin. How did the city change in the past 10-15 years?

I love Berlin. I’m in a happy and deep relationship with this city, it’s literally the only place I’d want to live. But it’s easy flair from the 80s is long gone, what’s really pissing me off today is gentrification. Small shops and venues have to close for malls and large chains of stores. Parts of the creative scene are breaking away because they can’t afford the rents anymore. It’s sad to see, but no one leaves anyway. 

Berlin in 3 words?

Creative. Colourful. Sleepless.

What’s your favourite place to go?

My new favourite restaurant is Funky Fish on Alte Kantstrasse. Amazing selection of fish dishes and absolutely delicious! A must-visit if you’re in Berlin is our city’s little Moulin Rouge: Wintergarten.

Ok, we know where we’re going to dinner tomorrow! Thanks for the interview, Sheila.

If you want to see Sheila Wolf perform live, swing by at her new revue show at Wintergarten on October 15th. Sheila invited the crème de la crème of the international cabaret and burlesque scene, rounded up by a portion of boylesque and drag. Learn more here

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The Scene meets Kleine Nachtrevue

Love is in the air. But not here. Here, it’s raw attraction. Arousal. Temptation. The first round of drinks has been served, the light is dimmed low. Is it just us or did it get hot in here? Two beautiful burlesque dancers appear on stage. It isn’t long until they start slipping out of their sparkling red dresses. The energy level rises. A woman sitting next to us in the dark whispers “God, even I would take these beauties home”. 

In Berlin wet dreams are never far, but finding something sophisticated can be challenging. Luckily, Kleine Nachtrevue isn’t a strip club but an intimate burlesque venue tickling your erotic fantasies. It’s a haven for erotic theatre, nude ballett and all things kinky. It makes you smirk, cheer, admire and of course – aroused. The easy play with nudity makes you want more at one second and lets all sexual appeal disappear in the next. Suddenly, you see it clearly: it’s just naked bodies dancing. Only a moment later, the show shifts back to its seductive play and temptation returns with a bang. Wonderful!

The show has its edges (super weird scene including a baby costume) but they just make it more likeable. It’s raw, authentic, honest and doesn’t crave for perfection. It’s Berlin in a nutshell, with all the hedonism, twists, turns and kinkiness. When the curtains fall and the star of the show enters the stage, you realise maybe you were wrong. Love IS in the air. 

Opened Wednesday to Saturday, shows start 9pm. Swing by and be amazed!

Insiders – Sarah Bowden

Sarah Bowden is an Australia-born actress, dancer and singer. She’s a real globetrotter but lost her heart to our beloved Berlin 7 years ago and we’ve been happy to have her ever since. Here she talks Berlin, the future of the entertainment scene and why Schöneberg is the place for her.

Q: Hey Sarah. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

A: I’ve been on the stage for the past 20 years performing in musicals and carbaret. You might ha-ve seen me on shows like Der Schuh das Manitu, Tanz der Vampire or We Will Rock You. Last summer I played in “Heller Wahnsinn” in the Varieté Wintergarten, now I’m hosting my own show there. I really like the Berlin carbaret scene!

Q: How did you end up performing anyway?

A: I had my first dancing lessons when I was 3 and it kind of just took off from there. My two brothers over in Australia also perform in musicals, but I don’t think it’s in our blood. My mother is a tax consultant and my dad is a construction worker…

Q: When and why did you come to Berlin?

A: I had this job here. We toured Germany and the first place I ended up in was Düsseldorf. It was horrible. I was about to pack my things and get back on the plane, but luckily we were scheduled to play in Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt soon. Those were a little better but still not really that inte-resting… it was only when I got to Berlin that I changed my mind. Berlin was different. I had the weird feeling of belonging here. I mean I was in London, Tokyo, Spain, Canada, New York but no place ever felt like home. Berlin did.

Q: Is there a special reason you’re living in Schöneberg?

A: After watching “Carbaret” with Liza Minnelli I just couldn’t help dreaming of moving to Schöne-berg one day. I’ve always related to the movie’s main character Sally Bowles, who lived in the area.. I’ve even been blessed enough to play Sally Bowles in a musical, so moving here and playing Sally really was a dream come true.

Q: How do you feel about performing in Berlin of all the places?

A: Everyone has this one dream. Some hope to jump out of a plane one day, others want to buy a Porsche, for me it was playing Sally in this city.

Q: How did the enterainment scene change over the last years?

A: It’s not only the entertainment scene, it’s the whole city that’s changed. The range of shows and possibilities the city offers has gotten much wider, so the people are for more open to new ideas. I feel the city itself is growing more commercial by the day. Just look at Ku’Damm today and 7 years back. You wouldn’t recognize it. The entertainment scene is trying to maintain the Berlin hype. The art of Berlin. They’re opening up to new concepts, for example when we did “Heller Wahnsinn” at Wintergarten. It was a mix of Burlesque, Carbaret and Musical.. they’re starting to melt into one performance.

Q: So you’re saying the future will bring some wild mix ups of different performance styles?

A: Exactly! Decades ago each discipline worked for itself. What we get to see now is a mix of Car-baret, live music, Aerial Arts, Hip Hop Dance, Musical,… there’s lots of differente influences. I can’t tell you where we’ll be in 10 years, but my guess is this trend will continue. That’s what makes it cool, the mixture.

Q: What are you up to in the next time?

A: I’ll probably be pretty busy with my new show Sally&Fred, which premieres on the 30th of March in Wintergarten. I’ll be performing alongside with Helmut Baumann. He’s a real god in the theatre scene and has brought countless international success stories to Berlin and adapted them for the German audience. He’s 76 and still rocking the stage!

Q: Where are you headed for a night out?

A: The Soho House has become the place to be I think. And in Schöneberg I’m still hanging out in the same bar that was my first very bar in Berlin: Victoria Bar on Potsdamer Straße. Some things never change, I guess…

Red Carpet … Henrik’s world

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In pursuit of the highest ideal of red carpet partying, our fearless leader Henrik will go to extreme lengths to make sure he knows the hip and happening of Berlin.

  • Berlin is always hot-to-trot but this was one, very naughty evening, even for us! First stop was Playboy night at The Pearl. There was no sign of Hugh Hefner is his dressing gown but there was copious amounts of flesh on display as Playboy Bunnies strode around, as well as burlesque performances. Next, we went to Insomnia, the infamous fetish and sex club at Templehof. Dominique, the owner of the club and Germany’s foremost dominatrix, had invited us to her birthday party! How could we possibly refuse a dominia without getting a severe spanking? We stripped down to the bare minimal and danced the night away, as people all around us were getting down and dirty. Yes, that means exactly what you think it means!

 

  • Berlinale always means parties, premiers and star spotting! Eventually, all the red carpets blur into one dazzling red rug, the size of Berlin! Soho House was the epicenter of everything, as usual. The Oscar nominated ‘American Hustle After Party’ took place in the Soho House basement with stars Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, and Topmodel Toni Garrn in attendance. Soho House also made the most of their fabulous new loft spaces for the party after the premier of Monuments Men, as A-listers George Clooney, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Matt Damon attended. Rumour has it that George Clooney was seen trying to get into the Olympic Fruits party but we can neither confirm or deny this.
  • Kreuzberg gets trendier and trendier, by the day. The once trashy area is now turning into the place to go five-star bar hopping. Offering some high camp glam is the PrinzipalBerlinagenten went to the opening party. Like the best bars in Berlin, there is no sign. However once you enter into the long, thin bar, it’s like stepping back into the roaring twenties.  There are two floors, upstairs is a fabulous bar, with a burlesque acts including a girl on a cloud swing high above the patrons heads as the uber cool bar staff, the girls in corsets, the boys in suits made old school cocktails. We loved the make-up table downstairs, so if you’re looking a little rough you canready to take on the night once again.
  • It was the opening that the entire city wanted to get invited to – 25 hours launching their fabulous new hotel – 25 hours Bikini Berlin! They didn’t disappoint with a two-day non-stop party with over 3000 invited guests coming to check out the new hotel. The whole building was made into a party space as the media, hotel and hospitality industry, local celebs and hardcore party people invaded every floor. Every available space was turned into a bar, dance-floor or food station, including an oyster bar, a falafel station, a dessert bar, as well as the 25 Hours signature Neni restaurant, turning out delicious food.There were DJ’s rocking dance floor in the sky sauna, drinks in the corridors and in the bedrooms, where we were encouraged to test out the beds! Most of the action took place in the Monkey Bar, which has in just weeks, cemented itself as the bar to be seen at in Berlin. With performers roaming around the hotel, fire jugglers and fire works, dancing until sunset, the 25 hours Bikini Berlin have set the bar pretty high for the party of the year. For more photos click here