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Arts and Culture: Kicking it German Style (with photos)

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Garden house. Photo by M. West-Davies.
Garden house. Photo by M. West-Davies.

Kicking it German Style

By Maeshelle West-Davies

Since my first visit to a garden house I knew I wanted one. My then-boyfriend said I was silly and didn’t understand. He said they were more trouble than they were worth because of all the rules. But they don’t have anything like that where I’m from and I wanted to experience this truly German concept first hand. I like how they used to spend the whole summer there. I like how life’s milestones are celebrated there. I like how generations hand the garden down to the next. I even like how crazy kitsch a lot of them are.

So now I have one at last. No one’s had it for 10 years so there’s a lot I need to do and I am very much in a learning curve, but I love my garden. And this weekend I went to my garden neighbor’s birthday party. It was so much fun! Granted, a lot of the evening is a blurr now, but there’s something freeing about celebrating in the garden. I couldn’t have been luckier with my garden neighbors either, although expanding the garden house is proving not to be as easy as they said it would be, because of red tape, another very German experience.

I tried to explain the garden concept to my family and looked it up online. That’s when I found out that they started here in Leipzig in the 1860’s as a place to teach children the basics of gardening. Through the years they have served different purposes in society.

Th!nk? Festival 2015 at Cospudner See. Photo provided by M. West-Davies.
Th!nk? Festival 2015 at Cospudner See. Photo provided by M. West-Davies.

The other truly German activity I did this weekend was to go to TH!NK? festival. Seriously 10 hours of high quality techno at Cossi, can’t get more German than that.

Lately I’d been put off techno. I just felt it was all the same and I had been to so many parties where the DJ’s couldn’t mix, and I’m really sick of all the build ups in the songs. I was so happy with the mixing and NO BUILD UPS at the festival. The energy was electric and everyone was having a great time. The crowd was a real cross section of people speaking one language. I think the slogan said it all, “Don’t think about it. DANCE!” And that’s exactly what we did and it felt good.

Thanks to good friends I was able to end the festival on the main stage. Wow! How amazing it would be to DJ there! You can feel the love from the dancefloor. There were people dancing as far as the eye could see. Such an amazing feeling…

I stayed for a little while and watched them dismantle the stage. It was like choreography with guys scaling scaffolding like monkeys. They even had little tractors to carry the speaker stacks. I was told just renting the main stage was 15,000 EUR. So of course it costs to go to the festival, but you get quality and that’s worth it.

This was the 8th TH!NK? festival. It was started by the guys at Distillery. With the gentrification of Südvorstadt the ‘Tille was in danger of losing their space, but for now it seems like it will stay open. The club has been the champion of dance music from its inception. Respect! I’ll definitely be at TH!NK? #9. Join me?

Th!nk? photo gallery – all photos by Maeshelle, oil and one random stranger

Maeshelle West-Davies gleans her varied life experiences to expose a personal perspective through a multitude of mediums. Sound, video, photography, dance, performance and public art are the tools she uses to convey her message. Her work is a response not only to a physical journey, but an emotional one, as with all of us who walk along or beside our individual paths.

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