FOF #1890 – 30 Years of Berlin
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For the past two decades, DJ Greg Haus has been working at Berlin Nightclub in Chicago as the Entertainment Department manager, bringing in some of the biggest names in gay underground entertainment, you know, pretty much all the judges on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Today, Greg Haus joins us to talk about all the celebrities that have torn it up at the club and the notorious drag queens who bombed at the venue.
I no longer live in Chicago, but I really miss Berlin. I now live in New York, and I haven’t been able to find anything comparable: a place that plays really great dance music and is welcoming to such a diverse crowd. It seems the places to dance in New York only play the typical Katy Perry/Gaga/Beyonce/Britney gay shit (I remember going to Bjork night at Berlin!) and the scenes can become homogenous because there is such a big pool of gays. Also because almost all bars in this city are open to 4 or 6 am, there is no for people to congregate at a certain place. Next time I return to Chicago (it’s been too long) I will definitely be at Berlin. I hope it never shuts down!
I feel like such a pedant for harping on this, but — FAUSTO! Your assessment of Dickens and Christmas Carol couldn’t have been more incorrect!
Dickens was MORTIFIED by the child labour problem in England, and about the plight of the poor (this was the age of debtor’s prisons and workhouses, when children were taken away from their families at the age of 8 or 9 and put to work for years, far from home, in factories, for almost no pay and very little food. Think of the opening scene of “Oliver!”). After a parliamentary report about child labour in 1843, Dickens planned to write a pamphlet outlining his concerns. He soon changed his mind, saying that he had decided to do something else. “I am not at liberty to explain [my plans] any further just now; but rest assured that when you know them, and see what I do, and where, and how, you will certainly feel that a Sledge Hammer has come down with twenty times the force… I could exert by following out my first idea.”
The result was “A Christmas Carol” — a *novella* (one of Dickens’ SHORTEST works, contrary to your assertion) that vilified the rich’s lack of concern for other people, and tried to bring the horrible conditions of the poor to light. Dude, Scrooge was the 1%, and Dickens saw all of the upper classes as elitists who did not care for the poor or for poor people’s children. In today’s world of developing-world child labour and massive income equality, his story is more relevant than ever.
The sad truth is that Christmas Carol has been utterly twisted from its original themes, by degrees, in the last 170 years. Here in Canada one large-chain store used to have an ad campaign urging people to “give like Santa and save like Scrooge”. I’d urge you to read the novella (it will take about as long as it takes to record a podcast! It’s VERY short!) and see for yourself.
When you confidently toss out “facts” on your show that are demonstrably false, it makes me feel less inclined to believe anything you say. You gotta be more careful, hunty!
Thanks for bringing up these points! You’re right about Christmas Carol being one of his “hits” that wasn’t too long, but the vast majority of his work certainly was.
IDEA #1: Charles Dickens got paid to make his stories longer than they needed to be.
Okay, so he wasn’t EXACTLY paid by the word, he was paid by the installment.
IDEA #2: Christmas Carol defined how we think about the holidays.
“The Man Who Invented Christmas” is a great book that talks about how Christmas Carol defined how we think about the Christmas holidays.
In my opinion, I think Christmas Carol certainly created a consumer culture for the holidays, and was used as a tool by merchants over the past 170 years for sure. And I also think that the commercialism of the holidays is a good thing. Ask any economist, they all pretty much agree that without the holidays, our society would be in a Dickensian poverty.
Thanks for the feedback!
sorry for being harsh on you guys about getting a dog. As a long-time listener I know you guys have talked about the possibility of getting a pet, yet I always got the impression that it would never happen. But then, on last week’s show you guys outta nowhere said you were gonna adopt a dog so you could name it after the Breaking Bad character so I was a little taken back.
Jessie is very sweet, although, with that mix of German Shepherd in him, you better train him well because German Shepherds have a reputation for being bad biters. They are also very loyal and protective, and if they get strongly attached to only one person, they might lash out at any another person who they think is a harm to their master. So it would be a good idea for both of you to share the training equally, so Jessie doesn’t get super attached to only Fausto and sees Marc as his enemy
When I was a kid in the 60s, I just loved Mr. Magoo’s interpretation of A Christmas Carol. 😉
I loved hearing that you got a dog! I saw his photo briefly on Facebook. What a sweetheart of a face!! For a long time I did not want to ever have another dog because I remember as a kid how much it hurt when the family dog died. I got over it and wouldn’t want my life without one. It can get expensive if/when there are health issues. I’d also suggest looking into a community training class. It is beyond fun working with a dog to teach it manners and good citizenship. 🙂
I should comment on the guest! How cool is it to have a history with a bar/club! It made me think about the places I’ve been to here in Seattle and what the history must be like. I loved listening to Greg talk about the people who came in and out of Berlin. I’ve never been to Chicago, but I could easily imagine what Berlin must be like! Glad it’s still around and that you all have such fond memories of it. Fun show and guest.
Great interview with Greg! Berlin is the best! I discovered it last summer and it’s become my go-to dance club. The running joke between my friends and I is that the only place I lose my shirt is on the box at Berlin.