Cold War Chic

Remember the Cold War? There was a space race and lots of rockets and other technology stuff, and alzheimery Reagan and unfortunately birthmarked Gorbechev were frenemies, and everyone was a uber paranoid double crossing secret agent, and there was that Land Of Confusion song by Phil Collins (who I dislike intensely, but the puppets were kind of cool). All in all, I have always felt the Cold War rates a solid BORING on Erin's Entertaining War Scale, with the Civil War topping the scale as SLIGHTLY LESS BORING.

And then I saw these pictures of the now demolished Palast der Republik in Berlin, where cold warriors hid behind their angry wall and secretly plotted death to America, or something like that. All that plotting makes me nervous, but the Palast makes me feel vaguely traitorous -- like switching sides. Or maybe just like becoming a secret spy and committing a little espionage.

Because those bastards were plotting in style.

Built in the mid 70s, the Palast didn't just house a bureaucratic freedom hating government, it "contained 13 restaurants, lounges, and beer and wine bars, a bowling alley and even a discotheque."

Huh. You know what I love even more than freedom? Beer. Wine. Bars. And gorgeous lighting.

Those fancy bureaucrats even got to see concerts by awesome acts like Harry Belafonte and Carlos Santana for free. Yep, they were treated to the very best of America. The cream of the crop.

But it wasn't all fun and games at the Palast. There was a lot of work to do, what with all the cold and the war going on.

Ok, yeah, mostly it was all fun and games.

Sadly this little gem of a time capsule was demolished due to an overabundance of asbestos. Oops! Payback is a bitch. Just kidding, because my grandma died of cancer from asbestos and that really sucked. I hope those freedom haters didn't get all cancery. I am magnanimous like that.

And also I hate to think of this beautiful building as a disease infested death trap. And just maybe I would like to buy those lights off Ebay (I swear I've seen them), and I would prefer that they not be smeared with cold war cancer dust.

Call me paranoid.

Gorgeous photos by Thorsten Klapsch are available in book form for purchase here.

GoGo Soho

Did I really get home from Hawaii only nine measly days ago? Because I could swear that I am already in desperate need of a getaway... apparently, funerals and sick babies aren't that relaxing. Who knew? Sadly, the vacation days are all tapped out and our bank account is circling the drain, so I'm not going anywhere -- unless you count sitting on our patio in sweltering 100 degree heat "going somewhere." Which I most certainly do not. But enough about that sob story. Let's talk about Berlin. No, not the band (though they really take my breath away). Berlin, the city.

Doesn't Berlin just seem like it would be the mostest? All kick ass German philosophy, with a little fringy Euro flair to soften the hard edges. Because there's no need to be brutally serious all the time -- even Nietzsche needed a little break from the angst (that syphilis didn't come from nowhere, right?). Obviously a stay at the at the Soho House in Berlin would bring some sweet relief. Not that they have syphilis there, or anything.

No sir, all the Soho Houses are high class, high dollar establishments, available to an exclusive members only cadre of rarefied beings. All except for the newly opened Soho House Berlin, where 40 rooms are available to us regular folk, and for my mental vacay I plan to check in and sit for a spell.

Sit at the poolside bar, I mean. Well, I shall sit until I've drunk my fill and then I shall swim.

And then I will lie and lounge on the rooftop terrace, where I will pretend to contemplate the mysteries of life, but really I may just read an In Style or some other pedestrian crap because I'm deep like that.

Oh, and then I'm gonna get my nails did.

With my polished tips in tow, I plan to indulge in a giant meal, which best include some goulash and knodels. Anything else may put me in an existential tizzy, wherein I might be forced to jump off the terrace...

Or I will probably just watch a movie. I like movies.

Then I'm going to get my drink on at this jazzy establishment. I hope the pianist knows how to play some Eazy E.

Tuckered out by my long day, I shall retire to my Deco/Nouveau boudoir, ostensibly to meditate myself into a restful, dreamless sleep.

But more likely I will lie awake all night, wondering how I could fit that giant spider lamp chandelier into my purse. And who is in charge of upholstery at this joint? Holy expensive fortune -- it must have cost a ton of knodels. Did I already mention how deep I am?

About as deep as a puddle.