A Cabaret Festival at DFF
from September 22 to November 3rd, 2023
Take a trip back in time at our festival, where we delve into the vibrant cultural landscape of 1920s Berlin. From classic cabaret programs reminiscent of that era to a ukulele swing trio performing songs by queer artists, a transformative drag performance, lindy hop evenings, and lip sync workshops, we invite you to explore the rich tapestry of Weimar Berlin’s “dance on the volcano” and its evolution into the 21st century.
Our festival focuses on a variety of themes, including intersectional feminism, queer bodies, migration, paying homage to influential artists, addressing (post)colonialism, and promoting anti-racism. All of these discussions take place in the intimate setting of our specially designed cabaret theater in our lobby. Here you can get up close and personal with the artists, really feel the performances, and be inspired by new perspectives.
We also have exciting plans for our Artist Gathering Workshop in a Safer Space, tailored for Jewish and racialized LGBT*QIA+ artists and filmmakers. In addition, we are offering a writing workshop that explores the diverse intersectional narratives of the “Golden Twenties” for BIPOC’s Jewish LGBT*QIA+ individuals and their allies.
September 22, 8:30 PM
Jo van Nelsen: Solang nicht die Hose am Kronleuchter hängt…! Schlager & Kabarett der 1920er Jahre
Piano: Bernd Schmidt
Join Jo van Nelsen for a look at Berlin’s cabarets and revue theaters and the backyards of the Weimar Republic.
The music of the 1920s captivated Jo van Nelsen in his youth and became a prominent feature of many of his musical cabaret programs. Today, Jo devotes himself exclusively to preserving and celebrating these delightful entertainment gems and the talented performers and composers associated with them, including such luminaries as Claire Waldoff, Willy Rosen, Friedrich Hollaender, Mischa Spoliansky, and many others. In his performances, Jo van Nelsen presents the most amusing, bizarre and absurd hits and chansons from the years 1919 to 1933, skillfully accompanied on the piano by the talented pianist Bernd Schmidt.
In addition to the well-known classics of the era, Jo van Nelsen will also introduce the audience to songs that have been painstakingly reconstructed from rare shellac records, many of which have rarely, if ever, been performed in recent times.
Jo van Nelsen will take the stage to perform his classic cabaret program entitled “As long as the pants are not hanging on the chandelier…! Hits & Cabaret of the 1920s”.
Van Nelsen is a multifaceted cultural figure with a rich and varied career. He began his journey as a chansonnier and has since amassed an impressive body of work, including 25 solo programs and 26 different recordings. In particular, his 1989 hit “Der Erdbeermund” earned him a place in the top ten charts. Outside of music, he has made significant contributions as an actor and host in theater and variety shows, including the renowned Tigerpalast in Frankfurt, Germany. His talents extend to radio and television where he has left an indelible mark. Jo’s achievements have earned him prestigious awards, including the Ralph-Benatzky-Chanson-Prize and the Thüringer Kleinkunstpreis. https://jovannelsen.de/
September 29, 8:30 PM
Queer Dàn Fantasy – Trinity Version
Event in English language
Performers: Po-fu Wu/吳柏甫，Sichi Li/李思驰，Tingchia Wu/吳挺嘉
Sound design: Sum-Sum Shen
Costume Design: Tin Wang/王锡盈
Queer Dàn Fantasy is an attempt to awaken Chinese queerness and expand the concept of queerness beyond Western experiences, expressions, and stories. It refers to Nán Dàn (男旦), the male-female cross-dressing performance in Chinese opera*. However, rather than reproducing the traditional form of Nán Dàn, which adheres strongly to heteronormative and patriarchal gender norms, Queer Dàn seeks to highlight the diverse, yet largely unknown, narratives and representations of contemporary queers of Chinese descent.
*The term “Chinese opera” is a European misnomer for this form of performance. The correct name should be Xì Qǔ / 戏曲. Unlike other forms of musical drama (in Europe, India or Japan), Chinese Xi Qu combines expressions of music, singing, acting, dance and acrobatics in locally distinctive forms.
October 6, 8:30 PM
Bad Mouse Orchestra: Drunk with Love – Songs by Queer Artists of the 1920s and 1930s
The Bad Mouse Orchestra revives the swing sound of the 1920s and 1930s with ukuleles and guitars. Sometimes casual and sassy in knickerbockers and flat caps, sometimes elegant in classic evening wear, they evoke the sound of small, hidden bars and saloons where the shimmy and the Charleston were danced late into the night. They play on instruments that are sometimes as old as the songs themselves.
The band’s repertoire includes jazz classics from the early 20th century and long-forgotten tunes – often dug out of a dusty flea market box in the attic. In their program “Drunk with Love,” they focus mainly on songs by queer artists from that era.
Long before the Stonewall riots and the gay liberation movement of the 1960s, there was a brief liberal period between the world wars, and LGBTQ culture and music flourished in major cities across America and Europe. However, this brief period of freedom came to an abrupt end in the mid-1930s on both continents, and many songs and artists were ostracized and banished from cultural memory. In this program, the Bad Mouse Orchestra presents a personal selection of these songs, which tell so much about hope, loss, glamour and love.
The trio consisting of Charlotte Pelgen (ukulele and vocals), Stefan Pößiger (ukulele) and Peter Jung (vocals) perfectly captures the sound and spirit of a bygone era and brings it to life for an entertaining evening. https://www.charlottepelgen.com/bad-mouse-orchestra
Oktober 13, 8:30 PM
Captain Swing – Pramila Chenchanna & Band
Once upon a time, in search of happiness, a fearless crew set sail on the high seas. In various ports around the world, they gathered joy, diversity and sounds that turned strangers into friends.
In October, Captain Swing brings this musical treasure to the DFF to carry people on the waves of swing for one night and make them forget all their worries. This is a treat for both dancers and jazz lovers!
Swinging rhythms, danceable vocal jazz and musical fireworks await you for an unforgettable evening.
Can’t wait to put on your dancing shoes? Get your ticket now!
October 13, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Artist Gathering – Queer & Bi_PoCj only with Shivā Amiri
In a relaxed setting, we come together as a community to discuss art. This is a space for exchange, improvisation, resistance, and healing. As artists and aspiring artists, we can share our artistic practices, talk about uncertainties, learn from each other, and support each other. All forms of art are welcome. Feel free to bring samples of your work if you’d like. After the workshop, there will be an opportunity to chill with snacks and drinks. Please RSVP to email@example.com with the subject line: Artist Gathering. The workshop is free of charge.
Participation limited to: Queer and racialized, Jewish (emerging) artists
– The Artist Gathering is free of charge –
October 20, 8:30 PM
Shivā Amiri, aka Queer Jelabee
followed by an artist talk
Shivā Amiri, also known as Queer Jelabee, is a trans of color curator, performer, choreographer, drag artist, and trainer. In their artistic practice, Amiri blends various mediums such as sound, dance, video, comedy, and storytelling to transform the stage into a hybrid space for challenging conventional thinking. Growing up in a non-European country exposed Amiri to the crossing of borders and societal change from an early age. As a self-taught artist, Amiri has contributed to various productions, exploring themes such as non-binary Afghan identities, loss, dis-euphoria, and becoming “unhinged” as a form of resistance. As a trainer, Amiri conducts workshops and provides intersectional support to arts and cultural institutions, addressing issues of racism, critical whiteness, gender and gender diversity, empowerment, mindfulness, and collective healing.
The artist talk will take place in the foyer on the 1st floor following the performance and is exclusively accessible to BI_PoC, Jewish individuals, and queer allies.
October 27, 8:30 PM
Joana Tischkau & Clara Reiner: Playing Black – Lip-Syncing as Subversive Practice – Workshop
In their collaborative work PLAYBLACK, Joana Tischkau and Clara Reiner explore the ambivalent potential of imitation as a tender gesture of homage, a declaration of solidarity, and a provocative strategy of caricature. Using costumes, masks, and carefully rehearsed techniques of drag, choreography, and lip-syncing, they boldly attempt to temporarily become someone else.
Pushing the boundaries of their assigned identities, they explore the fractures in the logic of representation, oscillating between caricatured minstrelsy and respectful impersonation.
In their workshop, Playing Black, the two artists present the foundations of their artistic and choreographic practice and invite participants to explore the subversive potential of lip-syncing together.
Prerequisites: A love of dance, movement and acting. No previous experience necessary.
Please bring comfortable clothes and shoes!
November 3, 8:30 PM
Micaela Leon: Tigers, Muses & Jasmines – A Revue of Nine Heroines of the Weimar Republic
“Tigers, Muses & Jasmines – A Revue of Nine Heroines of the Weimar Republic” brings back to life nine famous and infamous trendsetters of the 1920s. In this intimate and original show written by Leon, audiences will meet grotesque dancer Valeska Gert, writer and it-girl Ruth Landshoff, writer and politician Rosa Luxemburg, and folk singer Claire Waldoff, among others. These women, who left their mark on Berlin during a time of political and social upheaval between the two world wars, contributed significantly to the vibrant atmosphere of the metropolis.
Artist Micaela Leon brings a breath of fresh air to German musical cabaret – her charming and moving interpretations of Berlin cabaret songs enchant her audiences and make the Roaring Twenties resonate in a new light.
With much wit, elegance and spirit, singer and actress Micaela Leon takes the audience back to the time of dancing on the volcano while the Nazi storm was already brewing on the horizon. Many of the songs were labeled “degenerate music” by the Nazis, and almost all of the women and composers portrayed had to flee into exile or were murdered during the Third Reich.
November 3, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
In this writing workshop, we will explore various intersectional perspectives on the so-called Roaring Twenties and the gaps that remain then and now. This workshop is for BIPOC, Jewish, LGBT*QIA+ people and allies. We will work creatively and autobiographically. The workshop is about approaching writing together in an unconventional way. Together we will create a relaxed space where we can all explore writing with ease and creativity. To register, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Writing Workshop. The writing workshop is free of charge.
Time: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Location: DFF, Seminar Room/4th Floor
– The writing workshop is free of charge. –