Berlin is for many kinksters one of the Mekkas of the fetish world. A raw city in which you have a lot of events, parties and venues to live your kinks and it seems to be one of the most sexual cities, a place you get whenever you want another guy or a good group into filthy action.
Events like Easter Berlin and Folsom Europe turn the city twice a year to the European capital of kink. But since October 2018 there is something a guy into SM like me is really missing if he visits Berlin: QUÄLGEIST … which is not only a community but much more an institution. One of the places you have been able to meet other SM guys in a safe environement to socialise but also to play. It is really time to present this special community which was running a great play space for many years but which has been closed by the goverment in 2018. The team of Quälgeist is working hard to comply with the stipulations the city goverment has set to reopen their club house before Easter Berlin 2020.
Today I’m talking with Felix, he is a member of Quälgeist for many years, doing the public relation work for more than 7 years and in October 2018 he has been elected to the board of the association.
Hi Felix. I know you’re very busy with consturction work at your club house at the moment. How are things going there? Will you be able to reopen your venue befor Easter Berlin?
We are currently very busy, doing all we can to re-open before Easter, although we don’t have a date set yet. There is still a lot to do, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Basic construction has been mostly done and we’re now working on details and the room decorations, as well as meeting the fire safety requirements.
That sounds really like you’re facing the finish line soon. I’m really happy for you and your team. But before we talk about your club house we should first give you the chance to present Quälgeist to our readers. I think most of the bdsm guys who have ever visited Berlin know about it but there are still many others who should really know what your association is offering.
Well, quälgeist has been around for quite a while now, founded in 1989 and recognized as an association in 1990 we would and hopefully will be celebrating our 30th anniversary this year. Back in the day the idea was simple and hasn’t changed in three decades: Offering bdsm enthusiasts and fetishists a safe place to get together, exchange experiences, learn and most importantly have the kind of fun they are into.
To ensure that, we’ve been maintaining own venues in various locations almost right from the beginning. Last from 2005 to 2017 at Mehringdamm 51 right at the heart of Kreuzberg.
Our venues offered a well equipped play space as well as a bar, where we held workshops and organized BDSM and fetish parties for all kinds of kinks and we can’t wait to reassume operations.
And yes the old but also the new venue have been great play spaces. I remember my last visit at your venue was during Folsom Europe 2018 and I enjoyed to meet, talk and to play with many friends from all over. But what happened afterwards? I don’t want to bore you and I know it is a question you have had to answer many times but can you give us a shortcut as answer?
Well as with everything there is a simple or more complicated answer. The simple answer would be we messed up, but as it is with things in life, its not always that simple and we most certainly weren’t the only ones facing problems with the authorities since other venues had to close their darkrooms as well. I guess a lot of venues in the scene here in Berlin flew under the radar of the authorities for many years. But after the fire at a gay sauna where several people lost their lives, a paradigm shift took place and the authorities took a focus on fire safety issues.
Although I have to admit that fire safety wasn’t a primary problem for us as it may have been for the venues in Schöneberg. We we’re struggling with city planning and zoning issues. Things that most certainly could have been avoided, but as always: afterwards one is always the wiser.
I can imagine that having the club house closed for 1.5 years and not being able to earn money with your own bar and entry fees but having to invest money in the renovation doesn’t make the financial situation easy for an association like yours. How do you handle that problem?
We had to cut costs as much as we could. Luckily our landlady made some concessions that allowed us to survive with membership fees and donations. But after 14 months of shutdown, our reserves have nearly been depleted, which is why we were in need of support from the community and started a call for donations.
We are eternally grateful for the support of the donators so far. People from all over the world have donated roughly 30.000€ to help with the construction work to oblige with the requirements of the Berlin authorities. Those requirements were very costly and we are still in dire need of help.
Tell us how people can help you and how they can see what you’re doing with the money?
I really hope that people will help you to reach your goal and I know the money would be inverted excellentely. Can you tell us what we can expect from the new venue you’re creating at the moment?
I wish I could say the kind of “BDSM Disneyland” we had planned would be finished, but meeting the requirements of the authorities in terms of fire safety, statics, ventilation and sanitation had cost a small fortune and so there isn’t money left for the other, more fancy, things, your readers would like to read about. And so a lot of stuff will be cosmetic at this stage. I know that this might be disappointing to read, but on the other hand Quälgeist will be open again.
When we opened the venue in 2018 we already had build quite a lot of what we had planned. But it was all just a skeleton construction. Now there won’t be as much of that anymore and the rooms will be decorated a bit more. We’ll also have more of the space accessible and ready for use.
The idea was to create more thematically specific areas, such as a prison wing, a Dojo for both shibari as well as sportive inspired activities (all of which ones imagination can conceive). Some things, that people might still remember from our old venue, will reappear as well. And of course our great hall will offer all kinds of furniture as well as the possibilities for suspension. For some events we’ll also open a dedicated ABDL space.
However since money is an issue, we won’t get everything we’d planned done. Unfortunately things like the wet play area, a potential clinic room and a padded cell will have to wait for a couple of months until we’re able to finish those as well. Fortunately the space is saved and some basic construction has already been done. Also our entrance will change from the entrance at the street to our own entrance at the side of the building.
Event wise we’re going to start with a basic event program at the beginning, but will resume with our regular schedule soon after, once again offering all kinds of bdsm and fetish parties as well as munches and workshops. I personally can’t wait to resume doing my the steeply demanded breath control workshop, because I think it is really important to know what one is doing, not only concerning this variety, but all kinds of varieties in terms of bdsm.
You mentioned Easter and Folsom and we can’t wait to welcome the crowd to those prime holidays once again. After hopefully welcoming kinkisters from all over the world at Easter, we’re going to use one of the next holidays, Pentecost to be precise, to welcome ABDL’s from all over the world again too. And there will be a few new events in our schedule, some of which were already planned, but couldn’t take place due to the shutdown, such as our own puppy party or a monthly bondage munch.
We are all waiting that Quälgeist becomes again THE place for bdsm lovers and other kinksters in Berlin. We are really looking forward to your re-opening and I hope that probably some of our readers are up to help you with the last few problems you have to be able to deliver us an exeptional play space in a safe environement.
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