Nov 25, 2018
The Revolution Of 1918/1919 In Berlin: A New Exhibition Incorporates Entertainment Culture
Kevin Clarke, Operetta Research Center, 25 November, 2018
There are many events and exhibitions, TV documentaries and newspaper articles in circulations right now in Germany, commemorating the end of World War 1 and the following revolution in November 1918 that lasted till March 1919. At its end, the old social system of Kaiser and Wilhelmine empire was swept away, and Germany became a republic; for the first time ever. So, at first glance, it is not too surprising that Berlin's Museum for Photography presents a show entitled Berlin in der Revolution 1918/1919. But it's the subtitle that should catch you attention: "Photography, Film & Entertainment Culture." What that means becomes clear as you enter the grand exhibition room. The first thing you see there is a poster for the "Ballet Charell" from 1918, placed next to a photo by Willy Römer from January 1919 which shows three men with munitions fighting at Brandenburg Gate - onto which is plastered exactly this poster as advertisement.
Seeing scenes from this movie in the exhibition, seeing sheet music for popular songs that lament the lack of affordable apartments in Berlin (because so many soldiers returned and so many houses were destroyed by fighting), and reading the lyrics for Friedrich Hollaender's "Fox Macabre" illustrates just how closely linked popular culture was (and still is) to central happenings in society and politics - long before the advent of people like Randy Rainbow.
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