'Willkommen,' purred the statuesque, aggressively fit blonde hostess in a revealing wrap dress.


She ushered my friends and me through the door of a nondescript building along an unremarkable strip of Berlin's Tiergarten neighborhood and into a small, dark space known as Kleine Nachtrevue (kleine-nachtrevue.de). An oversized candelabra rested on the curved bar. Scantily, if tastefully, clad barmaids served an attractive, diverse mix of patrons -- professional men in jeans and pressed shirts at the bar, pairs of European tourists at nearby tables.

她引着我和我的朋友们走进一扇大门,这个建筑外观毫无特征,立在柏林动物园旁一条不起眼的小路上。进了门,我们来到一处黑暗逼仄的场地,这里是Kleine Nachtrevue (德文,意为"小夜歌剧团",网址:kleine-nachtrevue.de)。弧形的吧台之上摆放着一个特大的枝形烛台。穿着暴露但还算有品位的吧台女服务员对面坐着形形色色、颇为引人注目的光顾者──吧台前是几位身着牛仔裤和紧身短袖上衣的职场男士,临近的桌子上有几位欧洲游客。

Our greeter suddenly grabbed my wrist: 'Warte!' she ordered ('Hold on!') and strode off. The house lights, recessed in the gilded ceiling, dimmed further. On the tiny stage a crimson curtain opened to reveal an enormous. . .Slinky. Covered in blue satin, it writhed, arched, flipped to and fro, danced in time to the slightlysinistercircus music. Minutes later -- perhaps it was only one -- the costume opened to reveal our hostess, naked. She capped off the weirdness by doing what looked to be the funky chicken. The curtain dropped, followed by a second of silence, then hearty applause.


Berlin as the libertine city of the Weimar era lasted from after World War I until Hitler's rise to power in the early 1930s. The capital of the newest democracy, home to the most emancipated women anywhere, Berlin for the first time could legitimately claim to be one of the world's cultural centers. The city was obsessed with the arts, caught up in seances, striptease acts and transvestite balls. Though Germany was mired in political and financial problems, it was fertile ground for producing masterworks. Fritz Lang made 'Metropolis'; Thomas Mann wrote 'The Magic Mountain'; Otto Dix painted himself into art history; and Marlene Dietrich had her breakthrough role in 'Der blaue Engel.'

从第一次世界大战后到上世纪30年代初期希特勒上台之前的这段时间,柏林一直是德国魏玛(Weimar)时期的自由之城。作为最新民主政权的首都、自由女性的归所,那时的柏林第一次可以理直气壮地跻身世界文化中心之列。这座城市充满迷人的艺术气息,随处可见各种聚会、脱衣舞表演和易装舞会。尽管那时的德国被政治和金融问题困扰着,但仍是一片能孕育巨作的肥沃土壤。弗里茨•朗(Fritz Lang)拍出了电影《大都会》(Metropolis);托马斯•曼(Thomas Mann)写出了小说《魔山》(The Magic Mountain);奥托•迪克斯(Otto Dix)用手中的画笔把自己写入了艺术史;而演员玛琳•黛德丽(Marlene Dietrich)则在电影《蓝色天使》(Der blaue Engel)中突破了自己。

Today, with the city's post-Berlin Wall reconstruction nearly complete in physical and emotional terms, there are signs that the wild, wicked Berlin of the 1920s has returned.

如今,无论是现实中还是情感上,这座城市在推倒柏林 之后的重建工作都已经接近尾声,已经开始有迹象显示,上世纪20年代柏林的那股子狂野不羁又回来了。

The city's avant-garde art scene is flourishing; stars like Olafur Eliasson and Daniel Richter now call Berlin home. (Chinese artist Ai Weiwei accepted a post at the Berlin University of the Arts after his imprisonment last year.) World-class filmmaking has returned to the famed Studio Babelsberg; soundstages where Fritz Lang and Josef von Sternberg worked are now being used by notable subversives like the Wachowskis and Quentin Tarantino.

这个城市到处是先锋艺术景象,像奥拉维尔•埃利亚松(Olafur Eliasson)和丹尼尔•里克特(Daniel Richter)这样的明星艺术家如今将柏林称作自己的家。(中国艺术家艾未未去年被监禁后接受了柏林艺术大学的客座教授邀请。)世界顶尖的电影制作公司回到了有名的柏林电影制作基地Studio Babelsberg。弗里茨•朗和约瑟夫•冯•斯登堡(Josef von Sternberg)等人用过的摄影棚如今正在被像沃卓斯基兄弟(Wachowskis)和昆汀•塔伦蒂诺(Quentin Tarantino)这样的知名反传统电影人们使用着。

The contemporary nightlife scene is unmatched in its enthusiasm for all-hours partying and sheer volume of venues and events -- many inspired by a past golden age.


Nostalgic Nights