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  • Whoriental Festival: Welcome to Berlin’s queer cabaret

Music & clubs

Whoriental Festival: Welcome to Berlin’s queer cabaret

We sat down with the organisers of Whoriental Festival to talk about Berlin's biggest celebration of all things queer, anti-racist and feminist as fuck.

Catch a performance by Dornika at Säälchen. Photo: Samet Durgun

This weekend sees the second edition of Whoriental Festival taking place this year. A combined project between the Queerberg collection and AL.Berlin, Whoriental Festival is a giant, multi-disciplinary cabaret of discussions, workshops and live music.

Taking place this Friday and Saturday at Grüner Salon and Säälchen, the all-weekend event promises to throw to some colour, glitz, and culture into the local community. Speaking to the organisers, Exberliner finds out more about what you can expect.

How did Whoriental start and what’s the concept behind it?

The Whoriental project is intended as a deliberate provocation. It is about empowering QT*BIPOC, refugees and sex workers and offering them a stage. The Queerberg collective’s goal is to generate visibility and attention while also showcasing the diversity of pop music. In 2022, the collective hosted workshops, performances, concerts, and strip shows at Gretchen. Taking part were the likes of DJ Ipek, Adir Jan, Trixie and SÄYE SKYE.

Friday night will round off with a drag performance from B.A.M. Black A$$ Moment.

Whoriental Festival is a giant, multi-disciplinary cabaret of discussions, workshops and live music.

Whoriental Festival 2023 features a holistic concept of community building, workshops, dance shows, and local artists, while hosting some internationally acclaimed music acts and dance groups, some performing in the city for the first time.

That’s two nights of live music, celebration, dance, drag shows, cabaret, workshops, discussions, and a super club night.

What else can we expect apart from great music?

The festival aspires to bring a unique queer nightlife to Berlin. This year’s second round will comprise two subsequent nights. The first – on Friday in the Grüner Salon – will focus on diverse dance workshops by acclaimed local talents, such as multidisciplinary body-based performance and music production artist Maque Pereyra, and well as well-known cabaret performer and show producer Chiqui Love.

The night will continue with live music from Gazino Neukölln and Kürperi, drag shows by B.A.M. Black A$$ Moment, DJ sets, and belly dance performances.

Blu Fiefer, who will be performing at Säälchen, provides a rare glimpse into the Arabic, female lyrical hip-hop scene.

The second night at Saalchen will start with a panel discussion led by the one and only performer Lux Venérea. It’ll be an opportunity to engage with some political satire about Berlin nightlife, where the queer scene meets international and PoC politics. Then it will continue to a wild provocative club night with live music.

What artists should we look out for at the event?

At Säälchen, you will see a Lebanese-Mexican performance by Blu Fiefer, in between cabaret performances with belly dance star Rachid Alexander, a colorful live performance from Dornika, while ending the night with an electrifying trancey set by Floyd Lavine.

Get ready for an electrifying trancey set by Floyd Lavine.

Blu Fiefer provides a rare glimpse into the Arabic, female lyrical hip-hop scene. A very innovative artist, Blu Fiefer presents a provocative performance which comprises iron-strong lyrics, delivered with polished, catchy poppy compositions and sounds, all while throwing a gender fluid and provocative show. This makes her one of the most promising Arab hip-hop artists of the moment.

Dornika is a Berlin-based, English lyricist performer, who puts body politics, mainstream perceptions of beauty, fitness and perfection into a huge question mark on stage.

What’s the future of AL Berlin now that the cafe/bar has closed?

For the second edition in a row, Whoriental is produced by AL.Berlin, which just won the Tag Der Club Kultur prize for 2023. After three years of running the AL.Remise Bar on Skalitzer Strasse, AL.Berlin are focusing on live music productions. On October 27th, AL.Berlin will celebrate their 4th edition of their flagship project AL.Festival.2023 in Festsaal Kreuzberg.

Belly dance performances by Rachid Alexander are a must-see at the festival.

What other activities is Queerberg involved in?

The Whoriental Festival 2023 is a great opportunity to get to know Queerberg, one of the most bold, radical, and colourful Queer Collectives in Berlin.

Through its various members (most notably Prence Emrah) Queerberg is present at many junctions of Berlin’s nightlife. Last year saw Queerberg throw a Children and Youth Queer Music Festival at the Kultursommerfestival Berlin, collaborated with “ìc ìce” the new Anatolian music Festival, and curated a performance program at Oyoun Cultural Center. Prence Emrah has been operating in a major new role in diversifying Berlin’s club scene, including being a Jury Member in last year’s Tag Der Club Kultur committee.

  • Click here to find out more about Whoriental Festival, and get your tickets now.