The other lit caste

Tired of the same old reading nights where the chance of surprise is limited to when your mobile embarrassingly goes off? So were Thomas Götz von Aust and Andreas Schwarz. Dichter and Dichter vs. Borderlines is the antidote.

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Photo by Ingo Lamm

Let’s face it, unless you’re part of the lit caste, reading nights can sound downright dreadful. A tasteful assembly in a well-lit room (most likely a bookstore), staring at bumbling authors sip nervously from their Wasser mit Köhlensaure or chuckling nervously each time their tongue slips. The buzz afterwards is more that of a dying wasp than a well-lubricated group of stimulated minds.

That was before Thomas Götz von Aust and Andreas Schwarz (who admittedly hates readings) irrupted on the lit scene with Dichter und Dichter vs. Borderlines, a talk-show-like phenomenon which combines the decadent feel of true Berlin-style nightlife and the swank and intellect of a reading event.

The two Germans began the lit soirée in 2010 after Bavarian Götz von Aust, an author and party promoter, staged a reading that didn’t have the oomph the nightlife connoisseur would have liked. Together with Schwarz, also in the nightlife biz as both promoter and performer, they decided to take readings to a twisted new level.

In their South German drawl (Schwarz comes from Baden-Württemberg), the bon vivant debonair of Götz von Aust and the dark carnival-cabaret of Schwarz present an audience of ever growing regulars with a strong intoxicating concoction – and indeed words and alcohol flow aplenty. The addition of beatboxers and wordsmiths – regulars Blankow Fiktschen and Stefan Gilles – were the perfect ingredients to add more lyrical chaos to the not-so-round-table.

The intention was always to represent nightlife people in a different context, and guests like the superstar drag queen Nina Queer, Torsun from Berlin’s Egotronic and Berlin-based Austrian Ja, Panik have all been featured at the event. But how is this really different from a typical reading night aside from the boozy hosts and semi-famous guests?

The Salon – Zur wilden Renate provides for the seedy underground atmosphere and, of course, the drinks (they serve the soft kind too!).

The audience is also put to contribution: anyone can bring their own printed words – form old love letters or eviction notices, to travel brochures or their self-published poem collections.

In an unpremeditated move, since October 2011 DDvsB has been teaming up with Exberliner for an English night, charmingly accentuated with the Teutonic drawl of the hosts and resident readers. The event comes complete with its own set of English language literature – (and other-)superstars, such as the dual-guesting of mini media mogul and Network Awesome co-head Jason Forrest and acclaimed American author Tod Wodicka, Iranian-American novelist Porochista Khakpour, and, upcoming, the memorable author of  Preparation For Death, Texan Greg Baxter (May 9).

So enough with the talk about romantic notions of a literary but cool Berlin, this is the real deal: underground decadence matched with real lit wit – the ultimate Berlin experience.

Dichter und Dichter vs. Borderlines, one Wednesday monthly (see Facebook page for exact dates, Exberliner meets Borderlines, one Wednesday every other month (see for exact dates) | Salon – Zur wilden Renate