HAFENLESUNG: reflections on home
Our most recent Hafenlesung event came with an unexpected change in scene when we were obliged to find a new location at the last minute due to a booking issue. Fortunately for us, Nefeli is unusually competent under duress and thanks to the good folks at Hamburg’s Mundhalle, our twenty-fourth event was safe. What an ideal spot it was. Located near the Hafencity, the Mundhalle offers a space for various collectives, exhibitions and performances on the wet lip of the Überseequartier — and so we, our authors and guests, felt right at home.
The Hafenlesung, and the collective that runs it, have been around long enough to have had several homes. Before we even knew what to call the series or anticipated what it might become, our first reading took place at the city’s dirty heart in St. Georg. Encouraged by the intellectual and poet Max Czolleck — our very first guest — we created the platform we had been looking for. Jasper Forth, owner of the gorgeous Loft-style apartment where the reading took place, proved a gracious host. Subsequent collaborator and vegan delicatessen extraordinaire Jasmin Baltres (aroma collective) provided us with sustenance, and after the poetry and prose, DJs Youthman and Rupert Marnie of The Press Group led the dancing.
The intoxicating triumph of our collective’s first public outing led to a second reading at the Pony Bar in the student borough of Rotherbaum. While this too was a success, the first time we really felt that familiar sense of home-ness was our inaugural event at Golem. Nestled outside the salty grey cobbles of the Fischmarkt, Golem was a unique location beloved by many. A bar, club, cinema, library, exhibition and concert hall with polished floors, high ceilings and enormous windows, Golem had something for everyone. Indeed, Golem gave us our first residency. Thus, after many rewarding events on evenings balmy and cold, in twilight and darkness, boozy, teetotal, boisterous and pensive, it was with aching hearts that we said goodbye to a beloved home, whose doors closed forever at the end of 2017.
Thanks in no small part to the flourishing afforded by our time at Golem, our Hafenlesung series had accrued both an audience and a prestigious guest list. This no doubt aided the decision of our new hosts at Nachtasyl — the actors’ bar above the Thalia Theatre on the city’s lakefront — to offer us sanctuary. With its galaxy of suspended lights, classic bar and wooden floors, we fell in love with the place at first sight. Since then, we have continued to grow, and we hope that the pattern will continue. We have two more Hafenlesung events at Nachtasyl planned for this year and one special event in Altona in August. Stay tuned for more information.