Tip of the week - WOODMAS

Berlin celebrates its first Woodmas with ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’

On Friday 9th of October, Berlin will celebrate its first ever Woodmas at the formerly known as Stummfilmkino Delphi. Woodmas is the Woodian Christmas, celebrating the birth of famed “Worst Director of All Time”, Ed Wood.

The event will kick off with a screening of Plan 9 from Outer Space, which stars Wood’s friend and long time collaborator Bela Lugosi in his final role, alongside Tor Johnson, Vampira (Maila Nurmi) and Criswell as the narrator. In the film, residents of California's San Fernando Valley are under attack by flying saucers from outer space. The aliens intend to conquer the planet by resurrecting corpses in a Hollywood cemetery. The film is the unintentional mother of an entire genre of cult classics: “the epitome of so-bad-it's-good cinema, Plan 9 From Outer Space is an unintentionally hilarious sci-fi.” (Rotten Tomatoes)

A Woodmas after-party will follow with DJ Lobotomy playing a set inspired by the retro monster-mash style of Ed Wood’s film. The audience is invited to wear angora (Wood was obsessed with it) and/or clothes of the opposite sex paying homage to one of the filmmaker’s many quirks.

The occasion also calls for the exchange of not-so-good gifts keeping in the spirit of Wood’s budget films. Guests are invited to bring their own bad gifts to exchange. There will also be other Woodmas themed performances and installations, celebrating the beauty of bad taste. To top it all off, Vodka Gimlets, Ed Wood’s favourite cocktail, will be served at the bar at a Woodian price. And if you drink like Ed Wood used to, hang on to your angora!

Friday 9th October 2015, 7:30 pm

Stummfilmkino Delphi
Gustav-Adolf-Straße 2, 13086 Berlin

€11 (online pre-sale)
€13 (at door).


This time we discovered the band St. Beaufort for you - Three young, good looking, fun musicians from different parts of the world, who found each other and their very own sound in Berlin. Derek Ullenboom, Henric Hungerhoff, Joe Jakubczyk are playing in a traditional style and trying to bridge a gap between the past and the present. We have to say that they are managing that gap quite well. We asked them some questions, and we are now happy to present you their answers and introduce them to the Banjo & Elfe community.

The three of you are from USA, Canada, and Germany and the first question that comes to my mind is: How did you meet and how long do you know each other?

Joe: I met Henric in the Summer of 2013, while I was visiting Berlin. After a week I started itching to meet musicians, and found out that Henric and his band were playing a concert and needed a band to open for them. I responded too late-they already had someone-but I had listened to some of their music and suggested that a banjo might work well with their sound. Henric quickly took me up on the offer. I practiced with them a few days later and that same evening we played the concert together. We played a number of concerts and recorded an EP, but then my tourist visa was up and I returned to Arizona.

Derek: And that's when I jumped aboard.

Joe: Yep, while I was gone, Henric met Derek who played banjo and mandolin during the band's first tour that Fall. When I got back in January of 2014, I took over the banjo again, but Derek stayed on, playing the mandolin.

Henric: So, the three of us have been playing together for about a year and a half. Derek and Joe began adding their own songs to the repertoire and over time the project condensed into a core trio. After a tour through western Germany and Switzerland we decided to change the name in order to reflect the way the concept of the band had developed.

Since you are from different parts of the World, I have to ask: Why are you living in Berlin?

Henric: I came here in 2010, but even before I somehow always knew that Berlin was the city where I wanted to live. Anything goes. There are so many great things about this city. The people, the atmosphere, its history, the creativity, the freedom that you feel just walking down a bustling street. There is no other place in Germany where I could have met Joe and Derek.

Joe: I had been going back and forth to Europe for almost two years (I walked the Jakobsweg through France and Spain, spent a month in Rome, two seasons in a ski rental shop in the Alps, taught and busked in Salzburg) before providence brought me to Berlin. I quickly realized what a great city it was for meeting musicians, and had already made plans to study here. Joining a band proved much quicker than gaining acceptance to the university...I was touring Europe long before I was finally enrolled and hitting the books.

Derek: My grandparents immigrated to Canada from Germany, so I initially came back to meet my relatives, and sort of rediscover my roots. I knew that Berlin had a great music scene and after visiting the city, it became one of my goals to build a musical bridge between Berlin and Toronto, where I studied music and began my musical career.

How would you describe your music?

Joe: It sounds like folk, feels like Bluegrass, tastes like Americana, smells like Country, looks like old-time, and moves like Berlin!

But in all seriousness, it's difficult to assign a genre to it. We play acoustic instruments, traditionally associated with folk music, but we are different than the typical conception of folk. Country brings up associations of modern Nashville product, cowboy hats and huge belt buckles. That's not us either. Bluegrass is getting closer, but we're doing something a bit different than traditional bluegrass. We're new eyes looking at old ideas. And we're trying to discover where these old ideas survive and continue to influence and inspire us.

Is the fact that you are all from different countries an important part for you when you are making music or are these differences not important and only the love for music counts?

Derek: Being from different countries definitely plays a role in our music and performance. This style that we are playing has its roots in a continent populated by immigrants of diverse nationalities, and I think it's important that the music is not an 'American' thing or a 'Canadian' thing, or a 'German' thing...it is really a combination of the three.

Joe: The way that Henric plays the accordion, inherited from his great aunt reflects his German heritage.

Henric: And you can feel the way Derek's voice could cut across the plains of Manitoba.

Joe: Of course the love of music is what binds us, but our personal stories say something about where that love comes from, and why we are passionate about this music.

Is there more than music that connects the 3 of you?

Henric: We all hang out together apart from the band. One of the great things is that we're friends, which allows a level of honesty and unity in the music. We appreciate normal things: coffee, whiskey, discussing and evaluating different beers. We all love to travel, to meet new people, and to eat great food.

Joe: I think we also share a love for great conversations, serious or silly discussions, and we've had our share of both, in every realm from literature and politics to theology and philosophy. Maybe most importantly, we have a shared interest (which materializes in our music to a degree) in authentic experiences, in simplicity, in living a real life. We find joy in the genuine thing, be it a steaming on a cold winter morning, or a live acoustic concert at the edge of a forest, on a warm summer night.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Joe: Sometimes, if you open yourself to be inspired, you find it flowing in from the strangest places. I once felt inclined to write a song about a single cobblestone on the way to the train. Why? Because this stone was unique, unappreciated, neglected and trampled by thousands of people every day. There's something about things that don't get noticed, and even the asking whether they deserve notice suddenly makes this thing important.

Derek: Experiences are like that too. When you experience sadness or anger, maybe you feel alone, but when you write a song about it, you find yourself in a tradition that stretches thousands of years. You feel the embrace of the entire history of humanity. Suddenly a story about getting lost, being afraid, or leaving the known becomes a gift of self and a sharing of truth.

Joe: And then there is this truth...there's something about music that allows you to share truth, to experience it together, with a band and an audience. We're inspired by stories and legends, by poetry and nature. Truth often gets passed down from generation to generation through poetic and mythological stories. This may seem contradictory but I think it was Chesterton who said he believed in fairy tales not because they say dragons exist, but because they say dragons can be beaten. We draw inspiration from this expression of truth, through seemingly fantastic stories, which somehow we have all experienced in our lives.

Henric: Yeah, we're faced with these giants, mountains, and stormy seas daily. How do we respond to our personal struggles, do we see them for what they are? Discovering wonder, uncovering adventure in the everyday experience...that inspires us too.

How important is Berlin to you? What role does it play in all of your lives?
Henric: Like I said before, this city has a special spirit and is very important to us. It's where we met and without the scene here, we wouldn't have been able to build up to where we are.

Joe: Also the relatively low cost of living has helped us a lot to survive and continue working on the project even when money is tight. The international population means there is a bigger audience that may find interest in our music. And the presence of so much nature despite the size and population of the city is great.

Derek: Yeah, the fact that you can move from a crammed Neukölln street to the vast openness of Tempelhoferfeld in ten minutes, or quickly leave the tourism of Mitte for the peace of Tiergarten is so refreshing and really rejuvenating for creativity. The city is full of so much variety, in every aspect, and I think this also helps feed our desire to tell stories. I think as we grow as a band, Berlin will continue to contribute to our music, both as an influence and a thematic presence. If only there were mountains...

This is your first album. How would each one of you describe it in only 3 words?

Joe: barefoot, dusty, fireside. Derek: urban farm music. Henric: live, wood, handmade.

We think those guys are great and very inspiring and we hope you enjoyed the interview as much as we did. 
Listen in to the album “St. Beaufort” by St. Beaufort.

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ERIK VAN SCHOOR‘s world is made up of pictures. As a kid he already learned to love films and the realm of cinematography. But he draws most of his inspiration from adventurous, mysterious and strange tales on the small and big screen. One of ERIK’s favourite things is telling stories in pictures. He does exactly that when he is working on private projects, but luckily he has found a job where his creativity and drawing skills are of paramount importance, too.

Last year ERIK joined the Gesellschaft für Digitalen Ungehorsam (eng. Society for Digital Disobedience).
The so-called Society is a small media company that produces commercial and private ad- and how-to videos.
His application consisted of nothing but a small note on the notice board of the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen (eng. College for Film and Television) in Potsdam: „I will draw anything for you. Drop me a message!“
And ERIK didn’t have to wait long, as the Society’s manager Sebastian Friedrich contacted him shortly afterwards. The initial agreed five how-to videos expanded to ten, ten turned to 14 and these led quite naturally to more projects.

ERIK’S portfolio spans from storyboards to concept art, book illustrations to character design. He is living in the world of pictures. When he is responsible to take notes during meetings, the minutes turn into pictures rather than words. He enjoys just putting pen to paper and letting the lines grow into fresh and unplanned shapes.
ERIK is fascinated by lines and how something more complex can emerge from something as simple as a line.
For him drawing works best when listening to music as he can then “draw from the heart”. When he sketches his first drafts ERIK prefers using proper pen and paper. He simply feels the idea looks fresher and more energetic when it flows directly onto paper.

Sketchbook Gorilla

But when he is working on storyboards ERIK likes to fall back on his digital aids right away. „For this job it’s important to be fast and efficient. It is much easier to modify digital pictures, for example when only the facial expression changes. Mass scenes become easier, as I can just quickly copy one character.” Technical support helps as well to illustrate camera movements and effects. Out of his great portfolio ERIK enjoys storyboards most. Through them you can experience a film in advance. “They are constantly driving forwards and that makes these pictures so dynamic.” ERIK is making use of his storyboard talent while working on projects like American Showdown, the film our discovery Julia Mahlke is looking forward to shooting.

Storyboard American Showdown 8
Storyboards are quite important for a film production. With them you can already get an easy first (and free) impression of the cinematography, as you don’t need anything else but pen and paper (or your computer). ERIK is bursting with ideas for films, so he is writing his own scripts and is drawing preliminary designs and scenes. He is always drawn in by stories that have a supernatural element to them. „In films we find adventures that we would like to have. Everything is possible. For me that doesn’t signify ‘escapism’. I just enjoy those stories more, as they show us things that don’t exist in the real world or something that can’t be explained by reason. Indiana Jones for example would only be half as entertaining without the supernatural elements in my opinion.

ERIK has only been living in Berlin for about a year, but he has settled in very quickly and already feels at home. For him Berlin is the centre of German film, especially because of its special place in cinema history, not at least thanks to the film studios Babelsberg nearby. Artists of all genres flock to the city and create a vibe of good and crazy ideas. ERIK likes that people here don’t always think about the money they can make, but make things happen for the project’s sake.

Concept Art
ERIK would like to share some advice with other creative people out there, who might not have been brave enough just yet to turn their ideas into reality: „Make your art, your stories, heard or seen by an audience. Find like-minded people. Listen to suggestions and also criticism and grow from it. And above all - don’t be afraid that someone might steal your ideas. No one can realise your idea exactly the way you imagine it.

ERIK VAN SCHOOR lives in the world of pictures. For him the greatest advantage of doing something he is passionate about in his job is that he can continually learn and develop his skills. The projects he works on in his job teach him a lot that he can then use for his private projects and vice versa. And it is this continual development that is so important for a creative person like him. You mature and grow from project to project and when it comes to making ideas happen ERIK has quite a few plans ahead. Good Luck with everything!

Text: Sophie Jüterbock

ERIK'S Homepage

Concept Art

Creature Design

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The Berlin born-and-bred JULIA MARLEN MAHLKE is an actress with a passion for the art. Still, in today’s cold economic climate being an actress will not always pay all the necessary bills. That’s why JULIA is supporting herself with many different kinds of jobs in between acting projects, like working at a call centre, as pool attendant and recently she has started a course to become a Stand Up Paddling instructor. She knows what she wants and what she is prepared to give. But JULIA tells us it is also very important to know your limits and know when to actually say „no“. Once in a while it’s part of the job to push your limits, and that sometimes happens quite unexpectedly. For example JULIA’s experience on the set of American Showdown. American Showdown is a series of (short) films, produced by a group of friends who have known each other since school and who have developed the films from independent amateur projects to an ambitious action flick. JULIA tells us some more about it…


When you have dreams you sometimes have to go unexpected ways to make them come true. Some people leave their home to do so. Not just their home, but their home country. NITSAN BERNSTEIN has done exactly that. She left her home Israel to come and live in Berlin. So what is her dream? Be free, be creative, meet intriguing people and perform all over the world. NITSAN’s world is music, her art singing.


Krasse Gitarren

MICHAELA HARTMANN owns and runs a popular guitar shop, even employs a few people there, has connections in the music business and she is also part of a couple of musical projects. It sounds just like someone is living her dream. But is she? MICHI HARTMANN’s plans were somehow different and the road up to now has been a steep and stony one.


Photo: Drew Portnoy

Text: Sophie Jüterbock

Comedy is hard work. It is even more so in a different language. DREW PORTNOY is doing both. He was born and raised in America, but the comedian has chosen Germany as his main stage. And when you are an American in Germany you are bound to have adventures… 


Foto: Sonja Wiegand
Text: Sophie Jüterbock

TAKE BERLIN – a beautiful example of a chance meeting. The two musicians Jesse Barnes and Yvonne Ambree needed to meet twice before embarking on their musical journey together. Both were working in different bands at the time, but the second time they met, Jesse and Yvonne discovered that chance had given them a wonderful opportunity. And thus the two started writing songs for their very own musical project, TAKE BERLIN.


We were on the search again and we were curious, surprised and excited. This time we discovered a real Berlin original. He grew up in Berlin-Schöneberg. He did not only experience Berlin history like the building and the fall of the Berlin Wall, he also participated and formed music history in Berlin. He saw Hendrix performing live at the Sportpalast and performed himself on countless Berlin club stages. During the last years he was only seen in the credits at the end of movies. We are talking about Andreas Hommelsheim, who produced and dubbed one of the best known Disney-Soundtracks in Germany. But his heart is beating for Jazz. Now, he started to reflect and went back to his roots. Together with two friends and colleagues he founded the band B3 and made a new album – BACK TO MY ROOTS. With this album he treats himself to the luxury of creative freedom. We met Andreas Hommelsheim and talked with him about his new album, his band, Berlin and much more.


From the current exhibition

Text by: Sophie Jüterbock

Is this supposed to be art or can I throw it away? We are happy to just throw things away when we don’t seem to have much use for them anymore. Especially technology changes so fast that we often leave the old gadget for the latest product. Thus old mobile phones, cameras or PCs are abandoned to gather dust in the shelves. Some people even make the step to dispose of their old gadgets – but more often than not they don’t do it properly. Electronics have to be disposed of separately, but since most people don’t follow this guideline 20 tonnes of gold are thrown away every year. But of course there is a different way: MUHARREM BATMAN has a passion for disused electronics and a very unique way of recycling.


Salah Ben Gahly Azzeaz andhis favourite piece of art
Text: Sophie Jüterbock

The pictures hanging on the stark green wall are boasting bright and vivid colours. The style could be Dada or Surrealism. But looking around you will find that your current location is not an art gallery at all. You might see a hot chocolate-machine, (non-)alcoholic beverages and also – falafel. What kind of place could unite all of that in one? It’s a place that lets you enjoy art and food. A place that has been brought to life by Salah Ben Gahly Azzeaz. In short DADA FALAFEL.


Dear friends, fans, and followers,

BANJO & ELFE wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

We would like to say thanks to you, for inspiring us, motivating us, sharing and following us. We have come a long way this year and certainly could not have done it without you.

We hope we entertained you well throughout the year and could tempt the one or the other to get out into our great wide open mother city to expierence our discoveries. We are looking forward to make even more discoveries in 2014 to share with you.

As a little X-Mas present we have the brand new BANJO & ELFE App for all smart phones for you.

Stay tuned for more surprises 2014, we are looking forward to see you!

ERIK PENNY "Another Way of Talking"

It has been a while since we wrote here about ERIK PENNY. As promised we followed up for you and now proudly present his newest video to his song "Another Way of Talking", shot just a few days ago in Berlin. Take a look and once again be taken under his spell.


Especially at this time of year, when all hollows eve comes closer and we celebrate Halloween, we hear people on the street whisper. They talk behind hands about someone who spreads fear and horror in our mother city – ANGSTWERKER. It is a German word for someone, who creates fear with their own hands. Rumor has it that they live in the dark, their eyes are dark and full of blood and they run the streets at night. Their hair is almost white and it stands in all directions wild from their heads, because they pull it out like maniacs in the need to create something new. Their hands are restless, they create and form and cut,…without rest. Liters of blood stored in barrels to live off and work from. We took all our courage and decided to look for that mystery and find out the truth about it for you.


There are just some things that one can do in Berlin about which a local might think they are so touristy. For example taking a boat cruise along the Spree and see all the sights from the water. Once in a while we locals think, it is a good idea to see the city from a new perspective and make plans to go on a boat cruise in summer. And suddenly summer is over. We discovered something that hopefully will not only get tourists on the water, but everyone in Berlin. We are talking about the new trend sport Stand Up Paddeling (SUP)! All you need is a surf board, a paddle, little balance and you are all set to surf the Spree.



This time we made a discovery, while walking along Yorkstrasse in Berlin. It was on our way to dinner, when we heard the unique music of ERIK PENNY. It came from a little photo studio. Surprised we stopped to listen. Our curiosity got us a friendly invitation to come in and enjoy. Erik Penny played to a small private audience. He shares his emotions singing short stories and one can feel how much he loves life on stage. So taken by his music we were able to talk with him after the concert. He answered our many questions. We found out that this was sort of a warm up for live concerts of his new album HEART BLEED OUT and that we could expect to hear a lot more of him in the future.


We can quickly answer the question what the Designpanoptikum is. It is the surreal museum for industrial objects in Berlin-Mitte. But the question what we are looking at comes to our minds with every single object in this museum. The Russian born photographer and collector Vlad Korneev established the museum with years of commitment and a great passion for industrial objects from the last hundred years. We met him at the Designpanoptikum and like little kids we could not stop asking: What’s that?



Photo by Rahi Rezvani
Photo by Rahi Rezvani

QEAUX QEAUX JOANS comes from our beautiful neighbour country Holland and visits Berlin , 12th June 2013, to present her debut album ‚NO MAN’S LAND‘. After already having conquered the hearts of her home country, she now wants to take on our mother city. We listened to her emotional music and are already convinced that it will be a piece of cake, even with the really critical Berliners. We had the chance to ask her about her music and her thoughts on Berlin before she arrives for her record release concert.


A new trend is taking on the streets of Berlin – knitwear for trees, fences and lanterns. We discovered a few of these so called woolen graffitis and wanted to know more about them. More warmth on our streets - that is the intention of the knitting artists. This new trend has its origin in the Unites States and is also known as Yarn Bombing or Guerilla Knitting. They make our streets more colorful and unlike the graffiti with spray paint, they do not destroy anything. All around: park benches, statues and memorials get beautiful colored coats, which puts a smile on the face of every observer, or even forces us to think about it as the knitwear can also be used as a political statement. We met the wool graffiti artist Patricia Montag to find out more about this new street art. 


PIXIE COLD aka Svenja Jödicke is 23 years old, from Berlin. Her career as an artist only started three years ago and already she gained international popularity. In our mother city Berlin, she is hardly known. We think that everybody in Berlin needs to know about PIXIE COLD, because her talent is extraordinary and her life story is just one that needs to be heard and her pictures simply need to be seen.