Pet Shop Bears

Interview by
Danny Calvi

Justin Case (left) and Open Mike (right) have been deejaying and promoting their club night, Pet Shop Bears, since February 2007. Situated in the Kantine of the Berghain, the former power plant in Friedrichshain and reincarnation of the legendary club Ostgut, the Pet Shop Bears have been steadfastly promoting one of the finest gay dance parties in Europe—minus all the hype and hubbub that tends to spoil most popular nights.

Danny: Why do you call yourselves Pet Shop Bears?
Open Mike: Oh dear… I guess because we’re hirsute and aging.
Do either of you identify as bears?
Justin Case: No, but maybe we’re Pet Shop Otters—growing physically without the hair.
Is your club night for bears only?
OM: Of course not. It started as a joke about the beard-o-mania in Berlin.
Do a lot of gay guys in Berlin still have beards?
OM: Well, it’s a little 2006 now, but shaving is still a nicht-nicht. Even boys have beards in Berlin.
Do you ever trim your body hair?
OM: No.
Do you use gel or hairspray?
OM: We’re versatile. The best product is mousse—and spit and sweat.
Do you wear cologne?
JC: Opium.
Do you wear special outfits for the night?
OM: Not really, just everyday leggings with some mohair on top to suit the weather.
Is there a dress code at your party?
OM: If it’s a silky night then yes: silk only.
Where do you come from originally?
OM: We’re village people. Justin is from Lohne and I’m from Hammelburg.
JC: Lohne is famous for inventing the toothpaste dispenser.
OM: Hammelburg is best known as the filming location of Hogan’s Heroes.
How did you meet?
JC: We met at Big Eden.
CD, vinyl or mp3?
OM: Compact-disc-o-rama.
What are your favorite songs at the moment?
OM: ‘Mardi Gras’ by Audiogarde, ‘What U Waitin’ 4 (Jungle Fever Mix)’ by Jungle Brothers, ‘The Spitzer Group’ by DJ Koze, and ‘Arf Patzo’ by Erobique.
Do you think of yourselves as deejays first and foremost, or club promoters?
OM: We began as party deejays in a musical emergency situation, like a sondereinsatzkommando sekdisco, and we still like to be party deejays.
Can you imagine promoting your night with something other than fliers?
JC: We did already. We tried to rubber the city with little pink penises, but people mistook them for heart-shaped balloons.
Does having your own club night get you laid?
OM: If we’re lucky.
Do you like to listen to music when you fuck?
JC: Mozart’s ‘Requiem,’ especially ‘Lacrimosa.’
Weren’t you at the opera tonight?
JC: Yes. ‘Requiem’ at the Komische Opera with Irm Hermann, the Fassbinder girl.
How was it?
JC: It was beautiful. I almost cried.
Has anyone ever been refused entry or thrown out of your party?
OM: Only if it’s too full.
Has a fight ever broken out at the party?
OM: Technically no—not at the party. There was blood on the dance floor once, but walk-offs can be dangerous anywhere.
On a scale of one to ten, how strict are the authorities with the smoking ban in Berlin?
JC: Right now: zero. There’s a legal loophole…filled with smoke.
Are you guys heavy drinkers?
JC: Yes and we’re gonna bembel your asses at the beer bust.
Do you have a special hangover cure?
OM: Konterbier doesn’t work for me, but Justin does it all the time. I do throw up, but somebody has to hold my hair back.
Is there a ‘must see’ if I’m in town just for the weekend?
OM: Besenkammer at Alexander Platz.
It’s after the party and I’ve got the munchies… Can you recommend a nice place to grab something to eat?
JC: Maybe the Burgermeister near Schlesisches Tor. If you’re lucky, you get the cab driver.

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Published on 16 July 2009