Jeanne Mammen



Artist and Illustrator Jeanne Mammen lived and worked on the fourth floor of the rear building at Ku’damm 29 for over 50 years. Berlin born, she studied art in Paris, Brussels and Rome before returning home to work as an Illustrator for fashion magazines and as a poster designer for film company Ufa.  Her first exhibition at the Galerie Gurlitt, in 1930, was universally acclaimed by Berlin art critics and took its inspiration from the streets, featuring depictions of strong, confident women and the burgeoning lesbian community of the late 1920s.


(pic: Jeanne-Mammen-Stiftung)

Her work was denounced by the Nazi regime and banned from publication, forcing her into poverty.  During the war she made a small income by selling second-hand books and journals from a handcart in the streets, and creating art from the rubble left by the bombing. After the war she joined the existentialist cabaret Die Badewanne (The Bathtub) creating scenery, backdrops and costumes, but lead a very reclusive life amid a very small circle of artistic friends.



She continued to draw and paint right up to her death at the age of 86, and her work is now in the permanent collection of the Berlinische Galerie. It is possible to take a tour of her studio at Ku’damm 29 by contacting Jeanne-Mammen-Stiftung at


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A Walk Along The Ku’damm

I am thrilled to announce that my first book has just been published to Kindle and is now available to buy.

Below are all the links to various territories it is available in. Hopefully a print version will follow in the not too distant future

I hope you enjoy it and walk the walk!



For the US

For the UK*Version*=1&*entries*=0

For Germany*Version*=1&*entries*=0

For France*Version*=1&*entries*=0

For Spain*Version*=1&*entries*=0

For Italy*Version*=1&*entries*=0

For The Netherlands*Version*=1&*entries*=0

For Japan*Version*=1&*entries*=0

For Brazil*Version*=1&*entries*=0

For Canada*Version*=1&*entries*=0

For Mexico*Version*=1&*entries*=0

For Australia*Version*=1&*entries*=0

For India*Version*=1&*entries*=0


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Review – Oropax in Chaos Royal at the Tipi am Kanzleramt

OropaxChaos Royal

It wasn’t the usual start to proceedings for the Tipi’s resident Hausdame, Marlene Deluxe, when her nightly “Welcome to the Tipi/ please extinguish the candles/switch off mobile phones/ thank you to the sponsors and have a lovely evening” speech was derailed by the arrival on-stage of the Oropax crew – the chaos had begun!

Sets are positioned, props arrive, lights are adjusted and an announcement made on how late the show will actually begin… It doesn’t of course.

(pic – Tipi am Kanzleramt)

Brothers Volker & Thomas Martins are exceptional, gifted performers and a joy to watch. With a 30-year history of performing and 20 years as a duo, the jokes, puns and absurd comedy characters come thick and fast.

It felt, at times, like a combination of the physicality of a young Reeves & Mortimer combined with the dense and layered wordplay of Round The Horne – with a lot of toilet gags thrown in for good measure.

It is, however, not a show for non-native German speakers – when your native-German, fluent-English companion explains that you need to know about a 1960s Czech children’s TV character to get the joke, you know you are out of your depth!


(pic – Tipi am Kanzleramt)

A thoroughly enjoyable if, at times, mystifying evening and the full-house audience on the first night were hooked-in right from the start.


14. January – 2. February 2015 (not Jan 25th)

Tues – Sat 20:00, entry from 18:30

Sun 19:00, entry from 17:30

Tickets: € 16,60 – 29,50

Concessions: € 12,50

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Oskar ‘Ossy’ Gades

Oskar ‘Ossy’ Gades was a stalwart of Berlin’s Nollendorfplatz bar and nightclub scene.

From 1929 to 1932 he was a regular transvestite door-host and ‘taxi-dancer’ at the famous Eldorado club on Motzstrasse. Customers could buy tokens at the bar to exchange for dances and at the end of the evening the proceeds were divided between the ‘girls’ and the musicians.

He is almost certainly one of the people featured in the now-iconic series of photographs ‘Transvestites at the Eldorado’ held by the Bundesarchiv.

When increasingly anti-gay legislation was put in place in 1932, the Eldorado was forced to close – there was now a ban on same-sex dancing – Ossy found a job as a barman at the Dorian Gray bar in nearby Bülowstraße. This was to be short-lived as gay bars and clubs began to be raided and closed-down across the city, and the Dorian Gray was no exception.

In 1933, he moved to a job in the ‘safer’ surroundings of the DéDé Bar in the same street, a well known men-only venue.  Despite being part-owned by a Sturmabteilung (SA) Lieutenant and, by 1934 renamed the Bülow-Krug, the protection offered to this controversial gay bar was not extended to Ossy.

He was constantly arrested, interrogated and beaten for dressing in women’s clothes and by the end of 1934 he had been deported to Lichtenburg concentration camp. This camp was one of the first and housed mostly political prisoners and gay men.

He died there in 1938, aged 36.


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Walter Jurmann

Austrian-born musician and songwriter Walter Jurmann was drawn to Berlin at the height of the Weimar era and immediately found both a home in the ultra-modern new Erich Mendelsohn housing development on the Ku’Damm and work playing the piano in the bar at the luxurious Eden Hotel in Budapester Straße.  The Eden Bar was one of THE places to see and be seen in and around the Ku’Damm. Indeed, fellow-Austrian and soon to be world-famous film-director Billy Wilder also made a living at The Eden as a ‘Taxi-Dancer’ around the same time.


The talents of Walter Jurmann and his writing partner Fritz Rotter soon came to the attention of the recording label Ultraphon, who offered them a contract and they began writing hit after hit for artists, orchestras and the cabarets and revue theatres of the Ku’damm, and beyond.

Their most famous song of the 1920’s was ‘Veronika, der Lenz its da’ which was a hit for the all-male ensemble ‘The Comedian Harmonists’, and remains an evergreen ‘Schlager’ classic to this day.



With the advent of sound movies, Jurmann moved into writing film scores. The 1931 hit film ‘Ihre Majestät die Liebe’   featured five of his songs performed by some of the most famous cabaret stars of the era,  and he was soon inundated with commissions.  His tunes were so memorable and recognisable that it was said they could be heard being hummed on the street the morning after a film had opened. 

Like so many artists of his generation he fled Berlin in 1933, along with his new writing partner Bronislaw Kaper and headed for Paris where he continued to write songs and scores  for movies, adapting his work into a more French ‘Chanson’ style.

In 1934, Louis B. Mayer visited Paris to search out Jurmann and Kaper, and offered them a seven-year contact with MGM. By October of that year they were both in the U.S.

His success continued in Hollywood, where he contributed to films such as ‘Mutiny On The Bounty, ‘A Day At The Races, and ‘Presenting Lily Marrs’ starring Judy Garland. He continued to write and compose for both the stage and screen throughout the 1940’s and 50’s before taking semi-retirement, and marrying the fashion-designer Yvonne Jellinek, in 1953.

He died unexpectedly from a heart attack in 1971, aged 67,  and is interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in California.


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