We are on fire!


Do you also have a sweaty towel at home? A guitar pick or a broken drumstick? Maybe even a shot glass or even Frank Zander`s curry sausage fork? Or are you more into Sido’s or Bushido’s empty spray cans?

The Berlin Wall fell on November 11th, 1989. But that’s not all: In Schöneberg, an unknown band called Nirvana played their first Berlin show and Kurt Cobain’s lighter fell into the hands of the young Britt Scott King. The spark was lit. It had been a »semi spiritual experience« for him, says the nowadays world renowned graphics designer. But he didn’t leave it at a lighter…
Together with Paul Kelly, King shot a whole movie about his collector’s passion and the incredible story of this gem: »Kurt’s Lighter« can now be exclusively streamed on www.pop-kultur.berlin in full length.


Now, of course, we thought the whole thing through to the end: To give you a possibility to collect memorabilia, spiritual moments and memories, we are hosting the Pop-Kultur festival in Berlin-Neukölln from August 31st to September 2nd. And we have great news: ticket presale for the events at SchwuZ, Huxleys Neue Welt, Passage Kino, Keller and Prachtwerk starts on May 9th, 2016.

In case you’re thinking: Great, but I don’t really know you (or only have for a year). Why should I trust you?! Well, we thought of that, too. While the complete lineup will be released on May 9th, here are a couple of the program’s highlights. As always, you can expect numerous premieres and a mix of concerts, films, talks and readings.


For a lot of people, Selda Bağcan is not only one of the great voices of Anatolian psych Rock music, she is the greatest voice. It’s crystal clarity immediately engraves into your Soul. »Pop-Kultur« brings the opinion leader and favorite singer of Anohni (Antony Hegarty) and Elija Wood, amongst others, together with the band Boom Pam, back to Berlin. The young trio of sisters A-Wa, from Isreal, just as Boom Pam, are on the way to becoming a border-crossing global pop phenomenon, not only because of their hit »Habib Galbi«. The heirs of Ofra Haza will premiere new material at »Pop-Kultur«.

Further, a whole travel party from New York will make its appearance: Punk icon Richard Hell (»Blank Generation«) reads from his autobiography; the powerfully eloquent and furious poet and performer Zebra Katz vogues on stage; the never tired, incredible Frankie Cosmos gives a voice to the Generation Y.

With Your Friend’s experimental Loop-Pop,Algiers’ Soul-Gospel-Punk-explosion andZola Jesus’ mighty voice we move to the West Coast: The woman behind Seattle’s SassyBlack is Catherine »Cat« Harris-White; one-half of the enormously talented duo THEESatisfaction. She shares her roller coaster-like dating experience as a queer black woman in modern America with us and will also play a DJ-Set.


Fatima Al Qadiri is new to Berlin, the genius music producer, that moved to the capital via New York, just released a thrilling electronic concept album about the freedom to demonstrate and police brutality, She will dedicate her DJ-Set to the global bass-continuum. The Hamburg-based band Trümmer is no less engaged and inspiring. They will also bring new material to the festival.

We’re especially looking forward to the performance of the Algerian band Imarhan. The Tuareg gently open up the Assouf, basically the Tuareg Blues, to Pop music and West African rhythms. At »Pop-Kultur«, they will present their enticing album in a festival context for the first time.

Our visitors from Great Britain include Cat’s Eyes (Classical Music meets John Carpenter and Opera meets 60’s Proto-Pop) and the new Mute Records signing LUH – both premiere their new albums for the first time in Germany – as well as Immersion, the joint project of Wire’s Colin Newman and Malka Spigel. The couple recorded fresh heavenlyAmbient Drone music after a hiatus of nine years. Newman will further join a talk podium.

But, music will not only be played at »Pop-Kultur«, it will also be read: The great Matthew Herbert returns – after his multiple involvements in last year’s edition – and presents his new album »A NUDE (the perfect body)«. However, the album is not published on a recording medium, but as prose, which Herbert himself will recite. A stimulating experience! Just like the evening with the shock ‘n’ shake band Liars are going to premiere the soundtrack to the movie »1/1« live – and will further take part in a talk.

Brandt Brauer Frick

During the three festival days, Berlin itself will be represented by a multitude of local heroes and talents: The Analog-Electronica trio Brandt Brauer Frick premieres its new album; Keøma, Kat Frankie’s new band, performs; Diät presents snappy and melodic, washed out Punk sound. The renowned and experienced Roosevelt, who moved from Cologne to Berlin just to record his debut, introduces his newest great Pop scheme.

For a lot of the concerts, Pop-Kultur closely cooperated with Berlin-based companies, such as City Slang, Landstreicher, Melt! Booking or Powerline.

Now, that really is a lot, isn’t it? So, to give you a good overview, here are the names in alphabetical order:

Algiers, A-Wa, Brandt Brauer Frick, Cat’s Eyes, Diät, Fatima Al Qadiri, Frankie Cosmos, Imarhan, Immersion, Keøma, Liars, Luh, Matthew Herbert, Richard Hell, Roosevelt, SassyBlack, Selda Bağcan ft. Boom Pam, Trümmer, Your Friend, Zebra Katz, Zola Jesus

We are looking forward to meet you! We will provide enough fire, lighters and curry sausage spits (only on demand – please let us know in advance if you require one). And don’t forget: No other than the Scottish Instrumental-Band Mogwai premieres their new Album “Atomic” in a unique film concert on August 30th.


“A moment of sheer rock’n’roll poetry…“

Interview with Paul Kelly, director of Kurt’s Lighter, and Scott King, the man who caught the lighter.

Paul, why did you want to create this documentary?

Paul Kelly: I’ve been involved with music all my life, both by being in bands (East Village, Saint Etienne etc) then later by making promos and more recently feature films, all about music. I didn’t really know Scott – but we have some mutual friends – so I knew that he owned the Kurt Lighter and I knew the story of how he acquired it; so when I was approached to make a film about this incredible story, I leapt at the chance.

Paul, what do you think about how the extraordinary event of catching »Kurt’s Lighter« shaped Scott King‘s entire adult life? And has making this film changed your life in anyway?

Paul Kelly: I think it’s amazing. A moment of sheer rock’n’roll poetry, if that’s not too much of a pretentious thing to say? I’ve attended – and played – many gigs but I’ve never seen or heard of anything like this. Of course, you meet people who might have caught, I don’t know, a drum stick that’s been tossed into the audience by the drummer from Placebo or Green Day or someone – but to actually have Kurt Cobain throw his lighter straight at you and to catch it so effortlessly – THEN – for that moment to actually have an effect on your whole personality, is really quite extraordinary. Making this film has not re-shaped my life in anyway, no.


Scott, can you tell us a bit more about your ‘semi-spiritual experience’ on November 11, 1989? What was it like?

Scott King: When it actually happened – when the lighter landed in the palm of my hand after Kurt had tossed it into the crowd – it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. I’ve thought about this a lot over the years, and I think the reason it seemed so natural was because this had happened to me once before. When I was 9 years old – Christmas 1979 – my parents took me to the Theatre Royal in York to see Dick Whittington – a pantomime. I was sitting high up on the balcony and the young woman playing Dick began to toss bags of sweets out to all the kids in the audience. All the kids were going crazy, running around, fighting over these bags of sweets that Dick was throwing towards us. Similarly to the Kurt situation, I did not move, I remained seated, but a bag of Rowntrees Tooty Frooties landed right in my lap. The other kids had no chance of grabbing them, these sweets had been thrown straight at me, almost as if Dick Whittington had picked me out of the audience and decided that I was a deserved recipient of a bag of Rowntrees Tooty Frooties. Strangely, I realised later, that the Kurt Cobain incident happened almost 10 years to the month after the Dick Whittington incident.

Scott, from your point of view: how was Berlin like in 1989 and what were the biggest changes in terms of pop culture until today?

Scott King: I only have very hazy memories of Berlin in 1989. I really can’t remember much about it. I remember the Nirvana gig as if it were yesterday, but the rest is something of a blur. Though, I do remember that the Berlin Wall came down while I was there. Pop culture has changed dramatically since 1989. It’s much more corporate now.