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Barefoot Doctor: On ‘Celebrity’ versus Authenticity


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Last week, iconic American magazine Rolling Stone summed up the difference between Vegas and Berlin’s club scenes like so:


“In Vegas, superstar DJs like deadmau5 and Skrillex make millions of dollars a year, performing in controlled, meticulously set-designed clubs where table service can run in the tens of thousands of dollars. By contrast, Berlin is scrappy, grimy and chaotic.


Cover charges and drinks are still cheap, the venues look run-down and authentic, and you’re less likely to see a celebrity than you are two people fucking at the bar.”


Skrufff asked Barefoot how much he considers the two to be mutually exclusive . . .


Barefoot Doctor: “I think one of our shortfalls is we still think dialectically – we still want to see things as either this or that, black or white. It’s a collective immaturity and I believe we’ll grow out of it.


In the meantime, here we have this apparent contrast between the super-slick on the one hand and the super-real on the other and we are invited to choose which we prefer.


I’d say go with your mood at the time, because it’s all about enjoying all the various aspects of life’s rich theater – all of it is an education.


The contrived, manufactured EDM ambience of Vegas, is in effect Hollywood’s club-scene quota outsourced to where the land is cheaper, the noise laws are more flexible and organized crime is, well, apparently more organized.


Therefore Vegas naturally facilitates the institution we now know as formalized, twitterized, air-brushed, manufactured celebrity (essentially just an extension-arm of the media, PR and marketing industries) and is never going to match up to Berlin, because Berlin is the real thing and Vegas is bullshit.


But it’s super-slick bullshit and has its place in this super-slick bullshit world of ours, as much as the gritty reality of Berlin does.


And if we transcend the level of preferences and feeling obliged to have favorites, and if we look at it as educational theater, I’d say taking the Vegas module is equally as valid, entertaining and informative, in its overly plasticized constructed way, as the Berlin experience is in its natural (and obviously more intelligent if less remunerative) way.


I’d not have a preference between watching a couple copulate or a celebrity wafting by as being important – to me they’re both equally interesting or boring depending on my mood at the time.


But what about Ibiza? Why doesn’t Ibiza figure in these conversations anymore? After all Vegas is merely the theme park version of clubbing based entirely on a glitzy-eyed view of Ibiza.


Possibly because it vanished so up its own Notting hillbilly backside it stopped being a creative force – which I expect is exactly what will occur in Vegas too before long.


However not so in Berlin, which I believe will still be promoting the truly avant-garde as it’s been doing one way or another for well over a 130 years or so already. The place to watch for next for something new and original, meanwhile, is probably Shanghai, I think.”


Questions by Skrufff.


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