Al Burian

Al Burian, born 1971, grew up in North Carolina (state motto: “to be and not to seem”) and lives in Berlin. He is the author of numerous books: "Burn Collector," "Natural Disaster," and "Things Are Meaning Less." He was a founding member of the punk/hardcore band Milemarker.

Articles by Al Burian

  • An Occupied Cinema in Rome

    The Cinema America in Rome has been taken over by squatters, and they have been showing great films. When I visited recently, there were screenings of the hip-hop classic Beat Street and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

  • Partying in a 14th-Century Czech Castle

    It was late afternoon, and a crowd was slowly gathering in the main courtyard. Pivo stands doled out beer for 25 crowns a cup under a clear blue sky. I made the mistake of referring to the event as a festival, and Aran politely corrected me. “We don’t use the word festival,” he e…

  • Crossing the Danube

    Between World War II and the fall of Communism, many fled Soviet-controlled East Germany and headed westward. The stories of these defectors have been exhaustively documented, but much less is known about the few who headed against the tide, west to east, repulsed by capitalism.

  • Saturn Dogs: Noise and Sushi Dinner in Berlin

    This multi-level approach fits well in Berlin, where the idea of a band already drifted away from traditional musical and instrumental concepts years ago, and where the art scene has been forced into adapting the scrappy attitudes and strategies of musicians out of economic neces…

  • Berlin's Suicide-Proof Nuclear Fallout Shelters

    The first 3,000 people to line up in an orderly fashion would be allowed to file in through a door and enter an air-locked decontamination chamber, under supervision of machine-gun-toting guards. A face behind a glass window would then instruct these lucky survivors to strip nake…

  • Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and the Infinite Sadness

    A popular figure since the first Angela Merkel cabinet, Karl-Theodor’s political future seemed secure after he became minister of defense in 2009. In early 2011, it came to light that he had plagiarized portions of his PhD. During the ensuing scandal, Karl-Theodor was stripped of…

  • Hunger Strike Against the Welfare State

    The very phrase Hartz IV has come to have a certain social stigma attached; in German vernacular it is almost synonymous with “loser” or “bum.” “Hartz IV kids” is the equivalent German derogatory euphemism to USA’s “welfare moms.”

  • Resist Control: A Guide to Riding Berlin Public Transportation For Free

    Riding without a ticket, or schwarzfahren, is something of a national pastime in Germany, and probably nowhere more so than in Berlin, whose citizenry the reigning mayor, Klaus Wowereit, once famously described as “poor but sexy.”

  • Voter's Guide for the Indecisive

    It’s an unproven sociological model, but why not give it a try? Let’s put women in control. Men have had 4,000 years in power, and during this time they have consistently done nothing but wage genocidal wars and raise taxes on the poor

  • A Visit to the German Hygiene Museum

    Underneath the pompous illusions of class or caste, we all share an essential animal trait: we have bodies. And our bodies are gross. To believe otherwise is simply a matter of fooling yourself by not looking too closely.