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Here’s Luca G from our Elska Berlin edition, which has just been re-issued and re-printed with a new cover and some new pics throughout. Here’s an extra unpublished pic, showing my one time experiment with a red filter. Hey, I got it for free, so why not?!

Check out Elska Berlin, available to order online or in select shops around the world.

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We’ve just done another reprint of our popular Elska Berlin edition, but this time we’ve changed the cover. It’s still Raphael K, he’s still at the East Side Gallery, but this one’s just a little bit more colourful and vibrant.

Also, while we were at it, we changed a few of the pics inside and refreshed the design from the original. Check it out here: https://elska-magazine.myshopify.com/products/elska-magazine-issue-02-berlin-germany

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Hey Berliners and Berlin vistors,

Elska will have a table at the Miss Read Book Fair in Berlin, 14-16 July. Come say hello, pick up a copy of one of our books, and don’t be scared to ask for an autograph on a boob or bum-cheek! 

Oh, and if you want to know the times, I’d like to know too. But based on previous years, it was open to the public 12pm – 7pm on the Saturday and Sunday only. Check missread.com for updates.

Berlin is More Than Filth…with David P for Elska Magazine

I met David P for a shoot at his home near Warschauer Straße station. When I arrived it brought back memories of a weekend trip I took here a few years back. At the time I was living in Warsaw, and Berlin was a quick, cheap and easy train ride away.

Then I stayed at a gay hostel called Gay Hostel, out in Schöneberg. It was, by the way, directly opposite Eisenherz, a shop that now sells Elska. I remember going in there, having a good browse, and just loving the place. I had no idea that I’d end up making a mag that would be on their shelves one day.

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Anyway, me and some of the other guests teamed up and decided to go for a drink. After some debating it was decided that we should go to lab.orartory, a place that was said to be very “only in Berlin”. While I knew that there would be some debauchery going on, I didn’t realise until I arrived that you were supposed to be naked. Yet the idea of propping up the bar with a beer wearing nothing but shoes was not scary to me but rather, well, interesting. I was up for the experience, and with my new international hostel posse, I felt in safe company.

Located at Berghain, a former power station turned mega club, outside of which we shot Luca R for Elska Issue (02) Berlin, The Lab is in the depths of the complex. On arrival you are given a black bin liner into which you put everything but your shoes. Then you hand the bag over to someone who writes a number on your chest that you’ll use to order drinks against and claim your clothes at the end of the night.

I started with a couple of drinks, staying in the bar area, but soon felt curious enough for a wander. I recall seeing an old bathtub in the middle of a dark room, inside of which was a naked man fiddling around with himself. Other areas were more typical darkrooms, but less dark and much bigger. I was only there to look, trust me, and there was a lot to see.

The biggest impression of the evening was left, however, by a trip to the loo. There was this wall of about six urinals, the sixth of which wasn’t made of porcelain but rather was a large, middle-aged man sat on the floor with his mouth wide open. I stopped for a moment and considered which urinal to use, but in the end I was far too British about it and just assumed that it would be impolite to piss on some dude without being directly asked to. By this point the evening couldn’t shock me any more, so it was time to get my bin liner back and head off.

During the Elska Berlin shoot week, I considered going back, especially to try and shock my assistant Andriy, but there just was no time. And really, even though Berlin is famous for this level of filth, there is more to Berlin than nastiness. You don’t have to like fucking in public and pissing into mouth-toilets to feel you’ve had a proper Berlin experience. It’s like thinking that Bangkok is all ping pong popping shows and happy ending massages. Berlin is a great city with much more to offer than its notoriety. But it is there, and is worth seeing at least once.

To see the real Elska, visit www.elskamagazine.com

 

 

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(A Georgian Stew for Three, No Two… with Max E from Berlin)

Wednesday was a particularly busy day of our Berlin shoot week. After three days in a row of going until late evening with only our morning porridge and single cup of coffee to keep us going, we made a plan to have a proper meal. There was only about an hour spare between getting back from the David P shoot until Max E would come, so I sent Andriy on to the flat to set up while I went to Kaiser’s Market to get some pork, tomatoes, peppers, onions and coriander (which was effing expensive!). I’d be using it to make a Georgian style stew (I would LOVE to do an issue of Elska in Georgia one day, but sadly I think that homophobia is still too high to make it a safe choice for us our the subjects we shoot).

Anyway, I got to chopping veg and preparing the chashushuli stew, which was finally ready for its simmering stage when Max E rang the bell. I’d bought a large enough portion (plus bread bought that morning by Andriy – you can always trust a Ukrainian to choose good bread) so that we could invite Max to eat with us.

While the chashushuli was slowly bubbling away, we did the photoshoot, but Max seemed so nervous that I lost the nerve to ask him if he wanted to stay for dinner. It seemed like he wanted to get out, so I let him. And perhaps that’s why Max didn’t make it into the final issue – there was just a lack of ease in some of the pics. Also, he never wrote his text in time (bad Max!).

The chashushuli was lovely by the way. Sorry you missed it, Max.

Max E didn’t make it into the final cut of Elska Magazine Issue (02) Berlin, but you can see who did in Elska Magazine issue (02) Berlin

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(Should We Go To Tel Aviv?… with Shir N from Berlin)

I was very close to choosing Tel Aviv as the location for Issue (04). First of all, it would look drastically different from the past issues (Lviv, Berlin, Reykjavík) and thus provide some well-needed contrast. Secondly, although I’ve been three times, each visit was never for more than twelve hours (my trips to TLV were as a flight attendant and required me to sleep during most of those twelve hours). All I’d seen on these visits was from out of the coach windows and around the hotel (which was unfortunately in the suburbs). I really wanted to go back and see more.

In the end, I didn’t choose Tel Aviv for issue (04)’s location, though I’m not ready to say where I chose just yet. The reason was that I just wasn’t sure how to handle it politically. If I were to do an issue there, I would want to feature a diverse group of Elska boys. While I doubt I’d get an Orthodox Jew to take part in a mag with a mainly gay audience, I would at least need to include both Israeli and Palestinian boys. If I can’t, then I’m simply not doing it or people will automatically assume a political point of view.

But was that feasible? I did a tiny bit of research, contacting a several guys on Planet Romeo with details about Elska and what I wanted to do. Of the six Palestinians I contacted, only one replied, and it was just to ask if I was top or bottom. I would hope that with further time and research I could find someone to take part, but the early signs discouraged me. Plus, on the day after, a fresh intifada was declared.

What are your thoughts on a Tel Aviv issue? Let us know!

See more of Shir N and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (02) Berlin

Should we go to Tel Aviv?… with Shir N for Elska Magazine

I was very close to choosing Tel Aviv as the location for Issue (04). First of all, it would look drastically different from the past issues (Lviv, Berlin, Reykjavík) and thus provide some well-needed contrast. Secondly, although I’ve been three times, each visit was never for more than twelve hours (my trips to TLV were as a flight attendant and required me to sleep during most of those twelve hours). All I’d seen on these visits was from out of the coach windows and around the hotel (which was unfortunately in the suburbs). I really wanted to go back and see more.

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In the end, I didn’t choose Tel Aviv for issue (04)’s location, though I’m not ready to say where I chose just yet. The reason was that I just wasn’t sure how to handle it politically. If I were to do an issue there, I would want to feature a diverse group of Elska boys. While I doubt I’d get an Orthodox Jew to take part in a mag with a mainly gay audience, I would at least need to include both Israeli and Palestinian boys. If I can’t, then I’m simply not doing it or people will automatically assume a political point of view.

But was that feasible? I did a tiny bit of research, contacting a several guys on Planet Romeo with details about Elska and what I wanted to do. Of the six Palestinians I contacted, only one replied, and it was just to ask if I was top or bottom. I would hope that with further time and research I could find someone to take part, but the early signs discouraged me. Plus, on the day after, a fresh intifada was declared.

What are your thoughts on a Tel Aviv issue? Let us know!

To see more of Shir N, pick up Elska Magazine Issue (02) Berlin, available in select shops worldwide or for order online. See www.elskamagazine.com