As always, Berlin's cultural calendar for the year is chock-full of events. Yet the city could offer even more, says DW columnist Gero Schliess. Too much is predictable and not enough is avant-garde.
The year started with a bang. Even though it sounds like thunderous chaos for most normal people, Berliners heard heavenly music in Germany's largest New Year's Eve party at the Brandenburg Gate.
The largest, the fastest, the longest — superlatives shall further be used through the year 2018. At least according to Berliners, who find the virtue of modesty rather annoying.
A look at this year's cultural calendar, however, is sobering. There aren't any endless series of exciting mega-events or extraordinary innovations on the program.
The usual suspects serve once again as the pillars of the capital's culture.
At the top of the predictability scale is the Berlinale, with film director and producer Tom Tykwer at the head of the jury. His recently released masterpiece TV series, "Babylon Berlin," was sold to over 60 countries. Berlin's international film festival has been panting for years for a similarly memorable worldwide success in its competition.
The Berlin Fashion Week and the Berlin Art Week have also been chronically suffering from an international attention deficiency. That's the worst thing that could happen to Berlin's self-proclaimed "world kings of culture."
I'm not referring to the immature putting on of airs, but rather to this city's incredible creative potential that hasn't been tapped into yet. Berlin can achieve more. And we can expect more from Berlin. Especially considering the record budget attributed to culture in Berlin.
I'm however not quite sure this will emerge from events such as the 2018 European Athletics Championships or the Berlin International Green Week, which are both so naively promoted by Berlin's marketing experts in this year's cultural program. It sounds to me like compensatory satisfaction.
Versace, Lady Gaga, Barenboim
Will we have to rely on hard liquor for our amusement? Well, things won't be that bleak either in 2018.
Right in January, a retrospective of fashion icon Gianni Versace will be on show at the Kronprinzenpalais.
Mega pop stars including Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga (top picture), Noel Gallagher and A-ha are also on their way. And time-tested festivals such as Fete de la Musique and Karneval der Kulturen will be taking place this year without fearing for their financial survival thanks to the new festival funding program established by Culture Senator Klaus Lederer.
That leaves the Berlin Philharmonic and Berlin's five other symphonic orchestras as additional reliable pillars of the city's culture, and let's not forget the three opera houses, the Staatsoper, the Deutsche Oper and the Komische Oper.
Under the direction of Barrie Kosky, the now 70-year-old Komische Oper is breezing into the New Year with strong musicals and operettas.
Daniel Barenboim's newly reopened Staatsoper can shine with its chic atmosphere and state-of-the-art stage technology.
However, the Deutsche Oper literally overflowed briefly before year's end: Its overzealous sprinkler system flooded the stage.
Superlatives and super crashes are often related.
But that's not a surprise. Especially not in Berlin.