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SPIELPALAST or SPIEL PALAST (n.)

a palace of games, drama and theatre. [spiel= game + palast= play]

At the end of the wild whirlwind between WWI and WWII, The Depression (known for its loose morals, prohibition, unemployment), The Roaring Twenties (hair bobs, jazz, bathtub gin) and the Weimar Republic (don’t forget dadaism, montage and rebellion)- European and American ex-patriates flocked to the literary cabarets and burlesque entertainments. These featured a wide range of scandalous and subversive performance, including political satire, nude dancing, gender bending and elaborate avant-garde nonsense spectacles. In the increasingly oppressive atmosphere of fascist nationalism, brutality, censorship, and restricted civil liberties, these cabarets and burlesque shows served the purpose of transgressive disordering radical internationalism and a much needed release from the rigidity of “family values.” Performed in local clubs and cafes the cabaret celebrated the unstoppable resilience of the individualistic and alternative human spirit in a time of mass propaganda, blind patriotism and military frenzy.