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SPIELPALAST or SPIEL PALAST (n.)

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

In the midst of the wild whirlwind between WWI and WWII, spanning the Roaring Twenties (known for hair bobs, jazz, prohibition, and bathtub gin), the Depression (unemployment, poverty, loose morals), and the Weimar Republic (don’t forget dadaism, montage, and rebellion), Europeans and American expatriates 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.