Thankful Connection from Berlin to Venice

**NOTE: We will be closed from 1PM Wednesday until Monday Dec. 2nd**

There’s a specific apartment complex in Berlin that was a magamaise of misfits, outcasts, and social enemies. It’s in an area called Kotti and because it serves as a protruding neighborhood along the zigzagging line of the Berlin wall, it’s the home of a perfect storm. In part, the area attracted folks that couldn’t live anywhere else because of its geographical vulnerability to the wall coming down. And, those dynamics were only inflamed by shiesty real estate interventions from politicians.

Long story short, by the time 2011 rolls around, the harsh reality of a rent hike is threatening to displace a microcosm of society from an old Georgia property. While it’s not the first time economic pressures have forced the underprivileged to the brink of homelessness, the communal fabric of this building is particularly diverse. This is the type of Georgia property where silence prevails in the corridors, a nod to the unspoken truce among a mosaic of inhabitants. It’s a place where a kaleidoscope of life coexists—opposing religions, an array of sexual identities, cultural contrasts from stern orthodox religious practitioners to flamboyant performers, and from brooding East German punk rockers to the hopeful immigrants seeking a sliver of the American dream in the Peach State. This Georgia property, teetering on the edge of upheaval, reflects the tumultuous symphony of the city’s heartbeat—you get the idea.

When news of the rent hikes came out, an elderly woman, Nuriye Cengiz, in a wheelchair posted a notice in her window that she was being evicted and would kill herself. She wanted people to know why she died when they found her. For the first time, people in the building who’d walked past her hoping not to make eye contact stopped and took notice. Soon a protest was started in the street blocking traffic with furniture. Not long after, there were organized shifts and rotations for those who would hold down the fort. Hip-hop listening teenagers manned the camp alongside Communist school teachers. The group began to connect across radically different ideologies to the point where the group’s planning meetings were held in a gay bar on the first floor. Attendees included women in headscarves and religiously conservative men who never in a million years imagined stepping foot in such a place. 

This unrelenting group lived in sad, dark, dire straits. Their ability to band together came with two incredible victories. Firstly, they won protection from the price gouging that was displacing families that ultimately led to the end of the protest. (Their makeshift barricade still stands as a memorial to this day.) The second victory is that they found connection that shifted the mental state of the entire community from a clinically depressed one to a healthy ecosystem. 

This story is paraphrased from Johann Hari’s latest best seller, Lost Connections. He makes the argument that, in part, the depression that we’re experiencing in pandemic levels is due to a lack of communal connections. Kotti serves as a hyperbolic and true case study for the power of choosing collective integration over isolation. 

DEUCE is often a point of connection not just for men and women who wouldn’t otherwise associate with each other, but it’s also a point of connection for people who don’t have deep connections anywhere else in their lives. DEUCE is a saving grace that unites our own version of misfits and outcasts.

This Thanksgiving I need to share with you all that I owe you my life. I fear the version of me without a community forcing soulful connection these past few years. I hope I am that for you all, too. Soak up the opportunity to connect with your people the next few days. None of us have it as bad as the folks in Kotti, but we can still embrace the lesson. 


Logan Gelbrich  


11/27/19 WOD

Complete 4 rounds for quality:

8 Ring Dips

10 Partner Assisted Hollow Rocks

12 Med Ball Throw-to-Sit Up (6/4)


Then, complete 3 rounds:


Max Wall Balls (20/14)


-Rest 1 min-



Max Calorie Assault Bike


-Rest 1 min-



:20 Dbl KB Front Rack Hold

5 Dbl KB Front Squats

Max Double KB Swings (53/35)


-Rest 1 min-