Where to find us this week end? Café Babel's guide to Istanbul'un hafta sonlarisi

Article published on March 10, 2016
Article published on March 10, 2016

Sometimes the (self)-(r)evolution is just around the corner - could it actually be this week end? Insights of a week end in Istanbul.

The week-end is almost here, and its time for Café Babel team to share its awesome projects with you to fill the long days awaiting for the summer time change (that's all we've been waiting for). And, this might actually be the last week end before getting lost in time schedules - again ; Turkey, winter time and exams being apparently unable to cope with each other as in any other country on earth. However our hearts are filled with hope, our souls with determination, and this week end might well be our time for... our own revolution. Briefing.

Friday - Learning from the past

Because a day without an exhibition openning in Istanbul is not worth to live, we start the week end at the opening of Sehir Ezmesi // City Paste”, a creative and participative exhibition in the evenly creative Closet Circuit in Çukurcuma, unravelling the city changes and development through a series of paintings, drawings, info-graphics and prints. The exhibition’s focal is on Karakoy’s indecent gentrification, which gives us a great occasion, after some drinks, petit-fours and other chit-chats, to slide down the hill through the narrow streets of the bohemian neighborhood, and jump in the next vapur to Kadikoy. A cay, a simit and a kedi on our knees while crossing the Bosphorus, and we arrive just in time to join the groovy ambiance of the traditionnal Jam Session at the alternative cooperative Komsu cafe, where the beats of the music equal the great exchanges with the progressive alternative youth of the Anatolian side.

Saturday - Going back to the roots

Because we are women (or not), because this is a men’s world, and because "Life's a bitch, you've got to go out and kick ass" Maya Angelou- , we get ready for the free of charge saturday-feel-good-morning taking place for the closing days of the Raise your Woice festival Istanbul, a cycle of exhibitions, conferences, workshops, film screenings and performances on gender equality and women’s empowerment all week long. This starts on early morning, with an hour of well-deserved relaxing yoga welcoming men and women alike, before letting the space to the women only basic self-defense training happening at BAU Galata. For those who are not yet done empowering themselves, the activities, workshops and discussions continue all day long.

For us, it’s time to get - finally! - some food at the charming vegetarian restaurant Helvetia in Tunel, where we just feel at home, except for the food - Turkish homemade cuisine like if you were in babaanne’s kitchen! One can order either order his food with single plates or make his own mix plate by pointing up-to 5 dishes - yoghurt soup, green lentil meal, leeks and artichokes in oil are just to die for. A quick walk down the hill and we are down drinking a taste of the spring to come, a homemade lemonade at the Lebanese Arada Cafe in Tophane. The occasion to chill and rest for a while, or wander on the scenic banks of the Bosphorus, and think of our plans to take over the world.

As it's always good to do some practice, and because "vision without execution is hallucination" Thomas A. Edison (we're going somewhere)- , saturday evening starts in a Kurtuluş' House Party for an original openned house-concert with Country for Syria and Plak Attack. A beautiful balcony, some country, some funk, and there you go shaking your booty, without feeling any guilt swipering the drinks you’ve brought with you (house party IS good for your budget) because all donations will go directly to Small Projects Istanbul - for Syria that helps to those affected by the Syrian conflict. Not yet enough and you want to do more partying for the good cause? We’ll jump in a taksi (or enjoy some singing in the rain) and join the awesome crowd of the Göçmen Dayanışma Mutfağı/Migrant Solidarity Kitchen which invests for a night Eski Beyrut with a diverse line up of local groups, world music and electronic DJs to celebrate the fourth anniversary of mutfak; for us a way to dance all night long and fall asleep with dreams of borderless world and united solidarity…

Sunday - the revolution from within

Sunday is already there, and because we could not get enough of Tarlabasi rythms, we start the day by devouring with our five senses the noises, the smells, and the delicious tastes of spices, cheeses, breads, vegetables, fructs of all colors and all shapes from all the villages around at the Tarlabasi Pazar. The scenary is mesmerizing and ideal for a sunday-hangover-digestion balad and cheap shopping for the week, in one of the most lively and diverse neighborhoods of Istanbul. The bags filled with way-much than what can actually enter our fridge, and way more healthy food than what you've ever seen - a sane spirit in a sane body, oh yeah -, all that dropped home for the pleasure of our roomates, lover(s), or… cats (no comments), our artists souls are still hungry. Time to take out a pencil and some sketch sheets, and we head to the sunday life drawing session organised in some cool guys’ appartment in Postacılar sokak, close to Istiklal Caddesi. Everyone brings and enjoy well-deserved wine, while excersing his/her artistic/childhood drawing skills with a live model for our very own eyes and pencils.

Our art piece finished (or still in process, inspiration is always what tricks soon-to-be artists), it’s our turn to sit and just listen to the acoustic songs of Yillar gecse de ustunden orkestra, at Kumbaraci50 tiyatro. We let our tipsy minds gently get high on the sounds of piano, cello, violin and percussions, as a sweet reminder of the winter time ticking by and the conjugation of better selves and tomorrows, ... until the next week end.

Friday 11/03/16

Closet Circuit, 18h30-22h00 Free entrance - Firuzağa Mahallesi Bostanbaşı Caddesi No:23 Çukurcuma

Komsu Cafe Jam Session - starts at 19h - Free entrance - Uzun Hafız Sk, 83/A, Kadikoy

Saturday 12/03/16

Raise your Woice Festival - 7-13th March, Free entrance

Yoga 9h00-10h00 & Self defense training 10h30 - 11h30

BAU Galata Keneralti Cd. No 24 Karakoy/Beyoglu. Registration :

Helvetia vegetarian kitchen - Mix plate of dishes is around 10 TL to 14TL.

Asmalı Mescit Mh., Gen. Yazgan Sk No:12, Istanbul

Arada Cafe - Hacımimi mahallesi Lüleci Hendek caddesi 23A Tophane Karaköy Beyoğlu

House Concert in Kurtulus - From 19h00 - Free entrance, donations welcome - Kurtuluş Caddesi No: 115/6 Mutfak Eski Beyrut Party - From 21h30 - Free entrance, donations welcomed- Eski Beyrut, İmam Adnan Sk. No:8/2, Beyoğlu


Tarlabasi pazar - From 9h00- 18h00 around - down on Omer Hayyam Caddesi

Life drawing - starts at 17h00, directions on the event page. Entrance 25 TL, bring your own materials and wine (if needed)

Yıllar geçse de üstünden, Kumbaracı50 Tiyatro - 20H30 - 35 TL

Kumbaracı Yokuşu No:50 Kat: 2 Beyoğlu  - Reservations :