Cherry Blossom Viewing in Copenhagen

It has been an unusually warm and sunny week in Copenhagen, and everybody seems to have been struck by mild spring craziness. Cherry Blossom Viewing was the thing this whole past week, and much like in Japan, the most perfect cherry trees made the TV evening news. Hereabouts, the cherry blossom alley in Bispebjerg Kirkegård  (the park and cemetery near the impressive Grundtvigs Church), was the most popular site for an improvised hanami.

I took these pictures a few days ago, and today we will be checking out the Copenhagen Sakura Festival at Langelinie, even though the weather looks a bit dodgy. They have a lot of activities the whole weekend, and it is a really fun place to visit, I did last year!

Instagram and facebook were bursting with pink flowers as well, most popular hashtags were apparently #sakuraweekcph and #bispebjergkirkegaard - I checked out the first tag a couple of days ago, and this is what it looked like....

Pink, pink, pink. One of my favorite colors. And spring is indeed here.


Pssst, it's World Book and Copyright Day!

Actually I didn't know, and I just discovered. I did know about an event here in Denmark (Danmark Læser, read more here), but not that it was part of an international event!

Reading is one of my absolute favorite pastimes, and I can safely say that not many days in my life, since I learned how to read, has passed without reading. I did not grow up in a particularly intellectual home, and none of my parents were very enthusiastic readers, so I have no idea what lead me. Only that I have binge read myself through many a rainy day, sleepless night or dreary holiday in my childhood, and I just never stopped. I practically only read fiction, and if I read non fiction it is for work, or maybe the occasional autobiography (I have Barack Obama's 'Dreams From my Father' somewhere, and will definitely read it some day. Also Lena Dunham's 'Not That Kind of Girl' was lots of clever fun, and I plan on reading some more bios on one of my heroes: Astrid Lindgren).

To celebrate the day, here are five of my top reads from the last six months or so, I recommend them all with enthusiasm, read a bit more below the photo...

Click links in the text below, for more info on the books.

From top left: Marge Piercy's Braided Lives, I found on the recycle shelf in our local garbage recycle facility (I often find great things there, and also leave plenty of books for others). It was so good! First book by Marge Piercy I ever read. 

Donna Tartt only seems to write books you get completely swept away by, and The Goldfinch is no exception. Sad, but not as dark and uncomfortable as 'The Secret History', which is my favorite. Very, very entertaining. 

The French autobiographical novel, Delphine de Vigan's Nothing Holds back the Night (a portrait of the writer's emotionally unstable, self destructive, but also charming mother) was very well reviewed everywhere, and that just made me curious. It was moving, but what I really liked was that it was quite unsentimental, and yet so loving. It didn't bring tears to my eyes, until I reached the very last pages, but those pages were unforgettable. 

And then: Hemingway's collected short stories, such a classic. But actually not a writer I had read much of, and I didn't think I cared much for him. But last spring I fell in love with Key West, one of his many home towns, and visited his house and little museum there. I picked up 'The Sun also Rises' in the museum book shop, and that was it! That lead me to a rather extensive Hemingway binge, and this is the top edition of his short stories. This is in a class of it's own, especially as short story writing goes (I love reading short stories, and I love how you keep coming back to your favorites). Give the old sailor, war correspondent and compulsive womanizer a try, if you, as I, haven't before! He is so worth it.

The last one, Emma Donoghue's ROOM, is like nothing I have ever read before. The topic is very shocking and at times the story is almost physically upsetting to read. But - you will be richly rewarded. It is an amazing and beautiful book, one you will never forget.


Visiting ARoS part three - Your Rainbow Panorama

As I mentioned the other day, I had to cover Your Rainbow Panorama in a separate post, mainly because it looks so gorgeous that you take a thousand pictures, and then a few just doesn't do it. It is a surprisingly elegant and minimalist structure, and a quite vertiginous experience to walk around in the dizzying, psychedelic color cloud, where the fantastic view of the city gets this eerie and unreal quality, because of the intense color filter you see it through. 

The roof terrace under the panorama walkway is a great place to hang out as well, and the whole thing is basically a do-not-miss must, if you go to Aarhus. I will not attempt to interpret Olafur Eliasson's artistic intention here, but the whole building is said to be a paraphrase of Dante's Divine Comedy, and the panorama is supposed to be the Paradiso. I think?

Here we are, perhaps in Paradise. The weather was great, that's for sure.


Happy birthday, Daisy*

It is Queen Margrethe's 75th birthday today, and it is celebrated everywhere. Here she is, on the cover of a big Danish weekly woman's magazine - and one of the best covers they have had for a long time (fine work by photographer Les Kaner). She is a great looking 75 year old, and I have to say that even though I am not a royalist or monarchist, even, I have a soft spot for this quirky, tall, chain smoking aristocrat. She is something else, all right, and I acknowledge her enormous importance for Denmark as a quite edgy and hard-to-miss PR person. So, happy birthday to you, Daisy!

*Daisy is her very official nickname, and one handed down to her her by her parents when she was a girl (it was originally her Swedish maternal grandmother Margareta's nickname. It is a word play between girl's names and the Danish end English names for the flower), and the daisy has become her signature flower. I think we are going to see a LOT of daisies today! Even the iconic Georg Jensen brooch was named after her, and modeled after her grandmother's original gold, diamond and enamel brooch from Stockholm. That daisy has a lot of history, and you won't find many Danes that can't tell you at least some of it.


Visiting ARoS part two - go see some art!

We mainly went to see Something Strange This Way - Janet Cardiff & Georges Bures Miller, and you can too, but you really have to hurry (it ends on April 19th). For the rest of this year you can see Out of the Darkness, a curated view on some of the works from the ARoS collection, and The 9 Spaces in the basement will be arranged as they are now, until late 2016. Which means that you can see - among many, many other things - the fantastic Shirin Neshat video installation (which you should, even though it is more than an hour long). See a bit about the stunning ARoS building in part one.

Here are some glimpses from four very intense hours the other day:

From top:
Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller: The Carnie (2010)
Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller: Opera for a Small Room (2005)
Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller: Storm Room (2009)
Carsten Höll: Sphäre Rosa (2001)
Maurizio Nanucci: My Sense of Your Sense of Language (1994)
Tracey Moffatt: Doomed (2007)
Tal R: Rumdi, rumdi, rumdi (1989-2013)
Shirin Neshat: Women Without Men (2004-08)
Olafur Eliasson: Your Atmospheric Colour Atlas (2009)
Olafur Eliasson: Omgivelser (2007)
Mariko Mori: Tom Na H-ui (2006)
Olafur Eliasson: Your Condensation (2013)
Tony Oursler: Unk (2004)

Visiting ARoS part one - the place

The funny thing about living in Copenhagen is that you live quite far away from the rest of Denmark, even though you do live in the capital. Which is one of the main reasons I still hadn't gotten around to visiting the impressive ARoS modern art museum in Aarhus. Somehow, spontaneously, it was decided that my sister and her family were going in Easter, and I managed to squeeze myself into the car, and off we went. It was a great experience, it really exceeded my expectations, and I would warmly recommend a visit, should you be in the neighborhood.

I like how the building (architects: Smith, Hammer & Lassen, 2004) doesn't try to be light or 'easy' to grasp visually, it is massive, solid and perched on a hilltop in the middle of Aarhus, and you see glimpses of it hovering over the city everywhere. On top it is adorned with Olafur Eliassons Your Rainbow Panorama (I will get back to that in a separate post) which is kind of shiny and out of place looking on the dense building. And yet, somehow, it works. It's weird and not very Danish, and I like it.

As you can see, the rainbow is even visible from inside the museum, here it is reflected on a nearby building. It has truly become a landmark, and this view from a bit away is quite stunning:

Once inside the building, it is a totally different experience: it is white, spacious and full of surprising vistas and angles. I could argue that it is perhaps a bit confusing and you tend to forget which floor you are on, but that's to do with the wayfinding design, which could be much better. But see how bright and airy it looks:

That is the famous Boy by Ron Mueck you glimpse at the bottom of the vertigo provoking glass atrium. You see him from many angles and heights, and he is really something to see, I discovered. Read much more about him here. 

My nephew and brother-in-law taking in the Boy. He is HUGE!

We also liked that they have a bring-your-own-picnic-space. I wasn't large, but the big yellow sculpture you can use as a bench / table / play area is cool.


It was a lovely Easter

And now it's over. Back to the goldmine, so to speak. We had a lot of guests, some sun, I took a great trip to Arhus, and had a bit of crafting fun, even though I don't see where I found the time.

As you can see, there is always some kind of Easter Tree thing going on in some corner, this year on my beloved birch branch (dry and old, but I can't bring myself to throw it out). 

I had some yellow paper flowers (from a shop), but they looked a bit lonely. So I made some very yellow Easter Himmeli (well, why not?), and got into making flower pompoms, which is something I have been wanting to try for a long time. I saw them on the brilliant blog Mr Printables, and they are such fun to make. A bit tricky, so follow the instructions very carefully.

Here is Mr Printables Flower Pom-Pom tutorial - and here are my first attempts!