Sunday, December 9, 2007

Finland 90 years 6.12.2007

Last Thursday was the 90th anniversary of an independent Finland. I was invited to reception at Riihimäki. This is a tradition of my very dear long-time friends Pikku-Markku and Kalle.

Very common scenery of the season.

Weather for the independency day was also very traditional, very wet and rainy. I drove to Riihimäki in the afternoon and the festivities slowly started after 16.00. Familymembers and good friends of Pikku-Markku and Kalle all came together to toast for the occasion.

Kalle and Pikku-Markku

Around six o'clock was time for yeat another tradition; to sing the national anthem, all together accompanied by piano. Little after that the broadcast from reception at presidential castle began in the tv and some of the guests settled down to watch it. This is very popular thing in Finland and also this year the program collected nearly three million spectators. I just wanted to catch a glimpse of couple of my friends who had gotten the invitation to the presidential party.

"Oi maame Suomi, synnyinmaa, soi sana kuuuuultainen..."

All together...

Presidential reception

Lively discussions

Later on in the evening the abundance of prosecco and champagne showed their impact among us and singing was very wholehearted, -no matter what neighbours should think about that. Some of the guests even got into dancing... All and all, it was a very nice party and I got to meet some people I haven't had a chance to meet in many years and made some new friends also. Thanks PM and Kalle!!

National-romantic themes and tunes; "Sininen ja valkoinen"

So charming...

Bubbles in all shapes and sizes

Something in the air...

Smooth maneuvers of Lauri and Heidi.

Kalle taking it easy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Snowy scapes

I'm back in Finland for a while again. I had to come over for some official stuff. For example, my passport just fell into pieces some time ago and now I had to come to pick up the new one. The schedule is pretty busy, but in a way, I don't mind soooo much. It seems to be quite ok weather now and in two days it's gonna be the independency day of Finland. For that I'm going to Riihimäki to attend a reception held by my very dear friends Pikku-Markku and Kalle. So nice to meet them, it's been really long time! Last time was when we gathered together to watch on tv the Eurovision Song Contest 07 =O

I attach here some pictures I took this afternoon. It was pretty much perfect winterday in Häme, southern Finland. You've seen this same back yard in the very first pic I uploaded here.

Couple of details of snowy pine branches.

Two Far-Outs, too far out..?

We have an art-room in our basement in Basel. Some folks would call it a bar, but anyway, Sergey and Manuela, who did the interior, covering the whole floor with mirror-mosaics, prefer to call it art-room. It's our living room and quite fancy place. There is a photo-album in the net, where you can check out more pics. --> Far Out

Down there we have all kinds of recreation, pool-table, one-handed bandit, video-beamer etc. We also used to have a pinball-machine, which Mitch got from a french guy called Lardon (?!!) already long time ago. He wanted to have it because it's called Far Out, same as his company and the art room too. This mechanical machine from 1974's is super fun to play.

Recently I saw that there was similar machine on sale in Ricardo, Swiss online auction and I mentioned that to others. After thinking about it for a while, Sergey decided to buy it. It arrived just couple of days ago and was placed next to the first one. Now it looks really cool and sort of crazy to have two identical machines next to each other in the basement.

It's actually funny. The machines should be identical, but there are big differences between them. How they sound, how they feel to play, how they give points ( new one is much more generous =)... Anyway, now there is more options in the art room than before: you can play Far Out, of you can play, wait a minute -what was it- oh yes, -Far Out!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pictures from Jubiläum

At first, couple of details of the working conditions. These were the original flood-lights installed in the Markthalle. As you can see, all of them didn't quite survive the time.

Detail: one of the floods

From 14 meters up, everything looks pretty small.

Looking down from the Genie.

Entrance of the Markthalle, with company gobos in Mac-moving heads.

Our control center in the hall. -Enough screens to run even bigger event...

Overview of the interior when the guests are arriving.
Detail: Stage during the entrance situation.
Guests arriving.

Detail: Star-projection on the ceiling.

Big kahuna Pascal Böni giving the official speech.

Pianist George Gruntz performing.

Sol Gabetta and violoncello.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Itag Information Technology AG 60 years Jubileum

November in Basel. Temperature hovers around +5'C during the daytime and sun shines from crystal clear sky.

View to our inner yard in Ziegelstrasse

Nice indeed - in theory (explanation follows) - This week I'm building set for Swiss IT company Itag's jubileum banquet. The event takes place in an old market hall downtown Basel, just next to the main railwaystation. The location is interesting: big concrete dome, 60 meters wide, 30 high. It's quite spacious and empty - and not very warm at the moment (that's why the crisp weather doesn't please me much), I have to wear two wool-pullovers under winterjacket in order to stay warm enough. Makes you feel like a Michelin man.

About 1/3 of the space in Markthalle

The other downfall of the place is that due to the special architecture, it's not allowed to rig anything to the structures of the building itself. Therefore we use the floodlights that already are in there - since thirty years untouched judging by the amount of black dust inside them. This task is bit tricky because these floods are hanged at 14 meters height. I have the cutest Genie in use, but still it's somewhat shaky up there.

My Genie and the destination

All the other stuff that is needed for the event is rigged on a pavillion-shaped steel stage structure which we built in the dead-center of the area. It looks very small but is indeed 5 meters high an 8 meted in diameter. In addition to lights there will be video-projection on the surface of the dome. This is something I'm curious to see, since the beamer is hure and multiple mirrors will be used to reflect the image to the ceiling. Position of the beamer will be in the little tower on top of the stage, facing down to the mirrors placed on top of the pavillion ceiling.

I will post some pictures of the actual event after Thursday.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nostalgy in Grenoble

So it is, it's eleven years since I was in Grenoble the last time. I spent a spring-term over there as an exchange-student in l`'École d'Art Contemporain. Some bitter-sweet memories there, undoubtedly.

I've been passing near by quite many times over the years, but never got the chance or time to drop by in the city itself. This time it was all different, since Mnemopark-tour took me there for work. We were performing at Theater Hexagone in Meylan, the bordering village of Grenoble. The gig was smooth inspite of the fact that there is usually bit of difficulties with the French scheduling of things. But in the end, our team is so used to do this by now that we're flexible even if Frenchies cannot be.

Mnemopark on stage at Hexagone

Our hotel was in downtown Grenoble though, only couple of blocks away from Rue Dauphiné, where I used to live. I went to see the old neigborhood one night and it all came back so easily; buying bread early in the morning at the marketplace situated under the railroad-bridge, walking to the school on Rue Lesdiquieres and sipping beer with my friends at the corner-bar on the same street.

Rue Gambetta, downtown

The bar used to be called "Le Warm Up" and was owned by a family who moved in to Grenoble from Versailles after selling their vineyard. We spent there so many evenings that I've lost count. So it was really a trip down the memory lane to go there for "boire un verre". Everything had changed quite much. There was a very friendly new owner who'd been running the place for last three years and he remembered well how it used to be in mid-nineties. We both agree that nowadays it's much more cozy, even though it wasn't so bad back then either. The owner told me much of what had happened over the years and served really delicious "croque monsieurs".

"Le cafe", Rue Lesdiguieres

Alltogether it was cool to visit Grenoble again. Some things have evolved quite lot since the last time, but in the other hand, much is just as it used to be. It was really nice to stroll along the streets of old town and re-discover all again. Even "Le Station Sandwich" is still there, nearby the Galeries Lafaytte, where I first got introduced to the wonder of eating french fries and fried chicken stuffed inside a baguette and served with a overporing amount of mayonnaise. Hmm...


I wish that my next visit to Grenoble doesn't lie a decade away.

The most friendly new owners of "Le Cafe"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Too much walking in Berlin

I've just landed in Basel after a week in Berlin, Germany. There we had four Mnemopark-performances in Hau 2 theater. This was the first time I had to do also the stage managing in addition to light set-up and operating. It was a cool experience and everything went quite smoothly, although I was bit worried in the beginning because of some details. Anyway, in the end I didn't blow up the neon-tubes and chicken and goldfish were also happily bustling around for the whole time =)

Since we were in Berlin for a whole week, I had also some time to get to know the city. I met a old friend of mine, Julia, whom I got to know in Bangkok two years ago. She showed me around and we did some bicycling and went to see a flea-market at Maur Platz on Sunday. The other freetime I spent just walking around the city, which resulted the fact that walking is bit difficult at the moment, because of sore knee. Old age doesn't come alone...

Summary: Berlin is a cool city. Under couple of pics along the "spazieren gangen"

Me and Julia at the Holocaust Denkmal

Famous east Berlin "Ampelmänner"

Near Oranienburgerstrasse

Cool interior for my idea-material library

Maur Platz flea market

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chill in Finland

For this week I'm in Finland. It's the most pretty autumn since long time. All the colors are just blazing; yellow, orange, red. So cool, this is my chill-out time. Time to unwind and meet some of my dear friends. Soon my journey continues to Berlin, where we'll have another gig of Mnemopark.

Mnemopark is quite familiar thing for me already since I've been in the touring-crew since last February. It's nice work, because it doesn't feel like so much work anymore -people and the procedures are familiar. And we also get to see all these different cities around the world: so far I've been to Strasbourg, Lausanne, Dieppe, Barcelona, Lissabon (just lovely!!!), Montreal and Quebec, Ljubljana and Pilsen.

Monday, October 1, 2007

News, news!

Hi everybody!
On this blogspot you will find my news in the future.