Friday, September 24, 2010

Fairy forest gone haywire

While I was in Finland, I worked with dance theater Raatikko again. They did a new production for small children; the kids from daycare and first elementary school classes.It is called something like "on the paths of goblins"

The story was pretty simple. All the things are turning strange and all the beauty is disappearing from the forest. The goblins have already had to leave their homes and seek refuge with the fairies territory. Goblin boy meets a fairy girl and they become friends.

Goblin boy and fairy girl meet for the first time.

Weird bug invades the space.

Daddy-fairy encourages fairy girl to do the fairy work so that the order in the forest would be maintained. Audience, all dressed up as little goblins and fairies, is asked to participate in drying the flower petals and untangling the spidernets used for sieving the fairydust.

All the work is still not done!

Why all the goblins are in the Fairy forest??

While everybody is working something strange happens. A weird whitish object falls from the sky. Daddy-fairy finally figures out that it is a seed planted to the forest by the evil Wizard of the Crystalbrook.

Work in the forest includes drying the flower petals and untangling spider nets.

Mystical object falls from the sky.

Daddy-fairy recognizes the object to be a seed.

Daddy-fairy knows the wizard, because they used to be best of friends when they were young. They would spend their days playing eerie elf music with their magical instruments, but then the wizard got arrogant and greedy. 
Daddy-fairy tells the story of the Wizard, his childhood friend.

They used to play elf-music together.

Brave goblin boy promises to fight the wizard if he comes.

Collecting fairydust - the secret weapon against the wizard.

Daddy-fairy departs to have a look into matters in goblin forest. While he is gone the evil wizard shows up and casts spells in fairy forest. First the water starts to rise and goblins try to swim in it and the fairies to fly over it. But the river is too wild. Then the wizard reveals himself and tries to take over the forest by casting spells onto the people, but they resist. Finally they conquer the wizard by blowing fairydust onto him and he escapes sneezing and promising to turn good again.

Wizard casts a spell and water in the river rises.

The Wizard shows up and tries to bewitch the fairy folk.

In the end all is well again and daddy-fairy returns. He announces the start of a big fairy party.

Fairy folk covers the wizard with fairydust and he flees sneezing.

In the end all is well and it's time for big fairy party.

Goblins and fairies are:
Script: Pirjo Toikka
Directing and choreography: Marja Korhola
Set design and costumes: Taina Relander
Light design: Minna Heikkilä
Music: Timo Muurinen

On Stage:
Musician: Jone Takamäki (daddy-fairy)
Dancers: Riku Koskinen (goblin) and Outi Markkula (fairy girl)

Premiere 18.9.2010 @ 14.00.
Shows 16.9.-27.10.2010 workdays @ 9.00 and 10.30.
Saturdays 2.10 and 23.10 @ 14.00.

Go see...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

(Hyper)Active weekend

It all started already on Thursday, when I went to see a play at Theater Academy. "Maallisten ilojen puutarha", directed by my friend Anne Rautiainen, turned out to be very refreshing experience which I enjoyed thoroughly. It was nice to see some real illusions on stage since a long time. Somehow illusions have been banned for a while now and nobody really uses them anymore. Sad. Even if bit kitschy, this post-modern handling managed to deal out strong emotions and beautiful, very visual pictures.

On Friday I popped into a party at Sun Effects to meet some colleagues and hear about some new innovations. It was cool that this party happened to happen just as I was in Helsinki. Managed to meet many people I hadn't seen in the longest time =)

On Saturday afternoon I went to see one of the last rehearsals of a new comedy "Eila, Rampe ja palvattu onni" by Helsinki City Theatre. This was also a positive surprise. Usually I don't think that much of comedies, unless they are really, really precise. The actors were brilliant, those real old warhorses, but the text was the thing that blew me away. The dialect Sinikka Nopola uses and the elasticity the text twists and turns makes it priceless.

After the play we went to have couple of drinks at the cafe next door and little later we got the idea of glow-bowling. I haven't done any kind of bowling since high school, so I was bit dubious about it. All I could remember from that one and only time I tried the sport in the past was, that the ball was too heavy and it refused go anywhere but the gutter. This time it was different. I actually had a blast and didn't suck at it half that much I feared. Cool sport, cool friends, nice cider. Blast!

After the bowling the Helsinki tour continued to a bar called Populus to do some karaoke. I doubt that I'll ever go there again. Far too aggressive and jam-packed for my taste. There is in the same region many others, that are ways friendlier. Not recommended. I did sing couple of songs nonetheless.

Ugly lantern and karaoke screen.

After some 11 hours of cider-sipping and various activities I went home only to continue the following day.

My Sunday started with brunch at cafe Tintin Tango with a friend. At 11.00!!! The night  wasn't so sure I'd manage it. I'm a superwoman, yay! Anyhow, I spent couple of very nice hours with Favela catching up on everything that had passed since the last time we saw each other.

From brunch I continued my journey to "Habitare '10" fair to check out what's new in interior design, light and appliances. In three hours I figured out that this season design's are to my taste bit too boring and old news. The most interesting part of the whole fair was the the section of eco-designs.

Habitare '10
Stripes are popular this season, some of many
Quite pretty eco, made out of PET-bottles
Another sample of ecological design

The organizers had thrown also Art Helsinki expo to the same fair bundle. Compared to Art Basel the collection felt quite humble and pale =)

Art (?) Helsinki '10
For the evening I had got myself invited to Pikku-Markku and Kalle to cook some dinner to them. I sold my idea quite easily by promising to cook my notorious green thai curry =). There was altogether five people dining and the six liters of curry was fast consumed. My worry about loads of leftovers was premature. For the dessert we had again some apple tiramisu, it never fails.

So, it was some weekend, I'll say. On Monday I felt more tired than before the weekend. So much for relaxing time off.

Bears in Helsinki

142 colorful bears have showed up in Helsinki! These United Buddy Bears arrived couple of weeks ago from Kazakstan and collect money for Unicef and other charities. Two-meter-tall statues promote tolerance between the nations and reflect the member countries of UN by standing paw in paw. Each of them is designed by local artist.

Colorful line-up at Senaatintori
Behind the idea stands an artist couple Klaus and Eva Herlitz, from Berlin, Germany, The collection of bears have been put together in 2002 and has been touring the world for past seven years. Exhibition in Helsinki is the 20th. This collection has already managed to raise 1 600 000 euros for child welfare, even though there is no admission. Money is collected out of auctions, that sell the national bear in the end of each exhibition.

Big bears
I think this is a very, very cute and cool idea. All the bears are very different from each other and one can easily spend a long time checking them out. Some of them are somewhat obvious, some really strange, but nonetheless all of them are very interesting. So colorful. And joyful.

Swiss and Finnish bear side by side, what a coincidence =)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Culinary overdose in Tampere

It's been quite some time since I had a chance to write anything because my laptop went to maintenance. But now there is finally an update. More blabbering about my stay in Finland will appear shortly...

I spent the last weekend of August in Tampere with some dear old friends. The main plan was to eat well, sip some drinks and do Singstar. Our Friday night's special was something called "Apple menu".

Apple menu
The thing with this three course dinner was that all the dishes contain apple in some form. The range of possibilities turned out to be amazingly large. So many different kind of flavors, yummy...

Our first course was very creamy soup with some strong Koskenlaskija-cheese (sort of Philadelphia with Emmental flavor) and sauteed apple chunks. The contrast was very interesting between the salty cheese and the sweet apple bits and pieces. That white lump is whipped milk and egg =)

Friday first: apple cheese soup

Our main course on Friday was spare ribs, first marinated in apple cider and then cooked in the oven for couple of hours on low heat. To add the final touch, they were barbecued to get some nice grill-flavor to them. Unfortunately our master of the grill didn't want her photo published online, but I can tell you, it looked pretty far-out in the late evening; it was all dark outside already and she was wearing one of these real strong orienteering head-lights. "Let there be light..."

Well, anyway the end result of all these preparations was that the meat was literally melting away from the bones. With the ribs we had some vegetables roasted with fresh rosemary and thyme in olive oil and some real bad-ass spicy mango chutney. Fresh salad as a side dish. Sooooooo delicious!

Friday main: apple cider marinated spare ribs, roasted veggies + mango chutney

After the main course a little time-out was absolutely needed, but we got back to the eating business later in the evening. Our dessert was old and reliable apple tiramisu. It has actually nothing really to do with the original Italian tiramisu, but it's killer delicious nonetheless. This dessert is constructed in layers of:
1) apple (sour type) chunks sauteed in cinnamon, honey and this time a dash of brandy
2) crumbs of Petit Beurre biscuits
3) natural flavor fresh cheese and whipped cream mixed together.

Friday dessert: apple tiramisu

Saturday; moooooore foooooood!
The program for the following evening contained more eating.

For starter girls cooked up some cheddar cheese soup based on a recipe on Ulla's collection. It was creamy and nice. - And looked pretty much the same as the starter the day before =O Taste was very different, though.

I prepared my traditional filled chicken fillets as the main course. I rub some spices and garlic to the meat and then fill the pocket with good amount of Roquefort cheese rolled into Parma ham. This time I tried Schwarzwald ham, which worked just as fine. It just needs to be of strong flavor. These fillets were served with creamy pepper sauce and smashed potatoes with herbs. On the side little bit of sour black currant jam.

These two courses were quite unbeatable but perhaps together bit too heavy. Food coma was inevitable and no one capable of having any dessert =)

Saturday entree: cheddar cheese soup

And yes, flashlight makes everything look disgusting, sorry about that. You'll just have to take my word for the food having been delicious....

Saturday main: chicken fillets filled with Roquefort+Schwarzwald ham