Friday, February 26, 2010

Duunari/Working Man - 7 paintings at Vakiopaine

I have finally finished the paintings that I have been working on for my next show. The title of the show is Duunari/Working Man.

I'm a working man. I'm a working man's son. I've done it all. Restaurants, bars, construction, demolition, the list goes on and on. I decided some time ago that I would do a series of paintings that would be tied together with the theme of working man.

In these paintings I am taking a look at my own life and the lives of workers that I have gotten to know over the years.

Motivations, dreams, simple things that make it all worth it.

Getting the job done. Punching the clock. Putting in the time.

The boss and his lackeys breathing down the working man's neck. The union reps making sweetheart deals trading away the benefits earned over generations of struggle.

Deatheye Dog and his mongrel pups bringing curses disguised as blessings.

The show will be up from March 1st until the 21st at Vakiopaine.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mäki-Matin perhepuisto - Mäki-Matti family park

Mäki-Matti family park is Finland's oldest family park (founded in 1979). It is located near the university and not too far from downtown either.

The park has both outdoor and indoor facilities, including play and meeting spaces, a kitchen for warming up snacks, a restroom, playhouses, jungle gyms and (in the winter) a children's skating rink. There are also indoor and outdoor toys available for kids to play with. The indoor facilities and the toy sheds are open Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. All families with small children are welcome.

Events and children's clubs and family activities are organized regularly. For example a family cafe takes place on Fridays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Coffee, tee, juice, and pulla are available during the family cafe.

Here are a few pictures taken of the park a few days ago. I promise that I will post some more photos once summer eventually arrives.

Where to find the Mäki-Matti family park:

Näytä suurempi kartta

Laskiaispulla - Shrovetide pulla

I should have made this post a few days ago while Shrovetide was still going on, but I guess better late than never is acceptable.

Laskiaispulla is sold in Finnish bakeries for a few weeks every year preceding Shrove Tuesday. It is made from a cardamom pulla dough and filled with whipped cream and almond paste or whipped cream and jam.

This laskiaispulla was made by Fazer and is filled with almond paste and whipped cream.

Recipe for laskiaispulla here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Progress on my upcoming show

My next show will be going up at Vakiopaine on March 1st. I'll be displaying 7 paintings. The subject in all 7 of the paintings is a working man, which explains why the name of the show is going to be Duunari (Working Man).

Here is a photo of all 7 paintings in various stages of development. One of them may be done already (haven't touched it for days), some are real close, the rest have some way to go. It may seem that I'm cutting it close to the March 1st deadline, but trust me, I work best under pressure.

Paintings in progress - click on photo to enlarge

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Googlen Street View tuli Suomeen - Google Street View Finland published today

Google has finally published their Street View images of Finland. Their specially equipped cars were prowling the streets of Finland last summer. I must admit that the photos of downtown Jyväskylä turned out to be pretty good considering that the satellite photo of downtown was taking on an overcast winter's day and you can't make anything out besides clouds.

Kauppakatu (Handelsgatan in Swedish) as it passes by Kirkkopuisto (the church park):

Näytä suurempi kartta

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ice skating on Lake Jyväsjärvi

After a long wait the ice skating track is open on Lake Jyväsjärvi. It is most conveniently accessed from the harbor area. I'm not exactly sure but I would guess that the track is at least a few kilometers long if you skate the full loop. There is also a cross country ski track that follows along next to the skating track.

The Kotakahvila offers hot beverages as well as kicksled rentals. According to the sign, the sleds rent for 5€/hour.

Helmi-Festivaalin toinen ilta - The 2nd night of Helmi Records Fest

Helmi Levyt put on a two night show at Vakiopaine featuring artists from their label. Friday night was great but it is quite possible that Saturday night was even better. The featured artists were singer/songwriter Sami Kukka, folk music group Tuulenkantajat, and the night was finished up with the highly danceable eastern European musical stylings of Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha.

I didn't shoot any video but I did manage to take a few photographs. I've also included links to the Myspace pages of last nights musicians so you can give their music a listen.

Sami Kukka
His Myspace page here.

Their Myspace page here.

Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha
Their Myspace page here.

Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Helmi-Festivaali Vakiopaineessa - Helmi Records Festival at Vakiopaine

Sometimes I feel like the luckiest immigrant bartender/bouncer in all of Central Finland. We tend to have a lot of high quality live music performances upstairs as well as top-notch presentations in the black box theater in our cellar.

Helmi Levyt (Helmi Records)is putting on a mini musicfest this weekend at Vakiopaine. Last night (Friday) Inariveljet performed first and then were followed by Tampo.

Some photos and video from last nights performances:


A video of Inariveljet performing last night:

Sorry that the camerawork is a little jumpy. Its not so easy to work the door and shoot video at the same time...



The sound quality of the video I shot during the Tampo performance was exceptionally poor so I'm choosing not to post it. Here is a link to their Myspace page.

Helmi-Festivaali continues tonight at 8 pm with performances by Sami Kukka, Tuulenkantajat, and Jaakko Laitinen & Väärä Raha.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kaj Chydenius, Ritva Sorvali, and Minja Koski at Vakiopaine

We were extremely lucky to have a show of this caliber at Vakkari. Kaj Chydenius is a Finnish composer who has written music for decades. He is known for composing the music for political songs in the sixties and seventies but he has also done much more than just that. He has also set Finnish poetry to music, reinterpreted old folk songs, and composed music for theater presentations.

The gig last Sunday at Vakiopaine was just great! I don't know what else to say besides that. Ritva Sorvali and Minja Koski provided the vocals to Chydenius' accompaniment on piano. I don't know why I didn't think of shooting some video.

A video of Kalliolle kukkullalle, a Chydenius rewrite of an old Finnish folk song. The Chydenius version has become a classic in its own right. The video clip is from an Oktober Klub performance in the DDR, most likely filmed in 1973(in German, then in Finnish.

The lyrics for this song in Finnish:

Kalliolle kukkulalle
rakennan minä majani.
Tule, tule, tyttö nuori,
jakamaan se mun kanssani.
Jollen minä sinua saa,
niin lähden täältä kauas pois.
Muille maille vierahille,
etten sua nähdä vois.

My off the cuff translation:

On a rocky hill
I will build my home
Young woman come along
to share it with me.
If I can't have you
then I'll go far away from here
to a foreign land
so I won't see you anymore.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Runebergin torttu - Runeberg's torte

The 5th of February is Runebergin päivä (Runeberg Day). Johan Ludvig Runeberg lived from 1804 until 1877. He is the national poet of Finland, perhaps best known as the author of Saarijärven Paavo and The Tales of Ensign Stål, the prologue of which became the lyrics for the Finnish national anthem Maamme.

Runebergin torttu, as made by Elonen

The tasty tortes made in honor of J.L. Runeberg usually hit the stores here in Finland several weeks before the holiday which is celebrated in his honor.

A recipe that I found for these sweet, moist, almondy little cakes. I have to admit I haven't tried this recipe. If you do, let me know how it works out.