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Archive for the ‘art’ Category

1st of May

I was lucky enough to score some tickets for Kristina från Duvemåla and as the musical is played in Helsinki I got to celebrate 1st of May in my old hometown and meet some old friends as well!

I must say that I really enjoyed the show, the scenography was amazing and the singers were all high class. Janne was kind enough to show us around the newly renovated theater after the show. Pictures from the theater and backstage (beneath the stage) where the musicians were stored away.

   

And here are just some pictures to showcase how big 1st of May is in Finland. The whole of Helsinki having picnic in one park.

All pictures taken with my iPhone.

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Picture of the day

It’s a gigantic horse ass.

Sometimes you just don’t know what they were thinking…

I’m in Copenhagen. Have walked around a small part of the city, bought some beautiful things and taken a boat tour. It was a very nice day 🙂 And best of all – it did not rain! Until now, now it’s pouring down. I hope it’ll stop until tomorrow.

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I went to the library to borrow some magazines. And I thought it was my lucky day when they had all the latest issues of Damernas värld and Amelia. I quickly grabbed two copies of each, but it was then that I noticed…

they all had little notes on them. And what did it say on the little note? That I couldn’t borrow the magazines!

I was shocked and stunned and demanded an explanation. But still trying to calm down I thought “I don’t really know the system here in Turku, maybe they keep the magazines you can borrow on another shelf”.

Approaching the lady at the info desk I put on my best smiling face.

“excuse me, but is it so that you do not lend out magazines?”

“oh well yes we do, but they have to be one year old.”

“ONE YEAR OLD?! How long have you had such a rule?”

“Well for a very very long time now.”

“But… WHY??”

“I guess it’s because they were always lent out, they were never in their shelf.”

“But… this must be the ONLY city in Finland where there is such a rule!”

Now the polite smile the info lady had been keeping up went a bit stiff and I felt it was time for me to go. Of course I couldn’t blame her for the laws that the city has.

But the logic to this! Because they were in such high demand they just decided that no-one, unless you have enough time to sit and read in the library for a couple of hours, can borrow the magazines.

My mother jokingly told me to write a letter-to-the-editor. And why not…?

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Jag upptäckte att även Åbo har en konstens natt. De gjorde reklam för den i veckans skräptidning. Med stor glädje skriver de att man efter kl 17 bara kommer att behöva betala 4 euro i inträde till konstmuseet. Och hoppsansa, om man är under 16 år slipper man in gratis! Museet håller dessutom öppet ända till kl 22. Är det inte underbart så säg!

Och så kommer Åbo att vara Europas kulturhuvudstad 2011. Vad kommer de att hitta på då? Kanske de sänker inträdespriset till 3 euro det året…

Sen så läste jag en kolumn i dagens Husis (det är alltså inte veckans skräptidning om någon undrade). En liten notis om den provocerande popgudinnan Madonna. Jag läser “Då jag växte upp på åttiotalet brejkade Madonna med albumet Like a Virgin.” Och jag tänker; va coolt, hon uppträdde alltså med break dance…? Men senare står det “Då Björk brejkade med sitt unika sound var Madonna snar att anställa hennes produktionsteam”. Och för en kort sekund blir jag förvirrad. Men Björk håller väl inte på med break dance heller? Och sen inser jag att den lilla lilla sommarpraktikanten har hittat på ett eget ord – alldeles själv – nog är hon väl duktig! Hon menar förstås när Madonna och Björk fick sina breakthroughs, som då logiskt försvenskas till brejkade, för engelska det kan man ju inte använda i svenskfinlands största tidning.

Och hela den lilla kolumnen slutar med raderna “Hennes barn är med henne i Helsingfors. De är i ungefär samma ålder som jag var då hon brejkade.” Och jag vet inte längre om jag ska skratta eller gråta.

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Today I want to open up a manga-rental in Helsinki. A place where you can rent a comic book and then sit down in a comfy sofa to read it. They have them everywhere in Asia and now, with the growing interest for manga in Finland, I think it’s about time that we get one here as well. Here is a picture I took in Taiwan that would explain what I mean:

manga rental

Even though they sell manga in every supermarket nowadays they cost something like 8 euros a piece! Way too expensive in my opinion. So my business plan is to buy all the translated manga and the manga made in Finland and let people rent them for say 2 euros. 

The place could become a hangout for kids. Sofas in every nook and some vending machines selling japanese candy. There could even be a coffee machine.

And it wouldn’t have to stop there. If there was a basement or an upper floor I could arrange manga workshops. Every other week we could have lolita-nights where girls could compere their latest outfits. Then there would be all night karaoke where kids would stay up until dawn to sing. 

And because there isn’t that many Finnish manga books out there, I could hire a guy to translate the latest manga series into Finnish and print them out as text-only versions. Then the reader could look at the pictures in the book and read the text on a separate piece of paper. Then I wouldn’t even be breaking any laws (I think).

I’m sure I wouldn’t get any money doing this. Selling cheap candy and renting books for a couple of euros won’t cover much more than the rent, if even that. But it would be a lot of fun! And maybe I’ll even get some sponsoring from the Finnish comic book society (if there is such a thing), or maybe from the Japanese embassy or a cultural fund.

Maybe something to consider if I ever get unemployd…

…if someone isn’t doing it already that is

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I’m totally fascinated by today’s teenage culture. How a whole generation can be turned on by the Japanese way of living. When you go through Kamppi/Kampen (a shopping mall) you see them everywhere. The girls dressed in lolita outfits and sporting Japanese hairstyles. The latter is also popular among boys and requires loads of hairspray. It’s therefore totally acceptable to carry around a bottle of hairspray for emergency fixes. I’ve seen girls digging deep into their bags in both shopping malls and on buses to help out a friend who looks a bit droopy.

Man, I’d like to interview those guys to see why they choose to dress like they do!!

And then there’s the manga frenzy that started a couple of years back. You don’t have to adapt to the style of the country to enjoy reading these magazines, so they seem to appeal to almost all kids nowadays. The only problem might be the limited numbers of comic books published in Finnish. But then again I guess most of the real devotees know some Japanese by now.

So my thought was of course: Can this cultural form be incorporated into Christian living AND is there someone trying to reach these kids by using media that’s familiar to them?

And the answer is of course Yes! If you’ve grown up in a Christian home you might have encountered the comic book style Bible. We have one at home and I kind of liked to look through it every now and then when I was younger. An updated version has now been released and is advertised as the Manga Bible. 

The Bible should be totally perfect for illustrators as it tells stories of war, love and miraculous things – the only problem is it’s length, who could ever make the whole book into comic strips? The Manga Bible, illustrated by Siku, is therefore somewhat lacking in detail and some stories can be as short as one page. The other problem is that Siku’s style of drawing isn’t really manga, but as the word “manga” sells they’ve probably just added it to make it stand out from all the previous comic Bibles.

On the positive side however, it does appeal to a younger crowd, as can be seen by the sales figures in both US and UK. It also has a more popular language with Cain greeting Abel with “Whassup, bro?” as just one example. The Finnish version is now in stores and I would love to see how they’ve translated it! (And I just read that it has sold an impressive 5000 copies already!)

 Siku’s version is, however, not the only manga Bible on the market. One other ambitious example is the Mecha Manga Bible Heroes, which isn’t a comic book but more of a magazine which will publish the most popular Bible stories over a longer period of time instead of all at once. This seems to me to be a cooler option – maybe something to hand out in Sunday school – as it places all biblical stories in the future. So in the first magazine, David is still fighting Goliath, only that now G has turned into a big ugly robot. I think kids of today can relate to this story more than to one of a shephard boy throwing rocks at a huge man. But maybe I’m just talking about myself…

Other Manga Bibles to check out are: Manga Bible, with Hidenori Kumai as the author and Kozumi Shinozawa and Atsuko Ogawa as the illustrators. This one should be quite good as they published the entire Bible as it is and then just added 96 pages of illustrations. They even sport the word of God in red 😉 And if you like this version, you can have a look at Manga Messiah by the same authors. This is kind of a summery of all four gospels.

And if you are not satisfied with these options, there is more. For example a Manga Bible produced in Korean manwha style. In this version most characters have an Asian appearance which could be very helpful in abolishing the very Westernized look we have of Jesus! You could also practise your Korean since some of the sound effects are written with Korean characters. Five volumes are now available.

But since there are those who would consider a Manga Bible blasphemy and never ever let their kids read it. Then I could recommend something lighter:

Mangas made by Realbuzz studios. For example Serenity, about a blue hair rebellious teen who joins a bible study group. It cannot be as lame as it sounds as it has got very good reviews. Although beware, your kids may get to see her getting dressed! A half naked girl was obviously too much for some American parents who had sent in a complaint to the artists… Well what can I say, that’s US.

If you’ve only got boys alt. your kids are a bit older, they might find Serenity a bore. Then you could try Hand of the morningstar a classic superhero manga. Here, the battle between good and evil is given a Christian spin as the good guys serve a wise and powerful heavenly creature known as Morningstar.

 

To learn more about Christian manga you can check out The Project.

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In a time when even P.O.D.are advertised in manga format (I’m not kidding!), I can truly say that Christians have embraced this new form of media.

Or are we already one step behind? Maybe our mission would be more about setting new trends instead of following those that are already dying off…

 

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I’m loving it

So I must admit that I’m not a professional arts critic, the only art exhibitions I go to are free – there is the annual arts-night in Vasa when I visit Tikanoja’s and the new Kuntsi museum, and then it’s the occasional Friday when I have time to go to Tennispalatset and check out a new exhibition.

So my way of destiguishing good art from “bad” is by my very subjective idea of what’s pretty and funny – and what’s not.

One painting that has been on my mind ever since I saw it (in 2004) is Pasi Tammi‘s “Sinun oli aina niin helppo erehtyä” (It was always so easy for you to make a mistake). Unfortunately I’ve not been able to find a picture of the painting but here is another example of his brilliance:

 entitled “se mikä jää on sieluton” – what’s left is without soul

Another art form that I find very beautiful is spray on graffiti. Here is an example from Ireland:

And if you are ever going from Helsinki-Vantaa airport you might see another beautiful spray on of a man jumping off a building. It’s actually only a man that they’ve sprayed on a sign that marks the beginning of a population centre. Wonderful idea!!

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