København. Snippets.

During the last cold weekend of winter I spent 48h in Copenhagen. It was delightful. And freezing.

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I had a great time testing a Fuji X100. I wasn’t enough experienced to always calibrate the right light, but in the end I preferred not to modify the pictures in post production, to keep the genuine state (or mistake) of art.

Here some snippets of the trip, enjoy.

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One subtitled heretic movie in the afternoon

I studied arts during uni, but not the kind of talented arts you’re thinking. I am no artist, but I liked and still do history and words and knowledge, so when it was time to pick classes, I took an Arts and Media direction. During the course of three years I studied many interesting things, I still remember a three month immersion in the world of jazz music for example, but I also found out during that time that for living I could watch every movie possible, every one I wanted, with no limitation. I actually found out there that most of the times the limitations that I thought I had were coming from the inside, from myself.

For the first time I saw that the potential was infinite, if the willing would have started from me.

So I watched as many movies as possible, and at least twice per week, I used to skip class and head to the cinema for the first screenings, at 3 or 4pm, with a very cheap student ticket. There are few people going to the cinema so early, especially in a relatively small city in Italy. I remember the pleasure of having an entire room and screening by myself, changing seat whenever I felt to. It was inebriating. I remember also when I watched Brokeback Mountain, until the last second I thought I was alone in an empty cinema. Then two aged ladies came in. For my surprise one of them was blind. You can imagine how the screening went. From drama the movie turned in kind of comedy, at times into a boring voiced-off documentary. Every scene, every action was carefully explained with a slow, loud voice to the blind lady by her trusty friend. The blind lady conveniently answered every description with a comment, because of course people, opinions matter. I believe they had no idea what the movie was about, because I hardly hold myself to not burst in laughters when the two protagonists started getting closer and closer. The talking lady at a certain point described a scene in the tent as “they are starting doing impure stuff”, with the other one “ oh no, oh no, that’s disgraceful”. That was the best moment of the movie indeed, from my seat and liberal point of view. Those two catholic ladies made my day, in a certain way. I watched a movie tonight and the last song on the soundtrack reminded me of that verbally-subtitled Brokeback Mountain’s movie. I hope I cracked a smile with this story. Go listen to the song, think of the infinite possibilities and potential you can get from this strange life and from yourself. And listen to the song here below.

Winter 2015 – Favourites

Winter

Hello lovely people.

I’m back to talk about my seasonal favourites, spanning through music, film, radio and much more.

For this 2015 I decided to explore the topic “Playlist” on a different level, not anymore on a monthly basis, but based on the seasons, on each colours, weather and events that happen along the way. This winter has been unusual, cold and grey, but snow lacked, for my disappointment. Spring came with a windy week of clear sky and sun, here in Berlin. Quite a blessing, culminated with the solar eclipse on March 20th, equinox day, what a show.

Well, let’s start with the favourites, let me know what you think.

Enjoy and bring joy with you, always. 

Val

 

Music

In this playlist you can find:

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Flowers

You can tell it’s January in Berlin when you can find the first narcissuses and tulips and more in every supermarket. I love them! such a colourful presence in my flat. I personally like to buy myself a nice posy, to display in my bedroom. It’s a lovely feeling to wake up and see flowers, indeed!

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Film

I watched Song One because of the beautiful presence of singer songwriter Johnny Flynn and a great soundtrack. Despite the music, the movie itself is meh, I must admit, so maybe skip the movie and go listen to the OST.

I also watched Birdman since it won the Oscars, and I can tell that it’s an excellent movie, but I simply can’t explain how Boyhood didn’t bring the statue home. Seriously I can’t wrap my head around it.

I ended up watching Still Alice a Saturday night that I was home alone. I generally liked the idea, and Julianne Moore really studied the pathology before playing the role, but what a weird way to roll the narrative, highlighting things that would not necessarily be highlighted (Husband cheating? Kids’ daily drama?)…Dunno. Not impressed in the end. I have also to say I really dislike the choice of letting a saltless actress like Kristen Stewart such an important character?

Whiplash wowed me. What a great, cruel movie about music and jazz. It reminded me of a past boyfriend practising jazz until his hands bleed. It’s true that that kind of practice makes you a fierce human being. Sometimes a bit of a superior asshole too. And then, well, there’s my homie Miles Teller. I always watch and support him, he’s finally starting to move forward shitty blockbusters and work with his talent for nicer, more meaningful scripts.

Book

The beast is back.

And it’s scary.

And intense.

And simply great.

Radio

I want to suggest you StartUp, from Gimlet Media. At the beginning I thought that the podcast was a spin-off like Serial of TAL (I spoke about my devotion for this podcast and host Ira Glass last year) bur it’s something different. I really liked the story telling and the genuine enthusiasm and tender naivety to the business world, while he is approaching to start his own business.

If you want to give it a go listen here to the first episode and download the rest of the podcast from http://feeds.gimletmedia.com/hearstartup

Tv series

Pretty good stuff during the past months!

The last man on Earth premiered in early March and it’s a nice mix of comedy and drama. Rather enjoyable!

I’m a big fan of The Americans, something that has been growing slowly but steady on me. Season 3 is delightful, very recommended!

Broadchurch, series 2, was something not to miss. The big flaw is to last only few episodes. Can’t wait for season 3.

I am also following Suits and The Good Wife, and of course I watched season 3 of House of Cards.

So much to watch!

Photo

It must be a photo from my recent trip to wonderful Kop.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

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Ljubljana, Slovenia

Slovenia turned out to be the best option for a quiet, yet insightful, weekend between the feasts of Christmas time and NYE. I drove for about 4 hours on a sunny, cold day, enjoying the view I have in front of me. From North Italy to Slovenia, passing by Trieste and its crazy wind, the panorama changed drastically: from a sleepy countryside, to rocky sweet hills and then mountains, valleys and villages with a red-roofed church nestled in the snow.

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My first surprise was to realise how versatile Slovenia is. I only knew it for the short coastline, similar to Croatia. It’s, instead, a delightful mountain country, similar in some ways to Austria with balkan accents, running to the Mediterranean Sea.

Check MUST-SEE PLACES IN SLOVENIA, as perfectly summed up on TRIPOSO

The time frame to visit Ljubljana, a pure gem, in a weekend is simply perfect.

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You get the time to explore the centre, the castle, its museum and the panoramic tower, to eat in some delicious restaurants ( I personally recommend Julija Restaurant and the über-romantic Restavracija Špajza), and enjoy the spas.

Many hotels offer swimming pool and saunas, if you are on a more low-budget there is a public pool and sauna not far away from the city centre called Atlantis (in Summer Ljubljana’s water park).

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Don’t forget to have a boat experience, it’s a 30min ride for 5Euro, great especially if the weather is not the best (and to chat with locals).

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… Slovenia, I’ll be back, for sure.

P.S. I still need to solve the problem of my broken camera, ending up being the idiot who takes picture with a crappy mobile. My apologies. And yes, I do accept donations to buy a new camera.

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December Highlights!

No matter what, time runs fast.

In times of pain or sorrow, it seems slowing down a bit, but it is just our perception, in the end. Time doesn’t matter of you, of you needs, of your way of living or acting. Like nature, it goes on its own way. I have come to ignore, then acknowledge, then like time, because of it’s natural bluntness. Move straight forward, do not ever stop.

So, as my last blog post of the year is approaching the “published” status, I am going to say goodbye to a hard, intense 2014, pretty much ready to start 2015 with less fear and more conviction. I hope you are going too, and many other good feelings and great dispositions.

My usual December Highlights might just be a short post, this time, but music can’t miss. This is my last playlist, I hope you’ll like it.

From a frozen, lonely world I salute you.

Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest! Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest! Thine be ilka joy and treasure, peace, enjoyment, love, and pleasure!

-Ae Fond Kiss-

Enjoy and bring joy with you, always.

Val

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Anselm Kiefer. Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London

I came full of expectations, got stroked by the sacred Art itself, and left in a glass case of emotions.

Photo courtesy Royal Academy of Arts. Photography: James Harris / © Anselm Kiefer.

Photo courtesy Royal Academy of Arts. Photography: James Harris / © Anselm Kiefer.

By the time I steamed my enthusiasm off I started wondering what the hell happened to me in there. Then I started feeling a little slice of disappointment running into my veins, from the heart to the brain. Let’s proceed one step at a time.

The solo exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts, wonderfully organised, gave me lots of great moments, such it’s poignant. 12 rooms in total, from the early works to special installations made for the Academy, an actual path to explore Kiefer the artist in a fluid flux along the building, majestic feature and background.

In the Hall. © Anselm Kiefer

Hall. © Anselm Kiefer

The official website states:

“Kiefer’s extraordinary body of work includes painting, sculpture and quite simply monumental installations. Uncompromising in the subject matter he tackles, Kiefer’s work powerfully captures the human experience and draws on history, mythology, literature, philosophy and science.”

I loved the composition in the rooms, the visitors were flooding in every possible spot, yet the dynamics between artworks and people was perfect. I also loved having the chance to check out the early works.

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Early work © Anselm Kiefer

I guess it is about time to explain why I love so much Kiefer. As I already wrote, the term “poignant” could be the only meaningful explanation. To be more talkative (it’s a blog, for Lord’s sake!) Kiefer is a post-war German artist that worked on crucial themes such as history, religion, mythology and  more. A mix of anthropology, ethnology, and more. I could keep writing stuff and ass “and more” and it would not still been enough. Kiefer is the kind of artist that never stops going a bit further with investigating the human being, its actions, its spiritual side. On a personal level his relationship  God-Man is also vastly investigated, as visitors can see in his works with sunflowers and the ones with diamonds.

The use of materials is also an important part of Kiefer’s production. Wood: his childhood; Seeds: religion and life; Stones and Steel: history. And more. Everything seems to have a meaning and this aspect is sometimes endearing, sometimes overwhelming.

© Anselm Kiefer Anselm I am sorry I took some pics, it was prohibited and I learnt it only after been told off by guards

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Anselm I am sorry I took some pics, it was prohibited and I learnt it only after been told off by guards!

Now, what I realised I didn’t like about the exhibition, that little disappointment was the fact that 2 big topics were missing: the holocaust and more about the Bible, like the Genesis. Also the books and memory topic could have exponentially improved.

I remember a young myself visiting White Cube London some years ago, and falling in love with Palm Sunday and Aperiatur Terra by Kiefer. Oh my days, that exhibit has still a hold on me. It was everything. And more.

I didn’t see anything of those topics, and my little heart cried a little, I must admit.

© Anselm Kiefer Courtyard

Courtyard © Anselm Kiefer 

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Courtyard © Anselm Kiefer

Anyway, I have to wrap this blog post I am writing on a Saturday evening in a nice pub of Clapham Old Town, so I am going to invite everybody in London to go visit the Royal Academy of Arts in Central London and pay the ticket for a Kiefer experience. It’s worthy. And more.

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LAST WEEK TO SEE KIEFER AT RA! (it ends on Dec 14th!)  https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/anselm-kiefer