Sunday, October 31, 2010

"it really makes the room come together"

I admit that my blogging has suffered some serious blows of neglect of late, which must make it tedious for you readers to read it - if indeed you still are? Actually, if you've started visiting less, I want you to know that I don't blame you. Even I don't read my blog all that much any more and believe you me, for many years I've been its most devout reader. 

Anyhow, this time, the cause of my 2-day long disappearance isn't a lack of interesting things to tell you. Quite the contrary! In fact my mom was here, visiting from Stockholm, and so I've been busy hanging out with her and keeping an eye on her while she did some of her upholstering wizardry at our place.

You: "Upholstering wizardry?! Why, do tell us more Sarah! Show us pictures! Give us details"
Me: "Of course! In fact, I've been downright dying to show and tell you!"

OK, so once upon a time in August or September I bought a cheap couch from a manic-depressive man and his ADHD teenage daughter who had just lost her mother to alcoholism and diabetes. It was all very sad to say the least, and so surreal too how I wound up spending a couple of hours in these people's company. They were kinder than kind and even drove me home with the couch and all while we had a good long chat about this and that. But even so, when they drove off and left me curbside with couch leaning at my shin, I felt like calling out: "Wait, I forgot to ask you, did she die on this couch?"

I honestly don't think that she did, in fact, I don't even think the couch came from the deceased's house, but even so, once Johan and I had carried it upstairs, the first think we did was pull off its cover and leave it to its bare, rugged essentials - which, to put it bluntly, wasn't much of a look.

And so we've been draping it up, covering it in this blanket and the next, waiting impatiently for my mamma to come down to Copenhagen and sprinkle some of her magic on it. And boy did she do just that! Just look how nice and pretty it looks! And what's more, she managed to do it all by hand (because my sewing machine is "shitty" as she put it) and within the span of six hours. Now that's just plain crazy!

But you know what? I actually had a tiny hand at making it nice too! Not only did I get to choose the fabric, but on top of that I got to make the buttons (yes I did!) and sew them in myself!

And just look how well that turned out:

Need I say that I'm beyond grateful for having a mother who can so quickly turn a wrong purchase into just about the best thing I ever got? :O)

Psycho, are you there?

I got us a new shower curtain, because the one that was already here when we moved in was see-through and had images of tropical fish on it. The white one is far less noticeable in a much valued way, except that fact that I can't see what's going on on the other side creeps me out and makes me long for the old transparent one. It's a question of getting used to it, I know, but yesterday I kept peeking out of the shower just be sure no psycho was standing there waiting for me to get out.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

culture of conspicuous fandom

This is apparently March-old news but who cares: Mattel is making Mad Men Barbie Dolls and they're only 75 bucks a pop!

Very pretty, except Christina Hendricks/"Joan" looks suspiciously un-curvy to me.

I wonder if any of you have observed or perhaps even personally experienced how that show is making its audience into the most consumerist of consumers? By the time Johan and I had watched season 1, we had got ourselves 1) a 1960s Rheem Califone record player (which was in fact sold by a guy who worked for Mathew Weiner), and 2) a decently stocked bar cabinet. On top of that Johan took to ordering an 'old-fashioned' when out and about, and rather than identifying furniture as '1960s', we suddenly labeled it 'Mad Men'. You know, used as an adjective. As in: "Look at the chair. It's so Mad Men".

I realize that so many other shows will coax people into buying stuff, but it strikes me that people who are on the Mad Men band wagon are cult-ishly aware of the fact that they're buying into the show. I guess, to a certain extent, it was the same with SATC (I mean, aren't Mahnolo Blahniks, Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes and the Meatpacking District just synonymous with that series?), but for most other shows, isn't the consumption they inspire much more, I don't know, un-articulated? 

I realize that a period piece such as Mad Men is bound to inspire a different, nostalgic kind of consumerism than a series set somewhere in contemporary America, and perhaps it is exactly the scarce availability of 'all things Mad Men' that makes it worth so overtly buying into. I mean, sure they wear fancy ass designer clothes on Gossip Girl and Berverly Hills 90210, but pop into an H&M or a Forever 21 and you'll be sure to find an acrylic replica of that little black dress. As for 'all things Mad Men', they not only come fewer and farther in between, they're also, in comparison to whatever else that's readily available in present day consumer society, conspicuous in a different way. Yes there's a tendency to worship all things 'vintage', 'retro', 'authentic' and 'original', and as such, the producers of Mad Men hit the spot by providing us with beautiful images of our dreams and desires and all the stuff they're made of, which we can furthermore hope to scout next weekend when we visit a provincial flea market. But even more, they hit the spot in terms of providing us with a compelling narrative of those very dreams and desires, all set in 1960s New York, the acropolis of modern welfare and consumer society. In many ways, the cradle for the past to or three generations.

And that narrative makes "Mad Men consumption" feel good, somehow. If not in a naïve and carefree way, then at least in a way that's not-so-bad. And for a few hours a week, this is a really welcome antidote to the apocalyptic prophecies of anti-consumerists that have filled my little head for what feels like so long.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Johan, tying his shoes.

Like one of them arabesques. Kinda.

So, would you like to see some collages I've made recently? Yeah? You do? Really? Great:O)

This is my Anchors Away-inspired collage sitting in a very shitty-frame, which shouldn't be slim and silver-colored but rather thick, gilded and wickedly ornamental.

The important thing is, however, that if you look up close, you can see it's Gene Kelly and Jerry the Mouse all tangled up in a systematic embrace. Kind of like an arabesque. Kinda. And this is important.

See, this is the scene I was inspired by:

And this is kind of like the framed look I would have preferred, but finding cheap faux gilded frames in this tiny kingdom is difficult.

(By the way, don't you just love my photoshopping abilities? To be honest, I didn't do it in PhotoShop but in PowerPoint. I think I'm the only person who uses PowerPoint for something else than boring business-presentations. It's funny cos I have some kind of love-loathe relationship with PP.  Because in a way it just makes makes sense to me, but then at the same time, how can you not hate it? Go figure.)

I also made this one featuring my man Schwarzenegger punctuated by a blood diamond. "It's tentatively called: "If it bleeds we can kill it".

When Johan of London's dad was here a while ago his comment to it was: "That's a lot of muscle". I guess you can only agree.

I've become so bad at taking photographs, I realize. Look how lopsided it is. Anyhow, here's a close-up:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I love you Dexter Dalwood. Really, I do.




Good Golly and Jesus Molly, how I love these paintings by Turner Prize nominee Dexter Dalwood! They make me want to pack up my computer and just go home and paint, paint, and then paint some more. David Hockney is increasingly having that effect on me too, but truth be told, can't we all agree there is some serious Hockney hommage painted onto these beautiful canvasses?

I have to go to London. Soon. As in as soon as I can, so I can see some of these babies in person.

By the way, do you sometimes wonder what happened to my whole plan of going to Goldsmiths? I do occasionally, but then I remind myself that I had absolutely no money to make it happen. But do you wanna hear something else? The same day that school was supposed to start, I got two scholarships/awards in the mail. Seriously. Fate is perverted ain't it? But by then, of course, it was too late. Anyhow I'm fine about it now, but I have to admit that when I see paintings as beautiful as these it stings my little old heart a teeny tiny bit that I'm not standing in some unheated studio somewhere in London, covered up to my knees in oils and acrylics and basking in self-destructive thoughts.

But hey, next year, maybe;O)

Monday, October 25, 2010

dogs on a Monday




Wow, fellow bloggers out there, don't you just love when entertaining content just drops into your lap on a regular ol' Monday morning such as one were celebrating today? I do, and on that note please enjoy these photos of dressed up dogs that I stole from this mister, tipped by Gawker. I wonder what's going on in Gracie-in-Woof-With-The-Wind's mind, but it suffices to say that I dig her facial expression.

The bed bug-dogs (whom I'd love to see from the front too) are dedicated to a friend of mine here in the Danish capital, who just found out that she got bed bugs in her apartment. Bummerdrama. Really. Apparently a dude in her building brought them home by way of New York and then they inched themselves up a few stairs and into her house.

Finally, should you find a need to feel further entertained on the internets this morning, may I then have the pleasure of directing you to my pics from last year's Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, and after that, this absolutely hilarious series of photos of Dylan McKay/Luke Perry posing with fans at Comicon.
 
But I'll be back for sure today. It's one of them Monday's, you know. Talk to you later:O)

P.S. Someone should really arrange for a Halloween Dog Parade her in Denmark, don't you think? I think so. Pedigree Pal could sponsor and the dough could go to WSPA. It would wind up on TV for sure, and make everybody happy. Cos that's what TV and dogs do. Remember, All Hallow's Eve is on Sunday.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Smačnoho


Sometimes I wonder a bit about the genesis of Johan's DNA, suspecting that once upon a time there might have been some stout Ukrainian farmer lady who decided to migrate towards the Copenhagen suburbs and take a dip in what eventually turned out to be Johans gene pool.

This suspicion usually strikes me when Johan sets out to cook his signature dishes so hearty you'd be likely to think the boy has never heard of things like saturated fats and cholesterol. Or that, if he did, someone must have convinced him that such things would be good for you regardless of your daily intake.

The other night he cooked us a very Eastern European looking lamb casserole, which was very high in, well, animal fat. It was good, believe you me, but as someone who, unlike Johan, is actually in the position where gaining weight is a possibility, eating this two nights in a row felt sinful to say the least.
Zina the collective farmer via here

This evening I tried to atone for it by cooking us a roasted chicken with some oven baked vegetables and cous-cous and this thing called salad. To make it all go down I, made a sauce too, albeit a very lean one based on red wine, spices and onions. A tad of sugar to taste.

"Will you keep an eye on this while I take a shower", I asked Johan when everything was close to done and ready. He nodded yes from the couch, and off I went, only to return some ten minutes later, finding Johan by the stove, smiling wide: "I just added all the chicken fat to the sauce!"

"But why?" I asked.

He stirred for a while and the resolutely said: "Well, it's good for you!"

P.S. the caption should read "bon appetit" in Ukrainian. Feel free to correct me if I got it wrong.

on the window sill

Look at this pretty little thing that I got today when I visited a flea market along with my daddy-o! It was only something like 5 little bucks, and in minter than sweet mint condition. And what's more, Johan liked it instantly! 
Often he takes to not liking the stuff I get immediately. Sometimes he grows to like it, sometimes he doesn't like it at all. So when I brought this home and he vented that it suited his taste, I said: "Well perfect, then you can have this one on your desk, and then I can have that red one on mine" (- I have recently brought home a big burly 70s work desk lamp from dad's office you see). Anyhow, he considered my suggestion for a second or two and then said: "But the thing is, I kind of like the red one too now...so why don't we just put this one in the living room so we can both enjoy it?" 
And so we did. It sits on the window sill. Looking all nice next to some of granny's old porcelain-thingies.

My Dog Tulip.

The other night, as I had just settled down on the couch to sew buttons onto my overcoat, a most lovely film began on TV. It was an animated feature film, of the adult variety, which is not say that it was sexually explicit or anything like that, but rather that it was intended towards adults.

"My Dog Tulip" it was called, based on the eponymous novel by the late writer J.R. Ackerley, and not only were the style of the animations and the direction of the story beyond lovable, but the whole thing was also narrated by none other than Christopher Plummer (you know, from The Sound of Music), who, with age, has acquired a voice so perfect for storytelling its likely to fills you with so much comfort and ease you'd suspect you might have been drugged.

To top the whole thing off, the story itself, was just beautiful, in that sensitive and understated yet glaringly bright way. I'm sure that anyone who has ever had a dog in their life will marvel over Ackerly's ability and courage to put into words that most bizarre but also absolutely heartwarming relationship that often evolves between man and canine.

Dog owners out there, do watch it if you get a chance to:O)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

she must've charmed 'em alright!

Look what my mamma got me at IKEA! The delicious cook book with baking recipes that I ranted about earlier this month! It turns out it's not free free - as few things ever are - but rather something you get for free when you buy one of IKEA's kitchens. Which makes sense somehow, cos my mother told me it's really big and heavy, the paper in real splendid quality. Nothing cheap and brochure-like about it at all. But she managed to get a copy for me all the same:O)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hooked on V

Dear readers,

I have a crush. Not one of those can't eat, can't sleep, over the moon, over the rainbow kind of crushes, but still a crush so big I kind can't seem to think of much else than my crush. Or well, crushes, I should say, cos there are actually several little lovely things that get my heart rate up and going these days, and they go by the names of Snookie Stackhouse, Vampire Bill, Lafayette and Eric.

Yes sirree, I'm hooked on True Blood, and I've managed to watch two full seasons and four episodes within one week.

That's a lot of TV my friends.

But it's so darn great I can't help it. And Johan feels exactly the same way. Every evening we both agree it will be so nice to just spend the night on the couch, together, just the two of us, when in reality the only company we care about are the fictional citizens of Bon Temps, Louisiana.

Johan's absolute favorite is Jason Stackhouse, and when that dude hits the screen, Johan gets more filled with joy than the firs time I told him I loved him.

It feels wrong somehow to see your own boyfriend get so excited about a fictional fella, but then again, I'm exactly the same. When Vampire Bills drawls "Sookie" in his lovely Southern way, I positively get chills down my spine. Just listen to this:

We both feel equally enthusiastic about Eric, played by Alexander Skarsgaard, whom we both seem to find equally handsome and scary. I'm sure he gets a lot of pussy. Or whatever he might be into.
Lafayette is also just about the coolest guy there is. He calls everybody 'hooker' and deals V - code for Vampire Blood which is not for kids, let me tell ya.
Anyhow, on Saturday night I was home alone, and since I wasn't allowed to watch an episode of True Blood on my own, I took to 'researching' the whole cast instead.

And here's some of the wonderful trivia I can inform you of:

Sookie, aka Anna Paquin is
1) Bisexual
2) The second youngest person to win an Oscar. Really? Yes, really. She won it for best her performance in The Piano.
3) And guess who her real life husband is? Vampire Bill! Now, if that's not too good to be true, then I don't know what is!
Anyhow, off I am to watch an episode! Or two! Or three! Or four!

Monday, October 18, 2010

uh-oh

When my sublessee in New York added me as a friend on Facebook, I immediately knew it was a bad idea. In fact, one of the main reasons why I decided not to sublet my place to a friend was that I figured that sooner or later I would see party pictures from my bedroom or cooking pictures from my kitchen somewhere online, and more importantly I would feel the desire to comment silly things like "That's MY place! That's my impeccably eclectic taste you see there in the background! I painted that door! Those walls! It's MINE! MINE! MINE! YOU HEAR?!!!"

All of which wouldn't be very tasteful. And just serve to prove the lack of interesting content in my life.

But you know what? Since accepting my sublessee's invitation to cyber-friendship, I've actually managed to contain myself. I haven't commented at all, and believe you me, I've read my fair share of status updates that left me in agony and full of want of adding something snappy. Like the time
  1. when, about a day after moving in, she openly wondered on Facebook is she ought to study abroad in London this winter. ("But aren't you subletting my place for a year?" I felt tempted to ask. But I didn't.)
  2. when, on a certain September Saturday, her Facebook status shouted out in glee: "Rooftop-party at our house tonight! Text me for details!!!" (Yikes.)
  3. when a couple of weeks ago she wrote that Gossip Girl was filming RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER APARTMENT! and later added that she just bumped into Chuck Bass RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER APARTMENT! (God, clearly that should totally have been MY experience).
  4. when, as this morning, I woke up to see party pictures from my bedroom. And there were many scantily clad women, let me tell you. Tanned ones too. With big boobs. And there was a big pile of mess on my bed, I think. But still, I kept my trap shut.
Heavy sigh. I guess the good thing is she's actually a real sweetheart and no-fuss tenant. Bless.

Late night shopping.

Isn't it great? It's designed, signed and numbered by a Joe Newton, printed at Woodside Press in Brooklyn, and available for 15 little bucks at I Love Typography

I bought one immediately! Late last night. It's as if I'm more spontaneous at that hour. Or perhaps I just think less. I dunno. But I guess that somehow makes the purchase even more apt.  

Friday, October 15, 2010

92



Yesterday was granny's 92nd birthday and we celebrated it true to her spirit by sitting down for a very traditional Danish dinner, which included my very first roasted pork loin with crackling! 
We also had a bunch of other rich and fattening stuff such as the caramelized baby potatoes you can see caressing the roast in the photo above, which is something I honestly think you ought to try out! I think it could be an interesting accoutrement for a bunch of 'contemporary' dishes actually.
Here's the basic and very simple recipe: Boil and peel the potatoes or peel and boil them. Once they've cooled a bit you set off to frying them in melted butter and sugar (a couple of tablespoons of each should suffice for about two pounds of potatoes) on a roasting pan until they're semi-evenly covered in toffee-like caramel. 
All in all it turned out really delish, and I'm 100 % certain that gran would have approved!

Danish Modern.


After not going out for breakfast on Sunday, Johan and I ventured out to a huge indoor flea market at the old shipyard Burmeister & Wain located dangerously close to his house.

Great Scott!, they had so much delicious furniture of the Danish Modern variety! I'm telling you it was like walking into the prop storage room of Mad Men or something.

We got a mirror. Which I'll show as soon as I get around to mounting it on the wall somewhere:O)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sunday Breakfast. For the cheaps.

On Sunday Johan and I decided to go out for breakfast, but by the time we'd got dressed, we had both started dropping hints at one another about how one could also 'just cook up egg and bacon and pancakes at home'. How, that way, we'd have it exactly the way we like it served. And we wouldn't have to pay an exorbitant price either. And so we stayed and had breakfast at home.

It's funny, because going out for breakfast really is one of my favorite things to do. But because it's twice as expensive to treat yourself to it here in Copenhagen as opposed to New York, it kind of just feels less, hmm, tempting.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On my to-see list

I have to admit I'm a sucker for well-executed art work. Making ugly stuff is so easy if you ask me, whereas making something that's so beautiful, it gives people goosebumps, requires skill. I realize this may sound old-fashioned, but so be it. (Although, I think I want to add that my concept of skill might be very, erm, un-old-fashioned - for lack of a too heavily invested term. But let's not get into that today.)

This exhibition, conceptualized by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, consists of one hundred million handpainted porcelain sunflower seeds distributed on the floor of Tate Modern's Turbine Hall. Beautiful ain't it? Apparently more than 1600 people from some Chinese province have been making all them little seeds. Which, in addition to the mere sight of them, makes it even more overwhelming.

As I write this it strikes me that that very space is really created for overwhelming an audience. The space itself is overwhelming in size, and somehow it calls for equal 'largesse' in the art work it houses. Which I really think is a great idea. I mean, that the room kind of dictates a certain form of art work that, dare I say it, somehow aspires to be sublime - whatever that is;O) But I mean, it works for that space. Whereas in other spaces, attempting to create something that borders on the sublime would just be downright cheesy.

Pics from AP via Gawker.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

narcotic philanthropy

When it comes to the funding and financing of culture and the arts, I'm in a total limbo as to what I believe is best - you know, there are so many pros and cons to the primarily state-financed version as well as the private-funded one, and all in all, if I have concluded anything from my confusion, I think it is that it depends on a whole lot of socio-economic factors and pure coincidences when something proves either good or bad for creativity (barf...I hate how the word 'creativity' just sounds so watered-down to me these days).

Anyhow, take Abstract Expressionism as an example: Take a guy named Hitler driving out a bunch of intellectuals and well-known artists from Europe to the US and pair it with the peculiar economic aftermath of the great depression and WWII, spice it all up with a little state intervention to get a bunch of starving artists working (The FAP), and suddenly you have an aspiring arts community plus a whole strata of role models, critics and intellectuals who wants to be listened to and a country with enough dough and confidence to step up to the plate culturally. And voila, easy peasy, New York becomes the epicenter of the modern art world, and the first art movement with a worldwide influence sees the light of day. I mean, who would've thunk?
From the NYTimes

Anyhow, I just read this article in the NY Times on a self-sufficient art community in California who are raising money for their art projects by growing marijuana on their farm. Which I think is really refreshing. For a multitude of reasons, but mostly because they just faced up to the reality that art costs money and that it has to come from somewhere and since it's so, then why not grow those greens in your own backyard. Pun intended.

Now, if they wind up catering weed to the same people that come to their openings and write about them in magazines and journals etc, it would just be a beautiful self-sustained little utopia wouldn't it;O)