fredag den 12. december 2008

Christmas traditions: cookies and candles

One of the very best ways of spreading the Christmas spirit is by baking. These are old traditional Danish Christmas cookies and it is my first try. They have pepper in them, but no very munch and I’m not sure you could actually taste it.
They were very popular and even though I made around 50 small pieces last sunday, they are all gone now.
Next to the cookies is my calender candle, which is another Christmas tradition I really love .

lørdag den 6. december 2008

Victorian Christmas in Copenhagen

I’m crazy about Christmas. It is I guess my rebound after hating the dark Danish winters so much. I especially love Copenhagen around Christmas – the old part of town can completely set me back in time and I forget all my depressing thoughts and feel like I part of a H.C. Andersen-fairytale. I always seek the traditional Danish Christmas decorations and the moods in Copenhagen, which are not difficult to find. Especially if you walk around Strædet in the evening, just past Gamel Torv - here you can easily disappear and pretend that you're back in the 1800s Copenhagen and might just run into H.C.A. himself.

Place of the month in December is The Victorian Home. I went there today for the first time and I think every one in this city should pay it a visit. It is a complete apartment as it looked in 1890 with the original interior. It is part of The National Museum and they only have limited guided tours making it a very unique experience. As you walk around the halls of this amazing place, you hear the story of the family, who lived there from the 1890s up until the 1960s until the apartment was given to The National Museum.
And this time of year it is especially charming as the apartment is decorated with an old traditional Danish Christmas tree.

søndag den 16. november 2008

Surviving November and the Danish winter

November is not really my kind of month. It’s the time here in Copenhagen when it’s starts to get dark when you leave work and the darkness is just clearing when you wake up in the morning. Your energy level just drops to a point where you feel like sleeping all the time. In no other month (no, maybe January as well) does my pillow and my bed have such a strong hold on me. I’ve always loved sleeping and I love my bed, no doubt about it. But when this time of year comes I often wonder if I should have been born a bear and go underground sleep until the sun comes back.
So what do you do to survive this darkness for the next 5 months? Here is my survival kit:

Good books
A long and exciting book can pull you out of this dark winter world. Nerd Girl recommends these books for winter reading:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Cloud Atlas
Harry Potter (can always do with a second reading, especially after the film versions have screwed up your memory of the real plot.)

The Shadow of the Wind

Winter movies should also offer an escape into happier, prettier and shinier lifestyles with totally superficial problems and always (!) happy endings. So forget Scandinavian social realism with handheld cameras and only depressing shades of grey.
Nerd Girl tends to go for old Danish films – set in the 1950s with lots of romance and cute dresses. But here are some good international films I turn to:

Amelie of Montmartre :

Les Demoisellers de Rocheforte

My Fair Lady Chocolat

And then the food...

When its dark outside and the rain or snow pouring down you need something really sweet. Something like appelcake - Danish appelcake. The world's easiest and best winter dessert: Appel mash, almond macaroons crushed and whiped creme - in layers.

lørdag den 8. november 2008

Nicloe Kidman will play Lili Elbe

This is pretty big news. I just read that Nicole Kidman is to star as Einer Mogens Wegener, in a movie about the Danish painter who was the first man to have a sex change operation. Charlize Theron will be playing his wife the very talented painter and illustrator Gerda Wegener.
It is according to the that the story of this fascinating couple will be turned into a film with such heavy leading ladies as Nicole and Charlize. Based on a fictional bestseller by David Eberstorff about the couple, I wonder how much of the actual story we’re gonna get from the film. But any how it will be interesting to se.
Einer was married to Gerda Wegener and they were quite a famous couple in living in Copenhagen in the 1920s. Apparently Einar’s female alias Lili Elbe was created when Gerda, lacking a female model, asked him to pose for her as a woman – and he from then on developed as the transsexual Lili Elbe with the support of his wife.This is Lili Elbe after the sex change operation:
Gerda worked as a painter and illustrator creating beautiful painting and drawings for among others French Vougue.

fredag den 31. oktober 2008

Hanging with the dead in October

Thinking of Halloween and the spookiest night of the year, it seems appropriate to connect this to the place of the month since this is also a haunted place.

Copenhagen does not have that many parks or green spaces, so when we Copenhageners really search for a green oasis, we go to the cemeteries. Hanging out among the graves is actually not as morbid as it sounds, because the city’s graveyards are very green and cozy – yes, I use the word cozy in connection with graves and tombstones, because they often are more like parks , than graveyards.

I actually have a few favorite cemeteries around town that I visit now and then. These places have such a calming and peaceful effect on you. The one I’ll write about tonight is the most famous one in Copenhagen due to the many Danish celebrities being buried here. Assistens Kirkegård is located in the heart of my neighborhood, Nørrebro. Here lie such great Danes as Hans Christian Andersen and Søren Kirkeaard and other great Danish artists, politicians and writers.

And the ghosts are definitely here, walking around you really feel the presence of the historic figures. The cemetery’s administrative center even offers guided tours in the evening to the most famous graves with stories about their lives and deaths.

But the famous dead inhabitants are not the real reason why I like this place. It is a huge garden, big enough to serve both as a park and a mourning place, where you want to be alone. Another really nice thing about this place is that even though it is located between two very busy streets, there is totally quiet - like entering into another world.
So whenever I need a break from the city haze I go into Assistens and relax...

onsdag den 29. oktober 2008

Everything else was borrowed on Monday night

The Streets hit Copenhagen Monday night and fortunately for us Mike Skinner’s immune system had him back on stage after a cancellation in Oslo the day before. His performances at the Roskilde festival last summer and the year before have become legendary, and the fact that he loves Copenhagen (or at least that’s what the news papers say) just persuades you to like him even more.

And Monday night at KB Hallen Mr. Skinner did help to make my start of the week a lot nicer. For some reason this guy who started out with the whole hooligan, London geezer attitude has turned into a nature-loving, all embracing, positive party maniac. I still love his music – the lyrics are brilliant and many of them have become classics in my book. So as the dark winter is closing in on us here and it was so nice disappear in to a party of jumping and singing lead by The Streets.
The set list was great – all the hits together with good ones from his new album.

mandag den 20. oktober 2008

A Nazi-docu - and why a swimming bath became place of the month in September

Leni Reifenstahl’s ’Fest der Schönheit’ at the swimming bath
Place of the month in September (I know it’s a bit late) is Øbro Swimming bathjust because of this amazing experience. I know this sound insane but it’s true. Hitler’s favourite movie director was a very interesting women. Leni Riefenstahl is the woman behind the camera in the famous documentary about the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and it was shown at a public swimming bath here in Copenhagen last month.
It was such a cool experience. This film is very very special in the sense that it celebrates the beauty of the human body. The cinematography is amazing even though it is a sort of propaganda film for the ‘pure race’, the perfect athletic body - and to some degree also the Nazi-regime. The setting of the swimming bath was perfect as the architecture dates back to the same period with columns and grand spaces. Live comments were brought throughout the filmn by Danish film legend Jørgen Leth.

This exclusive event happened last month during the Copenhagen historic festival Golden Days - a festival every second year dealing with a new historical period and this time about the 1920s and 1930s. - So there is a reason for my 1920s style obsession -
Anyway, this documentary is about the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936, but it is so artistic, you should see some of it for yourself in this clip.

Leni Riefenstahl is a very interesting woman and she is a sure candidate for Nerd Girl's next inquiry at the local library.

mandag den 6. oktober 2008

The return....

Ever since I saw the poster for it I've been excited about it. From the poster 'Brideshead revisited' looked like it would bring more of that wonderful 1920s follies.
I must admit that I've never read the book or seen the whole TV-series. But I do remember the setting, which was brilliant - and the costumes.

In fact I was a little disappointed by Julia’s costumes, who I loved the TV-show for the exact 20s chick style. In the movie version it was the men’s fashion that I found the most interesting - well apart from this Julia in this lovely dress below:

The men's fashion focused around the old British college style, with which I guess you can never go wrong. It's the scenes with Charles and Sebastian that make this film interesting. Matthew Good as Charles and Ben Whishaw as Sebastian have a beautiful balance of both intimacy and distance.

I’m however never really convinced by Charles’ fascination with Sebastian’s family and wealth and ufortunately the lovestory between Julia and Charles never seems real - I'm not sure why.

søndag den 28. september 2008

Kiss me you fool

A late birthsday gift presented me with this brilliant concept of cosmetics: Bésame. Spanish for 'kiss me' this brand specialises in retro designed make-up.

Take this lipstick in an old fashion 'bullet-design' with beautiful almost art deco-ornamentation. Honestly, even though I don't usually wear lipstick – actually, I never wear lipstick- the design alone has convinced me to try. I mean, is there any better reason for painting your lips than to look like a 1930s diva? Not in my book.
Now just comes the time to actually learn how to apply it without looking like a 10 year-old in the end.

onsdag den 17. september 2008

Nerdy pleasures

Nerd Girl is back after a short unintended break here in my favourite month of the year September.
I’ve been busy enjoying this great autumn weather and I had my birthday last week.
I received many wonderful presents. Two good friends of mine brought me the two best examples of Danish chocolates: Peter Beier and Summerbird.
Like most people I’ll go crazy for cacao and chocolate - mostly the dark, bitter, heavy stuff. But for some reason I would never buy this insanely delicious stuff for myself. I’ll go for something like the ‘Lindt 70% cacao’ if I’m really letting my hair down. Fancy chocolates are in my opinion reserved for gifts, for others and for special occasions. And mostly because it’s so beautifully wrapped and decorated. Buying it for myself, the package would last about 30 sec. and the creativity of the decoration would drown completely.
But as a gift it really gets the attention it deserves.
Actually I don’t really receive this kind of chocolate that often, in fact I think so far I’ve only tasted Summerbird a once and I’ve never tasted Peter Beier before. So this was a treat. And I enjoyed each piece to the fullest.

mandag den 1. september 2008

A style tribute to the 20s and 30s

It’s not secret that I, at the moment, am a big fan of the whole 1920s and 1930s style. So much that I decide to dedicate a complete post to my two favourite style icons of that period: Louise Brooks and Marlene Dietrich.

First up is the lovely Louise:
She is the best example of the 1920s hairstyle and fashion, that I can find:
I’ve already got the hat and the haircut – more on that another time – so what I need is the smoky eyes and the wild and decadent dress.
Marlene Dietrich
I think she’s the only woman, I know who really looks good in a tux, a part from maybe Catharine Deneuve. but in this context, she's too innocent and fragile. Marlene is intimidating and luring – half of the look I guess is the confidence and sex she oozes.
The whole masculine look with, suit, tie and a hat really inspires me. Usually I’m not a fan of women wearing a shit and tie – the balance of being feminine in men’s clothing is just difficult.
But with Marlene, I think I’ve discovered the trick. It’s all about feeling sexy and confident. And with a cigarette in your mouth and a halo of smoke around you, what could go wrong?

søndag den 31. august 2008

Place of the month: Coffee Collective

That's right, place of the month of August is a coffee shop.
The street where this delicious little spot is located basically is an experience in itself.
Let me explain, Jærgersborggade, as the street is called, is sort of famous in my neighbourhood: Nørrebro. About 10 years ago the street was a notorious drug dealing street. A place where you did not wanna get caught - even during the day. Theses days Jærgersborggade has become a street full of small shops and cafes - and the apartment prices have naturally go up. But there is a small detail, the street still looks like shit.
Oh sure, the small shop windows have helped the overall appereance. But it has it's old worn down look .

The coffee shop ‘Coffe Collective’ is the place of the month in August for many reasons and not just it's urban location. This is a small place with only 2 tables inside, as most of the space is taken up by the large coffee roaster. Yep, here they roast their own coffee beans.

So, up here in the cold north, in a former drug street, you can actually smell the sweet sweet aromas of coffee beans from Kenya, Ethiopia and many other exotic places. Adding to the quality of this coffee shop is also the really cosy atmosphere and friendly baristas.You’ll find no coffee snobs or arrogance here, but in stead passionate coffee preachers, who love to explain the science of good coffee making and drinking.

søndag den 24. august 2008

Nerd Girl reads: 'The Sorrows Of An American'

This is the first novel by Siri Hustvedt that I’ve every read – and from what I’ve seen now, I’m definitely hitting the library to take out more of her works.

‘The Sorrows Of An American’ tells the story of psychiatrist Erik Davidsen who finds a mysterious letter from an unknown woman in his recently deceased father’s papers. Here starts Erik and his sister’s journey into their father’s past life, through his diaries and interviews with old family members – all immigrants from Norway. But the story develops and it combines the story of Norwegian immigrants in America with contemporary American sufferings.

Siri Hustvedt is an interesting writer and it especially shows when she ties the stories together in a psychological perspective. The issues are heavy – 9.11, psychotic harassment, childhood traumas and more, but Hustvedt delivers it all in a light and simple language keeping the focus on the characters – thus a personal perspective.
The characters are vivid and described beautifully, to such a degree that you feel know them. And you easily imagine what they look like.
What I appreciated the most about the book is its delicate balance between the deep and complex sorrows of death, heartbreak and terrorism and the descriptions of ordinary life. Siri Hustvedt’s writing is intense – the novel has no chapters - but for some reason she maters the art of making the reading experience fresh and crisp.

torsdag den 21. august 2008

Summer all over again

This summer has just disappeared and I don’t really feel like, I’ve really enjoyed it completely. For example I’ve only been to the beach once this whole summer.
Part of the reason is the fact that I’ve been working a lot and the other part is the weather which has, when ever I had my time off, not really been swimming pool-like. So now, when it already feels a bit like fall I still dream of a hot day and a swimming pool.
On that note it time to reintroduce to coolest bathing suits and bikinis – a little late, I know – but who can argue with the elegance of Ester Williams?
Honestly, her bathing style is the classiest ever. And I’m actually looking to see if I can find any bathing suits or bikinis in her style, even though it might just be for next year…
Check out this cool performance - who cares about looking good when your by the pool side, it’s all about how you look under the water!

søndag den 10. august 2008

Saturday: Vibskov – the hype, the hype

So far I’ve not written anything about Henrik Vibskov. He is THE media darling (- he and Stine Goya ought to get married, they’d be king and queen of Danish fashion)Anyway I hadn’t really figured out what I thought about him apart from what I was told; that he’s the most original designer so far, he the ‘enfant terrible’ of Danish fashion and that he’s the one most likely for a huge international breakthrough, voted best designer of the year and so on – basicly enough to he thinsk he’s too much already.
….Naturally all this hype for the oh so cool Vibskov has boosted my sense of criticism (Nerd Girl's attacks tougher when praise has already been given)
- There were the über popular scarves which all most everyone at Strøget (or at least in Krystalgade) wore a few yeas back, then there were fringes on every thing (in last season’s show), so he plays drums for electronic hipster Trentemøller – and now he also does children’s clothing. He is the image of Copenhagen I hate – I’m sorry, but it’s too much. Please tell me he’s an environmentalist and a friend of animals, because I wouldn’t be surprised.
And though his SS09 collection might not have been as high standard as usual for DANSK DAILY I thought I was great. That’s right, I’m joining the hype – a little late, but at least now, I get it.
This collection, I guess was when I found the time to enjoy the combination of interesting prints and his signature loose cuts. The colours are toned down now compared to what he did before, but I guess that's what I like.