Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A late-night pop-up poetry reading at Frankfurt-Niederhöchstadt train station. [Applause from the man behind the snack machine.]

The train is not coming... Pauliina begins to read Henriikka's poems in German!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tuesday, the 7th of October; Rostock

Peter Weiss Haus is as good as a squat; it houses a Litteraturhaus, whose office upstairs makes me instantly want to sit down to a desk and believe in the future of literature. Moreover, a special room for children's events, space for writing classes, the venue itself with a cathedral ceiling and beautiful energy, and a cafe that opened a week ago but already looks like someone wrote a novel sitting at the corner table.

The crowd is a good size, and youngest so far. Riikka's Finnish flows free from dream to waking life. I (the hermit) sit there happy as a clam as thunder breaks out; my band, already pretty great, now features Ukko. Aina's sentences turn and turn about and her eyes send questions. Satu doesn't stop to catch her breath but goes on with the intensity; she abides (Malinen). The meat fries well and Maria incorporates totally new kinds of arms. The sounds are loud and Matti has to run and shout, and boy, does he. Henriikka finds everyone with her eyes while the song plays, she's there. Eino's pauses in the end are not "just so", they're perfect for the anguish and fun. And, as always, Kaisa runs the projections with breathing precision.

We stay in the Café Marat, and Katinka Friese and a other good Rostock people stay with us. We like the place and what they are doing with it so much that we gravitate towards it, looking for each other, the next evening - after sea breeze and other types of rest. We have a favourite bar in Rostock. The next day a longish train will take us to Frankfurt.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Where were we? 
Friday October 3rd, the multiple trains to Graz. The hills at times look like visual puzzles; they’re covered in green curly heads masquerading as trees. And a river follows the tracks like a dolphin would follow a ship. The mountains, when actual mountains, look small and cuddly suddenly as the scale shifts to ”planet scale”.

We are in Austria. We are taking advantage of the restaurant car. We find our hotel and draw the lot of our rooms (more about this later). 
But wait, the Zeitgeist has come loose and it’s looking for a vessel! Oh no, it’s in my stomach! (Pauliina signs off for 36 hours. Seven authors perform for Austrians.)

(insert Graz)

Sunday, the 5th of October; leaving Graz

5 a.m, I (Pauliina) wake up to the sound of rain coming in from the window, no, through the roof. Henriikka tells me to simply shut the window, but it’s not raining. Wet seams appear all over the ceiling and water seeps through, then it starts dripping from the ceiling lamp! I place buckets and towels on the floor, Henriikka calls the management, we sleep on. Above, our friends sleep as the water rises. A laptop floats on its absorbing second skin and survives. Absurdity has apparently blocked the pipes!

I’ve got my legs again. We enjoy bits of Graz such as breakfast, the Castle Hill, art museum and jogging river. There is the aftermath of a flood, which will last us for a conversation topic for quite a while.
But we move on. We fly to Berlin, where there are rooms waiting for us in Literarisches Colloquium Berlin, with a view through scaffolding towards Wannsee.

Monday, the 6th of October; Berlin

Anticipation grows: LCB is known for drawing a good crowd for readings. And our directors are in town. They’ll see the show and give feedback, and the degree of solidification of the individual performances into a whole will become visible to us. We build the stage and set everything ready and then disperse into the most spacious city in Europe.

The crowd is good. Some old friends to be seen: there’s David Wagner just a little bit late settling on the second row. Suvi Wartiovaara from Finnland Institut; Anne Mäkelä who swished back and forth with language when Henriikka and Kerstin Preiwuss translated each other for Verschmuggel. Very happy to perform for them and everyone else.

I can feel a slight disturbance in my concentration. Maybe it’s just having passed the midpoint, or the awareness of our keen-eyed directors, or maybe we’ve just come to set the standard high. The temperature of the portable stove still needs adjusting: this time, it starts out slow, hardly sizzling, but then the meat starts to cook with a sound that, amplified, resembles the ominous motor of Matti’s sound art for the dance. Lucky emergencies.

We do good, and hear appreciative voices afterwards. (Max Reinhardt Approved!) Akse and Ami gather us around and we talk (we’re even more hungry for talk with them than we are for the soup that is set up in the next room by our hosts). Valuable points and encouragement. Thank you Ami Karvonen and Akse Petterson, and thank you LCB!

Then everyone gets soup and wine. The night turns to morning. We drink and talk and oh, we understand everything.

Monday, October 6, 2014


BEGINNING: Tuesday, 30.09.14. Time: 6.16am. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Tour begins. Flock forms.

One would think it is easier to travel with 9 people doing their best to take care of things than when travelling alone. Well, it is not. Much gratitude for a coordinator. KÄYKÖ. SENKIN RÖYKKIÖ. No, nyt käy.  

Destination: Basel, Switzerland. Through Frankfurt: the last remaining passengers are asked to approach the gate. Gate is closing. Stop drinking complementary coffee.

The challenge in Basel: find the entry to the right country, there are three possibilities: Switzerland, France and Germany, or? ---

Luggage: Guitar pedals, cable. Cooking plate.  Metronome.  KISSAN KÄSI PUTOAA. Frying pan. Amplifier. Bikini. Kettle. Tram. Bus. Luggage. Walk to the river. Funny rabbits hovering on top of the water. Jugendherberge. New York loft style kaboom.

Revelation in the rooms before the first rehearsal: we don’t have Swiss adapters. Swiss adapters! Micro panic! We need electricity!

Literaturhaus Basel: warm welcome. Very nice to arrive. Adapters organized, oranges, minced meat, cups and plates, knife, a take away cup.  Extension cords, tables. Chairs. All accommodated, no problem. Phew.

Sounds: check. Dog in the audience: check. (We told the dog there would be screaming in the show. Dog: ok.)

Tension. Anticipation. Backstage. Last changes. Last positions. Premiere atmosphere.

Show: excitement, applause, cabaret, no mistakes, a good atmosphere. A big relief and a feeling of: so, IT HAS BEGUN. Let’s see where this trip takes us.

Still on the first and a very long day:

Dinner. Prosecco. Then: shower, 4 hours sleep, yoga, green tea, breakfast, everybody dance now. Flock in time at the reception at 9.00.

Thanks to the open-minded audience and our caring hosts:  Kathrin Eckert, Marianne Bühler, Leena Maissen and everyone else.

Next stop: Stuttgart.


“I told you Stuttgart would be difficult”, Satu said.

A huge commercial Theaterhaus in Stuttgart in bright red and black. A steaming crowd of hundreds of culture-hungry theater-goers queuing in anticipation of neue finnische Literatur. Right? Unfortunately, not quite the majority found their way to T4. Some of our audience got disoriented because in the Stuttgarter Nachrichten the location was said to be Literaturhaus. O well. Avant-garde looks not at numbers. TE ETTE TIETENKÄÄN OLE ÄITINI, TEIDÄN EI TARVITSE KUUNNELLA TÄLLAISTA. Second performance: OK. Fire alarm did not go off and the whole house was not evacuated. That was a definite plus. T4 was very cosy and dramatic and sounds were beautiful. Matti ate the hackfleisch with gusto. Much gratitude to Maria.

Customary dinner. Riesling was excellent. Shower was ok. Riesling was excellent. VÄLIAIKAINEN TUNNELMA. Noise from the street. Snoring. 3 hours sleep. Yoga, green tea. Breakfast. Flock almost in time...

U-Bahn. Train. Destination: Zürich.

Thanks to an excited audience, yes, you, Literaturhaus and Stephanie Stegman, Theaterhaus and Wolfgang Marmulla.

2.10.14 ZÜRICH

Switzerland. Again.

Luggage, again. This time pushing the suitcases from the station half a kilometer towards the sky.  Of course. Hotel Leoneck and Restaurant Crazy Cow. Somewhere a cow is always laughing. And hey! The first two free hours before the rehearsal and sound check. Meaning: sleep, bath tub, shopping, eating, museum, exercise, internet, telephone calls, sushi, laundry.

Vibrant Zürich, euro league football local team Zürich VS. Mönchengladbach. Riot police, public urination, howling fans, what a lucky day.  Bisous, kisses and Küsse all around! Because you are thirsty for avant-garde!

Literaturhaus secret roof terrasse for some, fetching of take-away cup (stage sounds!) for others. Great view over the city towards the lake; many of us want to come and check the city out later on a holiday. Matti wants to play rock’n roll; the others are melting because the gig was great and the audience touched. DRIPPING OF JOY!

Show feels to have taken a life of its own. We don’t know where it is going and that’s ok.
Italian dinner Santa Lucia quatro stagione pretty good I tell you.

Thanks to the brilliant audience and to the hosts for the invitation and vivid discussions:  Gesa Schneider und Isabelle Vonlanthen!

Before bedtime: Safari Bar, bier, shower, terrace conversation, the opposite hotel entrance: yellow-green flower-pots and flowers look like oversized microphones. HÄNEN OLI TÄYTYNYT KULKEA KUIN UNISSAKÄVELIJÄ, MUTTA HÄN OLI AIVAN HEREILLÄ. PÄHKÄHULLU, VAUHKO NAINEN.

During the night a POLTERGEIST-moment: an amplifier starts performing the routine on its own without electricity and without signal. An alarm goes off 4 hours early in sync with the amplifier. The zeitgeist cannot get enough of neue finnische literatur, it seems. Someone sleeps with the lights on. NOLLA NOLLA NOLLA NOLLA NOLLA NOLLA NOLLA NOLLA NOLLA 3. 

Morning: breakfast in Crazy Cow, boiled eggs for the road. Descending back down from the sky to the station.

Finally a day off…! – means: train, bus, train, train, Graz. KYSE EI OLE RANGAN ASENNOISTA VAAN SISÄÄNPÄIN PULLISTUNEISTA HUOKAUKSISTA.  Lots of peanuts, bananas, bread, bread, bread. Mountains, rivers… we are in Austria. Rivers look like mineral water. MINÄ KERRON MIKÄ PITKÄ JUOKSU ON.





Saturday, October 4, 2014

On Stage

Riikka Pelo, Literaturhaus Basel

Aina Bergroth, Theaterhaus Stuttgart

Setting up at the beautiful Literaturhaus Zürich

Before the show...

... and in action: Satu Taskinen, Henriikka Tavi, Riikka Pelo, Pauliina Haasjoki

Kompositio, Photographs by Maria Matinmikko

Basel 30.9.

  Stuttgart 1.10.

 Zürich 2.10.

On the way to Graz 3.10.

Graz 4.10.

Between and in the middle 5.10.

Berliini 6.10.

Rostock 7.10.

Warnemünde 8.10.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

In June 2014 ten Finnish writers and two theater directors, Anna-Mari Karvonen and Akse Pettersson, met in downtown Helsinki.

First they read to each other.

Then some of them began to draw pictures on a large sheet of white paper.

One of the writers, Maria Matinmikko, decided to dance her poems.

An old typewriter was connected to a loudspeaker and turned writing into fantastic sounds. 

When Satu Taskinen was reading her novel Der perfekte Schweinsbraten, a tent popped up on stage.

Nobody knows what will happen, when the directors and the writers, Aina Bergroth, Pauliina Haasjoki, Kaisa Ijäs, Matti Kangaskoski, Maria Matinmikko, Riikka Pelo, Mikko Rimminen, Eino Santanen, Satu Taskinen and Henriikka Tavi, begin their second intense week of rehearsals on September 22.

This blog follows the process and the tour itinerary through Germany, Switzerland and Austria in October 2014. Stay tuned!

Tour plan:

Tue 30.9. 7 pm: 
Literaturhaus Basel, Bafürssergasse 22  
Tickets: CHF 17/12

Wed 1.10. 8:15 pm: 
Theaterhaus Stuttgart, T4 (in cooperation with Literaturhaus Stuttgart)
Siemensstrasse 11, 70469 Stuttgart
Tickets:  EUR 9/7
Tel: 0711/4020720

Thu 2.10. 7:30 pm: 
Literaturhaus Zürich
Limmatquai 62
Tickets: CHF 18/12

Sat 4.10. 8 pm: 
Forum Stadtpark Graz, Saloon
Stadtpark 1
Free entrance

Mon 6.10. 8pm: 
Literarisches Colloquium Berlin
Am Sandwerder 5
Tickets: EUR 8/5

Tue 7.10. 8 pm: 
Literaturhaus Rostock
Doberaner Straße 21
Tickets: EUR 7/5

Fri 10.10. Frankfurt Book Fair
                             4-4:30 pm: ARTE stand 
                             5:30-6:30 pm: The Finnish Pavilion, Main Stage

Sat 11.10. 2 pm: 
Frankfurt - Kulturhaus am Zoo, die Katakombe
Pfingstweidstraße 2
Tickets: EUR 5/3