Tuesday 22 December 2009

Look what the Staedtlers made me do!

Usually, I will not use this blog to bragg about any of the stuff that I did solo. But I wanted to share these drawings with you, cause it took me and my staedtlers forever to make them! They have been on exhibition in Amsterdam for a couple of weeks but are home now.. So this is me NOT showing off.

If you want to hear about the deeper meaning of poledancers and wolves... ask me!

Thursday 17 December 2009

Last Minute Christmas Shopping

After the huge success of last year... More Last Minute Christmas Shopping At the SingerSweatShop in Rotterdam this weekend!

Just for one weekend, the main area of the squat/gallery/house will be transformed into a nice and cosy place to hang out and find gifts for your loved ones. Saskia Haex (B.I.C.) and Diane Versteeg have made a wonderful selection for you, including shirts, books, bags, pluchies, screenprints and much more. Biefstuk will provide the necessary cookies, soup and cake.

So get some cash at the koopgoot and come spend it, you know you want to!

Friday 11 December 2009

MAYHEM tonight!

O yeah, Dutch Dolls will make their DJ debut in Cardiff tonight at Mother Mae I, an electro night of mayhem at the Cardiff Arts Institute!! They tell us to expect "everything from electro-pop to dirty beats via all manner of friendly filth with an electric undercurrent". Plus lollipops, limbo bears, riot showgrrrls and FREE PINK FIZZ.....

We're on from 11.00 till 12.00, HALLELUJAH!!!

Cardiff Arts Institute, 29 Park Place, Cardiff.
Check out the Facebook event

Thursday 10 December 2009

A crafty Christmas

A "guerilla Christmas store" is opening up tomorrow at gallery BLAAK10 in Rotterdam. Students and alumni of the Willem de Kooning Academy will sell their designs. Prints, books, t-shirts, jewelry, bags, ceramics, cushions, the inevitable designer toys and Dutch Dolls items, it'll all be there! Should Santa Clause let you down, you could always go there after Christmas to spoil yourself, the guerilla store is open till January 3rd!

Academiegalerie BLAAK10, Witte de Withstraat 7a, Rotterdam.
Open Tuesday - Sunday 11.00 - 18.00. Late night shopping on Friday December 11th 18.00 - 21.00

Monday 30 November 2009

Slightly Surreal

What to do on a (rainy) Sunday after one of the best nights out you ever experienced in your life?? That was exactly my question the day after the Warehouse Project in Manchester...

Well, after a sturdy breakfast of scrambled eggs, coffee and freshly squeezed OJ my boyfriend and I decided to drag ourselves to the Manchester Art Gallery for the exhibition Angels of Anarchy - Women Artists and Surrealism. They had great works on display by a.o. Francesca Woodman, Frida Kahlo and Meret Oppenheim. But my heart truly skipped a beat when I saw some collaborative pieces. They were made along the same principle as our drawings for the Freikörperkult t-shirts! I had never seen these before.

Y. Tanguy, Joan Miro, Max Morix and Man Ray (1927).

Andre Breton, Jacqueline Lamba and Yves Tanguy (1938).

Andre Breton, Paul Eluard, Nusch Eluard and Valentine Hugo (ca. 1930).

Andre Breton, Valentine Hugo, Greta Knutson and Tristan Tzara (ca. 1933).

I didn't know this 'game' had a name. It's called EXQUISITE CORPSE. The Surrealists used to play it with words as well, and exquisite corpse is taken from the first sentence that was produced this way: "Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau.", which translates to "The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine."

The title of our t-shirts was sort of randomly picked after one of our favourite German words: Freikörperkultur, roughly translated as Free Body Movement, which advocates a naturistic/nudist way of life. We encountered the Freikörperkultur up close and personal at the swimming pool in Berlin this summer. The word suited our drawings perfectly, especially when we shortened it to -kult.

Anyways, I just thought it was so cool to see these drawings that I wanted to share them with you. I now know our drawings aren't just weird, no, they are Surreal!

Friday 27 November 2009

Kuduro Riddims

Woohoooo, tomorrow morning I'll be off to Manchester for what might well be THE best party of the year.
Annie Mac invited the creme de la creme of DJs and artists around to play at the Warehouse project, a temporary club under Piccadilly Station. It's going to be an exhausting night with live performances by Major Lazer and Buraka Som Sistema, and Toddla T, Fakeblood, Skream, Boy 8-Bit and DJ Zinc behind the decks!!!!! More exclamation marks: !!!!!!!!!

I think this is a very exciting time for dance music, with rhythms and musical elements from all over the world seeping into mainstream club music, entering the dance floor and making us shake our booties. Take tomorrow's artists for example. Diplo, the guy who played an important role in bringing baile funk out of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, has now turned to dancehall with his latest project Major Lazer, in collaboration with Switch. With great success. Also Toddla T has a taste for Jamaican riddims (as well as for club house and garage). Buraka Som Sistema brings us kuduro, a genre which originated in Angola and was later transported to Portugal (its colonizer). And apparently kuduro is now huge in France, thanks to the substantial Cape Verde community. I stumbled on a selection of some excellent kuduro tracks at the Masala blog (a great blog BTW, even though I can only read half of it - they're from Montreal, so most is written in French). I pass two of those tracks on over here, both by Angolian artists. It's raw. Very raw. But that's how I like it!

Dog Murras - Midexa. Get it here (YSI).

Noite E Dia
- Tiramakossa. Get it here (YSI).
Taken off the compilation Akwaaba Sem Transporte.

Sunday 22 November 2009


I still have to thank my friend Peter *. Thank him
for introducing me to Miss Platnum!

Miss Platnum was born in Romania, but moved with her parents to Berlin when she was a kid. She used to work as a background singer until she started working on her own music for her debut album Chefa. I think her style is truly unique: Balkan-flavoured R'n'B. So lots of brass, rolling R's and songs about food and Mercedes Benz. She takes the piss out of the (Western) ideal beauty and the stereotypes of Eastern Europeans in a very funny and clever way. To be honest the R'n'B songs are a bit too mushy for my taste, but I absolutely LOVE her uptempo work.

For some strange reason I just assumed that for her latest album
she had tipped over to the R'n'B side, maybe because a sophomore album is usually more 'mature'. So even though The Sweetest Hangover had been released in September I didn't give it a listen until yesterday. Silly me! The songs might not be as catchy as some of her older ones, but it is a great record with plenty of uptempo songs and still heavily Balkan influenced. Have a listen to Come Marry Me, a duet with German hip hop superstar Peter Fox, from her first album and She Moved in!, taken off her latest release.

Miss Platnum - Come Marry Me (feat. Peter Fox). Get it here.

Miss Platnum -
She Moved In! Get it here.

* If you can read Dutch, do check out Peter 'Teps' de Koning's blog!! He wittily writes about all sorts of interesting stuff, like music from around the globe, politics, soccer and personal memories. I think he is one of the best storytellers in the Lowlands!

Friday 20 November 2009

Ladies first, then Staedtlers.

This blogpost is not about informing you that I have an exhibition coming up in Amsterdam on november 27th, with some very cool ladies.. Nono, it's about my love for the Staedtler 0.1 and 0.05mm.

I don't know if any of you ever experienced this, but personally I'm very VERY supersticious when it comes to drawing, and my pen of choice. Besides the music that should exactly fit my mood of that moment, I am absolutely convinced that some pens or pencils have a wrong vibe. They make my drawing come out all ugly. Which is of course frustrating, but also good, I can always blame the pen. Recently I go hand-in-hand with my Staedtlers. They are THE pens of the moment. I think everybody should get one.

Not convinced? Come to our capital city next friday the 27th and see what my Staedtlers can do. Besides my drawings, I think this exhibition will be awesome considering the coolness of the other participants. Ephameron, Bitches in Control, Moama, Lil'Shy, Ovni and Minivila will definately bring some streetwise visual spectacle.
Check out the flyer for details.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Puberty rocked the cardboard!

Eleven weeks, 700 students, 9 teachers, an empty gym (not so empty now), 600 cardboards, miles and miles of tape makes a huge piece of art!

As you may have read in the blogpost of 30 september, I was part of an artist collective that was responsable for writing and teaching an educational program for 700 adolescent students. The program was part of Blurrr in exhibition space for contemporary art TENT. Together with Judith Vorwerk, S.P.A.M. van Griensven, Maartje Aben, Ivo Vrouwe en Olivier Otten, we came up with the idea of Wildgroei. Which basicly means; out of control stuff!

The assignment was for the students to leave themselves behind in the former gym of the building, using only cardboard and tape. Explaining this, they would look at you as if something green was dripping out of your mouth. But then the ideas would start to come, and evolve and boy did we have fun with it! I have seen kings, racecars, lots of dreadlocks, a big booty, a black cat with very suspicious looks, a huge hamburger, loads and loads of cellphones, lots of Iceberg clothes out of paper (?), uggs, a DJ booth, skateboarders, punkers and whatnot?! Today was the last day of Wildgroei and I think that we succeeded! The gym is packed, and by the hugeness, you can tell that a large amount of kids were part of it! Below you can check out some of the highlights of the project and here you can watch a timelapsemovie of the whole thing, made by Olivier Otten. Well done all of you!

Saturday 31 October 2009

the zombie skank

Ever heard of zombie walks? God, I think this would be the best thing to do on Halloween ever! Dress up like a zombie and invade the streets with hundreds of other zombies. I knew of zombie walks in the US and Canada, but I didn't know there was one so close to where I live: in Bristol!! They had a zombie walk for the first time last year and was a huge success. Just look at the pictures! Anyone who fancies joining next year's walk should check out their Facebook group or MySpace and let me know so we can stride together!

I would definitely be heading over to Bristol to walk along today, if it wasn't for the fact that my day is packed with other fun events and parties here in Cardiff. First I'm heading over to the Halloween October Fest at Artisan Beer's on Kings Road. It's a micro brewery (it's so small you could call it a nano brewery!) within an artist studio complex, so there will be the best beers, market stalls, open studio's, a BBQ and lots of live music. Among which the amazing Word Virus Essay!! I'll then be popping over to a friend's birthday party and to top it off I'll be dancing till my legs are worn away down to my knees at Dance of the Dead!! The line up of Toddla T, Ms Dynamite (she's back!!), Mumdance and Squire of Gothos (just to name a few) will have me walking home like a zombie for sure!!

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Jah man!

Ras Kwame, one of my favourite Radio 1 DJ's, recommended the film Babylon on one of his shows. Now I know this man has good taste, and he was spot on about this one as well.

Set in
South London during the early eighties Babylon tells us about the trials and tribulations of Blue, a 'toaster' (= an MC) for a soundsystem. After its screening in 1980 it was released on VHS, but copies were limited. Thus it was virtually unavailable, but it gained a cult following thanks to people making copies of copies of copies. Now 28 years later the movie has been completely restored, remastered and re-released on DVD! Not only the improved sound and picture quality should be a major leap forward compared to the (bootleg) VHS, also the subtitle option in the DVD menu is very welcome addition. At least, for people like me who find Jamaican Patois a little hard to follow.

I bought the DVD last week and I finally got around watching it last night. I thought it was a good. Grim and pretty depressing, but good. And it was great to catch a glimpse of the dancehall culture in London in the 80's...

It reminded me about another movie I watched a couple of months ago: This Is England. Also about troubled youth in the eighties and the way music played an important role in their lives...

The two movies kind of tell two sides of the same story, and the soundtracks have the same roots (reggae and the 2nd wave of ska). They're definitely not feel-good-movies, except maybe for the fact they make you happy the 80's are over. They also show music can be a source of consolation and hope. Thank JAH for music!

Thursday 22 October 2009

I loves you Porgy! And Bess!

Not a lot of things are more exciting than entering a theater, hearing the orchestra tune their instruments and waiting for the lights to go out... And then the curtain goes up and the music swells...

Last night I went to see
Gershwin's "people's opera" Porgy and Bess being performed by the Cape Town Opera. They had changed the setting from South Carolina in the 1920's to the township of Soweto in the 1960's. Since there were quite some similarities there, it worked really well. As the company's manager put it: “When our cast sings Porgy and Bess, they sing from the heart because it means something to them.”

I LOVED it! I left the theater with very, very sore hands (after it had finished the audience was still so caught up by the story that they booed the 'bad guys' - it was brilliant!). Unfortunately I haven't got much time to tell you more about this love story, its social-historical background and the controversies surrounding it. But if you're interested you can read more about it here.

The piece is a great mix of proper opera, jazz, blues, folk and gospel. Many of the songs have be come CLASSICS, proof provided by these songs performed by the three grand dames of jazz...

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong - Summertime. Get it here (YSI).

Billie Holiday - I loves you, Porgy. Get it here (YSI).

Nina Simone - I love you, Porgy. Get it here (YSI).

Monday 19 October 2009

Dust Off

When Nanna and me were at some opening in some gallery, we ran into our old teacher of the Art Academy. In between sipping cheap wine and nibbling euroshopper nuts she asked us if we wanted to submit an idea for the next project week called Slow-Lab which focussed on old techniques and handwork. There was nothing slow about the whole thing cause we had to submit the idea practically within the hour. But we pulled it off and called our project: Dust Off

The idea was to let the students take a look in their grandma's attic, the dusty drawer, or to let them go to the thriftstore to find something old and forgotten. They had to let that object be an inspiration for something new using various techniques. Because this assignment was pretty vague we made them take a look at some wonderful artwork done by Merel Karhof, Sarah Illenberger and Richard Saja. They master this dusting off thing!

I have to say, the students we
nt all out! I've had an awesome and inspriational week and have never seen such a hardworking group. Most of the participants used techniques that they'd never used before, and I really respect that. Unfortunately I couldn't put everone's work up here, but only a small selection.

Merel de Graaf - Embroidered family portraits

Ming Ho - Screenprinted Puzzle

Sharon van Wijngaarden and Ingrid Wuyster
Screenprinted educational illustration

Nancy de Wit and Sjoerd Bongertman
(puff)screenprinted scarf 'mink'

Monday 12 October 2009

"bringing the Bristol sound to Cardiff"

Not that I'm not biased or anything, but I would like to call to your attention this excellent band from Cardiff: The Word Virus Essay. Their singer Rachel has a golden voice and it sounds like she comes up with the most beautiful melodies effortlessly. Then there is Daryl, who writes most of their songs and is responsible the electronics and plays guitar as well. Their rhythm section is ace. Sanders is a really really really good drummer, and their double bass player Casper is not only a fine musician, he's also a HOTTIE ;-) The music is a mix of trip-hop (you know, that mid 90's Bristol sound), drum 'n bass and trance (in a very good way!!).

Catch them tonight at The Promised Land in Caerdydd! There are two other bands on the bill, including another Cardiffian band called Miss Maud's Folly. I've heard a lot of good things about this band, so I'm really looking forward to this gig!

The Word Virus Essay - Two lives. Get it here (YSI).

Sunday 11 October 2009

my weirdest finds, part 3

Last weekend we discovered a new store just around the corner of our house, called the 80's toyshop. It is packed to the roof with vintage BMX and chopper bikes, Hulk Hogan action figures, Star Wars memorabilia, arcade machines, Amiga computers and much much more. My beau was drooling over the Kuwahara BMX in the window, but instead of laying down 600 quid he decided on spending £2,50 on a game for his Gameboy.

Now where was his ancient Gameboy? It had to be in one of these boxes that were still unpacked, gathering dust in our storage. Now comes the good part: in his quest for his Gameboy my man found my bag-that-looks-like-a-rock!! So here it is:

Does it look like a rock or what?!

And while I was doing some cleaning out over the weekend, I came across another great German fleamarket buy, that easily makes it into my top 3 of weirdest finds...

Now if it's true that the tie was designed to focus attention on a man's crotch, I think this tie definitely succeeds in that goal.

Friday 2 October 2009

a student's soundtrack (in the '90s)

The streets are alive with the sound of... students. They're back. And as I was walking past one of Cardiff's universities yesterday, it made me think of the time I was a fresher. Oh good times.

When I came to study at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam I didn't know a soul in that city, so I joined a student association (sort of a fraternity). But not a preppy one with an initiating ritual and all that crap, no I joined Rotterdam's "alternative" association. And for two or three years I had an amazing time there. Even though we weren't bonded by being disgraced and tortured in our first year, I made some friends for life there. Three of them are still among my closest and dearest friends.

So what did we do at this student
association? Well, the main activity of course was drinking (I think the beer was like one guilder or something (€0,50) - I soon got really chubby...). But you could also learn some things over there. Like how to pour beer from a tap. Or how to organize events. Or how to DJ. Yes yes, it was here at the Rotterdamsch Studenten Gezelschap that I got my first taste of DJ'ing. And these are a couple of songs that ruled the dancefloor back then:

Frequently requested by my friend Annoek:
Pulp - Common People. Get it here (YSI).

Frequently requested by the metalheads:
Bodycount - Bodycount Is In The House. Get it here (YSI).

Played with much reluctance, but unavoidable since it was a number 1 hit (can you believe it!):
Babylon Zoo - Spaceman. (I'm not puttig this one up as a download - who would possibly want this!?!)

No explanation needed, this was our ANTHEM:
Underworld - Born Slippy. Get it here (YSI).

When it was late and everybody pissed out of their skulls (good chance of a polonaise):
Guus Meeuwis & Vagant - Per Spoor (Kedeng Kedeng). (Again, I'm not puttig this one up as a download - you could not possibly want this!)

Monday 28 September 2009

the woolen-cardigan-feeling

It feels like ages ago since I last went to a concert. But tonight my earplugs are getting greasy again!

Although... tonight I might not even need them. Tonight's bands fall into the category of singer-songwriter and folk. Normally I'm not the biggest fan of these genres, but when I'm in the right mood I can really enjoy some of it. And now that it's autumn, I am in the mood; you know this sitting-in-front-of-the-fireplace-mood, that warm-woolen-cardigan-feeling, the let's-bake-some-apple-crumble-state of mind. Then listening to Julie Doiron is just perfect.

Julie Doiron - Wintermittens. Get it here (YSI).

P.S. Check out Geeske's drawing (it's a detail) at the top. Isn't it awesome??

Monday 21 September 2009

Snot loves me.

It's true, snot loves me. If there's a bug in town, I will catch it. No doubt.

As I'm getting older, I've learned to live with it and seek positivity in lying on my uncomfortable couch, watching daytime television. Which is quite an accomplishment (if I may say so myself). As I move from the couch, to the computer, to the kitchen (in this specific order) I get a chance to think about my life and make some plans and lists. I find good ways to occupy myself, I really do.

If you're sick now, here's a list from a pro. This is not useful if you have a MAD flu and are sweating from the fever and all. It's more for the throat things and the nose-colds.

1.Read a book. Something with preferably a funny plot. Because laughing has about the same effect as vitamin c. I recommend anything by Christopher Moore. I love the dude and anything he writes cracks me up.

2.Shop online. Don't overdo it, but it never hurts to start hunting for that one missing record in your collection. Or start downloading legally here. You have loads of time, so why not?

3.Watch youtube. You already knew this off course. But perhaps you haven't seen this online documentary about Gorgoroth. It's a riot. Gaahl is awesome, he looks the way that I feel.

4.Cook something. Food is the highlight of the day (if you're able to keep it inside) so make sure that it's good food. I like soup. No chewing, little digesting, just perfect! This is a favorite (I'd leave out the cream) and this is a classic.

5.Don't google your symptoms. You'll go crazy, especially if you search for images. For example; this is what I've got if I'd believe google image (iieeuww).

6.Share the pain. Call people. Let them know that you're sick and pray for lots of attention and various fruitbaskets. But don't infect them or they'll never come again. Or Listen to the song below and take comfort in the fact that even rockstars get the flu.

Duchess Says - I've got the flu Get it here

Friday 18 September 2009

We bring you: BASS

You could be sitting on your couch this saturday, drinking hot tea while watching a movie, which would be nice.. But you could also put on some tight pants, a skimpy shirt, grab your earplugs and come to 'Het Paard' in The Hague. And party hard.

Jaques de la Disque is celebrating his birthday and invited some really cool people to provide the soundtrack. Yobkiss will be playing live on the drums, we will do a DJ-set and Jaques will play some tunes himself. And when the room is smelly and damp, boss of all ravers, DJ Donna Summer will make it even smellier. This man is known for the notorious Birthday Parties in Berlin. The only party where there's a confetti-machine that spreads about ten pounds of paper in one night.

We decided that we will let the rave-boss do the rave and make you skank. Listen to the wonderful remix of Little Boots by Toddla T and you'll understand what we mean by that.

Little Boots - Meddle (Toddla T rmx) Get it here (YSI)

Thursday 17 September 2009

Monsters on my mind..

For the past couple of months I was a coach. Not sports related (I have NO tactics) but art related.

Rotterdam kids' museum Villa Zebra planned to have an exhibition called 'The Monsterfactory'. Among the work of several established artists they wanted to involve students of the illustration department from the local artschool. Students could pitch an idea and get a spot among the monsters. I was there for the technical sollutions and to help the raw ideas grow into exhibition-worthy work. That was fun! It was really inspirational to work with these people and I think that the endresult is something we can all be proud of! Have a little sneak-peek below. (Work: Ron Schuijt)

Next friday (september 18th), will be the grand opening. From 13.30 you can come and see the endresult. And if you're a kid, you can take a monster related workshop. This will be fun, no doubt.

Villa Zebra, Stieltjesstraat 21, Rotterdam

Friday 11 September 2009

putting the kids to work

Summer is over. But it's the start of a new season... the 'cultural season'! Rotterdam celebrates this with the Wereld van de Witte de With Festival (as you might have gathered by now), Utrecht does it with UITFEEST: a 2-day party with lots of art, poetry, guided tours, music (o.a. Voicst, GEM, Room Eleven and Wolter Kroes) and workshops. All taking place this weekend, September 12th and 13th! Dutch Dolls will be putting the kids to work in Leidsche Rijn. We'll be making a 'Vinex village' out of cardboard boxes. If you're between 2 and 6 years old come join us!!

Tuesday 8 September 2009

homo universalis 2.0. in a TENT.....

It all goes down at the Witte de Withstraat in Rotterdam this week! Tomorrow is the opening of BLURRR in exhibition space for contemporary art TENT. It's a very special exhibition/event to celebrate TENT's 10th birthday. Hurray!

BLURRR (excuse me while I quote from the website) "reveals a new cultural practice in which the young artist goes beyond the borders of different disciplines and presents him/herself as homo universalis 2.0. (...) Thanks to the possibilities of the Internet, it seems that multitasking has become the most important basis for the practice of art without being noticed. Artists are simultaneously a performer, singer or designer. They work alternately in collectives, duos and groups. They share their knowledge or work on social network sites such as Facebook, Hyves or MySpace and assign the public an active role in their work." Sounds kind of familiar?! That's why TENT approached Dutch Dolls to take part in the large-scale educational project that accompanies the exhibition.

The educational project is named 'Wildgroei' ('proliferation') and is organized by an occasional artist collective, consisting of S.P.A.M. van Griensven, Selfcontrolfreak, Ivo Vrouwe and Maartje Aben and Dutch Dolls' own Geeske. From the 9th of September till the 15th of November high school students will work with the collective on an installation. Every move is being monitored by a camera, so you can keep track of the whole thing (somewhere) online.

Anyways, come to the opening tomorrow at 18.00 to enjoy performances by the HuMobisten and Nina Boas, music, drinks and food (by Hete Bliksem!)! Or take a look at the Wildgroei in progress sometime during the Wereld van de Witte de With Festival.

Monday 7 September 2009

next Friday: (p)arty!

Okay, summer is over... which means it's time again for the annual Wereld van de Witte de With Festival in Rotterdam! Of course Dutch Dolls are represent! We're really looking forward to seeing all these artsy folks again :-) Drop by at gallery BLAAK10 this Friday between 19.00 and 20.00 to kick off this 3-day festival with us!! Enjoy the exhibition of Bier en Brood while rocking steady (or rocking out - why not) to our DJ-set.

Bier en Brood is a multi-disciplinary art collective from the Netherlands, and quiet a few members of its crew are (former) students of the Willem de Kooning Academy (where the Dolls were taught and have taught themselves). In April of this year they made the biggest piece of graffiti EVER.... 3000 m2 on container ship NileDutch Kwanza. The exhibition includes photographs of the project and the screening of the documentary ‘HOTEL KWANZA’. And Bier en Brood will be working on a 3D installation in the gallery. It should be fun in BLAAK10 with some excellent DJs, like Nickelle Kees and Black Langebach (of Venour) and peeps of Bier en Brood themselves. So as the Bier and Broodsters say: (p)arteeeeee!!!

Wednesday 2 September 2009

the Berliner Skank a la Dutch Dolls

So after a little over five weeks I'm back in Cardiff. Except for the rain, it feels nice to be at HOME again. Surrounded by all my stuff, having a closet full of clothes to choose from, being called 'love' by the cashier at Tesco's, a PROPER INTERNET CONNECTION... The latter, plus the fact that we worked/partied/relaxed a lot, were the reasons for the infrequent postings the last couple of weeks. But I'll make up for it now by giving you some of Berlin's highlights according to Dutch Dolls...

Like t
his tiny Greek restaurant called Thalassa (Körtestrasse 8) in Kreuzberg. No live music, no tacky decor, no colums. This family run restaurant serves finger licking yummy food, prepared by a big mama. Highly, highly recommended!

Does fermented cabbage sound appealing to you?! To me it never did! But in Korea they love the stuff: kimchi. I've never been a great fan. So when I made a bet (trying not to drink alcohol for one day..) my challenge would be to eat kimchi. Of course I failed... So off we went to Kimchi Princess, a new, stylish Korean restaurant in Kreuzberg 36 (almost too stylish for its surroundings). I had a kimchi crêpe and it was de-li-cious! I'm converted :-)

One of my best nights out ever was probably at Kiki Blofeld: dancing to obscure soul & funk music in a boathouse, chilling outside by a campfire and playing foosball under the stars. Brilliant!! This picture of the (then empty) boathouse doesn't do it justice at all!

Dutch Dolls had another memorable night out at Cassiopeia in Friedrichshain. The ruins of an old factory house two concert venues, a beergarten (check out the pic), an open air cinema and skate hall. Very raw, but the atmosphere is very gemütlich. We shaked our booty to some live R'n B (!), hip hop and dancehall till dawn!

Two nice dives in the neighbourhood of the Falkensteinstrasse in Xberg are Madame Claude and Konrad Tönz. In Madame Claude you can play ping pong or play your musical instrument at one of their open mic nights. Sometimes they have bands playing in their tiny and very damp basement. Oh I just love Konrad Tönz! The bartender is superfriendly and he blends in neatly with the retro interior of the bar... The DJs spin their records (boogaloo, schlager, (ost-)beat, soul and jazz) on two mono record players. Dutch Dolls recommends buying a bottle of sekt (German sparkling wine) there. The bartender will keep it chilled for you in the fridge and he'll fluff you up every now and then.

They say "When in Rome, do as the Romans do". So when in Berlin, go to the fleamarket! The one on Arkonaplatz has a very nice selection of old junk (I should say vintage - go to Mauerpark for a massive amount of just junk). Once a month the legendary punk club SO36 has a Nachtflomarkt. The quality of the goods isn't that great, but it's cheap. So at least you still have a chance of finding a real treasure here. Another big plus is that you can 'trödel' here with a beer in your hand and excellent soul music in the background!

More legendary punk is to be found at the Ramones museum in Mitte. On display are Ramones memorabilia from some obsessive fan. Which is great! There's a framed pair of Johnny's pants, old report cards and of course lots of pictures and posters (there are actually some pretty cool photobooth photo's and contact sheets). Every punk-ish band that visits Berlin drops by at the museum and they often do an acoustic live show. For FREE!! I went there to see the Riverboat Gamblers! I enjoyed it a lot, even though they couldn't rock out as much since they didn't want to trash the museum. On YouTube I found the video that the guy in front of me made. He was clearly into it as well; the camera is bouncing to the rhythm...

Bye bye Berlin, until next year!!