Yesterday I joined a couple of my fellow COM2300-classmates on a sightseeing trip to visit the Hawaiian house of “The Richest Girl In The World“: Doris Duke. After her honeymoon around the world back in 1935, Doris Duke fell in love with Islamic art – and also the Hawaiian islands, and built one of the most beautiful and peaceful houses I have ever visited, by the shore outside of Diamond Head in Honolulu. We were (unfortunately) not allowed to take pictures inside the house, so if you want to see more pictures you can find some here, or google “Doris Duke Shangri La”.
The art work displayed on the estate is diverse, originating from countries like Iran, Syria, Marocco and Spain, and some of the oldest artifacts are from as early as 1100CE. Doris Duke herself was the heiress of a big tobacco firm, had a passion for competitive surfing (which she learnt from THE Duke Kahanamoku), wrote for Harper’s Bazaar at one point and travelled the world to pursue her love for culture and Islamic art. She had 7 different homes and a private jet decorated in her fashion, and after she died her fortune was estimated to 1.6 billion dollars. Married twice, she spoke 9 languages and had a passion for jazz music. All in all she was just one of those famous, rich celebrity philanthropist ladies that we just don’t see anymore. The 1930-40s had Doris Duke, we have Paris Hilton. I will try to mask my envy.
If you are visiting Honolulu, and have a couple hours to spare, I will absolutely recommend this tour (the house is not open to the public unless you are a part of a tour from Honolulu Academy of Arts). I would give up just about everything to be able to live in a place like that. My dream home, without a doubt.
Picture from one of my my favorite tumblr-blogs: Awesome people hanging out together. I just can’t stop being fascinated by the way these legends and icons mingled off duty (and on duty). They just look so out-of-this-world, filled with hipster-power.
Dragged myself out of bed and off to class today, feverish and half-delusional, but dressed to impress. I have a philosophy that revolves around the idea that you can actually dress yourself to better health when you’re sick, just by use of sheer willpower. If I pretend I’m not sick, then I’m not sick. It actually worked for a couple of hours, until I got home, collapsed on the floor and slept for 3 hours straight.
Woke up, ate dinner and decided to do something with my life, so I accompanied my Swedish roommate Sara to an art exhibition by local artist Ojay Tambio. Felt good to do something that resembles my old life style of press events, fashion shows and mingling. It might sound strange, but one grows accustomed to those types of events and like every other familiar event, one might start to miss them when they are not there anymore. I certainly do.
The exhibition itself was OK. The collection looked like the works of 4 different artists, or one artist with serious personality disorders, spanning from late Picasso-esque asymmetry to Per Fronth-like oceanic themes. I preferred the latter. It was however very fascinating to get to see contemporary art from Hawaii, based on the Hawaiian lifestyle, filled with references to the sea and the perfect wave. Cannot wait to learn more about the art scene and the islands.
In June I travelled to NewcastleGateshead for a weekend to experience everything the city that Lonely Planet has named “the new hipster capital of the North-East”, has to offer. And now (after much delay) I have finally sat down to write a little “what to do and where to live and what to eat and whatnot”-guide to the city of the seven bridges.
WHERE to live:
There are a lot of reasonable hotels to live in if you plan to go there on a budget trip (hotels.com will help you there), but if you want to have a really fun and different experience you should definitely check out Hotel Du Vin. The interior of the rooms themselves are worthy of a magazine article (which probably exists somewhere), the food is delicious and the wine cellar is famous in NewcastleGateshead (according to a guy I met a Fenwicks).
Can also recommend the Malmaison Hotel on Quayside, which has a spa department perfect for after-shopping relaxation.
WHERE to shop:
NewcastleGateshead offers just about everything you need in the category “shopping”, from budget to luxury boutiques. Most of it is within walking distance in the city centre around what is called Eldon Square.
Eldon Square itself has a mall that houses Topshop, River Island, Dorothy Perkins, Hollister, Debenhams and a dozen other stores. I spent about an hour at the 3-story high Topshop, trying on just about every pair of high heels in the shoe department. Topshop knows shoes.
Across the street from Eldon Square lies Fenwicks; the 3d largest department store in the UK (after Selfridges in Oxford Street) and Harrods), and this store has got just about everything from expensive to less expensive designer brands: Mulberry, Alexander Wang, Wildfox, Acne, etc.
Outside Fenwicks (on the Eldon Square side) you can find a 3-story Waterstone’s for all of you book shop nerds out there (and me). Nothing much to say about Waterstone’s, everyone should know they are the best book store chain in the UK.
If you continue straight ahead once you’re outside Waterstone’s, you come to Grainger Street. This streets houses a lot of stores, two Starbucks’es and shoe designer Kurt Geiger. Northumber Street – which is just up the street – wrap it with H&M, HMV, Primark and whatever else you need in order to update the wardrobe completely.
AND as a little bonus, Newcastle has a wonderful little vintage street called High Bridge two blocks from Theatre Royal, which houses two of my personal favorites Deep Vintage Clothing and Retro. T-shirts, denim things, sweaters, sunglasses and bags enough to keep you busy for a couple of hours. High Bridge also houses a couple of independent shops that sell brands like Cheap Monday (Trickle).
WHAT to do:
The Baltic is the center for contemporary art in Gateshead and is located in an old Flour Mill right by the award-winning Millennium Bridge. There are no permanent art on display at the Baltic, only visiting exhibitions which means that you can always expect something new. They have a close relationship with TATE modern in London, and will host the Turner Prize this year. Personally I loved the building and the art work on display, and the fact that all the people working there are practicing artists outside of work makes them more stimulating and fun to talk to it (and lends the center itself more credibility as a center of contemporary art).
Guided tours around the town is not something to frown about if you (like me) tend to want to familiarize yourself with places you travel to. I was lucky enough to get a guide that resembled Miss Marple, and enjoyed a couple of hours in her company exploring all parts of Newcastle and Gateshead (I got the full tour with trips to the suburbs as well), and women like her know everything there is to know about anything. And it doesn’t cost too much either.
Spa treatment at Malmaison Hotel is sort of mandatory after a long day of running around shopping and exploring the city.
The Theatre Royal – The theatre has been restored to it’s former glory (the official reopening is on Sept. 12th) and is a sight to see (and visit,
Art galleries in Ousbourne area and all over the city – best way to find out what is happening art-wise (and there is always a dozen things happening), is to check out: renewnewcastle.org.
COFFEE, food and whatnot:
China Town – great food, easy as that. Just go and eat there. You can’t do anything wrong (as long as you stay away from the casino).
The Cluny – hot spot by the Ousbourne river, and a popular hang-out for students, artists, musicians and whatnot. Cheap, cozy and very Grünerløkka-inspired.
EAT food festival – Even with the rain pouring down it seemed like all of NewcastleGateshead was out in the streets, sampling food and enjoying the entertainment during the weekend I was in the city. The occasion (albeit I was told they usually don’t care to much for the weather up there, rain or snow they always come to town) was the EAT festival, which is a food festival that takes place in NewcastleGateshead, gathering chefs, food producers, brewers and anyone who does anything food-related in the area to create a big feast show-casing local food and drinks. I got to taste a dozen different local beers and wine types, ate delicious food made by local ingredients and participated in different competitions.
Starbucks – they have it. Everywhere.
There are many places to go out, but I would recommend you to try out the local pubs instead of your typical nightclubs. It is so much more “right” to enjoy a beer in lively pub, than hang around in a nightclub when you’re on vacation in England.
Cheap plane tickets can be booked via RyanAir or Norwegian, buses are close to free (same goes for taxis), and with the football stadium and hundreds of football pubs close at hand you can even bring your football-interested boyfriend/bestfriend/brother/father/grandfather/sister/whoever along for the ride.
Have you every been in Newcastle & Gateshead, or do you plan to go there?
My friend Julie has participated in this 1 minute long screendance film made by Tobias Gundorff Boesen for the Danish screendance competition 60secondsdance.dk. I am utterly fascinated by the piece, and thought I would share it with you.
Former plus-size model Crystal Renn posing for a fashion film for StyleCaster.com. The film is directed by Jason Last (and the stills are photographed by Fabien Montique) and pictures “a woman who can give you these moments of charm and perfection, but who privately (and easily) can become unhinged.”.
Personally I think it is beautiful. I love the make-up, styling (Marchesa), colors and music. Think Lanvin for H&M commercials meet A Single Man (the movie by Tom Ford) mixed with a touch of grungy Sex and The City. You can watch the film here.
Spent yesterday afternoon at the National Gallery and then at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. This was my first time visiting both of the museums, and I must admit that it was quite fun to finally see the pictures that have been decorating my Norwegian text books since I started school at the tender age of 7 (or was it 6? I don’t recall). The paintings of Adolph Tidemand, Hans Gude, J.C. Dahl, Christian Krogh, Edward Munch, Eilif Pettersen, and many others were quite magnificent “live” and I wouldn’t mind adopting a few of them (especially Pettersen’s picture of King Christian II). Walking around in the halls it was hard not to notice that the place needs a make-over in order to work properly as a museum, so hopefully all the mess and fighting that is the new National Gallery at the moment will solve or dissolve soon.
The Astrup Fearnley Museum are showcasing an exhibition by the New York-based artist Dan Colen at the moment, which really managed to combine humor, provocative elements, Disney and interesting artistic methods regarding use of materials, etc. The exhibition, called Peanuts, will be on display until 24.04, so there’s plenty of time for you to go have a look. In other words; It is really worth taking a trip to Dronningensgate 4 to check it out ! Next on my list is the Munch Museum and the National Gallery’s Museum of Modern Art.
Are you a regular face at the museums or are you one of those people that always talk about how they should go but end up on a cafe, on a spontaneous shopping trip or a date with the TV instead?
We visited Mr Nelson the other day to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine and some cheese in his apartment by Central Park, and he just happened to have one of the five copies of Madonna in existence. As in the Madonna by Edvard Munch. Happens all the time.. I did not feel the urge to take it and run-
Everything I’ve done, I’ve done for you. I move the stars for no one.
“I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.”
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful young girl whose stepmother always made her stay home with the baby. And the baby was a spoiled child, and wanted everything to himself, and the young girl was practically a slave. But what no one knew is that the king of the goblins had fallen in love with the the girl, and he had given her certain powers. So one night, when the baby had be particularly cruel to her, she called on the goblins for help! “Say the right words,” the goblins said, “and we’ll take the baby to the castle, and you will be free!” But the girl knew, that the Goblin King would keep the baby in his castle for ever and ever and ever, and turn it into a goblin! And so the girl suffered in silence. Until one day, when she was tired from a day of housework, and she was hurt by the harsh words of her stepmother, and she could no longer stand it…
Spent last night watching the epic fantasy movie The Labyrinth (starring the fabulous and fantastic David Bowie) with Maja, while eating homemade blueberry-pie (delicious) and burned popcorn (not so delicious). The movie is just ridiculous, in the way nightmares are ridiculous, “anything can happen, nothing needs to happen, nothing is as it seems and the rules keep changing.” But unlike Roger Ebert who thinks that this is a bad thing, I loved it. David Bowie is one of a kind, and the music, costumes and general feeling of this movie is pure fun. Acid fun.
Have you seen it, and if so, what did you think of it?
This years must-see movie: When You’re Strange. My love for everything The Doors and Jim Morrison is one of the greater, and for years and years The Doors have been a part of my Top 3 favorite bands (together with The Who and Coldplay). Jim Morrison is the epitome of the Fallen Rockstar, with drugs, politics and rock’n'roll, leaving his mark alongside Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix and for that matter Jeff Buckley and Kurt Cobain.
The new movie features never before seen photos and film and is narrated by another favorite Mr. Johnny Depp. Can’t wait to see this, and there’s no doubt in my mind about whether I will like it or not. Love Jim always. The misunderstood geniuses are always the most complex and interesting characters, it is so cliché, but true. Random fact: Jim allegedly had and IQ of 149.
Like mentioned earlier in the last Q&A session I have recently acquired a new type of body art to my unblemished body. Got together with a friend who’s a tattoo artist last Wednesday and added the sentence “ensemble c’est tout” to my wrist. Ensemble, c’est tout means something along the lines of “being together is all that really matters” and is the title of one of my favorite books, written by the very talented Anna Gavalda.
The thing that amazed me most about the session, which didn’t last long at all, was the fact that it didn’t really hurt that much. Some, but perfectly livable pain. Now, I don’t want to sound like I am encouraging young people to take tattoos, it’s a piece that will be on your skin for the rest of your life, so think it through (for a loooong time) before going through with it. Personally I’ve been thinking seriously about it for the last 4-5 years, and even though the session in itself was sort of an impulse thing, I’ve had the idea in my mind for over 8 months now, together with many others that have been discarded along the way.
Personally I think that tattoos can be both beautiful and utterly&completely hideous. Tramp stamps and salamanders on the ankle makes me nauseous, while a guy with the perfect sleeve earns 1000 extra hotness-points. It’s all about style, color, placement and implementation.
If you have any questions about it, don’t hesitate to ask! Does any of you have a/or more tattoos?
This blog belongs to Maren, a 23-year-old quasi-intellectual girl from Kristiansand, Norway. She has got a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Oslo, and is now living in Honolulu, Hawaii where she is working on a MA in Communication at Hawaii Pacific University. She likes books. [more?]
In 2004 I started to write down what books I read in order to keep track of them all. Since 2006 I have gathered them here instead of in my notebook and they serve as a reminder of how I should read more and compete to beat my old “record”. You can find the complete list here.
LOSTMYHEAD.ORG / MAREN 2009
LOSTMYHEAD.ORG skrives av @ Maren Bjørgum og er underlagt lov om opphavsrett til åndsverk.
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