Too Much of a Great Thing!?

One of the not inconsiderable problems of Sweden organizing Eurovision this year in their gorgeous capital city is that Stockholm has an overwhelmingly great music scene at any time.  Add in Eurovision and your senses go on overload and you have to pace yourself or risk burning out.

From yesterday to the end of this week, the schedule is packed TOO full with great events and free concerts.  At any given hour I could happily be at three different venues enjoying a spectacular concert, and every night after the Eurovision show ends at 11:30 or so, there are other options just warming up for the night. Happily, my days of staying out till 5 or 6am at a club are long past, so I can stifle a little regret and tuck in for the night around 1 or 1:30. The next couple of days I have to make a point to slow down and enjoy the other fine things this city has to offer, otherwise I will leave Monday without getting out of the Eurovision and Swedish pop music bubble.

I just got home from a big party/concert organized by the fan website Wiwibloggs, which looked great on paper.  Seventeen Swedish and Eurovision star acts are on, and the show will go on for the next three or four hours. Unfortunately the sound at Hard Rock Cafe was appallingly bad, and I had to beat a hasty exit before my ears started bleeding from the overamplified, distorted sound near the stage.isa

Isa, the assured 17-year old new face of Swedish pop, had the right idea when she stopped midsong and said she would start over when they got the speakers fixed.  It got slightly better and she did her song.  At least I didn’t feel bad tearing myself away after her set, knowing that the performers I would normally give my eye teeth to see and hear would be performing under really subpar circumstances.

Now off to the jury show of the second group of semifinalists.

Guess You Have to Enter to Win

Last week I noticed that ESCtoday was having an Instagram contest to win a pair of tickets to see brilliant and hilarious Icelandic diva Hera Bjork perform her show “The Queen of Effing Everything” at the Playhouse theatre here. I had nothing to lose, and gave it a shot.

Guess what? I woke up this morning to an Instagram message on my phone that I was selected as one of 6 winners, so I know what I am doing tonight. My ESC traveling friend Phideaux hasn’t arrived yet, and my Danish friend Christian is busy in the press centre all day and evening, so I think he is connecting me with a friend of his to come along.

Can’t wait to see and hear fantastic Hera, and will try to get pictures at the show tonight.

HeraQOEE

Arrived in Sweden, and Ready to Post Up a Storm!

My trip from LA to Stockholm was reasonably fast and uneventful, except for the torturous 90 minute security line at LAX. Sweden customs and immigration could not have been nicer and more friendly, especially when they asked the purpose of my visit and I told them I was visiting for 10 days to watch and cover the Eurovision Song Contest.

My AirBnB student apartment in the high-rise Skrapan building overlooking the trendy Sodermalm district is cozy and Scandinavia-cool, and in the absolutely most central and convenient location for tourism in general and Eurovision events in particular. Globen and the shows are 5 minutes and three stops away on the subway, and Eurovillage performances and the Euroclub for accredited press and fans are three stops away in the opposite direction.

The only thing I haven’t yet worked out is where I will work out. That will be my Saturday morning project tomorrow. Meanwhile I am attending a concert at Eurovillage tonight and then the prestigious Nordic countries party at Euroclub afterwards, where I am especially looking forward to getting a first live glimpse of all the Scandinavian acts on an intimate stage.

LOGO will air Eurovision Live in US!!

Amazing, stop the presses kind of news for Americans interested in Eurovision! For the first time ever, American fans can watch Eurovision Song Contest LIVE on television in the United States.  No European satellite or cable channels, no playing your internet feed through a smart TV, no gimmicks required beyond a cable or satellite TV subscription.

Viacom announced today that LOGO network will air the complete Eurovision Song Contest as it takes place in Europe, Saturday, May 14th at 3pm Eastern/noon Pacific.  Check to make sure that your tv provider airs the East Coast feed of logo with no three hour Pacific delay (in which case the show will air at 3pm Pacific also).  But just turn on your TV, tune in LOGO network and watch all the festivities and look for me in the front standing section by the stage (I usually find a place on the left side facing the stage).

Here’s the NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/arts/music/eurovision-grand-final-will-air-on-logo-in-us.html?_r=0

This is a delayed case of my manifesting an American broadcast. Years ago I started putting the thought out there to a LOGO producer at my gym that his network would be the perfect demographic to reach Eurovision fans in the US.  His response indicated that he didn’t take the Contest seriously, and he sort of laughed it off.  But somewhere along the line the idea sunk in and here we are.  Maybe it was President Obama mentioning ESC a few weeks ago as a unifying cultural event in Europe…

 

Watch and ENJOY!

First Photo Slideshow from Copenhagen 2014

Here is a glimpse of the beautiful sights of Copenhagen greeting me during my first few days in the Danish Capital and 2014 Eurovision Host City.  Even if the ominous weather reports hold true and we get a week of rainy days, I don’t think it will dampen my enthusiasm and love for this wonderful city and its cool, laidback and friendly populace.CPH13-stroget3

New Contest, New Copenhagen Trip

My trip here on Norwegian Air was fine!  Terrible airline food, but such great legroom and comfort on the flight that I was able to get a full night’s sleep and arrived here in Kbh fully rested.  My friends and hosts here, Carsten Appel and Kæld Bjørn, made me a nice welcome dinner last night and then Kæld and I hit the town till about 3.  Never Mind Cafe, where I watched the Eurovision finals last year, was packed and fun–the DJ played Eurovision hits and Danish and Swedish schlager all night.

The high point of the night was getting to do one of the things I had planned since I first found out about it a month ago. Dance pop vocalist and finalist in this year’s Dansk Melodi Grand Prix Nadia Malm did a fantastic free show at G*A*Y Copenhagen.

Danish dance music superstar in the making, Nadia Malm

Danish dance music superstar in the making, Nadia Malm

Nadia did all her hits, from her self-penned Eurovision tryout “Before You Forget Me” to her Svenstrup and Vendelboe charttoppers “Glemme Meg Aldrig” and “Dybt Vand”.  After the show I had to say hi and tell her that coming here from LA, one of the things I had looked forward to most was hearing her perform.  She said, “Aww, thank you, come here and give me a hug!” and when I told her I was looking forward to hearing a lot more from her in the future, she assured me that she hoped I would, as well.

Now it’s a sunshiny morning here on the København waterfront, and after breakfast I need to stop by and see Roy van der Merwe from my OGAE chapter to get my Fan Club Cafe pass and all my Eurovision event tickets.