It's been an action-packed weekend already, and we're only half way through.
Friday we kicked things off with dinner at a newly opened restaurant, conveniently located on our street corner. Cafe Kitsch, although not without room for improvement, didn't disappoint. A great place to grab tapas and a Finnish beer, brightly lit and decorated with vintage chairs and sofas. The patatas bravas were delicious, but skip the mushrooms. Just between us.
Next we strolled over to Senaatintori (Senate Square), and caught an outdoor orchestra performance, courtesy of the local middle and high schools (or so we guessed). A nice surprise!
Afterwards, we saw another concert at a really interesting venue called Korjaamo Culture Factory. I don't even know exactly how to describe this place ... unlike other U.S. based "Factories," Korjaamo combines visual art, performances, dancing and a bizarre list of cocktails (which I'd definitely avoid ... stick with the beer or cider). It's housed in an old tram depot, and evidently also operates as a small hotel. The cozy black box theater behind the bar reminded me of the fantastic experimental theater shows I used to watch back in college.
The opening act was a Finnish-American woman called Vuk. I'm sure Jason would have a much more colorful way of describing her ... involving comparisons to nymphs and other mythical woodland creatures ... but I enjoyed her set. I don't know that I'd download her entire album to my iTunes (assuming I had any control over our iTunes), but I had to admire her awesome voice, range and venture into several different styles. Plus, the woman plays a pump organ, for Pete's sake. And an autoharp.
The real magic happened when headliners Vermillion Lies took the stage. Ironically, the group hails from Oakland, California. They call their act "Sister Cabaret," which is a great way to describe it—part circus, part radio show, part sing-along. Their music is clever and macabre, and they both have amazing voices that complement each other as only sisters' can. I could gush about their marvelous outfits and series of non-conventional percussion instruments ... but that would spoil all the fun, should you have the chance to see them in your hood. Good good fun.
I'll let Jason tell you about the beer festival we went to yesterday. It was certainly ... an experience.
Mom and Dad arrive tonight! Looking forward to a week with them, and lots of traveling.