Tag Archives: vilnius

First bubbles of this year

Also posted on Wonderland.CafeBabel.com.

As soon as it became warm enough, Laimikis.lt relaunched its initiative called “Bubble the City” in English (in rather unsuccessful search for an adequate term for the creative Lithuanian “Burbuliatorius”). As last year, it takes place in Lithuanian cities and towns, as well as the most popular migrant destinations. The idea is to encourage people to spend time outdoors and do something together in a non-commercial setting, using one of the green public spaces. I have noticed that Vilnius, which, although blessed with open spaces, has rather unstable climate. It drastically lacks public toilets, and many urban spaces that people like become ‘overplanned’ due to dubious government initiatives, such as replacing old trees, which used to provide comfortable shade, with new, specially designed trees. Being in central Vilnius in cold weather is no fun at all, to put it mildly. Like in many cities, you must buy something to enjoy a comfortable place to sit. Compared to Tokyo, Vilnius at least has benches.

Various activists and groups try to revitalise open spaces of Vilnius and encourage people to spend time there and shape the places to better meet their needs. Sharing of photos online became another way of getting together for the sake of soap bubbles. Particularly because the event takes place at the same time in Lithuania and in Lithuanian emigree communities. Continue reading

Frozen Vilnius

December (Lt. ‘gruodis’) is named after harsh, dry frost (‘gruodas’). After several global-warming type of winters, it’s already the second which is exceptionally cold. It is -13 at the moment, and if it goes down even more, it seems that eyelids will freeze together after every blink. Like any stronger weather-related phenomenon, snow exposes the mismanagement of Vilnius’ streets. Sloping, narrow streets of the old town, when frozen, are a particular torture for old people. But even young ones get injured. It’s too dangerous to keep your hands in your pockets, but too cold to keep them outside. Continue reading

Legal graffiti: inclusive urban art or “farted radicalism”?

On the 9th of September I attended a street art event, co-organised by Julijus G. There is a group of people who promote graffiti in Lithuania as a legal form of urban art, which engages the people who hang out in the spaces decorated. The people who organise such events are a group of young enthusiasts willing to legalise graffiti and make it an accepted form of expression, which changes the face of urban spaces. They have recently totally changed an old fountain, which does not function anymore, right next to where I live. A red-brick pillar was painted white, and various hands, perhaps telling something in sign language, were sprayed in black. The fountain now stands out, since all buildings around are red-brick. It invites to look at it and try to decipher what the hands have to say. The fountain is right in the centre of a typical Soviet building complex which hosts supermarkets, pharmacies, a post office and what not. Very close to it, there is a bustling marketplace, which sometimes extends beyond its space, with people selling milk, mushrooms and apples wherever they find some space. So every day people notice that the fountain has changed, and take a few moments to look at what the hands have to say. Continue reading

Colourful Japanese devils take the streets of Vilnius

“What’s this? What’s this?” curiously repeat an elderly French-speaking couple to each other as they pass by a colourful crowd of all kinds of characters, some holding swords about the size of themselves, some with blue hair or painted faces. It is the fourth time Cosplay enthusiasts get together in Vilnius and show how they can imitate their favourite characters, but lately (at least since 2009) the Japanese embassy happily supports their show(-off) in the framework of a festival called “Now Japan”. In addition to crafts workshops and a movie night, Cosplay was one of the parts of the festival. However, the city, waking up from the summer vacation, felt it more than anything else. Continue reading

Nightlife in Lithuania: call it night, but life???

When you go out in Lithuania in summer, prepare to dance in plenty of space and give yourself a moment to carefully pick your shoes! Adequate shoes may be key to a good party. I know all too well that after returning from Tel Aviv, where everything is open all night long and summer stands for more clubbing and better roof parties, any Northern European country might seem a little gloomy.