Friday, February 15, 2008
Saag at the Peterson
Stopped into Cafe Peterson last night with Morgan for the opening of an art show by Sven Saag. The only painting I have in my house is a Saag that is clean and crisp by comparison to most of his oeuvre. He used to paint things like old doors that would be desirable in anyone's home even unpainted, doing amazing things with textures.
Like many of my acquaintances, he's a Nõmme resident. We visited his studio in that green piney district a few years ago -- it was in a part of a church. He wore a flannel shirt and everybody drank wine from mugs. It was Bohemian-Estonian.
Peterson is a cozy place but at the same time upscale. It reminds me of Stockholm. I eat there from time to time -- they seem to specialize in quiche. It's kid-neutral, but I hadn't remembered just how many of the tablecloths were sheer velour with large crystal centrepieces on top.
The paintings, being heavy plywood and such, were the most heavy-duty objects there, but Morgan, 2, who is usually well-behaved, filled me with unease. He lolled on the couches with an odd glint in his eyes and then when I suggested we look at the paintings, he sprang to life and clapped his hands too zealously. "Careful, Morgan, remember what we talked about at the Kumu," I said as he touched the frame of the biggest painting, which translated as In Grandmother's Garden or Grandmother in the Garden and appeared to depict two dwarves in a May blizzard, and it swung to and fro. "Oh, no, this isn't the Kumu," Sven said modestly. Well, that was true, I don't remember any of the Miro paintings there listed for 30,000 kroons.
Among the polyglot crowd was Vello Vikerkaar. I had heard his name before -- but had never met him. I think I was confusing him with other colourful expats/emigres such as Viido Polikarpus of Eesti Maja. Now it came back to me. A guy who was periodically published in local Estonian publications like EPL and EE, and by all rights, Vikerkaar.
Anyway, Vello is now the editor of Baltlantis, a commercial online site about the Baltics that seems quite content-rich and witty, and which I am probably the last person in Estonia not to be familiar with.
The emigre/expat scene is deep. I just bob around, myself. Where do they all come from? I think there should be a book about expats in Estonia -- the unofficial history. Naturally focusing on people who have made a life here, but also including, for example, phenomena such as Danhammer, the changes of ownership of bars and the countless soap operas played out in the 1990s, and naturally, who was sleeping with whom.
I am thinking that our expat scene could take, say, the Czech Republic's expat scene in a steel cage match.
Posted by Kristopher at 3:21 AM