Thank you, Bulgaria! Thank you, Latvia! Thank you, Sweden! Our hearts are full of love for you.

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Although The Sound We See: A Riga City Symphony will have its “real” premiere as the opening film of the 2017 Riga International Film Festival in September, tonight we celebrate with filmmakers, friends and family in the cozy Kanepes Kultūras centrs Kino. We laughed, we cried, we felt the analog love. Thank you Žanete for your vision, thank you Daiga, Mairita and Arterritory for the support, thank you Lāsma, Ieva and Baltic Analog Lab for the cinematic home, and thank you Agnese Krivade, Aigars Bikše, Anda Lāce, Andris Freibergs, Ansis Starks, Atis Jākobsons, Evelīna Ozola, Gunārs Binde, Ieva Epnere, Jānis Putniņš, Karlīna Vītoliņa, Katrīna Neiburga, Kristiāns Brekte, Krišs Salmanis, Maija Kurševa, Mārtiņš Grauds, Miķelis Baštiks, Miķelis Putniņš, Pauls Bankovskis, MAREUNROL’S, Sergejs Timofejevs, Odrija Fišere, Signe Birkova, and Viesturs Meikšāns for taking this journey with us… Your vision of Riga is powerful, unique and wondrous to behold!

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A perfect Sunday for daydreaming, shooting some Super 8, and putting the finishing touches on The Sound We See: Riga… Tomorrow is the Filmmakers, Friends and Family Premiere!

Although we enjoyed a few little adventures in the early afternoon (some romantic music by our favorite trumpet-and-accordian duo, a visit with the renegade tea lady outside Kalnciems Market and an encounter with the Boo Radley of Kipsala Island), the star attraction of the day was the Latvian National Museum of Art where we had a lot of fun seeking out pictures featuring pets and feet and admiring the gallery guards including our favorite gallery guard of all: Lāsma!

 

The bike ride from Riga to Jūrmala is filled with all kinds of visual delights: trees decorated with red and white ribbons, berry pickers, severed heads, yarn bombs, old wooden holiday houses, gardens in full bloom, tranquil green forests… And then… the beach! “The Baltic’s version of the French Riviera,” back in the Communist era Jūrmula was a favorite holiday hangout of Soviet bigwigs including Leonid Brezhnev and Nikita Khrushchev. Today it’s in full-on summertime mode with all kinds of folks frolicking in the (chilly!) ocean, playing soccer, suntanning,  building sand castles, pushing baby carriages, eating ice cream and jumping around in giant bouncy castles. Paradise!

SWS:Riga editing is finished (good work, Aigars!) and now it’s time to check out some things on our Riga list. At the Art Academy, faculty carry bouquets of flowers for their name day while students silently making drawings for their entrance exam. At the Latgales Tirgus flea market, I forego the piles of rusty tools in favor of a few fabulous photographs. At the Academy of Sciences (aka Stalin’s Birthday Cake), we dine on cold beet soup in the Soviet-style cafeteria before ascending to the 17th floor for a 360 degree panoramic view of the city. A kiss,of course at the Laima Clock, the preferred Riga meeting point for friends and lovers since 1924 when it was “erected by social democrats…so people wouldn’t be late for work.” Very special tours of the Latvian Artists Union Museum and the Riga Porcelain Museum where we learn about Soviet ceramics, The Trespassers and my new favorite artist Aija Zarina  – thank you, Iliana Veinberga! And finally, a glorious ride to the end of the world where we watch an apocalyptic sunset with the punks on the pier and enjoy Imaginary Latvian Summer an outdoor screening of terrific short films curated by our BAL pal Ildze Felsberga.  This is Kate and Abby’s last day in Latvia… We raise a toast of beer and chocolate to one amazing week!

…and an art opening with mermaids!