Going Underground | Happy Old New Year!

To me 2013 feels double as promising and double as exciting as any year before it – why? Well, this year I celebrated New Year’s twice; yup – twice! My first New Year’s was very traditional: dinner with friends in Valby, massive private party in Nørrebro, blurry blackoutish hours, coming to at Hong Kong in Nyhavn, no bike, no money. Nausea and guilt trips.

My second New Year’s was traditional in a different way and requires an introduction to a very special place in Copenhagen. In Amager there is a place called PB43. Now, way back when Amager was still mainly the industrial wasteland and junkyard of the capital, PB43 (Prags Boulevard 43) was a paint factory gushing out hundreds of thousands of gallons of paint and who knows how many toxins every month. But since the autumn of 2010, the old buildings have been taken over by creative occupants of all sorts: the modern hippies, one might say – you know, the kind that space out, break boundaries and all that, but do so firmly within the boundaries of capitalism − hence actually make a living from it.

The 6,400 sqm ground of PB43 consists of four buildings hosting carpentry workshops, a contemporary art gallery, art studios, creative workspaces, a bicycle repair shop, community gardens and much, much more.

And fortune will have it that the clever people of this little creative community in Amager discovered that there is a widespread tradition, primarily in Russia, to celebrate New Year’s twice. One is the traditional one in our parts, apparently determined by the Gregorian calendar, according to which New Year’s is at midnight between December 31 and January 1, whereas the Julian calendar − used by the Russians until 1912 − celebrates New Year’s on the night of January 13. It is common in Russia to celebrate both, referred to respectively as the ‘new’ and the ‘old’ New Years. So, my second New Year’s this year was Old Russian New Years at the old paint factory at PB43 – and the contemporary hippies of PB43 do nothing ‘half assed’ − especially not a party.

In the courtyard the rustic aesthetics of worn trailer homes, metallic remains, containers and community gardens are ruptured, pierced by massive light sculptures glowing in phosphorus white. The speakers pump charming beats of up-pace traditional Russian music, and people are sweating. Screaming, drinking, kissing, dancing. It is New Year’s indeed. In the centre of the courtyard a homemade sauna traffics naked people all night, infusing the dark night with pimpled asses and milky breasts. Inside vodka flows like honey. Groups of all but naked bodies mingle with the winter-dressed newcomers. Music throbbing. Jumping. Laughing. Madness level: New Year’s. Then darkness.

I wake up on the couch alone in a strange flat, stumble into my boots, grab my jacket and one glove. Get out. On my bikeless, pennyless hike out of Amager, I pass PB43 and despite nausea and a brain full of broken glass, I get a thrilling shudder from the sight of the old factory grounds: If places like this can exist in 2013, it’s going to be a very good year.

IDOART.DK second anniversary
The online art magazine I DO ART is celebrating two years of existence surrounded by young and talented artists, musicians and happy party people. Spirits will be high, the night will be long – so join the celebration, it’s bound to be a good show, followed by a hell of a party!
Vess Vesterbro Showroom, Oenslægergade 36, Cph V; Fri Feb 8,16:00-22:00; free adm

Salon: Pissoir presents Moth
Don’t miss the underground all-star band Moth! Their dystopian post punk-inspired tunes and lyrics are bound to mess up your evening. Once you re-emerge from the aesthetic settings of Christiania’s Børneteater, the dark of the night will be an ounce thicker. Go now or forever hold your peace.
Børneteatret, just at the beginning of Pusher Street, Christiania; Sat Feb 2, 21:00 onwards; tickets: 50kr

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