Culture Round-Up: Mermaid mayday at the Blue Planet aquarium

Karin Lund Madsen, the head of the mermaid freedivers (photo: Blue Planet)
October 18th, 2021 6:00 pm| by Ben Hamilton
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The Blue Planet aquarium in Amager is again hiring freedivers to dress up as mermaids and tap on the glass as delighted visitors walk past – an added bonus for those gawping at hammerhead sharks and rays in its giant tanks.

The aquarium contends that its performance during the ongoing autumn holiday will be critical in its bid to stave off bankruptcy – a threat that has been ever-present since the onset of corona.

After all, those fish aren’t going to feed themselves.

Make a MobilePay donation
Showing up to enjoy the antics of the five freedivers will help the aquarium to cover the costs of its inmates’ food bills and staff salaries, as will buying an annual pass or making a donation via MobilePay (435576).

Over the summer, the aquarium ‘auctioned’ its animals via Den Blå Avis, and bitcoin billionaire Niklas Nikolajsen von Karlhof ‘paid’ 560,000 kroner for Otto the Octopus.

Adult octopuses feed on other fish, and even octopi, so hurry up with that donation!


Rights to watch ‘Forbrydelsen’ sold in US 14 years after debut
US audiences hate subtitles, or so we’ve always been told, as it hasn’t stopped Topic from acquiring the rights from DR to stream ‘
Forbrydelsen’ (‘The Killing’), thus giving the Danish classic its stateside debut 14 years after it first aired. The streaming rights have only been up for grabs since the beginning of 2021, and since then DR has been attracting a lot of interest. Topic has also acquired the rights to stream the original versions of ‘Bron’ (‘The Bridge’) and ‘Bedrag’ (‘Follow the Money’). English-language versions of both Forbrydelsen’ and ‘Bron’ were made in the US. 

Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen festival faces depleted line-up
At the last count, 19 breweries have chosen not to participate in the Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen festival this coming weekend. Many have remained silent on why they have pulled out, but it is reported by DR that it is the result of “several testimonies of sexual harassment, bullying and poor working conditions” at Mikkeller establishments. One of them, Dominion City, confirmed via Instagram that it was pulling out due to “shared stories of a toxic work environment as part of a showdown over inclusion, sexism and misogyny in the brewing industry”. In response, Mikkeller founder Mikkel Borg Bjergsø admitted to Kulturen på P1 that there have been cases, but rejected the claim the company had a toxic work environment. “We have cleaned it up, and we have fired those who do not live up to our standards,” he said. “The [cancelling companies] were pressured to do so … a group of activists on Instagram are in the process of contacting their partners and cancelling them if they do not cancel the festival.” In total, there are 50 Mikkeller establishments across the world, employing 600 people.

More plus-size options at Danish clothing company Ganni
Danish clothing company Ganni is introducing more plus-size clothing to its range. Typically, most retailers tend to cater to quite a narrow range (sizes 36-42), but Ganni is now expanding to offer clothes sizes 32-52. The decision is the result of a collaboration with the US webshop 11 Honoré, so the range will be on sale to customers in multiple countries. A common means of expanding the size but keeping the design is to incorporate pleats, elastics and belts. The average Danish woman is size 40-42. 

Art museum under fire over sponsor
The Aros art museum in Aarhus has come under criticism for retaining Bech-Bruun as a sponsor. The law firm has been in the firing line due to its participation in the share dividend scandal that has cost the treasury 12.7 billion kroner. In 2017, the state hired Bech-Bruun to conduct a large independent legal investigation into the scandal, but then a year later it transpired it had advised a bank how to benefit from the loophole back in 2014. According to Lise Pennington, the acting director of Aros, sponsors must comply with current Danish legislation, so it is suspected Aros might cut ties in a similar fashion to how Louisiana parted company with UBS after it was found guilty of tax evasion.

Culture minister secures extra funding for jazz radio channels
DR has confirmed it will be able to run two of its radio channels, P6 Beat and P8 Jazz, as 15 million kroner in annual funding has been assured from 2022-24. Previously, it was thought the stations would have to close down in line with the broadcaster’s substantial cuts. The culture minister, Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen, secured the funding from the so-called additional licence revenue with the backing of SF, Radikale and Enhedslisten. “By preserving P6 Beat and P8 Jazz, we create peace around the environments around alternative rhythmic music and jazz. At the same time, radio listeners continue to enjoy a journalistic dissemination of these genres that goes in-depth with the narrative of music and the artists,” she enthused.

SIRI condemned for deporting experienced chefs
Horesta, the industry association for restaurants and hotels, has condemned recent decisions taken by the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) to deport chefs in light of the huge huge shortage of qualified kitchen personnel in Denmark, reports TV2. In some cases SIRI has suspected the chef’s salary in question, which needs to be at least 37,100 kroner a month to qualify for a permit, was not believable. Their decision was in alignment with ‘presumption rejection’, a new rule introduced last year. Mattias Tesfaye, the immigration minister, conceded it was important for Danish companies to “recruit the qualified workforce they need”, but cautioned the rules were previously being exploited – particularly by ‘Chinese chefs’. “If you want to hire employees in positions that are usually a lot below that salary, you can instead, for example, make use of the positive list for skilled workers, which is just open to a job category such as chefs,” he advised.

Random chestnut figures helping to promote the TV series further
Morten Kjems Hytten Juhl, a producer of ‘Kastanjemanden’, has confirmed to DR that it is no coincidence that the hit Netflix series was released in the middle of the horse-chestnut season when kids are prone to making little figures out of the nuts and matches, but that even he has been surprised by the number of reports of chestnut men left all over the country. “When they put a knitted sweater on Sarah Lund in Forbrydelsen’, I also don’t think they had much of an idea that it would become a thing,” he reasoned. “But there is no doubt that there is nothing better than fiction inspiring reality because that is always way bigger than standard marketing.”

Northside to completely cut out meat and fish
When the Northside festival in Aarhus opens again for business from June 2-4 next year, all its food offerings will be plant-based and organic. The festival calls its decision to discard both meat and fish a “sustainable quantum leap”. At the last Northside in 2019 only 20 percent of the food was meat.

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