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Looking good and you know it!

July 26, 2010

By Sanita Medne

To stand out in a crowd – is that ‘in’? Interesting and original fashion – how about that? Now, raise your hand who wants to be original and support local designers!

1st of June proved to be a creative day – it was an official opening of the online shop Creative Latvia (CL). As put by the CL team: ‘We are proud of the local fashion and art and therefore our aim is to popularize and support the creative and talented people from Latvia.’

There are names and brands which rise no question about what it is and where from. The team of CL feels that Latvian designers seem to be ‘too unknown’. By opening the online fashion store, Līga Bizune and Madara Zvejniece want to spread the word about all the talents Latvia has.

It is also a brave act considering the weak Latvian fashion business traditions and overall situation still not favoring new acts. Zvejniece, CL’s marketing director, is rather optimistic because the awareness of Latvian fashion designers is still on the raise – in Latvia as well as abroad. The optimistic view is also supported by the fact that many see the business opportunity and the number or shops and ateliers is growing.

CL was established in 12 March 2010 but it took another couple of months before the shop could open. As for today the shop offers clothing for women, men and children. Be sure to check the accessories because some of them are gems in the b

Līga Bizune, Kaspars Bizuns, Madara Zvejniece

ox (authors favorite is one of the brooches by Inga Beikule)!

CL works on meeting agreements with more and more designers. Shop already offers pieces by Sheila – a well known designer in Latvian fashion – as well as clothing by new talents. Ludmila Kruglika, Vita Radziņa and Iveta Vilne are just the few of CL shop’s good deals.

Radziņa and Vilne, just graduated from Art Academy of Latvia, were noticed by Latvia’s fashion and lifestyle magazine Pastaiga (2010 july/august issue) in young designer’s show Perons. Radziņa received apprenticeship in Instituto Marangoni in Paris for her collection “About money” (also found on CL).

What also makes CL interesting is that the staff itself is young, creative and just that bit of rebellious to start a fashion business in Latvia. As put by Bizune – “we are “crawling” there where so many before us have already complained – you cannot make money with art and fashion in Latvia”.

Regarding the fresh and juicy logo – ‘it resembles the purchase with an edge’, explained Zvejniece. The cherry, as seen in CL logo, is desirable by many but the one and only stays where it belongs – in CL.

To keep up with the latest trends and see what’s next – be sure to follow CL on Facebook, Twitter and Draugiem.

Postmodern urban space in Riga

June 26, 2010

By Elina Bikulcha

“The postmodern reply to the modern consists of recognizing that the past, since it cannot really be destroyed, because its destruction leads to silence, must be revisited: but with irony, not innocently.”

(Umberto Eco)

Riga is considered the capital of Art Nouveau in Europe, but it also has great examples of other architecture. Thinking of modern Riga as of quintessence of different styles and movements it is interesting to draw attention to postmodern elements in the city.

Postmodernism is a movement which appeared in late 1960s as a reaction to modernism and its values. There is no one specific definition of the term and this question is debated among the representatives of the style themselves. An informative and entertaining definition of postmodernism is here.

Ideas of postmodernism became common in Riga by the end of 20th century. One of the reasons for this is a tendency to renew values, which were important in Latvia before the USSR period. For example the creation of the “Occupation museum” in the Old Town, the development of different projects to enlarge this building (G. Birkert’s plan to build one more part of the museum which would be white and would symbolize the bright future).

A local expert Janis Lejnieks considers a building at 36 Dzirnavu Street a symbol of postmodern architecture in Riga, which combines renewed elements of “wood classicism” with modern glass construction. It is also a symbol of postmodernism because of its story, which can be found here.

Dzirnavu Street 36. Foto by Indriķis Stūrmanis.

A young architect and Fulbright scholar from the University of Pennsylvania Gabriel Burkett has his own opinion on the postmodernism elements in Riga. Burkett has been staying in Riga for 9 months; he is observing the architecture in Riga and studying people’s different ways of life and its influence on architecture. Burkett is not sure if the building at Dzirnavu Street is the best example of postmodern architecture in Riga. “It might use local materials (like the wood on the facade), and it also uses horizontal bands, appliquéd as a sort of decoration – the layering of simple forms could also be considered vaguely postmodern. Those are elements somewhat characteristic of postmodernism, but they don’t stand out so much here. It is missing any really obvious signs of postmodern style, like mixture of historical elements,” – Burkett says.

Burkett thinks that “Rigas Makslas Telpa” in the Old town, situated on Kungu Street is a good example of postmodern architecture.

Rigas Makslas Telpa, Kungu Street. Photos by Elina Bikulcha.

The young architect also agrees with Dr. Lejnieks that very striking postmodern examples are apartment houses in Marupe, built by architects A. Skujina and A. Marinska. The balconies of the apartments are decorated with Latvian ornaments, which is in tradition of postmodern eclecticism.

Creators of “Lido” restaurant on Krasta Street used symbols of country architecture – windmills as a picturesque element. Lejnieks says that it is as a postmodern tendency, because old values are combined with new technologies and modern architecture. Burkett thinks that this is an example of regionalism.

Although Riga is not a place to find many “postmodern only” examples, there are still some postmodern features, which prove the importance and the specific role of this style in Latvian architecture.

Festive photograpies

June 26, 2010

By Sanita Medne

photo by Lelde Meirāne

photo by Lelde Meirāne

10th Latvia Youth Song and Dance Festival, taking place in Riga, 6-11 July, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. For the very first time the festival has been included in the list of anniversaries for UNESCO in 2010-2011! For the significant occasion organisers bring up new and fresh ideas.

From 120 young photographers 14 were chosen by a jury to become formal festival photographers. Most of them had taken pictures of local song and dance troops. One of the young and promising talents, Lelde Meirāne, 15, has agreed to sit down for a chat with Yellofrog.

Meirāne admits having her school principal encouraging her to take part in the contest. In the tight schedule Meirāne has not yet met other photographers. ‘I am really looking forward to it’, Meirāne admits.

Which once started as a hobby may now become a career. Meirāne has some serious plans and mentions Sergejs Kondrašins as one of her idols. The festival, having wide international publicity and many followers on Twitter and Facebook, may be a stepping stone for all the young talents. ‘Yes, I have plans for future. I just have to fulfil them!’ Meirāne is strong –willed.

At this young age Meirāne has an experience of two years in amateur photography. By watching other works she has developed a signature style, turning to vintage pictures and ‘the 80ies’. ‘I like vintage looking photos’, Meirāne claims.

Student Star profile

May 19, 2010

By Girts Smelters

Photo from Zane Pavarina private collection

Zane Pavarina, (born in 1988), is a basketball player and full time student at University of Latvia. Currently Pavarina plays for “University of Latvia” team “BK Ventspils”. She was on the Latvia junior national team, winning 4th place in the Europe championship division B. She was also a junior champion in Latvia with Ventspils junior team in year 2007.

Pavarina has played for University of Latvia for 2 seasons. At the moment they are in last place in the league, but she says: “We still have hope”. She is the best 3- point shooter on the team, with more than 30% accuracy. This is the main reason Pavarina was chosen to participate in the Latvian basketball all-star event 3- point shot competition on February. She had the best score at the beginning, but, “because of the TV cameras and all the attention, I finished 4th, unfortunately,” Pavarina says.

Zane Pavarina has played basketball since she was 8, and all family is involved in basketball. “At the age of 10, I had to choose between basketball and dancing. I made the right choice, because I can’t imagine my life without the ball game,” she says. “Thanks to basketball I have seen most of Europe. I even had an offer to play in Spain for this season, but I have put my studies as first priority, so I had to reject it,” Pavarina says.

She is studying Information Sciences at the Faculty of Social Sciences, and is in her 2nd bachelor year. She does not see herself becoming a professional athlete “I’m not really a basketball maniac, but I surely know it will be in my heart for all my life,” she says.

Curling, born in Netherlands?

May 19, 2010


Davis Valdnieks

Curling officially was born in Scotland, however a particular painting from the late 16th century shows that curling might have been invented by farmers in the Netherlands.  Curling has been included in the Winter Olympics program since 1998.

In Latvia curling is becoming more popular every year. Latvian championships of have been held since 2002 and they are attracting more teams each year. There are around 250 curling players in Latvia who are united in 5 sports clubs in Riga, Venstpils and Jelgava. More information can be found here:

In curling it is all about preciseness, sliding a heavy granite rock on ice where it is supposed to be and always being ahead of the other team. Some people call curling chess on ice. Check here for rules: Everyone can try playing curling:

Scenery by Peter Bruegel, possibly with early curling players, 1565

Baltic curling Cup, 2009

Feminism today

May 19, 2010


Rita Alika

More than 60 years have passed since the famous book “The Second Sex” by Simone de Beauvoir was published.

What do young women today think about feminism? To find the answer we asked University of Latvia students their opinion.

All of them agree that changes have not meant women have lost femininity. “I don’t feel any discomfort being a woman. I could even say the opposite – men are opening the door for me, inviting me to a coffee break etc. Actually women can presume much more than men can nowadays – women can be weak and strong at the same time,” says Edīte (20, studying culture management). Laine (23, studying for her masters in marketing) agrees with Edīte’s comment, but she sees several serious aspects of inequality in Latvia.

“I think there is inequality in salaries between men and women, and there are still some professions which are ‘not for women’. In my opinion, data about violence in the family to females is a serious indicator of inequality, as well as the fact that children mostly stay with their mother after divorce,” she says. However Laine doesn’t see any need for a new wave of feminism.

Lauma (19, studying psychology) and Sandra (20, studying economics) say they don’t see any need for a feminism movement. “God made us to be with men, and, in my opinion, feminism will only increase homosexuality,” Lauma said. She also said feminism may have promoted a positive of sisterhood, but the most important part of feminism was to change thinking about female being the second sex.

As Ingmara said, women role has changed a lot but “now it is a new frame of what is a woman. Therefore we are not free; we have just changed ‘the chains’.”

In the Youtube video is the male reflection on the consequences of feminism.

Frisbee – flying disc

May 10, 2010

By Rūdolfs Andersons

Have you heard of a sport named “Ultimate”? The full name is “Ultimate Frisbee”, and it is a team sport played with frishbee (a.k.a. flying disc).

Frisbee (a.k.a. flying disc)

The game is some what similar to American football and rugby. The aim is to get the disc behind the opposing end zone. The trick is player holding the frisbee can’t move. So the frisbee has ton be passed to an open man. Complete rules are at (Lat) or (Eng).

Frisbee was invented in the U.S., but for last 15 years it is also been played in Latvia and has become quite popular, especially among young people. There are many teams and different competitions like the Latvian Championships, the Latvian Student Championships and the Latvian Youth Championships. More information is at

Students who want to start playing Ultimate should contact LU Sports service centre for further information.

Ultimate frisbee highlights from

don’t be afraid to fly!

May 10, 2010

By Sandra Goge

Traveling by airplane is becoming a common part of our lives whether we are flying to another city for business or going on a long-awaited vacation. However many people still are afraid to fly and may even have a panic attack at the thought of air traveler.

Fear of flying is called aerophobia, and it can be caused by many another fears (not just being afraid to fly). Those other fears could be – fear of heights or falling, claustrophobia, difficulty letting go and trusting that the plane will fly safely as well as news reports of horrifying crashes.

To overcome fears it is helpful to have a good understanding of the fear and exactly what aspect of flying triggers it. Learning about how planes work and what keeps them in the air could help too. Search for more information in books or on the Internet, for example at

Don’t be afraid to ask for support – from family, friends, aircrew or others. Talking about the problem with someone you trust is one of the better ways to solve it. The best way to beat fears is to turn the object of the fear into a passion. Looking at planes through the eyes of those who love them teaches flying is something wonderful. Try which has a very active forum full of people who are fanatics (in a good way) about air travel.

In other countries there are even courses where professionals teach how to overcome fears of flying. – There’s a video that demonstrates a natural way to stop a panic-attack while aboard an airplane.

Academic gap: is it a tragedy?

May 10, 2010


Gunta Kursiša

“To take an academic gap year is not a tragedy at all”, says Inga, a student who took academic year after her 5th semester. Most students take a gap year because they have some academic courses they have to retake.

This year 61 students in Communication Science are taking a gap, with 48 of those sitting out last semester. Ieva Griķe, study methodologist for Communication Science students, says that “despite of economic crisis the tendency to take more gap years has not increased significantly.”

Griķe admits the advantages of a gap year are that students don’t lose any credits. However, study fees are increasing every year, and after a gap year a student have to pay as much as younger students. Programs change as well, and sometimes students might have to take some additional courses if they take a gap year.

“I just needed more time for my bachelor thesis,” says Edgars, student who is planning to take a gap semester. For some students this is a sensitive question, and they are not willing to talk about gap year as an option they have used.

Inga is more positive. “It is not shame to take a break, it would be worse to leave University forever,” she says.

Some students it, however, think that it is better to finish studies without any gap years.

“Of course it is better to save time and finish everything at once,” says Sanita, a 6th semester student.

Inga is optimistic saying that “a gap year is absolutely positive, especially if you need time to rethink the field you are studying and change your career plans.” Inga says she will finish biology after a gap year, but this time is worth it to her because she has time to consider her goals and ambitions.

Closer to festival season

May 5, 2010


Sanita Medne

Latvia is building up its very own tradition of festivals and summer fests. The most popular Latvian festivals are Positivus and Baltic Beach Party which were both

Photo: from A.Grigorjevs’s archive

nominated for European Festival Awards this year along with other European festivals. Other festival dates in Latvia can be found here.

Baltic Beach Party (BBP) is celebrating its tenth anniversary this summer taking place in Liepāja in July. Many festival goers follow its motto – ‘No beach party, no summer’. “Yes, it really represents the spirit of the event,” admits Ginta Kārkle, who attended BBP in 2008.

Positivus will be held in Salacgrīva for the fourth time and has earned a good reputation. “I went to Positivus in 2008 with my daughter because I wanted to see Manic Street Preachers perform live,” says Inga Lieljukse, a manager. “We really enjoyed all that Positivus offered – the art crafts, the cinema and the beach, of course,” she adds.

“I liked Positivus too, but I wouldn’t hesitate a moment to go to the other side of the planet to see Nine Inch Nails live,” says Aleksandrs Grigorjevs. “The festival that has the best artists is worth attending no matter where it is located,” he adds.

Aleksandrs attended Rock Werchter in Belgium in 2008 to see his favorite artists perform. “Some bands just don’t perform here, so I packed my backpack and spent four days with hundreds of thousands of other fans,” he says.

Those who are looking for an international festival might find this and this TV useful. The European Festival organization Yourope is now more active than ever for the number of festivals is growing. Glastonbury in the UK and Roskilde in Denmark have a history of several decades but there are newcomers too.

European Festival Awards named Heineken Open’er the best major festival last year. Other nominees for the European Festival Awards included

Among the winning acts The Prodigy was announced The Best Headline Artist in 2009 – watch them live at Rock Werchter.

Medium and small sized festivals are growing in number and popularity. Last UK Festival Awards named Bestival the best medium sized festival and Beach Break Live (BBL) was heralded as the best small-sized festival. Both of them entered the scene just few years ago – BBL in 2006.

The number of people who attended Woodstock in 1969 still hasn’t been surpassed. Many festivals claim the profit is still good, but the numbers of attendance are dropping. Nevertheless – Roskilde sold 67,000 all week tickets in 2009.

Rock Werchter and Roskilde are just a few to name in the list of doing it “the green way” reducing the impact on the environment. Social marketing also involves different charity activities and donating the income to social purposes. Some festivals, Positivus included, involve volunteers in organizing the festival.