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Wolf diaries

On August 15th, the inner yard of Helsinki city hall turned in to a wolfs’ nest for one day. The idea of Wolf festival is to focus on not being ready: it creates an intimate, relaxed, free space for artists and thinkers to try out new stuff in front of an audience. In 2019 in the inner yard of the National Museum of Finland, in 2020 in Tori Quarters: celebrating new, fragile, avant-garde in the historical jewel quarters of Helsinki.

Here follows Wolf scrapbook. Some beautiful memories (the whole treasure remaining in the hearts of those who were present, dared to crab the new & unknown).


Wolf stretched its legs in the morning, disguising the urban desert into a jungle with beautiful flora from rescue flower shop Kukkis, a true pioneer visiting from soulful Lapinlahti, originally the first mental hospital in Finland.

Little by little wolfs started find their way into the nest. Newborn La Bohème, a holistic art piece, worked as the most gorgeous backstage ever, for all the wolfs (performers & other helpers & doers) to relax & refresh before and after their showtime. La Bohème’s very special gourmet lettu & Wolf wine (!) kept the audience from starving throughout the day.


Well before showtime Wolf’s lovely audience started to settle in the yard & on the legendary, colorful stools with very kind support of Artek, the legendary design company founded in Helsinki 1935 by 4 cultural radicals Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen, and Nils-Gustav Hahl. Artek’s presence was especially precious to Wolf, as Villa Mairea is a huge inspiration of bringing together avant-garde spirit from art, business, politics and other parts of society: future is created together, with open minds and hearts. One heartwarming feedback was, that Wolf was able to create it’s own futuristic & loving microcosmos: a ”Villa Mairea” soulspace.

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Ronja Kuoppamäki
”Wolf is such an awesome festival - lovely to be here, lovely to be incomplete - that we all are - being not ready is the beginning of new, magnificent! - I’m nervous, that’s fun”, were the first words on stage from our first act Ronja, a hugely talented individual, who totally awwed the crowd at the sunny yard. Ronja hosts her own juicy Ronjan etkot concept, making space for young artists to become visible & heard. At Wolf Ronja sang some of her own new songs - ”on the way here I bumped into all the exes I’ll be singing about in these next songs”, she opened ; ). ”Hot!” stated an admiring whisper from the audience. Intimacy is, vulnerability is, warmth is.

Cécile Orblin
Céci was one of the deepest acts in first Wolf with her super intimate solo performance. This year Céci was co-hosting the stage with Anna (Moilanen), spicing up the switches from one performer to the next. Golden. Afterwards she published a post saying that she has never been so free & relaxed on stage - big, warm words from such an experienced, renowned actress. Céci est Wolf par excellence <3.

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Marko Ahtisaari & Eriikka Maalismaa
Next on stage Marko & Eriikka, both together and solo. The National song they played together makes one hope for more this kind of experiments, such a haunting interpretation it was. ”All the very best of us / String ourselves up for love.” Erika later thanked Wolf for inspiring her to perform Kauko Röyhkä’s Paska kaupunki by Violin - something she had never done. ”If you live by the rules of mediocracy, you can only lose.” Well, she certainly doesn’t, one of the most magnificent violinists.

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Anna-Mari Kähärä, Janne Marja-aho, Sara Puljula & Katja Lundén company
Next up Anna-Mari & her gang. Anna-Mari is to thank for the first Wolf ever happening: without her energy and the people she brought on stage it would not have been possible. She is in the absolute core of the festival & everything it represents: liberation & avant-garde. This time the gang brought their Universo (including flamenco!) rehearsal on Wolf stage (one of Wolf principals is to welcome any warmups or rehearsals on stage in front of an audience). Yum. Always such a pleasure. Naturally they decided to make their own stage on the stairs nearby ; ). They also started to joyfully impro imitate the passing by hare krishna (as their sounds were blocking the gig). Luminous act altogether.

Jani Halme
Jani decided to continue on feminism - the topic he started w/ in the first Wolf. Jani started by saying that in his profession as a writer, incompleteness is an awkward, if not even a disgusting thought. Usually everything is well prepared & polished before published. He took the challenge on Wolf stage. Jani shared with us 10 unfinished thoughts on what men discuss about feminism. (Which they had done more in past months than in the previous 46 years, he says.)

Anna-Kaari Hakkarainen & Sinikka Vuola
A-K and Sinikka premiered in Wolf last year with their very physical poetic work. This year their focus was on Charlie Chaplin: a rather manic monodiaogue for their big film love. ”I loved you because you had the talent of many. Your perfectionism. Your perfection. How you knew to live secretly. How you loved life. Your sense of beauty. Your sign. How sex controlled you. How you thought with your brain & dick.”

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Timo Salo
Timo starts by remembering a video on Neil Young playing his masterpiece Heart of Gold for the very first time in public, searching for a mouth organ from his pocket for a long long time before beginning. Finding Timo is one of the pleasures of Wolf: great personalities that you only encounter asking the right people (Kirsikka Moring this time). Timo combines poetry with improv drawing, creating a hypnotic experience with his mouth, a piece of coal and block of paper. ”Traumarunsaus koskettaa ison rakastumisen ankaruutta / Kuin sankarittaren aamutossu.” Wow. ”Raw, rugged Finnish.”

Aleksis Salusjärvi
Super happy to be working a bit with Aleksis. He does groundbreaking work in prisons, teaching young guys to express themselves through lyrics - ”I work with survival”, he says, ”if you can articulate something, it starts to obligate you”. Wolf has its roots deep in suburbia, and feels close to the rough side of existence. ”Reason’s for not to jump from the roof / how life looks like in the eyes of someone who has nothing to lose / how to find things worth losing / all art is done in the purpose of survival.” Aleksis continues: ”When these people write a text, it has an amazing ability to speak you.” And so it does. ”This song was recorded last week, written by someone who was imprisoned, isolated at 15, he doesn’t know how the outside world looks, anymore - but his mind still works, he can write us his thoughts - this spring he has written 9 whole notebooks of texts. I got the permission from him yesterday to play this song to you today.” […] I hear the world he produces with this text, which is a truly sincere fantasy. […] These are messages to outer world from a spaceship without a radio.” Aleksis, Wolf salutes you & your work.

Anna Moring
Anna is an extraordinary thinker, working for Finland for all (kinds of) families. Anna has a Wolf tradition of speaking barefoot. Yay! This time she talked about needing other person / people. A bit about hate speech as well. ”When we talk about relationships we rarely talk about needing - even though that’s what relationships are about, I think - I claim that the core of our psyche is need(ing). We need to be unrealistic, utopian, we need to dare - something that happens here at Wolf.” And - ”we are afraid of needing, it’s inconvenient and scary”. […] ”Is it surprising that those who are most afraid now, are the same people that didn’t have to be afraid before - those who were not taught to fear, to need.” […] ” I have no solutions, because this thought is not ready. […] ”The idea of needing is not bad - it just is not pleasant - it involves giving up power. It is ok to need. Maybe it would make us less angry. To admit that we need each other.” Pure wisdom.

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Wolf (a one woman festival operation) would not have happened without the support of friends. One of them is Jymy, truly heartwarming ice cream company that is charming the world with its superb stuff like (ketogenic!) Vapaus / freedom! Wolf nest got to enjoy surprise ice creams: highly welcomed mouthful on our hot summer day. Merci Erkki & Jymy <3.

Another dear friend of Wolf, Kotipizza’s one delicious gesture was to treat us with a pile of dagen efter pizza gift cards. Kotipizza as a group is a definition of unstatic: there’s constant movement, change and exploration in this thriving company. Happy that you gave as a hand Tommi & co!

Werklig was the first one to promise support to Wolf - and kept the promise through the crazy year. The graphic magicians also brought all Wolfs Pure Waste to style our faces. Wolf salutes you, Janne & people!

Lautsuo Associates
Lotta brought Wolf love all the way from another continent. Thank you for keeping us safe <3!

A highly important friend of Wolf is Tori quarters, that let us Wolf in their precious inner yard. Yet another example of how history has turned into new life in the breathtaking empire milieu. A deep Wolf bow & huge thanks for all your help and patience in letting Wolf to your backstage as well. Doer recognizes doers!

And then some surprise wolfs, yum!:

Antti Merilehto
”This thought floated on me while I was eating that crazily good crepe, listening to you (Anna Moring). I’ve had a chance to talk with need lately - what if needing is not knowing, but feeling (the need). Put a hand on your need and say: I need…”

Kaisa Osola
Kaisa is a tremendous speech guru, teaching the magic to high schoolers (Kallion ilmaisutaidonlukio), journalists (Musta laatikko), politicians & many of us Finns who have things to say but less courage to express it. It has been Wolf’s dream to get Kaisa on stage, and this time she gave us a gift of spontaneous speech: a kind thank you note to the one woman festival operation (Anna Open Flower) - ending with a surprise, as Wolf expects. ”Anna is maybe the best listener in Finland. When you say yes to Anna, you always end up in something inspiring and interesting. My goal was to come here today just to breathe, but I can’t unless I thank Anna. You listen surrendering, openly and with absurdly sharp ears. And pick the most intriguing. I’m dreaming about a gallery exhibition of about 1000 of those clear (written down) thoughts that Anna has picked from the performances she’s seen. I don’t know who would curate it and which foundation finance it… You could listen to them, read them… If you have a gallery or a foundation, please enable this, as it could be a starting point of lot of new art. The clearest though of one can be the incomplete beginning of another. Thank you Anna for curating something as great as Wolf.” Thank you Kaisa <3.

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Taru Staudinger
Taru is my rock. She is the person (Työnalle) behind Wolf graphics this year. She also once again borrowed a fridge to Wolf’s backstage. Among many other gestures of support. ”Because this is a mass of incompleteness… I might not be a professional stand up comedian, but in my circle of friends I’ve done quite a lot of that sort of thing… So I thought that maybe I’d kind of search for a date here, publicly… I’m pretty good at languages, also lesbo scientific… I love the space…”

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Olga Sophie Kauppinen
”This is the first time for me to read my poems in front of an audience… I just moved back from New York, where I secretly wrote poems in Finnish… So I thought why wouldn’t I humiliate myself in front of you. I’m a visual artist, a musician - and apparently a poet as well. ”Every player knows to end up alone. […] Angels in front of me, protecting, kissing each other… […] I try to hold you peacefully like a sleeper.” Beautiful. It feels important to have poetry on Wolf stage. More please!

Anni Sinnemäki
Next on stage another great poet & writer and Wolf’s favorite mayor Anni. When I was born my dad was planning Helsinki city in these same quarters. Now Anni is working on that: developing the beloved Helsinki further. ”Anna said that at Wolf things and people can be incomplete. Maybe I’ve taken it too far: being incomplete is my second skin. In the city I love that it will never be ready. […] I want to talk to you about my three grandmothers, all of them from Helsinki. I’m thinking about writing a book of them, they were all dear to me. […] I’ve also been thinking about the invisible borders that the world drew on womens’ lives those days, and perhaps the possibilities. […] While my book is not ready, I warmly recommend you all Katarina Baer’s book ”They were nazis”: it will work as an ideal for me as to where to aim in my writing.” Wolf recommends Baer’s book as well: in an interview by Anna Kortelainen, Baer once wisely said: ”We cannot surely know which act will end up in good, which one in bad: that is why it is extremely important to live one’s life with great alertness.” Wolf highly agrees on Anni’s thought in this one too: ”My grandmothers have a great role in how I feel at home in the world”. Thank you for sharing Anni, including the two poems you already have written on this fascinating subject.

Samppa Lappalainen
Samppa is the head of JKMM, architects behind Amos Rex and other spectacular Finnish contemporary architecture. A lover of architects, Wolf is happy to say that JKMM is one of the friends who have supported Wolf 2020 from sketch to built. Wolf <3 JKMM, thank you Samppa! You possess the elasticity that new is made of. ”Whole my career I have lived in the middle of uncomplete. […] aesthetics is play of agreed rules”.

Louna-Tuuli Luukka
Now on stage someone delightfully new to Wolf. Louna-Tuuli’s presence is something to follow! Honoring Wolf spirit she had even constructed part of her performance on bits and pieces picked from other Wolfs on stage before her. She even welcomed someone to draw on her bare stomach. Hat off!

Stina Koistinen.
After (yet another) intense warm up by Céci, Wolf had the honor to welcome on stage the world’s best artist Stina. ”I’m not a pianist - this is exciting in every way… I’ve done all these songs this week, actually, because I was forbidden to bring here ready stuff… And because I haven’t been able to create anything during this fucking time… It was super distressful try and be forcefully creative… Now I’ve been a bit creative, then. Let’s raise a toast to not being ready & to Wolf - howwwwllllllll! - let me hear those wolffffffssss!! Nice!! This is a poem that was born in the moment - I don’t yet know what this means, but maybe you can tell me… Thank you for listening to my messing around - I guess there is a place for that. It’s a great honor & privilege to be here. I haven’t been on a gig since March. Thank you for listening.” There certainly is. Pure magic Stina, as always <3.

Matti Numminen
Matti was one of the bravest Wolfs in the first festival, having his life’s first pole dancing practice on stage, all by himself (as actress Laura Rämä got sick, thus unable to coach him). Unforgettable!! This time he decided to speak. ”Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about failure. I could not find many things I’ve failed at. To me failure was not a word of action. I started to think about it in terms of treating myself: I have a lot of room for improvement. I’ve failed at listening to myself. That takes me to awkward situations. In those moments I haven’t been honest enough to myself, to make right choices. […] In our time the ideal seems to be capability, being a capable person. I end up doing things that make me appear capable - and followed by this not being capable. I wish that we all will fail less in listening ourselves.”

Waltteri Torikka
Waltteri performed at ”Wolf pre party”, meaning Samuli Simula’s La Bohème’s opening, spontaneously singing children’s songs in opera. Since then his Wolf plan changed into (singing) a trilogy of emotions. At stage the plan changed again (very wolfish!). ”I will sing you things, emotions, bits and pieces of love songs, organically, that you will draw on your white papers with red pens. This artwork you can give to a loved one.” As Céci said: ”Once you take the plug off, things start flowing from your spine.” And so they did: all the way into a children’s song with pig noses and party hats on. (Putte possun nimipäivät simultaneously translated in French, to be exact). Fantastic show!

Ronja Louhivuori
”About Cats, non binary gender & being. […] As a child I was obsessed with Cats, never seeing it live, watching it over and over again on video. Especially the magician character felt super recognizable to me - a way of being that doesn’t go into a feminine or masculine box but something more difficultly definable, something that inspired freedom and hope. […] I once wrote that I’d like to be a male ballerina and a cat. […] The idea of rebirth in Cats resonated strongly in me: every year when school started I felt that a space was opened in the world, where I could be anything I wanted. Not clumsy or anything, but being reborn as my true self, who I really am. Every year since then, as soon as I can sense autumn, I get the same feeling: that there is a space in the world to be born again… I have that feeling now.” And the she interpreted Memories. Breathtaking. Totally mesmerizing. Thank you <3. ”And a new day will begin.”

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Lady Clapback
”I’ve been making underground drag in Helsinki for a couple of years. This character usually borrows other people, but now I decided to do something else - I don’t know whether I would call this poetry. Something I haven’t done since school. I’ll open my notes now and let’s see what I’ll find. This doesn’t have any work name even, yet.” Perfection. ”I’m majestic, soft and hairy… […] this is not a mask darling, this is my kingdom.”

Olli Moilanen
Céci warmed the crowd with her wisdom about magical flora. ”Live so that you can become a good ancestor: this is something that I felt present when Stina was performing - and with us here today.” […] ”Put a mask around soft heart sometimes, when you express yourself openly.” Olli (not related!) continued by playing his compositions, something really incomplete. ”I’m a composer but also interested in language - now I’ll be trying out a fusion - when I realized I can produce language as I produce music, something clicked. I’ll try out something here, let’s see where exploration takes me.”

”I’m interested in speaking to your hips: nobody’s brains are that interesting. Your hips will vibrate. Imagine a soft good bass line that kind of sucks your ass all the time. […] I’ll teach you the chorus so that you’ll enjoy yourselves better. *Pojittele sun pomoo / pojittele sun pomoo / sit mee himaan silittää sun kotihomoo*. I’m MC Testo P and I’ve been searching for myself for a long time - finally I discovered that I’m a 165 cm complete dick. I don’t use stretch pants because it would be one giant camel toe. I don’t need to own my dicks - maybe the next lollipop you’ll eat is one of them. Eiffel tour is one of them as well. […] If you want to oppose, oppose something else, not this performance - because this is not ready.” What a wild, liberating ending to a wild day, including first guitar solo in L’ARSE’s life! Wolfs went crazy, singing & dancing along. ”Call your boss a boy / then go home and play with your favorite toy. […] Nyt sitä persettä!”

Festival ended with big wolf howls.

That’s a story in itself, full of very special, spontaneous & intimate performances. I wish you’d been there.

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