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Gay Europe: Maria Gerhardt 

Gay Europe: Maria Gerhardt


The DJ talks about why she loves Copenhagen

Maria Gerhardt stole her DJ alias, Djuna Barnes, from her favorite writer in the early 2000s. Since then, she's been a staple in the Danish night scene, arranging parties, performing at clubs and festivals -- in essence, providing Copenhagen with its after-hours soundtrack. In addition to writing columns in various newspapers and magazines, Gerhardt published Hollywood Stars On My Pavement (Der Bor Hollywoodstjerner Pa Vejen) in 2014. The debut autobiographical work is a love story -- an account of waiting 15 years for one woman, set against a backdrop of partying and her battle against cancer.

Have you always lived in Copenhagen?
Yes, I have. I have travelled intensely though.

What is Copenhagen to you? How does it compare to other cities?
It's a green city, and I love that. People bike around, and you can swim in the harbor. Its also a small city. People knows what's going on, and you can't hide.

It wasn't until the 2000s that your work as DJ Djuna Barnes really began to take off. What was your life like before that?
I was involved in political work, very left-wing, very serious. When I started DJ-ing, it was like I was an adolescent for the first time.

You published Der Bor Hollywoodstjerner Pa Vejen (Hollywood Stars on My Pavement) in 2014. Can you talk a bit about what that was like?
It's an autobiographical novel and it was very well received in Denmark. It was a bestseller, it got a lot of press. The most amazing part is that people are still writing me sweet emails about how much the book means to them.

What projects are you working on now?
I've just finished a poetry collection, and I'm writing a new novel. I also do musical counseling for fashion brands and TV, and I just did my first movie soundtrack!

You're very involved with the artistic scene in Copenhagen. What's the city like artistically? What are some of your favorite galleries or museums?
Its great! I would recommend Louisiana (Louisiana Museum of Modern Art) on a sunny day, and SMK (Statens Museum for Kunst) on Friday nights. Both museums have great spaces for children; they make it easy for kids to be creative and get into art.

Any favorite places to eat or drink?
Osteria 16, this small Italian place on Haderslevsgade. It's owned by some of my friends, and you won't find a better vibe in the city. Plus, it offers a rustic Italian seven-course menu for a bargain, and is great for drinks and kaos (letting loose) afterwards.

What's the gay/lesbian scene like in Copenhagen? What are some of your favorite LGBT hangouts?
My younger friends go to these hipster queer parties in Christiania called Mainstream. During the summer, the parties are always outside. Six hundred cool kids, not worried about gender, dancing to edgy beats -- what more could I need?

What's the LGBT community like in Copenhagen?
I think its quite integrated, at least where I go out. But then again, I don't go out too much these days. I'm a mom, you know, so clearly, Denmark is accepting and welcoming.

Describe your perfect day in Copenhagen.
We have a garden, so we'd eat breakfast there and then maybe go for a swim afterwards. I love this one huge playground called Skydebanen on Vesterbro, where all these fun parents hang out and drinks coffee while the kids play. After that, my son would go out to the country with his grandparents, and I'd invite my girlfriend out for dinner at Osteria 16. And then maybe, just maybe, we'd go out dancing.

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