Stories from the city

Uncover fascinating stories from residents in Croatia's cities

Stories from the city: Ivan Šarar | Rijeka
Music

Stories from the city: Ivan Šarar | Rijeka

A cult music festival set in an old paper factory, Hartera stole the hearts of revellers in Rijeka since its first outing in 2005. Sadly, the festival is no more, but Hartera lives on in the memories of those who partied here. Ivan Šarar, a former keyboardist in the punk band Let 3 and now the chief of Rijeka's city department for culture, was involved in the festival from day one. I lived in Rijeka since when I was one. I lived in Kantrida. I remember the sea and I learned to sail. I must’ve been seven or eight when I started to actively listen to music and I ended up going to music school. As a musician, the rock, punk rock and, later, techno scenes of the city really made me a classic product of Rijeka. I started playing with bands when I was 15 or 16. In 1995 I started to work as a DJ and producer on Rijeka’s first private radio and around 1998 I joined Let 3 as a keyboard player. I have made music continuously ever since. Today, I have a band 'Porno brak' (porn marriage) with my wife.  © Hartera The band Let 3 directly led to the organisation of Hartera festival. The first edition in 2005 was organised by promoter Simon Dejhalla, who today owns club Pogon and Damir Martinović Mrle, Let 3’s founder. I was just sneaking around. Hartera, an old paper company went broke and part of the building’s ownership fell to the City of Rijeka. They were open to the idea of cultural entities revitalising the space. The first year had an absolutely crazy atmosphere. The numbers wh

My Zagreb story: Ivan Pavlić/ Mr.E
Things to do

My Zagreb story: Ivan Pavlić/ Mr.E

My name is Ivan Pavlić but in drag I go by the name of Mr. E. I'm 28 and Zagreb born and raised. I grew up on the outskirts of the city so, to me, it was always just this huge place that you could see in the distance whenever you walked down the street. I enjoyed the suburbs because, as a child, I was really playful and I wanted space. But, as I grew older I realised the city was calling. My first encounter with drag was in high school. We watched ‘Pink Flamingos' by John Waters as part of my theatre and film course. That's when I first saw Divine, an outrageous drag queen, one of the first international drag stars, and the movie's lead. Then, around 2012, me and my then boyfriend stumbled on RuPaul's Drag Race. I saw that drag was something with several layers, it was versatile and that successful performance requires a lot of skill. It can have a strong social commentary because it mocks gender stereotypes and gender as a construct in general. It allows people to be free and express themselves. It is also, first and foremost, a performance art. To many unaware of the culture, drag is often confused with being transgender. But, the two are actually very different. © Timy Šarec Our first show at Zagreb Pride was at club Medika and it was received rather well. Our mission was the add something that was definitely part of queer culture, but which was also entertaining. I think we succeeded. We had almost 200 people there. A couple of months later, we organised our second sh

My Rijeka story: Toni Flego
Dance

My Rijeka story: Toni Flego

Toni Flego's mixture of ballet and contemporary dance is nothing if not attention-grabbing. It caught the interest of leading Croatian electronic group Nipplepeople and he was invited to join them on stage. He now appears with them at their larger concerts. Toni also famously appears in a ballet dancer's dress and dog collar in the new Rijeka 2020 Capital Of Culture video made by famous Croatian director Dalibor Matanić. The first in a series of videos to be released in the run-up to the event, the video has courted a significant amount of controversy because of its style and content. We met Toni Flego in our current issue of Time Out Rijeka to find out his story from the city.My name is Toni Flego, I'm 22 and I was born in Rijeka. When I was young, I was always dancing around the house, in the garden, in the playground, even when we went to the shops. I think my parents were exhausted just by watching me. I started learning modern dance at the age of seven. Then, I went to the school of contemporary dance in Rijeka. I stayed until I was 14. After that, I went to a special school in Italy for dancing. My studies there were concentrated on ballet and contemporary dance. I really liked it, but I found I had more of an attraction to contemporary dance, performance art and musical theatre, rather than the strict rules of ballet. One year ago I moved to Padua and now I am in a dance company called E.sperimenti Dance Company. When I started to dance, it was just fun. But now I un

My Zagreb story: Damir Cuculić
Things to do

My Zagreb story: Damir Cuculić

My name is Damir Cuculić. I was born in Zagreb. In the '80s I was a DJ, I have been in love with music since I was ten years old. Disco music was my first big love and after that hip hop. I first encountered electronic dance music at the end of the '80s. I had a connection in London and he told me about what was happening there, the first rave parties. At this time there was no Youtube, no Facebook, nothing. The only way you could find out was by travelling there or, like me, in a phone call from a friend. The first rave-style party I did was in 1992 in KSET. It was small. The first big one I did was here, in Grič Tunnel. This was the time of war in Croatia. Yugoslavia was falling apart. A dangerous time. Why did we decide this was a good time to start having raves? I don't know. Today, I cannot explain it. We were young and crazy. Rave at the Grič tunnel in the 90's /© Under City Rave Two of my friends were artists and they built installations. The idea was to have a multimedia event, an art exhibition combined with a rave party. Back then, I didn't know anything about Grič Tunnel, only that it existed. Only later I found out its interesting history. It was built as a bomb shelter in the times of war and it goes all the way to the other side of the city centre.   When we held the party, everyone complained. The police, the neighbours, everyone. Nobody had any experience of setting up something like this, or how to deal with it. We thought there would be 500-700 people