Showing posts from October, 2014

Rítdómur: Bergman's Virgin Spring

Yesterday, between finishing the set up of the Thor Heyerdahl exhibition and greeting the female students participating in our Lucia festival this year, I showed the Ingmar Bergmann film Virgin Spring, as part of my Viking film series. So it was a busy, long, and strange day. But the film has stuck with me (probably because I watched it 3 times this weekend) and I am still thinking about it. Ingmar Bergman felt it was far from his best film, and most critics seem to agree, but I do not wish to be so harsh. The rape scene is very oddly handled, vacillating between objectifying and sympathizing with the victim, but as the advocate we had on hand (to deal with any possibly trauma viewing such a film might inflict), the good thing is that the rape scene is in no way gratuitous. It is what the film is about, and how the people around it are affected by this act of violence, and that is in some ways very good. I chose to show the film however as a treatment of the Viking Age, or the early me

Ok glacier

My wonderfully talented Icelandic artist friend Sigrun Lara Shanko was kind enough to agree to show her rugs at the Scandinavian Cultural Center. She takes features of the Icelandic landscape and turns them into rugs...check out her website I think they are stunning. One of the rugs she's exhibiting is one I'm hoping to acquire, its based on the glacier Ok. That glacier is receding quickly, hardly counts as a glacier anymore, and will likely soon disappear. What better testament to global warming than to get a rug depicting a dying glacier? Her exhibit coincides with the Taste of Iceland festival, which includes food, literature, art and music. Tonight I'm missing the writers jam, and tomorrow is the free Reykjavik Calling concert. But at least I did get to the restaurant last night where they are serving a special Iceland menu... Just now I'm on my way to see my son, literally. I'm in the airplane writing this. I remember when I was a kid, get

Oh Canada!

This weekend I went up to Burnaby, British Columbia, which is near Vancouver, and gave a lecture at the Scandinavian Community Center on The Saga of Erik the Red, specifically on the way the plethora of collaborating evidence for that saga in particular has destabilized claims that the sagas are fictional narratives instead of historic sources. I met several members of the Icelandic Association up there, and stayed at the house last night of Jana Hermansdottir, who is married to an Icelander named Odinn, whom I didn't get to meet. They live out near Point Roberts, which is a strange little peninsula attached to Canada but part of the United States, simply because it stretches south of the 49th parallel. This geographic oddity became the home of some early Icelanders in the area, and today one can still see traces of Icelandic settlement there in the streetnames -- Goodman and Julius Street for instance. So I got to speak Icelandic, and talk about sagas and archaeology, and see beau


Last night, I hosted a speaker from Landsvirkjun at my work at PLU. Árni Gunnarson came as the featured speaker of our exhibition opening; he was already in Portland for a conference on geothermal energy. It was a very interesting talk, and went well with the theme of the exhibition - Nordic Eco: Steps toward Sustainability. I was pleased how the exhibition came together and with the opportunity to meet Árni, who is clearly a hard-working, conscientious sort of person, with a open and friendly demeanor. There were however two very odd moments for me personally. One was that Árni told me something about California which I knew absolutely nothing about. He said there was a very large and productive geothermal area in Northern California, just north of the Napa Valley. I kept asking him to repeat this information, it seemed so odd to me that someone who grew up in California and had gone to school in the Bay Area, such as myself, could have somehow missed ever hearing about something th