February 2023: Nordic Events & Sámi National Day

February brings an interesting mix of in-person events for Angelenos and online events for everyone. Of special interest this month is Sámi National Day, an ethnic national day celebrated by the indigenous Sámi people across northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. It is always on February 6, the date when the first Sámi congress was held in 1917 in Trondheim, Norway. On that day, Sámi from Norway and Sweden met to discuss common issues. For more information on the history and culture of the Sámi, visit Life in Norway’s “The Sami People”.

There’s a new Norwegian movie available to stream. At the end of January, Netflix released Narvik, an original Norwegian World War II movie that takes place in 1940 in the port town of Narvik in the far north of Norway, 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It is subtitled “Hitler’s First Defeat”. The events that inspired Narvik are true, but the story is told from the perspective of fictional characters. The movie, directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg from a screenplay by Christopher Grøndahl, is available dubbed or with subtitles. The film premiered in Norway in December 2022. Will you watch it?

Online Nordic book clubs continue to be popular. Visit Online Nordic Book Club Meetings to see reading selections and meeting dates for February and upcoming months.


Los Angeles Area In-Person Events in February

Norwegian Classes at the Norwegian Church in San Pedro — Starts Feb. 4

Learn Norwegian at the Norwegian Church in San Pedro starting on Saturday, February 4. Three levels will be offered: Beginners at 10:00 a.m., Intermediate at 12:00 p.m., and Advanced at 2:00 p.m. Suggested donation is $100 for the whole course (10 Saturdays). While you’re at the church, enjoy a bowl of Saturday porridge! For more information, contact mof@church.no or call (310) 467-5180.

Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890-1980 @LACMA — Ends Feb. 5

This exhibit closes February 5. It is the first exhibition to examine the extensive design exchanges between the United States and the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) during the 20th century. See it before it closes! Many of the issues considered in the exhibition remain relevant today, including the contributions of immigrants to their adopted societies, the importance of international exchange, critical analysis of cultural myths, and concern about environmental sustainability and accessibility. Read about the process of designing the exhibit at Designing an Exhibition: Scandinavian Design and the United States.

Nordic Spirit Symposium: Scandinavian Design — Feb. 10 & 11 in Thousand Oaks

This year’s theme is Scandinavian Design: Simple and Beautiful. In the middle of the 20th century, Danish Modern and, more generally, Scandinavian Modern Design, gained popularity in the United States. This symposium will examine the reasons for this popularity, will delve into different design media for two countries, Finland and Norway, and will treat the long-term history of ceramic and glass design in Denmark and Sweden. The theme of Scandinavian design applied to architecture and interior design will be addressed in the opening talk February 10 by an Icelandic American architect. All presentations will be amply illustrated. In addition, the program will include music as three string instruments of different designs, the Finnish Kantele, the Norwegian Hardanger Fiddle, and the Swedish Nyckelharpa, will be described and played.

For complete program details, see the brochure or visit the website. The meal registration deadline has been extended through February 3. To pay by check, use the printable registration form. To pay by credit card, use the Eventbrite event page.

Concert Celebrating Female Nordic Composers at the Norwegian Church — Happening Feb. 11

Join the Norwegian Church in San Pedro for a concert on Saturday, February 11, at 2:00 p.m. celebrating female Nordic composers. Performers will be Helena Falk on violin (Meet Helena Maria Falk), Christina Sandsengen on classical guitar (Meet Christina Sandsengen), and Lene Skomedal on French horn (Meet Lene Skomedal). Concert is free; donations to the musicians accepted.


Virtual Events in February

In Trunks, Hands, and Hearts: What Norwegian Immigrants Brought to the United States (Thursday, Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m. CT)

Join Sons of Norway Nidaros Lodge # 1-001 (West Minneapolis) and Vesterheim Collection Manager Jennifer Kovarik to explore the immigrant experience through stories associated with artifacts in Vesterheim’s collection. Between 1825 and 1980, nearly one million Norwegians left for new lives in America. We’ll consider the reasons for leaving, what they brought, and where they settled.

The Living Archive: Examining and Reimagining Heirloom Heddles with Kerstin Neumüller (Saturday, Feb. 4, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Join celebrated Swedish carver and weaver Kerstin Neumüller as she examines heddles from Vesterheim’s collection. Used in bandweaving, heddles were often carved by men as a courting gift for women. Because of this, many historic heddles are ornately decorated with everything from hearts to dates to initials. Throughout the discussion of Vesterheim’s collection of heddles, Kerstin will also share about her relationship with traditional handcraft in contemporary Scandinavia.

Meet the Author: Nicklas Brendborg, Jellyfish Age Backwards (Sunday, Feb. 5, 10:00 a.m. PT)

Join Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma (DeNoma Literary Services) in virtual conversation with Nicklas Brendborg, author of the international bestseller Jellyfish Age Backwards: Nature’s Secrets to Longevity. This eye-opening work offers a revelatory scientific deep dive into how plants and animals have already unlocked the secrets to immortality – and the lessons they hold for us all.

Introduction to North Sámi (Sunday, Feb. 5, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Sámi language and culture? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to the north of Finland, Sweden, or Norway? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Áila O’Loughlin is the perfect way to learn some history of the nine living dialects of Sápmi, get a feel for North Sámi, pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic greetings. Families welcome!

Demo: Baking Swedish Semlor with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Feb. 9, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Pick up tricks for making a sweet winter treat by watching Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen bake and fill a batch of cardamom and almond flavored semlor in this virtual demonstration. Traditionally served on Fat Tuesday and now enjoyed throughout the winter, semlor are an indulgent winter treat across Scandinavia. Kristi will use multiple batches of dough to demonstrate how to make the Swedish version of these buns, from mixing and kneading the cardamom flavored dough, to preparing the almond paste and whipped cream filling, to baking and assembling the finished buns. Students will leave with the recipe and lots of tips, inspired to bake their own batch of semlor at home!

Sámi Film Fest (February 9-12)

The 5th Annual Sámi Film Festival explores Sámi stories through film in a must-see hybrid event taking place both in-personal and virtually. The Festival is organized by the National Nordic Museum in Seattle and Scandinavia House in New York and presented in partnership with Pacific Sámi Searvi. Attendees can screen films online on February 9-12 and in person at both venues on February 11. The program will include a variety of contemporary Sámi documentaries, short films, and panel discussions with the filmmakers. In 2023, the Sámi Film Festival will feature the selections of this year’s guest curator of film and acclaimed Skolt Sámi director Katja Gauriloff.

Registration for Vesterheim Folk Art School Spring Classes Opens (Friday, Feb. 10, 12:00 p.m. CT)

Vesterheim Folk Art School in Decorah, Iowa, is a popular destination for online classes. Registration for April through June 2023 classes opens on Friday, February 10, at noon (CT) with classes in rosemaling, woodworking, jewelry, cooking, fiber arts, weaving, and heritage and language, plus youth and family programming. See a list of spring classes here. Classes sell out quickly so if you see something interesting, sign up quickly!

Love Spells from Norwegian Grimoires: A Conversation with Eirik Storesund from the Brute Norse Podcast (Wednesday, Feb. 15, 7:00 p.m. CT)

Old Norse philologist Eirik Storesund, host and creator of the Brute Norse podcast, has translated a curated selection of charms, spells, and sorcerous recipes from Norwegian grimoires and vernacular tradition on the topic of love and romance. Learn about everything from Norwegian “black books” to bowl inscriptions as he discusses folk magic and shares some terrible ideas and (mostly) bad advice for your love life. Join us for a fascinating glimpse into the magically infused romantic liaisons of pre-industrial Scandinavia. Registration is required for this free event.

Painting with Wool: Dala Horse Needle Felting Workshop (Saturday, Feb. 18, 11:00 a.m.)

Join Scandinavia House and explore the magic of needle felting with a delightful Dala horse image and take your colorwork skills to a new level. Dala horses have been a Swedish icon for centuries, and this class will take a new spin on the traditional wooden-painted form by recreating the image in wool. During this class, students will learn how to stretch a felt backing onto an embroidery hoop and keep it tight for ease of use. Plus, they will learn to transform the beautiful array of hand-dyed roving from the instructor’s farm’s sheep into their own interpretation of the project. Focus will be given to shape creation, colorwork, and three-dimensionality. This is a beginner-friendly course. See class description for what it is included in the kit and would you need to provide.

Silver Threads: Exploring Norwegian Sámi Silver with Liz Bucheit (Saturday, Feb. 25, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Goldsmith and folk-art instructor Liz Bucheit is a 2021 recipient of the American Scandinavian Foundation’s Scandinavian Folk Arts and Cultural Traditions in the Upper Midwest Fellowship. Liz traveled to northern Norway to research and study Sámi silver work in order to broaden her knowledge of historic design, tools, and techniques unique to the Sámi culture. She is sharing this knowledge in an effort to encourage a broader awareness of Sámi silver work within the folk culture and traditions of Scandinavian ornament. Registration is required for the free event.


Looking and Planning Ahead to March

Cozy Cocktails for Cold Weather (Friday, Mar. 3, 7:00 p.m. CT)

An important part of Nordic culture is the willingness to embrace the cold, dark winter. In this class, you will focus on hot beverages and the power they have to get us feeling koselig, or “cozy.” You’ll learn some new recipes while also developing the skills to create your own unique hot toddy. Take your warm cocktail outside and embrace the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, or getting outdoors. Skål!

Billedvev Frame-Loom Weaving Workshop with Allyce Wood (Sunday, Mar. 5, 1:00 p.m. ET)

Learn the basics of weaving through the use of humble materials and step-by-step instruction. A common picture frame, with glass and backing removed, becomes the ultimate structure with which to create upon. Learn how to wind it with cotton thread to create your warp, and build up your piece weft by weft with a variety of yarns. Discover how color blocking, thread patterns, and textured effects can yield endless possibilities!

Virtual Nordic Language Café with The Scandinavian School in San Francisco (Sunday, Mar. 5, 5:00 p.m. PT)

Get ready to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish! This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking and listening skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. Are you a beginner? No worries! All levels are welcome. The Cafés are very relaxed and friendly, and if you feel more comfortable listening rather than speaking there is a spot for you in the Café too. Participants will be divided up into different breakout rooms in their chosen Nordic language. You don’t have to be a student at The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center to join.

Swedish Weeknight Dinners (Thursday, Mar. 9, 5:00 p.m. CT)

Need some fun ideas for simple, creative weeknight dinners? Look to the Swedes for some unique flavors that are easy to pull together even on those busy nights. We’ll make an American version of västerbottensostpaj (cheese pie), embrace the Swedish motto “Tacos, not just for Friday’s anymore” with taco paj, and we’ll dive into the oddly delicious Swedish hotdish called flygande jakob. Menu will include signature cocktails that every age can enjoy.

Tropical Aquavit Cocktails with Emily Vikre (Friday, Mar. 24, 7:00 p.m. CT)

Although you may not expect it, aquavit pairs deliciously with tropical fruits! Whether or not you have taken a class with us already, you will enjoy learning some new cocktail recipes in this new class featuring aquavit, the traditional Scandinavian spirit with centuries of tradition and celebration. Emily Vikre of Vikre Distillery will inspire you with her Nordic twist on classic tropical cocktails and her storytelling about the history of aquavit, as well as her contemporary lifestyle as a dual Norwegian citizen living in Duluth, Minnesota. Be prepared to concoct delicious tropical aquavit drinks while engaging with Emily and other cocktail enthusiasts during this fun evening class.


Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately & Reading Challenges Update (December 2022)

I didn’t quite finish the year as I would have liked to reading-wise. Ideally, I would be more or less done with my 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge (I have one book left, a book spanning multiple decades or places) and I would have planned the next year’s challenge. However, unexpected family circumstances and an unplanned trip to Norway in December left me with little energy or opportunity to read, listen, or plan ahead. While in Norway, though, I did acquire some Norwegian books for later reading which was a bonus!

I did, however, complete my trip around the world for The Book Girls’ reading challenge, Book Voyage: Read Around the World. And my last selection was an unread Book of the Month pick; it’s always satisfying when I can check off another read for my forever ongoing #unreadBOTMchallenge. I’ll certainly do another round of Book Voyage in 2023, but this year also, I’ll be skipping around and not following their order.

Once again, I join Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately. What have you been reading lately?


Tante Ulrikkes vei by Zeshan Shakar 🎧
(Narrated by Martin Lange, Tohid Akhtar and Ivar Nergaard)

I had the physical copy of this book on my shelf, but I decided I would listen to the audiobook as well, which I believe turned out to be the optimal way to read this book for me since it is in standard Norwegian as well as “kebabnorsk” (Kebab Norwegian), a spoken dialect mixing Norwegian with foreign words, mainly Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages. It is a modern epistolary novel, emails and transcripts of audio recordings from Mo and Jamal, two teenage, second generation immigrant boys who live in the same low-income neighborhood of Oslo. They are part of a study about the daily lives of teenagers with minority backgrounds during the time period 2001-2006. Their parents’ country is never specified but they are both Muslim. The author himself grew up in this neighborhood which lends great authenticity to the novel. It was a unique perspective on contemporary life in Oslo, very engaging and eye-opening. So glad I finally got around to reading it.

This was Zeshan Shakar’s debut novel. He won the Norwegian Tarjei Vesaas’ Award for it in 2017. There was news about four years ago that the book would be released in English translation by the independent British publisher Wrecking Ball Press, but I have not been able to find any update on that. Since this debut, he has written two more novels, Gul bok (Yellow Book, 2020) and De kaller meg ulven (They Call Me the Wolf, 2022), the last of which won the Booksellers’ Prize in 2022, both of which are on my TBR list.


The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles  📖

An unread Book of the Month selection corresponded nicely with the Book Voyage prompt of South America! Most of the story takes place in Brazil in the 1920s and 1930s, a place and history I know very little about and enjoyed exploring. It’s the story of Dora and Graça, told from Dora’s perspective late in life. Dora was a poor, orphaned servant girl on a sugar plantation in northern Brazil and Graça the spoiled daughter of the owner. Together they developed a love for music, in particular samba, which they pursued with passion in Rio de Janeiro. They had a lifelong, very complicated friendship being partners and rivals at the same time. Dora, Graça, and their band made it to Hollywood in the 1940s, and unbeknownst to me, there were direct connections to family history at Twentieth Century-Fox which was very fun to come across. The book is written in a very lyrical style, even including lyrics between chapters. For me, the style was a bit over the top, but I became too engaged with the diverse and eclectic cast of characters to give it up.


What have you been reading lately?

If you’re interested in purchasing Scandinavian ebooks at a great discount, visit my Scandinavian Ebook Deals page. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

January 2023 Nordic Events

Godt nytt år! Happy New Year! For Nordic enthusiasts in the Los Angeles area, there are big in-person events happening this month. For those around the country, virtual events continue to be on the program.

Online Nordic book clubs continue to be popular. Visit Online Nordic Book Club Meetings to see reading selections and meeting dates for January and upcoming months.


Los Angeles Area In-Person Events

The Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo @SFFLA is around the corner. After two virtual years, the festival is back at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills on January 14 and 15 and January 21 and 22 with films from Scandinavia and their Nordic neighbors. View the festival program. Festival goers can purchase a festival pass which includes access to all screenings as well as the opening reception or individual tickets. Buy passes and tickets here.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s exhibition, Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980, will close February 5. It is the first exhibition to examine the extensive design exchanges between the United States and the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) during the 20th century. See it before it closes!

Save the date! The Nordic Spirit Symposium returns February 10 and 11 in Thousand Oaks, CA. This year’s theme is Scandinavian Design: Simple and Beautiful. In the middle of the 20th century, Danish Modern and, more generally, Scandinavian Modern Design, gained popularity in the United States. This symposium will examine the reasons for this popularity, will delve into different design media for two countries, Finland and Norway, and will treat the long-term history of ceramic and glass design in Denmark and Sweden. The theme of Scandinavian design applied to architecture and interior design will be addressed in the opening talk February 10 by an Icelandic American architect. Visit Scandinavian Design: Simple and Beautiful to see details on the program. The February symposium is in-person. However, the initial January presentation on Danish Modern will be virtual (see below for details).


VIRTUAL EVENTS in JANUARY

Danish Modern: Design for Living (Nordic Classics’ Second Friday Series) (Wednesday, Jan. 11, 12:30 p.m. PT live or Friday, Jan. 13, 7:30 p.m. PT pre-recorded, Free)

Join Tova Brandt, Executive Director of Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa, for a presentation on Danish Modern design. Brandt will show the wonderful furniture designs that came out of Denmark in the 1950s and 1960s, and explain why so many pieces are known by descriptive names like the Ant Chair, Peacock Chair, and Artichoke Lamp. She will discuss the iconic designs and designers of the period, such as Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, and Arne Jacobsen. She will also discuss the strategies through which American consumers developed a taste for Danish Modern, and how that legacy continues into the 21st century. Participation is free but registration is required. The program is  hosted by The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Family Handcraft at Home: Carving a Dala Horse (Enrollment Deadline: Jan. 18)

This February, Vesterheim invites you to try your hand at the historical handcraft of figure carving. Folk artist and art educator Charles Banks will inspire you to be creative in unexpected ways through a warm video demonstration. The best thing about this class is that you can watch the video and open your kit materials to explore carving whenever it is most convenient for you and your family members! Your registration provides you with a kit that includes everything you need to explore this handcraft as a family at home! On the first of the month, you will receive an email with the links and information about how to access.

Demo: Scandinavian Pea Soup Supper with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Jan. 19, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for a low-effort, high reward wintery supper of vegetarian Split Pea Soup with Barley, simple salad with Lingonberry Vinaigrette, and Swedish Oat Crackers. Each of these recipes work well to make ahead and have on hand for a satisfying cold weather meal but make a tasty meal for entertaining too. As always, Kristi is sure to share lots of inspired tips and tricks for cooking Nordic food simply at home.

Workshop: Needle Felted Chickadee (Friday, Jan. 20, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Create a sweet felted chickadee inspired by Minnesota’s northwoods in this afternoon-long class. Led by instructor Laura Berlage, students will follow step-by-step instructions to transform hand-dyed wool from the instructor’s own sheep into a felted chickadee that will fit in the palm of your hand. Needle felting is fun, easy and therapeutic, and as your wooly friend comes to life, you’ll enjoy conversation with other students and learning more about wool and the sheep who produced your kit materials! Your kit even contains enough wool to make a second chickadee, perfect for continuing with this craft beyond class.

Knit a Norwegian-Inspired Pot-Holder (Saturday, Jan. 21, 1:00 p.m. CT and Sunday, Jan. 22, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Add Norwegian beauty to your home by knitting a kitchen accessory! In this class, you will use a circular needle to cast on and knit a beautiful pot holder using the two stranded colorwork technique. With the aid of live Zoom interactions and prerecorded demonstration videos, class instruction will include Norwegian knitting techniques, reading charts, knitting with two colors, tips for color changes, finishing, blocking, and more. You choose one of two patterns. Enrollment Deadline: January 13.

The Fantastic Art of Paper Cutting with Danish Paper Cut Artist Torben Jarlstrøm Clausen (Sunday, Jan. 22, 12:00 p.m. ET)

Back by popular demand, celebrated Danish paper-cutting artist Torben Jarlstrøm Clausen returns for a workshop on creating wonderful paper-cut beings! In this online workshop held via Zoom, Clausen will share his techniques and guide viewers through creating their own paper-cut magic. Participants will also explore the paper-cut artwork of renowned storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, and hear about Clausen’s own journey to becoming a paper-cutting artist. The class will be limited to 30 participants to allow for audience interaction.

Virtual Nordic Language Café with The Scandinavian School in San Francisco (Sunday, Jan. 22, 5:00 p.m. PT)

Get ready to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish! This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking and listening skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. Are you a beginner? No worries! All levels are welcome. The Cafés are very relaxed and friendly, and if you feel more comfortable listening rather than speaking there is a spot for you in the Café too. Participants will be divided up into different breakout rooms in their chosen Nordic language. You don’t have to be a student at The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center to join.

Virtual Book Talk – Collected Works with Lydia Sandgren & Emily Temple (Saturday, Jan. 28, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

This January, join Scandinavia House for a virtual book talk with Swedish author and psychologist Lydia Sandgren on her new book Collected Works. With moderator Emily Temple, she’ll discuss her compelling mystery and poignant bildungsroman about love, power, and art—and what leads us to make the pivotal decisions that change the course of our lives.

Meet the Author: Ann-Helén Laestadius, Stolen (Tuesday, Jan. 31, 11:00 a.m. PT)

Join Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma (DeNoma Literary Services) in virtual conversation with Ann-Helén Laestadius, author of the spellbinding Swedish novel Stolen. Louise Erdrich meets Jo Nesbø in this spellbinding Swedish novel that follows a young indigenous woman as she struggles to defend her family’s reindeer herd and culture amidst xenophobia, climate change, and a devious hunter whose targeted kills are considered mere theft in the eyes of the law.


LOOKING and PLANNING AHEAD to FEBRUARY

Scandinavian Loom Beading (Thursdays, Feb. 2, 9, 16 & 23, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Explore the beauty and fun of beading on a loom in the Scandinavian tradition! Inspired by designs from Nordic bandweaving, this class will take you from start to finish for making your own sparkly beaded bookmark. Learn about the historic use of loom beading and how a remarkably simple process can transform seed beads into delightful designs. The class kit includes a handmade loom designed by the instructor and enough beads, silk thread, needles, and patterns to make two projects, if you wish.

Tropical Aquavit Cocktails with Emily Vikre (Friday, Feb. 3, 7:00 p.m. CT)

Although you may not expect it, aquavit pairs deliciously with tropical fruits! Whether or not you have taken a class with us already, you will enjoy learning some new cocktail recipes in this new class featuring aquavit, the traditional Scandinavian spirit with centuries of tradition and celebration. Emily Vikre of Vikre Distillery will inspire you with her Nordic twist on classic tropical cocktails and her storytelling about the history of aquavit, as well as her contemporary lifestyle as a dual Norwegian citizen living in Duluth, Minnesota. Be prepared to concoct delicious tropical aquavit drinks while engaging with Emily and other cocktail enthusiasts during this fun evening class.

Meet the Author: Nicklas Brendborg, Jellyfish Age Backwards (Sunday, Feb. 5, 10:00 a.m. PT)

Join Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma (DeNoma Literary Services) in virtual conversation with Nicklas Brendborg, author of the international bestseller Jellyfish Age Backwards: Nature’s Secrets to Longevity. This eye-opening work offers a revelatory scientific deep dive into how plants and animals have already unlocked the secrets to immortality–and the lessons they hold for us all.

Introduction to North Sámi (Sunday, Feb. 5, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Sámi language and culture? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to the north of Finland, Sweden, or Norway? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Áila O’Loughlin is the perfect way to learn some history of the nine living dialects of Sápmi, get a feel for North Sámi, pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic greetings. Families welcome!

Workshop: Four Band Color Braid Bracelet (Wednesday, Feb. 8, 5:30 p.m. CT, Registration closes Jan. 29)

Braid and finish a beautiful bracelet inspired by the Sámi art of tenntråd, or pewter wire art, led by instructor Liz Bucheit. Students will receive a kit with all the materials to make a bracelet out of natural materials including pewter wire, reindeer leather, and an antler button, plus a reusable clamp for future braiding projects. Kits ($35 value) are included in the class fee. Registration for this kit-based class closes January 29.

Demo: Baking Swedish Semlor with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Feb. 9, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Pick up tricks for making a sweet winter treat by watching Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen bake and fill a batch of cardamom and almond flavored semlor in this virtual demonstration. Traditionally served on Fat Tuesday and now enjoyed throughout the winter, semlor are an indulgent winter treat across Scandinavia. Kristi will use multiple batches of dough to demonstrate how to make the Swedish version of these buns, from mixing and kneading the cardamom flavored dough, to preparing the almond paste and whipped cream filling, to baking and assembling the finished buns. Students will leave with the recipe and lots of tips, inspired to bake their own batch of semlor at home!

Sámi Film Fest (February 9-12)

The 5th Annual Sámi Film Festival explores Sámi stories through film in a hybrid event taking place both in-personal and virtually. The Festival is organized by the National Nordic Museum in Seattle and Scandinavia House in New York and presented in partnership with Pacific Sámi Searvi. Attendees can screen films online on February 9-12 and in person at both venues on February 11. The program will include a variety of contemporary Sámi documentaries, short films, and panel discussions with the filmmakers. In 2023, the Sámi Film Festival will feature the selections of this year’s guest curator of film and acclaimed Skolt Sámi director Katja Gauriloff.


Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

Celebrating a Norwegian Christmas: Watch, Read, Listen, Do & Consume!

In Norway, the Christmas season is stretched over several weeks. It starts on the first Sunday of Advent, usually at the end of November. The Advent period lasts about four weeks until Christmas Eve. During Advent, a new candle is lit in a four-candle Advent wreath every Sunday. It’s a time of Christmas preparations – baking, decorating, shopping, and parties. On Christmas Eve, there are church services and families get together for the main Christmas meal. Presents are exchanged, and Julenissen may even visit and distribute presents. After Christmas Eve follows the period called “romjulen”, a quiet time until New Year’s Eve.

Would you like to experience a touch of Norwegian jul? Here are some ideas of what to watch, read, listen, do, and consume in these last few days of Advent and during romjulen that follows. God jul!

(Some of the links below are affiliate links. Any purchases you make through links on my blog may result in a small commission to me. I greatly appreciate it when you support my blog by clicking on these links to make purchases.)


Watch 👀

Home for Christmas (Netflix Original Series, 2 Seasons, 2020 & 2021)

A fun and atmospheric rom-com set in a Christmasy, winter wonderland in Norway! (It’s a bit raunchy at times, so beware if watching with young children.) Frustrated by all her friends being a part of couples and families and her family constantly commenting on her single status, Johanna rashly and falsely announces at a family dinner on the first Sunday of Advent that she has a boyfriend. Now she has to find one to introduce on Christmas Eve.

A Storm for Christmas (Netflix Limited Series Released Dec. 16, 2022)

I was hoping for a third season of Home for Christmas, but instead there’s a spin-off of sorts with this limited series. The main character and her father from Home for Christmas return but in totally different roles. The story takes place at the Oslo airport. Per Netflix’s description, “Destinies collide when extreme weather traps travelers and workers at an airport, forcing them to spend the final hours leading up to Christmas together.”

Three Wishes for Cinderella (Available through Amazon Prime Video)

Apparently, it’s a Christmas tradition for many Norwegians to watch the Norwegian dubbed version of the 1973 Czech movie Three Wishes for Cinderella. Last year, an updated Norwegian retelling was made by director Cecilie A. Mosli. The movie features spectacular shots of Norwegian winterscapes and architecture as well as glimpses of Norwegian culture. Consider putting it on your watch list!

Grevinnen og hovmesteren / Dinner for One (YouTube, Skit begins at 2:25)

This is a bizarre Norwegian tradition! Every year on Little Christmas Eve (Dec. 23) at 9:00 p.m., NRK, the Norwegian national TV station, shows this short black and white comedy skit (first released in 1963) about a butler and an elderly countess hosting a dinner for four imaginary guests. The link above includes an introduction in German. The skit begins at 2:25. “Same procedure as last year?” and “Same procedure as every year” are now common phrases in Norway.


Read 📚

There’s no better time to read books set during Christmas or winter than now. Below you’ll suggestions, and it wouldn’t be a Norwegian book list without some crime fiction as well.

For a list of Christmas books for families, visit my page Book List: Christmas in Scandinavia.

   

A Very Scandinavian Christmas: The Greatest Nordic Holiday Stories of All Time (2019)

From the publisher: This collection brings together the best Scandinavian holiday stories including classics by Hans Christian Andersen of Denmark; Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, August Strindberg and Hjalmar Söderberg of Sweden; as well as the acclaimed contemporary Norwegian authors Karl Ove Knausgaard and National Book Award nominee Vigdis Hjorth. These Nordic tales―coming from the very region where so much of traditional Christmas imagery originates―convey a festive and contemplative spirit laden with lingonberries, elks, gnomes, Sami trolls, candles, gingerbread, and aquavit in abundance.

Berlin Poplars by Anne B. Ragde, translated from the Norwegian by James Anderson (First published in Norway in 2004)

Taken from the publisher: Aware of their 80-year-old mother’s failing health, three brothers reluctantly reunite over the winter holidays, where unexpected guests and the question of inheritance prompt the revealing of some bizarre, and devastating, truths.

Winter Stories by Ingvild H. Rishøi, translated from the Norwegian by Diane Oatley (First published in Norway in 2014)

I don’t often read short story collections, but at a virtual event with Norwegian authors, this particular author was mentioned as a must-read and I was drawn to the serene winter cover. It’s a collection of three long short stories, all of which take place during winter time in Norway and are about vulnerable people (a young single mother, an ex-convict, and a teenager) trying to do their best for the young children in their lives, but with difficulty. The author does a compelling job of exploring their struggles, and in every story there’s an unexpected stranger whose compassion makes a significant difference. A five-star read for me.

   

The Caveman (William Wisting Mystery) by Jørn Lier Horst, translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce (First published in Norway in 2013)

Jørn Lier Horst is my favorite Norwegian crime writer. The Caveman was the first of his that I read. Wisting is a likable and respectable police investigator who works in a smalltown, coastal community south of Oslo. His daughter Line, a journalist, is also a main character in this story. This installment takes place during the holiday season. Horst’s books usually tackle a greater social issue; this one reflects on forgotten and marginalized members of society. The Caveman won the the 2016 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

The Snowman (Harry Hole #7) by Jo Nesbø, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (First published in Norway in 2007)

I had read the first Harry Hole book a few years ago and wasn’t a fan of him (a too damaged alcoholic with poor judgement), but I wanted to give the series another try since it’s such a popular one both at home and abroad. I’m glad I did; this book was a fun ride! I really enjoyed that it took place in Oslo (November with the first snow). Also, Harry Hole’s character was much more likable; he doesn’t drink in this installment and his skills as a detective really shine. In this story, Harry is on the hunt for a serial killer who’s been targeting married women with children and leaves a snowman behind as a calling card. It was very engaging and suspenseful with a satisfying resolution.

The Redeemer (Harry Hole #6) by Jo Nesbø, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (First published in Norway in 2005)

This Harry Hole installment is even more of a Christmas crime read, though it does venture outside of Norway. From the publisher: Shots ring out at a Salvation Army Christmas concert in Oslo, leaving one of the singers dead in the street. The trail will lead Harry Hole, Oslo’s best investigator and worst civil servant, deep into the darkest corners of the city and, eventually, to Croatia. An assassin forged in the war-torn region has been brought to Oslo to settle an old debt. As the police circle in, the killer becomes increasingly desperate and the danger mounts for Harry and his colleagues.


Eat & Drink 😋

Norwegian Christmas Cookies – Syv slag kaker

Christmas cookies are an important part of a Norwegian Christmas. The baking starts early and long standing tradition calls for syv slag, or seven varieties. The number seven was believed to bring luck and is an important religious number often symbolizing completion or perfection. The seven types are chosen based family preferences. Norwegian Christmas cookies all generally have the same basic ingredients (butter, flour, sugar, eggs) and are either baked, fried, or made with a special tool. My favorite type is krumkaker, a cone-shaped cookie made with a special flat iron. Berlinerkranser is another good one. This year I plan to try making serinakaker. Read more about Norway’s syv slag kaker at The Great Norwegian Christmas Cookie Extravaganza and 21 Norwegian Christmas Cookies for a Scandinavian Holiday.

Gløgg

Gløgg is a very popular warm beverage (may be alcoholic or non-alcoholic) served throughout the Christmas season. You’ll find it in homes, at parties, and out at Christmas markets. It’s usually made with red wine along with various mulling spices and served with raisins and almonds. You can make it from scratch or buy readymade gløgg (and potentially add your own wine or spirits) or you can buy mulling spices to add to your own seasonal beverage.

Risengrynsgrøt (Rice Porridge)

A popular food during Christmastime is risengrynsgrøt or rice porridge. It is served with butter, cinnamon, and sugar on top, and during Christmastime, it is traditional to hide a peeled almond in it. The person who finds it receives a marzipan pig as a prize (though my family is not a fan of marzipan so we have Norwegian chocolate as prizes instead). You can make it from scratch or buy a premade mix you heat up with milk.

For more inspiration related to eating and drinking, visit the websites of favorite Scandinavian food writers.


Do 👐

Listen to Norwegian Christmas music.

For me it’s not Christmas without my playlist of Christmas music which of course includes various Norwegian artists. Among my favorite songs are Kim Rysstad’s 2017 album Snøen laver ned (The snow is falling down) with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. I also enjoy songs from trumpeter Ole Edvard Antonsen’s 2010 Christmas album Desemberstemninger (December Moods). And finally, it’s not Christmas without some Sissel Kyrkjebø, Norway’s Queen of Christmas Music. Sissel has a new Christmas album out this season, Winter Morning. It was recorded in Utah with the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.

Make heart baskets.

Paper heart baskets are popular not only in Norway but also in Denmark and Sweden. During Christmas time, they are used as decorations on trees or in garlands and may even hold candies and small treats. They can be simple and extremely complex. All you need is paper, scissors, and a little tape for the handle. Single color wrapping paper and construction paper work fine for this. See instructions here and watch this video to help with the weaving.

Go on a virtual visit to Oslo during Christmas time!

In the video Christmas in Oslo: Festive Highlights from Oslo, Norway, it’s early December 2022 and winter has arrived in Oslo, though not the snow that is currently there now (at time of publication). The days may be short and dark, but the city is bright with festive decorations. Consider also taking a walk through the Oslo Christmas Market. For more glimpses of Christmas time in Oslo, watch Visit Norway’s photo series, The Christmas Town, Oslo, which covers everything from Christmas markets to ski jumping.

Watch St. Lucia celebrations with Rick Steves on a visit to Drøbak and Oslo.

In Rick Steves’ European Christmas, Rick visits Drøbak and Oslo to explore the Scandinavian Christmas tradition of Santa Lucia (December 13). Candle-bearing Santa Lucias bring light to the middle of winter and the promise of the return of summer. To capture the celebration, he traveled to Drøbak where kindergarteners bring light and saffron buns to a senior home and to Oslo where the Norwegian Girls’ Choir perform by candlelight in Gamle Aker Kirke, a tiny, heavy-stone, Viking Age church in Oslo (skip to 14:43 for segment on Norway). For some background information on the celebration, visit Life in Norway’s The Scandinavian Santa Lucia Celebrations Explained.


Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season! God jul og godt nytt år!

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (November 2022)

Welcome to my latest reading update. As the year nears its end, I’m focused on completing my two main reading challenges. In addition to my Scandinavian Reading Challenge, I am doing The Book Girls’ Book Voyage: Read Around the World challenge. Instead of reading the areas in order, I am skipping around. In November, I read the next to last prompt for me, Asia – South, and in December I’m wrapping up the challenge with a selection for South America, The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles. When I can, I squeeze in an unread Book of the Month selection. They have a tendency to accumulate!

2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge Update:

I’m still reading (actually mostly listening to) my 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge selection for the 2000s, the Norwegian Tante Ulrikkes vei (Tante Ulrikkes Way or Our Street), the debut novel by Zeshan Shakar. It’s about second generation immigrants in Oslo. It is in standard Norwegian as well as “kebabnorsk”, a spoken dialect mixing Norwegian with foreign words, mainly Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages. I did sneak in a couple of books set in the 2010s in Oslo both last month and this month so I can jump straight into the final prompt for the challenge, a book spanning decades or places, right away.

Once again, I join Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately. What have you been reading lately?


The Henna Artist (Jaipur Trilogy #1) by Alka Joshi 🎧
(Narrated by Sneha Mathan)

A book right up my alley! This is a historical fiction novel about a time and place I am not familiar with featuring a strong female protagonist. The setting is Jaipur, India, in the 1950s, and Lakshmi, who left an abusive marriage at the age of 17, is a respected henna artist to the upper class women and on her way to becoming a self sufficient, independent woman. Then her husband appears bringing along a sister that Lakshmi didn’t know she had and her carefully balanced and planned life is disrupted. On top of it being an inspiring story, I also learned about henna artists and a bit about India pre- and post-independence. I considered reading the next in the series right away, but I decided to wait since I have other books I “must” read before the end of the year.


Nei og atter nei by Nina Lykke 🎧
(Narrated by Anne Ryg)

I knew little going into this book; I was just excited to have access to a Norwegian audiobook of a new-to-me author whom I had on my radar. (And it was short enough to fit in before I started my next book club pick.) It’s a contemporary novel about Ingrid and Jan, a married couple in their 50s (with 2 adult sons still living at home), and Hanne, a 34-year-old female work colleague of the husband. They all have issues and I didn’t like any of them (but at least they were honest with themselves). However, I really enjoyed the structure of the story in which each chapter was from a different character’s perspective and the time periods overlapped a bit. The audiobook narration was fabulous and kept me coming back to their messed up world. The ending was surprisingly satisfying.

Even though I didn’t love the story, I appreciated the writing style and structure and am keeping Nina Lykke on my to-read list. I already have another of her books on my shelf, the Brage Prize-winning novel Full spredning. It’s actually coming out in English translation by B. L. Crook in April 2023 titled Natural Causes published by Open Letter. It was first published in Norway 2019 and this will be her English language debut.


The Creak on the Stairs (Forbidden Iceland #1) by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir 📖
(Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb)

I decided to read a Nordic Noir selection in honor of #NordicNoirNovember. This is the debut novel of a new Icelandic crime author. A typical Nordic Noir read, it features a police detective with a troubled past, a dark and cold setting, and disturbing crimes. Specifically, it’s about Elma who transfers from the police department in Reykjavik to the one back in her small hometown of Akranes after a difficult break with her boyfriend. She and her partner investigate the death of a woman found by a lighthouse and all sorts of secrets and connections between past and present come up. Iceland is a fascinating setting and I love a smart, female detective. It worked for me and I look forward to reading the next in the series.


Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley 📖

My book club selected this novel in honor of November’s National Native American Heritage Month. It couldn’t have been a better selection for the purpose. It was an engrossing pageturner that opened my eyes to so much about contemporary Native cultures and traditions. It also shed light on both historical and present day challenges faced by Native people. I loved the main character, Daunis, an 18-year old star hockey player who just graduated from high school but is postponing her university plans to be close to her fragile mother whose brother just died, a father figure in Daunis’ life. I enjoyed the romance between Daunis and the new recruit on the hockey team. More deaths and secrets come to light. It was an unexpected thriller with great substance. #unreadBOTMchallenge


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in purchasing some Scandinavian ebooks at a great discount, visit my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

December 2022 Nordic Events: Christmas Edition

The holiday season is upon us! The events in my monthly postings are no longer exclusively virtual. Readers will now also find a selection of in-person events primarily in the Los Angeles area that may be of interest.

Online Nordic book clubs continue to be popular. Visit my page Online Nordic Book Club Meetings to see reading selections and meeting dates for December and upcoming months.


LOS ANGELES AREA IN-PERSON EVENTS

The Norwegian Church in San Pedro hosts many Christmas events this time of year, the first of which is their annual Christmas Luncheon on Tuesday, December 6 (registration required). Another highlight is the Christmas Concert on December 17 (free, no registration required, donation appreciated). See the latest newsletter for details on these events as well as Christmas services and more. Visit their Facebook page for updates on Christmas events.

Have you marked your calendars for the Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA which returns in person this winter season? After two virtual years, the festival will be back at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills for two weekends in January 2023 (14th & 15th and 21st & 22nd) with films from Scandinavia and their Nordic neighbors. Details about the programming is expected to be released before the holidays. In the meantime, visit their new website and consider becoming a donor to help make it all possible.

Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is currently hosting an exhibition, Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980, co-organized by the LACMA and the Milwaukee Art Museum in collaboration with the Nationalmuseum in Sweden and the Nasjonalmuseet in Norway. It is the first exhibition to examine the extensive design exchanges between the United States and the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) during the 20th century. It will be open through February 5, 2023. Check the Event Calendar for information on gallery tours with a LACMA docent.

 


VIRTUAL EVENTS

Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program Winter Registration Opens (December 1)

Registration for Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program for the next trimester of classes (January – March 2023) is now open. Each trimester, they offer a range of Norwegian classes for beginning learners to those that are more advanced, many of them online. Culture classes are designed to expand learners’ knowledge of traditional and contemporary Norwegian culture.

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market (Friday, Dec. 2, and Saturday, Dec. 3)

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market returns Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3, on Facebook. Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses from around the globe together in one online location. Join the Virtual Holiday Market to discover unique Nordic products, take advantage of discounts, and win giveaways. To participate, mark that you are “Going” or “Interested” in the event and then follow the Discussion tab on the event page for products, discounts and giveaways. For more information, visit their website.

Virtual Workshop: Papercutting for the Holidays (Dec. 4, 10:00 a.m. PT)

Join National Nordic Museum for a holiday-themed papercutting workshop with Anna Brones. In this season of Advent we are focusing on slowing down and creating moments of warmth and joy, and the same goes for this class. Together, we’ll design our own holiday-themed paper cuts—perfect to gift someone special! This workshop is also offered Dec. 13 in the evening.

Lecture: Edible Evergreens (Wednesday, Dec. 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m. CST)

Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are indeed edible, so let forager Maria Wesserle guide the way! In fact, northern cultures have a rich tradition of using evergreens for food and medicine. Maria will discuss some of the common evergreens available in the upper Midwest, including how to identify, harvest, and prepare. Maria will also demonstrate how she uses white pine to make tea and other infusions, and students will receive instructions in case they want to follow along at home. This virtual class has limited space to better facilitate participatory learning.

ASI Demo: Swedish Saffron Buns with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Dec. 8, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

Get ready for Luciadagen (St. Lucia Day) on December 13 by watching how Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen completes all the hands-on steps for a batch of Swedish saffron buns (also known as lussekatter or lussebullar) in just an hour. Kristi will use multiple batches of dough to demonstrate how to mix and knead this special saffron yeasted dough, shape a pre-risen batch of dough into the typical lussekatter shapes, and bake the buns until golden. Students will leave with the recipe and lots of tips, inspired to bake their own batch of buns at home!

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series: Sankta Lucia Celebration from Gränna, Sweden (Friday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m. PT.)

By popular demand, the Nordic Spirit Second Friday program will bring the enchanting 2019 Sankta Lucia celebration from Gränna, Sweden. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link. The monthly series of Nordic Spirit Classics is a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia hosted by The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Workshop: Paper Quilled Ornaments (Thu, Dec 15, 6:30-8:00 p.m. CST)

Try out paper quilling in this intro level class while creating a quilled ornament perfect for displaying or gifting! Students will learn about the basic tools and materials used in paper quilling with artist Kayla Ann while working on a winter themed ornament that could hang on a tree, window or gift. You’ll come away with lots of inspiration and materials to make a second ornament. This class includes a kit ($5 value); please see the website for more information. Suitable for ages 16+. Registration for this kit-based class closes December 5.

Norway House: 12 Days of Christmas Online Auction (December 10-22)

Norway House’s online holiday auction is back for the third year running, serving as both a unique opportunity to support Norway House AND check items off your shopping list at the same time! The majority of items will be available in a traditional auction-style, closing at 11:59 p.m. on December 21. Alongside their auction, you’ll also find an Instant Shop of items, open and convenient for immediate purchases of Norway House special merchandise.

Vesterheim’s FamilieTid: Music (Sunday, Dec. 11, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Gather the family together and join celebrated Finnish musicians Soili Perkiö and Maija Karhinen for an hour of Scandinavian music. Soili and Maija return to Vesterheim by popular demand after last year’s event. This captivating and engaging hour of singing, dancing, and play will set toes tapping for participants of every age!

ASI Virtual Lucia Celebration Concert (Sunday, Dec. 11, 2:00-3:00 p.m. CT)

This magical concert set in ASI’s Larson Hall brings light to the dark winter through a performance of classic and traditional Swedish- and English-language songs sung by the ASI Lucia Choir and ASI Lilla Lag.

Virtual Workshop: Papercutting for the Holidays (Dec. 13, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. PT)

Join National Nordic Museum for a holiday-themed papercutting workshop with Anna Brones. In this season of Advent we are focusing on slowing down and creating moments of warmth and joy, and the same goes for this class. Together, we’ll design our own holiday-themed paper cuts—perfect to gift someone special! This workshop is also offered Dec. 4 in the morning.

Vesterheim TVprat: Hjem til Jul, Season 1 (Wednesday, Dec. 14, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT, Free)

In a twist on Vesterheim’s monthly bokprat discussions, join Dr. Maren Anderson Johnson in December for a discussion of the Norwegian television series Hjem til Jul, available on Netflix. This rom-com follows Johanne as she scrambles to find a boyfriend to bring home for Christmas, making dubious decisions along the way. This program is free of charge. Registration is required.

Virtual Crafts & Cocktail (Dec. 15, 6:00-7:00 p.m. PT)

Oh, the weather outside is frightful—so stay in and join National Nordic Museum for a much-needed crafting + cocktail happy hour! A fantastic way to unwind from a long day, it’s also a great excuse to hang out with friends and meet other craft + cocktail lovers. All from the comfort of your own home. This month’s craft project + cocktail is: Holiday Woven Paper Hearts + a Scandinavian Sour!

Vesterheim Family Book Adventure: What Does the Fox Say? (Registration Deadline Dec. 18)

In this family-fun reading adventure, Luther College Nordic Studies instructor Evelyn Galstad will get you reading, thinking, creating, and even up and moving – indoors and out! A kit delivered right to your home contains supplies for book-reading, a fun craft, a snack, and a scavenger-hunt-type adventure. For January, you’ll be reading What Does the Fox Say?, based on the 2013 smash-hit pop song by the Norwegian pop duo The Ylvis. This picture book is geared for young children, but readers of all ages will laugh at the silliness and delight at Svein Nyhus’s playful illustrations in this irresistibly entertaining read-aloud picture book. In the spirit of the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, the scavenger-hunt-type activity will get your family out into the great outdoors.


Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of Nordic events. Many of the virtual events are now available to view as saved recordings.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (October 2022) & #ScandiReadingChallenge Update

I love it when my reading selections bring me all over the place, and that was certainly the case this past month. I’ve been in San Francisco in the 1950s and on a cross country road trip in the 1930s. I was in Norway in the 1990s and 2010s and in South Korea at about the same time. I continue to join Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.

2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge Update

After having to pivot for September’s 1990s prompt, I am a bit behind on my Scandinavian Reading Challenge. When my initial pick didn’t work out, I read Anne Holt’s Blind Goddess instead. She’s a prolific Norwegian crime author who’s been on my TBR list for a long time. For October’s 2000s prompt, I just started reading Tante Ulrikkes vei by Zeshan Shakar. It’s a Norwegian novel about second generation immigrants in Oslo. It will take a little longer than usual to read this because it’s not just in standard Norwegian but it also contains “kebabnorsk”, a spoken dialect mixing Norwegian with foreign words, mainly Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages. (But I did sneak in a book set in the 2010s in Oslo this month so I should be up to speed for December!)

For details on the reading challenge and insight into past, current, and next decades, along with a few reading ideas, visit 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

What have you been reading lately?


Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo 🎧
(Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller)

This book had all the things that I love about a reading experience. It was historical fiction about a time, place, and history I’m not too familiar with (1950s San Francisco, Chinese American culture, Red Scare, queer community) and it had characters I admired and became very invested in. It was a story of an unlikely friendship, in this case a Chinese American teenager and a white American teenager. It was a story about girls with big dreams, one wanting to pursue a career in space science and the other wanting to be a pilot. Specifically, it was the story of Lily and Kath whose friendship slowly grows into something neither of them completely understands, and all of it was extremely compellingly written and narrated. A 5-star read!

Malinda Lo’s latest release, A Scatter of Light, is already on my TBR list since “almost 60 years after the end of Last Night at the Telegraph Club, A Scatter of Light also offers a glimpse into Lily and Kath’s lives since 1955.” (book description)


West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge 🎧
(Narrated by Danny Campbell)

I wasn’t sure about this book when it was suggested for book club and I wasn’t enamored by it to begin with when I started listening. However, when their journey across the country finally began, I was all in and went for longer walks and didn’t mind long, slow drives. I loved the characters, both human and animal, and their road trip was full of adventure meeting all sorts of people along the way, both good and bad. Based on the real story of San Diego Zoo’s first giraffes who survived a hurricane and then traveled by truck from the East Coast in 1938, it’s a fabulous story of a road trip, unexpected friendships both with other humans and with animals, and first love. It’s at times humorous, moving, captivating, and even upsetting. Set against the background of the Dust Bowl and the advent of World War II, it also provides a glimpse at life in this time period. Highly recommend!


Blind Goddess (Hanne Wilhelmsen #1) by Anne Holt 📖
(Translated from the Norwegian by Tom Geddes)

Anne Holt is a prolific Norwegian crime author who’s been on my TBR list for a long time. I started with her debut novel, the first in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series (published in Norway in 1993), which was about drug trafficking and corruption. What’s unique about this series is that it features a lesbian protagonist. I liked the Oslo setting and the police investigator Hanne. However, I was not a fan of the writing style in which mystery and suspense were infused by referring to characters in the third person instead of by name. There were also too many characters to keep track of which made it confusing at times.

I have not given up on Anne Holt, though. I already have her latest publication, Det ellevte manus (The Eleventh Script, published in Norway in 2021) on my shelf and I have my eye on both her Vik and Stubo series and newest Selma Falck series.


Blood Ties (Clara #2) by Ruth Lillegraven 🎧📖
(Translated from the Norwegian by Diane Oatley)
(Narrated by M. Crouch, A. Eiden, S. Nielsen, M. Naramore, S. Graybill, S. Nankani, C. Ciulla)

I read the first in this series, Alt er mitt, in Norwegian two years ago before it was available in English (it’s now available in translation, Everything Is Mine, by Diane Oatley). I was enthralled at the time of reading, but I ended up being extremely disappointed in the ending which affected my whole outlook on the book. Then, when listening to an Instagram interview with the author, I learned of the planned trilogy and immediately changed my opinion of the book (Reading Lately: August 2020) and was eager to read the next one when it came out. Thank you to Netgalley and Amazon Crossing for providing an advance copy of the second book in the series.

Blood Ties was another pageturner and didn’t disappoint. It continues the story of Clara, now a single mother to twins about 8 years old, who has just been appointed Minister of Justice but doesn’t have much time to accomplish anything before her boys disappear. I had to suspend disbelief for a couple of things (lack of surveillance/supervision on the boys and a character’s lapse in judgment), but it still worked for me. The story is written from different perspectives, including one of her boys, which provided interesting insight into the plot. I had both the audiobook going for drives and walks (great ensemble narration) and the ebook for bedtime reading. I’m looking forward to the final installment because there are definitely elements that need wrapping up. (See Ruth Lillegraven talk (in English) about the first two books.)


Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin 📖
(Translated from the French by Aneesa Higgins)

This debut novel by a French Korean author was left over from my TBR list for Women in Translation Month in August. The story takes place in a seaside summer resort town in South Korea near the North Korean border during winter time. The unnamed narrator, a 24-year old Sokcho-born French Korean woman, works as a receptionist (as well as cook and cleaner) in a worn down guesthouse. One evening, a French cartoonist checks in for an extended visit with the hope of completing the last volume of his series. They form a tenuous, uneasy friendship as the narrator shows him authentic Korea, including the DMZ. I enjoyed the book; it’s a subtle and spare novel. What I appreciated the most was getting a glimpse of a part of the world very unfamiliar to me. The Pachinko Parlor, her next novel, was recently published in English and is already on TBR list.


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in purchasing some Scandinavian ebooks at a great discount, visit my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

November 2022 Nordic Events: Virtual & Los Angeles Area

I hope your fall season is off to a wonderful start. Believe it or not, the holiday season is around the corner which you will see in the following list of Nordic events. The events in my monthly postings are no longer exclusively virtual. Readers will now also find a selection of in-person events primarily in the Los Angeles area that may be of interest.

Online Nordic book clubs continue to be popular. Visit my page Online Nordic Book Club Meetings to see reading selections and meeting dates for November and upcoming months.


Los Angeles Area In-Person Events

The Norwegian Church’s annual Julebasar (Christmas Bazaar) will take place Friday, November 11, through Sunday, November 20, in San Pedro. The church will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland. There will be Christmas gifts for young and old, a bakery with Norwegian Christmas baked goods, and a café with delicious food. There will also be a raffle with great prizes. They guarantee a true Christmas atmosphere and a great experience! (The Christmas bazaar’s opening hours are 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., except on Sundays, when the shop and cafe will open after the service has finished, approximately at 12:00 p.m.)

SWEA Orange County’s annual Swedish Christmas Fair will take place on Sunday, November 20, in Huntington Beach. It is a traditional Christmas Fair with Lucia Pageants (12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.), Swedish food and baked goods, glögg bar, handicrafts, kids activities, Santa, and much more. They offer a choice of attending one of two sessions, a mid-morning one (10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) or an afternoon one (1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.).

Mark you calendars for the Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA which returns in person this winter season. After two virtual years, the festival will be back at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills for two weekends in January 2023 (14th & 15th and 21st & 22nd) with films from Scandinavia and their Nordic neighbors. Stay tuned for information about the program of Nordic and Baltic films. In the meantime, consider becoming a donor to help make it all possible.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is currently hosting an exhibition, Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980, co-organized by the LACMA and the Milwaukee Art Museum in collaboration with the Nationalmuseum Sweden and the Nasjonalmuseet in Norway. It is the first exhibition to examine the extensive design exchanges between the United States and the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) during the 20th century. It will be open through February 5, 2023.


Virtual Events

NY Baltic Film Festival (November 2-13)

The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have been producing motion pictures since 1910. While not as well-known as those in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, their industries have met challenges in one era or another that ultimately only galvanized their creative ambitions for features, documentaries, and animation shorts. Through the screening of both the latest productions and selected classics, the New York Baltic Film Festival offers New Yorkers and audiences across the U.S. an unprecedented opportunity to enjoy the best in Northern European filmmaking and see the world through Baltic eyes. See the 2022 Festival Line-Up.

Meet the Author: Ryan Thomas Skinner, Afro-Sweden (Sunday, Nov. 6, 1:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for  virtual conversation between author Ryan Thomas Skinner and Dr. Ethelene Whitmire (Professor and Department Chair of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison) as they discuss his book, Afro-Sweden: Becoming Black in a Color-Blind Country. Contemporary Sweden is a country with a worldwide progressive reputation, despite an undeniable tradition of racism within its borders. In the face of this contradiction of culture and history, Afro-Swedes have emerged as a vibrant demographic presence, from generations of diasporic movement, migration, and homemaking. In Afro-Sweden, Ryan Thomas Skinner uses oral histories, archival research, ethnography, and textual analysis to explore the history and culture of this diverse and growing Afro-European community.

Gift Guide Auction by The Norwegian American (November 10-20)

This year, why not beat the holiday rush and take some of the stress out of the Christmas season by shopping online with The Norwegian American? For the first time, they are offering the opportunity to purchase a selection of items in their Holiday Gift Guide Auction. Working with select vendors, they have tried to find something for everyone on your list: decorations, toys, books, clothing, treats, and more! For a preview of the auction, visit their website. Bidding will start on November 10 and end on November 20. All proceeds go to The Norwegian American.

Vesterheim Registration for Winter Session Opens (Thursday, Nov. 10)

Vesterheim Folk Art School registration for the winter session (January through March 2023) opens on Thursday, November 10, at 12:00 p.m. CT with many online classes in rosemaling, woodworking, metalworking, jewelry, cooking, fiber arts, weaving, and heritage and language, plus youth and family programming. View the class schedule. Classes sell out so don’t delay if interested.

Introduction to Finnish (Sunday, Nov. 13, 12:45 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Finnish language, but not ready yet to commit to a multi-date class? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to Finland? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Joona Sundström is the perfect way to get a feel for Finnish, pick up a bit of grammar, and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic conversation.

Typical American/Typiskt svenskt Discussion (Tuesday, Nov. 15, 5:30 p.m. CT)

Enjoy a fun, open discussion about Sweden and the United States with instructor Gunn Edberg-Caldwell. What do we assume or generalize about each other’s countries? Let’s compare and find out how different yet alike we are. This class is also offered on November 17th.

Swedish Holidays Throughout the Year (Tuesday, Nov. 15, 5:30-7:00 p.m. CT)

Celebrate not just the jul season but the entire Swedish calendar year as you learn about all the traditional Swedish holidays in one evening! This class, taught by instructor Gregg White, will provide students with an overview of Swedish holidays with a specific focus on how they have historically been celebrated throughout time.

Typical American/Typiskt svenskt Discussion (Thursday, Nov. 17, 10:00 a.m. CT)

Enjoy a fun, open discussion about Sweden and the United States with instructor Gunn Edberg-Caldwell. What do we assume or generalize about each other’s countries? Let’s compare and find out how different yet alike we are. This class is also offered on November 15th.

ASI Demo: Host a Glögg Party with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Nov. 17, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Celebrate the season Swedish-style with a glöggmingle or Mulled Wine Party! Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will share some of her favorite seasonal recipes, including her take on Swedish mulled wine or glögg, a trio of mini open-faced sandwiches, and a Pear Cardamom Cake. Whether you are inspired to host a feast or just incorporate these recipes into other seasonal meals, you’ll be set with great options for savory and sweet nibbles throughout the holidays. This live virtual class taught over Zoom includes access to the class recording for one month after the class; registrants may attend live or plan to watch the recording at their convenience during that time.

Introduction to Swedish (Saturday, Nov. 19, 10:00 a.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Swedish language, but not ready yet to commit to a multi-date class? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to Sweden? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Jean Hanslin is the perfect way to get a feel for Swedish, pick up a bit of grammar, and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic conversation.

Viking Era Clothing and Jewelry (Saturday, Nov. 19, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Join historian and artist Steph Anderson for an hour-long exploration of Viking era clothing and jewelry. From tunics and cloaks to arm rings, necklaces, and brooches, Vikings dressed according to sex, age, and economic status. This webinar will shed light on the traditions of people from more than 1,000 years ago! This program is free of charge. Registration is required.

Introduction to North Sámi (Sunday, Nov. 20, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Sámi language and culture? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to the north of Finland, Sweden, or Norway? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Áila O’Loughlin is the perfect way to learn some history of the nine living dialects of Sápmi, get a feel for North Sámi, pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic greetings. Families welcome!

Virtual Nordic Language Café with The Scandinavian School in San Francisco (Sunday, Nov. 20, 5:00-7:00 p.m. PT)

Get ready to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish! This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking and listening skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. Are you a beginner? No worries! All levels are welcome. The Cafés are very relaxed and friendly, and if you feel more comfortable listening rather than speaking there is a spot for you in the Café too. Participants will be divided up into different breakout rooms in their chosen Nordic language. You don’t have to be a student at The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center to join.

The Reindeer Hunters—Virtual Book Talk with Lars Mytting and Maren Johnson (Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2:30 p.m. ET, Free – Now available for streaming)

Join Scandinavia House for the book launch of bestselling Norwegian author Lars Mytting’s The Reindeer Hunters out November 22 in translation by Deborah Dawkin from The Overlook Press. With moderator Maren Johnson, Associate Professor of Nordic Studies at Luther College (Decorah, IA), he’ll discuss the international bestseller and gripping historical novel set in the world of his novel The Bell in the Lake. Conceived on an epic scale, The Reindeer Hunters is a novel about love and bitter rivalries, sorrow and courage, and a world with a mythic and mystical undercurrent battling the pull of the future. This event will take place as a Zoom webinar. Registration is required at the link above.

Plan Ahead

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market (Friday, Dec. 2, and Saturday, Dec. 3)

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market returns Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3, on Facebook. Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses from around the globe together in one online location. Join the Virtual Holiday Market to discover unique Nordic products, take advantage of discounts, and win giveaways. To participate, mark that you are “Going” or “Interested” in the event and then follow the Discussion tab on the event page for products, discounts and giveaways. For more information, visit their website.

ASI Demo: Saffron Buns with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Dec. 8, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Get ready for Luciadagen (St. Lucia Day) on December 13 by watching how Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen completes all the hands-on steps for a batch of Swedish saffron buns (also known as lussekatter or lussebullar) in just an hour. Kristi will use multiple batches of dough to demonstrate how to mix and knead this special saffron yeasted dough, shape a pre-risen batch of dough into the typical lussekatter shapes, and bake the buns until golden. Students will leave with the recipe and lots of tips, inspired to bake their own batch of buns at home!

ASI Virtual Lucia Celebration Concert (Sunday, Dec. 11, 2:00-3:00 p.m. CT)

This magical concert set in American Swedish Institute’s Larson Hall brings light to the dark winter through a performance of classic and traditional Swedish- and English-language songs sung by the ASI Lucia Choir and ASI Lilla Lag. This is an in-person event in Minneapolis with tickets for live-streaming available.

Vesterheim TVprat: Hjem til Jul, Season 1 (Wednesday, Dec. 14, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT, Free)

In a twist on Vesterheim’s monthly bokprat discussions, join Dr. Maren Anderson Johnson in December for a discussion of the Norwegian television series Hjem til Jul (Home for Christmas), available on Netflix. This rom-com follows Johanne as she scrambles to find a boyfriend to bring home for Christmas, making dubious decisions along the way. This program is free of charge. Registration is required.


Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (September 2022)

September introduced a new reading challenge to me, #sakprosaseptember, a nonfiction reading challenge (“sakprosa” means nonfiction in Norwegian) hosted by Norwegian bookstagrammer readygoread. I finally read a book she has long recommended, Invisible Women, and checked off two which have been on my TBR list for a while, Fearless Females and We Should All Be Feminists. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but on the rare occasions that I do, I usually end up really enjoying it, and this was no exception. And then I wonder why I don’t read more of it. Good thing #NonfictionNovember is around the corner!

2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge Update

For September’s 1990s prompt, I initially chose Gunnhild Øyehaug’s Present Tense Machine: A Novel translated by Kari Dickson. After reading Gunnar Staalesen’s Fallen Angels for the 1980s, which took place in Bergen, I thought it would be interesting to stay in Bergen for the 1990s. Unfortunately, I had to lay Present Tense Machine aside for the time being. The premise was intriguing and I was open to reading a non-traditional novel, but the writing style (long sentences, stream of consciousness) with the narrator occasionally speaking directly to the reader was not for me. I really enjoyed the author’s eclectic short story collection Knots: Stories a few years ago (Reading Lately, June 2018) so I have not given up on her, but I need to be in a different headspace for this one. Instead I am reading the crime fiction novel Blind Goddess (Hanne Wilhelmsen #1) by Anne Holt translated by Tom Geddes for the 1990s. My pick for October’s 2000s prompt is undetermined at the moment.

For details on the reading challenge and insight into the past, current, and next decades, along with a few reading ideas, visit 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

What have you been reading lately?


Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Pérez
(Narrated by Caroline Criado Pérez)

I listened to this book read by the author herself which was a wonderful listening experience. The book was an eye-opening, thought-provoking, sometimes shocking, and oftentimes infuriating exploration of how women, their bodies, and their experiences have not been considered in planning, design, and decision-making around the world due to the fact that data fails to take gender into account. This book should be recommended reading for all and required reading in data science and statistics classes. I am seeing the world in a whole new way.

 


Fearless Females: The Fight for Freedom, Equality, and Sisterhood by Marta Breen, Illustrated by Jenny Jordahl

This graphic novel, written and illustrated by a Norwegian duo, presents an international history of women who have fought for the rights of women. There were many familiar names and events, but also some less well known ones. The contemporary, ongoing battles of female bodily integrity, with topics of contraception and abortion, as well as same sex relationships and gay marriage are also included. The text is accompanied by bold, monochromatic illustrations. It was a quick, entertaining, and educational read. In particular, I appreciated the occasional use of direct quotes from women’s papers and speeches, and I loved the sudden use of rainbow colors in the “Love Is Love” panels. It’s a great little intro to the history of American and European feminism, though I do not recommend it for young readers due to some of the mature content related to women’s bodies and violence towards women.


We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Way back in 2017 I vowed to read this book as part of my resolution to “make a conscious effort to read books outside my normal tendency and comfort zone – more books by diverse authors and about issues or experiences new or unfamiliar to me” (My First Presidential Election as a U.S. Citizen & How I’m Moving Forward). I have certainly done that in general, but I never got around to reading that book in particular. It’s actually a short and relatable essay. I like Adichie’s voice and tone. I used to feel feminism was a somewhat extreme belief, not for me, but instead only for extreme, activist women. But over time, I’ve come to realize that it’s actually something we should all believe in. As Adichie writes herself, “a feminist is a man or woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.”


Fallen Angels (Varg Veum Series) by Gunnar Staalesen
(Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett)

This was a great pick for the 1980s decade in the Scandinavian Reading Challenge. The protagonist, private investigator Varg Veum, is all over Bergen, Norway, while working the case, and the author’s descriptions of the city and its surroundings (fjords and mountains) are very vivid. It all starts with the funeral of an old classmate of Varg’s at which he is reunited with other friends and this takes him down memory lane, especially when he’s asked to track down a friend’s wife who happened to be an old crush of Varg’s. There is a murder mystery involved, actually a series of murders, but be warned that the resolution of this mystery is quite unsettling.


What have you been reading lately?

If you’re interested in purchasing some Scandinavian ebooks at a great discount, visit my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

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October 2022: Virtual Nordic Events Plus Art, Music, & Film in SoCal

Happy fall! The offerings for virtual Nordic events continue with presentations, cooking classes, book talks, and book clubs. If you’re a reader interested in seeing what online Nordic book clubs around the country are reading, visit my page Online Nordic Book Club Meetings to see reading selections and meeting dates. In addition to the virtual offerings, this month also offers some exciting in-person art, music, and film events in Southern California.

2022 Nordic Council Literature Prize Nominees

A special virtual event happening this month is Scandinavia House’s literary series with nominees for the 2022 Nordic Council Literature Prize. This prize has been awarded annually since 1962 to a work of fiction (poetry, prose, or drama) written in one of the Nordic languages. This year’s nominees span the entire Nordic region with works from all countries and language areas. The winner will be announced on 1 November in Helsinki, Finland.

In-Person Experiences

Are you local to the Los Angeles area? The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents a new exhibition, Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980, co-organized by the LACMA and the Milwaukee Art Museum in collaboration with the Nationalmuseum Sweden and the Nasjonalmuseet in Norway. It is the first exhibition to examine the extensive design exchanges between the United States and the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) during the 20th century. It will be open October 9, 2022 through February 5, 2023.

Two Norwegian musical performances will be in the area next month. First Norwegian pop star Sigrid will be in California as part of her “How To Let Go” tour. She’ll be performing with guest Ber first in San Francisco at Bimbo’s 365 Club on October 11, followed by October 12 in Los Angeles at The Novo, and then October 13 in San Diego at Music Box. Wardruna, a Norwegian “music constellation dedicated to creating musical renditions of ancient Norse and Nordic traditions” will be in California November 1 through 4 with concerts in Oakland (Nov. 1), El Cajon (Nov. 2), and Los Angeles (Nov. 4).

   

Another special event happening this month is the Newport Beach Film Fest at which both a Norwegian film and a Swedish film are being screened on Tuesday, October 18. Either watch the Norwegian film Long Flat Balls III: Broken Promises directed by Harald Zwart (followed by Q&A with cast and crew) or the Swedish film Tisdagsklubben (Food and Romance) directed by Annika Appelin, and then if you’d like, attend the Newport Beach Film Festival’s European Showcase Celebration honoring the best in European filmmaking.

What’s on your calendar for October?


The Way Further West (Sunday, October 2, 1:00-2:15 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and the Slooper Society of America for this free 75-minute webinar, open to the public. Norwegian storyteller Anne Elisebeth Skogen will join the webinar from Ryfylkemuseet at Sand, Norway, to tell the story The Way Further the West. This story is the sequel to the program With Restauration through Hell Gate to the Promised Land, which Anne Elisebeth presented online with Vesterheim in October 2020. The first part of the story told about the initial Norwegian emigrant entourage that left Stavanger, Norway, on July 4, 1825. During The Way Further West, you will hear about what awaited the immigrants in Kendall, New York, and how their lives turned out there. Then you will follow them in new upheavals and their travels further west. Where did they settle and what happened to them? Storyteller Anne Elisebeth Skogen has followed in the footsteps of several of the Sloopers herself, and she looks forward to sharing their story with you.

The Nordic Council Literature Prize Nominees: Finland (Tuesday, October 4, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

One of this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize nominees from Finland is Kaj Korkea-aho’s Röda rummet (Red Room, 2021). Korkea-aho, a Finnish-Swedish author, columnist, and comedian, will discuss his novel with critic and essayist Sara Abdollahi. This event will take place as a Zoom webinar. You may ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to info@amscan.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Vesterheim Benefit Auction (October 8, 12:00 p.m. CT – October 16, 9:00 p.m. CT)

Items are available to view now at www.biddingforgood.com/vest-auction. Each year this auction is full of one-of-a-kind folk art by artists working in the Norwegian tradition. Many of the pieces in the Benefit Auction are donated by Vesterheim Gold Medalists and exhibition ribbon winners from Vesterheim’s annual judged competition, The National Norwegian-American Folk Art Exhibition. Proceeds from the auction benefit Vesterheim’s Folk Art School, which has provided classes since 1967 in fiber arts, woodworking, painting, cooking, jewelry, blacksmithing, knifemaking, and more.

Pears in the Nordic Kitchen (Saturday, October 8, 3:00-5:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for a delicious afternoon of cooking and baking with pears. Begin by making a fragrant Roasted Pear Compote with Cardamom, Vanilla, and Fresh Ginger, and then Kristi will show you how to turn that compote into a savory appetizer with blue cheese and hazelnuts and a show stopping pear bundt cake.

New Nordic Grain Bowl (Sunday, October 9, 4:00-5:30 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and instructor Hannah Garry in making a delicious grain bowl featuring traditional Nordic ingredients like barley, dill, and beets that makes for the perfect dinner party offering or lunch on the go. Use fresh vegetables that are in season in your region to top the bowl. Each participant’s meal will be a beautiful reflection of their own local food web. Class participants will also learn to make a creamy, vegan, herb-packed dressing that can be used on just about anything, as well as a Nordic-inspired apple cocktail (or mocktail) perfect for early fall.

The Nordic Council Literature Prize Nominees: Faroe Islands (Tuesday, October 11, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

One of this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize nominees is Faroe Islands’ Beinir Bergsson’s poetry collection Sólgarðurin (Forlagið Eksil, 2021). In this talk, Bergsson will discuss the collection with translator Randi Ward, a 2021 ASF Translation Prizewinner. This event will take place as a Zoom webinar. You may ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to info@amscan.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series—Margi Preus & West of the Moon and Other Places You Can’t Get Get to with GPS (Friday, October 14, 7:30 p.m. PT)

Join the Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, for a live virtual presentation by children’s author Margi Preus from Duluth, Minnesota. An old family diary, true immigrant stories, and Scandinavian folk and fairy tales combine to tell the story of West of the Moon, a “mesmerizing tale of Astri’s treacherous and harrowing mid-19th century emigration to America.” (Booklist, starred review). Preus’s research into Norwegian immigration led her to startling revelations about the role of women healers, the relationship between a common 19th century childhood ailment and the belief in changelings, and the reverence and fear our Norwegian ancestors had for The Black Book, “whose pages teach how to recover lost goods, find buried treasure, turn back the attacks of snakes and dogs, and more.” Preus will discuss how she combined history, fiction, and folklore in this novel and may give a sneak preview of her brand new book Windswept, also inspired by Norwegian fairy tales and populated by trolls. Participation is free; registration is required.

Meet the Author: Nancy Marie Brown, Looking for the Hidden Folk (Sunday, October 16, 1:00-2:00 p.m. PST)

Join author Nancy Marie Brown in virtual conversation with filmmaker Sara Dosa, as she discusses her book, Looking for the Hidden Folk: How Iceland’s Elves Can Save the Earth. In exploring how Icelanders interact with nature—and their idea that elves live among us—Brown shows us how altering our perceptions of the environment can be a crucial first step toward saving it.

The Nordic Council Literature Prize Nominees: Iceland (Tuesday, October 18, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

One of this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize nominees from Iceland is Elísabet Jökulsdóttir’s Aprílsólarkuldi. She will discuss her novel with translator Larissa Kyzer. This event will take place as a Zoom webinar. You may ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to info@amscan.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Cooking Class: Swedish Meatballs (Tuesday, October 18, 4:00-5:00 p.m. CT)

Join Swedish American Museum in Chicago, IL, for a cooking class to learn how to make variations to the Swedish meatball. What other Swedish dishes can be prepared with similar ingredients? You will receive the recipe in advance. You can then either cook alongside or watch and try later. It is an interactive Zoom so you will be able to ask questions.

The Nordic Council Literature Prize Nominees: Sámi Language (Thursday, October 20, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

One of this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize nominees is Sámi language areas’ Mary Ailonieida Sombán Mari’s poetry collection Beaivváš mánát (Mondo Books, 2020). It draws readers into the Sámi experience of abuse of power, racism, and contempt on the part of public authorities. Written in two languages — Norwegian in the first part and Northern Sámi in the second — the collection empowers Sámi readers while offering insight to non-Sámi readers through its portrayal of moments in time. The author will discuss the collection with moderator Lisa Monica Aslaksen. This event will take place as a Zoom webinar. You may ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to info@amscan.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Demo: Fall Fika Favorites with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, October 20, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Apples, squash, and warm spices—what more do you need for fabulous fall treats? Join American Swedish Institute and Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for three delicious fall fika favorites to add to your baking repertoire. Kristi will demonstrate her takes on the Swedish apple cake, a sweet and quick Pumpkin Rye Bread with Cinnamon Sugar topping, and her grandmother’s pepparkakor (ginger snaps) recipe. This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the recipes at home at a later date. The recipe packet will be shared via email and available for download one week in advance.

Looking Across the Atlantic: Swedish-American Relations in the 20th Century (Thursday, October 20, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join the House of Sweden in Washington, DC, for a panel on Swedish-American relations and how ideas, conceptions and images travel between the two countries. Even though Sweden and the United States are separated by an entire ocean, the two nations have a close and longstanding relationship. Cultural, social, political and economic links bind the two countries together across the Atlantic. Dag Blanck, Director of the Swenson Center in Illinois, and Professor of North American Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden, will present in-person at the House of Sweden, but the event will be live-streamed on YouTube as well.

Workshop: Filmkväll – Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter (Thursday, October 20, 5:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

Join American Swedish Institute and Patrice Johnson for this one-of-a-kind Nordic Table class: cook a thematic menu in your own kitchen with Patrice’s guidance, then settle in for a filmkväll (movie night) at home with the classic 1984 Ronja Rovardotter. Patrice will pull inspiration from Ronja’s life in the castle and woods to build a menu that can be assembled over the two-hour class, before everyone settles in for the film at home over dinner.


Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.