Virtual Nordic Events for December 2020: The Christmas Edition

Virtual Nordic events continue to flourish with something for everyone, and this month many events are Christmas themed. Be sure to visit last month’s listing of virtual Nordic events; many of those events are now available to view as saved recordings.

Local LA readers, the Norwegian Church’s Julemarked, or Christmas Market, will continue until Christmas. This is an opportunity to stock up on Christmas food essentials, treats, and fresh baked goods, as well as Christmas decorations and gifts. The shop is open during regular church hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please confirm hours before heading to the store by emailing or calling.

A few new Nordic themed experiences that aren’t dated events have come on my radar recently:

   

      

  • For a daily dose of some Christmas spirit the Nordic way, check out Jacquie Lawson’s interactive, animated Nordic Advent Calendar. It’s full of games and amusements and daily surprises.
  • For a cozy Norwegian Christmas atmosphere with all the feels, watch the Norwegian Netflix original series, Home for Christmas. Season 1 dropped last December and Season 2 will be released December 18, 2020. It’s about a 30-year-old single woman trying to find a boyfriend in time to bring home for the Christmas family dinner. I watched the first season. I laughed and cried and loved the wintery Christmas setting in Norway. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the second season.
  • On the other end of the seasonal spectrum is the movie The Sunlit Night (via Amazon Prime Video), a romance/drama set in Northern Norway, specifically Lofoten, during the summer. I read and enjoyed the book by Rebecca Dinerstein upon which it is based, and she wrote the screenplay for the movie. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the area and the midnight sun and I’m sure that the setting of the movie will be spectacular since it was filmed on location.
  • Fans of Norwegian World War II history can watch The 12th Man (via Netflix), a movie which follows a Norwegian saboteur’s journey to reach safety after narrowly escaping a Nazi attack. (New to Netflix October 2020)
  • A new podcast, The Nordics Unveiled by Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing embarks on a journey to the North “exploring the themes of Nordic mythology, folk music, Sami tradition, discovery of forgotten Nordic works in music, philosophy, architecture and nature.”

Finally, mark your calendars for the Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. (SFFLA) with Baltic Film Expo (@SFFLA) which will take place virtually January 7-10 and January 14-17 in cooperation with Scandinavia House in New York, NY. They will offer virtual screenings of films chosen by the Nordic and Baltic countries to compete for the Oscar nomination for the Best International Feature Film. Explore the schedule and plan your weekends. Your can buy a festival pass for access to all screenings or individual tickets.


12 Days of Christmas Gifts – Silent Auction & Instant Shop (December 1 – 12)

Norway House in Minneapolis, MN, is introducing something new to the Gingerbread Wonderland spirit! This holiday auction serves as 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 8:00 p.m. CT on December 12. Alongside their auction, they will also have an Instant Shop of items, open and convenient for immediate purchases of Norway House special merchandise. Check their event page for a link to preview auction items.

The Great Norwegian Christmas Cookie Extravaganza (December 1 – 14)

The Norwegian American, North America’s oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, hosts its first ever Great Norwegian Christmas Cookie Extravaganza! They’ve compiled a collection of recipes to help you make the required seven kinds of cookie for the holidays. Check in each day from December 1 to December 14 for a new recipe. You will see many familiar names in this Christmas Cookie Extravaganza: cookbook authors, bloggers, professional bakers, shop owners, and other leaders in the Norwegian-American community. Recipes are Norwegian or Norwegian-inspired, and each contributor shared a bit about their recipe’s origins or special tips.

NRK’s “Julekalender” Christmas 2020 Series: Stjernestøv (December 1 – 24)

Every day leading up to Christmas, Norway’s national TV station NRK will release a new episode of its Christmas 2020 series Stjernestøv (Star Dust). It is about 9-year-old Jo who experiences a tough start to Christmas when his parents divorce. He is visited by Elly, the star child from the North, and together they have an unusual and exciting December. It is in Norwegian and available for worldwide viewing.

The Norwegian American’s Christmas Calendar (December 1 – 24)

There is no Christmas in Norway without a julekalender—a special treat to open each day from December 1 until Christmas Eve. So this year at The Norwegian American, they are offering their own first annual julekalender, beginning with 14 recipes from the Great Norwegian Christmas Cookie Extravaganza and then followed by a special collection of holiday music to enjoy while you eat the Christmas cookies you just made!

Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author with Lisbeth Zornig Andersen (Tuesday, December 1)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for the third talk in their new series Meet the Author. On December 1, Danish author Lisbeth Zornig Andersen will discuss her book Anger Is My Middle Name, an empowering memoir of resilience and redemption, and the rage that helped a girl escape the darkness of a harrowing childhood. The talk is in conversation with translator Dr. Mark Mussari and moderated by Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma.

Virtual Nordic Stories (for Kids): Santa’s Littlest Helper (Thursday, December 3)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for story time and craft with their special guest, librarian Sara Jensen. Listen to the Finnish story Santa’s Littlest Helper by Anu Stohner and Henrike Wilson. After the story, Sara will teach kids how to make a craft with items found at home. Update: View a recording here.

Norwegian Christmas Countdown with Vesterheim (Fridays, December 4, 11, 18)

Vesterheim’s Norwegian Christmas Celebration is going online. Experience Norwegian Christmas from home with the free GooseChase scavenger hunt app. Get ready to play and learn: make crafts, experience holiday traditions, cook Norwegian holiday specialties, decorate, enjoy being outdoors, and more. Collaborate on “missions” in person with your household or pod, or invite your friends and family to join together as a team online. Team members can play from anywhere. Earn points for a chance to win fantastic prizes! Join any or all of three weekly “games” beginning on Fridays in December.

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market (December 4 – 6)

Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses from around the globe together in one online location during the absence of in-person events. During the first weekend in December, join Virtual Holiday Market on Facebook 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 Virtual Holiday Market.

Scandinavian Christmas Arts & Crafts (Saturday, December 5)

Join The Scandinavian School in San Francisco for their annual traditional Scandinavian Christmas arts and crafts event, this year virtual. They are planning some typical Scandinavian Christmas decorations like the clove covered orange, the classical candle lantern made out of sugar cubes, and a tomtenisse or two. Santa may even stop by for a visit. If you are unable to stop by to pick up materials, they will provide a list of what you need. For more details and ticket information, visit Scandinavian Christmas Arts & Crafts.

Panel Discussion: Nordic Colonialism in the Caribbean (Saturday, December 5)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for this virtual panel including Professor Lill-Ann Körber from Aarhus University, Denmark, and Temi Odumosu, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Malmö University, Sweden, as they examine Nordic colonialism in the Caribbean. The talk takes place in connection with the current exhibition, La Vaughn Belle: A History of Unruly Returns. Update: View a recording here.

Virtual Book Talk: Swedish Chef Magnus Nilsson in Conversation w/ Chef Edouardo Jordan (Sunday, December 6)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for a virtual book talk as they welcome back world-renowned Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson for a special talk launching his new book Fäviken: 4015 Days, Beginning to End (2020, Phaidon). Nilsson recently closed his extraordinary Fäviken restaurant at the height of its success to, among other things, buy an apple orchard. In the book, Nilsson details his fascinating first-hand account of the restaurant’s evolution—candid, insightful and thought-provoking. Learn more about what it was like to run a restaurant like Fäviken, as well as all the lessons he learned along the way––from virtual obscurity to the bright lights of the world stage. Celebrated Seattle-based chef Edouardo Jordan will also join this talk.

Gingerbread Wonderland Virtual Exhibit (December 6 – January 2)

The entire Gingerbread Wonderland exhibit at Norway House in Minneapolis, MN, will be available online for the world to see. Check here for more information on how to view the exhibit from home.

Jardar Johansen: North Norwegian Christmas Concerts (December 6 – January 4)

Jardar Johansen offers two digital Christmas concerts from Tromsø in Arctic Norway: a live recording of his 19th traditional North Norwegian Christmas Concert from the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø in 2019 and a special recording of traditional Christmas songs from the charming Hillesøy Church on ‘yttersia’, the outer edge of the Tromsø region. English subtitles. Cost per concert is 350 NOK, approximately $40. One ticket allows you to enjoy one concert to be viewed as much as you want from one IP address for 30 days after purchase.

Online Nordic Book Club: The Brahmadells (Tuesday, December 8)

The Nordic Book Club at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, selects novels from some of the best Nordic literary voices. At this meeting, they’ll be discussing The Brahmadells by Jóanes Nielsen, translated to English by Kerri A. Pierce, who recently moderated the virtual panel Faroese Authors You Should Know. One of the first Faroese books to be translated into English, The Brahmadells is an epic novel chronicling the lives of a particular family—nicknamed “the Brahmadells”—against the larger history of the Faroe Islands, from the time of Danish rule, through its national awakening, to its independence. Visit the event page for more information and to register.

Nordic Holiday Craft Workshop: Woven Hearts (Wednesday, December 9)

On Wednesdays this month, experience the Nordic holidays with a series of virtual workshops from the Children’s Center at Scandinavia House in New York, NY. In this series, learn how Scandinavians prepare for Christmas through programs teaching how to make traditional holiday craft items. The first event on December 9 will feature woven hearts (flettet julehjerte). Download a booklet with instructions for all crafts presented in this workshop series. Update: The craft workshop is now available as a recorded video.

Classic Scandinavian Treats by Farm Table Foundation (Thursday, December 10)

Learn how to prepare Scandinavian holiday treats and hear some of the stories and history behind those delicacies. The evening will highlight four specialties: Swedish kanelbullar and Norwegian knots, which are two different techniques employed in making two delicious Scandinavian cinnamon buns; Lucia buns, a pretty, spectacular golden saffron bun traditionally served on Sweden’s darkest day of the year (December 13, St. Lucia Day); and the Danish kringle, the many-layered fruit-filled pastry that Denmark is famous for. Register here.

Norwegian Christmas Countdown with Vesterheim: Week 2 (Friday, December 11)

Vesterheim’s Norwegian Christmas Celebration is online. Experience Norwegian Christmas from home with the free GooseChase scavenger hunt app. A new game starts every Friday in December. Make crafts, experience holiday traditions, cook Norwegian holiday specialties, decorate, enjoy being outdoors, and more. Team members can play from anywhere. Earn points for a chance to win fantastic prizes! Join any or all of three weekly “games” beginning on Fridays in December. Watch Vesterheim’s website livestreams or Facebook page for the launch on Friday.

Scandinavian Christmas Baking Virtual Workshops (December 12 & 13)

Join Scandinavian School in San Francisco’s native Dane Leda Jessen for two traditional Scandinavian baking events: December 12 for Danish Christmas cookies called jødekager and finskbrød and December 13 for Swedish lussekatter. You can join for a single event or for both. On both dates, Leda will also be sharing her secret recipe for Glögg, a mulled drink enjoyed all over Scandinavia at Christmas time. For more details and ticket information, visit Scandinavian Christmas Baking Workshops.

Lucia Celebration with American Swedish Institute (Sunday, December 13)

This special concert is a wonderful annual tradition for both performers and audiences. Gather the family around the computer or tablet this year and celebrate light during the long winter with the youthful voices of the ASI Lucia Choir for a magical 20-minute performance over Zoom. $10 per connection. Register here.

Virtual St. Lucia Celebration with Scandinavia House (Sunday, December 13)

On Sunday, December 13, join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for a virtual St. Lucia celebration with Ingrid Kullberg-Bendz. The event will take place as a Zoom webinar. Each year, Scandinavia House has shared in this tradition with processions from members of the Swedish Church Choir in New York, who join in traditional Lucia gowns with candles to sing Scandinavian and American holiday carols such as the “Sankta Lucia” at various events. This year, They’ll be taking the tradition virtual with a discussion and Q&A on the St. Lucia celebrations with Ingrid Kullberg-Bendz, a singer in the Swedish Church Choir and actress with the Scandinavian American Theater Company, who has led the performances at Scandinavia House each year. Register here. Update: Now available as a recorded viewing here.

Virtual Panel Discussion: The US and the Nordics, 2021 (Tuesday, December 15)

Organized by the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, and the University of Washington’s Scandinavian Studies Department, this panel will examine current attitudes in the Nordic countries toward the United States. Thought leaders with backgrounds in journalism, government, culture, and business will also offer suggestions on how the US might strengthen its ties to Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as the autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands and Greenland over the next four years. For more details and to register, visit National Nordic Museum’s event page. Update: View a recording here.

Contemporary Folk Art at Disney’s Norwegian Pavilion (Tuesday, December 15)

Join master woodworkers Phil Odden & Else Bigton and master rosemaler Patti Goke, as they discuss their work on Disney’s Norwegian Pavilion at Epcot. Phil, Else, Patti, and their teams worked on all of the woodwork and painting in the recent Frozen remodeling of the buildings and will share how these different crafts have informed and influenced patterns, design decisions, and overall planning. These master artisans will also discuss what it means to make and share craft in today’s world and in a location like Disney that serves millions of visitors each year.

Nordic Holiday Craft Workshop: Yarn Tomte (Wednesday, December 16)

This December, experience the Nordic holidays with a series of virtual workshops from the Children’s Center at Scandinavia House in New York, NY. In this series, learn how Scandinavians prepare for Christmas through programs teaching how to make traditional holiday craft items. In this second event, see how to make a yarn tomte! A Swedish tomte (known as a nisse in Denmark and Norway or tonttu in Finnish) is one of the most familiar creatures of Scandinavian folklore. The event will take place simultaneously as a premiere on both YouTube and Facebook. Download a booklet with instructions for all crafts presented in this workshop series. Update: Now available as a recorded viewing here.

Vesterheim Bokprat: Out Stealing Horses (Wednesday, December 16)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Join her in December to discuss Per Petterson’s Out Stealing Horses, a novel beloved by readers the world over. Enrollment deadline is December 9. (Watch the movie afterwards, details below.)

Virtual Crafts & Cocktails (Thursday, December 17)

Recharge from your day with an evening of creativity and fun! Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, for their virtual Crafts & Cocktails event to get a mini-virtual tour from one their docents, learn a cocktail recipe, and make a craft using supplies you have around the house. This month make paper woven hearts, perfect for your Christmas tree or to adorn gifts.

Norwegian Christmas Countdown with Vesterheim: Week 3 (Friday, December 18)

This is the final game of Vesterheim’s online Norwegian Christmas Celebration. Experience Norwegian Christmas from home with the free GooseChase scavenger hunt app. A new game starts every Friday in December. Make crafts, experience holiday traditions, cook Norwegian holiday specialties, decorate, enjoy being outdoors, and more. Team members can play from anywhere. Earn points for a chance to win fantastic prizes! Join any or all of three weekly “games” beginning on Fridays in December. Watch Vesterheim’s website livestreams or Facebook page for the launch on Friday.

Vesterheim’s Family Heritage Cooking Series: Pepparkakor with the Bissell Family (Saturday, December 19)

Gather your family and friends and celebrate Scandinavian heritage, share family stories, and make memories in the kitchen. In this live, family-led cooking demonstration, you’ll learn about traditional Nordic holiday recipes, passed down from one generation to the next. Upon registration, you will receive a list of ingredients and equipment needed, a recipe, and the Zoom link for the event.

Virtual Nordic Holiday Cooking & Glögg with Morten Sohlberg & Ulrika Bengtsson (Saturday, December 19)

This holiday season, see how to celebrate Scandinavian-style with a special cooking and glögg-making workshop! Morten Sohlberg, the chef and owner of Smörgås Chef restaurant at Scandinavia House, and his family will present an online demo of making one of their favorite holiday dishes — Swedish meatballs, a popular Smörgås Chef classic — as well as an introduction to his upstate Blenheim Hill Farm, with some live music from his sons Edvard and Erik Sohlberg. Following the food demonstration, Swedish chef Ulrika Bengtsson will present an online demo on how to make glögg. The event will take place simultaneously as a premiere on both YouTube and Facebook. Update: Now available as a recording here.

Koselig Cocktails with Vesterheim (Saturday, December 19)

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! Cost includes the price of the kit, some spices, and an ingredient list you will need to source materials for your class. Registration deadline is December 9. Update: This class is now sold out, but they are offering another one on February 11, 2021.

Vesterheim’s Family Heritage Cooking Series: Potato Lefse with the Kittelson Family (Sunday, December 20)

Gather your family and friends and celebrate Scandinavian heritage, share family stories, and make memories in the kitchen. In this live, family-led cooking demonstration, you’ll learn about traditional Nordic holiday recipes, passed down from one generation to the next. Upon registration, you will receive a list of ingredients and equipment needed, a recipe, and the Zoom link for the event.

Nordic Holiday Craft Workshop: Julgranskaramell (Wednesday, December 23)

In this final holiday craft workshop, learn how to make a julgranskaramell. Meaning “Christmas tree candy” in Swedish, a julgranskaramell is a special type of ornament that Scandinavians hang on their Christmas trees, consisting of small tubes filled with candies that are then brightly decorated with colorful tissue paper. The event will take place simultaneously as a premiere on both YouTube and Facebook. Download a booklet with instructions for all crafts presented in this workshop series. Update: Now available as a recording here.

Norwegian Digital Jazz Festival (December 25 – January 1)

Due to popular demand, Big Ears Festival is restreaming the entire Norwegian Digital Jazz Festival series over eight consecutive days during the holidays! The festival was a tremendous success garnering glowing reviews and acclaim when it ran November 6 – December 11. Starting Christmas Night, December 25, eight evening-length shows featuring 15 outstanding artists and bands will begin. You can purchase the festival bundle which gives you access to all 8 shows, or you can purchase individual show tickets. For schedule and ticket information, visit Big Ears Festival: Norwegian Digital Jazz Festival.

New Nordic Appetizers for a New Year (Sunday, December 27, 1:30-3:30 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim to ring in the New Year with some New Nordic Cuisine inspired appetizers! Celebrated chef, cookbook author, food historian, and “Nordic Food Geek”, Patrice Johnson will demonstrate creative takes on classic appetizers, plus meatball canapes, a dessert, and a cocktail. She will also discuss classic Nordic recipes for gravlax, potato patties, and add some of her own Northern flavors. Enrollment deadline is December 20, 2020. For more information and to register, click here.

An extra/ordinary Holiday in Extraordinary Times (ongoing until January 10)

The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN, invites you to enjoy this virtual exhibition and video. Winding through ASI’s courtyard and the Mansion grounds, the Nordic story trail is an outdoor experience with story stations designed by community partners from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland telling five popular tales. From Sweden, come the timeless stories by author Astrid Lindgren about the playful Pippi Longstocking. In Denmark, a classic story by Hans Christian Andersen about a little fir tree encourages us to live in the moment. In Iceland, a gift of clothing protects children from the legend of the Yuletide cat. Across Finland, arctic foxes run over the frozen tundra, sparking fires that light up the sky. For Norway, storytelling is explored through song and nisse, the mythological protector of farms. View more information about each of the tales from these Nordic countries at the exhibition page.


Ongoing Special Events

Virtual Cinema: Out Stealing Horses (Norway)

Scandinavia House in New York, NY, continues to host a virtual cinema presentation of Out Stealing Horses, a film based on the award-winning novel by Norwegian author Per Petterson. Immediately following the film there is a pre-recorded discussion between Stellan Skarsgård and filmmaker Hans Petter Moland. Half of the proceeds will go to support American-Scandinavian Foundation and Scandinavia House. For more information and to purchase access, visit Scandinavia House’s event page. An end date has not yet been set for film screenings.

Virtual Cinema: A White, White Day (Iceland)

Scandinavia House in New York, NY, is also hosting a virtual cinema presentation of the hit Icelandic film A White, White Day with Film Movement. A White, White Day is an emotionally complex exploration of the ravages of loss set across the hypnotic landscape of Iceland. Half of the proceeds will go to support American-Scandinavian Foundation and Scandinavia House. For more information and to purchase access, visit Scandinavia House’s event page. An end date has not yet been set for film screenings.


Which December events or experiences sound interesting to you? God jul!

Virtual Scandinavian Events for September 2020

One silver lining of the pandemic is that organizations are pivoting to online events allowing interested folk from all over to attend. I have certainly taken advantage of that in the past few months and look forward to continuing.

Here are some Scandinavian virtual events and entertainment (plus some Icelandic and Finnish) that have popped up on my radar for the fall. I will continue to add events as I learn of them.

If you are interested in Nordic literature or Scandinavian TV and film, scroll to the end for information on a Nordic Book Club now available online and Scandinavian shows recently added to Netflix.


Virtual Cinema: Out Stealing Horses (Norway) – Ongoing

Scandinavia House in New York, NY, is hosting a virtual cinema presentation of Out Stealing Horses, a film based on the award-winning novel by Norwegian author Per Petterson. Immediately following the film there will be a pre-recorded discussion between Stellan Skarsgård and filmmaker Hans Petter Moland. Half of proceeds will go to support American-Scandinavian Foundation and Scandinavia House. For more information and to purchase access, visit Scandinavia House’s Facebook event page. An end date has not yet been set for film screenings.

Virtual Cinema: A White, White Day (Iceland) – Ongoing

Scandinavia House in New York, NY, is also hosting a virtual cinema presentation of the hit Icelandic film A White, White Day with Film Movement. A White, White Day is an emotionally complex exploration of the ravages of loss set across the hypnotic landscape of Iceland. Half of proceeds will go to support American-Scandinavian Foundation and Scandinavia House. For more information and to purchase access, visit Scandinavia House’s Facebook event page. An end date has not yet been set for film screenings.

October Family Norwegian Language Adventure – Friluftsliv
(With Vesterheim Folk Art School, Decorah, Iowa)

Join this adventure anytime between September 12 and September 21. The adventure starts October 1 and will focus on friluftsliv, the Norwegian concept of embracing outdoor living. “Join us for this family-fun outdoor adventure and learn some Norwegian language along the way! Your “family” could be any combination of adult or adults and child or children, all who are ready to have fun and learn some norsk are welcome! Through hands-on activities, fun crafts, light hearted games and short videos, you and your family will learn and practice your new Norwegian skills both indoors and outside. A kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these language activities, a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning, a fun craft, and a yummy snack.” These activities are designed for families with children ages 5-15. Click here for more information and to sign up.

Baldishol: A Medieval Norwegian Tapestry Inspires Contemporary Textiles
(Virtual Exhibit at Norway House, Minneapolis, MN)

The medieval Baldishol tapestry from 1180 is the oldest known Norwegian tapestry and one of the oldest in Europe and is a national treasure familiar to most Norwegians. This exhibit features 26 works by local, national, and international fiber artists who draw inspiration from the Baldishol. Enjoy the Baldishol exhibit, along with accompanying artist statements and bios, in this virtual exhibit.

Virtual Book Talk: The Family Clause by Jonas Hassen Khemiri (September 9)

This online event is hosted by ASF (American-Scandinavian Foundation) and Scandinavia House in New York, NY. “Jonas Hassen Khemiri, the acclaimed author of Montecore, joins us for a Virtual Talk to discuss The Family Clause, a novel about a family on the verge of collapse, which will be released in English translation beginning on August 25.” For more information and to register, visit Scandinavia House’s event page.

Virtual Nordic Cooking with Morten Sohlberg: Zucchini & Squash (September 10)

This online event is hosted by ASF (American-Scandinavian Foundation) and Scandinavia House in New York, NY. “Join us for a special Nordic virtual cooking event! Morten Sohlberg, the chef and owner of Smörgås Chef restaurant at Scandinavia House, will present an online demo of making one of his favorite late summer dishes — roasted zucchini and squash coated with ricotta, parmesan, and various herbs and spices.” This event will take place as a YouTube Premiere on Thursday, September 10, at 6 p.m. ET at the link: https://bit.ly/2GeVGvv.

ABBA Salute Concert Online! (September 13, 2:00 p.m. PT)

“ABBA Salute is quite literally the most accurate tribute band on the planet. With painstaking attention to detail, they’ve recreated an ABBA experience that comes to life in a Las Vegas style show. Join the Swedish American Museum in Chicago and Vasa Park for a special online concert that is free but we do appreciate donations to help us through this time.” For more information and to get the link for the event, click here.

Dual Citizenship Webinar (September 15, 12:00 p.m. CT)

Join Norwegian Honorary Consulate General, Minneapolis for a free webinar to learn about Norway’s new dual citizenship law and how it may affect you. Topics include reinstatement of former Norwegian citizenship, how to apply for US citizenship, and more. The presentation will conclude with a Q & A session. Questions must be submitted in advance. For more information and to register, click here.

Equity, Inclusion, and Immigration in the Nordic Countries (September 15)

This online event is hosted by ASF (American-Scandinavian Foundation) and Scandinavia House in New York, NY. “Nordic countries are often seen as models of equity, equality, and social justice. But what are the ways that the Nordic countries are approaching the inequalities that they still face? In this virtual panel, four distinguished guests — Swedish hip-hop artist Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité, Swedish author Jonas Hassen Khemiri, Danish author Simon Pasternak, and Swedish-Ethiopian chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson — will join us for a discussion on recent cultural contributions and voices who continue to discuss inequality both in the Nordic countries and the U.S.”

Vista Viking Festival Online (September 19 & 20)

This year, experience Vista Viking Festival Online. “We are living in a new age, and we are not able to gather this year. So we are expanding our virtual territories beyond the festival gates. Bringing our family closer to yours. Set sail with us online, September 19 & 20, 2020.”

Sweden’s Response to the Coronavirus with Lars Trägårdh (September 23)

American-Scandinavian Foundation invites you to a follow-up online discussion with Swedish historian, author and social commentator Lars Trägårdh as he discusses the current situation in Sweden in controlling the coronavirus. Sweden adopted a controversial approach to the pandemic, avoiding mandatory lock-down and instead stressing voluntary distancing and keeping the country open, most importantly pre- and primary schools. Initially Sweden experienced higher numbers of infection and death rate than many of their Nordic counterparts; since June, however, both infection and mortality rates are radically down. Hear how this strategy has evolved in Sweden as Europe at large is experiencing, or bracing for, a second wave.

Launch Event for Agnes Ravatn’s The Seven Doors (September 23, 7:00 p.m. UK)

“To celebrate the launch of Agnes Ravatn’s exquisitely written psychological thriller The Seven Doors, Orenda Books is delighted to present Tartan Noir author Michael J. Malone interviewing critically acclaimed Norwegian author Agnes Ravatn and her translator, Rosie Hedger.” The event is free and will take place on Zoom, For more information and how to get the link, visit Orenda Books’ event page.

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Group) to Discuss The Nordic Theory of Everything (September 24, 7:00 p.m. CT)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Join on Thursday, September 24, at 7:00 p.m. CDT to discuss Finnish journalist Anu Partanen’s The Nordic Theory of Everything. Read more about the event and register here.

Virtual Panel — Danish Authors You Should Know (September 29, 2:00 p.m. ET)

Scandinavia House’s new series Nordic Authors You Should Know begins with a focus on Danish literature with Shadi Angelina Bazeghi, Jonas Eika, Maja Lee Langvad, Dorthe Nors, and Ursula Andkjær Olsen, moderated by author and translator Katrine Øgaard Jensen. For more information, visit Scandinavia House’s page.

Policing & Police Reform in the Nordic Countries: Virtual Panel (September 30, 1:00 p.m. ET)

This virtual panel is hosted by ASF + Scandinavia House. “In contrast to the United States, the Nordic countries have their own unique approaches to law enforcement that have evolved out of histories with different racial and economic politics. As calls for police reform continue to be debated at every level of government in the U.S., three panelists from the Nordic countries join us to discuss policing and police reform in those countries: Lars Holmberg (Professor of Law, JUR Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law, University of Copenhagen), Kimmo Himberg (Senior Researcher, the Police University College, Tampere, Finland), and Margrét Valdimarsdóttir (Assistant Professor of Police Science at the University of Akureyri).”

Politics & Prose Live! Vigdis Hjorth | Long Live the Post Horn! with Sheila Heti (September 30, 4:00 p.m. ET)

Hosted by Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C., this event is presented in partnership with the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Norwegian author Vigdis Hjorth sits down with fellow author Sheila Heti to discuss her new novel, Long Live the Post Horn! For more information and to register for this free event, click here.


Online Nordic Book Club at Scandinavia House in New York, NY

The Nordic Book Club at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, selects novels from some of the best Nordic literary voices. It now meets bi-weekly online. Here are their upcoming meetings. Click the dates for more information and to register.

  • September 8: The Summer House by Philip Teir (translated from the Swedish by Tiina Nunnally)
  • September 22: Miss Iceland by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (translated from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon)
  • October 6: The Family Clause by Jonas Hassen Khemiri (translated from the Swedish by Alice Menzies)
  • October 20: The Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting (translated from the Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin)
  • November 3: Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen (translated from the Finnish by David Hackston)
  • November 17: Companions by Christina Hesselholdt (translated from the Danish by Paul Russell Garrett)

Borderless Book Club 

In response to the Covid-19 crisis and the lockdown order, Peirene Press, in collaboration with several other small presses, created the Borderless Book Club. Meetings are held on Thursday evenings at 8:00 p.m. UK time via Zoom. Participation is free. They exclusively discuss translated literature. For more information and to view the current fall program and to access previous meetings (which includes books by Scandinavian authors), visit Borderless Book Club.


New to Netflix: Scandinavian Movies & TV Shows

Borgen (Seasons 1-3) – A Danish political thriller, available in your preferred audio language. Netflix description: As Denmark prepares for parliamentary elections, Moderate Party leader Birgitte Nyborg makes a shocking move with surprising results.

Rita (2020, Season 5 Available) – A Danish comedy in Danish with English subtitles. Netflix description: Independent, outspoken and adored by her students, schoolteacher Rita fares less well with adults in this comedy-drama from Denmark.

Young Wallander (New, Season 1) – A Netflix original series in English based on the Swedish and British series Wallander. Netflix description: An incendiary hate crime stirs civil unrest, fast-tracking rookie cop Kurt Wallander to detective in this origin story for the popular character.

For more Scandinavian films and TV shows:


I hope you found something of interest for the months ahead. Feel free to reach out to me if you have events to share.

Films and TV Series to Stream Now: Denmark

Welcome to my third and final post of Scandinavian films and TV series to stream now while you’re staying safer at home. Here I feature films and TV shows from Denmark. Previously, I shared films and TV series from Norway and Sweden.

Denmark has won three Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film over the years – Babette’s Feast (1987), Pelle the Conqueror (1989), and In a Better World (2011) – all of which can be streamed now. See below for details.

As I mentioned in my previous posts, for streaming options, you have, of course, the usual suspects – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and more – but don’t forget that you may have free streaming options available from your public library through hoopla and kanopy as well. These two services offer plenty of free foreign and domestic films and TV shows at no charge.

Please note that availability of films and TV shows on these streaming platforms may change at any time.

** Movies/TV series with double asterisks are ones I’ve enjoyed and recommend, assuming you’re in the mood for that genre.


Films from Denmark

A Fortunate Man (Lykke-Per)

A Hijacking

A Royal Affair

  • Director: Nikolaj Arcel (2012)
  • Genre: Historical, Based on True Story
  • Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, 2012
  • Where to Watch: hoopla, Amazon Prime Video (included with Magnolia Selects)

A Second Chance

A War

  • Director: Tobias Lindholm (2015)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, 2015
  • Where to Watch: hoopla, Amazon Prime Video (included with Magnolia Selects)

Across the Waters

Adam’s Apples

Applause

  • Director: Martin Zandvliet (2009)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Where to Watch: hoopla, kanopy

April 9th

  • Director: Roni Ezra (2015)
  • Genre: Drama, Historical
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (included with Prime)

Armadillo

 

 

Babette’s Feast

 

** Cold Case Hammarskjöld

Flickering Lights

In a Better World

  • Director: Susanne Bier (2011)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Language Film, 2011
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

Land of Mine

  • Director: Martin Zandvliet (2016)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, 2016
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

Pelle the Conqueror

  • Director: Bille August (1987)
  • Genre: Drama, Historical
  • Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Language Film, 1989
  • Where to Watch: hoopla, kanopy, Amazon Prime Video

Pusher

Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands

Pusher III: I’m the Angel of Death

  • Director: Nicolas Winding Refn (2006)
  • Genre: Drama, Suspense
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

Queen of Hearts

Smilla’s Sense of Snow

Summer of ’92

  • Director: Kaspar Barfoed (1987)
  • Genre: Historical, Sports
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

Teddy Bear

The Commune

** The Guilty

The Hunt

  • Director: Thomas Vinterberg (2012)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, 2013
  • Where to Watch: hoopla, Amazon Prime Video (included with Magnolia Selects)

You Disappear

 

 

 


TV Series

1864

  • Genre: Drama, Historical
  • Director: Ole Bornedal (2014)
  • 8 episodes about 60 minutes each
  • Where to Watch: hoopla

Borgen – Seasons 1, 2, & 3

  • Genre: Drama (2010, 2011, 2013)
  • Each season 10 episodes about 60 minutes each
  • Where to Watch: hoopla

Lulu: The Bankrobber’s Wife

  • Genre: Mystery, Drama
  • Director: Jannik Johansen (2009)
  • 12 episodes about 45 minutes each
  • Where to Watch: hoopla

Straight Forward

  • Genre: Suspense, Thriller
  • Directors: Riccardo Pellizzeri, Charlie Haskell, Peter Burger (2019)
  • 8 episodes about 45 minutes each
  • Where to Watch: hoopla

The Eagle – Seasons 1, 2, & 3

  • Genre: Crime, Drama (2004, 2005, 2006)
  • Starring: Jens Albinus
  • Each season 8 episodes about 60 minutes each
  • Where to Watch: hoopla

The Legacy

  • Genre: Mystery, Drama
  • Director: Permilla August (2014)
  • 10 episodes about 60 minutes each
  • Where to Watch: hoopla

The Rain –  Seasons 1 & 2

  • Genre: Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic
  • 8 and 6 episodes about 45 minutes each
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

Unit One – Seasons 1, 2, & 3

  • Genre: Crime, Drama (2000, 2001, 2002)
  • Seasons 1 & 2: 12 episodes about 60 minutes each
  • Season 3: 8 episodes about 60 minutes each
  • Where to Watch: hoopla

 

 


Which films and TV shows have you seen and recommend? Do you have others to add to the list? Share in the comments or email me. I’d love to hear.

Films and TV Series to Stream Now: Sweden

Welcome to my latest post of Scandinavian films and TV series to stream now while you’re staying safer at home. Here I feature films and TV shows from Sweden. Previously, I shared Films & TV Series to Stream Now: Norway. Stay tuned for Denmark.

Over the years, Sweden has won three Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film – The Virgin Spring (1960), Through the Glass Darkly (1961), and Fanny & Alexander (1983) – all of them directed by Ingmar Bergman and which can all be streamed now. See below for details.

In the case of Sweden, I found it interesting that I had not seen many of the movies and TV shows listed, but I had read many of the books upon which they were based. I enjoyed the books (I even consider them among my favorite Scandinavian reads) but I am often hesitant to see movies that are based on books I’ve read and enjoyed. But maybe that will change during this coronavirus self-quarantine time.

As I mentioned in my previous post, for streaming options, you have, of course, the usual suspects – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and more – but don’t forget that you may have free streaming options available from your public library through hoopla and kanopy as well. These two services offer plenty of free foreign and domestic films and TV shows at no charge.

Please note that availability of films and TV shows on these streaming platforms may change at any time.

* Movies/TV series with one asterisk are ones I’ve watched but don’t necessarily recommend unless you’re up for something a bit out of the ordinary.

** Movies/TV series with double asterisks are ones I’ve enjoyed and recommend, assuming you’re in the mood for that genre.


Films from Sweden

A Man Called Ove

  • Director: Hannes Holm (2016)
  • Based on book by Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove
  • Genre: Drama, Comedy
  • Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, 2016
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Sundance Now)

As It Is in Heaven

  • Director: Kay Pollak (2004)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Starring: Michael Nyqvist
  • Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, 2004
  • Where to Watch: hoopla

Becoming Astrid

  • Director: Pernille Fischer Christensen (2018)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (included with Prime)

* Border

Britt-Marie Was Here

Fanny & Alexander

  • Director: Ingmar Bergman (1982)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Language Film, 1983
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

Force Majeure

** The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy #1)

** The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium Trilogy #2)

** The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Millennium Trilogy #3)

Sami Blood

  • Director: Amanda Kernell (2017)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Where to Watch: hoopla

Simon and the Oaks

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

The 101-Year-Old Man Who Skipped Out on the Bill and Disappeared

  • Director: Felix Herngren & Måns Herngren (2016)
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

* The Square

  • Director: Ruben Ostlund (2018)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, 2018
  • Where to Watch: hoopla, Amazon Prime Video

 

 

The Virgin Spring

  • Director: Ingmar Bergman (1960)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Language Film, 1960
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

 

 

Through a Glass Darkly

  • Director: Ingmar Bergman (1961)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Language Film, 1962
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

 

 


TV Series

Quicksand

Wallander: The Original Episodes

Wallander: Season 2

Wallander: Season 3

 


Which films and TV shows have you seen and recommend? Do you have others to add to the list? Share in the comments or email me. I’d love to hear.

Films and TV Series to Stream Now: Norway

Are you looking for fresh ideas of what to watch while you’re staying safer at home? In this post, I’m featuring films and TV series from Norway. Sweden and Denmark will follow shortly.

For streaming options, you have, of course, the usual suspects – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc. – but don’t forget, you may have free streaming options available from your public library through hoopla and kanopy as well. These two services offer plenty of free foreign and domestic films and TV shows at no charge.

And finally, for Norwegian film and TV enthusiasts, another streaming option is Films of Norway, a subscription service that offers only Norwegian movies, TV series, documentaries, children’s programs, and more. The programs are in original Norwegian language. English subtitles are available. Trial memberships are available. Many programs not available elsewhere can be found at Films of Norway. I’ve included the programming that intrigued me the most in the lists below.

Please note that availability of films and TV shows on these streaming platforms may change at any time.

* Movies/TV series with asterisks are ones I’ve watched and enjoyed.


Films from Norway

* 1001 Grams (1001 gram)

22 July

Beatles

  • Director: Peter Flinth (2014)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Based on book by Lars Saabye Christensen, Beatles
  • Where to Watch: Films of Norway

Elling

  • Director: Petter Næss (2002)
  • Based on book by Ingvar Ambjørnsen, Elling
  • Genre: Drama
  • Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, 2001
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

Headhunters

I Am Yours (Jeg er din)

  • Director: Iram Haq (2013)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Where to Watch: kanopy

In Order of Disappearance (Kraftidioten)

  • Director: Hans Petter Moland (2014)
  • Genre: Action
  • Starring: Stellan Skarsgård
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

* King of Devil’s Island (Kongen av Bastøy)

  • Director: Marius Holst (2010)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Starring: Stellan Skarsgård, Kristoffer Joner
  • Where to Watch: hoopla, Amazon Prime Video (included with Prime)

Kon-Tiki (1950)

  • Director: Thor Heyerdahl
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary (Feature), 1952
  • Where to Watch: kanopy, Amazon Prime Video (included with Prime)

* Kon-Tiki (2012)

Kristin Lavransdatter

Max Manus: Man of War

Pioneer

  • Director: Erik Skjoldbjærg (2015)
  • Genre: Historical, Suspense
  • Where to Watch: hoopla

Sonja: The White Swan

  • Director: Anne Sewitsky (2018)
  • Genre: Drama, Biographical
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (included with Prime)

The Almost Man (Mer eller minder mann)

  • Director: Martin Lund (2012)
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Where to Watch: kanopy

* The King’s Choice (Kongens nei)

The Last King

The Quake (Skjelvet)

  • Director: John Andreas Andersen (2018)
  • Genre: Action
  • Starring: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

The Snowman

* The Wave (Bølgen)

Thelma

Valley of Shadows

  • Director: Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen (2018)
  • Genre: Drama, Suspense
  • Where to Watch: hoopla, Amazon Prime Video (included with Prime)

* What Will People Say (Hva vil folk si)

 


TV Series

* Borderliner

  • Drama, Crime (2017)
  • 1 season of 8 episodes
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

* Home for Christmas

  • Comedy (2019)
  • 1 season of 6 episodes
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

Home Ground

  • Drama, Sports (2020)
  • 2 seasons
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (PBS Masterpiece)
  • Starring: Ane Dahl Torp

* Lilyhammer

  • Drama, Comedy, Crime (2014)
  • 3 seasons
  • Where to Watch: Netflix
  • Starring: Steven Van Zandt

Nobel

  • Nordic Noir, Drama (2016)
  • 1 season of 8 episodes
  • Where to Watch: Films of Norway

Norsemen

  • Comedy (2018)
  • 2 seasons
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

Occupied

Ragnarok

  • Drama (2020)
  • 1 season of 6 episodes
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

The Cheese Journey (Ostereisen)

  • Documentary (2018)
  • Food blogger and cookbook author Nevada Berg takes viewers on a journey through Norway to learn about cheese varieties.
  • 1 season of 3 episodes (about 10 minutes each)
  • Where to Watch: Films of Norway

* The Heavy Water War

The Oslo Killing

The River

The Valhalla Murders

  • Drama (2020)
  • 1 season of 7 episodes
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

Varg Veum

Wisting

 


* Movies/TV series with asterisks are ones I’ve watched and enjoyed.

Which shows are ones you’ve seen and recommend? Do you have others to add to the list? Share in the comments or email me. I’d love to hear.

Reading Lately (February 2019): Lots of Variety!

Once again I’m joining Modern Mrs. Darcy‘s mid-month Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet book reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.

It’s been an unusual reading month for me with very varied reading for a wide variety of reasons which resulted in more books completed than usual! One book was for my Scandinavian Book Club, a couple were read-alongs with my 6th grade son, one was for an author talk, and a couple just because I felt like it. Some books fulfilled prompts for reading challenges, others didn’t. It was a fun month of reading! What have you been reading lately?


The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

This was the second of three books for a schoolwide reading program that I read along with my 6th grade son. It’s a historical fiction book set in England during World War II. Ten-year-old Ada and her younger brother Jamie have a miserable homelife in London until they escape by joining other kids headed to the countryside as the threat of German bombings begin. Ada and Jamie are assigned to curmudgeonly Susan, and so begins a heartwarming relationship between Susan and the kids, but not without some bumps along the way. I’d been meaning to read this for a long time, and now I’m eager to read the sequel, The War I Finally Won.

Reading Challenges:


Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Here’s another book that’s been on my TBR list for a while (since reading Salvage the Bones). I was planning to read it sometime this year thanks to the Reading Women Challenge, but when I saw that Jesmyn Ward was coming to town to speak, it jumped to the top of the list. This book drops you in on 13-year-old Jojo, son of a White father and Black mother, who lives in rural coastal Mississippi with his Black grandparents along with his toddler sister and mostly absent mother. He and his sister are joining their mother and her friend on a roadtrip to get their dad who is being released from prison. The story takes place over about 4 days. During this time, the complicated and heartbreaking history of the family is revealed through memories shared and visits by ghosts from the past. It is beautifully written. And hearing Jesmyn Ward speak about her writing experience was icing on the cake.

Reading Challenges:


One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I didn’t intend for this book to be for me, but rather for my 9th grade son. However, I’m the one who ended up reading it. It’s a young adult novel described as Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club. I don’t know Pretty Little Liars, but I was a fan of The Breakfast Club and was intrigued. It’s about five high schoolers who end up in detention together. One dies while they’re all there, and the other four are then suspects and a murder investigation ensues. These teens are your typical stereotypes of high school kids – the jock, the princess, the brain, the outcast, and the bad boy – but with some modern-day diversity. And all your stereotypical high school behaviors are there. Despite that, it was an addictive, fun, and fast read.


Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

This was the final of three books I read along with my 6th grade son for a schoolwide reading program. It’s the story of three boys who plan and execute a very special goodbye for a favorite teacher who can’t complete the school year due to a cancer diagnosis. We see the day unfold through their eyes; each chapter is from a different boy’s perspective. I really enjoyed the slow reveal of finding out why Ms. Bixby was so special to each of them. Being a former teacher, I always love finding a “teacher-making-a-difference-and-being-appreciated-for-it” story and this was a sweet one. A great big thank you to my sister who gave it to me for a birthday – and an apology for waiting so long to read it!


Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito

(Translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles)

The author takes us into the mind of 18-year-old Maja who’s on trial for her involvement in a school shooting in a wealthy suburb of Stockholm, Sweden, that left her boyfriend and best friend dead, along with others. We alternate between her time in the jail cell and in the courtroom along with flashbacks to her life leading up to the shooting. The book started a little slow, but as I got further into it, it was a page-turner that had me very eager to find out how it all could have come to this. Many timely issues to consider: school shootings, mental health, immigration, gun violence, wealth, class, parenting… We had a great discussion at my Scandi Book Club meeting. I highly recommend it! (This book has been adapted into a TV series coming to Netflix April 5.)

Reading Challenges:


Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

I’m fascinated by lesser known World War II stories, and this is a young adult book that delves into such a topic, the Soviet annexation of Lithuania in 1940 and the subsequent deportation of thousands of Lithuanians to Siberia. In particular it’s about Lena, a 15-year-old Lithuanian girl, who is rounded up along with her mother, younger brother, and many others and transported via cattle car to a labor camp in Siberia. It is a brutal and harsh time. The occasional kindness and sympathy from others make it more bearable. Lena is an artist and a strong and bold girl determined to record atrocities and survive and be reunited with her father who was arrested and imprisoned elsewhere. The mother is an admirable woman as well. It was an eye-opening book which I’m glad to have read and highly recommend. (A movie based on the book, titled Ashes in the Snow, came out January 2019 and can be found at hoopla.)

Reading Challenges:


What have you been reading lately?

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20th Anniversary of Scandinavian Film Festival LA: A Preview of #SFFLA 2019

Is one of your new year’s resolutions to broaden your horizons by seeing and reading more foreign movies and books? You can start making progress on that goal the first weekend of the new year by attending the annual Scandinavian Film Festival Los Angeles (SFFLA) in Beverly Hills. It takes place the weekends of January 5 & 6 and 19 & 20. Join SFFLA as they celebrate their 20th anniversary this year!

Despite its name, the scope of the festival actually extends beyond Scandinavia. Besides films from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, you can view films from the Nordic countries Iceland and Finland as well as Baltic neighbors Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.

Once again this year, you will have the opportunity to see all the Nordic and Baltic countries’ submissions for Best Foreign Language Film for the upcoming 91st Academy Awards (although only Denmark’s selection made it to the shortlist):

  • Norway – What Will People Say by Iram Haq
  • Sweden – Border by Ali Abbasi
  • Denmark – The Guilty by Gustav Möller
  • Iceland – Woman at War by Benedikt Erlingsson
  • Finland – Euthanizer by Teemu Nikki
  • Latvia – To Be Continued by Ivars Seleckis
  • Estonia – Take It or Leave It by Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo
  • Lithuania – Wonderful Losers: A Different World by Arūnas Matelis

At the SFFLA Opening Gala on Saturday, January 5, at 5:30 p.m., you can enjoy drinks and a buffet meal with other Scandi film enthusiasts. Gala tickets (a great deal at only $40 each!) also include Opening Ceremonies at 7:15 p.m. and the screening of Denmark’s feature film The Guilty at 7:30 p.m. as well as a Q&A with director Gustav Möller. Buy your gala tickets now!

Below you’ll find a list of films by country. Descriptions are taken from the festival’s website. You can also view and download a chronological schedule. SFFLA Festival Passports which allow admission to all screenings and Opening Gala are available for $140, or you can buy tickets for individual films for $12 each online or at the door. Please confirm schedule with SFFLA as it may change after this post is published. Hope to see you there!


* NORWAY *

What Will People Say (Hva vil folk si)

  • Feature Film by Iram Haq (2017)
  • Screening: Sunday, 1/6, 3:00 p.m. (106 minutes)

Sixteen-year-old Nisha lives a double life. When out with her friends, she’s a normal Norwegian teenager. At home with her family, she is the perfect Pakistani daughter. But when her father catches her alone with her boyfriend in her room, Nisha’s two worlds brutally collide.

Morgen

  • Short Film by Knut Erik Jensen (2018)
  • Screening: Sunday, 1/6, 7:00 p.m. (15 min)

It can seem like we are living on the edge of the world. But one morning 200,000 soldiers march into our arctic landscape. Four years later they stumble out leaving everything in ruins. As if nothing has happened. What in human nature triggers violent acts of war, thousands of miles into the wild? Can it happen again? As the ice melts?

The 12th Man (Den 12. mann)

  • Feature Film by Harald Zwart (2018)
  • Screening: Sunday, 1/6, 7:30 p.m. (135 min)

True World War II story about Jan Baalsrud, one of the 12 saboteurs sent in 1943 from England to the Nazi occupied Northern Norway. After their boat is sunk by the Germans, the Nazis killed 11 of them. The 12th man, Jan, goes on the run towards the neutral Sweden. However, the brutal weather conditions turn out to be an even greater foe than the Nazi patrols.

The Green Valley

  • Short Film by Ellen Ugelstad (2018)
  • Screening: Sunday, 1/20, 4:30 p.m. (24 min)

The Green Valley is a short film that explores the connection between politics, art and daily life in a multicultural neighborhood in Oslo. The film is inspired by three real events that took place in the director’s neighborhood.

Utøya – July 22 (Utøya 22. juli)

  • Feature Film by Erik Poppe (2018)
  • Screening: Sunday, 1/20, 5:00 p.m. (93 min)

A teenage girl struggles to survive and to find her younger sister during the July 2011 terrorist mass murder at a political summer camp on the Norwegian island of Utøya.

*Note: Do not confuse this film with the similarly named movie 22 July directed by Paul Greenglass which also came out in 2018. Greenglass’ work is a documentary style film based on the non-fiction book One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway — And Its Aftermath by Åsne Seierstad (available to stream on Netflix), while Poppe’s film is a one-take feature shot in real time of the day the youth summer camp was attacked. Read more at Utøya-July 22 recreates the terror attack in one remarkable shot.


* SWEDEN *

Border (Gräns)

  • Feature Film by Alli Abbas (2018)
  • Screening: Saturday, 1/5, 2:30 p.m. (101 min)

Customs officer Tina is known for her extraordinary sense of smell – she can sniff out fear on anyone. But when Vore walks past her, her abilities are challenged for the first time. Tina can sense Vore is hiding something she can’t identify. Worse, she feels a strange attraction to him. This fateful encounter calls into question her entire existence.

Ted: Show Me Love (Ted – För kärlekens skull)

  • Feature Film by Hannes Holm (2018)
  • Screening: Saturday, 1/19, 12:30 p.m. (121 min)

Chronicling the beautiful and tragic life and career of legendary Swedish singer-songwriter Ted Gärdestad, this biopic tells the story of the great highs and lows of one of Sweden’s most loved artists.

The Cake General (Tårtgeneralen)

  • Feature Film by Filip Hammar and Fredrik Wikingsson (2018)
  • Screening: Saturday, 1/19, 7:30 p.m. (101 min)

Set in 1984, Hans Pettersson (Hasse P.) decides to create the largest sandwich cake ever made in order to put his hometown, Köping, on the map.


* DENMARK *

The Guilty (Den skyldige)

When police officer Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) is demoted to desk work, he expects a sleepy beat as an emergency dispatcher. That all changes when he answers a panicked phone call from a kidnapped woman who then disconnects abruptly. Asger, confined to the police station, is forced to use others as his eyes and ears as the severity of the crime slowly becomes more clear. The search to find the missing woman and her assailant will take every bit of his intuition and skill, as a ticking clock and his own personal demons conspire against him.

Becoming Astrid (Unga Astrid)

  • Feature Film by Pernille Fischer Christensen (2018)
  • Screening: Sunday, 1/20, 2:00 p.m. (123 min)

This is a biopic of Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, the author of numerous children’s books and creator of Pippi Longstocking.

 


* ICELAND *

Mihkel (Undir Halastjörnu)

  • Feature Film by Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon (2018)
  • Screening: Saturday, 1/5, 10:30 a.m. (100 min)

This movie is based on true events from a 2004 criminal case in Iceland where a body was discovered by chance by a diver in the Neskaupstaður harbor. 

Woman at War (Kona fer í stríð)

Halla, a woman in her fifties, declares war on the local aluminum industry to prevent it from disfiguring her country. She risks all she has to protect the highlands of Iceland but the situation could change with the unexpected arrival of a small orphan in her life.

Vultures (Vargur)

  • Feature Film by Börkur Sigþórsson (2018)
  • Screening: Saturday, 1/19, 5:30 p.m.

Sharp-suited Erik represents the aspirational face of modern Iceland. Atli, a petty criminal just released from prison, is stuck in a downward spiral. The distance between these two very different brothers vanishes when the duo teams up to smuggle cocaine into Iceland, inside plastic pellets swallowed by a young Polish mule, Sofia. But things go wrong when rule-breaking cop Lena starts closing in on them and Sofia falls sick. With the drugs yet to reach their destination and a rival gang demanding a slice of the action, time is a luxury that the brothers can’t afford. Charismatic anti-hero Erik’s ability to stay one step ahead is tested to the limit – how many lives is he willing to sacrifice to sustain his own?


* FINLAND *

Euthanizer (Armomurhaaja)

This violent summer noir tells the story of Veijo, a 50-year-old mechanic, whose second job is to put sick pets to sleep. He’s also an animal whisperer and prefers to personally deliver justice to careless owners who neglect their pets. His unconventional but meticulously organized life is disrupted when he comes across Petri, a garage mechanic and member of a neo-Nazi gang, and Lotta, a young nurse who understands his psychosis. The themes revolve around animal rights, suffering and death. But the real story is not about good or evil – it’s about intolerance and the stupidity of absolute men.

Unknown Soldier (Tuntematon sotilas)

  • Feature Film by Aku Lohimies (2018)
  • Screening: Sunday, 1/6, 4:30 p.m. (132 min)

Based on novel of the same name by Váinö Linna, the film follows a fictional Finnish Army machine gun company on the Karelian front during the War from 1941 when the troops prepare for the invasion of the Soviet Union until armistice in 1944. The author himself had served in such a company.

Rendel: Dark Vengeance

  • Feature Film by Jesse Haaja (2017)
  • Screening: Saturday, 1/19, 10:00 a.m. (104 min)

A Finnish superhero, a masked vigilante Rendel, seeks for revenge and fights against VALA, the huge criminal organization.

One Last Deal (Tuntematon mestari)

  • Feature Film by Klaus Härö (2018)
  • Screening: Sunday, 1/20, 7:30 p.m. (95 min)

An elderly art dealer Olavi (72) is about to retire. A man who has always put business and art before everything – even his family – cannot imagine life without work. At an auction, an old painting catches his attention. Olavi suspects it is worth much more than its starting price, which is low because its authenticity hasn’t been confirmed. Olavi’s instincts kick in. He decides to make one last deal in order to earn some proper pension money. At the same time, Olavi’s daughter Lea (42) – whom he hasn’t seen for years – asks him to help her with his teenage grandson Otto (15). Together with Otto, Olavi starts to investigate the background of the painting. They find out that the painting is called Christ and was painted by Ilya Repin. Olavi manages to buy the painting, but when the auction house realizes that there has been a mistake with the original pricing, they turn against him. To fulfill his dream, the old dealer must face both the auction house and his own past mistakes.


* LATVIA *

To Be Continued (Turpinājums)

  • Feature Documentary by Ivars Seleckis (2018)
  • Screening: Saturday, 1/5, 12:45 p.m. (101 min)

Ivars Seleckis takes a look at five children and their families from throughout Latvia. Shot over a period of two years, the film explores how choices made by adults are reflected in a child’s thinking.

 


* ESTONIA *

Three Days in August (Kolm peeve augustis)

  • Short Film by Madli Lāane (2018)
  • Screening: Saturday, 1/19, 2:30 p.m. (22 min)

In the midst of the political upheaval of the early 1990s in Soviet Union, an Estonian girl and a Russian boy reach across cultural lines to unite over a shared bottle of American soda.

Take It or Leave It (Võta või jäta)

  • Feature Film by Liina Triškina-Vanhatalo (2018)
  • Screening: Saturday, 1/19, 3:00 p.m. (102 min)

One sleepy Saturday morning a 30-year-old construction worker Erik gets some earth shattering news: his ex-girlfriend Moonika who he hasn’t even seen for the past six months is about to go into labor. She however is not ready for motherhood and if Erik doesn’t want the kid either, the little girl will be put up for adoption. Take it or leave it!

 


* LITHUANIA *

Wonderful Losers: A Different World

  •  Feature Documentary by Arūnas Matelis (2018)
  • Screening: Sunday, 1/21, 2:00 p.m. (71 min)

They’re called water carriers, domestics, ‘gregarios’, ‘Sancho Panzas’ of professional cycling. Always at the back of the group, with no right for a personal victory. These wonderful losers are the true warriors of professional cycling.

 


What festival films look interesting to you?

I have actually already seen two of the movies to be presented, both of which I highly recommend. I saw What Will People Say, an #ownvoices immigrant story from Norway, at AFI Fest in November 2017. It was a moving and thought-provoking filmThe 12th Man is an amazing World World II story of survival and will to live and kindness to others despite tremendous risk that I saw just recently at a special engagement at Museum of Tolerance. I plan to bring my family to see it at SFFLA this year.

There are many films I’m personally interested in seeing. I am currently reading Åsne Seierstad’s One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway — And Its Aftermath and plan to see Greenglass’ 22 July on Netflix at some point. Poppe’s Utøya – July 22 seems to be a totally different take on the same event so I’m very eager to see that, though I think it will be an extremely tough film to watch. Other films at the top of my to-watch list are Sweden’s Border, Denmark’s The Guilty, and Iceland’s Woman at War. Can’t wait for the screenings to start. Will I see you there?

October 2018 Los Angeles Culture Challenge & Scandinavian Events

Los Angeles is one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the United States. Here are some special events happening in LA this month. Mark your calendars, but please check suitability for family members and confirm dates and times before heading out.

For Scandinavian enthusiasts, October continues to offer events that may be of interest. On Sunday, October 7, the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation will host its annual Leif Erikson Day Celebration. Judith Vinje, a world traveled journalist and expert in Viking history, will be the keynote speaker at a presentation which will be followed by a reception at the Scandinavian Center. Leif Erikson will be at the Center for pictures and conversation, so be sure to bring the kids! The event is free of charge.

The following weekend, on Sunday, October 14, Vasa Park Association will host their annual Scandinavian AutumnFest & Höstmarknad Celebration in Agoura Hills which includes a Swedish meatball contest. More details can be found in the listing below.

On Thursday, October 25, the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation‘s Scandinavian Book Club resumes its monthly meetings after a long summer break. Please reach out if you’re interested in details.

And finally, news for Scandinavian enthusiasts and film buffs beyond Los Angeles, Netflix is releasing the movie 22 July, a drama about the 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway that claimed the lives of 77 people and the aftermath, on October 10 both on its streaming platform and in select theaters around the world. The film is based on the book One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway by Åsne Seierstad, translated from the Norwegian by Sarah Death. The movie is written and directed by Paul Greengrass.

How will you explore the richness of Los Angeles this month?

* WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 6 & 7 *

Los Angeles Korean Festival, Seoul International Park, Normandie & Olympic Blvds, Thursday, 10/4 – Sunday, 10/7. This is a free four-day festival whose mission is to provide the community with the best possible outlet to learn about the roots and traditions of Korea. Entertaining performances will lighten up the festival’s main stage. Thoughtful cultural exhibitions will educate visitors about South Korea’s history and culture. Local restaurants as well as vendors from South Korea will present a wide variety of food in one space. The shopping space will consist of booths selling Korean products such as cosmetics, appliances, apparel, and accessories.

7th Annual San Pedro International Film Festival, various locations in San Pedro, Friday, 10/5 – Sunday, 10/7. The San Pedro International Film Festival (SPIFF) was founded to celebrate the diverse culture and community of San Pedro with a wide spectrum of independent film, documentaries, and shorts. SPIFF is committed to exhibiting films that embody inspiring entertainment for all, works that express fresh voices and differing global perspectives, with the intent that these films enlighten audiences while providing invaluable exposure for filmmakers, local and international.

L.A. Greek Fest, Saint Sophia Cathedral, Pico & Normandie Blvds, Friday, 10/5 – Sunday, 10/7. The L.A. Greek Fest is the largest and most iconic Greek food and wine festival in Los Angeles, California, bringing over 15,000 attendees together for a three-day weekend of all things Greek. Each day of festivities is a celebration of food, wine, dance, games, performances, and one-of-a-kind cultural experiences. Located at Pico and Normandie on the same grounds of one of LA’s most beautiful and well-known Greek Orthodox cathedrals, Saint Sophia Cathedral, the festival brings together the community of the Byzantine-Latino Quarter and people from all over downtown Los Angeles and Southern California. Visit website for schedule of events and $2 coupon.

Around the World in a Day Multicultural Festival, Oxnard, Saturday, 10/6, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Visit Oxnard for a day of music, dance, and cultural booths from around the world. The festival features live music and performers, food and vendor booths, exhibitors, demonstrations, arts & crafts, and plenty of family friendly activities. Every year, hundreds of guests look forward to coming together to celebrate the many diverse nations, languages, and cultures of the world.

Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 10/6, 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Visit a temple, an herbal shop, art galleries, antique stores, and more when guided to the unique treasures–not to mention great bargains–to be found in Chinatown. Wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to wind your way through a myriad of alleyways, plaza stalls, and classical courtyards to discover the charm of L.A.’s Chinatown. (Offered every first Saturday of the month)

Sunday Funday: A Haunted Pedal, Meet at The Crafty Pedal, Downtown LA, Sunday, 10/7, 9:30 a.m. Explore Downtown LA in a unique way. The first stop on this haunted ride is the “Murder House” from season one the FX television series, American Horror Story. Then, the group will take a short ride over to Rosedale Cemetery, built in 1884, the first cemetery in Los Angeles open to all races and creeds. Many founding Angelenos rest in these beautiful garden grounds. Next, the ride goes toward the haunted and infamous Cecil Hotel in Downtown LA, past home of the Night Stalker, and the site of other mysterious happenings. Finally, the group rides to Pershing Square, where you’ll hear stories of the historical haunts of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Ride finishes back at The Crafty Pedal. Visit website for important details on the ride.

Korea: Theater Masks (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 10/7, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Every Sunday art instructors present a free art project featuring a different culture and media. All materials are provided. See website for more details.

COAST, Downtown Santa Monica, Sunday, 10/7, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. COAST, the city of Santa Monica’s third annual open streets event, brings the City’s commitment to art, sustainability and mobility to life by filling two miles of streets with large-scale art installations, interactive activities, music and dance performances, roaming musicians and more! All are welcome to explore Downtown Santa Monica by foot or any number of wheeled devices.

10th Annual Kokoro Craft Boutique, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, Sunday, 10/7, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Vendors will be on hand with unique jewelry, kimono fabric fashions, cultural t-shirts, handbags, ceramics, origami, bronze and glass art, Giant Robot products, and more. Enjoy a Taiko performance by Yuujou Daiko at 1:00 p.m. Admission to the boutique is free. A $20 purchase gets you free museum admission (10/7/18 only) and a 10% discount at local participating Little Tokyo eateries during the month of October (some restrictions apply).

Italian Renaissance Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 10/7, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Immerse yourself in a real Italian Renaissance Faire complete with special sword demonstrations, interactive gallery experiences, face painting, and musical performances. Experience the thrill of knights in armor demonstrating historical dueling techniques and walking throughout the galleries, Western Martial Arts interpreters, and fashion experts dressed in Renaissance garb appropriate to the region. Using an array of period instruments, live music will be provided by Courtly Noyse.

Leif Erikson Day Celebration, Scandinavian Center at Cal Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, Sunday, 10/7, 2:00 p.m. Judith Vinje, a world traveled journalist and expert in Viking history, will be the featured speaker at the Leif Erikson Day presentation. The presentation will be followed by a reception at the Scandinavian Center. This will be a fun opportunity to see the Scandinavian museum, library, resource center, and programs offered to members. Leif Erikson will be at the Center for pictures and conversation, so be sure to bring the kids! The event is free of charge.

* WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 13 & 14 *

Scandinavian AutumnFest & Höstmarknad Celebration, Vasa Park, Agoura Hills, Sunday, 10/14, 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. AutumnFest offers a wide range of activities for the whole family. In addition to enjoying traditional foods of Sweden, you can be a judge in the 10th Annual Swedish Meatball Contest. You can buy beautifully crafted gifts and souvenirs and enjoy Scandinavian musicians and folk dancers, demonstrations, and a Viking reenactment group that shares stories about Viking times. There will be many activities for kids including a waterslide, an alpine tube slide, swimming, a rock climbing wall, and field games.

Peru: Incan Sun God with Foil and Beads (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 10/14, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Every Sunday art instructors present a free art project featuring a different culture and media. All materials are provided. See website for more details.

Weaving & Film, USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Sunday, 11:00 a.m. Watch Artist Yan Zhang demonstrate the unique Li Brocade weaving style and then try decorative weaving yourself! At 3:00 p.m., join filmmaker Xiaowen Zhu and documentary subject Kenneth Wong for a screening of Oriental Silk, Zhu’s short film on the history of the first silk importing company in Los Angeles. Explore themes of cultural value and traditional craftsmanship, estrangement and homesickness, and the colors of memory.

* WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 20 & 21 *

Ancient Egypt: Tomb Paintings (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 10/21, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Every Sunday art instructors present a free art project featuring a different culture and media. All materials are provided.

Fowler Families: Celebrating Día de los Muertos, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 10/21, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Prepare for Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the Fowler Museum. Celebrate the Mexican cultural tradition of honoring departed loved ones through music, dance, regalia, and storytelling by the LA-based group Xipe Totec Danzantes Aztecas. Originating in Mexico City, this ensemble has developed with the blessings and recognition of traditional elders in Mexico. Xipe Totec Danzantes Aztecas will present “Journey to Mictlan,” a dance piece conveying the Aztec view of death as a transition in life’s journey. Begin the afternoon by creating your very own tissue paper marigolds or contributing to a collaborative papel picado banner that will be displayed in the Davis Courtyard. Xipe Totec Danzantes Aztecas will begin their performance at 2:00 p.m. with a blessing in the exhibition Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives before progressing into the Fowler Amphitheater.

* WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 27 & 28 *

Asian World Film Festival, Culver City, Wednesday, 10/24 – Thursday, 11/1. The Asian World Film Festival brings the best of a broad selection of Asian World cinema to Los Angeles in order to draw greater recognition to the region’s wealth of filmmakers. The festival screens films from 50 countries across Asia spanning from Turkey to Japan and Russia to India. This year’s theme will focus on female empowerment.

Día de los Muertos Festival, El Pueblo Historical Monument, Downtown LA, Thursday, 10/25 – Friday, 11/2. Olvera Street is home to a colorful celebration that takes place over nine days. Merging ancient traditions with modern-day interpretations, you are invited to join in honoring deceased loved ones. Each evening, colorful and vibrant novenario processions take place at 7:00 p.m. The traditional, pre-Columbian procession evokes special memories of deceased loved ones with colorful pageantry and indigenous blessings. Pan de muerto (sweet bread) and champurrado (a Mexican hot beverage) are provided after processions. During the festival days on the weekend, there is entertainment and face painting throughout the day. Community altars, or “Las Ofrendas,” are on display in the plaza.

Little Tokyo Walking Tour, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, Saturday, 10/27, 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Learn about past and present-day Little Tokyo on a walking tour led by an in-the-know JANM docent. From murals to monuments, explore both the popular and lesser-known gems of this bustling neighborhood. Weather permitting. $12 members, $15 non-members. Museum admission included. Limited to 20 participants. (Offered every last Saturday of the month.)

Día de Los Muertos 2018: Coatlicue “Mother of Gods”, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, Saturday, 10/27, 12:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Spend an eventful day watching as the cemetery comes to life with joyful celebrations. Highlights include a vibrant traditional procession with traditional Aztec blessings and regional musical dance group dedications, 100+ altars created by members of the community to their ancestors and loved ones, four stages featuring music and theatrical performances, an art exhibition in the Cathedral Mausoleum, and a wide variety of Day of the Dead arts and crafts available for purchase. See website for complete schedule and ticket information.

JAM Session: Mexican Folk Dance, Burton Chace Park, Marina del Rey, Saturday, 10/27, 3:00 p.m. (Part of Marina Spooktacular) Delight in the vibrant music and dance of Veracruz! Step up on the tarima (wooden dance platform) with Ballet Folklorico Ollin who will walk you through this rhythmic dance style. The JAM will end with a fandango celebrating the entire community. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. JAM Sessions are participatory while also centered on movement and music. All JAMs are free. All ages and skill levels are welcome.

Kenya: Animal Masks with Fur (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 10/28, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Every Sunday art instructors present a free art project featuring a different culture and media. All materials are provided

JAM Session: Aztec Dance, Burton Chace Park, Marina del Rey, Sunday, 10/28, 12:00 p.m. (Part of Marina Spooktacular) Experience the splendor of the Aztec people with Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc. Create rhythms and beats with fellow drummers and explore the music, choreography and poetry of this ancient Mesoamerican culture. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. JAM Sessions are participatory while also centered on movement and music. All JAMs are free. All ages and skill levels are welcome.

Feel free to add events for this month in the comments below. I also welcome feedback on any events you have attended. If you have tips on future events and celebrations to include in upcoming months, please email me here with details. Thank you!

Little Norway is making a name for itself in the big world!

I love hearing news of Norway’s influence, or Scandinavia’s in general, out in the big world, especially in the U.S. and when it gets close to home here in Los Angeles. The winter Olympics is always a fun time to be Norwegian. Lately, though, Norway is making a name for itself in other areas as well. Whether it’s film, podcasts, books, music, or sports (besides skiing), there’s something for every Scandinavian enthusiast right now. Here’s a round-up of various Norwegian “sightings” outside of Norway and Scandinavia. How many are you already familiar with?

Film

Right now Angelenos can see The 12th Man, a film about Norwegian history by Norwegian director Harald Zwart. It has a limited engagement at Arena Cinelounge in Hollywood (released in the U.S. on May 4). It is a World War II-set thriller based on the true story of Jan Baalsrud, a Norwegian resistance fighter who was the only one of his 12-member group to escape the Nazis when their sabotage mission failed. The movie follows him as he tries to make his way to neutral Sweden through the Arctic landscape. The Los Angeles Times writes, “World War II-set Norwegian thriller ‘The 12th Man’ has the right stuff.” Catch it before it moves on… There’s even a book, Defiant Courage: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by Astrid Karlsen Scott and Dr. Tore Haug, for those who are particularly curious about Jan Baalsrud’s experience.

Another movie to feature Norway is soon-to-be-released Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Norway’s iconic mountain plateau Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) in Western Norway is where Tom Cruise does a spectacular stunt. The movie opens in the U.S. on July 27. View the official trailer with a glimpse of the scene at Preikestolen. A hike to the top of Preikestolen is actually on my Norway bucket list so I’ll be eager to see this movie.

Netflix Series

The Rain isn’t a Norwegian creation but rather a Danish one. It’s a brand new original 8-episode Netflix series that was released May 4. It’s about two siblings who, six years after a brutal virus wipes out most of Scandinavia’s population, join a band of young survivors seeking safety and answers.

And just in case you aren’t aware, there’s a relatively new Norwegian series currently available on Netflix as well. Borderliner, released March 6, is about a police detective who covers up a murder case to protect his family, but then his partner suspects foul play. Newsweek writes, “New Netflix series ‘Borderliner’ is the perfect Scandinavian noir gateway drug.

Podcast

Also going on right now is the new podcast Death in Ice Valley. It explores the still unsolved mystery surrounding a female body found in Norway’s Isdalen (Ice Valley), near Bergen in Western Norway, in 1970. Producers hope to solve the mystery with the help of modern technology that wasn’t available back then and with input from listeners from around the world. There’s even a Facebook group where members can view and further discuss the evidence provided in each episode. The first episode was released April 15, and a new episode drops every Monday.

If true crime, cold cases, mystery, and intrigue are your thing, especially with a foreign touch, then this podcast may be of interest. I’m currently listening to it as the episodes drop and am curious to see how/if this case is resolved.

Authors & Books

Norwegian authors are also making a name for themselves outside of Norway.

Music

It’s been a busy time for Norwegian musicians abroad as well! Kygo, SigridAurora, and Alan Walker all played at Coachella Music Festival in April in Indio, California. Coachella was apparently one of the biggest crowds Kygo has ever played for. Kygo is now wrapping up his “Kids in Love Tour” in Canada and Northeastern U.S. After Coachella, Sigrid was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (watch appearance here). Kygo will be performing on The Tonight Show on May 14, and Aurora will be performing on Late Night with Seth Meyers on May 23.

Sports

Los Angeles’ Major League Soccer club LA Galaxy signed two Norwegian players for the 2018-19 season, Jørgen Skjelvik and Ola Kamara. The LA Galaxy also has Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic, so Scandinavia is well represented.

And in case you’re not already aware, in honor of Norway’s Constitution Day (May 17) and the signing of its two Norwegian players, LA Galaxy will be hosting a special Norwegian Heritage Night at Stubhub Center in Carson on Friday, May 25. For more information on this event and how to buy tickets, please visit Los Angeles Culture Challenge: May 2018 (17th of May Celebrations & LA Galaxy Norwegian Heritage Night!).

Norway is also making a name for itself in boxing, female boxing to be precise, with Cecilia Brækhus (5 fast facts you need to know). Earlier this month in Carson, California, Brækhus not only continued her whole career win streak and defeated her opponent keeping her titles, but Brækhus’ match was also the first female boxing match to be aired on HBO in the cable network’s 45-year history of boxing coverage.

I hope you enjoyed this eclectic round-up of recent Norwegian sightings in the bigger world. If I missed anything, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Guide to Norway’s Slow TV on Netflix

netflix-slow-tvIn August 2016, Netflix introduced Norway’s Slow TV to American viewers. I was curious about the Slow TV phenomenon that had enthralled Norwegians and now had arrived in the US.

According to Wikipedia, Slow TV is “a term used for a genre of live ‘marathon’ television coverage of an ordinary event in its complete length.” What I quickly learned was that not all the Netflix Slow TV offerings were true Slow TV. Some of the episodes were actually segments of a much longer original broadcast or documentaries of live broadcasts. I also learned that there are different sub-genres of Slow TV. Some are meditative and relaxing; others are informative and entertaining. Read on for an overview of Netflix’s Slow TV offerings.

Don’t have Netflix? You’ll find links to the programs elsewhere on the internet at the end of the post.

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