My kids discovered anime this year, and finally being able to share my love for the art form has been a tremendous joy to me. When I saw that a new feature-length anime was to be released in Seattle on August 18, I hesitated to make it a family movie night choice because of the subject matter.
Unlike the childish quest and adolescent romance series with magical and/or martial arts elements that make up our usual fare, In This Corner of the World is a realistic story of one young woman’s experience of World War II. Ultimately, despite the heavy subject, we decided to watch it and I’m so glad we did. Continue reading
Earlier this year I was contacted by Siggi Jensson, the creator of the Eistnaflug 2014 10th Anniversary four-DVD box set. Was I interested in receiving a press copy for review? Unfortunately, I had to say, ‘No’ because I had already purchased the box set in question. But why would I sit on a historical document like that without reviewing it? No reason at all. So here it is. Continue reading
My neighborhood has hosted a summer solstice parade since 1989. Without really knowing anything about it, I attended the festival the first summer I lived in Seattle (1993) when it just seemed like any other summer festival and the Fremont neighborhood seemed very far away from my central area apartment. I still have the batik bedspread I bought that year. Now I live two blocks from the parade route and have a much more intimate understanding of the festival.
It’s not your regular summer festival. The parade rules:
- No printed words, signage or recognizable logos.
- No live animals (except guide animals).
- No motorized vehicles (except motorized wheelchairs)
- No functional weapons.
The festival is a completely nonmotorized, noncommercial celebration of sunshine, life, art and creativity. The better for basking in the sun, a festival of this sort involves a fair bit of nudity. Most famously, naked cyclists. I used to love their creative body paint costumes, the double take when you tried to figure out which riders were clothed and which were not.
But the naked cyclists have proliferated in recent years, in my opinion to the detriment of the festival. Just as the belly dancers once did, the cyclists’ numbers threaten to overwhelm the parade. Many of the newcomers don’t bother with artistic paint designs. Worse, their fame has drawn hundreds of pervs from the suburbs who have no interest in the rest of the celebration and just want to take pictures of naked people.
But the rest of the festival is still there, and it is still filled with incredible creations. Like this 15-foot-tall puppet from 2014.
I once stood among a group of writers at a talk presented by then-Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. He said that we would notice Iceland had no statues of presidents or generals, but had many of artists and poets.
In Reykholt, I saw a statue of a man who may have qualified as both. A big man of his time, Snorri was engaged in all sorts of power struggles and eventually died a violent death. He is also credited with preserving (and possibly writing some of) some of the world’s greatest literary treasures, Iceland’s sagas.
I went to Iceland again this year, and there was so much I wanted to write about it and never got around to. Likewise, there were a lot of things I wanted to do when I was in Iceland that I didn’t get to. Determined to maximize my experience, I usually run myself into the ground when I’m there – I’ve gotten sick on every trip so far, and this time I decided to try a more moderate approach. One of the things I missed was the Weather Diaries exhibit at Nordic House. Continue reading
This one time I was in Reykjavik and Sin Fang was playing an unadvertised show in an art gallery to promote a friend’s artwork. The performance was good but the sound was shit and that night I stepped outside of my own life and got to be a cool insider, leaning on an art gallery wall with my wine in a plastic cup and criticizing the mix. It’s the sort of thing that only happens (to me, at least) when you travel.
Panto is a British Christmas tradition. We watch it every year at the British-style pub, Hales Ales. It’s tons of silly fun that balances slapstick for kids and double entendre for adults. And it’s completely irrelevant to spring. Enjoy.