intersection 09.29.08

Iceland Dossier

The small, lava-laden country of Iceland continues to stay squarely—or make that hiply— in the cultural zeitgeist. It's not only that Sigur Rós is on a worldwide tour and Olafur Eliasson had an exhibition this year at MoMA, while changing the landscape with Waterfalls (pouring through October 13th). Fashion, art, music, are all getting a post-Björk bounce.

At the Tenri Cultural Institute, 43 W. 13th [5th/6th] 212.645.2800, drawings, paintings and installations by Gudjon Bjarnason in a show starting today called Abstract Color Disbelieve.

On Thursday, October 30th, 7pm, at Scandinavia House, 58 Park [37th/38th] 212.879.9779, Cold Hearts 3: Foreign Relations, a film series that reflects the Icelandic imagination. Among the featured artists, musicians, and filmmakers: Kristjan Zaklynsky, Icelandic Love Corporation (pictured at top), Lina Bjørn Larsen and Anna Wolf, and Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir (video still from Seven Sisters pictured at left).

Two fashion lines with Icelandic roots are making both striking clothes and a splash on the runways. Steinunn is Steinunn Sigurd, who combines memorable silhouettes with the occasional ruffle and an eccentric flourish.

Germany's Susanne Ostwald and Iceland's Ingvar Helgason are the designers behind Ostwald Helgason, which emphasizes exuberant pattern and sophisticated, rich colors.

On Wednesday, October 8, 7:00 PM at McNally Jackson, 52 Prince [Laf/Mulberry] 212.274.1160, the former bassist for The Sugarcubes, Bragi Olafsson, will be on hand to promote his newly translated book The Pets. It's a comic novel published by Open Letter Books, in which the main character spends much of the time hidden under his bed.

The Vesturport Theatre in Iceland has produced a lauded production of the1837 Georg Büchner play Woyzeck, presented (in English) by BAM as part of their Next Wave Festival. It's directed by Gísli Örn Gardarsson (pictured) with original music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. Oct 15, 17 & 18 at 7:30pm. You can hear Mr. Gardarsson and some of the cast talk about the show after the 10/17 performance.

We've found a few fares on Icelandair for $559 roundtrip (including taxes) to Reykjavik but dates are limited and we wouldn't wait to book. If you go, you'll be able to see the Imagine Peace Tower, inaugurated last year by Yoko Oko, Sean Lennon, and Ringo Starr. This 'beacon to world peace' will be illuminated again starting October 9th, the date of John Lennon's birthday.

Even though it can be maddeningly difficult to get your hands on, when you see a container of Siggi's Skyr, thick, delicious Icelandic-style yogurt, grab it. A list of stores that sell it is here.

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