leisure 03.30.05

Swedish Dossier

On SAS: that's $289 roundtrip, exclusive of taxes. You must book by April 30th and start your trip by June 2.

At the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the work of Lukas Moodysson is featured in the New Faces of Swedish Cinema series. Runs April 1-7 at the Walter Reade.

At Film Forum on April 7 (4pm and 7:20pm) will show a newly restored print of the great Swedish director Victor Sjˆstrˆm's classic 1926 version of "The Scarlet Letter" Pauline Kael wrote that Lillian Gish's Hester Prynne is "one of the most beautifully sustained performances in screen history." The second showing will have live piano accompaniment.

In the March issue of icon magazine, the editors select the 21 most influential people/products/organizations in contemporary design. #1: Ikea. They wrote, "it's time to acknowledge that founder Ingvar Kamprad is the most influential taste-maker in the world today."

Put those Ikea meatballs out of your mind and sample Ulrika Bengtsson's Swedish cooking, in which salmon, lingonberries, and herring play their part, but are only half the story. Ulrika's, 115 E. 60th [Park/Lex] 212.355.7069. Also: Aquavit, 65 E. 55th [Park/Mad] 212.307.7311.

On Saturday, April 9, 8pm, at Scandinavia House, 58 Park [37th/38th] 212.879.9779, there will be a performance of a work by hip-hop producer and classical composer, Karl McFaul (not a particularly Swedish-sounding name, but we're assured he is Swedish). "The frenetic rhythmic energies of club music merges with the larger momentum and polyphony of symphonic music."

Scandinavian East Coast Museum may be more theoretical than anything else at this point, but the website offers a peek into the history of Scandinavians who settled in Brooklyn and elsewhere on the East Coast.

More Norwegian products than Swedish, but you can find cloudberry jam and other good stuff at Nordic Delicacies, 6903 3rd [Bay Ridge Ave.] Bklyn 718.748.1874.

The Swedes have decreed this the year of Swedish design ("Sweden 2005: Year of Design") and who are we to disagree? There will be plenty of events on the theme coming up. Felissimo's annual WOW!DESIGN (starts May 11) will feature leading Swedish designers.

A current MUG fave: Swedish-born Jens Lekman. He's sometimes compared to Norwegian Sondre Lerche, but you need to add the Magnetic Fields, maybe a little Belle & Sebastian, and a sly sense of humor to get closer to it. We've made a short playlist of samples at Free DVD Newsletter Sign-up for The DVD Dossier, the free e-mail newsletter published weekly by the editors at DVD Direct 4 Less. Each issue is filled with DVD news, reviews and quirky commentary, plus a list of the week's top DVD releases. Subscribe here or browse the site for DVD club and DVD rental discounts.
Follow Up to Friday's Crimes of the Art

Dear Mr. Suisman,
My colleagues and I are concerned by the article in the Manhattan User's Guide and by your email, both of which we take very seriously. I don't know how the notion that the Council withdrew a grant from CUNY's Center for the Humanities arose, but that is not what happened. The Council did not award a grant for the series in which Mr. Kurtz spoke because the project was not eligible under our guidelines.

The Center submitted a proposal to the Council for a small grant to help underwrite a series of three panels to be presented under the title "A Brief History of Academic Freedom," but did so without realizing that our grant guidelines specifically disallow funding any form of advocacy. On our first reading of the proposal we told the Humanities Center that funding appeared likely. But when we reviewed the proposal fully we saw that the project might not be eligible. We then queried the CUNY Humanities Center's representative about this, she agreed that series had a distinct element of advocacy and then withdrew the proposal.

I do understand how this sequence of events might be misconstrued, but I assure you that what took place was responsible stewardship of our grants program on the Council's part and responsible public programming on the Humanities Center's part.


David Cronin

Dear Mr. Cronin,
The notion that the Council withdrew the grant came about because that is what the acting director of the CUNY Center for the Humanities believes to have happened.

And I fail to see, from the program schedule, how the struggle to preserve academic freedom qualifies as advocacy since it's a basic tenet of American education. How does a given become advocacy? The only way the Council could have come to that conclusion: panel members like Eric Foner and Steve Kurtz. It seems patently clear that because the Council did not like the positions of panelists like Foner and Kurtz, it confirmed the very premise of the discussion. Responsible stewardship and responsible public programming? Only by your own seriously compromised judgment. The rest of us call it for what it is: censorship and cowardice, a toxic combination if there ever was one.

Charlie Suisman

west thirties manhattan

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