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Culture

Feature of the Week: Visceral Fashion

Since his arrival six years ago, he has made a permanent mark on the Icelandic design world. His debut menswear collection When Gravity Fails features wild and fantastic natural Icelandic materials he has tamed for an international market. Ásta Andrésdóttir visited designer extraordinaire Sruli...

Feature of the Week: The Accidental Pop Star

Lára Rúnarsdóttir has definitely come a long way since her early days as a fledging musician recording her debut album, Standing Still , back in 2003. Since her album, Surprise , was released in 2009 she has been featured by music publications such as NME, Q and Clash Magazine, and has performed...

Feature of the Week: Shark Star

Hildibrandur Bjarnason might just be a star in his own right. He might not know it yet, but he generates media coverage, and has appeared on television, the internet, and in the newspapers. From his small farm in Bjarnarhöfn, Hildibrandur Bjarnason produces hákarl , the near-national Icelandic dish...

Feature of the Week: Taking the Sheep by the Horns

“People think jazz is some kind of a rhythm but it is not. If I were forced to define it, I would say that it evolves some kind of improvisation and live interaction between the players, but this also applies in modern classical music. So I don’t know where the boundaries are. It’s sort of like an...

Feature of the Week: Human Woman

“They are everywhere,” says sculptor Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, 55, and laughs as she weaves around her studio, tucked away in the backyard of a 101 street in Reykjavík. The large space is crammed full of life-size human figures. They peek out of the walls, lie on the stairs and sit on the two...

Feature of the Week: The Hymns of Passion

There are two pinnacles of Icelandic literature through the ages: One is Njáll’s Saga and the other is the Passion Hymns of Hallgrímur Pétursson. I discovered the latter by accident one exceptionally gloomy and cold April afternoon in Reykjavík. As rain was pouring from the skies, I was...

Feature of the Week: A Far-Out Little Music Festival

Just getting to Ísafjördur is an adventure in itself. From Reykjavík, you can book a 45-minute flight or you can drive some 450 kilometers. The drive takes you through some of the most varied landscape that Icelandic roads have to offer in one day: lava fields, rolling hills, the dreaded highland...

Feature of the Week: A Culinary Cult Classic

It is perhaps the first thing that meets you as you disembark the Flybus at BSÍ: the strange scent of singed and boiled sheep’s head mixed together with the more familiar fragrance of deep fried fare. BSÍ is not only Iceland’s transportation hub for national coach travel, it also houses Fljótt og...

Feature of the Week: Pole to Pole

Mica Allan met with the enigmatic Icelandic born, New Zealand based singer, Hera Hjartardóttir, and chatted about parallel universes, Elvis impersonators and soaking in a bath tub of red wine.

Feature of the Week: The Makings of a Dream

Accomplished author, poet and playwright Andri Snaer Magnason is Icelandic nature’s most outspoken advocate. In his book and subsequent documentary Dreamland , Magnason discusses energy harnessing for aluminum smelting in Iceland. “I was lucky to get to travel in the highlands a lot as a child and...

Feature of the Week: Working on Hell

He grew up in Iceland but has spent most of his colorful life abroad. Pop artist Erró recently stopped by in Reykjavík to attend the opening of his magnificent exhibition Erró: Collage at the Reykjavík Art Museum, Hafnarhús, which has the most stunning Erró collection in the world.

Feature of the Week: Big Help in a Small Society

Founded in Reykjavík in 1924, the Icelandic Red Cross now has 70 full-time employees and fifty branches around the country. It also has about 19,000 members and between 2,500 and 3,000 volunteers. For the past two years the Red Cross has been busy aiding the victims of the economic meltdown and the...

Feature of the Week: The Green Glow of Sundhöllin

Every other day I make my way up Barónsstígur, in the direction of Hallgrímskirkja church, which I pass as I head towards Sundhöll Reykjavíkur, an indoor swimming pool in the city center. Here, my faith in the value of public works is renewed as I observe regulars availing themselves of the...

Feature of the Week: Remembering a Dying Community

Jón Kalman Stefánsson’s style is characteristically lyrical and variegated, ranging from mock-epic humor to solemn reflections about the meaning of life. Although he has never made his home in the countryside, most of his novels are set far away from the capital. Born in 1963, he describes a time...

Feature of the Week: True Lies

What do The Simpsons , Sex and the City , George Orwell and Jules Verne all have in common? Be it literature, television and film, from supermodels to cartoon characters and unpronounceable volcanoes, Iceland pops up in the culture as an inspiration, curious setting or just for novelty. A study in...

Feature of the Week: As the North Wind Blows

During my most recent trip to Reykjavík, in the Handknitting Store at 19 Skólavördustígur Street, I was busy examining two skeins of lopi in blue and turquoise. Behind the cash register were woolen decorations for sale: four of the red houses and an angel. Since I’m always open to the charm of...

Feature of the Week: Clay Nation

Captain in pullover and yellow hat, Fisherman II in his overalls, The Boy in the Bank with his pockets full of cash, the priests, jokers, even a blonde spitting image of the artist herself (“Oh, I never noticed before you pointed that out!” she laughs)—Gudrún Halldórsdóttir’s clay figures, on...

Feature of the Week: The Next Generation

The Royal Extreme slogan, “More is more, less is a bore,” fits not only the designs but designer Una Hlín Kristjánsdóttir’s past year too. With a new generation of designers looking beyond the lopapeysa , Icelandic fashion is more exciting than ever. Creative, international and passionate—here are...

Feature of the Week: Paradise Cinema

Just a week before Reykjavík’s International Film Festival (RIFF) kicked off this past September, a long-awaited dream among the city’s film scenesters was finally realized with the opening of Bíó Paradís (Paradise Cinema), arguably Iceland’s first full-fledged cinémathèque. Atlantica reviews...

Feature of the Week: Iceland’s Dark Passion

Upon arrival in Iceland it’s immediately clear that the population has something of a licorice fetish. Hypnotic-striped Opal boxes in red, green and black hem checkout lines at every supermarket, not to mention the candy aisles and movie theatre snack stalls overflowing with the stuff, especially...

Feature of the Week: The Harbor Community

The air smells of seaweed and salt, the morning sun mirrors the placid sea. People are taking pictures and enjoying the scenery. Sounds of an accordion set the mood. It’s a Saturday morning by the Reykjavík harbor. Last spring, the city breathed new life into this formerly desolate complex of...

Feature of the Week: Living Color

Artist Davíd Örn Halldórsson, 34, waves from the open window of a crooked backyard building, hidden away in the center of 101. Previously the residence of the late artist Gylfi Gíslason, the space is now a living Halldórsson piece complete with all his characteristic detail and color.

Feature of the Week: Wool Sweater Reggae

I remember first reading about Hjálmar in the program for the Iceland Airwaves festival in the fall of 2005. I found the idea of Icelandic reggae amusing. However, Hjálmar has proven that their brand of reggae is not just a novelty or a passing trend. They are a solid band creating an original but...

Feature of the Week: Breaking the Mould

It was a brisk fresh night in Southern Canada that the stars came out to play. With A-listers like Kevin Spacey and Al Pacino rubbing shoulders with the top movie executives and global production companies, Hollywood was, as always, well represented at the 35th Toronto International Film Festival...

Feature of the Week: Tea Time

“Would you like more tea?” David Noble, an expat Englishman living in Reykjavík appears at the table, carrying colorful ceramic teapots. At café Babalú, he serves relaxed afternoon tea complete with neat rows of cucumber sandwiches and scones alongside a selection of chutneys, jams and clotted...

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