Last night, all the students in the Ísafjörður (town population: 2,600) course took a bus to nearby Suðureyri (population 312) for Act Alone, a theatre festival dedicated to monodrama, the art of acting alone. Iceland is an extremely creative and cultured country. We’re in the sparsely populated north in a tiny fishing village, and they had some great performers. In order to get to Suðureyri, we went through Vestfjarðagöng, a 6,900 ft tunnel, which has a 3 way intersection and some sections that are one lane with sections to pullover for traffic going the opposite directions. There are eleven tunnels in iceland that allow the population to move more freely to neighboring towns, especially in the winter. I stuck a video of the tunnel at the end of this post so you can see what it looked like.
The first show was “How to Become Icelandic in 60 Minutes.” It was hysterical. I haven’t laughed that hard in quite a while. The tag line is “A hilarious comedy show NOT starring Björk.” We then had 45 minutes to hang out at the local Kaffihús (coffee house)/ bar while we waited for the next show. Mugison is a very popular Icelandic musician (tónlistarmaður), and we saw him for free in a shed/ bar overlook a fjord and snow capped mountains. He was incredible live, and the setting was so down to earth. For my Americans, imagine The Black Keys playing in a big shed in small midwestern town….for free. Then it was back to the Kaffihús before a comdian closed out the evening.
(The pic of the Mugison show via Adam, a fellow student and my housemate here in Ísafjörður. He’ll be studying design at the University of Iceland for the next two years, so you should check follow his blog, Towards Icelandic Design.)
If you haven’t hear do Mugison, you should watch these videos. Then, when your friends are talking about Of Monsters and Men, you can go “Oh, yeah, they are great, but actually my favorite Icelandic artist in Mugison.” You’ll sound so cultured and well informed. Everyone will be impressed. I promise 😉
In other news, I’ve started a linguistic scavenger hunt. There are people here from all over Europe speaking so many different languages. I have started collecting in any language I encounter the phrase “I don’t speak (whatever language)” in that language (ex: Je ne parle pas français.) The rules I’ve set for myself are that I can’t look any up online or double check my pronunciation online. It has to be person to person. So far, besides the basics (French, Italian, Spanish), I have German, Estonian, Croatian, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, and American Sign Language.