Jul 13, 2009

Searching for Iceland in Chicago

So naturally I went in search of Iceland in Chicago. I hoped to find a restaurant, musician, or event of some sort. I was, however, too late for both Þorrablót and the Icelandic Independence Day Picnic; the Icelandic Association of Chicago didn't have any events listed during our visit.

The weather has been fabulous, overall, during our visit: warm but not hot, sunny, very low humidity. But on Friday some heavy rains came up suddenly, and there were intense thunderstorms Saturday night. Which led me to overhear the comment, "If you don't like the weather just wait 15 minutes." That gave me a start ... that is exactly what you hear in Iceland all the time! Checking out google showed me that a lot of localities around the world have the same saying; the only thing that varies is the amount of time used as an example (a minute, 15, an hour ...) and the language.

We often find ourselves walking by the Tribune Tower at night when we're in Chicago, and we always enjoy looking at the stone architectural fragments from all over the world that have been impressed into the sides of the building. I couldn't help stopping in to ask the guard at the desk if there was an Icelandic fragment that I had missed. There wasn't, but the guard had a great story--with an Iceland link! Turns out he was in the Navy, in an air division, in 1961 at the height of the Cold War. He was suddenly called out on an operation to chase, by plane, a Russian sub that was carrying nuclear warheads. They followed the sub for quite awhile, and his group eventually lost it somewhere in the fjords of Iceland, at which point they were told to land in Keflavík. They remained in Iceland for 31 days.

One of the lions at the Art Institute

I did just discover that Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson (well, his parents are Icelandic) has a show at the Museum of Contemporary Art. We may visit that tomorrow!


Professor Batty said...

Didn't Olafur Eliasson do those waterfalls in NYC last summer? I saw an installation of his in Hafnarhúsið in 2006.

Rose said...

Yes! And how did you like the installation that you saw?

Professor Batty said...

It was very subtle- a thin, lighted line went all around a darkened gallery, and it slowly changed colors, in a weird, slow pulsation.

Rose said...

It sounds like the exhibit here is more of a retrospective of his work. We'll see. The NYC waterfalls looks to me like a really, really interesting concept.
Too many things to do on our last full day here--I know we won't get to them all!

AntoniaFD said...

Now aren't you glad you brought your laptop? Iceland is everwhere . . .