Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Pride Parade

Originally uploaded by BjørnS
I've just seen this years gay pride parade. The weather was not too great this year - a little rain. But still nice....

I also got a bathing ball from one of the floats in my face. No problem, except that my glasses were hit off my face and found five metres away - destroyed. But I've already got the glasses fit into a new frame, so I'm fine...

In the photo, Mr. Gay Norway 2007 is walking in the parade with the mayor of Oslo, Erling Lae. Both are cool!

Friday, June 29, 2007

200,000 hits!

My blog has just passed 200,000 hits since it's beginning. This last month, I've had
33,129 pageviews and 22,051 unique views.

Thanks for coming and welcome back!

Song from The Bubble

Here's a video from YouTube - with a song from "The Bubble".

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Movie: The Bubble

Charming and good actors, nice music and an engaging and tearful story. I really get fond of these people and angry at the war that kills and maims - and makes love irrelevant.

The film lasts for almost two hours, and as usual that is a little too much. There are too many side stories, which do contribute to show how much simpler it is to be in love with a person of the "right" sex or with the "right" passport, but slows down the story nonetheless.

The big turnaround for one of the characters at the very end of the movie also seems a bit too sudden and unrealistic. However, all in all it is a good movie with a simple message.

Buah, Ha- (2006)
Directed by Eytan Fox

Main actors:
Ohad Knoller as Noam
Alon Friedman as Yelli
Daniela Virtzer as Lulu
Yousef 'Joe' Sweid as Ashraf


Monday, June 25, 2007

Movie: Go West

Humour, sadness, romance, death, war. This movie has many colours. The story is interesting: gay couple Milan and Kenan can't get out of their war-struck city, as the Serbs will check Kenan and see that he is circumcised. Hence the plan: he will pretend to be a woman, and thereby get out as Milan's girlfriend.

This sounds like a great comedy. It is not. It could have been a great movie about the terror of war. I don't think it is that either. I thought for some time about what made me a bit unhappy about this movie, even though it is a good movie. I realized that I'm a bit unhappy that the war is not the main culprit in this movie. Instead, there is a woman who is to blame for much of what goes wrong. That is unfortunate.

In the end, it is an ok movie which could have been so much better.

Go West (2005)
Directed by Ahmed Imamovic

Main actors:
Mario Drmac as Kenan
Tarik Filipovic as Milan
Rade Serbedzija as Ljubo


Art: Olle Bærtling at National Gallery

The National Gallery in Oslo has an exhibition on Olle Bærtling until September 16th. I must admit that I had never heard of him before going to this exhibition, and his artworks were not my cup of tea. I enjoy the paintings because of their bright colors and simple shapes, but do feel that I lack the necessary understanding of the art scene of his time to see what his contribution was.

This is, of course, a basic problem with modern art. I came into this exhibition with no previous knowledge, so for all I knew, this could be an exhibition of a living painter with paintings from the 1990s. I would have had the same experience of the colors and shapes, but from an artistic point of view, the paintings would (probably) be far less interesting - art critics would have dismissed the paintings as a nostalgy for the 1950s or something... In modern art, so much of the artistic value lies in contributing new ideas or experimenting with new forms, that an outsider easily gets lost. This is also why I usually don't have much patience with Norwegian modern art: too much of it is just mimicking modern art elsewhere.

Anyway: I want to come back to Bærtling when I know more. At the moment: it's an interesting exhibition to have seen...

Art: Sally Mann at Stenersenmuseet

Yesterday, I attended the Sally Mann exhibition at Stenersenmuseet in Oslo.

Sally Mann is a controversial artist, and the most interesting thing about her is the reception of the art. According to her, she decided to photograph what was close to her, what she loved. As she was a mother, her children were natural subjects. A mother sees her children as beautiful beings, and does not consider her naked children as "dirty" or "perverted".

When her photos were displayed, there was a storm of protest. People felt that her photos were on the border of child pornography. I find this immensely interesting. The pornographic aspect was not in the mind of the creator or in the mind of the children depicted, but in the mind of the viewers. Was it also in the photos as such?

(Emmett, Jessie and Virginia, 1989)

When watching this exhibition, I understand Sally Mann's point of view, but I also understand how the protests came about. Close-ups of the genitals of children are not often seen, and then most often in the context of child pornography. The reception history of these photographs say so much about the mindset prevalent in our society. The paradox is that because of the protests, it is now impossible to watch Sally Mann's photos without having to think in the context of this discussion. The pure, motherly love for her children is forever contaminated.

The exhibition also included newer photos - of which lots of nature photos were interesting. Not controversial, however.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mr. Gay Norway 2007

Marius Svela (20) is Mr. Gay Norway 2007. See more photos at gaysir.

Video from VG Nett


Movie: Eating out 2: Sloppy seconds

A wonderfully funny thing, this, and concerned with sex from the first frame to the small thing after the credits. Lots of gorgeous men with a bit of nudity thrown in ... what else can you ask for? I laughed out loud several times, so maybe it's hypocritical to ask for more depth and less one-dimensional characters? Anyway: well worth seeing!

Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds (2006)
Directed by Phillip J. Bartell

Main actors:
Jim Verraros as Kyle
Marco Dapper as Troy
Brett Chukerman as Marc


Movie: Eternal summer

It is a rare treat to get to see two Taiwanese movies in a row.

"Eternal summer" is a moving story about two boys who are best friends - or boyfriends? A bit too slow at times, but beautiful - even though the story is one of the basic formulas for gay films...

Sheng xia guang nian (2006)
Directed by Leste Chen

Main actors:
Bryant Chang as Kang Cheng-hsing/Jonathan
Hsiao-chuan Chang as Yu Shou-heng/Shane
Kate Yeung as Hui-chia


Movie: Spider lilies

I was the only man at the screening of "Spider lilies" at the Oslo Gay and Lesbian Film Festival yesterday. Point taken: this is a "lesbian film". But it has interest for anyone.

The movie tells a complex story which switches between present and past very frequently. All the characters have their ghosts in the past, which are important to the story. Taiwanese internet sex sites are not one of my specialities, but I got a glimpse into the unknown by this movie. And some of the substories told were touching.

All in all: never boring. I do think the director got a bit too imaginative at the end, though.

Ci qing (2007)
Directed by Zero Chou

Main actors:
Rainie Yang as Jade
Isabella Leong as Takeko


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Queer days in Oslo opened!

Skeive dager - the "Oslo pride" or "Queer days" or whatever - opened yesterday, together with the film festival Skeive filmer. VG covered the opening:

Congratulations and good luck!

Drink soft drinks - get cancer?

Dagbladet writes about a new study that suggests that the risk of cancer increases significantly when being given "aspartam" - a chemical that is part of many light versions of soft drinks.

I wonder if this is also the chemical that gives the light versions their terrible taste? I'm sick of ordering Sprite, only to find out that the restaurant only has the chemical-tasting Sprite Zero... Anyway, it's yet another reason to keep drinking the "real" stuff.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Movie: Infamous

"Infamous" tells two strong stories: one about the murderers of a whole family - and the circumstances that made them murderers. And one about Truman Capote's ruthless investigations to be able to write a book on these murders and the murderers. But what makes this such a great movie, apart from Toby Jones's performance as Capote, is _not_ these stories, but the wit in much of the dialogue. Some of that is hilarious.

A great movie about not-so-great men...

Infamous (2006)
Directed by Douglas McGrath

Main actors:
Toby Jones as Truman Capote
Lee Pace as Dick Hickock
Daniel Craig as Perry Smith


Only two textbooks "good enough"

Aftenposten writes about LLH's textbook jury, who has looked at 40 textbooks sent in from the publishers of primary and lower secondary textbooks in Norway. The jury ended up with two textbooks that are acceptable. The leader of the jury, Elisabeth Dahle, says to Aftenposten: "We were not happy with the other books, considering the goals in the curriculum. Either they did not touch on the topic of gay issues, or the texts were excluding. They built up a "we-they-relationship"." (my translation)

Of the two "accepted" books (which were both from the publishing house Gyldendal), one book, "Horisonter 8", was considered "exemplary" and got this year's textbook prize. The jury says that the book does not (as other books) focus too much on sex and problems, but connects homosexuality to positive feelings as friendship and romance.

Obviously, other publishers need to do a job to get the other books up to an acceptable level!

(by the way, for the sake of disclosure: I was the leader of the group working in setting up this prize and the jury. However, the jury has been wholly independent in their decision.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Movie: Free Jimmy

"Free Jimmy" is apparently the most expensive Norwegian movie ever, with wonderful animation equal in quality to the major American studios - but with a story that the Americans would never touch. Four Norwegian junkies join a circus to get away from their enemies in Oslo, but end up fighting with the fanatical "animal rights" activists and the Sami Mafia for the drug addicted elephant Jimmy.

Although hysterically funny at times, the movie is not perfect. And I would love to have seen it in a cinema instead of on my TV - the animation deserves that. In the English version, famous actors such as Woody Harrelson, Kyle MacLachlan and Kris Marshall do the voices, but the voices were great in the Norwegian version as well.

Well worth seeing - you've never seen anything like it!

Free Jimmy (2006)
Directed by Christopher Nielsen


Art: Statens Museum for Kunst

(click to get to the photo's page on Flickr)

A few weeks ago, I visited the main art museum of Copenhagen, the "Statens Museum for Kunst". I liked it a lot - I enjoyed the mix of old and modern paintings and the wonderful buildings. I'll point to some highlights:

Johannes C. Bjerg: Abyssinian (1914-15)

There was a nice area of sculptures on the first floor - and I love photographing sculptures, as it allows me to try to choose the best angle. (Photographing paintings, on the other hand, is a quite boring exercise...) I liked this "abyssinian", among others.

Fernand Léger: Woman with vase (1924)

The collection of "modern" paintings was quite strong. Here's one of my favorites - simple, but strong.

Erik A. Frandsen:

A room was filled with these reflexive artworks - which made them strangely dependent upon each others, and on the other guests in the room...

Edvard Munch: Evening Talk (1889):
The museum also had a few interesting Munchs. Always nice to see new Munchs!

Ditlev Blunck: Profeten Esezechiels syn (1830):

Here's a detail from a Blunck painting.

Some rooms were filled in the old style, with photos from floor to roof - quite a nice way of showing genres instead of individual paintings:

To conclude: the museum had a nice collection, wonderfully presented. I wish that Norway's National Gallery, while excellent in some ways, could take a study trip to Copenhagen when planning their new museum...

Movie: The Tin Drum

The only reason I agreed to see this movie again (when my brother asked) was that the programme showed that it was only about 90 minutes long (which, I must admit, was much shorter than I seemed to remember it). It was a typo.

"The Tin Drum" has an interesting story, and follows the boy during some pretty important years of European history. It is sad in parts, hilarious in parts, and well worth seeing. But as usual when the director insists on using 2 1/2 hours of my time, I ask: couldn't anything have been cut?

Die Blechtrommel (1979)
Directed by Volker Schlöndorff

Main actors:
David Bennent as Oskar
Angela Winkler as Agnes Matzerath


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Monk and the Fish

At an animated films festival some years ago, I remember "The Monk and the Fish" as one of the highlights. After that, I haven't seen it for years, until I found it on Google Video today. Have fun!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Carlsen - Aronian 3-3

Magnus Carlsen is about to do the best chess tournament of any Norwegian ever. He is facing one of the best players in the world (Aronian), and managed the score 3-3 in the six first matches. They will go on to play tie-break games tomorrow. Today, Aronian seemed in charge for most of the match, but Magnus managed to find an eternal chess after a bit more than 40 moves. Look for the annotated game at the official website some time soon.