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Cramming Glitter And Glam Into Harpa

Cramming Glitter And Glam Into Harpa

Published August 8, 2012

A drag queen named Jennifer Hudson Obama, clutching a red dildo like a microphone, captured the hearts of judges last year to win the Icelandic Drag Competition. This year, the fifteenth time that sequins and eye shadow will glimmer on stage, it’s anyone’s competition to win when the drag queens and kings file into Harpa’s Eldborg Hall on August 8.
But the nine competitors, who take part in a photo shoot, question-and-answer session and talent display, will have a tough time outmatching last year’s year champion, Ms. Hudson Obama, said competition organizer Georg Erlingsson Merritt. “The queen last year, at least in my mind, stands out as one of the best. She was just so brilliant. She made you laugh, she made you cry, she made you scream. She made you wish you were her,” Georg said.
Georg, who also won the competition in 1998, has run the event every year since his victory. To celebrate the Icelandic Drag Competition’s fifteenth year (it took a break in 2004), the event will get a piece of the spotlight, taking space in the main hall of Harpa, which shimmers just as brightly as the contestants’ outfits. For the anniversary, Georg chose a short and simple theme: drag. “So anything goes basically,” he said.
“It’s just a big carnival,” Georg added. “People are struck by glimmer and glamour and outrageousness. Everything has to be outrageous.
Some contestants go all out for the competition, buying wigs from out of the country “because we don’t have a very big wig market in Iceland,” Georg said. Others make their own clothes or use materials from home. Previous themes for the competition included Eurovision, burlesque and the Oscars.
The competition, one of the earliest events of Gay Pride Week in Reykjavík, is financially independent from gay pride, but builds excitement for the con-certs, parades and performances to come. While media and pop culture have popularized drag queen competitions, like in the American reality show “Ru-Paul’s Drag Race,” the Icelandic Drag Competition will also feature drag kings, who put on ties, moustaches and sailor outfits. Georg said Iceland is one of the few countries that include drag kings in drag competitions—showing the overall growth and increased acceptance of drag.
“People are realizing today that it basically is an art performance. People didn’t know that much about it and just thought contestants were just getting on stage, not prepared, and miming to their favourite song,” Georg said. “But people are registering today that it takes a lot of time and preparation to make your acts really good. They people are really putting it on the line to do their best and get the most out of it.”



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Listicle: A Survival Guide For The Darkest Months

Listicle: A Survival Guide For The Darkest Months

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In Reykjavík and beyond, there are some activities that are available only in the winter season. January can be made into a lively month, with a few ideas and a bit of willpower—never before has the frozen city pond looked as inviting, or a glögg by the open fireplace seemed so tempting. The hardest part is often deciding to do something and getting going, so push yourself to get out of the house and you’ll rarely regret it. Instead of dozing the morning away, you can flick on a SAD lamp, down some lýsi, pull on some colourful clothes, and

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SAD Times: The Effects Of Winter—And How To Fight Back

SAD Times: The Effects Of Winter—And How To Fight Back

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When I meet working psychologist and PhD student Erla Björnsdóttir, it’s already dark outside. Reykjavík’s streets are becoming treacherous as compacted snow freezes into sheets of slippery ice, and the streetlights have been lit for a couple of hours already, throughout the late afternoon. People clutch their hot drinks in the coffeehouse, and a barman lights candles on the tables. The atmosphere is tangibly hushed as the winter season hangs over the city. Around 101’s many downtown bars and cafes, sleep issues become a common topic of conversation at this time of year. Whilst some locals carry on as normal,

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A Tale Of Ice And Fire (But Mostly Wind… And Not Much Sun)

A Tale Of Ice And Fire (But Mostly Wind… And Not Much Sun)

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Icelanders are obsessed with the weather. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s ever been here: the weather is no joke. If you don‘t keep a close eye on forecasts and weather-related news, you might miss out on the few good days of summer, end up stuck somewhere in a snowstorm or—on rare occasions—drive right into the latest eruption’s ash cloud. In that spirit, we present some peaks and ebbs of 2014, as it pertained to our friendly in-house meteorological expert. Now, it would be a bit extreme to say that this was a good year for Iceland

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WHERE WERE WE? WHERE ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE HEADED?

WHERE WERE WE? WHERE ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE HEADED?

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To mark the beginning of a new year, we posed two questions to dozens of Icelanders, old and new. Representatives of every single political party, ministers, mayors and machinists alike (as per usual, the governing parties mostly ignored our queries). We asked them to tell us—in their own unique ways, from their own unique perspectives—what summed up the year 2014, and what they expected of the coming one. We asked them to answer the following: “Where are we now, at the end of 2014. Looking back, how did that journey begin, and where did it leave us?” “Furthermore: Where are

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Eight Inside Tips to Surviving the Icelandic Winter

Eight Inside Tips to Surviving the Icelandic Winter

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DARK ICELAND can be a total fucker to deal with, all Northern Lights and magical elves aside. So guess what: our man Ragnar put together a bit of a “listicle” to help y’all cope. Now, go forth and cope! Try the secret menu at Bangkok Ask for the “Thai Style” menu at Thai restaurant Bangkok in Kópavogur. Asian take-out in Iceland can be a pretty dismal affair, but it’s not entirely the fault of the restaurants—as Icelanders can’t seem to see past their love of soggy deep-fried shrimp with sweet-and-sour sauce. But if you know the magic word, they’ll serve

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Year In News: 2014

Year In News: 2014

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The year 2014 was chock-full of controversies, blunders, humour, and, of course, cat stories. So brew yourself a cuppa and make yourself comfortable—we have a lot to go through. JANUARY The year came out of the gate running, with television personality-cum-sports announcer Björn Bragi Arnarson remarking that Iceland’s dominant performance in a handball game against Austria was “like the German Nazis in 1938. We’re slaughtering the Austrians!” All the while, Icelandic brewery Steðji put slaughtered whales to good use, crafting the novel Þorri “Whale Beer,” which contains trace amounts of whalebone meal. And, in an attempt to harness the 40%

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