The annual Reykjavik Pride starts today and will take place until August 13th . The theme this year is art and artists and GayIceland asked the chair of the Reykjavik Pride committee, Eva María Þórarinsdóttir Lange, what that meant and if this years Pride would be in any way different from the Prides of former years.
The first question was simply what the theme “art and artists” entails.
“Yes the theme of Reykjavik Pride for 2017 is LGBTQIA+ art and artists celebrating the rich culture of Icelandic LGBTQIA+ artists who have sometimes been known for their boldness and creativity. Furthermore they’ve been known for using their art as a platform to ask uncomfortable questions about their life and identity. Their contribution has been monumental in changing minds and changing hearts towards LGBTQIA+ people in the Icelandic society. This year’s schedule includes a wide variety of events, such as film screenings, concerts, photo exhibitions and literature events that will hopefully give a small taste of what Icelandic LGBTQIA+ culture has to offer, along with a wide variety of educational events. Art can be performed and perceived in so many ways that we think it fits our festival really well to create a platform for all kind of arts in all the colors of the rainbow.”
Does that mean the program will be different from former years?
“Well nothing is really traditional when it comes to Pride festivities, however there are events that have been well received throughout the years and therefore have become “traditional pride events” such as the Queer Cruise, the Opening Ceremony, the Family Festival and the Pride Parade of course. This past year a few iconic queer artists passed away and one of them was George Micheal. So on August 8th the talented singer Friðrik Ómar will set on stage a George Michael Tribute with the help of some amazing singers and musicians and I must say that I’m really looking forward to this event since George Michael has always been a favourite of mine.
We Icelanders love our hot water and our hot pools, in all kinds of weather and we certainly love ice cream (yes also in all kinds of weather) and we think that these two things go really well together. So on Sunday August 13th we’ll meet up for some pool chilling and ice cream. What’s not to love about that?! To know more, show up in your swim wear.”
“… the theme of Reykjavik Pride for 2017 is LGBTQIA+ art and artists celebrating the rich culture of Icelandic LGBTQIA+ artists who have sometimes been known for their boldness and creativity.”
Which artists will perform?
“Many of our beloved artists will perform such as Bergþór Pálsson, Friðrik Ómar, Kristjana Stefáns and Lay Low. Others will shake things up a little such as the amazingly cool women in the performing band Reykjavíkurdætur and the fabulous queens and kings of Drag-Súgur. This year we also have a new official Pride song called The Colors of the Rainbow sung by the wonderful Daníel Arnarsson. A feast for all of your senses.”
Are the guests in for some surprises?
“If I tell, it won’t be a surprise. With that said, Pride and Pride’s performers are full of surprises and who knows what will happen! For those who don’t want to miss a thing and take fully part in the queerness I recommend the Pride Pass. By the way, the Pride Pass is exceptionally generous this year.”
Any stars among the performers?
“We’ll be enjoying some divas, as always. This year we’re going mainly for local talent as we have so much talent over here and with the theme being LGBTQI art and artists we are excited to offer a colorful, camp and charismatic programme.”
This is your last year as chair of the Pride committee, has it been an educational experience?
“Oh yes, that would even be an understatement.”
Why are you quitting?
“Each individual can not have the same role in the board more than six years in a row and not sit on the board more than ten years. This is my sixth year as a chair of the board, so I’ve done my time. I will by no means disappear though. I will be on the sideline for some years to come.
I’m running my own company and it has been very difficult to combine that which so much volunteering. Even though I’m a workaholic I’m slowly realising that I can’t be everywhere at all times – I have to take care of myself too.”
But the Reykjavik Pride has been like your baby for six years, will it not be hard to let go of it?
“Of course it will be hard to “let go”, but also good for me and my nearest and dearest. I think the people around me, especially my fiancé, Birna, will be very happy that I get a bit more leisure time. To be chair in an association like Reykjavik Pride can take it’s toll. It’s all volunteering work and often it puts a lot of strain on your life.”
“This is my sixth year as a chair of the board, so I’ve done my time. I will by no means disappear though. I will be on the sideline for some years to come.”
Have you had to put up with a lot of criticism in this job?
“In a job like this you learn quickly to armour yourself against criticism which can often be hurtful. It’s hard to try to please everybody. The queer society is very diverse and it can be difficult to find the middle road. To do that one needs a lot of patience and to be ready to listen to all the different voices.
But you learn it all step by step as time goes on and the most important thing is to make decisions carefully and base them on facts, not just your own preferences.
Having said that let me emphasize that everything you do for the Reykjavik Pride comes straight from the heart and as long as that is so you still have the passion and endurance.”
Has it been decided who will take your place as the chair?
“No, there will be a vote next year in March when we will have our annual meeting. Exciting!”