Thursday, July 28, 2016

What's In A Name?

Amen, Egyptian

Mythological Names

Names are definitely related to folklore and mythology. They are intended to evoke spirits, protect people and align person with specific cultural and/or spiritual traits.
Here's an example of some mythological names:
AMATERASU   Far Eastern Mythology
Means "shining over heaven", from Japanese 天 (ama) "heaven, sky" and 照 (terasu) "shine".
AMERETAT   Persian Mythology
Means "immortality" in Avestan.
BRIJESHA  Indian, Hinduism
Means "ruler of Brij" in Sanskrit.
BRÜNHILD   German, Germanic Mythology
Derived from the Germanic elements brun "armour, protection" and hild "battle".
DISMAS  Judeo-Christian Legend
Derived from Greek δυσμη (dysme) meaning "sunset".
DJEHUTI   Egyptian Mythology
Reconstructed Egyptian form of THOTH.
DORIS    English, German, Croatian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology 
 From the ancient Greek name Δωρις (Doris) which meant "Dorian woman".
EOGHAN   Irish, Scottish, Irish Mythology. Possibly means "born from the yew tree" in Irish, though it is possibly derived from EUGENE.
FREYR    Norse Mythology
Means "lord" in Old Norse.
GRIMHILT   Ancient Germanic, Germanic Mythology
Germanic form of KRIEMHILD.
HEPHAESTUS   Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek ‘Ηφαιστος (Hephaistos), meaning unknown.
IONE   Greek Mythology, English
From Greek ιον (ion) meaning "violet flower".
IOVIS   Roman Mythology
Ancient Roman form of JOVE.
MEADHBH   Irish, Irish Mythology
Variant of MEDB.
NYYRIKKI   Finnish Mythology
Meaning unknown.
OCEANUS    Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinized form of OKEANOS.
PELE   Pacific/Polynesian Mythology
Meaning unknown.
RHIANNON   Welsh, English, Welsh Mythology
Derived from the old Celtic name Rigantona meaning "great queen".
SHYAMA   Indian, Hinduism
Derived from Sanskrit श्याम (shyama) meaning "dark, black, blue".
SIAVASH   Iranian, Persian Mythology
Means "possessing black stallions" in Persian.
THEMIS   Greek Mythology
Means "law of nature, divine law" in Greek.
This partial list is courtesy of Behind The Name  


Friday, July 15, 2016

True Love Trickster

True Love Trickster

Will Viola Duel For Love?

For eons, storytellers have delighted in telling stories about tricksters who cleverly alter their identity to achieve certain goals. These characters often possess a great degree of intellect or secret knowledge that is used to play tricks on others. The tricks can include disobeying rules and conventions that are supposed to keep social customs and beliefs intact. When that happens, confusion ensues. 

The confusion, as it turns out, is what’s needed to shake things up; to help society take a second – or third - look at itself. When done with humor, it can produce valuable insights that can loosen up assumptions about such rigidly held definitions as what is true love and who gets to have it?

According to Viola, the trickster of Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night, true love came after she disguised herself as a man. It was safer for her to do so following a shipwreck on Illyria where she was separated from her twin Sebastian.

She initially changed her identity to protect herself. Ironically that very change is what allowed her to be in close proximity to someone she fell deeply in love with.  That set off a chain of gender bending events which created mayhem for those questing for true love.  

In the end, the characters show the audience the nature of true love; that it is not bound by gender but, simply, by the capacity to give and receive it. 

Such a truth remains timeless and that may be why Twelfth Night continues to delight audiences. 

Written about 500 years ago, it will come to life on stage in Marin Shakespeare Company’s upcoming production performed July 22 through August 21 at Forest Meadows Amphitheatre at Dominican University of California in San Rafael.  

When asked about the historical relationship between true love and gender roles on stage, Marin Shakespeare Company Director Lesley Schisgall Currier commented that plays such as Twelfth Night, confirm that same-sex relationships are not “a particularly contemporary idea.”

“I believe Shakespeare, with his tremendous ability to empathize with so many different kinds of people, could easily understand same-sex attraction.” In fact, she added, “Shakespearean theatre definitely celebrated, and in the comedies, laughed at the idea of homoeroticism. The actor playing Viola was a man dressed as a girl pretending to be a man in love with a man and pursued by a man pretending to be a girl.  The gender confusion adds to the confusion all the character feel about being in love — how much we enjoy the pain, how quickly we feel the passion, how silly we become.”

The search for true love can do that. It can make people fools and full-hearted, and that’s the point. A trickster like Viola – at the center of this play - triggers an avalanche of mistaken identity that opens the floodgates society holds about love and romance. Even the most upright of characters, freed from the confines of tradition, swoons with the imaginings of true love’s possibilities.

It is interesting to note that when casting for Viola’s role, played by Elena Wright (Member, Actors Equity Association), the director wasn’t looking for someone who could play a ‘boyish’ role. Instead, she said, the role required someone who could help the audience suspend its beliefs about gender. That meant, the character had to be “a really great actress, who can be vulnerable, funny, highly intelligent, and who can bring Shakespeare’s language to life.” 

Want to know more? The play opens next week!

If You Go:

Twelfth Night runs July 22 to Aug. 21, 2016.  Admission at the door is $35 general; $32 senior; and $10 youth (25 and under). Preview performances $12 per person. "Pay Your Age" is offered to audience members between the ages of 26 and 34 when purchasing tickets at the Box Office on the day of any performance, with valid identification. Marin Shakespeare Company also offers those 65+ half-price tickets at Senior Matinees and those 18 and under are free at Family Matinee performances. Details.

Related Information
Folk Heroes 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Scandinavian Summer

 A Bit of Scandinavian Summer Here

Looking to sample Scandinavian culture this summer?

Here are some events that we think will be of great interest:

Sons of Norway’s 2016 International Folk Art Exhibition & Competition.  It is, according to some, Sons of Norway’s largest folk art event and takes place in Tacoma, Washington August 24th through August 27th. The folk art show is part of the Sons of Norway’s International Convention which is sponsored by the Sons of Norway, a fraternal life insurance company that provides opportunities for people to experience Norwegian culture. Pre-registration materials need to be submitted by August 5, 2016. Actual folk art pieces must be hand delivered by the folk artist (family, friend, etc.) or by a lodge delegate. Details

Tour a Norwegian Tall Ship. The world’s largest Viking longship “Draken Harald Hårfagre” The sails from her homeport in Haugesund, Norway to various destinations, including the Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois. A full day tour has been scheduled on July 29 by Canterbury Books and Tours in association with the Sons of Norway Valhall Lodge 5-168.  To learn more, click here

Folk Dancing Performances. Featured Norwegian artists Gudbrandsdalsdansere, and dancers from Gudbrandsdal will perform elegant regional springleik dances on August 17 in Seattle, Washington. Details.
The Nordic Music Festival will be held on September 10. This 8th annual event will feature Nordic bands, dancers, singers, instrumentalists, and storytellers. Rain or shine it will also offer Nordic artisans arts and crafts as well as Scandinavian foods. The event’s finale will be the annual lutefisk toss competition which pits a team of Swedish lutefisk tossers against a group of Norwegian fish flingers.  To learn more about this free Minnesota event, click here.

Related Information

Other Folk Festivals

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

National Heritage Fellows

National Endowment for the Arts

National Heritage Fellowships


This fellowship program recognize artistic excellence and support of artists who make continuing contributions to America’s nation's traditional arts heritage.

This year’s award winners are masters of art forms ranging from Native-American basketmaking, to Laotian khaen playing, to Mardi Gras Indian traditions. These recipients of  the 2016 NEA National Heritage Fellowships are receiving  the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.
Not only are these individuals highly accomplished artists, they are also dedicated to sharing these art forms with new audiences and teaching a new generation of artists. Each will be awarded $25,000 and the recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony and a concert in Washington, DC, this September.

The NEA National Heritage Fellowships highlight these artists who have worked to ensure that these artistic traditions will continue for generations to come.”

The recipients are:

  • Bryan Akipa (Sisseton, SD) – Dakota Flute Maker and Player
  • Joseph Pierre "Big Chief Monk" Boudreaux (New Orleans, LA) – Mardi Gras Indian Craftsman and Musician
  • Billy McComiskey (Baltimore, MD) – Irish Button Accordionist
  • Artemio Posadas (San Jose, CA) – Master Huastecan Son (Mexican Musical Tradition) Musician and Advocate
  • Clarissa Rizal (Juneau, AK) – Tlingit Ceremonial Regalia Maker
  • Theresa Secord (Waterville, ME) – Penobscot Nation Ash/Sweetgrass Basketmaker
  • Bounxeung Synanonh (Fresno, CA) – Laotian Khaen (free-reed mouth organ) Player
  • Michael Vlahovich (Tacoma, WA/St. Michaels, MD) – Master Shipwright
  • Leona Waddell (Cecilia, KY) – White Oak Basketmaker

Profiles of the artists are available on the NEA’s website, along with photos and audio and video samples of their work.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.