Editor’s note: If you missed seeing episode 1, it will air again at Merlins Rest Pub on December 28th.
Last night I attended the Minneapolis premier of the Norwegian reality tv show Alt for Norge. The draw, for me, in attending was two-fold: a) I’ll take any excuse to go to Merlins Rest Pub and b) local musician and Völva, Kari Tauring, was a contestant in the show.
Kari Tauring at Merlins Rest Pub - photo credit, Jeff Wheeler of the Star Tribune
To read an interview with Kari Tauring about the TV show, see this article.
The show, a contest that pits 10 Americans of Norwegian heritage against one another for a prize of $50,000 and a chance to meet their Norwegian relatives, was charming. Watching the show for the breathtaking views of Norway is worth it. Add in the very diverse contestants and the quirky challenges they face and you have the makings of a very enjoyable and engaging program. While watching the show the crowd of approximately 25 people of all ages cheered for Kari whenever she was on the screen. Towards the end of the first episode we clapped and Kari, who was present at the Pub and going from table to table visiting with everyone who attended, took a bow when she was awarded the Norwegian Spirit Award.
However, that isn’t what made the evening go from pleasantly interesting to riveting. It was the Q & A session after the program, and possibly the two hard ciders I had, that made the experience not to be missed. Kari told us that during the taping of the show she felt very isolated, despite making friends with some of the other contestants. “It was a different experience for me than it was for anyone else there,” says Kari. One of the examples she gave highlighted this difference. “When we were at the Unification monument everyone else was lifting a glass to cheer King Harald, but for me it was a very profound moment. This was a place of civil war, like Gettysburg. This was where a monotheist High King won over the democratic Heathen petty Kings. It wasn’t a ‘Yay, King Harald!’ moment for me.”