Norway – Cloud Walker

Munch Mix

Norwegian artist Edvard Munch is famous for his masterpiece, The Scream. Let’s take a look at the man and what drove him to create such a haunting image, which is universally appreciated and an icon of Norway:

Munch was born on Decmber 12, 1863 in Löten, Norway, the second of five children. Tragedy seemed to follow the Munch family. When Edvard was very young, his mother died from tuberculosis, followed by one of his sisters. Another sister was troubled with mental illness issues and committed to an asylum in her teens and a brother died young after a bout of pneumonia. Munch, himself, suffered from mental health issues, which were exacerbated by alcoholism. The artist spent periods of time in a private sanitarium.

the-scream-grumpy-cat

After originally studying to be an engineer, Munch left school to pursue art, which he did at the Royal School of Art and Design, starting in 1881. From there, he rented a studio with six other artists, with the intention of creating an exhibition. Munch specialized in Expressionism and some historians believe he was the father of the movement, before it took off in the early 1900’s.

Munch’s first major work was called The Sick Child and illustrated the death of his sister. It was also based on times he visited ill patients with his father, who was a doctor. When it was first unveiled, the painting drew harsh criticism, with many detractors claiming the piece was unfinished. Munch made six copies of the painting, which reside in galleries around the world.

After moving to France in 1889, Munch got down to business, creating a number of pieces based on feelings for the 1902 Berlin Exhibition. These works included Despair, Melancholy, Anxiety, and Jealousy. Munch’s claim to fame, The Scream, was also created during this period. It is actually based on a real location in Ekeberg, Norway. With Oslo pictured faintly in the background, past the safety railing and down the hill was the sanitarium which housed Munch’s sister. There was also a slaughterhouse nearby and it’s claimed that screams could be heard emanating from both buildings.

The Scream Cat

There are four versions of the famous image. One hangs in the Norwegian National Gallery, one in the Munch Museum, and pastel and lithograph varieties also exist. The National Gallery’s version of The Scream was stolen in 1994 on the opening day of the Lillehammer Winter Olympics, with the two male burglars leaving behind a note that read: “Thanks for the poor security.” The National Gallery refused to pay a $1 million ransom for the piece and a police sting operation recovered the painting a few months later, as well as procuring convictions against four men that were later overturned.

The Scream was also one of two pieces stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway in 2004. Masked gunmen nabbed The Scream, as well as Munch’s ‘Madonna’. The work suffered some damage before it was recovered in 2006. The piece was put on display for a short time, with damage and all, before disappearing for restoration work. It finally returned to being on display again in 2008. In all, six men were arrested in connection with the theft.

In 2012, The Scream sold for $120 million U.S., breaking the record previously set by Pablo Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust,” which went for $106.5 million U.S. in 2010. The piece went up in value because the frame is also painted by Munch and includes a poem describing his motivation for creating it. Bidding began at a mere $40 million, with the auction lasting more than 12 minutes.

the-scream movie

The Scream has found its way into numerous avenues of popular culture. It was the inspiration for Ghostface’s mask for the Scream movie franchise, which is known the world over. Pop artist Andy Warhol recreated the piece as a silk print, which became quite famous. It was also chosen by the Norwegian Postal Service as one of four Munch works to be turned into stamps. Imaging getting a letter with that haunting face staring back at you. No wonder so many Scandinavians go crazy!

In 1938, The Nazi’s declared Munch’s catalogue of work “degenerate art” and removed his collections from German galleries, putting them up for auction. Norwegian art dealer Harald Holst Halvorsen (the original Triple H) nabbed as many of the pieces as he could to return them to their homeland. Halvorsen then distributed some of the pieces to other parts of the continent, based on discussions he had with Munch and Munch’s desire for recognition in other parts of Europe.

Munch moved to Ekely, Norway and chose to live mostly in isolation, where he died on January 23, 1944, aged 81. He enjoyed painting the landscape and farm life in his twilight years, but perhaps more importantly, he did a fair bit of work on nude paintings with a slew of female models, some of which he likely had relationships with. Now, that is the mark of a true master!

Norway: Cloud Walker

Cloud Walker Cocktail

  • 1 oz Cloudberry Liqueur
  • 0.75 oz Whiskey or Bourbon
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

I must admit, that as I did research for this article, I was able to appreciate The Scream and other works by Munch more. Sadly, when the Sip Syndicate visited Oslo and tried to visit the Munch Museum, the place was closed. We all screamed in agony and then went to drown our sorrows at a nearby bar!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
Lemonade goes so well with Whiskeys and Bourbons. Luckily I’ve been around recently when a couple friends have had doubts to that. The Cloudberry Liqueur is the icing on this classic southern recipe cake and this was a wonderful cocktail which I will serve again in the future!

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October 23 – Skittles

It’s Good to be Bad

There are some horrific villains out there in movie land; characters that keep fans thirsting for sequel after sequel. Here are some of the best in the business!

Freddy Krueger – A Nightmare on Elm Street

I have to admit that after I watched the original A Nightmare on Elm Street for the very first time as a little sipper, I didn’t want to go to sleep that night. The thought of a monster like Freddy Krueger being able to attack a person in their dreams was a novel idea. With his signature bladed claw, I’d love to see a showdown between Freddy and Wolverine from X-Men. Both are virtually invincible and rely on slashing weapons. It would be one hell of a bloody battle.

Freddy_Krueger

Leatherface – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

With a mask made of human skin, a bloody butcher’s smock, and an ear-shattering chainsaw in his hand, Leatherface is certainly one of the most imposing baddies in film history. The Leatherface character and costume was adopted by professional wrestling, mostly in Japan. I have seen Leatherface the wrestler live and it’s quite the sight to see a big hulking guy chase audience members around with a revving chainsaw (no blade, of course).

Jigsaw – Saw

I enjoy playing games, but I don’t think I’d ever want to cozy up to Jigsaw with a Monopoly board or Yahtzee Dice. I’d probably end up in one of his horrific traps, being challenged to justify my wasted existence as the Sip Advisor (I don’t think it’s a wasted existence, but John Kramer – the man behind Jigsaw – would probably think so). Billy, the creepy doll Jigsaw uses to deliver messages to his victims is as deranged and disturbing as dolls come. He would not fit in with The Muppets.

Ghostface – Scream

Although Ghostface has been parodied in the Scary Movie franchise, it’s still a pretty haunting character when you go back and watch any of the Scream films. The franchise has been brilliant with its story of a town of teens being terrorized by a spook that kills silently, but taunts its victims with phone calls prior to their death. The design of the mask is based on the famous painting ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch and was a legit Halloween costume before the films were made.

Scream

Hannibal Lecter – Silence of the Lambs

More of a cerebral monster here, but Hannibal Lecter also has a vicious side. Anthony Hopkins is synonymous with the character, his portrayal winning the star a Best Actor Oscar in 1991, but did you know Lecter was played by someone before Hopkins? Brian Cox played Lecter (or Lektor as the character’s name was changed to for copyright reasons) in the 1986 film Manhunter. John Lithgow also auditioned for that role and given his work as a serial killer on Dexter, he would have been great here, as well.

Pennywise – It

I’m not much of a fan of clowns to begin with, but after watching the It TV mini-movie, I’ll never look at those folks the same again. Pennywise, in clown form, has to be one of the most disturbing villains Stephen King has ever dreamed up… even without the sharp teeth and claws. I have to say that the TV mini-movie is really good for the first half, but totally falls apart in the latter half. Watch with caution or wait for the rumoured re-adaptation to finally come to fruition.

Pennywise

Michael Myers – Halloween

Committed to an asylum as a youngster after murdering his older sister, Michael Myers escapes and wreaks havoc on the Halloween season, tormenting his victims and racking up kills. Myers emotionless face is a frightening image to behold and would certainly stimulate nightmares. Perhaps even more scary is the fact Myers has lived through so many sequels that he seems unstoppable. Happy endings be damned!

Jason Voorhees – Friday the 13th

Hockey can be violet enough, but when you put a mask on a killer seeking revenge and arm him with a machete, you’re certainly asking for trouble. Thanks to staff negligence, Jason Voorhees drowned as a boy at Camp Crystal Lake and returns to the site of his tragic end to mass murder camp counselors and others engaging in immoral behaviour. I won’t spoil the ending of the original movie, but Jason isn’t even the killer until the second film in the franchise.

Drink #296: Skittles

Skittles Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Kinky Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • Top with half Orange Juice and half Lemonade
  • Garnish with Skittles

Who’s your favourite horror movie baddie? Have I grossly neglected a villain on this list? I guess they’ll be hunting me down now!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I always have a desire to “taste the rainbow” and while this cocktail was good to start with and looked fantastic, its score was bumped up even higher when the Skittles garnishes melted a little bit in the drink and gave it an extra boost of candy flavour. It was also fun to eat the little treats as you drank your way through the recipe.