Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fun Latvian Tidbits and Bonus Estonian Tidbits

An interesting recent news item featured the former President George W. Bush -- and his artistic talent (or lack thereof, depending on your opinion). In the last several years, he has taken up oil painting as a hobby, and has painted portraits of many world leaders with whom he had worked while President. Two dozen portraits are being shown in an exhibit titled "The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy" at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. One portrait on display is that of former President of Latvia, Vaira Vike-Freiberga.
Look on the top row, far left.
Pretty good likeness, don't you think? (Source: Associated Press)
Latvia's neighbor to the north, Estonia, is often in the news due to its technological prowess. However, it is no slouch in the cultural arena, either. The photo below is testament to someone's wit and imagination.
Estonian Opera's parking lot gates
While on the topic of Estonia and culture, I must recommend an outstanding film which I recently re-watched. "The Singing Revolution" is the story of Estonia's struggle for independence from the Soviet Union (which was very similar to Latvia's fight). It is a moving and powerful movie, and it can be purchased or rented from Amazon (at least if you live in the United States). I saw it in a movie theatre in Washington, D.C. twice when it was released (the theatre kept having to extend the film's run due to its unforeseen popularity), but watching it a third time I was just as moved. It is a valuable film to watch, even if you are familiar with Baltic history.

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