Oct 132011
Heritage Festivals Distort National Cultures

Reading about and attending ethnic/national heritage festivals¬†here in Portland, Oregon, has enabled me to draw some tentative conclusions about their purpose, effects, and shortcomings. While heritage festivals fulfill an important role in preserving ethnic/national cultures, they also distort them by presenting their antiquated versions. What Heritage Festivals Have in Common The only difference between the recent Serbian, Polish, and Greek festivals was the heritage they celebrated and the resulting substance; each festival wrapped the same prescription in a different flag and flavor. The festivals had a lot in common:* […] Continue reading >

Oct 082011
Writing Across Cultures

Portland’s book and literary festival Wordstock is taking place this weekend. This year’s theme: “America Is a Story That Never Ends”. In the event brochure, Wordstock Executive Director Greg Netzer wrote, “America is a biography of who we are, and a dream of who we want to be. This year’s festival is devoted to such stories of American experience.” How apt for American Robotnik! I am attending both days, to hear writers, foreign-born and natural-born alike, talk about their own (and their characters’) challenges in the new country. The […] Continue reading >

Oct 062011
Fall Is Heritage Festival Season

Fall seems to be the season for heritage festivals. Over the past three weekends here in Portland, Oregon, Serbian, Polish, and Greek festivals took place. I had a chance to attend the Polish and Greek one.¬†Today’s first of two posts looks at the festival experiences (Part Two next week will tackle heritage festivals in general). 5th Annual Serbian Fest I learned about Serbian Fest 2011 the week after it took place from Vickie Kavanagh’s preview article on OregonLive.com. Excerpt: Traditional music, entertainment, activities and food will be featured at […] Continue reading >