Friday, September 22, 2006

Today in St. Petersburg, Russia...


... among other things, they are gearing up for a weekend of 'musical moaning'.

A Finnish-German artist duo is staging a performance piece where the public is invited to bring their dissatisfaction, anger and other negative emotions about life to a musical forum. These expressions are put to song by way of a 'complaints choir'.
The interactive art exhibit is designed to be therapeutic. If I didn't already have weekend plans, I'd hop a plane and go there to watch, listen, participate. Lord knows I always have a few life complaints/ bitchings of my own to vent.

Much has changed since my visit to the U.S.S.R. in 1990 (a year before 'the fall').
Heck, it isn't even called the U.S.S.R. anymore. Leningrad, which was once St. Petersburg before it became Leningrad, is again St. Petersburg.
Unsettled politics then and now. Russians leaving the country to settle here there and everywhere. The ones who stay behind still deal with a struggling economy and political uncertainty. A reasonable quality of life for all remains elusive. No small wonder for the musical moaning interactive art show.

Check out these interesting descriptions of 'Russian building characteristics' in St. Petersburg. The family I stayed with lived in an old, rundown residential region building. I celebrated my 39th birthday in their tiny apartment. This birthday was not a milestone, yet remains memorable for the love, kindness and generosity showered on me by my host family; as well as the smiles, flowers and birthday greetings from all who attended the party. We ate way too much delicious home-cooked food. Dessert was a meringue and chocolate pudding cake called 'The Castle Walls Come Tumbling Down'. We drank too much (vodka and black market Pepsi) and reveled late into the night - laughing, singing and trying to communicate in English and Russian.

From the two narrow balconies of their place, the lot of us could enjoy breathtaking views of the Neva River, replete with drawbridges, small boats, huge barges and the city's panorama rimming the waterway.
As we stood and watched the parade of lights and boats on the river, we could embrace in a shared silence - our newfound friendship.

Sigh.
I miss those people, and wonder where they all are now, what they're doing, etc...
Without a doubt, they have stories to tell and emotions to express.
Perhaps a few will attend the art show.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I too would enjoy having a place to air my grievances. Blogging may be the ticket. Blog on!

justducky said...

Poor quality renovation!
Owned by alcoholics?

And how do they know these poor accomodations are owned by alcoholics?
Is there a club of "alcoholic poor quality renovation owners"?
Do they sport vodka label wallpaper?
Are their owners friends of Bill W.?
oooh, I don't wanna live in one o' these Russian dives...
sounds worse than the Jazz Club in Florence!