Category Archives: Russia
In Orthodox Judaism, the men are separated from the women during prayer. They sit behind a mechitza (partition) or, in this case, in a balcony…which may actually be the best seat in the house. This custom is, at least in part, because of the idea that the sight of a woman would arouse a man and take his mind away from prayers.
So where does that leave a frum faygeleh (religious gay man)? I’m not quite sure…many possibilities. I snuck up into the balcony during a non-service time, and snapped this shot of what would normally be the women’s view.
Staircase, spiraling across the 4-floor complex that serves as a community center for ultra-orthodox Jews in Moscow. Lots of men with great beards here, though it would be rude to snap a picture…
Authentic Caucasian food, served at the Chabad in downtown Moscow by handsome, dark-eyed waiters from the Caucuses.
What do Caucasians eat, exactly? Chopped salads. Spicy chicken. Fresh herbs. Ground lamb. Flaky pastries for dessert.
I recently visited Eastern Europe – Warsaw and Poland – to learn more about what Jewish life is like there. I will post photos from my trip here, so stay tuned.
This is the first one: a map from the Jewish Community Center in Moscow. Each light represents a Jewish community somewhere in Russia.
The GLBT History Museum that just opened in the City is making news in (among other places) Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Serbia and The Ukraine. This just in from Belarus. From curator and friend of this site Gerard Koskovich, who is always looking for new and better multi-lingual search strategies. For an original content slide show from opening night, click here.
It’s called Smile. Sure it is. A cold-war gumshoe dandy delivers ear-splitting wails while theatrically clutching a violin we only hear simulated on the high end of his five-octave range. A noose swings provocatively, a caged canary escapes, glass shatters. This one from the always strange and inventive Vitas Bumak. Nostalgia, loss, grief and rage filtered through an arch sense of cornball drama. The stuff of opera and life and good enough reason to…Smile! More Vitas here and here.
Sexy Russian Pop Opera singer Vitas Bumac composes, orchestrates, designs the costuming and art-directs his videos and stage productions. The live version of this piece, complete with a hooded orchestra, can be found here.
Singer and composer Vitaliy Vladasovich Grachyov, known as Vitas, was born in the Ukraine in 1979. In 2002, he performed his Philosophy of Miracle at the Kremlin, becoming the youngest person to ever perform at the State Palace. Vitas, who designs his own costumes and staging, presented his fashion line, Autumn Dreams, later that year. Vitas’ performances easily move between and combine opera, synth-pop and rock genres. With hooded orchestras, hybrid processions and sartorial excess, his performances are underwritten with mystery, ritual and an erotic charge that explodes regularly into a spine-chilling male soprano that has little to do with the grating tones of typical falsetto. More here and here.