russian stuff


A psychedelic house of Russian blacksmith in a Russian village near Yekaterinburg city. They say the blacksmith himself has already passed away and his wife gets offers to sell it regularly but she denies them. via

oW5E9lxRro83psy7tx2YXlzUo1_500Russian sausage art


Regina Spektor

Last night I had the great pleasure of seeing Regina Spektor live at Radio City Music hall.  Born in Moscow, raised in NYC, this woman is a brilliant musician and songwriter.  I am in awe.

Regina Spektor Interview

Robert Brink

Yeah, but what I noticed in reading, what stands out the most to me is the comparisons …writers have compared you to the likes of Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Billie Holliday, Joni Mitchell, Bjork, Susanne Vega, Kate Bush, Norah Jones and on and on, but it seems everyone needs to compare you to someone else in order to explain you…
I know and the weird thing is I don’t think Kate Bush sounds like Billie Holliday. I used to get really upset about it and then I had one show, one of my early shows at Sidewalk Cafè, and after the show, different people came up to me at different times and I counted about seven different women that I got compared to. One person would be like, “You sound so much like Joni Mitchell.” And another would say, “Wow you sound so much like Janis Joplin.” And in my mind I’d be like “What?! Those people don’t even sound like one another. Where do Nina Simone and Tori Amos come in together, ya know?

Other than it being a female with a good voice and maybe a guitar or piano….
Do you think maybe it happens more to women? Because there’s lots of guys with guitars but you don’t hear Jeff Buckley getting compared to Kurt Cobain just because they are both guys with guitars. But with a woman its like “Oh female voice” and they just throw out a name.

…I remember listening to a marketing meeting once and I heard someone say “We couldn’t place this female on the radio right now because there’s another female in the top 10 already. So if you really pay attention to what’s being played, there’s a lot less females—especially songwriters. And a lot of the ones that are there are like, somebody featuring somebody—like a man featuring Beyonce, or a man featuring Ashanti or something like that.

…I understand people’s need to classify. I mean, that’s what humanity is built on. We’ll walk into a new territory and discover a new flower and give it like a seven name Latin title, ya know? And the little flower is like “I’m just a pink with blue spots little flower! And nobody else is like me!” But they totally need to classify and explain.

Maybe it’s just trying to find a comfort zone and a familiarity…
Yeah, but also I feel like it makes people not even see the excitement about being themselves. Its like “What do you sound like?” And you are really proud of it and you say “Myself!” Obviously it should be a given that you are influenced by lots of things. I mean, who the hell isn’t? And if you aren’t influenced by a lot of things, you’re just dumb. Because that’s the greatest gift we have—the amount of great art in the world that’s never going to run out anytime soon.


obama in moscow

For Russian Blacks, Obama Visit Stirs Special Interest

By Kevin O’Flynn

MOSCOW — The visit to Russia by Barack Obama, the first black man to be elected president of the United States, is significantfor many Russians.

But for Russians of African descent, in particular, the new U.S. leader is a potent symbol of triumph over the same challenges they themselves face in a country where dark-skinned people remain rare and often unwelcome.

Yelena Khanga is one of Russia’s best-known black citizens. The popular host of a top-rated 1990s chat show about sex — “ProEto,” (About That) — she became one of the few black faces regularly seen on Russian television.

Khanga’s grandparents came to the Soviet Union in the 1920s to escape the racism they had endured in the United States as a mixed-race couple.

Today, Khanga says Obama’s election to the American presidency, and his current visit to Moscow, have special meaning for her.

“He did what my grandmother and grandfather dreamed about in their day,” Khanga says. “They couldn’t even have dreamed that, one day, America would have a black president. The only dreams that they had — my grandmother was white, and my grandfather was black — was that Americans would someday allow mixed couples to live in peace, have children, and let the children have decent lives. That is what they dreamed about.”

…Still, Khanga — whose great-grandfather was a slave in Mississippi — says she believes the scourge of racism was far worse in the United States, where there were 4 million African slaves by the time slavery was abolished in 1865 and where it took another century before school segregation and other forms of racial discrimination were formally outlawed.

Khanga notes that there was a very small percentage of mixed-race and black people in the Soviet Union.“I was part of the first generation — now, of course, there are a lot more,” Khanga says. “But…we did not have the history of racism as they did in America. Not everything was easy, and I can be the first to tell you what kinds of problems we had. But, of course, you can’t compare them to the kinds of things that happened in America.”


I really enjoyed this article.  You can find the whole thing here where it’s much easier to read.