Friday, July 22, 2005

From Rossija with Love

click on an image to enlarge | The St. Petersburg Times, July 22, 2005

Gary and Alexei Pliousnine rock out at the B2 Club, Moscow 7/20/05

Gary plays with Alexei Pliousnine and his band Lolita, B2 Club, Moscow 7/20/05

Gary plays "the Golem" at the 35MM Theater, Moscow 7/21/05

Gary plays "the Golem" at the 35MM Theater, Moscow 7/21/05

photos hosted by flickr)

Here I am in hot humid and sunny Moscow ensconced in a lovely airconditioned suite (yeah!!) overlooking the multicoloured onion domes of Saint Basil's Cathedral and the crennelated walls of the Kremlin in the good old Hotel Rossija...a concrete and steel relic of the Soviet era, soon to be retro-fitted and refurbished completely, a ritual magnet for Western sojourners here and once-upon-a-time holder of the World's Largest Hotel title, the Russiya sits squat and foreboding on the banks of the Moscow River straddling an entire city block or 2 or 3, wherein stepping through its portals one immediately encounters surly prison wardens and bureacratic factotums guarding many strategic points as in search of one's room you traverse endless labyrinthine corridors which exude a faint whiff of Marienbadish faded elegance about them. But nevermind, I would be a churl to complain, and as as this is my second time herein the hotel I kind of dig the joint, and know the drill...and smile kindly at the wardens as they grimace back at me when I flash my identity papers...there is a cool 24 hour sushi joint in the lobby and that is where I headed at 1:15am last night fresh back from my solo Golem concert at the 35MM theater, a wonderful cinematheque/theater/nightclub with a huge auditorium and immense movie screen that was the perfect venue to display the Golem's hypnotic mystical charm...the crowd was large, the press and hipsters and Russian fans out in force and as I summoned forth the spirits of Astaroth and Rabbi Jehudah Loew in the sweltering darkness watching the flickering images closely (I never fail to see some new and startling imagery in this film in a hidden corner of the screen, which never fails to inspire me to new heights of guitar legerdemain...this after playing hundreds of Golem concerts around the globe since my debut with it in the company of co-conspirator/composer Walter Horn), I was swept up in the maelstrom of madness and hysteria that surged through the crowds assembled by director and star Paul Wegener in 1920 on an outdoor set the size of a football field in the Tempelhof district of Berlin (near the soon to be demolished Tegel airport today). And I played accordingly, like a man possessed...the day before I had hardly stepped off the Aeroflot flight from NYC before Andrey Borisov my friend and accomplice in arranging my week here in Russia spirited me off for an interview with RTR national television for their Good Morning Russia program, which I'm told aired yesterday morning before an estimated 50 million viewers, I didn't see it as I was passed out in my hotel room dead tired from the trip in deepest golden slumbers...
off for a little museum tour now before Andrey and I forge ahead to make an overnight drive to Saint Petersburg tonight...more later, suffice to say I am thrilled to be back in Russia, the spires of Moscow shimmer in the summer heat outside my window like hazy jewels, and the spirits of most people I have met on this trip shine forth like diamonds...

page from a Russian entertainment guide, July 2005 | Click on the image to enlarge (hosted by flickr)



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