May 2014 Events

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"Blending Bessarabia: Winemaking in Late-Tsarist Russia and the Ambivalence of Modernity"

Stephen Bittner, Professor of History, Sonoma State University


When: Thursday, May 1, 4:00pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA), The Deptartment of History, The Department of Food Science


About the Speaker: Stephen Bittner is Professor of History at Sonoma State University in California.  He is the author of The Many Lives of Khrushchev's Thaw (Cornell, 2008), about Moscow's Arbat neighborhood after Stalin's death, and the editor of Dmitrii Shepilov's memoir, A Kremlin's Scholar (Yale, 2007), about high politics under Stalin and Khrushchev. In recent years, Bittner's scholarly interests have turned in warmer and more delicious directions, toward the viticultural territories along the Black Sea: Moldova, Crimea, and Georgia. He is presently at work on a book manuscript entitled, "Vineyard Colonies: Wine in the Lands of Tsar and Commissar."


About the Lecture: In the world of late-tsarist winemaking, no controversy was more acrimonious and revealing than that which pitted Prince Lev Golitsyn, owner of Crimea’s celebrated Novyi Svet winery, against the Bessarabian scientist and wine writer Vasilii Tairov. At stake was the practice of “remediating” flawed grape crush with sugar and acid prior to fermentation. In Golitsyn’s view, remediation differed little from wine “falisfication,” which tsarist law would outlaw in 1914; Tairov, to the contrary, saw remediation as a beneficial outgrowth of oenology, the modern science of winemaking. Playing out in the pages of wine journals and from the podia of nationwide viticultural congreses, their debate opened unusual schisms in late-tsarist Russia between notions of European and modern, science and status, progress and refinement.


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Concert: White Birch Ensemble


When: Thursday, May 1, 7:00pm

Where: The Brink Lounge, 701 E Washington Ave, Madison, WI


White Birch Ensemble was created by Russian born Yuriy Kolosovskiy in 2012 and is a true collaboration, mixing talents that span the globe, musical styles and generations. All of the Kolosovskiy's have trained at the Rostov-on-Don College of Music in Russia. This family trio started playing professionally since moving to the United States, though they have always played together. Today, they combine their talents with local keyboardist, vocalist and domra player Abby Wanserski. White Birch Ensemble primarily mixes traditional Russian folk, jazz, and classical styles but takes influence from a wide spectrum including Bluegrass, Ukrainian, Polish, Gypsy, Hungarian and American Folk. In Yuriy's own words, "We believe there is a lot of amazing and beautiful music in every nation, and over all time periods. We try to bring the music to the people. There's something for everyone."







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“Lithuania – Start Up Nation”
Žygimantas Pavilionis, Ambassador of Lithuania to the United States


When: Friday, May 2, 4:00pm | Reception to follow

Where: 121 Pyle Center
Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA), Madison Vilnius Sister Cities, The European Union Center for Excellence (EUCE)


About the Speaker: Žygimantas Pavilionis became ambassador of Lithuania to the United States on Aug. 5, 2010.


Ambassador Pavilionis joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 and was instrumental in helping Lithuania achieve accession into NATO and the European Union. Between 1993 and 2009, he held various high-level positions in the ministry, mostly focused on Lithuania’s relationship with the European Union. Most recently, Ambassador Pavilionis worked as ambassador-at-large and chief coordinator for Lithuania’s presidency of the Community of Democracies as well as chief coordinator for the Transatlantic Cooperation and Security Policy Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


He has a master’s degree in philosophy and postgraduate diploma in international relations and doctoral studies from Vilnius University in Lithuania.

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Madison Vilnius Sister Cities Annual Banquet

with guest speaker Žygimantas Pavilionis, Ambassador of Lithuania


When: Saturday, May 3, 5:00pm

Where: Madison Club, 5 E. Wilson St, Madison, WI


Please join MVSC on Saturday, May 3rd for the annual Madison Vilnius Sister Cities banquet at the Madison Club located at 5 E Wilson Street, Madison. Cash bar opens at 5:00 PM in the Club Room; dinner at 6:00 PM.


This year’s speaker will be, His Excellency, The Honorable Žygimantas Pavilionis, Ambassador of Lithuania. His presentation: “Strategic Benchmarks for Lithuania’s Future.”


Madison Club Chef Andrew Wilson has prepared dinner for our enjoyment.


If you would like to attend, RSVP to Daina Penkiunas by Wednesday, May 1st. For the more information and the registration form, click here.

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Seventh Annual Michael B. Petrovich Lecture

"The Case of the Murderous Monk: Crime Fiction in Imperial Russia"

Louise McReynolds, Department of History, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill


When: Thursday, May 8, 4:00pm

Where: Pyle Center

Sponsors: Alice D. Mortenson/Petrovich Chair in Russian History


About the Speaker: Louise McReynolds’s research interests include Imperial Russia, with a particular focus on “middlebrow” culture. More specifically, she is interested in the development of mass communications and leisure-time activities, and how these helped to shape identities in the nineteenth century, leading up to the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. She is currently exploring the role of archeology in brokering the competing visions of “nationalism” and “imperialism” in Tsarist Russia. Her other interests include film history and theory, critical theory and cultures studies, and historiography.


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WUD Film Starlight Cinema Presents:

Glass Lips (2007)


When: Thursday, May 8, 7:00pm

Where: The Marquee Theater, Union South

Details: Poland, USA | 100 min | HD Projection | Dir. Lech Majewski


About the film: Banished to an asylum, a traumatized young poet relives his tormented childhood in a cascade of wordless images and tableaux. Imprisoned in a lifelong bedlam presided over by an abusive father and a passively seductive mother, the poet uses his ebbing sanity as a means of escape. The parochial cruelty the young poet endures and the transporting beauty he assays entwine into "pungent layers of narrative" (New York Times) that assault the unconscious and challenge preconceived notions of what is right and wrong, real and known (Kino Lorber Cinema). "The hypnotic, painterly images combine with haunting music (composed by director Lech Majewski) in one of the most unusual, beautiful films of the year" -V.A. Musetto, New York Post


NOTICE- TRIGGER WARNING: WUD Film would like to notify our audience that Glass Lips contains graphic depictions of rape and childhood abuse. These visual images could be potentially triggering for some individuals because of their explicit and realistic portrayal of trauma. Viewer Discretion is strongly encouraged. 


For more information about this film, click here.

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Russian and American Performing Artists (RAPA)


When: Sunday, May 18, 6:00pm

Where: Morphy Hall, UW School of Music, 455 N Park St

Tickets: $15 General | $10 Seniors & Children | $7.50 Groups (10+)


The Russian and American Performing Artists (RAPA) present their annual spring concert "The RHYTHMS of SPRING." The concert will feature young and adult soloist artists of piano, voice, strings, and dance. Soloists include: Christopher Allen, Haoyu Cai, Shannon Farley, Anna Gubenkova, Victor Gorodinsky, Alexander and Vladislava Henderson, Gabe Heinemann, Alina and Anthony Holmes, Angelica Minton, Alexandra and Anna Pogorelov, Tatiana Predko, and Maya Reinfeldt.


Also featuring:



To book tickets, call 608-829-0149.

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International Workshop: Reframing Russian Modernism


When: May 21-22, 2014

Where: The Pyle Center, UW-Madison


Click here to download the program.


About the Workshop: About a hundred years ago, in 1912-1917, Russian Modernism reached its apogee. Having produced a series of movements and aesthetic doctrines, it culminated in a number of remarkable achievements in various artistic media and in the establishment of a new analytical paradigm in speaking about aesthetic phenomena. Scholarship devoted to Russian Modernism had for a long time been a product of the analytical paradigm established by Modernism itself. At its core, it emphasized the autonomy of aesthetic phenomena, and it privileged the investigation of synchronous and diachronic connections within the realm of the aesthetic. The resulting literary and art-historical narratives were structured around Modernism’s institutional history, individual achievements of its representatives, and the overall evolution of its aesthetic ideology and practice. In the last two decades a growing number of in-depth studies of Russian Modernism shifted focus to aspects of intellectual, ideological, and sociocultural engagement of Modernist art and literature (a trend often referred to as “cultural studies”). The goal of this workshop and of a subsequent edited volume would be to reflect on this recent scholarly trend and to explore its conceptual dialogue with an earlier tradition of Russian Modernism studies. Individual papers will explore such aspects of the Modernist legacy as ideas of social transformation and religious renewal; historical imagination and nationalism; aesthetic ideology and poetics; traditions inaugurated by Modernism and Modernism’s interaction with “alien” traditions; and Modernism’s chronological and aesthetic boundaries. Overarching questions workshop participants will also consider include: What is the function of “reframing” in humanities scholarship? How does our vision of Russian Modernism and its legacy change as we navigate between different analytical frames? And what is the value of these alterations of the scholarly lens?

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"Crimean Tatars and the Russian Occupation of Crimea"

Barbara Wieser & Rosa Sanchez, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers


When: Wednesday, May 28, 6:00pm

Where: A Room on One's Own, 315 W. Gorham St, Madison, WI


About the Speakers: A Room of One's Own is proud to welcome returned Peace Corps volunteers Barbara Wieser and Rosa Sanchez for a presentation on the current Russian occupation of Crimea. Who are the Crimean Tatars? What has the Russian occupation of their homeland meant in their lives?


Please join returned Peace Corps Volunteer Barb Wieser at A Room of One's Own for a presentation about the Crimean Tatars and their future. From 2009 to 2013, Barb lived in the Crimean Tatar community of Ak Mechet on the edge of Simferopol and worked in the Crimean Tatar Library on culture and language preservation. She is in daily contact with her Crimean Tatar family and friends and will talk about Crimean Tatar history and culture, how the Russian occupation has affected their lives, what are their hopes and fears for the future, and how the international community can help them.


Following her Peace Corps service in Crimea, Barb returned to Ukraine in the fall of 2013 as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer and was living in Kyiv at the time of the Euromaidan revolution. In February she was evacuated with all of the Ukrainian Peace Corps Volunteers and now resides in Minneapolis.


Barb hopes to return to Ukraine this summer.

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