Central Europe Review: politics, society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 2, No 3
24 January 2000

Coming Up in the US E V E N T S:
Coming Up in the US

Karen M Laun

A Film Festival in New York as well as upcoming Czech, Slovak, Polish, Romanian, Ukrainian and Baltic events in this week's round up of things cultural in the US.

In this week's Coming Up section we have:

Click on the appropiate heading or just scroll down to browse.

Ninth New York Jewish Film Festival

The Ninth Annual New York Jewish Film Festival
16 -27 January, 2000
Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th Street
Plaza Level at Lincoln Center
New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 875-5600

The Jewish Museum and The Film Society of Lincoln Center are sponsoring the Ninth Annual New York Jewish Film Festival this January. Some of the films among this interesting collection feature Central European themes or are directed by Central European directors.

These include After the End of the World, a romantic tale of an Isreali scholar returning to his native Bulgaria, directed by Ivan Nichev and presented in Bulgarian,Greek, Romani and Turkish with English subtitles. Rolf Schübel's film, Gloomy Sunday, takes place in 1930s Budapest, while The Danube Exodus, by Peter Forgács (a found-footage pioneer), uses newsreel images and narration from private diaries to tell the extraordinary tale of a captain of a Danube cruise ship between 1938 and 1945. The captain films as his elegant pleasure ship is transformed into a refugee liner that carries desperate Central European Jews to Palestine and later, Bessarabian Germans expelled by the Russians [Click here for a full review of The Danube Exodus].

Last, but not least, Almonds and Wine, a world premiere by Arnie Lipsey of Canada, is a cheerful animated tale based on a Yiddish folk song that tells the story of a young bride and groom journeying from Eastern Europe to North America.

For box office information and schedules for the films featured this year check out the Lincoln Center website.

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Baltic Art Exhibit

Traveling Baltic Art Exhibition
Beginning 25 January
The US-Baltic Foundation
733 15th Street, Suite 1026
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 393-3338
Fax: (202) 393-3388

An unprecedented exhibition of contemporary paintings and sculpture from the three Baltic nations will be touring five major US cities beginning in January. Starting in New York and Washington before continuing to Chicago, Houston and Dallas, The US-Baltic Foundation will present 67 works of art representing 43 contemporary painters and sculptors from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The Baltic Art Exhibition will hold its world premiere with a gala benefit at New York's National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South) on 25 January, where it will be on display until 12 February.  From New York, the exhibition will travel to Washington, DC, where the exhibition will be hosted in the IMF's gallery (700 19th Street, NW) March 9 through April 8.  The exhibit was organized by Hamid Ladjevardi, a New York-based fund manager specializing in Baltic investments. Barbara Crane, an artist and curator of the Baltic Art Exhibition, chose a broad spectrum of paintings and sculptures, encompassing styles from representational to neo-expressionist to abstract. Be sure to visit this extraordinary exhibit when it comes to a city near you!

More information about this exhibit can be found on the website of the Latvian Embassy.

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Czech and Slovak Events


Jiří Menzel Film Retrospective
September 1999 to February 2000
Portland and Toronto
Phone: (505) 473-6494

The Czech Center New York has been presenting a traveling retrospective of Czech New Wave director Jiří Menzel's greatest films to audiences across the country since September 1999. So far, the Jiří Menzel Film Retrospective has made stops in Montreal, Cleveland, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Fe. Featuring Menzel's best films over the last thirty years, the retrospective gives film lovers a rare glimpse of the body of work of one of Europe's foremost filmmakers. In January and February, film-goers can catch such films as the famous Closely Watched Trains, My Sweet Little Village and Larks on a String, which was banned by the Communist authorities for 21 years.

For locations of participating theaters and film schedules see below:

Northwest Film Center
The Guild Theater, SW Park & Taylor, Portland, OR
Call (503) 221-1156, or visit http://www.nwfilm.org.


Tuesday, 25 January, 7 pm
Larks on a String

Thursday, 27 January, 7 pm
Cutting It Short

Friday, 28 January, 7 pm
My Sweet Little Village

Saturday, 29 January, 5 pm
Festival of the Snowdrops

Sunday, 30 January
1 pm - My Sweet Little Village
3 pm - The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin

Cinematheque Ontario
Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario,
317 Dundas St West, Toronto
Advance ticket sales for members only at (416) 968-FILM
Admission: members USD 4.80, non-members USD 8


Friday, 18 February
Capricious Summer

Saturday, 19 February
Closely Watched Trains

Tuesday, 22 February
Larks on a String

Wednesday, 23 February
Cutting It Short

Thursday, 24 February
Festival of the Snowdrops

Friday, 25 February
My Sweet Little Village

Saturday, 26 February
The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin

For more information on Jiří Menzel and the film retrospective, visit the Czech Center's website.

Bohumil Hrabal Evening
25 January, 7:30 pm
Czech Embassy
Phone: (202) 274-9100, x3413 (free, call for reservations)

In conjunction with the Jiří Menzel Film Retrospective, the Czech Embassy is sponsoring several special events about the director's favorite author, Bohumil Hrabal. Among the most important and popular Czech writers of the 20th century, Bohumil Hrabal has had nearly three million copies of his works printed in his native land and has also been translated into 27 foreign languages. More of Hrabal's novels and stories have been adapted for the screen than any other Czech authors, perhaps the most internationally renowned of them being Jiří Menzel's version of Closely Watched Trains, which received the 1967 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

This evening, which celebrates the 85th anniversary of Hrabal's birth, features readings from the author's most well-known texts by members of Scena Theatre, as well as the opening of an exhibit devoted to his life and work. The evening is organized in collaboration with Politics and Prose Bookstore, which will offer Hrabal's books in English translation at the event.

Bohumil Hrabal Exhibit
25 January to 17 February
Czech Embassy
3900 Spring of Freedom Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 274-9100

Following the special evening of readings from Bohumil Hrabal's work, a new exhibit "Too Loud a Solitude" will be on display at the Czech Embassy. This exhibit examines the life and work of this unusual Czech writer, from his birth on 28 March, 1914, through his sudden death on 3 February 1997. Open weekdays: 9 am to 5 pm.

Czech Settlers in America Exhibit
3 December to 4 February
Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies
18 S. 7th Street
Philadelphia, PA
Phone: (215) 925-8090

Don't miss your last chance to see the Balch Institute's exhibit on early Czech immigrant life in the American midwest before it closes on 4 February. This exhibit highlights the years from 1848 to 1920, capturing the immigrant past with historic photos and artifacts, including needlework, folk dress and other personal possessions. Admission is 3 USD for adults, 1.50 USD for students, seniors and children. The exhibition is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. There is free admission on Saturday from 10 am to 12 noon.

Visit the website Balch Institute website for more information on exhibits and activities.

Video Thursdays at the Czech Center
27 January, 6 and 8 pm
Czech Center New York
1109 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10028
Phone:(212) 288-0830

If you're in New York you might want to visit the Czech Center for their Video Thursdays. On 27 January, the featured film is Saša Gedeon's Return of the Idiot. Inspired by Dostoyevsky's novel The Idiot, this is the second feature from this up-and-coming young director and was the official Czech selection for the 1999 American Academy Awards.

Visit the website of the Czech Center for more information on their Video Thursdays and other events. Or e-mail them.

...And More Czech and Slovak Culture in the US

For more information on Czech and Slovak events in the US, look here and click on "Czech-Slovak." Also, check out the calendar of events at the Czech Embassy.

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Estonian Events


Erkki-Sven Tüür Concert

8 February
St Ignatius Loyala Church
980 Park Avenue
New York, NY
Phone: (212) 288-3588

Estonian musician Erkki-Sven Tüür will be presenting his "Crystallisatio" in a concert in New York City. Born on the rural island of Hiiumaa, Tüür has achieved world recognition for his intriguing and dynamic classical and chamber music. This concert is definitely worth checking out if you're in the Tri-State area.

Click here to read Mel Huang's article on Tüür.

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Polish Events


Arthur Szyk Exhibit of World War II Era Prints and Drawing
9 December 1999 to 6 May 2000
The Library of Congress
Swann Gallery of the Thomas Jefferson Building
101 Independence Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20540
Phone: (202) 707-8696

The Library of Congress is celebrating the recent acquisition of several important original works by Polish American artist and illustrator Arthur Szyk (1894-1951) with an exhibition in the Swann Gallery entitled "Arthur Szyk: Artist for Freedom." Szyk, who was born in Lodz, Poland, achieved international prominence during World War II when he produced hundreds of anti-Axis illustrations and cartoons in support of the Allied war effort. Three of his most important original works of graphic Americana - The Declaration of Independence, Four Freedoms Prayer and Bill of Rights - are featured in the exhibition. The exhibit is open free of charge from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Saturday.

More information on this exhibition is available through the Library of Congress website, by e-mailing: swann@loc.gov, or by calling Sara Duke, Curatorial Project Assistant, at (202) 707-9115 or Curator Harry Katz at (202) 707-8696.

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Ukrainian Events


Gogol/Hohol Festival
4 -6 February
Ukrainian Institute of America
2 East 79th Street
New York NY 10021
Phone: (212) 288-8660 or (212) 475-6474

The Yara Arts Group and the Ukrainian Institute are presenting a three day festival of new works inspired by the work of Nicholas Gogol (Mykola Hohol). The renowned writer was born in 1809 near Myrhorod, Ukraine and died in 1852 in Moscow. He is best known for his stories "The Nose" and "Diary of a Madman", and novels Taras Bulba and Dead Souls. Events include an art exhibit, films inspired by Gogol's work and original plays inspired by his short stories.

Admission to the festival is 20 USD for Saturday, 15 USD for Friday and Sunday or 35 USD for a festival pass.

For more information on the events, send an e-mail to yara@prodigy.net or ukrinst@sprintmail.com. Or visit the website of the Ukrainian Institute.


Lviv Musical Ensemble "Collage"

American Concert Tour of Lviv Group "Collage"

Critically acclaimed at the International Youth Festival, Lviv's "Collage" is a virtuoso class ensemble on performance tours throughout North America. Enjoy European classical music, including Ukrainian compositions and Ukrainian Christmas carols. From 15 to 30 January, they can be heard in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; Spring Valley, New York; Baltimore,Maryland; South Bound Brook, New Jersey; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Louisville, Kentucky; Warren, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois.

If you have any questions about the tour send an e-mail to collage@brama.com

For details on this and other Ukrainian events, check out the calendar of events provided by Brama.

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Romanian Culture in the US

For information on Romanian events in the US, look up the calendar of events at the Romanian Embassy's website.

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Russian Events


New Library of Congress Website:
"Meeting of Frontiers"

This new website from the Library of Congress chronicles the parallel experiences of the United States and Russia in exploring, developing and settling their frontiers and the meeting of those frontiers in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. The site is completely bilingual, in English and Russian, and is intended for use in US and Russian schools and libraries and by the general public in both countries.

"Meeting of Frontiers" includes more than 2500 items, including a wealth of often previously unpublished primary material, that tell the stories of the explorers, fur traders, missionaries, exiles, gold miners and adventurers who peopled both frontiers and their interactions with the native peoples of Siberia and the American West. Collections available in "Meeting of Frontiers" include the Frank G Carpenter Collection of photographs from Alaska in the 1910s; the John C Grabill Collection of photographs of 1880s frontier life in Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming; the Yudin Collection of papers from the Russian-American Company (1786-1830); and selections from the Alaska Russian Church Archives.

This is the Library's first major digital project involving international material and extensive cooperation with foreign institutions. In coming years, the project will be expanded to include more materials from the Library's own collections, from the Elmer E Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and from other US institutions. It will also feature materials from partner institutions in Russia, including the Russian State Library in Moscow, the National Library of Russia in St Petersburg and the Institute of History of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk.

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If you would like to list your upcoming Central or East European cultural event here, please e-mail us at uscomingup@hotmail.com

Compiled by Karen M Laun




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