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Written history

Published: February 3, 2006 (Issue # 1142)


An anthology of literature by winners of the independent Andrei Bely Prize was presented to the reading public this week.

A few days before Christmas 1978, about 15 people gathered in the Leningrad apartment of art critic Yury Novikov to inaugurate the newly minted Andrei Bely Literary Prize, which consisted of three items: an apple, a bottle of vodka (first shots for laureates), and three rubles.

This month, Moscow publishing house NLO, Novoye Literaturnoye Obozreniye (New Literary Review), released a major, single-volume anthology with excerpts by all 63 Andrei Bely Prize laureates from 1978-2004.

The publication was celebrated Monday at art-club Platforma, with readings by poetry laureates Arkady Dragomoshchenko (1978), Alexander Gornon (1991) and Mikhail Yeryomin (1998), as well as short speeches by Boris Ostanin, Boris Ivanov, committee members Alexander Skidan and Dmitry Kuzmin, and St. Petersburg University Professor Lyudmila Zubova.

The prizes first three recipients were Viktor Krivulin for poetry, Boris Groys for philosophy/theory, and Dragomoshchenko for prose. All three had been published in the underground literary monthly Chasy (Watches).

Chasy was one of several samizdat magazines which formed an underground literary movement in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Critic and prose writer Ivanov was the magazines first organizer, and its editors included now-well-known writers and critics Ostanin, Novikov, and Dragomoshchenko.

Chasy, as well as such publications as 37, edited by Krivulin and Tatiana Goricheva, and Obvodny Kanal, edited by Kiril Butyrin and Sergei Stratanovsky, aimed to circulate literary production and criticism from what was called the second culture of unofficial art.

But Chasy, unlike the other publications, was not based on a single set of aesthetic or ideological criteria, said Dragomoschenko, whose novel Chinese Sun has recently been published in English by Ugly Duckling Press, and whose collection of essays Dust is forthcoming from Dalkey Archive Press. It wanted to represent a varied relief, a literary map of the second culture, and publish writers not just from Leningrad, but from various places in Russia.

Ostanin, who had at that time dreamt of converting his dacha into an art commune, believed strongly in the magazines inclusion of all cultural thought on art, theater, jazz, rock, literature and joined the magazine as an organizer after several issues had been published.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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