Monday, October 22, 2007

Vancouver audio archives updated to October 21

Audio archives for the October 21 broadcast of Nash Holos is now available at the Nash Holos website.

As usual, lots of good listening:
  • a recipe for the ultimate comfort food: potato soup
  • all about Trypillian civilization and its remnants in modern-day Ukraine
  • the significance of icons and iconography to Byzantine Christianity (encore presentation)
  • proverb of the week
  • Ukrainian musical language lesson: barabolya (that means potato)
  • plenty of great Ukrainian music! CD of the Week: Fayno by V-V (Vopli Vidopliassova)

Enjoy! ;-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ukrainian snapshot from New York

Just came across a video with a fascinating (and familiar!) snapshot of Ukrainian life in the Big Apple ...

Despite age and infirmity, the Ukrainian women who hand-roll dumplings for their church in New York's East Village soldier on...

The "stars" in this video are your typical North American Ukrainian babas: hard-working, sincere, and sweet ... if a tad tart. ;-)

This seems to be the story of every Ukrainian church community across North America! I know from personal observation that it is the norm here in Vancouver and Winnipeg ... and no doubt other major centres. I expect that is what I'll be doing when I'm in my 70s and 80s. Assuming of course that I'm alive and well and as vibrant as these latter-day amazons!

Video here. (Hat-tip to Blackminorca at Cybercossack.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Vancouver audio archives updated to Oct. 14

Audio archives for the October 14 broadcasts of Nash Holos and Chetverta Khvylia are now available at the Nash Holos website. As usual, lots of good stuff packed into 1.5 hours of listening:
  • to satisfy your sweet tooth, a recipe for morello (sour) cherry compote
  • the scoop on art history treasures in Odessa
  • all about traditional Ukrainian harvest rite ceremonies
  • proverb of the week
  • Ukrainian musical language lesson: the seasons of the year
  • plenty of great Ukrainian music!

Enjoy! ;-)

Why not call it the Nobel PR prize?

The Wall Street Journal has published an op-ed with a very well thought out list of people who were passed over for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Included in this list of much worthier candidates are the presidents of the countries in which the Orange and Rose revolutions took place. Those were peaceful revolutions unprecedented in history. But, that didn't sufficiently impress the judges.

Since there is only one award given per year, you'd think they might consider people who have risked their lives or been imprisoned in their efforts to promote peace and basic human rights.

But no. This year's recipient goes to a media hound who has been (IMO accurately) described as a self-aggrandizing huckster who wastes more energy in a day than the average working stiff will in a year.

Sure, it's important (critical, even) to cut down on GHG emissions and other forms of pollution and waste. No argument whatsoever there. But that calls for action that is a tad more meaningful and self-sacrificial than watching (or creating) a slick Hollywood movie riddled with scientific inaccuracies and then joining the PR committee of the movie star's fan club.

There are people in the world who truly walk the walk and actually work for peace, rather than run a self-serving PR campaign based on a popular cause célèbre.

The WSJ has listed some of them here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ukrainian Festival in Barrie, ON

I'm very disappointed to be too far away to take in the 8th annual Ukrainian Festival in Barrie, ON.

It takes place Sunday, October 21st, 2007 from 11:30 am to 5:00 pm at Barrie Central Collegiate, 125 Dunlop Street East.

The festival was founded in 1999 by the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Byzantine) Ukrainian Catholic Church to serve and promote Ukrainian culture within a Canadian multi-cultural context.

Tickets a bargain at $20 per person, $10 for children under 10 years of age! Price include admission, concerts, kiosks, and full Ukrainian traditional meal.

Details at their gorgeous website here.

Deadly gas blast in Ukraine

So sad and so unnecessary. Vichnaya pam'yat. Memory eternal.

At least 11 people have been killed by a gas explosion that destroyed a block of flats in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk.

... six of the 23 injured were children, with a total of 70 people rescued from their apartments.

The local gas utility in Dnipropetrovsk said the explosion was caused by a sudden increase in gas flows to the area.

However, some residents observed three men behaving suspiciously near the building's gas supply earlier in the day. Witnesses said that the three arrived at the building in a black car and played with the gas supply shortly before the explosion. ...

Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the causes of the accident.

Full story here.

Remaking History in a Kiev Museum

Oh my, a tad bitter are we?

The author of this article isn't too happy with the end of soviet-style revisionist history in Ukraine:

Constructing a new national identity often requires a new vision of the past. In Ukraine, this phenomenon can be seen in several of Kiev's museums.

Exhibits at the Museum of the Army of Ukraine show the Ukrainians as European people who enjoyed monolithic unity while busily liberating themselves from the "Asiatic" Russians.

[In the Museum of Ukrainian History] Russia is still seen as a major problem, but the flavor of the museum is distinctly different. Russians often disappear from sight, and Ukraine's conflicts with everybody else are also downplayed. In fact, Ukrainians are presented as self-sustained, peaceful people who preserve their distinct lifestyles despite being incorporated into a foreign empire. It seems this image of Ukraine's past -- and implicitly, its present -- is what Ukrainian authorities have tried to develop and inculcate.

Hmmm. I see his point. Damn nasty Ukrainian authorities, how dare they cultivate a positive national identity. They should rather spend public resources celebrating foreign occupations and explaining how the occupying forces didn't really oppress Ukrainians, but were actually "liberating" them from their land, resources, and cultural identity. Right, who was it that said "Work will set you free..."?

Anyway, there's more ...

The arrangement of the displays in the Museum of Ukrainian History was markedly different from what I saw in my youth. There weren't many changes in the hall dedicated to the Stone and Bronze Ages, but later periods had gaping omissions. Events that were prominent in Soviet days disappeared or were marginalized.

Does he mean the Holodomor and other artificial famines, collectivization, the gulags, the dismal (non-existent) level of environmental protection in the Soviet era , the liquidation of churches ... and other such great historical events? Gee, what happy memories they would bring.

Full article here.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Celebrating salo

This has been around awhile, but it's worth viewing again, if just for the music. It's about one of my favourite foods, salo ... It's basically very silly, but the music is great.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

American East meets Canadian West

Does this ever look like a lot of fun!

A first-time-ever series of folk music and dance encounters between the Ukrainian communities of western Canada and the eastern United States. ...

Ukrainian-Canadian dancer/folk dance scholar Andriy Nahachewsky and tsymbalist/prairie music scholar Brian Cherwick join New York Ukrainian artists and audiences for four October programs showcasing and exploring the music and dance traditions of the Ukrainian settlers of western Canada.

Prairie dance music workshops, western Canadian vechornytsi (village dance party), the first concert in the New York Bandura Ensemble's ongoing Bandura Downtown series, a folk art museum exhibit, and more ... Lucky New Yorkers!

Full details here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Kyiv Beet - great reading!

Here's an antidote for political cynicism .... The Kyiv Beet - Ukraine's Only "News"paper

Here you can find for the first time all of the published issues of The Kyiv Beet - from the latest issue, to the special 2004 "Orange Revolution" issue, to the first one back in 2002 (ah, the good old Kuchma days).

We've had a lot of fun being the voice of reason in Ukraine, and we hope to keep doing it - until we get arrested or deported, that is. We appreciate all the comments (and death threats) that we've received over the last five years, and we invite you to leave your feedback ...


Wickedly funny!

Industry Goliath wins

The recording industry won a key fight Thursday against illegal downloading when a federal jury said a Minnesota woman must pay $222,000 for sharing copyrighted music online. ...

Record companies have filed some 26,000 lawsuits since 2003 over file-sharing, which has hurt sales because it allows people to get music for free instead of paying for recordings in stores. Many other defendants have settled by paying the companies a few thousand dollars.

The Recording Industry Association of America says the lawsuits have mitigated illegal sharing, even though music file-sharing is rising overall. The group says the number of households that have used file-sharing programs to download music has risen from 6.9 million monthly in April 2003, before the lawsuits began, to 7.8 million in March 2007.

Full article here.

The RIAA may have won this case, but it is amazing that they don't realize how high the stakes are in the court of public opinion.

Maybe when this story ends, we will find that "David" exchanged his slingshot for a boomerang and handed it to his nemesis ...

Grassroots don't grow from the top down!

Wow. Someone tell this American politician that you can't create a grassroots movement at the top. And that if you try, you will make yourself a laughingstock.

Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays last week declined to apologize for a September 26 on-air remark by Rush Limbaugh -- syndicated by CC-owned Premiere Radio networks -- so now the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has sent an e-mail, signed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to supporters asking them to contact Mays and demand that he make Limbaugh apologize. ... (Full article here.)

Good grief. What an exercise in political self-aggrandizement.

I really hope the CC CEO sticks to his guns and that Democrat supporters ignore Reid's request, and actually see it for the self-serving gambit it is ... wrapping a bruised ego in the American flag and asking supporters to massage it.

Sadly, tho, in "the land of the free" it has become more politically expedient to create a media circus than to develop a thick skin and uphold the principle of free speech and freedom of expression ... and then get on with serious issues. Like the Iraq war itself, rather than just opinions about it.

Such overt influence-peddling reminds me of soviet times when "adoring" crowds in the "workers paradise" were created for western consumption...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Orange Revolution Documentary Film

I missed Damyan Kolody's documentary film on the Orange Revolution, The Orange Chronicles. Drat!

Everyone I spoke to said it was awesome and that it touched them to the core ... if you ever get the chance, go see it! (And try not to get the flu the day of the screening!) It's also available on DVD at the film's website.

In the meantime, here's the trailer.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

New blog sighting: Kovbasa and beyond

OK, I recently discovered this very interesting blog ... Kovbasa and beyond!

What makes it particularly interesting is its assertion that "kovbasa" is a new buzzword for "cool" and "hip" etc ...

Just remember, you heard it here first. ;-)

UPDATE: The blog above is no longer active and has in fact disappeared from cyberspace altogether. Weird, and sad... Hopefully, the server was just down at the time.

New book on internment released

Best-selling YA and children's author Marsha Skrypuch just released her latest novel, Prisoners in the Promised Land.

The book is about a young Ukrainian immigrant girl who was sent to the Spirit Lake Internment Camp during WWI as an "enemy alien" along with her entire family.

The launch was held in Montreal, where a commemorative plaque was unveiled. A good writeup (before the event) was published in the Montreal Gazette (here).

If you haven't read any of Marsha's books yet, get thee to a bookstore now!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Unsung heroes

I don't know how this story by Orysia Tracz slipped by me, but now that it's been brought to my attention, I can share it with you!

Remember the late 1950-mid-1960s? Remember registering to study political science and Russian at college? (Ukrainian was not offered at the time.) We were going to free Ukraine, or at least strive our damnedest to get close to that goal for our parents and for ourselves.

We were also the ones who made presentations about Ukraine in our grade schools and high schools, and explained - whether they wanted to hear it or not - that Ukraine was not Russia; no, we are not Russians; yes, we are Europeans, and a separate nation even though we are part of the USSR ... (And we were the only ones in school who had the excuse notes for being absent on January 6 and 7.)

We did this willingly, on our own, with a zeal that surprised even our parents. They were still afraid of "them." We were not. And I doubt that most of us were consciously indoctrinated with that Ukrainian patriotism. I think we got it through osmosis. We felt the pride, and the pain, and the sorrow.

I am saying "we" because I do not think that I was the only one ..
.

A great read, not too long (in fact the time will zing by all too fast) and a great snapshot of a generation that worked (and still does!) so hard to make it possible for the rest of us to know what we know, and be who we are, just that much better.

Article here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Okean Elzy

Rumour has it that Okean Elzy is coming to Vancouver this fall!

Details to follow, soon as I have them. Stay tuned!