Tour of the Russian and Jewish neighborhood of Riga with Voldemārs Eihenbaums, a local historian and archivist. The neighborhood that dates back to the XV century and is known as Maskavas Forštate or simply Makachka, is famous for its wooden architecture. During the Nazi Occupation, it was turned into a ghetto, with the Old Jewish cemetery and places of mass execution of the Riga Jews that remain mostly unmarked.
Lenin's Last Christmas Party(2018), directed by Uldis Tirons and starring Vilis Daudzins, at Jaunais Rigas Teatris. Based on the diaries of Lenin's medical attendant and other documents that chronicle in minute detail the last days and minutes of Lenin, this stage production is a take on the death of the leader of the Russian Revolution accompanied by enacted rituals, mantra-like music and dance.
Art Nouveau Museum in Riga(12 Alberta Street), located in the apartment of Latvian architect Konstantīns Pēkšēns, who lived here until 1907. It is surrounded by buildings designed by Mikhail Eisenstein, the father of the famous Soviet cinematographer who was born on the same street. The decor of the building features stylized motifs from the local flora and fauna - fir needles, cones and squirrels. The building has a spiral staircase with ornamental ceiling paintings. This Art Nouveau staircase is among the most impressive not only in Riga but also in the whole of Europe. The museum displays a characteristic apartment of a Riga resident in the beginning of the 20th century.
The Free Port of Rigadates back to the early Middle Ages when Riga was part of the Hanseatic League, or trade union. Throughout its history, the port sustained the economic and political life of Riga, whether it was under the Polish, Swedish, Russian or German power, and remained the city's strategic asset. Today it is home to art galleries. In 2018, it served as one of the venues of RIBOCA, the First Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art.
Guest lecture by Boris Ravdin, an historian and world's leading authority on the history of Latvia and Nazi-occupied territories during WWII. A graduate of the History and Philology Department of Latvian University, Ravdin is the author of a pioneering study on the death of Lenin, "Lenin in Gorki - Illness and Death" (1986; under the pen name of N. Petrenko); an editor of the influential Riga-based journal Daugava during Perestroika; co-editor of the multi-volume annotated edition of materials from the Russian-language newspaper Segodnia published in Riga in the 1930s (Русская печать в Риге: из истории газеты “Сегодня” 1930-х годов. Stanford, 1996-1997; with Yuri Abyzov and Lazar Fleishman); and a more recent monograph on the Russian cultural life in Latvia during the Nazi occupation (На подмостках войны. Русская культурная жизнь Латвии времен нацистской оккупации. 1941–1944. Stanford, 2005).
Photo by Yulia Timoshkina (source: Rigas Laiks)
Field trip to Dmitry Kuzmin's residency in Ozolnieki, 40 km from Riga, where he moved from Moscow in 2014. In Latvia, Kuzmin launched his project Literature without Borders, which promotes the dialogue between different national literary communities and traditions (especially poetry). It consists of a publishing house and a residency for poets and translators. The project is a successor to VAVILON / ARGO-RISK, which was active in Moscow since 1989 (more than 400 published books, dozens of festivals and other events).
Celebrating Līgo, the day of the summer solstice, at Dzegužkalns Park. Līgo is a festival of ancient folk traditions and pagan rituals related to fertility and renewal. On this day, men and women, the young and the old make wreaths out of flowers and oak leaves, light bonfires, sing the Līgo and Jāņi songs, dance and collect fern flowers.
Guest lecture by Alexander Zapol, a founding member of the Orbita Poetic Group, and visit to the NOASS Art Gallery, with the exhibit "Where Do Poems Come From" by Orbita. The Orbita artists work at the intersection of Russian and Latvian languages, cultures and literary traditions. Founded in 1999, Orbita has published a series of almanacs of literature and visual art and numerous bilingual Russian-Latvian books of poetry, essays, art and photography, each with its own unique design. Based in Riga, they collaborate with musician and works in three-dimensional poetry and performance.
A conversation about publishing, philosophy and theater with Uldis Tirons, the editor-in-chief of Rigas Laiks - an intellectual Latvian monthly founded in 1993 that publishes interviews with world-known artists, philosophers, writers, musicians, politicians and scientists, as well as essays and commentaries. Since 2012, the magazine also comes out in Russian and in English.