a fat brown man runs the clubs up in here

I usually have an excuse ready for you guys, in case I don’t write for like, more than two days in a row.  Something really lame like ‘I was out, y’know, totally living life.  And all that jazz.’

Fun fact: did you know that jazz comes from the word jizz? Because jazz first used to be played in black brothels back when they it was still an underground musical movement and there was a lot of jizz.  Jizz=jazz, got it?  I’m totally serious, and even though my white English teacher taught me this etymology, I’m not willing to double-check it via wikipedia for your reading benefit because I like that story more than I would even if it weren’t real.

I’ve actually be up to a few cool things lately.  I went shopping with a friend of mine from U of T .  PEE ESS, this is like the 4th result I got after I googled “I hate U of T” :

Cool, huh? I especially like the bitch fight at 2:59. Also, the fact that his rap name is Z-ro could stand for so many culturally relevant things, like for example “ZORRO”.  Or, “zero”, as in “you’re a hero, not a zero” like from Disney’s Hercules rap.  Or perhaps he’s a loser version of Zorro.  The readings of this piece are never-ending.

Anyway, “actual prison footage”, I walked around so much on Monday I think that instead of getting blisters, blisters just grew a body (mine).  Ie, it’s like all the communist Russia jokes that everyone loves so much, but seems to have misplaced lately in their comedic vernacular – You don’t get blister. Blister get YOU!

So of course, I went to Old Navy and bought myself some $5 child-labour-encouraging relief.  And boy, didn’t it feel good!

Shopping ended up being fruitful but not overwhelming, something that tends to happen to me every now and again, when the sheer volume of the things sold in the store just clobbers me over the head and I pass out because of anxiety of wanting to try everything on but knowing that I don’t want everything but STILL want to buy everything. Oh, brain-washing advertising…

In the evening I made it to a film called My Perestroika at the Toronto HotDocs film festival at Cumberland Cinemas.  (Little note:  Cumberland is a wicked ass street in Toronto that you should all frequent.  Often.  Even if you, like I, cannot afford to buy even coffee there.)  Anyway, so my long-known friend M joined me for the screening and holy CRAP I was blown away.

Firstly, I must clear some issues up about my bias.

  1. I am Russian.
  2. This movie was made about Russians.
  3. I like this movie.

This is a totally unpossible-to-disprove theory, and I’m pretty sure some guy like Plato taught it very importantly when he was alive in who cares when, and then Descartes and Bacon and all those fun kids.  ANYWAY

So this movie: it’s basically everything I remember from my childhood in the 90’s from Russia.  As you all know (you don’t unless you’re my facebook friend and you can see when I was born), I was born on April 24th, 1990.  In August ’91, as Ms. Robin Hessman very vividly shows, tanks rolled into Moscow.  My father was working at a bank that day, and a building next to his was hit and destroyed with one of those tanks.  He was like, 24 at the time, and I had just turned 1 year old.   I’ve heard all of these stories from my own parents, but it’s incredible hearing these things on film, also.

The contrast of communism, where people’s childhoods are bathed in sunlight, stability, and happiness to the adulthood of post-communism, where all of a sudden there was no bread, no meat, no eggs in the stores, and people had to wait for hours upon hours to get basic foodstuffs, except for vodka, which you were given 2 bottles of per person per month.  My grandfather just recently recounted how he had to wake up 3 hours before work in order to stand in line to get me my milk when I was a baby.  I am a child of this change, and I always was.  While I’m not plagued with the inconsistencies in society that historics and politicians blow out of proportion, I’m also curious about them.  They haven’t seeped into my blood to make me some anti-communist crusader, that’s for sure.  Everything I’ve heard about it from my family is positive (more or less), and the fact that this film takes in the negatives of it and shows it to audiences is incredible and reassuring.  Nothing was ever just positive.  But memories are always brighter than the present.

People couldn’t vote for the Communist Party, but they didn’t and couldn’t vote for Medvedev either.  This practice is becoming much too overwhelming.  Iran, Russia – where next, Canada?  Whose votes do count?  Where are people listened to? Cared about? Consulted?

The point is that this movie brought up many fantastic things in my mind. It made me feel closer to my heritage – a feeling I treasure because I often feel like the best-adapted immigrant Canada has ever seen.  I experience doubt in my nationalistic beliefs and my devotion and representation of Russians through myself.  It’s like I’m not the best example for Canadians to look at and go – hey, look, a real Russian person, with all the trademarks.  I mean, I know that’s stereotyping etc, but other than my face (albeit, a rather large gift from the motherland) I know very little about the things Russian Russian people know about.  I don’t know the names of many movie-stars or singers, I haven’t read the most important literature (shame on me, I know – but admit, it’s daunting to even begin, sometimes!), I speak well but not at the level of my peers and more.  I realize that it’s healthy to adjust to your habitat – that’s always what they taught in wilderness training at school in grade 8, when we did that stupid pioneering unit again (And again and again and…) – but I feel like I lose out on important things I should know.  It makes me incredibly sad.

However, this movie made me see that people really aren’t that different from each other, and that the stabilization I’ve received here has made me a happier person than some Russians (when they we’re not laughing, or drinking, they we always look so hopeless, don’t they we?)  But even apart from that – there is some sort of thread.

We make the same apple pie.  The same simple apple pie.  And I bet their apartment (the couple in the movie) smelled just like my grandparents apartment did.

It’s a good feeling these things bring up.  And I’m so epically glad that I finally went.  Maybe I’ll try to find another one to go to this Sunday before they all go their lovely ways to other world festivals. But you guys (if you live in/near Toronto), please, go see one of these documentaries.  They will totally open your eyes and stun you.  Who knew movies could actually be helpful and interesting and informative and touching at the same time, without having Hollywood stamped on their bare behinds?

I did!

Now, you do too.

Here is a picture of my pretty little guineas! I’m pretty sure I haven’t posted this before, because I kept on promising to, and, finally, here they are, little cutie patoots!

Ocya (Autumn) on the left and Klyusha (Klutzy) on the right.

Fin.

-Arina

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