on the grass along the water
Long Island City
3134 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, NY 11106
Take the N or W train to the Broadway stop in Queens and walk eight blocks west on Broadway (toward the East River) to the intersection of Vernon Boulevard.
Bizarre rituals help soldiers develop powerful bonds amidst the tense existence of one of the Russian army's last existing frozen outposts.
In the midst of the vast and frozen nothingness, and close to a thousand miles from the nearest tree, a handful of old soldiers and one 19-year-old rookie are left to deal with themselves, the magnificent nature and the antiquated political ideas that keep them on their toes, as they ward off invisible enemies from the Russian borders.
At the Edge of Russia (Michal Marczak | Poland, Russia | 74 min.)
One of the Russian army's last existing outposts, seen through the young eyes of a 19-year-old rookie. In the midst of the vast and frozen nothingness, and more than a thousand kilometres from the nearest tree, a handful of old soldiers and their young assistant are left to deal with themselves, the magnificent nature and the antiquated political ideas that keeps them on their toes, as they ward off invisible enemies from the Russian borders. Young Aleksey has to gain the respect of his ageing superiors in the more or less absurd and pointless rituals and routines of everyday life. 'The Edge of Russia' does not criticise, but instead provides a human image of isolated men who are looking for refuge from the unwieldy chaos of civilian life within the self-inflicted order and discipline of the army. A discipline that is only interrupted by vodka and sad songs. Unforgettable characters, their secrets and demons from their lives as civilians, marked by a special 'Russian' blend of melancholy and manly bravery. The young Polish director Michal Marczak's dazzling debut brings the spectator right up to the border of a fallen empire, whose political ambitions and harsh nature are united in a spectacular metaphor for a modern Russia, which itself remains out of the picture.
The Balalaika Duo
New York Balalaika Duo (Mikhail Smirnov and Lev Zabeginsky) is based in New York City, and is part of the Russian music, dance and song ensemble Barynya (Russian: Барыня), established in the year 1991. Barynya is a world renowned group that enjoys exalting stature as the premier Russian folk ensemble outside of Russia. Barynya presents Russian, Cossack, Ukrainian, Jewish and Gypsy Roma traditional dancing, music, songs, and virtuoso performances on instruments including the balalaika, garmoshka (Russian folk button accordion), balalaika contrabass, bayan, Gypsy guitars, domra, violin. Barynya has been invited to perform at some of the most prestigious cultural venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall in New York, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, the Smithsonian Institute of America in Washington D.C., the United Nations in New York, and the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C.