Festival and series of events focus on Russia
Nov. 5, 2010
KALAMAZOO--All things Russian will be explored in a series of November events sponsored by Western Michigan University Nov. 11-13.
A poetry reading in Portage and a Russian Studies Conference on campus will precede the 15th annual Kalamazoo Russian Festival. That popular community attraction will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, in the Fetzer Center at WMU.
The festival's main sponsor is the Kalamazoo-Pushkin Partnership, a citizen group formed in 1992 to help promote relationships between Kalamazoo and its sister-city Pushkin, Russia. Co-sponsoring the event this year are the Portage District Library and WMU's Department of English, Diether H. Haenicke Institute for Global Education and Lee Honors College.
Two events will precede this year's festival.
Local poet Judith Rypma, a WMU master faculty specialist in English, will present "A Tribute to Russia in Poems and Pictures" at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, in the Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane, Portage, Mich. The free presentation will feature Rypma reading her poetry that is set in Russia and showing slides of that country. Light refreshments and tea will be available.
Rypma also is coordinating a Russian Studies Conference that will be held on the WMU campus from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, in rooms 1025 and 1028 of Brown Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
Russian Studies Conference sessions
Alexander is the author of a historical fiction trilogy composed of 2003's "The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar," 2006's "Rasputin's Daughter" and 2008's "The Romanov Bride." "The Kitchen Boy" was a New York Times Bestseller and is in film production while "Rasputin's Daughter" was a National Bestseller.
His work is "remarkably accurate and meticulously researched," says Rypma. "The fact that he manages to throw in plot twists and suggest alternative possibilities to historical events makes you re-examine everything you know about the period, but also demonstrates how remarkable prose can emerge in the hands of a talented, yet conscientious historian."
The Russian festival itself will take place in rooms throughout WMU's Fetzer Center and feature a variety of entertainment as well as an art gallery displaying Russian art, coins and currency; the sale of authentic Russian cuisine; tea served Russian style; and an area where children can listen to music and learn to play Russian games.
The festival is being co-directed by Helen Palleschi and Michael Stoline.
Kalamazoo Russian Festival highlights
Admission to the family-friendly Kalamazoo Russian Festival is $8 for adults and $5 for students with I.D. Children under age 5 are admitted free. Food is extra.
For more information about the Russian Studies Conference, contact WMU's Judith Rypma at firstname.lastname@example.org or (269) 387-2628.
For details about the Kalamazoo Russian Festival, visit russianfestival.org.
Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, email@example.com