I have less than three weeks left in Russia. It's very difficult to describe the way I feel about it. Basically here is some of what I feel: scared, sad, excited, happy, shocked, and unprepared.
So the past few weeks in the academic sector have been about as boring as watching paint dry. It's all just looking at my calendar and freaking out for like 15 seconds because there's such little time left. The main thing I am focusing on at the moment is getting a project done for the semester. My project is basically about the cultural influences on Cuba from the Soviet Union. It's been pretty interesting to see the changes that occurred in Cuba's culture because of their political/economic liaisons with the USSR.
Something simply amazing happened a few days ago. I discovered queer Russian theater. This is probably one of the coolest things that has happened since I first found a gay bar in Moscow. I saw Oscar Wilde's Salomé, which was directed by the most famous gay theater director in Russia Roman Viktyuk. The way I got tickets to the show is also pretty cool. Homegurl Eleonora went to the ticket office trying to buy tickets for me and her but unfortunately they were out. To her surprise, Roman Viktyuk walked into the room and she immediately put on her charm and started to chat with him. She explained the situation to him and apparently even talked about me. Viktyuk offered to help her out by giving her two tickets for his show. These also weren't just any ordinary tickets, they were tickets for the section where the director's closest people sat. I was astounded by homegurl Eleonora's adventure.
The show was beyond spectacular. All but two of the actors were men so this meant that a majority of the roles were played by men. Even the role of Salomé was played was played by a man. The makeup used by the actors was really intense. It was definitely not your regular theater makeup. The male actors who played the role of a female tried to do justice to the performance of femininity. It was not used for comedic relief as some of the plays we saw earlier. I couldn't believe what was happening on stage when I was seeing the play unfold. The show also had a good deal of dancing elements. The characters at times wore a minimal amount of clothing and were in intimate dance numbers together which created a big display of homoeroticism on stage. This was such an amazing change from the regular performances that we've been usually watching. Usually we get to see a lot of the classics and things of that sort... obviously without half naked men running around dancing with each other haha
It's always a breath of relief to find spaces where queer culture is fostered and nurtured in rampantly homophobic environments.