For TRANSYLVANIA & VANCOUVER - please see links to your left
Moscow Art / Studio trip (March 2010): Unpredictable, Cold and Charming
Sunday, March 14th, 2010
Bought winter hat on my way to the Red Square, met family members who I haven't seen since 2003, outside of Lenin's Mausoleum at 9am (local time).We hugged, took photos, went to view Lenin's Mausoleum as it opened, then we visited the Moscow Kremlin Museum http://www.kreml.ru/en/main/museums/armoury/hall07
(the Armoury Chamber filled with Royal crowns, authentic Faberge eggs, carriages, royal dress and the most important item - Peter the Great's very 1st throne (view it here: http://www.kreml.ru/en/main/virtual/exposition/regalia/IvanV/throne/),a double throne for him and his older half brother, with an opening in the back, for his half sister to give him orders & guide him). In line, on the stairs of the entrance, we saw as the president and his entourage left in a brigade of black cars and while at the exhibit, Roger Moore (007) was also present, I briefly said hi to him & requested an autograph for my cousin.
Afterward, we visited the magical Kremlin Cathedrals, including the Archangel Mikhail Cathedral, where resides the original archangel A.M. (protector of faith and guardian against evil) icon from 600 years ago. Also within this speechless Cathedral, are the resting places of many Russian Tsars, including the very 1st Romanov, Mikhail Fyodorovich. Together family & I went to eat at the near by Yelki-Palki, saw the Chekhov MXAT http://art.theatre.ru/english and walked on the Old Arbat Street .
(public domain image)
Monday, March 15th
Peter the 1st Hotel breakfast (porridge & salmon sandwiches), followed by a car to the A.K. Production Center for a project meeting with gen.director. Afterward, took a walk in the snow to the Romen (Romani) theatre http://www.teatr-romen.ru
on Leningradskiy Prospekt and taxi back to hotel. Took a brisk walk to the incredibly beautiful GUM http://www.gum.ru super-mall,where I visited the Souz music store and got an Allegrova special edition cd, bought some fantastic Russian food at Gastronom No.1,the best food market I have ever seen, with differentiating department rooms of bakeries, seafood, meats, milk-products, candies, lemonades,fruits, etc.. I got three different breads (Borodinsky, Molochniy and Poppy seed bagels), absolutely fresh milk in a glass jar,sausage, Olivie' salad and went back to the hotel to have my very own in-room dinner, followed by picking up my registration stamp at the front desk. 100 grams ofRussian Standard vodka sealed the deal and healed me completely from apossibly impending cold (freezing temperatures of 20's F, which I actually highlyenjoy in proper wear, even with cracked knuckles.)
Tuesday, March 16th
Went to the world famous Sanduny Banya http://sanduny.ru for a Russian Steaming, bought a 1/2 liter of their 1869 house label vodka. Walk back to hotel on the ice-slippery roads, then took a taxi (have to be cautious which taxis you choose) to MOSFILM, Russia 's largest and highly-respected film studio. Had a meeting, followed by a mini-photo shoot at Mosfilm Photo Studio http://stfoto.ru (photos taken by Natalia Tomilina). Took the highly intricate Metro system to Ohotniy Ryad station at the (Red Square) and went to the Kremlin Palace for a performance of Bolshoi's http://bolshoi.ru/ru (top ballet theatre in the world) performance of Don Quixote, where areal live donkey and white horse appeared on stage in several acts.I have a personal anecdote regarding the intermission to share with whomever would like to ask me in person. On my way back to the hotel, stopped by the MXAT Chekhov Cafe http://cafe-chekhov.ru for some Cherry Pelmeny and hot tea, got lost and thencalled a quality cab.
Photos taken at the Mosfilm Photo Studio
Wednesday, March 17th
Had a morning appointment at Mosfilm Studios regarding a possible 2nd unit shoot in Siberia, took the Metro to the acclaimed Tretyakovskaya Gallery, the art was stunning, dating from the 12th century. Here is the museum's most prolific icon: http://www.tretyakovgallery.ru/ru/collection/_show/image/_id/2216
My favorite new artist discovery is N. N. Ge, you can view some of his works here (my favorite works are not listed): http://www.tretyakovgallery.ru/ru/collection/_show/author/_id/68
His art is similar; dark, psychological, searching for the truth in the human system. Also featured in the 60+ galleries, is a famed portrait of Anton Chekhov, the great writer who collaborated with Stanislavski and wrote what became my most beloved short story. Walked across two bridges to get back to the Kremlin & saw a military procession taking place in a park. The air was freezing and I was grateful to enjoy the beauty (one river was completely iced over). Took the metro to Pushkiniskaya station and at last found the MXAT (Moscow Art Theatre), in the name of Gorkov (there are two Moscow Art Theatres) http://www.mxat-teatr.ru
There I picked up my ticket to Chekhov's Cherry Orchard (orchestra row 2, seat 22) - starring nationally treasured actress, Tatiana Doronina, and before the show began at 7pm local time, two doors down, I visited the Konditerskaya Pushkin (a bakery confectionery) locate at 25/26 Tversky Blvd. where I celebrated my time in Moscow with a three course dessert-only dinner, the confectionery (in the style and set in an actual 19th century building) was perfected by elegant service from a beautiful girl who called me 'Sudar'. I had a raspberry bize', a truffle made to order with a korzhik to go.
There were a few slightly scary moments, including people on the street who approached me out of nowhere and asked for money and a few gloomy customer service relations, however altogether I found the trip to be inspirational, educational, horizon-expanding, rose-color glass shattering, instinctively full flowing, emotionally stimulating, edibly enjoyable, visually stunning, artistically influential and insightful to the soul.
TPKYO / KYOTO (May 2009)
Amidst the chaos of the world - lives a magical planet, where an extremely beautiful culture is highly protected from the outside. The Japanese people do not need loud volume to express messages or acts of frustration to prove distance. My trip to Japan was simply amazing. Here are the highlights.
Day 1: Tokyo arrival, followed by sleep & one of the best breakfasts of my life
Day 2: Narita Express shinkansen (bullet train) where from the window, I observed construction workers doing Calisthenics in a circle, talk about a team-connection. With a permit, I took a tour of the Tokyo Imperial Palace grounds. Photographed here at my favorite location, the Fushimi-yagura Keep and the Seimon-tetsubashi Bridge. The Keep was moved from the Kyoto Fushimi Castle (during the reign of the third Shogun Iemitsu, early 17th century). At the Imperial gift shop, I purchased Chrysanthemum Crest souvenirs.
In the evening, walked around Shinjuku, the party district, where it was all about the hair. Saw a fire engine rush down the street, but not only did the alarm sound - the firemen kept talking to everyone on the street through the speaker system. Then upon arriving to my hotel, learned how to use the remote-control restroom while almost flooding it, was a very funny moment. In Japan toilets have different personalities, some talk, some have SOS buttons (pictured), and some can flood.
Day 3: Took Hikari Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto, walking amidst crowds of business folk. Took a tour bus in Kyoto - there were three passengers & I was the only non-Japanese. The tour was in Japanese & I loved every second of it. Being an artist, to communicate through expressions & intonations is a natural high for me. Visited the phenomenally beautiful Rokuon-Ji Kinkaku Temple (Made of Gold, pictured below) as well as the highest sought temple, Kiyomizu-dera.
Checked into a Ryokan that had such a strong odor of mold, that I left and a few doors down found the most amazing 125 year-old Ryokan (old Japanese inn) with rice paper windows. I call them Trust Windows and very much appreciated the experience, as it has updated my perspective on the world. The Ryokan that I really enjoyed staying at, is called Takadaya (pictured below).
Day 4: Took the to-the-minute minute precise Shinkansen from Kyoto to Tokyo, then the subway to Ginza (most upscale part of Tokyo). Had daily exercise by carrying my luggage on the subways & streets, prior to leaving them at hotels & going to explore.
In Ginza, I had the distinct honor to see a real Geisha show (very rare) as well as a tea ceremony, pictured below. I was taught by a leading Geisha that after drinking my tea to the last drop, I was to wipe the lip-touched part of the cup with my index and thumb fingers, a tradition. To this event, many Geishas arrived, even from Kyoto. The performance ended in the most elegant way! Instead of constant clapping & cheering, the Geishas and the audience together - clapped 3x3 & a final clap. This mesmerized me.
After this awe-inspiring event, I stopped by the Kabuki-za theatre & after went on a dessert-shopping spree at the Matsuzakaya & Mitsukoshi department stores (located near the Vertu store). Three, four floors of other-worldly desserts, breads, juices, ice creams, things I have never seen or knew existed, not even when I was in France. I was stunned & thrilled. And I thought Mochi was the only dessert (lol).
Pictured below, by the famous Nenrinya bakery with a Japanese version of a Mount Baum Kuchen.
Went back to the hotel, to rehearse for the show.
Day 5: Went to Horikiri-Shobuen, a mostly Japanese (not many tourists) part of Tokyo. Had rehearsal at Shakti studio, got a really cool In the attack jacket, met some very talented artists as well as Japanese underground fighters (pictured below with Fugofugo Bumpman Yumeji & Tushiya Kurenai). Took part in the Tokyo Fringe Festival, presented my theatrical show, SOUL PHOTOGRPAHY. Got into a natural trance and performed from a deep SOUL level. The audience was a house of thirty & comments included: Brining back Russian Intelligencia, Mind, a mysterious black box, Imaginative, Powerful & Soulful. (Photos from show, taken by Jorg)
Day 6: Went to Odaiba in Tokyo - city/island of the future, there on a Monorail, returning on a six dollar cruise ship to Hinode-pier. Made new friends & enjoyed the light rain.
Checked into Narita hotel, went for my 1st real dinner (on my last evening in Japan). I decided to go to a non-tourist restaurant and was escorted to the second floor of an AMAZING place, called Shoku. I sat Japanese style & ordered tuna Sashimi, Miso soup (with whitefish in the soup for additional flavour, YUM!), rice & green tea. The dinner was under twenty dollars!
On the rainy evening, after my supper, I went to the Naritasan Temple (click here for link) (which is over 1,000 years old). The temple grounds have four levels of height, and I will say that this place is the MOST beautiful place I have ever seen. There were gardens of stone, wooden crypts, stone passages, water ponds, such beauty that I was in inspired-AWE. My spirit was connected & uplifted!
I completed my last night in Japan by having a traditional Shiatsu massage with unspeakably machine like precision, which led to complete balance & a sleep state.
Day 7: Prior to my 5pm flight, I went to a Japanese Sento (Spa), called Hananoyu. Wow! I wish there was something like that here. Women & men of all ages go there for a supreme refreshing of the body & spirit in the multiple in & outdoor versions of Jacuzzis.
Magically, while awaiting the 2:20 bus to the airport, I met a very special girl, we clicked and had lunch together prior to my flight.
The magic of the trip can be summarized - by my going to a flower shop in Ginza and requesting to buy a leaf (leafs were indeed for sale). That leaf was extremely beautiful and not at all expensive. The care that was taken to pick the leaf, to wrap the leaf - it was given to me with heart and I said Arigato Gozai-Mas, from the heart & this is the very reason I will hold Japan in the greatest respect!
How to wash hands properly & a Japanese Taco stand:
CANNES / MONACO / UK / BELGIUM (May 2008)
London St. Pancras to Paris Nord
Paris Austerlitz to Cannes
Cannes to Monaco & back
1 day trip
Cannes to Paris Gare Lyon
Paris Nord to Bruxelles Midi
Brussels to Lille (taxi, due to train strike)
Lille to London St Pancras, with a taxi stop at Buckingham Palace
On my way to Monaco (top) & Grasse (near hotel, close to the bus ride into Cannes)
Cannes Film Festival Badge
Visiting the majestic Festival, cover poster
by one of my favorite directors, David Lynch
Island St. Marguerite (in the cell of the original Man in the Iron Mask)
(shiny ticket for a Premiere)
(The bakeries, the food, yes A+!)
(In magical Monaco)
(Paris, train cabin, and airport lounge)
(Visiting Grasse, Napoleon's famous Route)
Copyright 2004 - 2012 Mikhail Tank / ALL RIGHTS RESERVED