I was on the go from early this morning.
First I went to see the morning news broadcast of the regional television station. Several of the fifth-year students I teach work there, and one is the morning anchor. I interviewed them and will post a piece they help me produce tomorrow or Friday. I also had a chance to meet the station's web staff, who will be in the professional training session on Saturday.
Afterwards I had lunch with my translator Katja at my new favorite restaurant, a Ukrainian place that does a buffet lunch in an upscale shopping mall near the university. There's not a single thing there that I can identify by name-- I love it!
In class today we talked about citizen journalism and its current impact on American media and possible future impact in Russia. The students were all understandably skeptical. After all, freedom of speech is a relatively new concept here, so the idea that normal people could publish their own news sites (and that this might actually be valuable!) was pretty far out there for them. I love the fact, though, that they're open for anything. They really want to learn and the lectures have been well-attended.
Ok, now for the rock-star-Lauren part. Dmitri arranged for us to attend a concert that he described as "a men's choir singing religious songs." I have to admit that I was dragging by the time he picked me, but I was also intrigued. I was picturing a somber event in a small venue, like chamber music with medieval chants.
Well, not exactly. The group was the Turetsky Choir from Moscow and they were basically a rollicking Jewish-a capella-operatic-pop-humor-dance-irreverent troupe that did everything from a tongue-in-cheek rendition of "Back in USSR" to Mozart's "Lacrimosa" without batting an eye. Crazy! It's the most fun I've ever had at a concert where I didn't understand a word.
And to top it off, they invited people onto the stage to dance "Mambo No. 5." Since it was the closest I'm going to get to a salsa, I joined in. Photos tomorrow, I promise.