12.21.18: The Shortest Day

Winter solstice in Saint Petersburg means sunrise at 9:58 AM and sunset at 3:52 PM. We celebrate the light by each shooting a roll of Super 8 over the course of a six-hour “dawn to dusk” ramble. At times we get so cold we can barely hold the cameras and the cameras get so cold they can barely move the film (Hang in there, Number Five!) but there’s sunshine and snowflakes, there are sweet old ladies selling kalinka berries (bought some to process the film with later) and handmade socks outside the Dostoyevsky Metro Station, there are Diane Arbus-y old ladies in furs waiting for gentlemen friends in a Proletarskaya cafe (and one of those gentlemen steals your seat when you’re at the counter getting coffee but hey, you snooze you lose!), there are grandmas walking slowly along the slippery streets with grandchildren whose mittens are hanging off, and there are tiny old ladies who move flowers around and clean up the candle wax at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery (PS: if anyone knows where they get their amazing clothes–smocky ankle-grazing dresses in grey and black with a long dark sleeveless thick cotton vest overtop and some little ankle boots and a flowered headscarf…you’re not allowed to take pictures so you’ll have to just take my word for it that they look both pious and adorable and ferociously competent at the same time–please let me know where this store of my dreams is located). There’s weird buildings and pretty parks and lonely bus stops. And there’s an opening of a show called “I Brought You A Christmas Tree” with work by Ivan Sotnikov and “Novye Khudozhniki” (“New Artists”) friends at the Museum of Urban Sculpture (thanks for the heads up, Lera!) where the people look like the art and the art makes you feel happy to be alive and there’s some singing and you have to wait for the coat check guy to finish eating a cucumber before you can get your coat back. And when you finally get home, there’s a gathering of the dynamic Art Prospect curators next door and Liza just opens the magic portal that connects the two apartments and you don’t even have to put your shoes on to join the party.


5 thoughts on “12.21.18: The Shortest Day

  1. I hold my breath and suck in your stories, every word, every sentence is just amazing and transports the winter St Petersburg feeling to me, only a few hundred kilometers more west. Thank you!

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