Pushkin legacy celebrated
LONG BEACH - Many credit 19th-century Russian poet Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin for revolutionizing his country's literature and ushering in its modern period.
If his name doesn't ring a bell, it may Pushkin soon. Pushkin,
who died in 1837, will be celebrated in a four-day festival at the Karl Anatol Center in Cal State Long Beach from Oct. 5 to 8.
"He was not only a genius for literature, but also in creating the Russian language such as we know now," said A.S. Pushkin Festival Co-chairman Alexander Yahontov. "He was able to change the process of literary development."
The festival was inspired by the 2005 visit of a delegation of Russian teachers and academics from Kursk, Russia, to Cal State Long Beach. The idea for a festival spotlighting Pushkin's contributions took root, and a group was organized to launch the event, Yahontov said.
The festival committee had some challenges finding sponsors, he continued. He credited four entities for their contribution: Russian airline Aeroflot, for discounting airfares for another Russian delegation of artists, including Pushkin descendant Alexander Pushkin; the Long Beach-Sochi Sister City organization; Long Beach-based Sea Launch; and CSULB's university library and dean, Roman Kochan.
"Our hopes are that the students at Cal State Long Beach and the general population of Long Beach will be interested in what we are offering," Yahontov said. "We are offering a glimpse of literature in Russia, which is very scarce in our U.S. curricu-lums. There's a black hole in it"
Pushkin was born into an aristocratic family, Yahontov said. His works were noted for their lyricism, and many critics have credited his pioneering use of vernacular speech in his plays and poems as revolutionizing and inspiring succeeding generations of Russian writers.
The festival schedule is as follows:
Oct. 5: Reception and sightseeing tours of Long Beach for guests. Guests expected to attend include Natalia Bondarchuk, who directed the film ."Pushkin - Last Duel"; Igor Dnyestryanskiy, who portrayed Pushkin in the film; singer Dmitrij Stepanovich and actress Irina Rod.
Oct. 6: Introductions; a showing of the film, "Tale of Tsar Saltan"; recitals, songs and discussions of Pushkin's life, work and contributions.
Oct. 7: Showings of films "Pushkin - Last Duel" and "Eugene Onegin" at the University Theater, followed by a banquet.
Oct. 8: Recitals, songs, a showing of the film "Small Tragedies" and a closing reception.
By Samantha Gonzaga
LB Press Telegram Staff writer
Samantha Gonzaga can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (562) 499-1284.