Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Way to Prove My Point, Proud Georgian!

Just breaking my blog silence (you can find me scribbling about Kartveliana, interactive theatre, and French decadence a bunch of other places this month and next, including Los Angeles Review of Books, Conde Nast Traveller, and the upcoming anthology from Sundress Publications Not Somewhere Else But Here: an Anthology of Women and Place) to share this delightful comment on my article for The New Statesman about the first full-length* Georgian-language Vagina Monologues performance in Tbilisi, in which I interview fellow-blogger pasumonok and more. "Proud Georgian" graces us with the following words.
"*so whats the big fuss over people leaving because they do not like vagina talk? if it was vaginas walking away from mucho georgian talk this vagina media would be just fine but if its the other way around you guys call it conformity (typical). Well guess what? I do not conform to your way of thinking, were if anyone is anti gay or anti feminist or anti vagina propagandist, they are plain wrong. check yourselves, and in my opinion you are not so different from those angry men and women who hate your propaganda. you are like cops and criminals, although apparently different not very different in essence.there is nothing wrong with defending your rights and believes and expressing your dissatisfaction with the way things are.
next thing you know men in georgia will be just as men in us, castrated homos looking up to their mommies and female parters for aproval. screw that! I'd rather be loud and proud!
Peace, I'm out!

Thanks, Proud Georgian!

*I believe there was a trans-Caucasus "scenes from" that happened for V-day a while back.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New Work Round-Up - Winter 2013

Images from Flickr via Melissa Maples
So, one of these days I'll get back into the habit of blogging more regularly, both about Tbilisi and about all those other places that are also sometimes home, but until then, a round-up of where else I've had Kartvelian-(and Turkey)-related work on the web.

(I should note that I write on far more topics than Kartveliana - my latest story sale, about which more presently, is science fiction in futuristically-classical Rome, and my latest journo piece is on immersive theatre and my Sleep No More obsession - but certainly, these seem to sell a bit better...)

  • "I am at a jazz cafe called Near Opera. There is no jazz band. The opera house is shut. The furniture is ill-proportioned, dollhouse pink; there are imitation Beardsley paintings on the walls. It is lunchtime and I am the only one here. This is Tbilisi; this is normal. Georgians dine at vague hours, nowhere is ever open or closed. Business hours, like thresholds, are permeable.Another essay on change and my failed search for a "local" cafe in Tbilisi for EssaySaturday at Litro. 
  • "We had not died. We had made it deep into Khevsureti without tumbling off the pass or being shot by itinerant Chechens; the van had rolled precariously down the mountain until we thought to secure it with a stray log, and Misha, beleaguered but well-paid, had escorted us to the summit of a nearby cliff and pointed out the crypts with one of the three remaining fingers on his right hand." A fantastical take on hexes in the Caucasus in "The Snake Eaters" at Jersey Devil Press.
  • The books are everywhere: cheap paperback copies of Hardy and Durrell, smelling of vanilla; midcentury spy thrillers; Jurgen Moltmann’s three-volume study in systematic theology. Kemal has piled them up in the doorframes. He has scavenged wood from a deconsecrated church and from it made lopsided shelves that line the equally slanted walls. The courtyard overflows with Hellenic detritus: roof shingles, broken shutters, sculpture-heads, sheared Roman stone. Only the sign out front—a dubious-looking owl advertising “Books Old and New”—indicates any sense of order. A look at the marvelous Owl Bookshop in Antalya over at Guernica.
  • It had been raining for three days. The electricity had been out for two. The police had declared a curfew – three soldiers had washed up in pieces on the beach – and so Tatiana took tea at the lobby of the Grand Palais Eristave, where the foreigners huddled over the last of the Nescafé and the chandeliers shook with the bombs. A grifter adrift in a wartorn port city in the grandly fictional city-state of Eristavis, in "The Siege of Eristavis" at The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review.
  • At the climax of Robert Sturua's production of Twelfth Night, a mainstay of the repertoire at Tbilisi's Rustaveli Theatre, a curious thing happens. After Viola and Orsino, Sebastian and Olivia, have all fallen into one another's arms, their newfound nuptial bliss is disturbed by the sudden appearance of a twenty-foot-tall crucified Jesus onstage behind them. Overcome by terror, our lovers run offstage, followed by Malvolio, Maria, and Feste – here represented as commedia-style clowns – as farce gives way to the solemn drama of the liturgy. A brief Georgian theatre round-up for The New Statesman.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New pieces up at Guernica and Lady Adventurer

Two new articles up this month! The first, from the excellently titled Lady Adventurer, is on Khevsureti, which is perhaps my favourite place in Georgia outside of Tbilisi, and by far my favourite mountain region.

Going to the Mountains

Everybody knows the mountains. My landlord tells me stories of stone towers and stolen icons; the taxi-driver warns me of the dangers of being bride-napped... More here...

The second article is a particular source of pleasure for me, as it's at one of my very favourite publications, Guernica, and because I've finally published a piece about something other than Tbilisi! It's a personal essay about the trip I took to Sicily a few years ago, focusing on Palermo rather than Cefalu - with some rare details about my bizarre family life.


I went to Palermo because it was home, and because nowhere else yet had been. I had too many stamps in my passport, too many languages only half-spoken, and a room in a shared house in England piled high with the talismans of my wanderings...Read more at the source.