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Glasnost by the Bay 

Wednesday, Feb 8 2012
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Did you know that Russians have been in California longer than San Francisco has been a city? In 1812, more than 30 years before the Gold Rush, the tsarist government chartered Fort Ross in what is now Sonoma County to control exploration, trade, and settlement in the North Pacific. This weekend, San Francisco’s own Russian Center (did you know San Francisco had a Russian Center?) celebrates Fort Ross’ 200th anniversary in its annual Russian Festival. The three-day affair showcases acts including songstress Marina V and folk/jazz/blues/comedy team Limopo. There are also performances of ballet, folk dance and singing, gymnastics, and operetta. A gallery displays the work of contemporary emigre artists. There’s food (leave your diet and vegan requirements at home) and the World’s Greatest Vodka Bar (natch), which could help you loosen up for the dance party Friday night. Look for distinctive Valentine’s Day gifts at the amber jewelry boutiques. The center has been at its current location since its founding in 1939. Aside from the annual festival, it has regular performances and classes, a state-certified preschool, the offices of the Russian Life Daily newspaper, and a Russian library -- in case you ever want to read Notes from Underground in the original Cyrillic script.
Feb. 10-12, 2012

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Larissa Archer

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