9.04.2012 - Space odysseys

Space odysseys

This year’s celebrations to mark the beginning of the Space Age are dedicated to the 51st anniversary of the first manned space flight on April 12, 1961, by cosmonaut Yury Gagarin, and 100 years since the birth of the leading Soviet rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolyov.

While widely celebrated, the annual Cosmonautics Day is not a state holiday, although many claim it should be. Last year the UN General Assembly declared April 12 the International Day of Human Space Flight. A diverse program of celebrations is planned in Moscow, from exhibitions to concerts and a parade.


© RIA Novosti. / Ruslan Krivobok  At the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics

See photos by cosmonaut-photographer Fyodor Yurchikhin at the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics’ exhibition “Our Home is Earth.” Running until mid-May, it allows visitors to learn about the history of space photography, see beautiful photos of Earth and its landscapes from space, and study space photography and video techniques.

The Museum itself is an important memorial to cosmonautics, opened in 1964 to celebrate the launch of the first artificial satellite and made of a space-age material, polished titanium. In special sections of the museum there are interactive displays, such as space simulators identical to those in the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, a room to watch the International Space Station in real time, an interactive Buran cabin with panoramic stereovision and well-preserved bodies of dogscosmonauts Belka and Strelka.

On April 12, Galereya na Solyanke (or Gallery on Solyanke) opens an exhibition dedicated to 80 years since the birth of filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky “Tarkovsky. Space.” The name of the show is the only thing that makes it related to the Cosmonautics Day, but the name of the acclaimed filmmaker is firmly associated with his famous 1972 space drama “Solaris.” The exhibition is to feature objects that surrounded Tarkovsky, decor from his films, books and photos from his home, and documentary videos on his life and work. It runs until May 20.

Concerts & parties

© RIA Novosti. / Grigory Sysoev  Planetarium excursions never fail to entertain both children and adults

Relax Club is first to blast off on Thursday, April 12, with a party starting at 5:30 pm called “Spasibo, Yura! Kosmos nash!” (Thank you, Yura! The cosmos is ours!) The party will be hosted by the nude photo model agency Bright Life, known for its uninhibited models with tattoos and body modifications, and will feature the young rock bands Poisk Seti, Terpimost Nol, Banana Split, Toster Mars, Prana and Phoenix. On Fire. Entrance 200 rubles.

At 8 pm, the art-rock and electronic (or “cosmic rock,” as they call it) band Airbazza presents the audiovisual show “Spirit of Space” in the Moskva concert hall. The show is about humanity’s place in space and uses surround sound effects. Entrance 600 rubles.

Gogol starts celebrating at 8 pm with the instrumental art-fusion band Exit Project. The band curiously mixes house, drum & bass and trance with saxophone, violin and acoustic percussion. They play art-rock and reggae, along with Russian, African, Jewish and Australian folk. Entrance 300-400 rubles.

The Hard Rock Café’s “Rock Around the Kremlin” party starts at 8 pm on Thursday, featuring rock ’n’ roll by Ukrainian band Ot Vinta, St. Petersburg act The Spootniks and Gagarin Brothers from Moscow. Entrance 400 rubles.

At 9 pm, Masterskaya promises a party with “spaceships, space performances, real aliens and relevant costumes.” Young jazz-folk-rock band QuitQuest will be presenting their new single “Inoplanetnaya Lyubov” (Alien Love). The band plays light rock ‘n’ roll, obviously enjoys itself and likes to communicate with the audience, so prepare to be deeply involved. Entrance 300 rubles.

Glina Bar is so proud of Gagarin’s flight that it will be celebrating with a free bar, free entrance and friendly face control. The party will go from 8 pm to 2 am.

If you prefer something more highbrowed, at 8 pm Art- Cafe Durov is throwing a Cosmonaut concert with jazz vocalist Ty Stephens and Oleg Butman’s trio.

Radio City Bar will be celebrating on Friday night, with a Spaceman Depeche Mode party starting at 11:30 pm featuring synthpop music by Projekt-A and a lineup of DJs. Entrance is 400 rubles, or free for guests in spacesuits. Fresh café’s celebration is on Saturday, April 14, with a party called “Alien Parade” or “Gagarin saw this.” The bar will be free at 3 am.

Space for children

© Courtesy of Kinoatis  Children are to draw new Belka and Strelka adventures for the contest in Planetarium

The Planetarium is a perfect spot to celebrate Cosmonautics Day for both children and adults alike. This year its celebration is dedicated to space dogs Belka and Strelka. Although all the lectures and contests will be in Russian, any kid will be enthralled by the 4D cinema with films about space, dynamic chairs and other exciting special effects.

Grown-ups will also find plenty of amusing cosmic stuff in the Planetarium. Some are so moved by the experience of watching real stars in the Big Green Hall that they happily cry, while others bring their dates here for a truly celestial experience.

Art parade

© Photo / Courtesy of Kosmofest

One of the most interesting public events is the Kosmofest art parade.

“The participants of the parade are traditionally dressed in clothes of the ’60s, the age of the first space flights, or vice versa, in futuristic alien costumes,” one of the organizers, Alexander Marusev, told The Moscow News.

The authorities’ attitude towards Kosmofest is not clearly defined. Last year space enthusiasts faced problems with the police, who tried to detain people carrying portraits of Gagarin and rocket scientist Tsiolkovsky – perhaps the police didn’t appreciate the alien outfits.

“Kosmofest is a celebration of science and unity – it’s good,” said Marusev. “I don’t see what their problem is.”

This year the organizers sent a request to the mayor’s office to hold the parade in the center and walk from Tretyakovskaya to Smolenskaya. The office proposed another venue, the rather deserted Taras Shevchenko embankment, in order to move the parade further from the Garden Ring, as “people are tired of mass gatherings after the elections,” said Marusev.

The celebration is to start at 3 pm with a parade (adjusted venue to appear on kosmofest.livejournal. com) followed by a concert at the ZIL concert hall at 5:30 pm. Most of the performers are soft rock bands with space-related names such as Mys Luny (Moon’s Cape), Neboslov (Skyworder) and Stancia MIR (Station MIR). Before the concert there will be an exhibition of space-related drawings by children, an award for the best space placard and screenings of cartoons and videos about space. Entrance is free, although donations are appreciated.

by Elena Kirillova at 09/04/2012 19:50


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