18 February 2018
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Section 10: CULTURE & EVENTS














Lithuania’s national painter and composer
ABOVE: Creation of the world – cycle of Thirteen Pictures (1905 – 1906)
Click on the pictures to see larger formats.

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Oh, those old Lithuanian
wedding traditions

The article author, Kestutis Eidukonis, with the bride and her maids.

Marriage and death - these are the events to which ancient Lithuanian culture gave special attention to, and judging by the surviving customs and folklore, the most significant of these was the wedding, for it was on the family that the entire community depended on for survival, structure, and stability - not only of the community but of the whole nation. It is therefore understandable why the creation of a family - a wedding- receives so much attention in both ancient and present day Lithuanian culture.


Category : Culture & events

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By the end of the book, author Daiva Markelis discovers

Her own way to be both
Lithuanian and American.

Daiva Markelis interviewed by Ellen Cassedy

Daiva Markelis's memoir, White Field, Black Sheep: A Lithuanian-American Life (University of Chicago Press, 2010), tells the story of her growing up as the daughter of postwar Lithuanian immigrants in the 1960's and '70's near Chicago.

The book alternates between the story of Markelis's youth – especially her struggle for cultural identity – and a series of touching later scenes with her octogenarian mother.  

We see Daiva and her sister begging for real American Halloween costumes and a plastic Christmas tree, while the parents insist on speaking Lithuanian and holding true to their traditions.   The descriptions of Catholic school, Lithuanian scout camp, and the family resort owned by Valdas Adamkus (who later returned to Lithuania and became its president) are tart and funny.  

Markelis reveals a culture as well as a personal history.  She writes affectionately about the streets, the buildings, even the tackiest billboards of her home town - while, at the same time, not shrinking from frank portrayals of racial tension and alcohol abuse.   The portraits of her parents are filled with a lovely tenderness, even as she pokes fun and reveals some of their failings.  

This tale of seeking cultural identity within an immigrant community comes to an uplifting conclusion. By the end of the book, Markelis has discovered her own way to be both Lithuanian and American.


Category : Culture & events

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Letter from our VilNews’ Washington correspondent:

It was a pleasure meeting readers, librarians, booksellers, bloggers, and publishers’ reps at BookExpo America in New York City last week.  I was honored to be among the 700+ authors signing books at the largest book trade gathering in the U.S. Here I am with Donna Shear, director of the University of Nebraska Press, my wonderful publisher.

A special treat was seeing Susan Nussbaum accept the Bellwether Prize for social engaged fiction from Barbara Kingsolver. Another highlight was visiting the Read Russia booth to chat about a possible Russian translation of We Are Here.  And then there was the once-in-a-lifetime chance to pose with Olivia the Pig.

For more details, visit my website. Mark your calendar – we’d love to see you there!

Praise for We Are Here

“Pioneering… will reach out to Jews, Lithuanians, and all those who care about not replaying in this new century the disasters of the century that has just ended"
Michael Steinlauf

“…deeply moving…her book offers a unique perspective…complex human texture, rooted in an oft-forgotten Yiddish cultural context, a tapestry of events which elsewhere too often appear as one-dimensional. Readers will doubtless be immensely enriched by her experience.”
Dr. Saulius Suziedelis


Category : Culture & events / Front page

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Ars longa, vita brevis
Art is long, Life is short.

Professor of Creative Writing and American Short Story at Concordia University, Canada,
the founder and main organizer of the SLS, and author Mikhail Iossel.

Photo: Kestutis Pleita

Professor Mikhail Iossel interviewed by Eglė Kačkutė

This summer, July 15-28 and August 29-12, the 14th edition of Summer Literary Festivals known as the SLS will be held in Vilnius for the 3rd time running. Literary workshops will be conducted by experienced and well known North American writers; famous photographers, artists and researchers will be taking part in the program. SLS is the biggest independent creative writing program in the world that brings together an impressive number of talented teachers and writers to be. The creative writing phenomenon is rife in Europe, too. The first British Creative Writing course graduate in the UK is legendary Ian McEwan who continues to reap the plentiful fruit of his studies at East Anglia University thirty odd years ago. Creative studies are known to be more that just a means to get better at writing, they also serve as an initiation into complex and competitive world of publishing, providing writers to be with much needed references.

Eglė Kačkutė is talking to professor of Creative Writing and American Short Story at Concordia University, Canada, the founder and main organizer of the SLS, and author Mikhail Iossel.


Category : Culture & events

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The medals of
Petras Rimsa

Lithuanian medallic art is an especially interesting area of study in the numismatic hobby. Individual medals struck by various persons or groups convey the specifics of the history of Lithuania and its people.

Petras Rimsa in 1957

By Frank Passic, Albion, Michigan

Lithuania’s most outstanding medalist was sculptor Petras Rimsa (1881-1961), a contemporary of Germany’s medalist Karl Goetz. Many of Rimsa’s designs reflect Lithuania’s patriotic themes and range from religious subject matter to sarcastic political commentary. Since the reestablishment of Lithuanian independence in the 1990s, Rimsa’s medals have again become popular and highly sought after by Lithuanian collectors. To meet the demand, there are even contemporary reproductions of Rimsa’s early 20th century medals.


Category : Culture & events

U.S.-Nordic-Baltic cooperation

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By Dr. Stasys Backaitis

Conference on U.S.-Nordic-Baltic Cooperation:
Shaping the U.S.-European Agenda

The conference provided an overview by U.S. and European researchers and political experts on the importance, need and benefits of a close U.S. collaboration with the Nordic-Baltic region. The collaboration would facilitate building a wider and more secure Europe, reinforcing U.S. attention to transatlantic engagement, and achieving a more constructive dialog with Russia leading to democratization of its society. The conference took place on Friday, May 4, 2012, at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the John Hopkins University, Washington, D.C.


Category : Culture & events / Lithuania in the world

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VilNews is in Azerbaijan
to cover the 57th
European Song Contest!

By Arvydas Arnasius

To tell frankly Azerbaijan was not on my list of countries which I wanted to go no matter what and when there was an opportunity to visit it during the 2012 Eurovision song contest in Baku I had a reserved expectations.
For the reader I can tell that Azerbaijan is neither Europe nor Asia and this country has an incredible tangle of contradictions and contrasts. It’s fascinating nexus of ancient historical empires going back centuries ago. Yet it’s also a new and dynamic nation finding its way from the emergencies from war-torn post-Soviet times on petroleum funded explosion of optimism. Surrounded by the semi-desert on the oil rich Caspian Sea, the nation’s cosmopolitan capital – Baku, is a dynamic boom-town, where flashy limousines and mushrooming skyscrapers sweep around the picturesque old town. Yet barely few hours’ drive away there is another reality - entirely different world: timeless villages with their people and soaring high Caucasus mountains.


Category : Culture & events

Adomas Varnas – artist and banknote designer

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Adomas Varnas (1879-1979).
“Artist and beggar”, 1906-1908, oil on canvas, 115x80.
Čiurlionis National Art Museum

By Frank Passic, Albion, Michigan, USA

A few weeks ago in Vilnews there was an article about Lithuanian artist Adomas Varnas (1879-1979), which included an illustration of his 1953 masterpiece entitled “The Coronation of King Mindaugas.” Varnas’ lifespan far surpassed those of his counterparts, and his biography is extensive. Varnas was co-founder and the first president (1920) of the Association of Creative Artists, and helped organize Lithuanian art schools and galleries. He became well known for his collection of ethnographic material, particularly the wayside crosses. He also designed various Lithuanian stamps and banknotes.

Varnas escaped to the West during the summer of 1944, and in 1949 settled in Chicago, Illinois. Despite his old age, he remained active until the time of his death. He celebrated his upcoming 100th birthday on December 8, 1978 and was able to speak briefly at a banquet held in his honor in Chicago at the time.

In a bit of irony, the Lithuanian numismatist Dr. Aleksandras Rackus (1893-1965) wrote in 1949:

“Adomas Varnas, the famous Lithuanian artist…is coming to the U.S. He fled from the Bolsheviks in his old age and lived as a refugee in a D.P. camp in Germany. He is more than 70 years old and malnutrition made him physically weak. Stamp collectors undoubtedly will want his autograph and other favors, but they should remember that he won’t live very long, so try to reciprocate. At least buy from him a painting.”

Not only did Varnas live a long life of 100 years, he lived for more than thirty years after Rackus’ statement! Rackus died in 1965.


Category : Culture & events

A weekend of books in Vilnius – once again

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Text and photos: Diana Koval

An annual cultural refreshment weekend for all those who cannot imagine their life without books finally happened and as always it was fabulous. Vilnius International Book Fair for the 13th time opened its doors to the numerous visitors from all over the country. Last year there were about 60 thousands of them, and about the same amount of guests are expected to visit Litexpo exhibition center during this last weekend of February.


Category : Culture & events

Poetry and short tales from Vilnius and the Appalachian Mountains

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Kerry Shawn Keys

Kerry Shawn Keys’ roots are in the Appalachian Mountains (eastern North America). From 1998 to 2000, he taught translation theory and creative composition as a Fulbright Associate Professor at Vilnius University. He has dozens of books to his credit, including translations from Portuguese and Lithuanian, and his own poems informed by rural America and Europe, and Brazil and India (Peace Corps) where he lived for considerable time. His work ranges from theatre-dance pieces to flamenco songs to meditations on the Tao Te Ching, and is often lyrical with intense ontological concerns. Of late, he has been writing prose wonderscripts, and monologues for the stage. A children’s book, The Land of People, received a Lithuanian laureate in 2008 for artwork he co-authored. He performs with the free jazz percussionist and sound-constellation artist, Vladimir Tarasov – Prior Records released their CD in 2006. His most recent book is Transporting, a cloak of rhapsodies (2010).


Category : Culture & events

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Vilniaus Kamerinis Teatras, October – December: 

When Men Played God!
The Story of Anne Frank

A conversation with Alicia Gian, co-director of Kai žmonės vaidino Dievą!
Emily Šaras, Associate Editor 

October 21, 22, 23, 28, 29.  November 11, 12.  December 20.  18:30
Vilniaus Kamerinis Teatras (Vilnius Chamber Theatre)
Sponsored by the United States Embassy, Vilnius

Anne Frank, the girl who has been the voice for millions of unheard voices from the Holocaust, is being heard in Vilnius for the first time in Lithuania’s history.  In a newly adapted script by Mr. Marius Mačiulis, nine of Vilnius Chamber Theatre's actors will tell the story of family, hope, death and most importantly love.  Co-Director of the production, Ms. Alicia Gian, hopes for the audience to be emotionally moved by the production, and seeks to inspire viewers to “be moved to action - moved to talk about and act upon social injustices that are occurring in our neighborhoods, cities, countries and world today.”  In the words of Anne herself, "How wonderful it is that nobody has to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world" – and the Vilnius Chamber Theatre eagerly anticipates the October 21st  premiere of the production.


Category : Culture & events


Have your say. Send to:

    • Berta upe Tilmantaite is among the world's top photographers OLEG – THE HUNTER IS A MOVIE BY BERTA UPE TILMANTAITE.SEE HTTPS://VIMEO.COM/81331998 By Aage Myhre When I spoke with Berta upe Tilmantaite a few days ago, she was on a photo assignment somewhere in Kenya's wilderness. Internet connection was very poor, but she managed at least to tell me that she would soon be back in Nairobi and that we then could talk more and her exploits as a photojournalist with absolutely the whole world as her geographical area. Berta upe Tilmantaite is a Lithuanian multimedia journalist, photographer and story teller, currently based in Vilnius. She obtained


      VilNews will this summer from time to time publish poetry that we receive from our readers. Please send us yours!

      Night Knight

      by KR Slade

      I finished at school then home I came.
      And fourteen days past Christmas next
      my father went in sleep to his grave.
      When I had forgotten so long before
      the stories at bedtime that he had told.
      I'd always to sleep and miss some part
      but waked again to hear some more;
      so all the story I'd often heard but never
      remembered from start to end, the all.
      Wasn't it just of our to-make-believe ?
      Didn't we laugh because it wasn't true ?
      But now I know that jest was only just
      to make it less scary for then and now.
      The legend that would for me come true.

      Read the poem here...

    • Rimgaudas P. Vidziunas
      Mesa, Arizona, USA

      The photo is of the author, Rimgaudas P. Vidziunas, walking on the shores of the Baltic Sea. He was inspired to write poetry upon his first visit to Lithuanian in 1999

      Today we are pleased to introduce you to Rimgaudas P. Vidziunas who came to the USA in 1949. Visited Lithuania 1999, 2002. BA History, University of Miami, Florida January 1970. Photographer for over 35 years.

      Follow him on Facebook: "Photography by Rimgaudas". Currently residing Mesa, Arizona, USA.

                                   * * *


      I thought I heard you dream of Baltic beaches.
      Walking in the evening sunset toward the cottage
      That lies among the dunes.
      The storm battered rain on our face, watching the storm end. 
      The return of the seagulls
      Indicates the ending of the storm
      And fly to greet us
      As if saying all is well. 

BBC:"We don't receive much from Lithuanian Radio, unlike Estonia which sends us lots"

How I agree with the heading statement "Lithuania is a cultural treasure the world still knows far too little about" I have been visiting Lietuva since 2003 and quickly fell in love with your country.
Two aspects are of special interest to me: your railways (I assist the editor of Baltic Railways Magazine with the translation of the articles into English) and classical music.
Despite a stream of letters to the BBC since 2004, I haven't been able to persuade them to take an interest in Lithuanian music. I did manage to have Ciurlionis' Miske played in a request programme, but that was all. Offers to prepare a series of five programmes on Lithuanian music in the Composer of the Week series fell on deaf ears ("too far off the beaten track" they said) as did my suggestion that the Radio 3 Breakfast programme play the cd of Vytautas Landsbergis playing some of Ciurlionis' piano works on Black Ribbon Day ("we don't do anniversaries").
With the Ciurlionis 100th anniversary imminent, I will certainly have another go at the BBC to celebrate it.
One excuse for not playing Lithuanian music was that "we don't receive much from Lithuanian Radio, unlike Estonia which sends us lots". It would help if the appropriate organisations in Lietuva bombarded the BBC with Lithuanian music. Regular broadcasts of Lithuanian music would probably help to promote the Lithuanian musicians based in England (such as Evelina Puzaite) who never get a mention on the BBC.

Tony Olsson,
North Devon, United Kingdom

Our Vilnews section for 'culture & events' aims to build bridges

The Vilnews culture section is a place for building bridges between different cultures and people. Vilnews is meant to break down the barriers between "low" and "high" culture and focuses on filling in the gaps that a neglect of popular culture has left in our understanding of the workings of society.

The articles in Vilnews culture section are written by Lithuanians who live in Lithuania or outside the country. The texts combine literature, history and the arts, popular, the taken-for-granted and the ordinary pieces of Lithuanian life to produce analyses of Lithuanian culture. Vilnews journal provides breadth, depth, provocation and passion in reporting the nuances of human‘s life experiences relating to culture. Vilnews is always open for ideas or submissions and responses from anyone on the Internet. We take seriously the need to move ideas outward, so that our cultural debates may have some resonance with wider political and cultural interests.

Indrė Lauciutė, Section Editor

    • Painted music of Čiurlionis
      You don’t need to read about Čiurlionis to know him. It’s just better to look at his paintings or listen to his music. When I see Čiurlionis’ art, I feel like I'm in one of those surrealistic fantasy dreams I occasionally have. I could stare for hours at these paintings, especially at the one from the serious “Creation of the world”. This small world from the forest painted in velvet blue and bright cream white colours makes my mind to change. I see a symbol of faith, hope and sacrifice in it which sometimes is the last thing left to us. Čiurlionis is known for symbolism. All of his paintings take you to the fantastic land, cosmic journey, to the fairytale.

    • A world famous classical accordionist from Šiauliai
      Martynas Levickis, a student of Professor Owen Murray at the Royal Academy of London, UK, recently won the piano accordion soloists section at the CIA Coupe Mondiale (World Accordion Championships) in Varaždin, Croatia, October 19th to 25th.

      Martynas Levickis studied at the Šiauliai Conservatoire, Lithuania, and the Royal Academy of London, UK. He has performed and won multiple prizes at international competitions and festivals in Lithuania, the USA, Italy, France, Netherlands, Poland, Estonia, Germany, Croatia and Belarus.

Climb with us up to the loft...

A very special 'loft culture' is under development in Lithuania. Here is the mission paragraphs of one of the new groups, 'LOFTAS':

1) The Centre aim to promote the idea of modern substantial culture among young people to develop their cultural maturity, to encourage involvement and creativity. We want to develop a cultured, active, open-minded community.
2) To promote the creative expression of artists Lithuanian
3) The development of a cultural capital of Vilnius as well as the image of Lithuania as well as internationally.

VilNews e-magazine is published in Vilnius, Lithuania. Editor-in-Chief: Mr. Aage Myhre. Inquires to the
Code of Ethics: See Section 2 – about VilNewsVilNews  is not responsible for content on external links/web pages.
All content is copyrighted © 2011. UAB ‘VilNews’.

مبلمان اداری صندلی مدیریتی صندلی اداری میز اداری وبلاگدهی فروشگاه اینترنتی گن لاغری شکم بند لاغری تبلیغات کلیکی آموزش زبان انگلیسی پاراگلایدر ساخت وبلاگ بوی دهان بوی بد دهان