Gene Kreyd was born in Leningrad, the USSR (1964). Gene’s art career began when he first learned to hold a pencil. He was exposed to art from a very young age, when his parents took him to museums, galleries, and exhibitions in Leningrad. As a child, he attended a children’s art club at the Hermitage Museum where he won first place for a self-portrait. The photo of his work, with an accompanying story, were published in one of the city’s main newspapers. His parents’ close circle of friends included some of the leading Russian underground / nonconformist artists, poets, and writers. These surroundings had a strong influence on Gene’s approach and development as an artist. In 1973, the family emigrated to the US. He currently lives in Bali, Indonesia, where he surfs and paints.
This collection of personal essays by a bi-national Russian/U.S. author offers glimpses into many things Soviet and post-Soviet: the sacred, the profane, the mundane, the little-discussed and the often-overlooked. What was a Soviet school dance like? Did communists go to church? Did communists listen to Donna Summer? If you want to find out, read on!
“Cold War Casual” is a collection of transcribed oral testimony and interviews translated from Russian into English and from English into Russian that delve into the effect of the events and the government propaganda of the Cold War era on regular citizens of countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
Julia Wiener was born in the USSR a few years before the Second World War; her youth was spent during the “Thaw” period, and her maturity coincided with the years of “Soviet stagnation”, which, in her case, ended with her emigration to Israel in the early 1970s. Her wartime childhood, her Komsomol-student youth, her subsequent disillusionment, her meetings with well-known writers (Andrei Platonov, Victor Nekrasov, etc.) are described in a humorous style and colorful detail. Julia brings to life colorful characters – from her Moscow communal apartment neighbors to a hippie London lord, or an Arab family, headed by a devotee of classical Russian literature. No less diverse are the landscapes against which the events unfold: the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Garden of Gethsemane, New York, Amsterdam, London.