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On the cover
7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.


Kyiv Culture

Slam movement unites Ukraine and Russia

The popularity of Slam poetry readings has been growing steadily in Ukraine since the first festival took place in Kharkiv in 2006. On 10 March, the anniversary of the death of Taras Shevchenko, a festival of this aggressive style of poetry started in Lviv and finished in Moscow four days later, a very positive sign that in some areas Ukraine-Russia relations are in fine fettle. And the encouragement of free expression that is endemic in any slam poetry event can only be a good thing in a developing democracy.

Slam poetry has become a phenomenon throughout the world, and Ukraine is no exception. The popularity of the form is hardly surprising as this postmodern performance poetry gives young people the chance to express their thoughts and feelings at events called slams, at which competitors perform their own poems and are judged by people randomly selected from the audience. And in Slam poetry anything goes. Beginning in the 90s, it was very closely associated with the vocal delivery style found in hip-hop music and drew heavily on the tradition of dub poetry, a rhythmic and politicised genre belonging to Black and particularly West Indian culture. Poets who perform in a hip-hop style are likely to do well at slam, however the events draw from a much wider range of influences. It does not matter that Ukraine is not the first country to adopt such modern cultural formats, for the Ukrainian people take it and make it their own. For Ukrainian writers Slam is mostly about the performance, and the chance to get some much needed PR. Slam first appeared in Lviv as part of the annual Publishing Forum, but the first specific event took place in the Kharkiv cultural club Ostannya Barykada when all the young stars of Ukrainian literature took part including Sophia Andrukhovych, Serhiy Zhadan (pictured), Irena Karpa, Svitlana Povalyaeva, and Lubko Deresh. Since then there have been many slam nights held in towns and cities throughout the country, including Kyiv where one of the Slam leaders Anatoly Ulyanov has even written a book on the subject. This spring a cultural revolution for modern Ukrainian and Russian poetry took place when a massive Slam tournament started in Lviv on 10 March in the club Kult which gathered a whole host of fans from Kyiv and Moscow. Ukrainian poets Sergiy Zhadan, Svetlana Povalyaeva, Ilya Strongovsky and Pavlo Korobchuk battled it out with the Russian team of poetry giants German Lukomnikov, Andrey Rodionov, Arkadiy Shpitel, Danil Faizov and Anna Russ. Pavlo Korobchuk was the only Ukrainian to make it to the final, but in the end the overall title fell to the Russians and the wonderful words of German Lukomnikov who won 500 USD and the acclaim of the crowd. The evening was hosted by Anatoliy Ulianov who added a whole lot of colour with his angry satire and cutting jokes on Ukraine-Russia relations. A return leg was held in Moscow, but unfortunately the Ukrainians didnt lift the title there either, but they did show they can battle-it-out poetically with the best of them.

 Natalia Marianchyk

The popularity of Slam poetry is evident in the rules and traditions of the events:

- Anyone can take part in Slam, as long as time allows, but the ideal number of contestants is ten to twenty. There are no restrictions on subject matter or style and there should be no discrimination or favouritism.

- Every participant has three minutes to perform and points are deducted if they over run.

- A Slam jury will be made up of random members of the audience, usually who dont have any knowledge of literature. They mark each performer on a scale from 1 to 5. Bribing the jury is allowed.

 - There are three rounds to each tournament selection, semi-final and final.

- Heckling and distraction by the audience is actively encouraged

- It is important that the host of the event by highly-critical and disparaging of the participants

- Slam contestants are expected to act defiantly towards such deviant tactics and can amass points by doing so effectively.

 - Contestants can only read their own words

 - There is a censorship for censorship in slam. Censorship is forbidden in slam. As the rules show, Slam is an anarchic event without limits that gives you as many opportunities to show your individuality as you can think of.

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Comments (1)
You are not authorized! Only registered and authorized users can add their comments!
dŻinN | 01.12.2014 15:53

Hello, When i Where will be the next Slam contest?

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.

    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


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