Buy books at the Non-Fiction Book Fair
The Non-Fiction Book Fair, aka the International Fair of Intellectual Literature, is always a big event in Moscow. Held at Gostiny Dvor Dec. 2-6, it offers fiction, non-fiction, and pop science literature from 18 countries (including Israel, China, U.K., U.S, Ukraine, France and Japan); from 300 major publishing houses; with more than 500 special events and talks by authors and publishers from around the world; for upwards of 40,000 visitors every year, some of whom are also budding authors who sign contracts right on the spot. If you love books, you must go to this book fair. This year the special guest country is Germany, which means lots of books, authors, films, talks and other events in German and from Germany. There is a big section of kid’s books, one for comics and graphic novels, and a growing section of cookbooks. Buy your ticket(s) ahead of time, dust off your book bags, take a look at the program of talks, demonstrations, and seminars, and plan your weekend. There are plenty of foreign language books and lots of foreign authors despite the coronavirus and other travel restrictions. More information in Russian and English and ticket purchases on the site here.
Enjoy holiday music (and buy your tickets now)
The holiday season might be subdued this year in Moscow — like last year, there will be no fairs or activities in the city center — but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to sit home watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Netflix. On Dec. 24 you might want to experience the brilliance and triumph of Dmitry Shostakovich’s “Seventh Symphony,” also called the “Leningrad Symphony.” It will be performed on the main stage of the Zaryadye Concert Hall by the Russian State Orchestra, directed by Vasily Petrenko. And on Dec. 25 at 1 p.m. the Cantus Boy’s Choir is performing a Christmas concert on the small stage. The choir is one of the finest in Russia, dedicated to the long tradition of church choral music in Russia. The program will be Russian and European Christmas music, although it ends of the very festive and light notes of “Jingle Bells” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” For more information and tickets, see the concert hall site.
Get into the holiday spirit with teddy bears – lots of teddy bears
In many parts of the world, there is nothing that says “holidays” more than teddy bears. In some families children get new bears every year. In others, the parents do, too. Whether or not this is a tradition in your family, the Hello, Teddy exhibition will put you and your children in a bearish good mood. At Tishinka mall you can see 50,000 teddy bears, from some so small you can only see them under a microscope, to some so big you couldn’t pick them up. The stuffed bears have their friends on display, too: rabbits, badgers, foxes, mice and other forest creatures. For more information and tickets, see the site here.
Learn about Jewish traditions
This year on the first day of Hanukah, the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center opened a very hands-on exhibition called Becoming Jewish. With artifacts — some quite rare — from private and public collections in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other parts of Russia, children are introduced to the traditions, holidays and games that once were part of most Jewish children’s lives in this part of the world. The curators worked on the exhibition for two years, designing it as one grand board game that will grab children’s interest and teach them while letting them be entertained. The show will run for four months until Purim. While you’re there, be sure to see the show “Snow on Grass” of works by the great animator Yuri Norshtein and the artist Francesca Norbusova. For more information about the show, see the site here.
Get jazzed up
Maybe to compensate for the pandemic cancellations of holiday fairs and activities, maybe to make up for the cold slush and snow, or maybe just because Muscovites love jazz, there is something of a world-wide jazz festival this month. Tonight, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m., the Italian jazz band Conosci mia cugina has flown in from Rome to perform at Artnovi Space. Think swing. Tickets are 2,000 rubles and available here. If Italy isn’t hot enough for you, how about Brazil? On Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. the rooftop restaurant-club Krym is hosting a Russian jazz group that has made the Bosa Nova their own. Tickets ranging from 1,500-1,700 rubles are available here.