When rebel collective Pussy Riot took its "Punk Prayer" into Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior two years ago, it was not a gimmicky stunt but a legitimate act of revolution. Prompted by Vladimir Putin's cynical, ongoing and deeply manipulative embrace of the church and its national congregation - essentially and outrageously reducing the culture of Orthodox Christianity to a propaganda wing for his oppressive regime - Pussy Riot was compelled to protest. Rarely have art and agitation collided so memorably. This visit from Russian-born journalist-author Masha Gessen, discussing her new book, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot
, should be a profoundly, er, arresting affair. The Pussy Riot phenom is far more complex and genuinely radical than the facile carnival of DayGlo balaclavas and whip-wielding Cossacks that the media gleefully serves up, and the outspoken, openly gay Gessen (author of 2012's scorching The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin
) is the ideal voice to place the subject in its proper sociopolitical context. She's joined in conversation by St. Mary's College professor of politics Suzi Weissman. Expect a thorough and illuminating dissection of this ardent, fearless and endlessly admirable gang of stink stirrers. Los Angeles Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St., dwntwn.; Wed., March 12, 7:15 p.m. Free, resv. reqd. (213) 228-7025, lfla.org.
Wed., March 12, 7:15 p.m., 2014