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
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