PROFESSIONALLY HOMELESS: Self-Employed Adventures at Home & Abroad

2 May 2009

Mix Vodka, Kahlua, and Cream Together, then Light

Filed under: Funny(?) Story — biraistiyorum @ 21:35

I was out and about today when I heard some smokers outside a building speaking Russian, which reminded me of a memorable experience during my first-ever trip to Beautiful Post-Communist Capital City.

The purpose for the trip was to begin making contacts for my dissertation research, as well as to give my language skills a little test run. One of the meetings I managed to arrange was with a guy well-known for setting up community organizations for various social problems. We had arranged to meet one night at a theatre in a nearby district where one of his groups was sponsoring a performance art troupe from Moscow.

As the appointed night came, I put on a nice shirt, tie, and sport coat, which along with my good-quality shoes, haircut, and smile marked me as every inch the American I am. I was staying with a family that was friends of friends, and they looked a bit askance at me when I outlined/pantomimed where I was going and why. After a bit of stumbling around the district’s confusing streets with useless building numbers, I saw some people duck into a nondescript doorway that was possibly my destination. I ducked in, too, and found myself in the back hallway of a building that can best be described architecturally as ‘Neo-Rubble.’ After confirming that I was in the right place, I made my way in the haphazardly-lit hallway through the rubble and past the little clumps of disheveled dreadlocked/bald theatre patrons staring at me in disbelief. I found my contact, a hardcore anarchist, in the midst of pre-performance chaos, and in our conversation I quickly appreciated his energy and helpful insights.

I stayed for the performance, why not? Some of it was really interesting, some of it sucked, hey, that’s the way it goes. The last act, though, was this guy who came shuffling out on stage in a shaman’s furry robes and a big stork beak, pounding a staff on the floor periodically as he chanted/grunted. For several tedious minutes he shuffled here and shuffled there, the chants/grunts becoming softer or louder. All of a sudden, he bent down below a scene piece, then in one swift motion lit a match and blew out a big ball of flame, and screamed. For more than a couple moments we all thought the scream was part of the act…until he screamed some more and one of his castmates threw a jug of water on his burning face.

The look of disbelief I saw at the theatre was repeated later that night on the faces of the family I was staying with, as I explained to them the evening’s events as best I could with my disheartingly poor command of the local language. They shook their heads and muttered some form of the word ‘crazy,’ and went to bed. I’m still not sure whom they were referring to.


  1. I used to do this with Sambuca in my bartending days. The idea was to capture the hot vapor in a snifter and have the customer huff it before shooting the remaining liquor.

    I think flaming drinks are illegal under DC law.

    Comment by JS — 26 November 2009 @ 11:52

  2. Nice try. But as your sister, I went out drinking with you when we were in our twenties, and I know full well you are no stranger to this cocktail. I recall you shouting at the bartender, “Barkeep, another round of Flaming Russians!”

    xo tg

    Comment by tracy — 9 July 2009 @ 18:34

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