Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mari Vanna - West Hollywood & My Russia Problem

Russia, Russia, Russia. You're killing me, Russia. But what to do when I've already got so much invested in you? Six years of my life writing a musical, learning everything I can about the culture, the politics, language and food... You're making it very difficult for Steven and I to take our trip there. Basically, you're an embarrassment. 

In some ways, what's going on over there with the INSANE LGBT laws-- which apply to VISITORS even, and not just gay visitors, but visitors they SUSPECT of being GAY SYMPATHIZERS!!-- is part of the strange cultural conflict and karma that interests me about Russia in the first place.

But let's table my desire to boycott all things Russia for the moment and celebrate Brie's birthday, which happened to be at new West Hollywood hot-spot (oh, the irony!) Mari Vanna. Named for a supposedly real Russian woman with a flair for cooking that turned her home into an un-intended scene, the ambience reflects a Russian cottage complete with knick knacks, garden boxes, and fluffy blankets to snuggle up in in case you get cold. 

The vodka was truly amazing-- the perfect buzz, no hangover. And while I didn't love the chicken and onion jello that is a Russian staple (Sorry!) their beef stroganoff was about the best I've ever had. 

Brie looked crazy beautiful and glamorous, as per usual. And Mari Vanna is one of those key-ed places where you have to have one in order to get into special VIP nights. I'm not normally into exclusive key type stuff, but I got one. And it comes on an adorable blonde matryoshka doll key chain. 

Okay, but seriously, I think boycotting Russian food and vodka isn't the way to go. I generally try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But I do think we should be pressuring events like the Olympics to relocate and sponsors to pull out of places with inhumane laws. Here's how you can get involved with that: 

Petition Coca-Cola, VISA, Procter&Gamble, Samsung, and Panasonic to stand for Human Rights and pull sponsorship from the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Petition Team USA/United States Olympic Committee to boycott the Winter 2014 Olympics in Sochi Russia

Petition the UK to boycott the Russian Winter Olympics

 Petition to Boycott Winter Olympics 2014:

Petition Winter Olympics 2014 Sponsors to condemn anti-gay laws

Petition the IOC to relocate the 2014 Winter Games to Vancouver

And listen, who knows how long this kind of disgusting lawmaking will last in Russia, or how long Americans with short attention spans will decide to boycott. But just, in the long run, can I say, whatever you do, please don't boycott any musicals about massacred Russian royalty. Okay? Thanks. 

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