We were assured that Riga in the Spring and early Summer is the place to be and the energy of the city is definitely waking up. People seem to be smiling a lot more. We are a little surprised by the lack of style as we were told that the girls of Riga would all be covered in bright colors, short skirts and long stilettos. And, based upon the furs of Winter, we fully expected it. Instead, we are seeing a lot more frumpy - not quite as much as in the US - perhaps the increased tourism has brought frump along with it.
On Saturday we set out to the Riga Art Space to see Re:Visited, a collection of works from past Biennials and other significant international art exhibitions. While the exhibit was very well thought out and well curated, most of the work was video-based and required far more time to engage with than we had allotted. There were a few works that caught our imagination but, for the most part, they were surprisingly not very moving. For us, the star of the gallery was Petrov's Dogs, a deeply disturbing collection of photo realistic watercolors and oil paintings with a few miniature sculptures by Ukrainian Ievgen Petrov. He doesn't anthropomorphize his feral and homeless animal subjects but manages to create a deep emotional impact.
On Wednesday we are going to see The Thief of Bagdad at the Splendid Palace as part of their Kino Trofejas film festival. As we watch this costume piece in that beautiful, ornate theater we will be thinking of Vince Marich as he always loved those old costume dramas. We attended the opening film of the festival and saw some old Soviet Latvian newsreels followed by Die Frau meiner Traume (The Woman of My Dreams) a rather silly musical theater piece in German with Russian subtitles with a Latvian interpreter talking from the back booth who you could hear through headphones - damn near surrealistic. Marika Rökk was quite the star, singing, dancing (pointe, tap, apache dancing, you name it), singing, acting, being sexy in quite revealing costumes.