Moscow 57 Restaurant Honors the African American Experience by Celebrating the Documentary, "Black Russians: The Red Experience"

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Newly opened restaurant Moscow 57, located at 168 1/2 Delancey Street, is hosting a party for the new documentary, "Black Russians: the Red Experience" on March 20th. This documentary tells the extraordinary story of the Black American intellectuals who left America during segregation and the Great Depression seeking a better life in Stalin’s Soviet Union.

"There are so many people who don't know this story."- Yelena Demikovsky

Morgan Freeman said, "I don't want a Black history month. Black history is American history." Moscow 57, the new Russian Central Asian restaurant at 168½ Delancey Street in Manhattan, agrees and is honoring the African-American experience in Russia and the former Soviet Union by celebrating two unique and little-known chapters of Black history in the 20th Century.

First, the restaurant will screen the trailer for “Black Russians: The Red Experience,” now in production, and host an event for supporters on March 20, 2014. Also, on display through March will be photographs related to the forthcoming documentary film.

“Black Russians: The Red Experience,” a film by Yelena Demikovsky, is produced by longtime Spike Lee collaborator and multiple Emmy award-winner Sam Pollard. It tells the extraordinary story of African-American intellectuals who supported the Soviet Union in the decades following the Russian Revolution. While some visited the newly-formed republic and then returned home to share their insights, including the writer W.E.B. DuBois, the poet Langston Hughes, and the singer Paul Robeson, others—artists, agricultural engineers, political activists—left segregated America behind forever, dreaming of a better, more egalitarian life for themselves and their families.

The film, from Red Palette Pictures, documents the experiences of these 20th century idealists (many of whom were actively recruited by Josef Stalin as the hoped-for first wave of a global Black revolutionary movement), and explores the lives of their children and grandchildren in the United States and Russia.

Among those in the present generation interviewed for “Black Russians: The Red Experience” are the well-known Russian television personality Yelena Khanga and her compatriot, Moscow-based actor/singer Wayland Rudd, Jr., the son of the expatriate American actor Wayland Rudd. The senior Rudd emigrated to the Soviet Union in 1932. The film also features interviews with MaryLouise Patterson, a medical doctor educated in the former U.S.S.R. and now resident in Los Angeles, and Carola Burroughs, the granddaughter of American activist and emigrée Williana Burroughs.

Furthermore, the restaurant continues its tribute to Frederick B. Thomas, the Mississippi native and son of former slaves who fled oppression and discrimination in the United States to become a prominent Muscovite, restaurateur and theatrical impresario in the last days of the Russian Empire. Frederick Thomas is the subject of the 2013 biography, “The Black Russian,” by Vladimir Alexandrov of Yale University; Thomas’s vivid experiences as a wealthy and influential Russian citizen ended when he was forced to flee the country after the October Revolution of 1917.

Moscow 57, the hospitality and entertainment company, was launched several years ago by partners Ellen Kaye and Seth Goldman. For the past two years, the company has been hosting its M57 Urban Salons, evenings of music, food and digital visual art displays, in Harlem, Washington Heights, Chelsea, the Upper East Side, the East Village, Governors Island, Connecticut, and New Orleans. Moscow 57 has made New Orleans a home away from home, with regular forays into that city's world-renowned culture of Southern hospitality, regional cuisine, and world-class entertainment. After performing at and co-producing events with New York's Corcho Wine Room, as well as celebrating Latin American culture in New Orleans, this cosmopolitan attitude is being brought to Moscow 57's permanent home on New York City's Lower East Side every night.

The company is an ongoing supporter of a wide variety of charitable events, including Holiday House NYC, The New York Women’s Foundation and The New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation. Moscow 57 Entertaining, created in partnership with Ethan Fein, is developing projects for film, television and theater. Its music company produces podcasts, live performances, recordings and videos. Moscow 57’s first CD releases have already garnered national radio airplay, and the company's videos can be seen on the Moscow57Entertaining YouTube channel. The company's M57 podcast will be streaming live on Sunday nights.

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Ellen Kaye
Moscow 57
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