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Vica Miller Literary Salons Turn Six & Celebrate with Russia! Night at Mimi Ferzt Gallery

NYC’s Top Literary Series Invites Book Lovers for a Night of Fiction, Memoir and Art

NEW YORKMay 14, 2015 – Vica Miller Literary Salons, a favorite NYC chamber reading series held in private art galleries, will celebrate its sixth birthday by staging the Russia! Salon at Mimi Ferzt in SoHo, the only New York gallery specializing in contemporary Russian art.

On May 20th, 2015, three Russian-American authors, well-loved for their distinct writing styles, captivating storytelling and intimate knowledge of the country, will be joined by a first time American novelist to share in the nostalgia, beauty, mystery and pain of a country that’s once again reinventing itself.

While no political discussions are planned for the evening, the Russia! Salon will be set amidst A Look at a Time exhibit of new work from Mikhail Magaril & Ivan Lebedev, and present narratives from places that are no more – 1970s Leningrad and late 1990s Moscow – that are sure to inspire a lively conversation during a Q&A session, the highly praised and most anticipated part of the Salons.

Elena Gorokhova, the bestselling author of A Mountain of Crumbs (Simon & Schuster, 2011), will read from a new memoir, Russian Tattoo (2015), of which Publishers Weekly said, “With a wry, unswervingly honest observer’s eye, Gorokhova chronicles the increasing strangeness of her new country… This work… is both wondrous and stinging.”

Katherine Dovlatov will read from Pushkin Hills (Counterpoint, 2014), her masterful translation of her father’s acclaimed novel Zapovednik. Sergei Dovlatov immigrated to the United States in 1978, publishing 12 books. After his death in 1990, he became one of the most widely read Russian writers of the latter 20th Century; his works are translated into 29 languages and there is a street named after him in Queens, New York. In 2015, Pushkin Hills was shortlisted for the Best Translated Books Award (BTBA).

Vica Miller, the founder of the Salons, whom Four Seasons Magazine dubbed “a modern-day Gertrude Stein,” will offer a chapter from her fast-paced debut novel, Inga’s Zigzags (Ladno Books, May 14, 2014). Kirkus Reviews wrote, “After 10 years in America, a Russian woman returns home hoping to make it big, but she finds herself distracted by the allure of a charismatic lesbian couple in this well-written debut novel…. Miller engagingly presents a heroine caught between contradictions: New York and Moscow; flashy glamour and self-pitying nostalgia; certainty and doubt… A sexy tale with plenty of Russian atmosphere.”

Rebecca Baldridge will read from her forthcoming (2016) debut novel, Moscow to the End of the Line. In part based on actual events, the book tells the story of a young expat’s life in Moscow in the 1990s, his descent into a decadent, hedonistic, sometimes criminal, lifestyle, and how he eventually found redemption.

“It’s been a thrilling adventure to foster the Salons,” said Miller. “Besides having featured over a hundred fantastic writers and poets, the Salons built a dedicated following and, according to Simon Van Booy, became ‘a vital part of the New York City literary scene.’ Along the way, I launched an indie press, Ladno Books, which in 2016 will publish a collection of short stories and essays, On Loving, by female alumni of the Salons, including Courtney Maum, Amy Shearn, Melissa Febos, Paula Bomer, and others. May 20th is special in other ways,” added Miller. “On this day, 25 years ago, I first landed in New York from Leningrad. And today, my debut novel turned one.”

5/20, 7- 9 PM

Mimi Ferzt. 81 Greene Street (bet. Broome & Spring)

On View: A Look at a Time. New work from Mikhail Magaril & Ivan Lebedev

Reading, Q&A, book signing & reception. In English.

Free. Must RSVP to info@vicamillersalons.com

Standing room only. No latecomers.

@vica_miller

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He touched her hand as she walked by, on a street in SoHo. She turned, and stopped. It was dark, but the window display lit him up as if on stage. His eyes were fixed on her, in awe, and she tilted her head inquiringly.

“I have to talk to you,” he said. “May I talk to you?”

He was short, well dressed and slightly agitated. Older. She was tall, well dressed and tired after a night of performing. But, as was every time after a show, she was elated, as if still floating above the stage, nurtured by the shared intimacy of the crowd that responded to her and made her feel loved, and she longer had to feel lonely.

Her friends turned to look.

“What would you like to talk about?”

“Can I just tell you how beautiful you are?”

He was sincere and desperate at once, so she nodded: a crumb of admiration from a stranger was like a gift of kindness from above, and she accepted it, grateful yet skeptical.

“I want to hold your hand, and tell you things,” he said and reached for her hand. She withdrew it.

“I’m married, you know.”

“No, that can’t be.” He took a step back, then forward, inspected the rings on her left hand.

“They are real,” she said.

“Are you happily married?” He searched for the answer in her eyes.

She looked at the window display, with an empty-eyed mannequin dressed in orange, and nodded. He didn’t need to know the answer. She didn’t know it herself.

“And I am her lover,” her friend stepped up closer.

The man turned to the woman who had said the words, inspected her reddish hair, ironic smile, and turned back. He was ready to believe it, and that made her even more desirable in his eyes.

“Former lover,” she corrected her friend.

“Former?”

“And future, too.” The women smiled at each other. He nodded. It didn’t matter whether that was true or not. She was like a vision, and he didn’t want to lose it.

“I live nearby,” he said. “Would you like to stop by?”

She shook her head.

“I have to go home. There is a husband waiting for me, and two children.” She paused. “Are you that lonely? Nobody waiting for you at your fancy loft?”

“Nobody,” he said, and took her right hand in his. “I could read you some poems. I’m a poet.”

She looked at him, and didn’t take her hand away. She could feel his loneliness, it was much bigger than hers, but tonight she was still awash in the love she felt onstage, and didn’t want it to dissipate.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I know about lonely. But I’m going home.”

She started walking away, then turned.

“You should write a poem, for me. Tonight.” She told him her name. “Find me, send me the poem, and then I’ll respond. Maybe.”

They walked away, the man standing by the lit window. On the pavement, atop a pile of recycled boxes, lay an enormous photograph, a woman’s portrait, in color. It must have been an ad for a beauty product, or a demo at a branding meeting, and now the face looked solemnly from the shadows of the street, discarded. They laughed at first, and took photos with the woman on the photo, and nearly fell into the pile of cardboards. She thought how the woman on the photograph was recycled, and all alone on the street. But the day they had photographed her, she must have been the center of attention, and all lights and cameras were on her.

She tried not to make any analogies – with her performance, and the man who found her on the street after.

The next morning she received a poem. It was about her teeth, and hands, and rivers flowing into the ocean.

She didn’t answer. The whole thing made her sad. The only difference between her and the poet was that he begged for attention on the street, and she didn’t.

(c) Vica Miller

May 22, 2014

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Writer & Literary Salon Founder Vica Miller Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Inga’s Zigzags

A Crowdfunding Campaign to Publish Debut Novel Starts at 9:10 am on 11/12/13

 

New York, NEW YORK – 11/12/13 – As the debate over traditional versus self- publishing continues, writer and literary salon founder Vica Miller announces a Kickstarter campaign to finance the publication of her debut novel, Inga’s Zigzags.

“Inga Belova leaves NYC for post-perestroika Moscow to launch her own business. She falls in love with two women along the way,” reads the description of the novel on Kickstarter. Miller, a tech PR executive and mother of two, says that it took her eight years to write, edit, workshop, and rewrite the novel, and that she’d rather devote her time to bringing the book directly to the reader than do the “agent dance.” “I believe Inga’s story will resonate with many,” adds Miller, “but it might be a bit outrageous for U.S. publishers, so I decided to dare the outrageous on my own.”

Inga’s Zigzags is the story of a 28-year-old Russian woman, who after a decade of living in New York, returns to post-perestroika Moscow to start her own business. When her prospects fall through, she meets Emma and Alexandra, a pair of wealthy magazine publishers, who lure Inga into their bed and then propose to start a company together. When the threesome starts to fall apart, Inga is forced to make some difficult choices to find her way through the labyrinth of Moscow’s intrigues and heartbreaks.

Miller says that the novel will appeal to anyone who’s ever struggled with finding a place in life – be it in geography, jobs or relationships. The book is about evolving, a yearning to belong and feel accepted. Inga Belova is a New Yorker who has an MBA but feels misplaced. She is a double single – as in, divorced with no boyfriend – but then she finds double love. Yet she continues to feel in between – countries, careers, and lovers. She questions her sexuality, national identity, and loyalty. Miller says the book is especially timely, considering the recent crackdown on gay rights in Russia.

As a literary salon founder and published author of short stories, Miller is not a newcomer to the literary scene. She is fully aware of the lingering stigma that self-published books might not be on a par, in both writing and production, with those published traditionally. But knowing that worthy books often take years to get published traditionally, she says it’s time for conventions to change. A savvy professional, who has spent two decades in technology and public relations, Miller is on track to produce a high-quality book. She has already assembled a stellar team to help her: an editor, formerly with a big-five publishing house, an award-winning photographer for the cover image, a well-respected book cover designer, and a publishing consultant.

“I believe in the power of the creative community,” says Miller. “I can’t do this alone. I need good people to help me, and I need to pay for their efforts. It takes between $5K and $15K to publish a quality book.” She hopes to raise $5K, with a stretch goal of $10K.

Miller seeks donations from her backers ranging between $5 and $1,000. The rewards for supporters include advanced copies of e-book, signed copies of a paperback, reserved seating at her salons, invitations to a book launch party, and PR services. If the project is funded, a percentage of future book sales will go towards supporting LGBT rights in Russia.

A New Yorker for over two decades, Miller is an avid supporter of the arts: she has hosted dozens of writers, both published and not, at her salons, including Arthur Phillips, Lara Vapnyar, Michael Cunningham, Simon Van Booy, Jennifer Gilmore, Boris Fishman and Liesl Schillinger among others. She’s also backed two projects on Kickstarter, including The Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

Miller’s project launches on Kickstarter at 9:10 am on 11/12/13. “Help me bring Inga’s Zigzags to you, the reader,” says Miller. “I promise you will not be disappointed.”

For more information, please visit http://www.vicamillersalons.com/news.

Media Contact:

Vica Miller

+1-917-915-2054

millervica@gmail.com

@vica_miller

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