Synchronicity in Vilnius #2
I had chosen the traditional 4 star Shakespeare Hotel to stay in Vilnius Old Town because of its literary connections, each room had been given the name and decor of a famous literary figure from Shakespeare to Victor Hugo. From Aristotle to Bryon. The atmosphere was cozy, comfortable and home from home. In a word, gemutlich. I reckoned that interesting cultured individuals would chose to stay at this non corporate hotel. I was proved right and meet them I did over my 2 week stay.
The first synchronistic happening was that I was offered the Thomas Hardy bedroom. I had lived in 10 Hanover Crescent, Brighton where the original owner, the publisher Horace Smith, had literary guests to visit including Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy!
The following morning there was no room in the official breakfast lounge so I had to be seated in the beautiful adjoining green library restaurant. I passed an older American lady talking to a 40ish man in English but didn't say the customary 'Good Morning' as I moved to the back of the room.
The next day 3 synchronistic events took place. Gintaras drove me to Trakai, a destination with a castle and lakes about an hour and a half from Vilnius. He went to park the car while I waited for him in a cafe overlooking the castle by the bridge where teams of tourists walked past. I waited patiently and then a seemingly ordinary American middle aged couple walked in.
I work on the principal that all Americans visiting Lithuania are searching for their heritage. I was never wrong. The woman looked at me and delighted said she had noticed me at the concert in the Church the evening before as I was wearing my signature turban. That was serendipity! Next they were from Nashville, TN, home to music. Next the man wearing a typical baseball cap, Bob, was a song writer, musician and owned a record label. Mr Big in the industry! A useful link for Gintaras who wanted to go global and expand to America. But the icing on the cake came from his wife.
Christine Orrall loved my 'Jilliana' style of dressing and told me their close friend Lina Plioplyte, Lithuanian born, had been the film director for The Advanced Style documentary film by Ari Seth Cohen, someone I want to be photographed by for his latest book. Christine promised to talk to Lina about my style and gave me her email and phone number in Nashville.
More synchronicity was to happen that evening. We went with Gintaras's friend, Audra, to a restaurant by the riverside in Uzupis, the unique Republic in Vilnius. And who was at the next table? It was the American lady from breakfast, called Laima Hood, with her stepson John, having dinner with a woman dressed in Orange, Irena, who not only knew Audra but, like me, worked on the local radio and guess where she will spend her summer holidays? Brighton in August where she knows theatrical Lithuanians! As for the charming Laima, I discovered in my interview with her the following morning, that she organises the summer Washington Square music festival in New York!
Too much for one day. I suggested that Gintaris, who wants to work with me on cultural musical programmes, should get a big name like Gideon Kramer to host one of his concerts. He agreed but how to find such a world famous musician? The universe sent Audra's close friend into my life, Alexandra Jacovskyte.
The next night Alexandra invited an elderly Litvak from New York called Smuel to join us for dinner at the delightful D'eco restaurant. And who is Smuel? Not only did he own an art collection called 'Soutine and his friends' in New York but also, I saw on You Tube he hosts classical music concerts in his home but, wait for it, treats classical musicians with his 'body tuning' techniques in his medical practice. Amongst his many distinguished patients including the late Isaac Stern, is none other than the man himself, Gideon Kremer!
Perhaps the Universe has answered my wish to work with Gintaras and his cultural Arts Libera International company after all.
In August when Irena arrived to stay with Dalia in Brighton, also from Lithuania, it transpired Dalia's daughter was a musician at the Juilliard in New York and had spoken to Smuel on the phone! The snowball is still circulating - Brighton, Vilnius to New York. Where will it end?
Written on the Air Baltic flight back to London from Riga on 29/6/17. Updated in August 2017 in Brighton.
Wikipedia - Gideon Kramer
Google - Smuel Tatz
Google - Ari Seth Cohen
Amazon - Advanced Style - older and wiser
Google - Alexandra Jacovskyte
Google - Www.nylithuanian.org
You Tube - Jilliana Ranicar- Breese in Vilnius with Laima Hood #1 and #2
You Tube - Jilliana Ranicar-Breese in Vilnius with Alexandra Jacovskyte #1, 2 ,3
You Tube - Jilliana Ranicar-Breese in Vilnius with Gintaris Kamsiukas of Arts Libera International
Google - Robert Ellis Orrall - Orrall.com
Google - www.Infinitycat.com
Google - Lina Plioplyte film director of the movie 'Advanced Style'