Voices from Russia

Monday, 28 September 2015

28 September 2015. Pizza n’ Pivo… the National Food n’ Beverage of the NEPA Set

00 pizza n' pivo 280915


“Pivo” is “beer” in all the Slavic languages… “NEPA” is “Northeastern Pennsylvania”. Ever had “Old Forge Pizza?” Don’t knock it until you try it… then, you’ll KNOW why Pizza n’ Pivo is the Champagne and Brie of NEPA… get your mind right, bud…



Monday, 9 February 2015

Po-Nashemu Film Noir Queen Dies at 92

00 Lizabeth Scott. film noir. 09.02.15

Lizabeth Scott, Don DeFore, and Kristine Miller in Too Late For Tears.


On 31 January, actress Lizabeth Scott, whose sultry looks and smoky voice led many a man astray in 1940s and ’50s film noir, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was 92. Her longtime friend Mary Goodstein said that the cause was congestive heart failure.

Scott aspired to be a stage actress, but got stereotyped as a femme fatale in the hard-boiled, film noir world of crime, tough talk, and dark secrets. On Friday, Alan Rode, a film historian who produces annual film noir festivals, said, “She had the smouldering look, the blond hair, the voice. She was someone you’d see in a nightclub through a haze of cigarette smoke, with a voice made husky by a couple of highballs and an unfiltered Pall Mall”. Scott starred in numerous films in the genre, mostly as the bad girl… or as the good girl gone bad… with evocative titles such as Dead Reckoning, I Walk Alone, Pitfall, and Too Late for Tears. She inspired lines such as, “What a fall guy I am, thinking just because you’re good to look at you’d be good all the way through”. Burt Lancaster said that to her in the 1948 drama I Walk Alone, which also starred Kirk Douglas. However, her characters could snap back too. She asked Robert Mitchum in The Racket (1951), “Who said I was an honest citizen, and where would it get me if I was?”

She described herself to Dick Powell in the 1948 film Pitfall as “a girl whose first engagement ring was bought by a man stupid enough to embezzle and stupid enough to get caught”. She also played opposite Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, and Van Heflin. In a 1996 interview with documentary filmmaker Carole Langer, Scott said she didn’t lament the fact that she wasn’t cast in studio blockbusters. She liked the grittiness of film noir, saying, “The films that I’d seen growing up were always, ‘boy meets girl, boy ends up marrying girl, they go off into the sunset’. After the war, films got more in touch with the psychological, emotional things that people feel and people do. It was a new realm, and it was very exciting, because suddenly you were coming closer and closer to reality”.

She was born Emma Matzo on 29 September 1922 in Scranton PA, where her father had a grocery store. In her late teens, she left to study acting in New York, landing a role in a touring company of the hit stage comedy Hellzapoppin’. In 1942, she got a small part in the original Broadway production of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth. Scott also understudied the lead role, and then got to play it in Boston, turning down interest from Hollywood to further her stage career. At that point, her stage name was Elizabeth Scott… she later removed the “E” to be more distinctive. When she finally came west, prominent producer Hal Wallis signed her.

After several years of making one film noir after another… sometimes, at a pace of two or three in a year… Scott was ready for a change. She got it in the 1953 comedy Scared Stiff starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. She said in the Langer interview, “I’d done so many heavy things that it was such a pleasure when this was offered me. I thought, ‘God, I’d like to shed my past and have some fun with these guys'”. There were other varied roles… Scott played a publicity woman in the 1957 Elvis Presley vehicle Loving You. However, as noir faded, so did her career. She had a few TV roles in the 1960s. Her last credited movie appearance was in Pulp, a 1972 sendup of film noir.

Scott lived quietly in Hollywood, sometimes accepting invitations to attend film festivals and other events. She said in the Langer interview, “I loved making films. There was something about that lens that I adored, and it adored me back. So, we were a great combination”. Scott’s survivors include her brother Gus Matzo of Plymouth MI and sister Justine Birdsall of Middletown NY.

6 February 2015

David Colker

Los Angeles Times


Sunday, 15 June 2014

15 June 2014. Pasonick Resurfaces at St T’s

00 Pasonick leaving court

Former OCA Deacon Michael Pasonick (1942- ) (in shades) at his sentencing


Michael Pasonick, a former OCA deacon, who did hard federal time for corruption charges (here and here) has resurfaced. Pasonick is in charge of the St T’s food pantry in Scranton PA. If this is as far as it goes, I’d say, “That’s good, he did his time, let him do some good”. However, if the apparat thinks that they can reinstate him as a deacon, that isn’t wise. He showed his unworthiness for a position of trust. He can run a food pantry… that’s a good thing. Yet, to reinstate him as a deacon is to say that crime does pay, and we shouldn’t send such a message.

Keep your eyes and ears open, especially, the NEPA readers…


Saturday, 28 December 2013

Fr Igor Soroka Retiring as Cathedral Choir Director… Staying as Donora PA Priest

00 Fr Igor Soroka. Donora PA USA. 28.12.13

Fr Igor Soroka and Dr Dimitri Petro, both choir directors, discuss musical arrangements at St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Donora PA



Editor’s Note:

Nothing on oca.org on this… does it surprise you? They’re a penny short and a day late… AGAIN. Journalism doesn’t have holidays…



It was fitting that a half century ago that a young Donora priest organised and became director of the Cathedral Choir of the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Fr Igor Soroka was born into a musical family; his father, the late Fr Gregory Soroka, came to the USA from Russia to work as a choir director. He met his future wife, Anastasia, when she was singing alto in the choir he was directing in Scranton PA. Gregory enrolled in the Russian Orthodox Seminary in Minneapolis MN, then, came back to Scranton, and proposed to Anastasia. They had seven children; three of the four sons, Igor, Leonid, and Vladimir became priests… with exceptional musical talents. Each wrote music. Fr Gregory served as pastor of Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in Charleroi PA for over 35 years.

Igor met his late wife, Irene, whilst he was choir director in Detroit MI. She also sang alto. Igor studied at St Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary and Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit. After ordination, he and Irene came to Donora in 1959 to make their home. Fr Igor is still at his first parish, St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Donora, with 54 years of service. As for his directing the Cathedral Choir for 50 years, Fr Igor said, “It’s time to retire”, at the December choir meeting in Canonsburg PA. He’d worked as director without compensation.

His parishioners are pleased that he isn’t retiring from the parish. Dr Dimitri Petro, choir director at St Nicholas for almost 50 years, had a close association with Fr Igor and with his music-making. He related an incident when the two were attending an all-American Sobor in New York City. One evening, a group, including Fr Igor and his brother Fr Vladimir, went to a little Russian restaurant. Petro said, “There was balalaika music and we started singing with them. Fr Igor and his brother had exceptional voices and Fr Igor even had a solo part”. According to Petro, the musicians’ director stated, “You don’t belong here. You belong down the street at the Metropolitan Opera!”

The Cathedral Choir is an a capella ensemble; its singers have many backgrounds… doctors, lawyers, clergy, teachers, nurses, office workers, as well as homemakers and retirees. The Metropolitan Choir presented concerts at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh PA and appeared with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as giving many performances at other venues. It presented a Millennium concert celebrating 1,000 years of Christianity in Russia at the University of Pittsburgh in 1988. They made six recordings under Fr Igor’s direction, including, In Concert, The Divine Liturgy, and the latest, The Psalms in Melody and Songs. For the last recording, in honour of the group’s 50th anniversary, Fr Igor said that they called on some retirees and former members to fill the choir with 35 voices. Fr Igor said, “Some pieces are sung in eight parts and extra voices were needed”.

27 December 2013

Emma Jene Lelik

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


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