February 28th: Two weeks and already we are comfortable at the Art club 44

Art Club 44 was especially convenient because there was a meeting afterwards in the same place on the topic of — art. We paid special attention to our schedules so we ended the meeting precisely at 12:30 so we could drift over to where the discussion.


Katya Mezentseva delivered her speech number two entitled “time management” using a couple of very graphic images. The first is of a large bowl. You can put a lot into it if you fill up first with large stones, then with pebbles, then with sand and lastly with water, each filling the space that was left empty by the last. But if you start with the sand, you will never get the big stones in. This is the metaphor: if you do not put your top priorities first, you will never achieve them. Her second was from a book entitled “Eat That Frog.” Its message is similar. When you lay out all of the things that have to be accomplished within a day, it is not a bad idea to start with the most distasteful one first. Otherwise you can procrastinate forever.


Roman Isakov asked two questions of a total of five impromptu speakers for table topics. They were unusually successful, and that everybody was able to take about two minutes putting together an entertaining and original answer. His theme was stereotypes and preconditioned responses. The first concerned money. Do you have to choose between money and happiness, beauty and utility or can you have it all? Do we fight false dichotomies?


Igor jumped right in and said why not have it all? Olga Pogorelova, well-informed on most subjects, cited a literary source: Louisa Haig. Her advice was to imagine yourself, or even more strongly, tell yourself that you are what you want to be. “I am rich.” Do not cast it in a negative, as in “I am not poor,” or in some other tense such as “I will be rich.” Our president Tania took the discussion off on another direction, noting how differently children of a new generation perceived beauty. Stereotypes do not serve us at all.


Igor second question concerned art. His contention was that art is subjective, the experiences in the viewer and not in the piece itself. Mark agreed, citing one of Goya’s portraits of the royal family of Spain. He was such a masterful painter that he created a work in which one could see what they wanted. The royal family saw themselves as looking — majestic. Other viewers could look at the painting and say that they looked like vapid fools.  Kostya put a psychological spin on Mark’s comment saying that art is a way of cognition. Everybody perceives it worked differently if you wanted to find the reality of the work, you would have to compose something like a hologram, a three-dimensional assemblage of each viewers individual two-dimensional perception.


We will meet at the Art Club 44 again next week.



Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 4:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Valentine’s Day is a special day with our first meeting at the Art Club 44

Quite a collection of old time members turned out to welcome him back Bob South and Elena Domotenko, two personalities who contributed greatly to the growth of the Toastmasters movement in Ukraine half a decade ago.


Bob’s story was truly inspiring. He stumbled upon Toastmasters has something to do, an alternative to sitting home and watching TV, and made it the focal point of his life for three years in Ukraine. He progressed quickly as a Toastmaster and assumed about every office that was available. More than that, he was inspired by his constant contact with better educated Ukrainians to complete his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. And, capping it all, he married a fellow Toastmaster and has a son to show for it!  He is here en route to Seattle, where he will retire and enter another career, perhaps teaching.


Olga Pogorelova served as Toastmaster.  Graham Seibert gave a speech entitled “Love and Marriage” in which he traced the rather separate histories of the two concepts until they finally came together in medieval England. Victor Fursov made extremely imaginative use of props that he pulled out of a bag of tricks and then out of his pockets in a speech entitled “Humor and Love.” He had us rolling in the aisles.


Lucy Povaliy asked members to raise toasts to Valentine’s Day. As table topics evaluator Mark Taylor pointed out the problem with her strategy of calling on seasoned Toastmasters. They will take the topic wherever they want! In any case, we had very interesting short talks by Levon Petrosian, Mykola Latansky, Elena Domotenko, club member Kate who was having a birthday, Julia Dmytryshym and Mark Taylor himself.


After the meeting we had an extended lunch with Bob South as he shared his wisdom on how to run Toastmasters organizations at every level from club to region. Graham Seibert took notes, which he has invited other attendees to amend, which should be of interest to every club officer in Ukraine.


President Tania Knyazeva asked how we liked the Art club 44 as a place to meet. So far as I know the feeling was unanimous: we like it! We will move the meeting time to 11:15 to accommodate the club, and we plan to make it our permanent location.

Published in: on February 15, 2009 at 7:03 am  Comments (1)  

Dancing and dreaming the last day of January

As the pictures show, Kostya had us waltzing to and from the podium today. Dance is his art. Tania chose Picasso as the subject of her 6th speech from the advanced manual. Picasso had many insights, but one of the most important is that after you have learned technique, reached adulthood and achieved what feels like success, you have to let it go and start again as a child.

Table topics master Olga Pogorielova asked Mark if his dreams ever came true, and, yes they have! Igor dreams in color, Liz finds that dreams offer a kind of parallel existence, Lucy’s dreams are so varied she doesn’t even attempt to control them, and Alla said yes, of course her dreams are influenced by her life’s experience.

Published in: on February 1, 2009 at 6:37 am  Leave a Comment  

January 17 we celebrated our 3rd anniversary

Today ArtTalkers celebrated its third anniversary as a club. Our speaker, Timur Berezhnoy, working from the advanced manual, performed a wonderful telling of a classic Russian short story, “Capitalist.”

Yulia Usova chose a table topics theme celebrating the founding of the club three years ago, in which she was instrumental. She asked every attendee to write a card expressing birthday wishes to the club using their left hand only. Each member in turn arose to describe their left-handed compliments to the founders and their best wishes for the future of the club.

Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 7:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

January 10, 2009, The New Year at the Art Library

There art library is a bit hard to find.  As good as our programs have been this fall, we do not have as many people as we used to at Kiev Mogilya.  We make up for quantity with quality.  After today’s outstanding meeting, President Tania Knyazeva told us that she felt it was time to look for another location, which we will do next week.


Tania opened the meeting and Lucy Povaliy served as Toastmaster.  We had four guests.  Mark Taylor, whom everybody knows, Svetlana, a friend of Masha Kapustyan, and two friends who are students in the 10th form, Lera and Miraslava.  They were brave enough to serve as timer and ah counter.


Graham told us about his favorite art, cooking, and now he has pursued it throughout a lifetime and all over world.  Tania picked up on the theme for our table topic session.  She asked most of the assembled to share their experiences learning how to cook and their sense of how cooking ought to fit into a complete life.  Sergei evaluated Graham’s speech, and Masha evaluated the table topics.  Mark, as he frequently does, served expertly as grammarian.

Published in: on January 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

December 20 – Inner Speech Contest

What a happy way to start a weekend! A good number of people were rewarded when they braved the snow to hear three fine performances at our speech contest. Tanya introduced Graham, who in turn introduced Chief Judge Yulia Demytryshyn, judges Shawn Gazaleh, AnnaPrymakova and Mark Taylor, timers Olga Pogorielova and Harryansah Khairul, and counter Yulia Usova.


Viktor Fursov led off with a speech on “The Magic Of Thinking Big.” Drawing on his own life’s experience, you knows that to achieve big things you have to first dream them.  Elizaveta Korotchenko followed with “Evolution or Degradation,” a hilarious account of student life as she has seen it in her years at KPI.  Lastly, Yulia Kostereva spoke on “Cross-Cultural Exchange,” the images, true or surprisingly distorted, of Ukrainian and foreign society she has exchanged with others in the art world.


Liz won and Viktor took second place. They were represent the club in the all Ukrainian speech contest.  All contestants, and the judges as well, were given cute little cows with pink bows on their heads as tokens of the upcoming year of the ox.

Published in: on December 21, 2008 at 7:08 am  Leave a Comment