Pre-ShockolaD – but just as sweet working out some deals for charity

Between the time I had first met Dana at Liviy Bereh underneath the L’viv Opera, a few days had gone by, but during that time I had arranged accommodations for some employees of a friend of mine who were coming into town on Wednesday morning and had been running around meeting with journalists and trying to ensure media coverage of an event being held on May 28.

On Wednesday afternoon I finally met up with them in by the Neptune fountain on Ploscha Rynok, L’viv’s main square surrounding the City Hall. I wandered around with them doing the tourist thing for some time and then led them off to Dzyga, stopping at the Dominican Cathedral along the way.

After they took a look around Dzyga and with no place to sit, with the exception of the four seats at Markian Ivashchyshyn’s table, which he kindly offered, they went off and I met with Markian to discuss the possibility of a few items his gallery may be able to provide for a charity event taking place in Kyiv on June 13. The Kyiv Multinational Rotary Club Midsummer Night’s Dream Charity ball.

Discussions, were usually outside on the street outside of Dzyga at the end of Virmenska Street, often being interrupted by people either one of us knew just saying hello, but for the most part they were people Markian had business with. After explaining our reasons for the charity event with the Rotary Club of which I was President of from July of last year, Markian finally said he had some items he could provide for the charity event, but he would have to locate them. “Vasyliu, what you are doing is a good thing, I’ve known you for what, nearly twenty years now, if has to do with helping children I’m all for it,” he said in his low voice. “Let me see exactly what I can come up with for you before you head back to Kyiv, and before your event,” he added.

After sitting around and me sipping on some medivka [a fine spirited drink made from honey] and Markian on his Becherovka, Markian says, “Dana tells me you are coming out their show tomorrow night, don’t worry about the cover, you’re my guest, just be here for seven-thirty tomorrow evening, and don’t worry about your bill I’ll pick that up too, let’s head upstairs, the music is about to start.” I picked up my remaining medivka and followed Markian up the curved steel staircase up to the Jazz Club at Dzyga. A number of years earlier, the room that now houses the Jazz Club was Dzyga’s operations office. When dropping into L’viv during the mid to late 1990s after they had relocated to this location from the Porokhova zezha [The Powder Tower], this was the office I dropped in on first. This is where I could find out exactly what was going on in town by asking my friends who worked there, or musicians I knew who would often drop by, be it Mis’ko Barbara, Vsevolod Dyachyshyn, or John Suk.

Markian and I sat down at the table by the door. Apparently, there were some patrons who wanted to watch the football match. Through his staff Markian clearly told them that if they wanted to watch sports they could go to a sports bar, this is after all a jazz club and the music starts at 20:00. Markian ordered a plate of snacks, comprised of kolbassa, ham, and other crudites.

We listened to jazz and chatted about old times and I even brought up a matter that had been bothering me for a while, which we quickly resolved. “I can’t remember what that was all about Vasyliu, but it is behind us now, we’ve all gone through a lot together and lost many close friends along the way, particularly shortly after we had sort of lost touch with one another,” said Markian calmly but with an air of sadness in his voice. I knew who he was referencing. In 1994 our close friend had been murdered by poisoning, that case was never solved; in 1996 another close friend had lost his short but painful battle with cancer, shortly after finishing his Master’s degree in Prague, and his wife was about 6 months pregnant when he died; and a third friend we had known in different capacities, whose headless body was found in the woods outside of Kyiv. The entire world knows how badly this case has been handled. But there were many others which were not as tragic but nonetheless losses.

We sat for a while had a few more drinks and some food and then Markian pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down what he could provide me for our Rotary Club charity event in Kyiv.

At the top he noted:

На Київ для “Павловського Василя”
Внесок Мистецького Об’єднання “Дзиґа”
Благодійний бал — акціон, 13.06 Київ

1) Картина Василя Плітко (дитина) 7 років, 1997 р.
“Ікона на шлкі” назва “Свята Родина”
2) 5 ексклюзивник пляшок “Медівки”

An old friend of mine and I, were once again connected. And if when we met we both were striving for Ukraine to be an independent nation, now we were helping out each other to ensure that children born prematurely in Ukraine, would receive the medical care they needed.

He explained to me that the icon they were providing us was done by a seven-year old boy back in 1997 after an icon workshop. The bottles were done by well known Ukrainian artist, Mykhaylo Dzyndra, and would be filled with the precious golden drink.

Having covered what we wanted to, we both looked at each other and agreed that it was time to head home. A waitress came over handed Markian a bottle of medivka, he picked up and handed it to me and said, “This is for you!

Given it was raining to beat the band, as my grandfather used to say, Markian offered to drop me off where I was staying a few blocks away. We walked out of Dzyga, and got in a cab. As I got out in front of my friend’s place Markian said to me, “See you tomorrow, goodnight!”

I headed up the stairs and headed off to sleep. Tomorrow was another day.