Artists and Celebs Plan Events to Support Pussy Riot

By Paul DeBenedetto on August 16, 2012 6:01pm 

NEW YORK CITY — Artists and activists across the city are planning events in support of feminist punk rockers Pussy Riot, as three members of the group face prison time at their sentencing Friday in Russia.

The three women — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22; Maria Alyokhina, 24; and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30 — were arrested for protesting the regime of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin inside a Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow on Feb. 21 and have been in custody since March. 

The performance was viewed as a blasphemous attack on church and state reminiscient for some of Communist attacks on religion, the New York Times reported.

Actress Chloe Sevigny and other artists, writers and musicians will read the three women's final courtroom statements in front of an audience Thursday night at the Breslin Bar and Dining Room in the Ace Hotel, located at 20 W. 29th St. in Chelsea. 

The trio delivered their closing arguments on Aug. 8.

"Essentially, it is not three singers from Pussy Riot who are on trial here," Tolokonnikova said in her closing statement. "It is the entire state system of the Russian Federation which is on trial."

On the day of the verdict, rallys are planned across the city in support of the group.

At 9 a.m., a "musical masquerade protest party" is planned outside St. Nicholas Orthodox Church at 15 E. 97th St., and at 10 a.m., the protest will move to the Russian consulate, at 9 E. 91st St. The group will then march from the consulate to Times Square at 11 a.m., according to the event's organizers.

"Bring signs, wear bright colors (see Pussy Riot for inspiration) and bring a noisemaker and/or stringed instrument," the event's Facebook page says. "Don’t forget to bring your balaclava masque," which are similar to the ones worn by the group.

The New York events coincide with similar rallys taking place in cities such as Berlin, London, Paris and Helsinki.

The events come amidst growing support for the group from artists around the globe. On Thursday, Paul McCartney published an open letter to the women on his website.

"I hope you can stay strong and believe that I and many others like me who believe in free speech will do everything in our power to support you and the idea of artistic freedom," McCartney wrote.

And earlier this month, Madonna performed in Moscow with the words "Pussy Riot" written on her back, and performed the song "Like A Virgin" wearing a balaclava similar to the one group members wear, according to reports.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement