What to Do: Finnish Fun

For many Russians, the Finnish character is summed up in a joke: Two Finns come to visit their father in a village. At breakfast one of them says, "The milk is too cold." Half an hour later the other says, "No, it's not." And half an hour later, the father says, "Don't quarrel, hot Finnish guys."

The time has come to outgrow the stereotype. Those who go to Ikra on Sunday will see that "hot Finnish guys" are no joke.

Itsenaisyysyo/Independence Night, a festival of contemporary Finnish art and music, is taking place in Moscow for the fifth time. The festival's name is linked to the Finnish national Independence Day holiday, dating back to Dec. 6, 1917 when Finland declared its independence from Russia. Ikra's art director Grigory Goldenzwaig said the political context was the last thing the organizers meant to bring up, however.

"Itsenaisyysyo/Independence Night celebrates Finland's experimental and quirky art, its independence from the traditional and the derivative," he said.

Among the music headliners are Don Johnson Big Band and Eleanoora Rosenholm. Also on the agenda are Finnish films and a Mumi-troll exhibition, with comics by Tove Jansson.

Independence Night starts at 7 p.m. on Nov. 25 at Ikra, 8A Ul. Kazakova, 262-4482, M. Kurskaya.