As detailed in this Boing Boing post, I spent the last few days in Moscow with space journalist Miles O'Brien and his documentary crew. We attended a massive, televised state gala at the Kremlin honoring 50 years since the first human space flight by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
President Dmitry Medvedev opened the evening with a speech about Russian superiority in space. In attendance were many current and former cosmonauts, lots of top military brass and state officials, some NASA folks, and Russian celebrities like the ex-spy and Russian hero Anna Chapman. Also in Moscow that week for the festivities were a number of the 7 private citizens who've paid to travel to space: Charles Simonyi, Greg Olsen, Anousheh Ansari, Mark Shuttleworth, Richard Garriott, and Dennis Tito, along with Eric Anderson, founder of Space Adventures, the company which made their space flights with the Russian space program possible.
Miles' report for PBS is here. Embedded above (and here) is a quick little video snip from one of the acts that performed an ode to the cosmonauts in front of space b-roll. I'm afraid I didn't get their name; there was a programme in Cyrillic, but I didn't end up with a copy, and my seat-mates didn't speak Russian so we couldn't understand the on-stage emcees.
As we walked out of the theater, it was snowing. The military choir finale (which I did not video, alas) was a potent earworm, and we sang it aloud as we all trudged back to the hotel. [YouTube Link]. More photos below (click each to view larger size, all photos shot by yours truly).
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.