CU Boulder summer camp listings page now available

first_imgCU Boulder summer camp listings page now available Back to news Share:LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmailShare Middle school students from Denver build robots as a part of a CU Science Discovery summer engineering camp. Photo by Sue Postema ScheeresMiddle school students from Denver build robots as a part of a CU Science Discovery summer engineering camp. Photo by Sue Postema ScheeresFebruary 23, 2018Does your campus department or program offer summer camps for K-12 students?If so, share your CU Boulder camp with the community through a new summer camp webpage on this website.To have your camp listed on the new camp webpage, add your program to the CU Boulder outreach program database. Select summer camp as an option on the program page, and the camp will be added to the list of summer camps for K-12 students.Please enter the summer camp in the database by March 8. After that date, the information will be promoted through social media and CU Boulder Today emailed announcements to the campus community and beyond.And while you are visiting this website, find out about other campuswide programs, initiatives, resources and services that connect CU Boulder’s research, teaching and creative work with public needs and interests.Questions? Contact Jeanne McDonald, Assistant Director, Office for Outreach and EngagementRelated News Better air quality in some Colorado schools will last long after the pandemicOne team of engineers is working to make sure when children come back to school in the fall, the air they breathe will be cleaner and healthier. Read More  Anthropologist wins support for Indigenous history comicsCU Boulder Museum of Natural History Curator Jennifer Shannon garners fellowship to ‘deploy the humanities for the public good.’ Read More  Students transform pandemic chaos into a performanceCU Boulder class wanted to depict the feeling of a cacophony of chaos, echoing their feelings from this past year. Read Morelast_img read more

Fetzer Vineyards Adds Excelsior Wines to Portfolio

first_img TAGSConcha y ToroConsumerExcelsior WinesFetzer Vineyards Linkedin ReddIt Share AdvertisementCalifornia winery to incorporate collection, becoming nation’s 12th-largest wine marketerMENDOCINO COUNTY, Calif., June 26, 2018 — Fetzer Vineyards today announced the incorporation of the Excelsior Wine Company (“Excelsior”) collection to its portfolio, effectively becoming the nation’s leading supplier of South American wines and the 12th-largest wine marketer in the United States.1 Excelsior’s multi-origin portfolio includes the Chilean wines of Viña Concha y Toro as well as its Argentine property, Trivento, and the Little Black Dress and Beckon lines from California.Fetzer Vineyards’ Expanded Offerings Encompass Iconic South American SelectionsThe Excelsior portfolio includes iconic South American wine brands such as Chile’s most-acclaimed wine, Don Melchor, and the Marques de Casa Concha, Casillero del Diablo and Frontera labels, and Argentina’s Trivento Reserve. Their addition to Fetzer Vineyards’ collection complements the California vintner’s leadership in a variety of sectors, including the bourbon barrel-aged and organic categories, in addition to South American wines under the new arrangement. Following the addition of Excelsior’s wines, Fetzer Vineyards’ portfolio will comprise some 5.2 million cases annually.“We are thrilled to add this celebrated and diverse portfolio to our growing collection,” said Giancarlo Bianchetti, CEO of Fetzer Vineyards. He added, “These wines further enhance the breadth of our offerings, and allow us to deliver a variety of desirable brands—across multiple origins, and in every market segment— for our valued trade partners and wine consumers.”Expanding on a decades-long relationship, Viña Concha y Toro and Banfi Vintners formed Excelsior in 2011 as a sales and marketing venture for the U.S. Excelsior was co-managed by both companies until June 2018, when Viña Concha y Toro committed to fully acquiring Excelsior.About Fetzer VineyardsFounded in 1968 by Barney Fetzer in Mendocino County, California, Fetzer Vineyards is an award-winning purveyor of wines from sustainable, organic and biodynamic grapes. In addition to robust offerings under the winery’s flagship Fetzer label, the winery also crafts the leading wine from organic grapes, Bonterra Organic Vineyards, named the 2016 American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine, and 1000 Stories, the original bourbon barrel-aged wine. Other offerings include Adorada, Anthony’s Hill, Jekel Vineyards, Sanctuary Wines and 1000 Stories, as well as imports Cono Sur and Viña Maipo. Recently, the winery entered the ultra-luxury wine and spirits category by forging a partnership with Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. to sell its historic craft rye whiskey. Part of global winery Viña Concha y Toro, Fetzer Vineyards exports its diverse wines to more than 50 countries worldwide. www.fetzer.comAbout Viña Concha y ToroViña Concha y Toro is the largest wine company in Chile and Latin America, the fifth-largest company in the world in terms of volume sold, and the second-largest in planted vineyards. Its successful business model, accompanied by its persistent efforts in innovation and sustainable development, have enabled it to grow and expand its presence to more than 140 countries, leading it into a global, recognized and admired company around the world. Viña Concha y Toro was founded in 1883, and currently has more than 11,000 hectares of vineyards in Chile, Argentina and the United States. www.conchaytoro.com1 Source: Shanken’s IMPACT Databank Review and Forecast, “The U.S. Wine Market,” 2017 Ed.; Top 25 Wine Marketers, Pro-Forma (9-liter case depletions).Advertisement Facebook Twitter Home Industry News Releases Fetzer Vineyards Adds Excelsior Wines to PortfolioIndustry News ReleasesWine BusinessFetzer Vineyards Adds Excelsior Wines to PortfolioBy Press Release – June 27, 2018 374 0 Pinterest Previous articleLot18.com and Endemol Shine North America Launch New Masterchef Wine Collection Inspired by the Hit ShowNext articleTosti Asti Secco D.O.C.G. – The First Ever Classified Dry Moscato From Italy Press Release Emaillast_img read more

Santa Monica preps for Black History Month

first_imgHomeFeaturedSanta Monica preps for Black History Month Jan. 26, 2021 at 6:00 amFeaturedNewsSanta Monica preps for Black History MonthBrennon Dixson5 months agoBHMblack history monthSanta Monica The City of Santa Monica is ready to celebrate Black History Month this February with a number of events that will be held in a COVID-conscious manner.In 2020, city and community leaders partnered to host the inaugural “Celebrating Black Excellence Community Mixer” on the Third Street Promenade, which provided residents and tourists an opportunity to talk with others while they enjoyed treats from various vendors and a traditional West African Dance and Drum performance.Because of COVID and the need to stay home, this year’s roster of events will be held virtually but the activities will still highlight the history, diversity and achievements of Santa Monica’s Black community, said Delana Gbenekama, Equity and Communications Coordinator for the City of Santa Monica, as she detailed the many upcoming opportunities to learn about Black history as well as the Black community’s contributions to Santa Monica.“Last year was the first opening ceremony and that will be held on Rosa Parks Day again this year. We also had the Black Excellence Awards last year for the first time to honor the people who have made an impact in the community so this year we’ll of course return with the second annual opening ceremony and Celebrating Black Excellence Awards, but we’ve also added a lot of other events and unique programming for this year as well,” Gbenekama said, “including Zumba and the Afro-Joy Dance Party with Tatiana Zamir; which I’m really excited for because it’s something that’s fun, but there’s also going to be a healing component.”And those are only some of next month’s events, Gbenekama added. “We have a book reading and conversation with Catherine Adel West on her book, “Saving Ruby King,” and we have a talk about Historic Belmar Park because everybody should know the significance of that project.”A full list detailing the City’s Black History Month celebrations is available on the website santamonica.gov/blog/blackhistorymonth2021, but Gbenekama said the fun will kick off at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, during The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity Opening Ceremony, which will feature special dance performances, segments highlighting the cooking traditions of Black families, and much, much more.“I truly think the opening ceremony will be an opportunity for people to learn firsthand about the Black family experience because they will hear directly from community members and some families during the opening ceremony,” Gbenekama said. “And I’m really excited about this event because the black community is not a monolith. We’re a diverse community, so we really wanted to display that during the Opening Ceremony and throughout the different events this year. And given we’re in a pandemic, I think these virtual events will be a nice reprieve for community members, which is something that I’ve always thought was important — but it is even more so now.”[email protected] :BHMblack history monthSanta Monicashare on Facebookshare on Twitteradd a commentUS virus numbers drop, but race against new strains heats upTrump impeachment goes to Senate, testing his sway over GOPYou Might Also LikeFeaturedNewsBobadilla rejects Santa Monica City Manager positionMatthew Hall5 hours agoNewsCouncil picks new City ManagerBrennon Dixson16 hours agoFeaturedNewsProtesting parents and Snapchat remain in disagreement over child protection policiesClara Harter16 hours agoFeaturedNewsDowntown grocery to become mixed use developmenteditor16 hours agoNewsBruised but unbowed, meme stock investors are back for moreAssociated Press16 hours agoNewsWedding boom is on in the US as vendors scramble to keep upAssociated Press16 hours agolast_img read more

Lewis cruises to first win of year

first_imgIRVING, Texas – There was no near-miss for Stacy Lewis this time. This was a runaway for the highest-ranked American after six runner-up finishes in her previous 16 tournaments. Lewis shot a 7-under 64 on Sunday in the North Texas LPGA Shootout, finishing at 16-under 268 and six strokes ahead of Meena Lee. It was the LPGA Tour’s largest margin of victory since Jiyai Shin won the 2012 Women’s British Open by nine. ”I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. I kind of have these mini goals in the back of my mind,” Lewis said. ”One of them was kind of taking a tournament and running away with it. … So to be so close the last few weeks and then to come out and shoot 64, I mean I don’t even know what to say.” It was the ninth career LPGA Tour victory for Lewis, her first since August in the Women’s British Open, and will boost the Texan from third to second in the world ranking. Lewis made a putt from about 25 feet off the fringe at the 540-yard seventh for an eagle. She followed with consecutive birdies to make the turn at 14 under and up by three strokes. ”The eagle just really kind of got things going in the right direction, and then just I never let up,” said Lewis, who punctuated her round with birdies on Nos. 17 and 18. ”I never let the hammer down.” Lee, the South Korean who won the last her two LPGA Tour titles in 2006, shot 70 after going into the final round at Las Colinas Country Club tied with Lewis for the lead. Lee bogeyed the opening hole and needed a birdie at No. 18 to finish alone in second place. Michelle Wie, who closed within two before faltering late, had a 67 to finish third at 9 under. Na Yeon Choi (69) and Kim Kauffman (70) tied for fourth at 8 under. Kraft Nabisco winner Lexi Thompson (69), Cristie Kerr (71) and Suzann Pettersen (72) were among six players at 7 under. Lewis, from The Woodlands near Houston, has finished outside the top six only once in nine tournaments this year. She was third at the Kraft Nabisco and had another runner-up finish just last week in San Francisco. She had three runner-up finishes in her last eight tournaments in 2013 after her victory at St. Andrews. Lewis got a share of the lead in Texas after a frustrating 69 in the third round Saturday when she hit all 18 greens in regulation but missed several makeable birdie putts. ”Honestly, I didn’t change anything. I didn’t do anything different,” she said. ”They just didn’t go in (Saturday). … But once you see putts in, it’s kind of contagious.” Defending champion Inbee Park closed with a 72 to tie for 14th at finish at 5 under. That will be good enough when the new world ranking comes out to stay No. 1 for the 56th consecutive week since the South Korean replaced Lewis at the top. Lewis will supplant Lydia Ko in the second spot. Ko, who didn’t play in North Texas, moved to No. 2 after her win last week in San Francisco only days after her 17th birthday. Wie had her fourth consecutive top-10 finish, including her first win in nearly four wins at home in Hawaii after a runner-up finish in the season’s first major. Wie, playing five groups ahead of Lewis, was 6 under in a span of seven holes – Nos. 9-15. When she made a 4-foot birdie putt at No. 15, she was 11 under and only two strokes behind Lewis, who was finishing her only bogey of the day at the par-3 11th. Lewis’ tee shot at the 175-yard 11th half-buried in the sand just under the lip of the bunker. Lewis had sand in her face after hitting out, and couldn’t save par. But she got that lost stroke right back with a long birdie putt at the par-4 12th. While Wie was finishing with consecutive bogeys, Lewis had an incredible par-saver at the 390-yard 15th hole, where deciding against an iron she hit her drive into the water. After dropping from about 140 yards, she hit her approach to about 3 feet. Wie’s eagle at the 510-yard 10th hole was her third of the week there. But after missing the green at the 180-yard 17th for a bogey, she hooked her 8-iron approach at the closing par 5 into the trees and bogeyed. ”I thought I had it on 17, just nuked it over the green,” Wie said. ”I just hit a wall on the last hole, which is disappointing for me. At the same time, 4-under par on the last day, I’ll take it.”last_img read more

Donegal priest says suicide often goes unrecorded

first_img Google+ Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan fire By admin – May 30, 2015 Facebook Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal Pinterest Pregnant women can receive Covid vaccine at LYIT’s vaccination centre Twitter RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Homepage BannerNews Pinterest 75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North center_img Previous article150 dogs were put to sleep in Donegal last yearNext articleHarps hold out in Longford to force Cup replay admin Donegal priest says suicide often goes unrecorded Lárionad Acmhainní Nádúrtha CTR to take part in new research project WhatsApp WhatsApp Facebook Google+ Twitter A Donegal Priest has said that suicide often goes unrecorded in Ireland.Tragically, there were 459 suicides registered in 2014 or 10 per 100,000 of the population in the country.In Co Donegal there were 15 suicides recorded, 8 men and 7 women.Bruckless based priest, Fr James Sweeney said the recorded figures nationally are often lower than the actual number of suicides:Audio Playerhttp://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/frswe10.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. LUH still not ready to restore IT systemslast_img read more

Councillor hits out over increase in fly tipping in Donegal

first_img Derry draw with Pats: Higgins & Thomson Reaction Google+ Twitter RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR WhatsApp FT Report: Derry City 2 St Pats 2 Facebook Pinterest AudioHomepage BannerNews Pinterest Important message for people attending LUH’s INR clinic Councillor hits out over increase in fly tipping in Donegalcenter_img DL Debate – 24/05/21 Arranmore progress and potential flagged as population grows Twitter Previous articleDredging begins at Buncrana HarbourNext article12/1 winner for Luke McAteer at Gowran Park News Highland A Donegal County Councillor has hit out over an increase in fly tipping across the county in recent weeks.Today a significant number of bags containing household rubbish was found dumped at Magheraroarty Pier in West Donegal.Councillor Michael McClafferty is appealing to people to ensure they dump their rubbish responsibly:Audio Playerhttps://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/mclafferty.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Google+ By News Highland – June 17, 2020 News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th Facebook WhatsApplast_img read more

News / Improved charter rates a bonus for MPC Container Ships as it sails into the black

first_imgIt claimed to be the largest feeder containership owner globally, by capacity – of vessels up to 3,000 teu – and charters its ships to many of the biggest ocean carriers.By far the largest carrier counterparty customer is Maersk Line which leases around half of MPC’s vessels.In terms of capacity, the next ranked feeder shipowners are MSC, Maersk, Wan Hai and PIL, with long-established German shipowner Peter Dohle only ranking sixth.According to MPC, time charter rates for 6-12 month June fixtures for vessels of between 1,000 teu and 2,750 teu increased by around 30% compared with the year before.As a consequence the asset values of these smaller containerships also recovered – for example, a typical 10-year-old 2,750 teu feeder vessel now changes hands for around 30% more than a year ago.The improvement in the market for the sector has been driven by strong demand and a shortage of smaller tonnage.Indeed, although global container capacity supply growth is predicted to be just ahead of demand at around 5.6% this year, MPC said that in the smaller segments it expected “very moderate fleet growth of less than 1%”.In its first-half earnings presentation, MPC claimed the feeder market still had the “best fundamentals in the container industry, due to higher demand growth and lower supply growth” and that it also benefited from “limited cascading”.Looking ahead to the IMO’s 0.5% sulphur cap coming into force from 1 January 2020, MPC said it expected “the majority of its fleet will burn LSFO [low-sulphur fuel oil]”, although it added that “for selected vessels” it was in “discussions with its liner customers about strategic employment options which involve scrubber retrofits to capture the savings benefits”.It said in terms of the benefit of installing the exhaust gas cleaning systems, that “on a selective basis, feeder ships equipped with scrubbers should be able to earn a significant extra premium in 2020 and for a few years onwards”. Charterers of feeder ships fitted with scrubbers would, if the current cost differential between LSFO and heavy fuel oil (HFO) continued, be able to save significantly on their fuel costs.MPC’s second-quarter turnover from chartering was $46.9m, compared with $28.3m revenue in the first three months, reflecting additional vessels in the fleet, as well as improved daily hire rates.The company has also appointed ex-PriceWaterhouseCoopers corporate finance consultant Harald Wilke as chief financial officer. By Mike Wackett 03/09/2018 Norwegian container feeder vessel owner MPC Container Ships said charter rates and second-hand vessel values rose “significantly” in the first six months of this year.The booming market for smaller containerships enabled MPC to post a net profit of $2.3m in the six months to 30 June.Established in April 2017 to focus on feeder ships of 1,000-3,000 teu, the Oslo stock exchange-listed company rapidly built up a portfolio of more than 60 vessels in little over a year.MPC acquired four small containerships in the second quarter of this year and another more recently, post balance sheet, to take the fleet to 69 ships.last_img read more

Gays and Lesbians More Likely to Face Housing Discrimination, Study Finds

first_img Those who identify as lesbian or gay are more likely to face discrimination when it comes to renting a home  according to a first-of-its-kind report released this week by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.Click “Listen” to hear an audio version of this story.1:02The study involved 7,000 Internet posts for rental housing in 50 US cities, including Atlanta.Researchers sent two Emails for each listing.  One indicated the potential renters were a male and  female couple.  The other used language indicating the respondents were of the same gender.Researchers found heterosexual couples were 16% more likely to get a response.  However, that was for the sample as a whole, and would likely vary widely when looked at city-by-city. “I think it’s really important from a policy perspective,” says SUNY at Albany sociologist Samantha Friedman.  She, along with M. Davis & Co.,  conducted the study. Friedman says the report highlights the need to add sexual orientation as a federally-protected class.   Existing non-discrimination policies protecting categories like race, gender and religion “are very important and have worked in a way over time, but on the other hand, people have to take actions too.”In other words, protections only work if those who experience discrimination speak up.Hundreds of cities and 20 states prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation.Neither Atlanta nor Georgia have such protections.  1:02 | Play story Add to My ListIn My List Related Stories Share Legal Advocate Discusses Medical Abuse At Shut Down Georgia ICE Facility ‘It’s Fractured’: Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan On Healing Republican Party For Whom The Bell Rings last_img read more

Techland: ‘Dead’ Rising

first_imgTechland: ‘Dead’ RisingCEO Pawel Marchewka explains how the compromises of Dead Island led to the triumph of Dying Light, and what that means for the company’s futureMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefThursday 4th August 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleTechlandLast year was a pivotal moment for Poland’s national games industry. CD Projekt continued its irresistible rise with The Witcher 3, stealing most of the headlines and Game of the Year awards in the process. And Techland released Dying Light, which raised the bar far beyond what it had achieved with Dead Island – an IP it created, but that Deep Silver owns – to become perhaps the best zombie game since Valve’s Left 4 Dead. Now, Dying Light has entertained more than 8 million players – a figure that clearly delights Techland CEO Pawel Marchewka, even if it doesn’t quite surprise him. “We were counting on big numbers, because Dead Island was pretty popular,” he says when we meet at Digital Dragons. “Dying Light is just so much the better game. We would have been surprised if it did worse than that.”If Dying Light eventually proved to be a victory for Techland, at first it looked very much like a defeat. The Dead Island franchise had achieved huge success from relatively humble beginnings, and after the first game and a standalone expansion, Dead Island: Riptide, there was no doubt that Deep Silver wanted a sequel. Ultimately, though, it decided to find a new studio to move the franchise forward: Yager Development, which was dropped from the project last year. “The number of elements we would like to have in our control has just constantly increased over the last few projects” “Being at the point we are now, looking back, it was a very good thing,” Marchewka says of Deep Silver’s choice to part ways with Techland. “At that moment we felt maybe it was a bad decision for us. We had just built a great IP. and then that IP was moved to somewhere else… It was a good thing, but we didn’t know that yet.”Techland did know one thing, though: Dead Island wasn’t the best zombie game it could make, thanks in no small part to the difference between its own ideas and those of its publisher. Marchewka points to the “acradey” and “exaggerated” tone of the two games on which it worked as an example of Deep Silver’s influence. The spectacularly misjudged promotional statue for Riptide – a bloodied, disembodied female torso clad only in a bikini – was another.The split from Deep Silver, Marchewka says, “allowed us to create what we wanted, without the influences and changes from the publisher.” Techland’s time on the Dead Island IP didn’t sour its opinion of working with publishers, but it did add, “to the number of elements that we have to be careful with. We have to be in control, and the number of elements we would like to have in our control has just constantly increased over the last few projects.”Chief among them was the ability to communicate with its own players in each territory, something that Warner Bros. Interactive allowed as Dying Light’s publisher. That direct relationship informed several key decisions that now seem integral to the game’s eventual success: moving the release date from 2014 to the start of 2015, for example, or axing development of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions to concentrate on the new generation of consoles. The fact that Dying Light reached 8 million players, Marchewka says, is a result of such choices. “That doesn’t include illegal players,” he adds, though it does include second-hand sales. “We know, roughly, how many more are playing [illegally], and it’s a big number. It’s a big number. We estimate it, safely, about half of that [8 million], additionally… Next time, if we do the marketing right, maybe they will buy it from us, and not steal it.””We know, roughly, how many more are playing illegally, and it’s a big number. It’s a big number” Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games The Following, Dying Light’s expansion pack, very much falls into line with this way of thinking. Though it was widely praised by critics and represented a substantial amount of new content, Techland gave it away for free to everyone who purchased Dying Light’s season pass. “Those people would probably be the first to buy it, but we wanted to give it away as a thanks for their early support,” Marchewka says. “The numbers were good and we were happy – so why not? If they enjoy it and it makes them happy, maybe they will continue to buy the Dying Light brand in the future… Exceeding expectations is the way to do it with your original game, so that should be the way to do it with the DLC.”Techland has two AAA projects currently in development – one of which is a new IP – and it recently launched a publishing division. Marchewka expects to hire 100 new employees before the end of 2016, despite the studio already being larger than he ever imagined it would become. “I’m saying 100 people more because we need it,” he says, “so probably when we’re 500 people we’ll still be looking for another 100.”However much more Techland grows, though, its future will be defined by a greater degree of independence and control. “I think we will go in the direction of publishing ourselves. Obviously we need distributors in different territories, but the PR and marketing is definitely something we would like to control; to make sure every single aspect is in the direction the product is going; to make sure that the communication with the players is honest.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesDying Light 2 delayed, no new release window givenTechland drops spring release target for open-world zombie shooter, says it will have more details “in the coming months”By Brendan Sinclair A year agoTechland planning to shut down Polish publishing division by the end of the year13 employees expected to be laid off by end of 2019, global publishing business to remain intactBy Rebekah Valentine 2 years agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

Russia revives Cold War alternative to Eurovision

first_imgIn the heady years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, there were many changes in Europe that were seen as symbols of the Cold War’s end. There was nuclear disarmament, NATO enlargement and accession to the European Union. But the most musical change was the extension of the Eurovision Song Contest from West to East.Until 1992, countries on the Eastern side of the iron curtain were forbidden from participating in the West’s indulgent festival of kitsch. (The one exception was Yugoslavia, where Tito’s break with Moscow allowed his country to participate).For a while the Eastern Bloc countries did have their own communist version of the song contest. It was called Intervision, and it existed in various forms from 1961 to 1981 (though it only had the Intervision name after 1977). Unlike its Western counterpart, it did not move around but was hosted every year in Sopot, Poland. Finland and Yugoslavia, both considering themselves neutral, were the only countries to compete in both Eurovision and Intervision. The Soviet Union pulled the plug in 1981 after the rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland, judging the country to be an unsuitable host.After the fall of communism, nine new contestants entered Eurovision in 1994 for the first time – including Russia, Poland, Romania and Estonia. It has become very popular in the east, particularly in Ukraine, the Caucasus, and the Balkans. In total 22 former communist countries have joined the competition, which has more than doubled the size of the event. Eurovision has been running since 1956 and is today the most-watched non-sporting event in the world.This summer, amid escalating tension between Russia and the West, Russia plans to revive the old Soviet-era song contest. It is to be held in October in Sochi, the site of this year’s Winter Olympics. Former Soviet republics and members of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, founded in 2001 by Russia and China as a counterweight to NATO, have been invited to attend. So far six countries have said they will participate – Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and China.The ostensible reason for setting up this alternative competition was the shock and revulsion expressed by Russian political and religious leaders after Conchita Wurst, a bearded Austrian drag queen, won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.“This is the end of Europe,” said Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Liberal Democratic party of Russia, after this year’s Eurovision final in May. “It’s rotted away. There are no more men and women. There is just ‘it’.” Valery Rashkin, the deputy leader of the ­Communist Party, told the Interfax news agency that Russia should pull out of Eurovision and establish a ‘family values’ alternative.Russian singer and producer Victor Drobysh, a well-known Russian music producer who has been instrumental in reviving the Intervision contest and will serve on this year’s jury, told dni.ru earlier this summer that Intervision will not feature such ‘extreme’ contestants. He told the site that with Intervision you will not have to explain to a child why a bearded woman is singing. Russia has not yet said whether it will be participating in next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The outrage over Conchita is largely a smokescreen. Russia has for years grumbled that the decks are stacked against it by the competition’s organiser, the European Broadcasting Union. After Russia won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008, the rules were changed so that now only half of a country’s points are determined by the public phone-in vote. The other half is determined by national juries of music experts, a system introduced in 2009. It was feared that, with Russia and her Slavic neighbours consistently voting for each other, the contest could turn into an Eastern European lock-out.When the jury/public vote split was revealed a few weeks after this year’s contest, it showed that the public in many of Russia’s neighbours (such as Ukraine and the Baltic states) had given Conchita their top scores. There has been an impression that, with Russian politicians and cultural leaders grumbling about Conchita ahead of the final, many people voted for her as a way to ‘stick it to Russia’. This year’s Russian entry, two young twins who won Junior Eurovision several years ago, were loudly booed at the venue in Copenhagen. Some have said it was the loudest booing in the history of Eurovision.This is, of course, only a song contest. But the degree of seriousness with which Russia takes Eurovision was on display in 2013, when it was revealed that Azerbaijan did not give the Russian entry any points. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov reportedly called the outcome “outrageous” and summoned the Azerbaijani foreign minister to Moscow for talks.But other than feeling slighted by the contest itself, what this is really about is geopolitics. It’s a way of demonstrating that Russia does not need the West. It doesn’t need Western food, it doesn’t need the Western economy and it doesn’t need Western songs. The choice of participants fits in with Russian president Vladimir Putin’s ambitions for a Eurasion union – a counterbalance to the EU and the United States.But there is one problem with this vision – it didn’t work before, and it is unlikely to work now. In recent months Russian commentators have been reminiscing about Intervision, saying that this once great competition will be born again. But the truth is that Intervision was at the time a bit of a joke, something that existed as a pale imitation of its Western counterpart. The formula for determining a winner was constantly changing, and the prizes varied from a box of cash to a new car. The contest under the Intervision format only existed for four years and was not widely viewed. The Sopot International Song Festival, which Intervision was meant to replace, was not widely watched outside Poland.It will be interesting to see whether this year’s revival of Intervision is more successful than its predecessor. But the real test will be whether Russia feels confident enough to pull out of Eurovision next year and devote its full attention to setting up the rival song contest. Countries will have to notify the European Broadcasting Union about whether they intend to participate in the 2015 contest by the end of this year.last_img read more