There is no disputin’ the intrigue of Rasputin.
An enamored fan of the mysterious Siberian holy man Grigori Rasputin is throwing a dinner party to celebrate the life and legacy of the mystic who has been accused of bringing down the last tsarist regime of Russia. Rasputin is a fascinating character who remains a magnet for misrepresentation and myth, according to the organizer of the shindig.
“More people think that they know about him because he’s such a popular touchstone, then you talk to people and you realize people don’t have an idea who he was,” said organizer Jamie Hook.
The April 7 dinner at Le Gamin Cafe in Greenpoint comes on the 99th anniversary of Rasputin’s attention-grabbing incident at Yar Restaurant in Moscow, where he allegedly pulled out his member in front of stunned diners. Some have said the flasher was only an impersonator of Rasputin out to discredit the healer, but either way, Hook and company will be dining on the same meal the man had that night — a bowl of the beetroot-based soup borscht.
“When else do you get to eat a huge bowl of bloody vegetables?” Hook said. “Being a notorious countercultural type lad, Rasputin reveled in eating this in front of high-born Russians, so that’s the connection.”
Known for seducing women under the pretense that they would be closer to God if they fornicated and deeply repented, Rasputin was often invited to the court of Russian Tsar Nicholas II so that he could heal the hemophiliac heir apparent, Alexei. His odd relationship with the Romanov family — some say he had too much political influence over the tsarina — is heavily disputed, as is his alleged magical prowess, according to Hook.
“There was something strange about him, something that’s beyond the pale,” he said. “There are people who are strangely attuned to subtleties in life, and he was one of them.”
Hook recalled listening to Boney M.’s Euro-disco song “Rasputin” as a young kid growing up in Kenya. Since then, the Greenpoint dad has been enthralled by the wanderer’s life, eventually deciding to put together the feast that will feature live Russian music, melodramatic vodka toasts, and a 15-minute presentation on the honoree. Onlookers will be bewitched, Hook insisted.
“His life is so fascinating that it doesn’t need any embellishments,” he said.
“Ra Ra Rasputin: A Dinner and Celebration of the Life and Times of Russia’s Greatest Love Machine” at Le Gamin Cafe [108 Franklin St. near Noble Street in Greenpoint, (718) 770–7918, www.legamin.com]. April 7 from 7–11 pm. $30 including three-course dinner.