Friday, April 27, 2007

The World is Mine

Most people think that Krysha Mira is a myth, one of Moscow nightlife's urban legends. But it's real. I've been there.

"Krysha" means "ceiling" or "roof" in Russian. It also refers to the protection under which any well-connected Muscovite operates, protection that can come in the form of financial underwriting or a pair of neckless thugs. Either way, a krysha means power and money and elevation from the average Ivan. Krysha Mira ("Top of the World") ritualistically celebrates the social stratification of Moscow. Every step of getting to the top of damn Krysha Mira mirrors the Everyman's struggle to self-actualize within the context of extreme capitalism. If you do "make it," Krisha Mira is your nightlife protection from all the wretched little people and all the jealous haterz. Every weekend night, a code word is disseminated among people you are unlikely to know. But if you are somehow able to glean it, know that along the Taras Shevchenko Naberezhnaya there's an inconspicuous rock wall behind what appears to be a man waiting for a taxi. Whisper the code to this man and he'll step aside, revealing a small staircase into the darkness. This is the first rite of passage, a holy testament to the power of networking. The staircase leads to an unlit path that winds and circles unnecessarily. In the dark and cold it can feel like you've been blindfolded and put in the trunk of a car to keep the location secret. You really have to want to make it up there. Continue along the path, and you'll arrive at what appears to be a bomb shelter, but is in fact the first entrance to the club. You've just experienced the second rite: blind determination in the face of the cold hopelessness. Receiving the blessed sacrament of second-order face control, you proceed to the ground floor of Krysha Mira. So you've made it this far. Exhausted, you could settle into a dark corner of the dance floor and self-congratulate but on the other side there's a glowing staircase that leads to the actual krysha of the Krysha. You've heard the whole of Moscow can be yours if you just make it past the third round of face control. Watch as the more aesthetically worthy try and fail. Why should you be allowed access when that D&G model was just turned away? Because you want it more. You want more than everyone else and, for that, you are entitled it to it. Walk up toward the light. While the lower level club is your typical candlelit dungeon, the top level is brightly illuminated not only by the city lights of Moscow, but by the unreal faces of the chosen ones of the top level of Krysha Mira. Do not look directly at these people. One return glance can turn you to stone. Buy a $40 vodka-apple juice to drink, bathed in the light of success Moscow-style. And it is good.

These are the only photos I could find of Krysha Mira. And for all I know they could have been taken at someone's parent's dacha.

Krysha Mira, Taras Shevchenko Naberezhnaya in the Badayevsky factory,
entrance next to Hotel Ukraine, Tel. 203-6008, 203-6556


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