Friday, July 6, 2007

More Like Coolskaya

UPDATE: Kurskaya — gMapped! Click on it.

Moscow suffers from a marked lack of neighborhoods of consolidated coolness. Or neighborhoods, full stop. Due to high business turnover and lack of zoning, your favorite spots are far apart, which would make nightlife unmanageable if not for a functional Caucasian gypsy cab network. But you never know which one of those trips will end up with you in an icy ditch in Butovo.

All this makes you wax nostalgic for life back home, where hipsters are happy in their own segregated ghettos — Williamsburg, the Mission District and 3rd through 5th streets in Davis. But as always, if you squint real hard, you can see what you want in Moscow. Over the course of 2006, the industrial shantytown around Kurskaya train station transformed into the city’s nearest approximation of a ‘hood.

Here’s burgeoning Kurskaya, in no particular order:

Ikra (8 Kazakova Ul.): What a quality of life increase! Ikra has quality indie acts, and framed fur on the walls. I have my name misspelled on a club card. Katie once had a Puzzywizard cocktail mixed by their German intern, who for four months tried hard to awaken her sexuality. But he really underestimated her vaginal laziness.

Winzavod (1/6 4th Syromyatnichesky Per.) — It was the introduction of this art complex in fall 2006 that really pulled the neighborhood together. Moscow’s Chelsea on the premises of one decrepit wine factory, Winzavod is composed of several exhibition halls, studios and galleries, of which Guelman is the most notable, if only for having once hosted portraits of entwined Putin and Osama nudes. Dmitry Vrubel’s piss-take “2007” is on now.

Cara & Co. — Is a new addition to WinZavod. A “concept store” headed by Russian-Australian re-pat Rozalia Kamenev, Cara & Co. is accelerating the gentrification of wild Kurskaya with sensible, imported clothing that's light years more fashionable than anything else in Moscow.

Gazgolder (6 Nizhny Susalny Per.): The original dope underground club that no one could find, much less get into. That’s the way they keep it looking like a very, very well-filtered house party. As of mid-2007 Gazgolder still has enough friends, thanks.

Gazgallery (5 Nizhny Susalny Per.): Part of the Gazgolder enterprise, this club/gallery is located around the corner in a airplane hangar-sized old factory, which is much easier to lie your way into. Most people don’t understand the distinction and spend the entire night thinking Gazgallery is Gazgolder, despite the 1,000-plus crowd. But I was young; I wanted to believe.

Forkforeva Flea Market (5/9 Nizhny Susalny Per.) — Generally speaking, second-hand treasures get no respect in Moscow — “Vintage 1986 high-tops? Are you a fucking peasant?” — but some people are learning to appreciate the value of a good bargain. Such as a George Benson vinyl where his mustache is scratched off (455 rubles). It’s also a virtual flea market — they post photos of what’s up for grabs on their website, you press “buy” and a courier brings it to you.

+7095.Art (5a Nizhny Susalny Per.) — That’s the Moscow area code, bitch! With art attached. Russian fashion labels Chic Blesk Krasota and Emperor Moth have their pinkies in this studio-gallery, which means whatever they throw pulls in the Very Cool Kids. Like Danila Polyakov. Who’s Danila Polyakov? All in good time.


1 comment:

ilya said...

we are about to visit moscow and want to stay in a neighborhood that has cool bars, art galleries, and cheap things that are more like the way maybe Williamsburg used to be 5 years ago -- ha. is there a neighborhood you could recommend for people interested in art, good indy music, and etc.. i would appreciate your comments here and maybe via email if you have the time,
Thanks so much,
kind regards,