Saturday, March 17, 2007

More on Hell

Ah, Moscow spring. The snow melts so you can see all the shit perfectly preserved. Today, while splashing through puddles made by last night's rain, I forgot that potholes in Russia can be so cavernous as to house entire Uzbek dynasties with room for all their Zhigulis, and now my left boot is lined with mud and sheepskin. Sometimes Katie, like Aldous, suggests we are in hell. "We're in hell," she says. Somewhere, sometime, on some other plane of existence, Katie and I were bad and our punishment is to be forever sentenced to Moscow. We both come from sunny places where people don't hate us and are largely -- pardon the pun -- fatter than us, so why did we come here? More importantly, why are we still here? Moscow hates us, and we hate it and want to leave, but find ourselves paralyzed by shock.

Personally, I don't like to be so negative as to think of Moscow as hell on earth. To me, it is more like a bowel, or maybe an intestinal tract. I feel as though I have been swallowed by the city, and she is absorbing from me everything nutritious, and disposing of the rest. I shared my theory with my mother, who addressed Moscow directly with "Spit her out bitch, or else!'"

Too late, Mom. I am already being processed by a sophisticated digestive system where time is just colonic muscle contractions that push me onward, where girls are gastric acid, men are bile and the dating scene is a big anus, and I will soon come out the other end as, well, as shit, basically.

Andy and the Chocolate Factory

A smart man once said, "Moscow is hell, and in hell you can have a great time."

A contemporary rendering of Dante's Inferno would have to include a ring of hell for sins of nightlife excess, where hapless souls would be forced to roll naked in glitter to shitty techno music for eternity. And it would look like Rai ("Heaven"), newly opened on the premises of the defunct Red October chocolate factory. By all accounts, Rai is hotter than the inner ring of hell right now, the dauphin to succeed Dyagilev.

This is club promoter Andreas, protege of the legendary Alexei Gorobiy (Zima, Leto, Osen, Dyagilev), whose feverish fanatasies were made flesh with Rai. Hi, Andy!

Boobies, ship hair, gargoyles, equal opportunity go-go dancing -- in other words, the nightmare of a 7-year-old boy who ate too much candy and fell asleep.

Other stuff that's there which I couldn't find photos of:

  • Unicorns. (Real? Not out of the realm of possibility.)
  • A waterfall.
  • $40 Kir Royals.
  • Forty toliet stalls, one of which is "really big."
  • Double the face control. The premises houses three separate venues: Heaven (bar), Rai (club) and Elysium (concert hall). Heaven is merely the holding area, from which you have to pass another set of face control to get into Rai. Hanging out at Heaven means you're a loser who couldn't get into the club and will only meet other losers.
These people aren't losers. They got in when the doors to Rai opened at midnight on Feb. 22.

Rai, 9 Bolotnaya Nab., Metro: Polyanka, Borovitskaya, Tel. 767-1474


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Free Anka!

Beloved go-go dancer Anka lives in a cage at Dyagilev, surviving on lollipops and innocence. And she's up on the dorsal fins!

Down with OPG (Yea, You Know Me)

Rynok chic!

Fashion designer Denis Simachev recently opened his first mono-brand boutique on Stoleshnikov Pereulok, Moscow's haute couture row. It's the one that looks like a present. Two months on, they still haven't taken off the wrapping. My only gripe is that it's obscuring the Agent Provocateur boutique.

Bang! Bang!, his men's fall-winter 2007-2008 collection, is inspired by the Russian criminal lifesyle. Says Simachev:

The hero and inspiration for the show is courageous and masculine. He prefers bright, contrast colours, gold chains and a mixture of classic and street free style. The predominant colours of the collection are red, black, white, beige, grey and gold. The fit of the collection is slightly oversized double-breasted jackets with wide shoulders and loose slacks with tucks on the waist. The classic suit is trimmed with a contrast fabric and lined with a famous "khokhloma" print. Both formal and casual clothes are embellished with gold detail. Sportsjackets and T-shirts are embroidered with the State Emblem of the USSR. Sneakers, brogues and massive boots, with thick heavy soles, have gold zippers on the front. White and black leather parkas with raccoon fur, trimming, raccoon fur coats and mink trimmed fur coats were shown as outerwear. Mink fur hats in black and brown colours covered with gold spray accompanied the looks. The main slogans of the collection are written on the T-shirts in Russian “I ♥ ОПГ” (ОПГ from Russian organized criminal gangs) and “dude has said — dude has done” with the image of a cross on a heavy golden chain.



What do you think? Enough time has past for Nazis to be sexy?

4,900 rubles on

Whores of Dyag-ylon

Ah, that's mean. Alternate title: Postarevshiye Gubastye (Aging Pucker-Lips)

Dyagilev, Moscow's reigning elitny megaclub, home of the $10,000 table, is populated by the type of girls you'd normally see hanging out at carnivals. (I'm just kidding girls, you know I love you.)

And they say gulags don't exist anymore: this last bitch escaped to party down at Dyagilev.

Dyagilev, 3 Karetny Ryad, Metro: Pushkinskaya, Tel. 790-7400


The One About the Minigarch

Last week, the dude at the stationary store lectured me for my improper use of the word "pregoditsa." I used it to mean "a useful object" when it actually means '"an object likely to come in handy in the future." I wondered long why a random man felt compelled to waste my time with a vocabulary lecture, until Saturday night at a Bulgari party in Baravikha Luxury Village, when it became clear to me that he was sent by Lady Fortune. When one minigarch used the word to his driver in reference to me and my friend Katie, his dishonourable intentions for us were immediately exposed. Unfortunately for the poor oil and gas baron, the stationary guy's lecture afforded me the opportunity to ensure that it was he who came in handy for us, as Baravikha Luxury Village is a $75 cab ride back into town.

Minigarch: I could not be but helping of noticing you across the soiree. You are wearing of the Orthodox cross. Are you as Orthodox as you are beautiful?

Me: Precisely.

Minigarch: So, you know that the Orthodoxy is being of the only way to the salvation?

Me: Yes, extremely rich man, yes.

Minigarch: If you would allow it of me, I would like to take you to the monastery I am of the funding, where I have built a church. We can pray together.

Me smiles awkwardly, not wanting to pay for her own bollinger or cab ride back into town, but also not wanting to go to Hell.

Minigarch: I want to love only you. If you are not wearing of the underwear, my driver will bring my car, and I will love you in it right now. Then we can pray. Wait. Do you have any Jewish blood?

Me : Um, no.

Minigarch: Is your friend a Jew?

Katie: I'm scared.

While I did not let the minigarch love me in his BMW, I did let him take us to Dyagilev, where he spent $2K getting us drunk, then suggested heading on to teeny-bopper club Propaganda, where we were unceremoniously face controlled. When the minigarch took the security guard aside to settle the matter "like humans," Katie and I seized the opportunity to run away.
Dramatic, but it's not like we've never had to run for our lives through the streets of Moscow and hide behind trashcans from oil and gas barons who want to love and then pray and then love again, is it?


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

At Least They're Not Pussies

Years after Paris Hilton exchanged hers for a ferret, toy dogs, like Depeche Mode, still haven't faded in popularity in Russia. Tonight, Version 1.0 hosted the opening party of Irina Voiteleyeva's "Furs & Chocolates," a photo exhibition dedicated to "fluffy, sweet, gentle, kind and improbably fragile" furry friends.

Note the criminal banality of the artistic endeavor: black-and-white Hallmark shots of dogs on the beach. I have some cellphone photos of poo on the ground from the spring thaw, perhaps Version 1.0 would like to throw a party for them?

Bitches with bitches:

When you think of Verision 1.0, think of little hairs floating around in your drink.


Monday, March 12, 2007

United Colors of Fresh Art

Singing-modeling-fashion design trio Fresh Art is predominantly known for running around town in matching ass-length blonde extensions. Though, sometimes they produce fresh art, such as this multicultural photo spread for Dolce Vita magazine.

They found the only black man in Moscow and cut and pasted his image. I hope he made it home OK on the metro.

And here's the artists themselves. They go to my gym.

Photos: Dolce Vita,