Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Sim: Nightlife Edition

Moscow doesn't pay a premium for cool -- it prefers its money where it can see the value: marble floors, naked African slaves, baby seal eyes for headlights. Real artistic projects have to be bankrolled by the frivolous rich. Lucky for Denis Simachev, Russia's richest man has a sense of humor. Roman Abramovich is reportedly on his team, and helped make $300 Cult of Putin and "Oil Is Our Everything" t-shirts a reality.

So the coolest thing right now in a town that doesn't care for cool is Simachev's 24-hour bar, which opened on April 12 on the bottom floor of his monobrand boutique. It has the black humor of a Diesel ad, and is perpetually stuffed with the kind of people that "get it" (and wear Mr. Rogers sweaters about it). The designers picked up a bunch of neat stuff from the flea markets of Europe and Asia:

  • Ejector seat from a plane, available as an option for seating.
  • Leopard skin rug.
  • Cosmonaut helmut.
  • Hentai mosaic of, oh fucking gross, weeping babes being taken from behind.
  • Photoshopped mounted photograph of Bush dancing for whooping world leaders, Putin and Osama bin Laden included.
  • Drawstring toliet (in a dining booth, also blecccch).
In fact, the unifying theme is "the potty" -- tile floors, shiny black laquer walls, spouts and fake sinks on the tables. According to MDBIT correspondent Matt Seagull, "That makes perfect sense: this place is full of shit." Sure, it's easy to hate Simachev with his pedophile mustache, Hare Krishna hair and unnerving emotional distance. But he shows us its all on the same humorous level: fashion, rape, war, poo. Simply put, he cooler than you.

Denis Simachev Bar, 12 Stoleshnikov Per., Metro: Teatralnaya, Tel. 629-8085


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

To Viktor, the Eggs

Not all oligarchs are trying to overthrow the government. Viktor Vekselberg, once ranked Russia's third richest man, is paying his debt to society by repatriating Russian art, including $90 million worth of Faberge eggs in 2004. I'll tell you when I've had enough!

The eggs were briefly displayed at the Kremlin Armory for all to remember the fruity indulgences of Imperial Russia. Vekselberg is reportedly leasing a palace in St. Petersburg to permanently house them. It's a poetic bookend to the 20th century, bringing home useless toys of the aristocracy now that Russia's rolling in it.

But, the billionaire is more than a patriotc philanthropist. Today, The Moscow Times reported that his Renova group has become the biggest shareholder in Pallinghurst, which owns the rights to the Faberge brand. Together with Russia's largest diamond producer Alrosa, they'll produce "the world's most exclusive luxury goods brand," which is no idle threat. What, diamond omlettes?

Above all, its a smart physical investment. If Vekselberg falls out with Putin's Russia, he can grab the eggs and hightail it to Acapulco for quevos nuevos russos.

Photos: Getty Images