Saturday, May 12, 2007

Living in Sin

Before May 9, Victory Day, there's a holiday of even greater importance in Russia: Sinisha Lazarevich's birthday.

This year, the Art Director-King celebrated in Dyagilev with 2,000 of his closest friends, including a 40-strong army of cute Cult of Sinisha adherents.

How does one become the type of person that receives ancient holy icons at a club birthday celebration? According to scant online biographies, the Yugoslavian-born promoter worked at clubs in Belgrade and Italy before arriving in Moscow in the late ‘90s, where he collaborated with Alexei Gorobiy and Mikhail Kozlov to produce some of post-Soviet Russia's first "best" clubs: Jazz Cafe, Circus, Teatralnaya Kvartira, Shambala. With 2003-2005's seasonal triumvirate — Osyen, Zima, Leto — they perfected a cash-cow club paradigm founded in “mysteriousness and elitism.” In other words, deny everything and don't let anyone in. The third tenet is "bohemianism," which means pay student-age models and "freaks" to perculate inside so the ten people that you do let in feel like they're not in the Third World anymore. Then recase Lipton teabags, sell them as $40 pots of elitny chai and rake in the %500 profit.

Or maybe you have baser motivations. In early 2006, Dr. Lazarevich and Co. launched Dyagilev, their greatest social experiment to date. The question was: Given the right stimuli, would people destroy themselves? They pitched a tent in Hermitage Garden; set up skylights and a velvet barrier; and hired a man with a clipboard to stand outside. Then he stepped back to watch the human debasement carnival: lovers separating willingly, daughters sacrificing mothers, girls gouging each others’ eyes out. All of their own free will, obstensibly. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

Satan, if he tried, could not have chose a better earthly form — bald, smiley, tubby, fruity. He's the Serbian Alexei Sayle. Like Charles Manson, Lazarevich surrounds himself with beautiful girls. Doesn't mean a thing, though: his love of pastel scarves, champagne and open-mouth man-kissing is well-documented. And most gay men I know in Moscow have slept with more women than any Westerner, anyway. Shoot.

Here he is holding a pre-party conference, like its the fucking G8 Summit. Sure, laugh at his misplaced seriousness, his snakeskin jacket, his adult braces. But he's laughing all the way to the bank. With Dyagliev, Lazarevich and partners are earning an estimated $1 million monthly on a $1 million original investment. Psychology, baby!