Friday, July 27, 2007

Red or Dead

In a land of legendarily beautiful women, Slavic male beauty is unsung, to say the least. A lifelong male figure skating fan, I had been duped into thinking I'd be arriving to a land of Ilya Kuliks, but instead it's Evgeny Plushchenko after freaky Evgeny Plushchenko. So it makes sense that Russia's top male model is a red-haired Skeletor named Danila Polyakov.

Long auburn hair, neon white skin, Karen Carpenter thin — a biological aberration, Danila. Only 300 years ago, he'd have been put to death by frenzied hordes of villagers with torches. Once he sidled on me in Five Star and I nearly choked on my club sandwich. Fashion photographers have a habit of dressing him up like a girl on account of his flowing mane, but he's reportedly not gay, despite abounding photos like this:

And videos like this:

He's not just Russia's top male model, he's Russia's only male model. Prolific internationally in his younger days, Danila is now the go-to guy for anything Russian fashion related — Afisha spreads, Simachev shows, even contemporary art.

Let the Ginger Go!

That's from the mixed media series "Action Half-Life" by Russian art collective AES+F Group (artists Tatiana Azamarzova, Lev Evzovich and Evgeny Svyatsky plus glossy photographer Vladimir Fridkes). They celebrated 20 years together with a retrospective that opened in the secret Triumph Gallery on July 19. It featured a new project "Othello," all about a black man trying to molest a blonde. Oh my.

Before you log off, don't forget to decorate your instant messenger with Danila Polyakov avatars.

And join the Danila Polyakov livejournal community. And buy from his fashion line, 100% Vanilla, modeled by the world's whitest man below. His sports shirts are on sale at the boutique Chic Blesk Krasota/Emperor Moth starting July 26.

And here's some more hot Danila Polyakov action ganked from the deep recesses of the internet.

Triumph, 40 Novokuznetskaya Ul., Metro: Novokuznetskaya, Tel. Its a Secret
Emperor Moth, 16 Mal. Bronnya Ul., Metro: Pushkinskaya, Tel. 290-3888


Dance Dance Revolution

Kronstadt is creepy. The island is located a rickety 30-minute bus ride away from St. Petersburg and is best-known for being the site of a bloody sailor's rebellion against the Bolsheviks called, in fact, the Kronstadt Rebellion. Today, Kronstadt hangs in an eerie, Stephen King-movie state of neglect, despite being inhabited by 45,000 people. Like everyone just dropped what they were doing, and walked away. Multiple times. Prisons, churches, arsenals — all falling apart. Once, some shifty townies broke us into an abandoned morgue, and there were still scalpels on the autopsy table, and body parts in jars of formaldehyde. Yoohoo, you forgot your pickles!

My artist friend Lara lived in a house there in order to take full advantage of Kronstadt's creepiness. Her summer culminated in a final art installation with girls hanging in white cocoons and a bald man playing the cello. For reals, it was so creepy.

The whole upside to Kronstadt's Andrei Tarkovskian, post-apocalyptic barrenness is that you can occupy whatever space you want, without anyone yelling at you. Even a fort. Fortdance is an annual open-air summer dance festival held in the cracked and peeling Fort Alexander, commissioned in 1845 by Tsar Nikolai. It never saw battle while operant and had a brief stint as a plague laboratory at the end of 19th century. During that time, barely anyone was let in, and the people who did had to pass through a special "Microbe" tunnel. Now it's rented out for parties, like teeth-grinding, pacifier-sucking Fortdance.

Dancing? In a fort?! Let me just get my spaceship.

I was going to post lots of photos from the excitement last weekend, because honestly Geometria dedicated hundreds of pages to Fortdance. But they all look the same. Like this:

Writing captions for photos sucks, but everyone fucking loves Vice so I'll do a few.

Kronstadt's rich naval tradition.

You write it.

A modern Russian club has a fairly good chance of caving in at any second. Fortdance ups that thrill factor mega.

Walking out into the blinding post-club sun sucks. Especially when its only 3 AM and now you have to swim home.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Look at Me! No, Over Here

Indie exhibitionism has truly jumped the ocean with the advent of online party photo/lifestyle journo Look At Me, Moscow's budding Cobrasnake. The idea is you, well-connected hipster photographer, go to exclusive underground parties and snap photos of people wearing everything they owned in 1989. The problem is, the pool of kids that go for that shit is small, so you're often scraping bottom.

Sieg Hi, Look at Me!

Case in point: last Saturday, as I was walking out of the bathroom of Solyanka, in the throes of a brew attack, they jammed a camera under my nose. As I mentioned before, I'm too old to understand New Rave, but fly enough to understand I'm not part in it. For one, I'm not neon. I was honored, comma, drunk.

My sun was eclipsed by Karl Lagerfield, or the kid who got up that morning with designs to be Karl Lagerfield. The last time we saw him, he was Michael Jackson. At any rate, eminently photographable for Look at Me on any weekend, and hogged all the camera attention.

The other problem is that its a difficult argument that Look At me is pointing its lens on the underground. They're at Krizis Zhanra, at Propaganda, at the places where friksi like Karl and me go 'cuz we can't get in anywhere else. Solyanka's marginally cooler, though. They charge a 300-ruble cover that weeds out most of the bleating cheapskate expats fleeing cheesy techno.

Watch out! The gun has an owl.

Can we coin a word? Ripsters, the Russian hipsters. Indiscriminately, yet warm-heartedly ripping off everything hipster. All it needs is a little bit of judiciousness. Take the owl with a gun, leave the ridiculous posturing.

He's hot, he's well-dressed, but the camera doesn't capture that he's 4'5''. I know, it's confusing. Hot Midge!

Solyanka, 11/6 Solyanka Ul., Metro: Kitai Gorod,


Monday, July 23, 2007

"Sonya" Hacks MDBIT!

Haters, biters — all of you. I generally don't like to drag petty beefs out into the open, but gotta say one thing: "Sonya," head of the nightlife department at that excrementory expat rag Element (or "element," whatever), has been aping my style for the while now.

I first noticed it after her review of Simachev Bar, "Simachev Subverts Stoleshnikov," which came out after my post "The Sim: Nightlife Edition." Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, compare:

MDBIT: 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).
element: Everything is reduced to the same darkly humorous level, like in a Diesel ad...Denis Simachyov Bar is for the people who “get it.”

She didn't even have the good sense to leave in the best line! The one about Denis Simachev being full of shit.

The latest offense was her Teknika Molodyozhi review "Perestroika Playground," published July 19, SIX days after my post "Kha! Kha! Kha!"

MDBIT: After years of impenetrable Soviet anekdoty, its potty jokes, boob-honking and impersonations of homosexuals are a breath of fresh air.
element: His stand-up television program, which debuted in 2005, was an instant hit with all those craving fart jokes, boob honks and impersonations of homosexuals after years of impenetrable Soviet anekdoty.

Not the first time she's bit me. Look through the canon of her nightlife journalism, you'll find she's not only yoinking exact turns of phrase, but frequenting the same places I write about, often within the same week. Homegirl better not get too close, or I'll drop her!