Saturday, February 21, 2009

(----) In Russia Vol.14: On Location in St. Petersburg

You know you're in Russia when these cats are staring at you from the enormous, table-sized placemat at your host's place in St. Petersburg. They are not amused by, contrary to any arguments with which one Mr. Matt Kalb! might attempt to disarm their distaste for such frivolity.

BUT WAIT! There's another one lurking beneath the fruit bowl (I can has banana?). Actually, it's just a larger image of one of the two from above, but the devil's in the details; someone needs to trim those motherfuckin' nails.

Riffin' on a theme here. A poster advertising the famous Petersburg werecat?

Urinal fail.

In the same bar as the failed urinal, this man (on left, with mullet) was dancing up a fucking storm in some elastic-waistbanded exercise pants. His bravado and daring on the floor had no limits, no boundaries, no rhythm. No lady was safe from his trademark move, which involved lacing his fingers together and raising his arms over his head. One fortunate lady had her very expensive drink knocked out of her hands by this move, prompting her to flip him the bird and call him a bitch before she left him to dance by himself again. He seemed neither to notice nor to care, only continued twirling his way into others' personal space.

Outside the same bar there was a centaur on the balcony of a shopping center.

This is a very bad word in Russian, written in the snow on a car hood.

The Neva River, frozen.

The entrance to a hostel inside a very dark, dingy, dilapidated building. Graffiti reads: "WELLCOME. Come in, don't be afraid. When you leave, don't cry."

Beer bottles in the hostel stairwell.

Graffiti in hostel stairwell.

More graffiti, which reads, "I am a pink elephant."


Graffiti fail.

This is the door across the hall from the hostel door. At one point, while we were waiting to get in, this door opened and an old woman walked out. I caught a glimpse of the apartment within and the shirtless elderly man who was standing in the center of the living room. He immediately brought to mind David Lynch and that wrinkly old guy from the "Enter Sandman" video.

A street, briefly illuminated by the appearance of a strange orange ball in the sky that occasionally provides light.

One of the bands I played with at a club called "White Rhino."

1. More dogs.
2. Russia's answer to Crowmeat Bob.
3. Russia's answer to the Infectious Blues Band (slight return).
4. Dudes in tanks.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

(----) In Russia Vol.13

You know you're in Russia when this fucking terrifying mannequin is supposed to advertise children's clothing. I can't imagine it outside of some movie a la "Child's Play 4" or "Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust." A real movie, people, check it out.


This is a store in the metro. The sign says, "Clothes for dogs." (RIKKK?)

Interior of store.

Interior of bar owned by Denis Simachev, perhaps Moscow's most outrageous fashion designer. Last year he covered a Porsche in gold.

Simachyov had his Fall/Winter 2009-10 opening at his gallery, which is a 10-minute walk from my house. I got an invitation from my job, so me and my roommate got dressed up and rolled up in that piece. It was pretty hype. Free champagne, trays of fresh strawberries on the bar and, in a touch that would frighten Silk Nogg, a baby in a suit. True story.

Apparently, wearing a bass is part of his new line.

Here's what the invitation to the show looked like. It came in a glass frame, and this image was projected onto the wall at the show and featured on the back of several leather jackets featured on the catwalk. This sort of irony can only be found in this country.

Peep the stonewashed denim kimono.

The chick in the headband and big earrings is Ksenia Sobchak, one of the most famous celebrities in Russia. Her father is Anatoly Sobchak, former mayor of St. Petersburg, aka Vladimir Putin's former boss. She was slummin' at this fashion show in some stonewashed jeans and a leather jacket.

And the man himself, Mr. Simachev, in the grey sweater. I couldn't get him to turn around.

The night before the Simachev show I went to see Sergei Shnurov's new band, Ruble (it was kind of a ballin' weekend). Shnurov is the singer of Leningrad, one of Russia's most popular bands. He's known for his vulgar lyrics and for being banned from playing in Moscow by mayor Yury Luzhkov (for those of you paying attention, this is the same mayor whose taint was being rubbed by a fairly large woman in the first photo of the last LOR post). Sergei famously disbanded Leningrad, a 15-person ska-punk band, in December, and formed Ruble, a fairly straightforward rock band that play harsh, extremely blunt rock that sort of blends The Kinks and Nirvana with a very angry, very Russian aesthetic. In some ways, this would be the U.S. equivalent of Nirvana in the 1990s.

Shnurov rockin' the fuck out.

A room full of Russians screaming for Sergei to bring the rock.

NEXT WEEK: Documentation of last weekend's return to St. Petersburg, where all this madness you're reading started almost 3 years ago. Things to look forward to:
1. Broken urinals.
2. Dancing men in elastic workout pants.
3. A centaur.
(all three things occurred in the same place)

Until then.....