05 February 2008

Fish Out of Kamchatka and Other Moscow Tales: Photo Update

Since my return to Moscow in early January, I have been pretty serious about making it to the archive as much as possible and working all the time. As a result, my dissertation has been shaping up, but I haven’t been having as much fun. And in all truth, sometimes it’s hard to get up the gumption to go out when the ground is icy, the sky is grey and the car parked outside your building looks like this:

But this last week I took a little break from dissertating as a friend came in from Kamchatka (let's call him KF--Kamchatka Friend--for the duration of this post) to hang around Moscow for a few days. There was a troubling sign that KF’s been in Russia too long: he brought his own tapochki (house slippers). They were a nice leather pair with some stylistic needlework. A sign that I’ve been here too long: I had tapochki-envy.

At any rate, I ended up scouting around the city a little more than usual. Now whenever I go out with a camera and look around, I always stumble across those peculiar Moscow treasures. For instance:
Note the shoulder along the lower-right frame: KF posing as usual so that I can pretend that I'm not taking a picture of more crazy Russiana.

A block down the road, a couple of days later, we found this drawing discarded on the sidewalk:

We then went on and took in more art, heading to check out Vinzavod, an old factory space converted into galleries:

(photo above courtesy of KF)

Then in one dark, empty gallery space, pinned up on the door was a set of sketches:

This art paled in comparison to our meal that night, a variety of dried fish shuttled in from Kamchatka.

Indeed, the signs of KF’s Russification were increasingly disturbing. He just flew to Moscow with a large plastic bag full of dried victuals from the provinces to deliver to friends, and planned to return home from Moscow with another plastic bag full of DVDs and software.

But I was re-assured that some nugget of Americana was still warming his chest when he arranged return travel such that he would be able to catch the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl, by the way, comes to Moscow at around 2.30 AM, so we went to the 24-hour Starlite Diner and took it in there.

Then KF went to the Far East and I went to the archive. On the way I saw this MTV-Russia ad, again:

Here's a close-up:

It reads: "I'm going to the tanning salon and these four are with me!"

Start laughing whenever you're ready.


kg said...

I've been seeing these ads around the metro too, but if you take them as a series (I've seen at least one other type), they amaze not so much by their racism as sheer inanity... I miss old Soviet TV! Even its saccharine joie-de-vivre and unabashed propaganda was better than the shit they show now!

BusterPh.D.Candidate said...

Russian TV is depressing. Now I only watch Taksi, and even that not too often. Maybe some Euronews now and then. It's a good thing that the DVDs are so cheap.

Inanity and racism, not necessarily mutually exclusive. The only other one in the series I've seen is the skateboarding with hot chicks with broken legs one. I dunno, something about the "what's wrong with this picture?" and the answer being "the presence of Africans" strikes me as annoying, typical and, yeah, racist. Inane, too.