‘Phallic’ Russian Art Group Voina at Berlinale

It’s fitting that in these times of protest in Russia, the country’s sole entrant in the documentary section at Berlin’s prestigious Berlinale Film Festival was Zavtra (Tomorrow) about the controversial art group, Voina, or War. Though most famous for drawing a giant phallus on a drawbridge in St. Petersburg facing the offices of the former KGB, that provocation is just one among many beasty performances. Director Andrey Gryazey’s fast-paced documentary, which was shot for just $2,000, shows them tipping over police cars as protest against the oppressive regime, driving cars with green buckets over the roof to mock the ‘flashing green lights’ of VIP vehicles, and indulging in various other acts of provocation and vandalism.

Though some of the footage is staged, it’s impossible to tell the difference between those and the documentary material. Supposedly, the group were wary of cooperating with the director, and only agreed when he promote the group’s YouTube video clips through the film, thus creating a new platform for communication.

What’s particularly interesting about Voina and their raw, anti-establishment tactics is the surprising endorsement that they have received from the Putin regime that they attack. They were awarded a $15,000 prize by the Russian Culture of Ministry for the best art work of 2010. Despite protests by radical Russian youth movement, Nashi, Putin regime’s embrace of Voina is a sign that times are changing. The Kremlin would rather embrace political dissent in these times than be seen as being intolerant and out of step with the times. For that move, Putin might have the last laugh.

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B.East Team Launches Kievtonite.com

The team at B.East Magazine, while busy preparing the upcoming Meat issue, have just launched Kievtonite, a provocative nightlife engine for Kiev, one of Eastern Europe’s naughtiest cities. With its hyper Moscow vibes, sophisticated nightlife, glamorous women, and easygoing natives, the city has an irresistible pull. Kievtonite is a raffish take on the city’s phenomenal nightlife, bringing a nekkid perspective to a city that’s on the edges of the European hype cycle. Locals and visitors alike can also book tables at nightclubs through our site. And soon you’ll also be able to shoot AK-47s, launch grenades, and visit Chernobyl through the site. Sounds beasty? Check it out on Kievtonite

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I Love Kiev Weekend

May 25, 2011
Text by Vijai

The crew at Kiev’s trendy Top 10 city magazine are doing a gobsmaking job at nudging Ukraine’s capital into embracing hipster culture. Having organised the Bread&Butter-like Kiev Fashion Days for the second year this spring, they are now behind the eclectic ‘I love Kiev’ festival that kicks off this weekend, May 27-28 during the city days. Inspired perhaps by a glamorous Bloc Party in New York City, or Moscow’s Afisha picnics closer home, the festival is a altculture vulture’s version of paradise. It features graffiti & fixed gear master classes, fashion shows by upcoming designers, a competition for ‘New Sound of Kiev’, afterparties at cool underground clubs, and live acts by hyped artists from Russia and abroad. Best of all, the festival will be held at the Lavra Gallery, which is in the same complex of the Kiev Lavras, which comprise some of the holiest churches in Orthodox Christianity. Hipster vs. monks. Rock, paper, candle. Perfect.
The opening party on Friday will be headlined by Moscow’s DJ/producer Mujuice, whose new album ‘Downshifting’ has received widespread praise. Artyem Troitsky, Russia’s version of BBC’s John Peel has said that by ‘combining two antagonistic elements – romantic-depressive Russian rock and impassive clubbing music’ he opens a new page in the history of Russian pop music. Some have even compared him to Victor Tsoi, the moody frontman of St. Petersburg’s influential Kino band from the early 90s. I hadn’t heard of him before, but having checked out his stuff on SoundCloud am impressed: It sounds like a remixed version of King Crimson tracks, with its own particular brand of Russian romanticism. French DJ collective Masomenos will spin at the event’s closing party Saturday, May 28th at Kiev’s smacky Xlib Club.
Meanwhile, check out Mujuice’s video here

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