The party was still in full swing as I left to go uptown to an opening at the Sally Mann gallery. There was a hip crowd mostly dressed in black mingling outside smoking cigarettes and getting fresh air from the very packed show upstairs. While waiting Alec Baldwin and Leonardo D'Caprio briskly walked past, regrouping before a dinner out at a sushi-restaurant.
Cut-crystal and silver buckets filled with mounds of fresh caviar were passed around at the Russian Web Girls second party at the Gallery at 678 Broadway (owned by Sean Gibbons and Kumar Kalantri). In true celebration of Moscow's 850th birthday, and all things extravagant and Russian, there was a fur fashion show by Levenson Furs models Alla Goldshetyn and Julia Livinov, Soprano Anay Fidelia with accompanist Alla Katchan and comic singer accordian performer Yury Lemeshev. RWGs Tanya Aleksa (executive producer), Alona Makeeva (art director) were sporting their domain name address painted down full length clingy shimmery dresses -- original creations from designer Anya Elia. Vica Vinogradova, creative producer, and artist Marianna Trofimova were all boogie-ing to the loud pumping music while Vodka Boy pouring shots of Kremlyovskay for thirsty dancers. Next to the kiosk selling St. Peter's styled Faberge eggs, ikon e ikonka (icons and miniature icons), and posters was a mini bar with piles of Russian chocolates and drinks.
Ken Schaeffer and his famous Russian actress wife Alla Kliouka were donning typical Soviet military caps, scarfs, and jackets. They were just back from Moscow where Alla won the Russian equivilent of the Oscar ("Green Apple") in 1995, and the Sochi Film Festival in June, both as "best actress." Back in NYC at Carnegie Hall last Tuesday she emcee'd the "850 Years Moscow" spectacular, with all the ambassadors and lots of Russian stars of stage, sceen, TV, ballet, opera, and pop! There were 6 pages on Alla in September's Premier (Russian edition, same publishers -- Filipachi). Ken, not anyone to sneeze at either, has been to Russia approximately 65 times since 1985. After planning on retiring from Russia a couple of years ago, when he married Alla, sold his satellites-over-Russia company to Comsat, and had a baby ... But when he visited in August, just to see friends in Moscow and Almaty -- he got hooked again. Currently Ken is working with some companies back in Kazakhstan (11 times zones) to solve some impasses/disconnects with their partners.
We were compared notes about Moscow from '91 when I'd been there originally. Boy has it changed! The Arbat -- Moscow's "Bleeker Street" -- has gone from slightly seedy, with small tables set up by Ukrainian Babushka's, street-smart urban youth selling watches and underground paintings to a typical cobblestoned street in Paris or Soho. Not the "looking for a spouse" crowd of last year, well dressed people sit at cafes sipping cappuccinos while beautiful people parade by.
(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)