Sunday, December 15, 2002

It's Gypsy Night, Russian Style

When you hop from one corporate office party to technology panel to same-ol-bar scene-event to another, things can get a bit tedious. But thank goodness for my Russian friends. Among the most creative people I've ever met, I was thrilled to receive entrepreneur and rich media artist Vica Vinogradova (v2), artist and designer Alyona Makeeva and honorary Russian and photographer Fred George's invitation for the Ochi Chernye (Black Eyes) Party on Saturday, December 15th. And what, pray tell, is a "Black Eyes" party, you ask? Well fabulous, it's one where you blacken your eyes with as much Kohl as you can, done a big gold hoop earring, fluff up your white peasant shirt and toss a few more necklaces around your thin neck and hips over your patterned, multi-colored skirt (or pantaloons for the gents). Yes, that's right, it was Gypsy Time! A party meant for all those out of work for a long time and who needed to be true to their Gypsy nature and circumstances. The hosts had even devised an elaborate programme where by 10:3O PM the "cocktails would have your heart racing and eyes sparkling" and by 11:00 PM the "cocktails would get you to wherever you wanted to be." There was a performance by a "real, live" old belly dancer, gallons of red wines drunk and much loud laughter and good karma throughout the evening. Hotel Fred George, the classic arty loft, was outfitted with hundreds of black and white photography prints and posters--all for sale. The many nude shots kept the guests (male and female) aroused and entertained.

Of course, one of the other highlights of the evening was seeing and hearing v2 read her original poetry while she played one of her video installations.

And who were these gypsy friends who were so coveted and coquettish to come mingle and celebrate? Well, UN department of general assembly affairs and conference services representatives Irina Zinovieva and Alexander Toubolets were two. Milosh (of Trostsky and Sanders gallery); Vlado (a favorite Yugoslavian artist and inspiration); Valerie Zolotova, an art historian and gallery manager who out danced the belly dancer; Boudnik Associates architect Jiri Boudnik and dancer extraordinaire and's Andrew Wint, whose web development boutique (similar to v2's Moscow-based creates interactive presentations and CD business cards and is hiring!

Anya (an amazing fashion designer) and Vanya (GE director of research) Iliashevich were decked out and looked smashing. Perhaps it's because their 10 year wedding anniversary is coming up! Hurrah! Katya Bochavar (and her sexy daughter Dasha) were there. Old SonicNetters Gary Greenblatt, David Friedensohn, Marc Scarpa and Nicolas Butterworth stopped by turning the evening into a mini Sonicnet reunion. And former Razorfish CCO Peter Seidler showed up to watch the wild dancing by Bulgarian Doichin.

Co-founder of LOT47 films ( Mark Lipsky,'s Elizabeth Uspensky and Shai Hovav and magazine promoter-turned-Bronx-based teacher David Garvoille were also among the many much-loved guests who came. Although apparently many also forgot about the lovely vase on the windowsill facing the Empire State Building where they were supposed to make a contribution for all the efforts gone into the soiree. As the invite said, "ALL ART IS FOR SALE (CASH ONLY), ALL LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP IS NOT... THIS_IS_LIVING_!" Please contact v2 at vica at ladno dot com to make a donation and see the festivities.