Semi-Psychedelic Korobeiniki

If the recent, resurgent fame of Eduard Hill is any indication, there is a vast cornucopia of Soviet-era televised kitsch that has yet to find its way onto the internet. Take this sextet, for instance, performing what sounds like “Korobeiniki”, known by ignorant Americans, such as myself, as “That Song From Tetris”. Alexey Pajitnov’s falling blocks, however, popular as they may be, fail to evoke the same majesty and wonder as these fine gentleman, resplendent in their gold wallpaper jackets and blindingly white ascots, performing in front of a faux stained glass backdrop. Somewhere treasures like this are rotting, abandoned and unappreciated. If that isn’t a crime, I’m not sure what is.

The Forgotten Arms Race

The reels of footage from America were, to say the least, a cause for concern. So concerning, in fact, that Serov personally presented the official report to Khrushchev. Witnesses in the room claim that the First Secretary of the Central Committee looked visibly shaken, the blood draining from his face. The idea that the enemy would be in possession of such an animal, empowered with such advanced situational awareness and capable of communicating with humans was astonishing. His first question upon composing himself was to ask just how the KGB could have been unaware of a program to create such a creature; a question for which Serov had no answer. It was a spectacular failure of intelligence that would haunt the rest of his career and, some speculated, would ultimately be the reason for his dismissal (unfairly, one might point out, as the experiment had come to fruition before his appointment as the Ministry’s head).

Needless to say, work began almost immediately on a response. The canine was smart, yes, and agile but it was still a dog and, therefore, still susceptible to all the dangers that might befall the squishy, fragile body of a living creature. Dr. Sergey Sergeyevich Bryukhonenko had already laid the groundwork for what Russian scientists were proposing, and they wasted no time in putting it into practice. No such head-start was afforded them in the construction of the mechanical body, however, and yet the team still managed to build a working prototype in the span of two years.

Long Lost Ballets Russes Film Footage Discovered!


Film still taken from footage discovered in the British Pathe archives. Click here to watch.

The BBC reports:

An important part of ballet history has been discovered – 30 seconds of the Ballets Russes dancing in 1928.

It is the only film ever found of one of the best known and most influential companies in dance history.

The silent black-and-white news reel was spotted wrongly labeled in the British Pathe online archive by a dance enthusiast, and then verified.

AMAZEBALLS! So exciting! This news comes to us via reader Sarah Hassan, who literally just turned in a massive article about Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes earlier today. (Apophenia in da’ HAUS.) Keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks for Sarah’s sprawling, comprehensive Coilhouse blog feature on one of the most fascinating and influential chapters in ballet’s history.

Previously en pointe on Coilhouse:

Fantasia 2000/Four Tet Mashup


Thanks for sharing, Phoenix Marie Paris!

Eep. No doubt I’m outing myself as one seriously crusty-ass graverhippiezoomdweebie by admitting this, but –with all due respect for Stravinsky and his Firebird suite (indeed, with lifelong reverence!)– I’m finding it’s rather nice to revisit this gorgeous animation from Fantasia 2000 with a less bombastic score attached to it, namely Four Tet‘s “Love Cry”. I dunno, is that completely horrible? Should I lay off the Longbottom Leaf? Yeah, probably. Sorry. We’re all working crazy long hours over here (hence the sluggish blogging) on Issue 06, so it was either a half-baked ZOMGDISNEY post, or this animated gif of a tumbleweed…

History Of The USSR For Children

Coming from such an educationally backwards country I appreciate this brief history of the USSR told with the aide of LEGO mini-figs which explains that much of the Soviet Union’s establishment was the product of a strong desire for kisses. Likewise, “Everybody was afraid of him because of his moustaches that were tickling.” really helps put the brutal regime of Joseph Stalin into perspective.

Realistic Fake Vintage Photo of Tatlin Tower

At 1,300 feet, this structure of iron, glass and steel would have dwarfed the Eiffel Tower. Designed in 1919 by Vladimir Tatlin, the building – officially called The Monument to the Third International – was planned to be erected in St. Petersburg as the headquarters of the Comintern. The tower was designed to contain twin spirals tapering upwards and encasing a cube-shaped lecture hall, a smaller pyramid for executive meetings, and a cylinder housing an information center, delivering bulletins and manifestos via radio, telegraph and loudspeaker.

Each part of the building would rotate at a different speed.  The cube was proposed to rotate and complete 360˚ after 365 days, the pyramid would complete a full 360˚ rotation every month, and the cylinder would complete its rotation within 24 hours. There were also plans to build an open-air screen on the cylinder, and for the cylinder to project messages onto the clouds. The building was never constructed due to financing and structural concerns, though an interesting build effort took place in 2006.

There’s also this short film by Lutz Becker. The first YouTube comment below the video captures it perfectly: it’s “mad, impossible, brutal, audacious and beautiful.”

[image via]

Jordan Catalan… Oh.*

Jared Leto’s always been just a little too-cool-for-school for my taste. I wanted to swat his My So-Called Life character’s laconic ass for being such a jerk to sweet grunge ingenue, Angela Chase. The slick, overproduced 30 Seconds to Mars pap he’s pumping out more recently makes me do the green apple quick step. But Helena SelfOblivion, the Russian cosplaying sorceress behind the following clip, well, she’s another story. If this young lady turns out to be underage, I’m going to feel like even more of a filthy old lech than usual, but it has to be said; this is huuhhhhHAWT:

Am I right? Teh hawt. Also? ADORBZ! (Be sure to watch to the end.) Her DeviantArt account is brimming with creative genderfuckhattery as well.

*Link and awesome pun courtesy of Ariana O.

My Pepper Misses Paris Hilton

Every once in a while this happens: I find something hilarious, get excited to post it here, and then realize that it’s only funny to Russian-speakers. However, in the case of this touching love ballad, poignantly titled “My Pepper Misses Paris Hilton”, I’m compelled to share anyway. Even took the time to translate the lyrics, which you’ll find after the video.

It should be noted that “pepper” in Russian is pronounced “peh-rehtz” – not unlike “Paris”. Yes, with that in mind I believe everyone will be able to appreciate the elevated subtleties of Russian humor presented herein.

Pardon the blackface.

[via Eugene Rabkin and Style Zeitgeist]

LYRICS

She’s not idiot, far from it. She’s not the queen of glamour for nothing!
She’s a personalty, a socialite lioness.

Oh, mommy, how I suffer. I don’t know what to do with this pain.
I suffer so, I languish.
I’m in love.
My pepper misses Paris Hilton.
My pepper misses Paris Hilton.

Bottle of whiskey and I have become too close.
I can’t speak English.
A Limp Bizkit CD, two caramels in my pocket – this is all I have to my name.

Oh, mommy, how I suffer. I don’t know what to do with this pain.
I suffer so, I languish.
I’m in love.
My pepper misses Paris Hilton.
My pepper misses Paris Hilton.

RAP BREAKDOWN

Paris, you know full well
I’m out of my mind from you
When you’re not near winter is in my heart
You’re a dream, a beauty, you’re my baby
O, Paris, you’re my beloved,
I suffer so, I languish, I can’t stand it.
What am I to do? I don’t know.
All that’s left is to sing.
I’m tired of drinking alone,
My spleen is killing me.
Baby, call me, we need to talk.

My pepper misses Paris Hilton.
My pepper misses Paris Hilton.

Russia in Color, a Century Ago


An Armenian woman in national costume poses for Prokudin-Gorskii on a hillside near Artvin (in present day Turkey), circa 1910.

This series of exquisitely beautiful images from southern and central Russia is already all over the web via the Boston Globe, but Coilhouse has to post a heads up in case anybody missed them. Absolutely stunning. Boston.com editor-in-chief, Alan Taylor, says:

“With images from southern and central Russia in the news lately due to extensive wildfires, I thought it would be interesting to look back in time with this extraordinary collection of color photographs taken between 1909 and 1912. In those years, photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) undertook a photographic survey of the Russian Empire with the support of Tsar Nicholas II. He used a specialized camera to capture three black and white images in fairly quick succession, using red, green and blue filters, allowing them to later be recombined and projected with filtered lanterns to show near true color images.”


A man and woman pose in Dagestan, ca. 1910.

“The high quality of the images, combined with the bright colors, make it difficult for viewers to believe that they are looking 100 years back in time – when these photographs were taken, neither the Russian Revolution nor World War I had yet begun. Collected here are a few of the hundreds of color images made available by the Library of Congress, which purchased the original glass plates back in 1948.”

The full gallery is viewable here, high res. Previously on Coilhouse:


Isfandiyar Jurji Bahadur, Khan of the Russian protectorate of Khorezm (Khiva, now a part of modern Uzbekistan), full-length portrait, seated outdoors, ca. 1910.

Opulence, I Has It

We’ve talked about Russian stereotyping a couple of times in the past, and both instances have been followed [for the most part] by thoughtful, lengthy discussions. Not this time! Here’s a very, very silly and over-the-top commercial for DirecTV featuring a tacky Russian tycoon in a hyper-gaudy, gilded lair surrounded by fur-clad floozies who hand him remotes atop trays loaded with gold bars. This short video is jam-packed with money-LOLs. There are bodyguards, large dogs playing at a poker table, gold busts of the tycoon presented by models, and my favorite: a miniature pet giraffe. And on the topic of LOLs – this character’s manner of speech is straight off the internet, the scene opening with him saying, “Opulence, I has it”. I just can’t bring myself to be offended, it’s too damn funny.

Also, I want a tiny giraffe.