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Yulia Savelyeva's Naked City

The elite of Moscow gay society gathered at the Tchaikovsky concert hall last Saturday for the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles concert, which featured a performance by Russian mega-star Alla Pugachyova. Russia's best-known gay performer, Boris Moiseyev, was also in attendance - he owes Pugachyova for helping along his career as a diva of the Russian stage. Moiseyev, who was dressed in a provocative shiny blue jacket, presented a bouquet of flowers to Pugachyova at the conclusion of her two song-and-dance numbers, then made a dramatic, diva-typical exit. Another friend of the blond prima donna, renowned couturier Valentin Yudashkin, the only Russian member of the Chambre Syndicale d'Haute Couture, the Parisian association of professional couturiers, remained at the show until its end. Finally, the best-known male audience member was indisputably Filipp Kirkorov, the male Russian pop-star and Pugachyova's husband. Younger than his wife by 20 years, Kirkorov is often accused in the tabloid press of being gay or bisexual. Kirkorov, an extremely tall man, stood nearby as his wife shared a hug with the chorus's conductor, chasing away any photographers who tried to get a shot of the embrace.

It was significant, of course, that Saturday's concert was held at the Tchaikovsky concert hall, named for Russia's best known gay composer. The chorus also performed some of Tchaikovsky's music.

Some criticized the chorus, however, for being a bit too politically correct. Many of the gay members of the audience said they were disappointed that the chorus hadn't been funkier or taken more risks - perhaps singing "I Will Survive" instead of "We Shall Overcome" with Pugachyova.

Later that night, things heated up at gay club Studio, where Andrei Bartenev, a Moscow-based artist and designer, celebrated his 34th birthday with a typically bohemian crowd.

Studio was named after New York's legendary Studio 54, the watering hole of another prominent gay artist, Andy Warhol. Bartenev, whose art is reminiscent of Warhol's, wore a wig and glasses similar to those worn by the famous artist.

Also at Studio that night, St. Petersburg designer Vladimir Bukhinnik showed his medieval-theme collection. The Svetlyachki pop band presented Bartenev with a handmade plastic costume, which Bartenev immediately put on over his leopard-print skirt.

Pity that Bartenev's foreign friends - singer Bryan Eno, London artist Andrew Logan and French couturier Paco Rabanne, who once called Bartenev "absolutely crazy" for his artistic taste - weren't on this party's guest list.

Yulia Savelyeva
© The Moscow Times
October 16, 1999


Gay Chorus Strikes Chord in Russia
The choral group's four-day Russian trip turned into an eclectic cultural encounter session, with gays and straights, young and old, Russians and Americans.

Gay Men's Chorus Russian Diary
Travelogue of the cameraman who filmed the Gay Men's Chorus visit to Russia.

Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles
Home Page of the Gay Mens' Chorus of Los Angeles

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