NR Digital

City Desk

The Object of Beauty

by Richard Brookhiser

I wrote for the weekly on pink paper for 20 years, and I still look at it from time to time. It was the city’s perfect high-low venue, running the gamut from auteur-theory film criticism to dirt diving (did it mock the dirt, or just grub it up? the satirist’s problem, from Martial on). The last issue I saw featured a Russian lad who is about to go mega. His project in the land of the free is to attend dance parties and take pictures of young women who take off some or most of their clothing for him. He also shakes up champagne bottles and spritzes the foam into their yowza-ing mouths, a service he calls the champagne facial. He then posts these pictures on his website. “I kind of had to build a character to stand out from everyone else taking photos” at parties, he told the pink paper. The character he built: “dark and making fun of sluts. . . . If you post a photo of a chick, no one cares,” but if you post it with an insult, “then you start a conversation.”

It sounds like the punchline of a Yakov Smirnoff joke — what a country! — but the young Russian is making a career of it. Thanks to the buzz his site generates, he gets paid to shoot parties; soon he hopes to do coffee-table books and TV.

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