Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Archive for the tag “Ukraine”

Russia Bans US Punk Rockers

The American punk-rock group The Bloodhound Gang have been scattered with eggs and tomatoes, beaten and banned from performing in Russia after their base player shoved the country’s flag down his trousers during a gig in Ukraine.

 

Written in Sand

Ukraine’s phenomenal artist and visual storyteller Kseniya Simonova delivers a New Year’s greeting, written in sand.

The Barbies Are Coming

Valeria Lukyanova, the real-life Barbie from Ukraine, now has a twin, Olga “Dominica” Oleynik, who tries to mirror Lukyanova’s cosmetically enhanced appearance in every way. What’s more, the two women have announced plans to leave their homeland and move to the good old USA. Wonder how many men are weighing whether to legally change their first and last names to simply “Ken.” H/T Next Media Animation

Femen Bruises Its Own Image

For several months running now, we’ve celebrated the protests by Femen, the topless feminists of Ukraine. What’s not to like about beautiful, naked women taking it to the streets to express themselves freely?

But whoever was behind Femen’s aborted protest yesterday in Paris needs to rethink what they were trying to accomplish strategically. A traditional Catholic group, Civitas, staged a march to support the time-honored concept of marriage being a holy and sanctified ceremony uniting a man and a woman.

Femen staged a counter-protest in support of gay marriage. The Femen protesters went topless, but wore nuns’ habits. They sprayed the Catholics with some sort of white powder, supposedly representing semen. Eventually, the Catholics took umbrage, and a few of them kicked a few Femen asses, not only landing blows captured by the throng of media present, but also labeling the Femen as “putas.”

In this case, the backlash was well-deserved. You don’t score points by being as offensive as Femen was yesterday, or pushing your disdain for religion right in the faces of believers, including showering them with a white spray. That’s just dumb, because whatever New Order you’re pushing, it’s just more of the same Old Order you’re trying to depose. Get a clue or get lost.

First, a video showing how the confrontation went down, from Femen’s standpoint.

Now, a second look, with the semen powder flying, chaos ensuing and Femen not looking quite so innocent or beguiling as they flee a firestorm of their own creation.

Odessa Girls

Odessa, on the frontier of the former Soviet Union, has become the seedy new tourist magnet for American men of all ages. The attraction: The city in the Ukraine has a seemingly endless supply of beautiful young, single women. Julia’s situation is typical of many. Following an abusive marriage, she signed up with one of the many local agencies that offer the chance to be paired up with hopefuls from abroad. “I’m already too old for the men here… Getting a man here is very competitive, because there are so few of them,” says Julia, living in a city where women outnumber men almost five to four.

But despite accusations of being little more than a legalized pimping service, clients such as Arthur, a 65 year-old veteran of six romance tours, have no qualms with the service they offer. “It’s like purchasing a very nice used Cadillac,” he explains. “I need to drive it before I make a decision about taking it home and putting it in my garage.” H/T Journeyman Pictures

Real-Life Barbie Dolls

Why are women around the world undergoing extreme makeovers so they can look like Barbie dolls or Japanese anime nymphettes? Next Media Animation out of Taiwan introduces a few of the women on the forefront of this New Wave of fashion, including Valeria Lukyanova and Anastasiya Shpagina, from Ukraine, and China’s walking-talking Barbie dolls Wang Jia Yun 王嘉韻, Koko Wang 王尒可 and Tina Leopard 蒂娜.

Here is a make-up tutorial by the 19-year-old Shpagina, showing how she achieves her doe-eyed look. It takes her about a hour to transform herself into a real-life anime character. Although on her v.k. page (Europe’s answer to Facebook), she writes, “I’m not a like a doll, a doll is like me.”

Get up close and personal with Wang Jia Yun, 17, who resembles a living, breathing blow-up doll. Born in Kowloon, Hong Kong, she’s now studying in Shenzhen, China.

Ukraine’s Lords of the Ring

Ukraine boxers Vitali and Vladimir Klitschko usually let their fists and footwork do all the talking. Both have amassed an amazing record in the ring, winning all four international heavyweight belts. But instead of celebrating, with Ukraine’s elections around the corner, we find the Klitschkos ready to talk about the plight of their blighted, beloved homeland. Now they have plans to wrest it back from the political forces that have made it one of the most corrupt states in Europe.

“We have to change a lot of things in Ukraine. And I know one thing better than anyone – no fight, no win,” says Vitali. As this candid report from ABC Australia shows, the fighters are very smart, charismatic and determined to use their position in the public eye to change the direction of Ukraine. The campaign trail is littered with candidates battered and beaten by government thugs, but the Klitschkos say the stakes are too high to ignore. H/T Journeyman Pictures

Go Naked Into the World

Ah, Femen resurfaces. When we last ran across these topless feminists from Ukraine, they were taking a chainsaw to an Orthodox cross in Kiev, protesting the two-year prison sentences handed down to three members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot in Moscow. Apparently things got so hot for Femen after that, they no longer could remain in Ukraine.

Now, they’ve jumped from the fire into the frying pan, relocating to Paris, just as irate Muslims are threatening to trash the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satire magazine that published naked cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. True to form, staying in the eye of the storm, Femen marched nude this week through a predominantly Muslim quadrant of Paris, chanting the slogan, “Come, strip, win.”

Femen staged the march to celebrate the opening of a new training camp in Paris aimed at convincing other women to strip for the cause — advancing women’s rights. The group also renewed vows to expand its operations to New York, Sao Paulo and Montreal. Vive la Femen! Whether they are activists or agents provocateurs, they sure know how to shape the news! NSFW

Lady of the Sand

She’s called The Lady of the Sand. Her name: Kseniya Simonova. Born in the city of Evpatoriya on the Crimean Peninsula jutting out into the Black Sea, Simonova is considered a national treasure in her Ukrainian homeland.

Her talent: She’s a performance artist who creates magical “sand stories.” She does this at a lightning speed, faster than any known artist working with sand anywhere else in the world.  She has such an intuitive mastery of the medium that she can create her stories while blindfolded. River sand and beach sand aren’t the right consistency for her work, so she uses rare and expensive volcanic sands.

How best to describe her work? Imagine a Navajo sand painting that springs to life, becoming animated — the scenes constantly shifting and evolving. All told, she has created more than 200 sand stories, the first of which she revealed to the public in 2009, when she won Ukraine’s You’ve Got Talent competition and its $110,000 prize money. Her winning sand story, You Are Always Nearby, has been viewed more than 20 million times on YouTube, making it the most popular YouTube submission ever from anywhere in the former USSR.

Here, we present Simonova’s Endangered Species, a collaboration with American jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding. You can find more than 90 other sand stories by Simonova by visiting her website at Simonova.TV or her YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/SimonovaTV?feature=watch

Ukraine’s Topless Feminists

Femen (Фемен), the women’s protest movement from the Ukraine, appears to be turning up everywhere these days — boldly flashing their boobs across much of Europe to advance their political beliefs. What are their beliefs? Why have they adopted the tactics they use? Where will it all lead?

Femen, founded in 2008, originally came into existence to battle against the sex trade in the Ukraine and to stop the exportation of Ukraine women to serve as prostitutes in Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe. Not only is sex tourism flourishing across the Ukraine, but it’s estimated that as many as one-fourth of Europe’s prostitutes were recruited from the former Soviet republic.

Members of the activist group Femen protest what they see as the manipulation of the democratic system in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 7, 2010.

It might seem strange for a protest group opposed to the sex trade to turn around and use sex as its chief weapon. Why has Femen gone this route? The answer is simple. The media attention brought by this shock tactic magnifies the group’s impact far beyond its numbers. Only about 300 activists belong to Femen, but the group has its sights set on becoming the largest feminist organization in Europe, and eventually the Americas.

“The European feminists differ from us,” says Alexandra Shevchenko, one of Femen’s founders. “They don’t use their bodies and sexuality to get to the goals that are important to women. We use them and hope that in 20 years, people will talk about feminists as beautiful naked women, not as butch, bald and tattooed women.”

Much like Pussy Riot, Femen’s warriors have faced charges of hooliganism at home and come under fire for desecrating symbols associated with the state and church. But they have branched out internationally as well, recently staging a topless protest in London against Olympic participation by Islamic nations that have embraced Sharia Laws that discriminate against women.

To better grasp what all the commotion is about, here’s a 30-minute Finnish TV documentary on Femen, with English subtitles (hit the CC button to see the English captioning). The two Shevchenkos identified in the film are both Femen founders, but they are not sisters, hailing originally from different towns. (NSFW)

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