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Passport Picks

Une fille de lEst (An Eastern Girl)

Russia has been on the itinerary of all Patricia Kaas major tours. After her first three concerts in Moscow she was asked whether she would like to come back to this country and her answer was a definite yes. Russian audiences treated like royalty this woman with the cold and sad look in her eyes, and sensual husky voice.

Named after the actress Grace Patricia Kelly, with the looks of Gavroche and the voice of Edith Piaf, Patricia started her career in German cabaret; her first album wasnt a success, the next one, however, Mademoiselle chante le blues was the one that brought her fame. But despite all the prizes she got in the later years, she never received as much recognition in her home country as she did in Russia.

Her songs - captivating and melancholic, found their way to the hearts of the people. They are almost always about love which is both an inspiration and a pain, hope and suffering: In the song Une Fille de lEst she says, I am from the country of the horizon, of the boundaryHere the cold freezes the body but the heat can make you boilI could offer you love, straight, simple and sincere. And that is what Russia grants Patricia Kaas love which is simple and sincere.

Patricia Kaas
When: March 5
Where: State Kremlin Palace, 1, Ul.Vozdvizhenka M. Aleksandrovksy Sad, Biblioteka im. Lenina
Tel: (095) 928 5232

Jacks the Lad

Jack of Diamonds? Its a playing card, yes, but in early twentiethcentury Russia it meant a cheat, even a criminal, and in peoples minds it had a strong whiff of the lumpen proletariat. So what sort of pictures do you expect from a group of artists calling themselves the Jack of Diamonds?

At the exhibition in the Tretyakov Gallery (the final part of an international project, which was launched by an exposition in Monaco in 2004 and continued in St Petersburgs State Russian Museum) you might be surprised at all the elegance; or perhaps not, because an arts label, then as now, is all about publicity, and carefully orchestrated scandal.

The Jack of Diamonds artists association was founded in 1911 and existed right up until the 1917 Revolution. In essence the group marks the beginning of the Russian avant-garde, and the list of painters in the exhibition reads like a whos who of Russian greats Goncharova, Larionov, Konchalovsky, Lentulov, Mashkov; the latter artist is the one who stands out here, with the boldness of his colouring. There are more than 120 paintings from 18 museums and private collections across Russia, and the variety of styles tells you a lot about the maelstrom that was the Russian art world - Primitivism, Cubism a la russe, nudism, Russian folklore. There is a very good video film showing in the last room of the show, which gives the historical and political context of these scandalous artists.

Play your cards right and give it a look.

When: till April 3
Where: Tretyakov Gallery at 10 Krymsky Val, Moscow M. Oktyabrisky
Tel: (095) 230 7788

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