World In Moscow, urban renewal leaves artists out in the cold
Actors who took up singing – with success!
Actors who took up singing – with success!
Sergei Alexandrov has just a few weeks to take down the colourful landscapes and seaside sunsets that have brightened the walls of his Moscow studio ahead of a deadline to demolish it.
The Soviet-era residence block near the centre of the Russian capital which houses his workplace is set to be levelled as part of a massive urban renewal drive that will see thousands of apartment buildings replaced with towering skyscrapers.
The packing boxes on the floor of the studio that he rents for a pittance are filling up quickly, but Alexandrov has no idea where to take them.
How Covid has changed South Africa's arts scene
The permanent closure of a top venue symbolises the struggle many performers are facing.News of the closure of Cape Town's Fugard Theatre last month was greeted like the demise of an old friend.
"They haven't made me an offer yet, so I'm going to stay until the end," Alexandrov told AFP with a smile, looking out at removal vans hauling off the belongings of the bloc's last remaining residents.
The 65-year-old is one of hundreds of artists in Moscow at risk of losing their studios under the ambitious urban project, which is costing authorities some 100 billion rubles per year ($1.2 billion).
Over 4,000 buildings are ultimately expected to be levelled and some 350,000 households relocated, but the future looks dim for the artists.
Keith Urban shares how Taylor Swift contacted him about Fearless album
In the interview set to air Thursday, the country music star revealed in a remote interview with the daytime chat show host that he'd listened to the music while sitting in a food court.And Keith Urban shared with Ellen DeGeneres how he was Christmas shopping when the pop superstar contacted him about collaborating on the songs.
Until now they benefited from a Soviet-era programme that provided free studios to members of the Moscow Artists Union who only had to foot the bills.
The workspaces are mostly located in Khrushchyovkas, low-cost housing units thrown up in the 1960s and nicknamed after the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev who commissioned them.
Now, after years of neglect, many of the hastily constructed five-storey buildings across Moscow are up for demolition -- and with them the artist studios.
President of the Moscow Artists Union Viktor Glukhov told AFP that officials have not offered any solution and that the demolitions mean many artists have "nowhere to go".
Since the Union lacks financial capacity to fill the gap, at least 200 artists risk "losing everything," Glukhov said.
However, other artists told AFP that the real number could closer to 1,000 with members of another union also facing evictions.
Celebrity secrets about waxing and shaving
Sadly, women's body hair has been seen as a stigma. Throughout history, women have been told to cover up, or shave, the hairier parts of their body. Thankfully, that's all changing, and more and more women are choosing exactly what they do with their body hair. Whether it's a Brazilian wax or a little trim, these celebs have done it all, and have shared secret tips and tricks along the way. Click through to find out celebrity secrets about waxing and shaving.
Video: Zillow president says there's a great reshuffling happening right now (CNBC)
- 'Moscow is losing its soul' -
Alexandrov, who has made a relatively successful career, acknowledged that his predicament could be worse.
One of his paintings hangs in the Russia's embassy in Washington and he claimed to have the ear of an adviser to President Vladimir Putin, who "wanted to help me".
"But there are hundreds of others apart from me," he said.
For many artists the subsidised studios are an important lifeline when other means of support are practically non-existent.
In another residence block in Izmaylovo, where Alexandrov keeps his studio, Polina Surovova is one of the last occupants of a Khrushchyovka where residents received eviction notices in August last year.
The studios are mostly located on the top floor of the Soviet-designed buildings where 14 studios line a single corridor with a shared a kitchen and shower.
The workspaces are each around 50 square metres, with high ceilings and light flooding in through large windows making the rooms ideal for visual artists.
Stars who were paid shockingly low salaries
On their way to their current fame, some stars have accepted extremely low salaries for the films that made them famous in the first place. Some have not been paid as much because of the ever-present gender pay gap. Others just wanted to make a film that had a lower budget, or it was simply their first film in the industry. No matter the reason, you will be surprised at the disparity between fame and wealth for these actors. From John Travolta to Lindsay Lohan, click through to check out who received a surprisingly low paycheck. All values in USD.
"If I had to rent a room, it would costs tens or hundreds of times more," said 28-year-old Surovova.
"Of course I wouldn't be able to afford it."
Moscow's mayor Sergei Sobyanin has sought to assure worried Muscovites that nobody "will be left on the street".
His office however did not respond to AFP's request for comment on the studio space.
The sweeping renovations of Moscow that began 10 years ago has brought with it new parks, pedestrian-friendly streets and modern public transport that have overhauled the Russian capital.
But some fear that Moscow will lose an important part of its character with this blunt modernisation drive.
Despite some protests, the demolition of the Khrushchyovkas was mostly welcomed by residents of the capital.
But some Muscovites told AFP they were concerned by the towering residence buildings expected to be erected in their place of the Soviet residence blocks.
"Moscow is losing its soul, its essence," said Yelena Yanchuk, an opposition municipal deputy from Izmaylovo who has spoken out for the artists in the neighbourhood.
She blamed the changes on the "cold, commercial business-approach" of the city authorities.
"If this continues, Moscow's future looks very poor."
Taylor Swift breaks chart record set by The Beatles .
Taylor Swift has broken a chart record set by The Beatles after her re-released version of 'Fearless' took the number one spot in the Official Albums Chart. © Bang Showbiz Taylor Swift (c) Official Charts The 31-year-old singer scored her third chart-topping album in just 259 days for 'Fearless (Taylor’s Version) ', after the success of 'Folklore' (July 31) and 'Evermore' (December 18), meaning she now holds the record for the fastest accumulation of three Number 1 albums in the UK chart.