Thursday, February 23, 2012

Soviet Hipsters on Film and Portland Hipsters in Literature

Do you ever find yourself wondering what Russian hipsters were like in the 50s? Luckily, there's a new film from Valeriy Todorovskiy that illuminates the world of Moscow hipsters ("stilyagi") who "listen to jazz, style their hair in pompadours or bouffants, wear bright clothing, and (here’s the rub) risk arrest for “kowtowing to Western ideology.” (AV-Club). Also, it's apparently full of dance numbers that "are alive with the joy of acting out, extending into scenes in which characters leap subway turnstiles or have enthusiastic sex in the communal apartment room they’re sharing with family members who try to ignore them." (AV Club).

We all know that contemporary American hipsters don't have "enthusiastic sex," but maybe we can learn some things from the Soviet past.

Watch the Youtube trailer here (lack of English subtitles makes it even more awesome):

The poster is also pretty terrific:


Hipster culture certainly makes for amusing blog fodder and sketch comedy, but can such a shallow world make for substantive literary fiction? James Bernard Frost's A Very Minor Prophet "is the story of how Barth Flynn, a barista swimming upstream against purposelessness in Portland, Oregon, becomes the faithful scribe of Joseph Patrick Booker. Booker is a dwarf preacher who serves Voodoo donuts, Stumptown coffee, and, while his congregation throws PBR cans at him, rants about George W. Bush during the height of the 2004 presidential election." (Hawthorne Books).

A PBR-swilling congregation? We're sold, and we hear that Larryville's intrepid band of local readers known as the PBR Book Club are looking forward to reading this as their April selection, complete with a Skype chat with the author (Chip: "If I don't enjoy the book, do I have to pretend I did?"). Go here to order your advance copy from Hawthorne Books at a 30% discount and check in with the PBR Book Club blog for further details as this important literary event progresses.

1 comment:

Stilyagivich said...

Ah, I understand now. Hipsters in the classical sense.

If there's one thing I adore, it's a pompadour.

If there's another thing, it's drawn on stocking seams.

But if there's one thing I really love, it's line-drawing porn witnessed through a keyhole!