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Thursday, March 02, 2017
Do androids dream of electric trains?
1. Long commute got you down? Metrosha the metro station robot is sure to give you a boost – and if you’re lucky, a wink. Maybe he’ll even transform his LED eyeballs into hearts. Those are just a few of Metrosha’s charms: he’s also got a touch-screen on his chest and the ability to answer simple questions, recognize names and faces, and take and print pictures. Introduced by the Moscow Metro to lift riders’ moods, Metrosha will grace stations around Moscow on holidays and special occasions.
2. At long last: Moscow is building a multi-billion-ruble dance complex for acrobatic rock & roll, and it’s going to be run by a Kremlin official with family ties to Russia's new National Guard – which some call Putin’s private army. Haven’t heard of acrobatic rock & roll? It’s only the favorite sport of Katerina Tikhonova, rumored to be President Vladimir Putin’s youngest daughter (though he’s notoriously silent about his family). Where Putin leads in politics, Tikhonova triumphs in cutting a rug.
3. On March 1, Russia celebrates World Cat Day. And you know what that means: a whole day of looking at cat memes and not having to feel guilty about it. The Moscow Cat Museum unofficially heralded March 1 as Cat Day in 2004, and Russians have celebrated their feline friends on that day ever since. Other countries celebrate Cat Day on August 8, the date chosen by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and other animal rights groups. Whichever day you prefer, any excuse to click through cat pics.
In Odder News
Russia may have a law criminalizing so-called “gay propaganda,” but it still has a vibrant – if underground – LGBT community, including drag queen performers like Mona Pepperoni, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monro, and the Birds of Paradise drag collective. For some it’s immoral; for other it’s a mode of expression. But as a political statement and a counter-culture art form, it’s a self-labeled “freak party” worth reading about.
Quote of the Week
“It’s easier for people to be hidden and not stick their necks out. It’s self-defense.”
—Grigory Zaritovsky, aka drag performer “Mona Pepperoni,” on drag as an aesthetic practice most performers prefer to keep separate from political activism.
Want more where this comes from? Give your inbox the gift of TWERF, our Thursday newsletter on the quirkiest, obscurest, and Russianest of Russian happenings of the week.
For our final TWERF of 2017, we look back and re-share some of our favorite stories from 2017. They may not be the most note-worthy or news-worthy stories, but we felt they were the most fun.
Let's go to Nizhny Novgorod to hear a Russian rendition of the song of the year. And then, lets meet some puppies and a vodka thief.
Darkness descends on Moscow, a cry for help ascends to the sky, and a foreign agent stays exactly where it is. Also huskies and ancient teeth.
Join Earth's first non-Earthbound nation, get an art lesson with a side of Molotov cocktail, and learn about lusty leopards.
Russians practice their rights: heated debate, voting in North Korea, and not getting any more survey calls.
Punxsutawney Phil ordered six more weeks of winter for the States, but the weather is getting much weirder in Russia: record-breaking snow and locusts, to start with.
A Russian national tragedy is softened by stories of a skating grandmother and small children in the snow.
Traditional celebrations like Maslenitsa are accompanied by new ones, like Chinese New Year. The party never stops!