We’re supposed to be at the LA Times Festival of Books today, but we’re having to skip that amazing opportunity to mingle with other ink-stained wretches (and the agents who *love* them), and instead finish up on the editing work on our own … er … somewhat overdue writing projects.

What is the world coming to when we have to sacrifice valuable drinking and goofing off time to actually meet deadlines, I ask?

In the meantime, here are a few shots from our travels in Moscow. We ran across these artists outside of the Moscow flea markets, doing portraits of the passers-by for a few thousand rubles. I was struck by how familiar the scene was … I’ve seen this in Caracas, Mexico City, San Francisco, Amsterdam … I’m convinced that if I ever do get to Antarctica, I will find a couple of artsy Emperor Penguins sitting on director’s chairs, working with mixed-medium herring guts and rancid walrus blubber. Which will no doubt immediately get snapped up by a hipster art collector and spawn the Next Big Wave in the art world…


Russian artists painting portraits in the street

There is a strange timeless quality that comes out when you walk the streets of Eastern Europe. The past is still very much with everyone there - such as the guy in suspenders, who looks like he walked right out of a 70s "glorious proletariat" propaganda movie, where he plays the crusty, but lovable truckdriver whose antics lead to much hilarity,

I tried to get a little fancier with this next shot – to sort of show how this art is a little piece of life and humanity, even in sometimes grim, gray surroundings.

Russian street artists are watched by the work

In Moscow, art looks at you. (click to see full-size)

If you look at the guys in the background, they wouldn’t really look out of place at the Harley ralley in Sturgis. But there are a lot of kinda sketchy-looking guys like this roaming the streets of Moscow. I was told that a lot of them were veterans of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, or of the more recent conflict in Chechnya. Anyone who’s been around a VA hospital here in the States will have an eerie shock of familiarity looking at these guys; long hair, still wearing the odds and ends of their camouflage uniforms, too-intense eyes that don’t blink enough, and a constant sense of suppressed rage…