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Napoleon dynamic

Indie band Bonaparte’s modern vaudeville show comes to town.

Published: January 30, 2013 (Issue # 1744)



  • Bonaparte has a reputation for flamboyant and colorful performances.
    Photo: MELISSA HOSTETLER

A trash circus, a celebration of hedonism, a grotesque theatre: The performances of Berlin-based indie band Bonaparte, which returns to St. Petersburg this week, can be described in many ways, but one thing is certain — this is no ordinary band.

Bonaparte, renowned for its colorful performances in which a cheerful army of freaks wearing incredible costumes and masks amuse the audience to the accompaniment of songs by lead singer Tobias Jundt, brings its brand of dance-punk and electro rock enriched with carnival traditions to the city’s A2 Club on Feb. 2.

The worldwide success of Bonaparte is primarily due to founder Jundt, a Swiss “dissident” whose original point of view and sense of humor is evident in his philosophical approach to life: “If I could only choose three things: Family, music and kizlyarka [Dagestani grape vodka], I am quite happy!” he said in an interview with The St. Petersburg Times ahead of the upcoming local gig.

The eccentric stage outfits worn by Jundt are a distinctive feature of the band’s concerts.

“I never enjoyed looking like everyone else much, even as a child. Make-up and clothing and songs can give you a lot of strength,” said Jundt, who often appears on stage in black eyeliner, a flame-colored wig and a jacket reminiscent of the Napoleonic era.

“I am not really afraid to do something silly along the way or use languages that I do not actually speak,” said Jundt. “You have to have fun. I am interested in what happens when the music hits the audience, if everything becomes one. Also I naturally combine sobriety and humor. I always felt that you should meet your topics wholeheartedly, but it doesn’t hurt to bring it across with a bit of irony or a twist in the roles,” he added.

Jundt founded Bonaparte in 2006 and the group performed its first show in the now legendary Bar 25 in Berlin. According to Jundt, the name Bonaparte made sense in the early days of the project.

“I drove around Europe in my small sixties car putting little flags in places where I wanted to go to. It was like a calling. I was a bit afraid, when we first visited Russia, that we might encounter Napoleon’s fate from 1812, but we clearly did a better job than him, because we came with love in our hearts and music in our guns.”

Along the way, Jundt made new friends who wanted to take part in the project and now Bonaparte, which functions more as a collective than as a typical band, includes around 20 artists. The concert at A2, which is to take place a day after the group’s show in Moscow, is expected to feature eight of the group.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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