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End of The eXile Era

Published: June 24, 2008 (Issue # 1384)




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So farewell, The eXile. An era has ended, and we shall not see its like again. After over a decade of delivering caustic comment, childish pranks and more information than we perhaps wanted and needed to know about the editors sex lives and drug habits, Moscows original alternative expat newspaper is finally being shut down. Four inspectors from the Federal Service for Mass Media, Telecommunications and the Protection of Cultural Heritage recently visited The eXiles offices, wanting to know about Eduard Limonov, a long-time contributor to the newspaper whose radical National Bolsheviks form the last remnants of Russias real opposition. The inspectors were investigating whether the newspaper violated Article 4 of the Law on Mass Media, which bans media outlets from promoting extremism, pornography or narcotics. The writing was on the wall.

Is the paper guilty? Hell yes at least by the puritanical standards of Prime Minister Vladimir Putins Russia. The eXile was a biweekly dish of political gossip (often surprisingly incisive), grim reports from the countrys underbelly and amphetamine-fueled vitriol against Middle America. It was also heavily laced with pornography, satirical graphics and outrageous club reviews penned by a series of fictional correspondents. This was the paper that created the Death Porn column, a compendium of the weeks most gruesome crimes illustrated with police photos. Its most recent issue hailed the early arrival of snapper season, complete with photos of naked provincial girls taken from the Dyevscovery Channel.

In one of their most famous pranks, the editors made a cream pie mixed with horse sperm and threw it in the face of New York Times bureau chief Michael Wines. The journalistic offenses Wines had committed are long forgotten, but the memory of the pictures of him licking cream off his fingers lingers on. Former editor Matt Taibbi, posing as a sports promoter, once persuaded Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to sign up as a motivational coach for the New York Jets. And, in the later, darker years, The eXile chronicled Mark Ames epic odyssey to celebrate the papers ninth anniversary by sleeping with nine whores in nine hours, armed with a pocketful of Viagra, $450 in expenses and a digital camera. (For the record, he failed.)

But The eXiles mission was more than just to shock. It ran Yasha Levines 2007 piece on working as a gypsy cab driver on Moscows nighttime streets as powerful a piece of city reporting as Ive read anywhere. In addition, Taibbis report from the distant mines of Vorkuta in the aftermath of the 1998 crisis delivered a level of detail and raw empathy that no mainstream reporter had matched. And an antic experiment to hire prostitutes to come and spend an hour writing short fictional stories in The eXile offices instead of their usual work printed in the paper under the headline Whore-R-Stories actually produced deeply moving, pathetic little tales of provincial despair.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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