Russian Art Museum Hosts Sylvester Stallone Art Retrospective

Sylvester Stallone
Flickr/Gage Skidmore

The Russian Museum in St. Petersburg is exhibiting a retrospective entitled “Sylvester Stallone. Painting. From 1975 Until Today,” Condé Nast Traveler reports. Apparently the museum has already showed works from everybody else.

According to the museum’s exhibit notes, Stallone planned to become an artist before he became an actor, even taking “a course in Switzerland.”

The images and characters found in Stallone’s paintings, in a way, replicate events in his creative and personal biography. But they are not portraits in the traditional understanding of the word. Frantic form and color are used in the large-scale transfigurations that breathe new life and energy into the people who surround the artist, or the celebrated actor who is the idol of millions. In his works, the subject matter reveals itself through, among other things, the title, words, letters and symbols painted directly on the surface of the canvas.

The exhibit opened Monday and runs through Jan. 13, 2014.Previously, the best known piece of artwork involving Stallone, of course, was the life-sized bronze Rocky statue that the Philadelphia Museum of Art displays at the bottom of its stairs.

Sly Stallone - Creative Ways To Go Up 'Rocky' Steps

Crammed Airplane Seating Just Got Worse

transaero airlines plane
Jose Luis Celada Euba, Flickr

If you didn’t think flying could get any more uncomfortable than it already is, brace yourself, because a Russian airline is set to take the title for cramming the most seats on any commercial jet in the world.

Transaero Airlines is preparing to outfit its fleet of A380s and says it will furnish the planes with 652 seats across three different service classes — although naturally the vast majority of the seats (616 to be precise) will be dedicated to the economy class section of the plane. To give you a comparison, most other A380s are outfitted with 470-520 seats, so the Russian carrier’s plans represent a pretty significant step up in capacity.And while a body-constricting, knee-knocking, claustrophobia-inducing experience might be tolerable on a short domestic flight, the bad news is that these sardine-can-in-the-sky planes will be flying long haul. Some of the routes being proposed by Transaero include Moscow-Thailand and Moscow-Dominican Republic. But even domestic flights can be long haul when you’re talking about a country as large as Russia. One of the routes on the table includes Vladivostok to Moscow which clocks in at 4,000 miles. That’s a heck of a long distance to be squished up between 651 other weary fliers.

What do you think? Is airplane seating getting out of control?

Dreamliner Toilet Malfunction Grounds Japan Airlines Flight

The Dreamliner hasn’t been such a dream thus far. Problems have been popping up with the Dreamliner since its first flight. The latest problem occurred with a Japan Airlines flight departing from Moscow. The plane had to turn around mid-flight today because of a problem in the plane’s bathroom. The plane experienced a toilet malfunction, which is said to have been caused by an electrical glitch, according to Reuters. It’s unclear what the exact nature of the toilet malfunction was, but I think we can take it for granted that the toilet wasn’t working and that a nobody wants to be on a flight with a broken toilet.

Russia Is Afraid Its Citizens Will Never Be Allowed To Come Home, Issues Travel Warning

Dmitry Valberg, Flickr

Travel warnings are issued for a variety of reasons, be it social and political unrest, the threat of terrorism or even health. But Russia has now found a new reason to warn people against travel: the fear of their citizens not being allowed to return home.

As reported by the New York Times, the Russian Foreign Ministry bulletin state: “Warning for Russian citizens traveling internationally … Recently, detentions of Russian citizens in various countries, at the request of American law enforcement, have become more frequent — with the goal of extradition and legal prosecution in the United States.”There’s no denying that extradition issues between Russia and the United States have heightened with the Edward Snowden case, but is the threat of detention and inability to return home really a fear for all Russian citizens? Probably not, but the Russian government does feel that its citizens get treated unfairly. From the Foreign Ministry: “Experience shows that the judicial proceedings against those who were in fact kidnapped and taken to the U.S. are of a biased character, based on shaky evidence, and clearly tilted toward conviction.”

The number of Russian tourists traveling around the world is increasing, up almost 25 percent from numbers in 2012. Only time will tell whether such government warnings will have an affect.

Gay Rights Groups Boycott Russian Vodka Over Harsh New Discrimination Laws

gay rights
Slog News and Arts

If you care about gay rights, you might want to rethink your drink.

Gay rights groups are boycotting Russian vodka after the country cracked down on gay activists and pride parades, the BBC reports. In addition, new legislation makes it illegal to teach “non-traditional values” (ie. gay-friendly values) to children.

On June 29, a gay pride parade in St. Petersburg was attacked by thugs and several marchers were badly beaten. Police then rounded up the marchers (not the thugs) and arrested them. You can see photos from this and related events in this shocking photo essay from Buzzfeed.

The boycott started in the U.S. a few days ago and has since spread to other countries. Gay bars have pulled Russian vodka from their shelves and an online petition is calling for Manchester to “untwin” from its sister city St. Petersburg. Protesters have dumped vodka on the street in front of the Russian consulate in New York City and taken to Twitter with hashtags such as #dumpstoli and #dumprussianvodka.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia almost two decades ago but there’s been a severe backlash against the LGBT community in recent years.

One major vodka brand, Stolichnaya, has come out with a public statement in support of gay rights and says it shouldn’t be targeted by the boycott. They say that while they use Russian ingredients, they are in fact a Latvian company.

There’s an ongoing discussion in the LGBT about expanding the boycott to include other Russian products and also the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.