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Culture news, 13.02.2004 14:49

Pushkinskaya 10 marks anniversary

Pushkinskaya 10 marks anniversary Pushkinskaya 10, a former squat populated by underground artists and musicians since 1989 and now the only center for the non-mainstream culture in the city celebrates its 15th birthday.

Pushkinskaya 10 used to mark its anniversaries with open-air performances right in the middle of the downtown building complex, calling the celebrations "Den Dvora," or "Day of the Yard." Having legalized its status and undergone renovation in exchange for part of the rooms, Pushkinskaya 10 moved the festivities to concert halls.

Over the years Pushkinskaya 10 won many victories but also had some losses. The rock club Art Klinika, or Art Clinic, run by underground artist Kirill Miller, was closed by the center shortly before reconstruction.

Among the highlights of its existence, the Art Clinic is remembered for the debut concert of ska-punk band Leningrad on Jan. 13, 1997. For the past few years, Leningrad has been clearly the most outrageous and popular band in St. Petersburg.

Pushkinskaya 10's other legend is the "old Fish Fabrique," a huge venue on the 4th floor, which used to cater to expats and "progressive" Russian fans and hosted plenty of new and innovative music acts. After the restructuring, Fish Fabrique was turned into a small basement art cafe unable to either promote such massive events or hold such big crowds.

"[Pushkinskaya 10] is the only example I know of in which such an alternative cultural center was allowed to exist in the center of the city," said Irina Aktuganova, who works with the Gallery of Experimental Sound, Techno Art Center and Cyber-Femin-Club, all located at Pushkinskaya 10.

Art galleries and studios can only exist because, under an agreement with the city authorities, they pay only for electricity, heating and water, but not rent. "If we were asked to pay the rent, we'd have to close immediately," said Aktuganova, who promotes concerts of noise and experimental music that usually attract only a few fans.

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