If you ever had any doubts about the universal spread of hip hop and its value as a means of social protest, Far and Son (Father and Son), two pasty white Swedish rappers, dispel those notions.
First it was Pussy Riot that got under Putin’s skin for criticizing the Orthodox Church. Now it’s Far and Son, who’ve gotten up all the way up his homophobic ass.
Far and Son is comprised of two frantic Swedish comedy rappers Frej Larsson and Simon Gardenfors who specialize in fast-paced riffs and chaos. Watch their Rube Goldberg-esque epic “Panik” or “Dubbl Margarita” (a riff on the Macarena) and you’ll see what I mean).
They thought it might be fun to erect a funky replica of the Blue Oyster, the fictional gay bar from the 1984 film, “Police Academy” on Putin’s secret beach hideaway. In the film, the Blue Oyster is a gay bar where leather-clad men dance with police officers.
So Larsson and Gardenfors got some construction workers dressed as character/caricatures (fist-fucking leather boys mostly) to help them put up the bar.
The “bar” on the Åland Islands is meant to call attention to Russia’s homophobia in general and its ban on so-called gay propaganda, specifically. Larsson says they are protesting Russia’s crackdown on gay rights, including their law forbidding the “promotion” of homosexuality. Russia’s reaction? “This is pure hooliganism,” Russian consul Mikhail Zubov told Agence France-Presse of the stunt.
“We expected a bit more vigorous action from Russia … that they would immediately send the Scud missiles into the gay bar, but it seems they can’t keep up with Far & Son,” the group told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. “They are simply too cowardly.”
Far & Son say that if it’s torn down, “I think someone will build this again with cement next year. Then it will remain there forever. The Blue Oyster will be the only thing you can see from the moon, apart from the Great Wall of China. The Russian authorities will never take us alive.”
The ramshackle “bar” (if it’s still standing) sits at the edge of a forest outside the village of Saltvik, and is strung with colorful fairy lights. (Rainbow coalition?)
The property is located on an island in the Baltic Sea, and is managed by the Russian Foreign Ministry, having acquired it in 1947 as part of a World War II peace treaty with Germany.
A September 13 Åland Police report says the “bar” constitutes a sanitation and trespassing violation.
Because Putin’s summer cottage is technically under Russian jurisdiction, the investigation will be handled by Russia.
If convicted, the rappers could face three months in the slammer, or the Gulag.
The Russian anti-gay law they’re protesting is Article 6.21 or The Propaganda of Nontraditional Sexual Relations Against Minors law, which permits the Russian government to fine, detain, or, in the case of aliens in Russia, deport individuals participating in this propaganda from the country. So you choose: serve up to 15 days in jail, pay 100,000 rubles, (what is that, 49 cents now?) or go home.
Even if the bar has been destroyed and is never rebuilt, it will live forever in images on the Internet (People outside the bar, some in leather and wearing yellow construction helmets. One butch couple kissing) and in social media. And Far and Son are only beginning their activist “hooliganism”
Aland was once part of the Russian empire under the Grand Duchy of Finland, and there remains some resentment toward the Russians among the locals. Not to worry, comrade, says Zubov. Russia won’t be invading any time soon.
The local paper, Ålandstidningen supports Far and Son’s satirical protest, saying in essence that whereas the Soviet Union had attacked the west for its decadence, commercialism and pop music, Putin’s Russia now attacks it for gay rights and preaching radical feminism. The editorial went on to say it was dangerous to underestimate Putin, but it was important to stand up for what is right.
One would only hope that America’s homegrown New York rappers might do something as courageous in front of the Time Warner Center where rich scumbags dwell in luxury. Here are a few we’d like to see called out, as researched by the NY Times.
1) Vitaly Malkin. A former Russian senator “barred from entering Canada because of suspected connections to organized crime
2) Dimitrios Contominas Down the hall from Malkin, a Greek magnate owned a condo, but he sold it last fall after he was arrested “as part of a corruption sweep.”
3) Wang Wenliang. His shell company, Columbus Skyline LLC, bought three condos, doggedly traced the LLC back to “the family of a Chinese businessman and contractor named Wang Wenliang. His construction company was found housing workers in New Jersey in hazardous, unsanitary conditions.”
4) Anil Agarwal. “An Indian judge found that he and family members had improperly moved money out of the country. His company was found to have caused severe pollution in India and Zambia.”
5) Alexander Varshavsky. Varshavsky, who is a U.S. citizen, is currently under investigation for not reporting a foreign bank account.
You can read more about Russia’s anti-gay laws here.