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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stars Have a Laugh at Themselves

Image is a crucial factor for celebrities, so only the brave or the bloodthirsty of Russia's pop stars attended Monday's "Most Dubious Achievements in Show Business" awards ceremony.


About 2,300 glitteratti gathered at the Pushkinsky Concert Hall to see which of their colleagues would be dishonored with a serebryanaya kalosha, or silver galosh. The annual awards are named after the Russian expression "sit in a galosh," which means to be put on the spot. After two hours of mingling and posing for photographers, the stars settled into their seats, continuing their conversations with colleagues seated afar by cellular phone.


Ten awards, such as "The Singer Better Seen 100 Times Than Heard Once" or "New Songs About Old Stuff" were handed out. Silver Rain, the pop radio station that sponsored the show, selected the winners after surveying journalists, politicians and people in show business.


Winners present at the ceremony tried to make the best of their dishonors. "I studied at the Post-Graduate Komsomol School and was so fed up with the high moral principles of communism that my only desire was to find a job with nothing to do with such principles," said Artur Gasparyan, music writer for the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, as he accepted the "Most Free Media" award for freedom from ethical principles. In addition to the small silver galosh given to all winners, Gasparyan received a Russian book of fables with the sections on morals blacked out.


"Plagiarism of the Year" was awarded to singer Alyona Apina whose current hit, "Elektrichka," was alleged to be stolen from a 1970s Alla Pugachyova song. "Don't be shy about stealing. Steal, but call is postmodernism," said Viktor Shenderovich, script writer for the political satire television program "Kukly," in announcing the award. Apina was not present to receive her special gift of a cardboard carton for a copy machine, suggesting how much money can be made by copying others.


Competition was fierce for the Silver Narcissus award for self-admiration. The candidates included the excitable Valdis Pelsh, host of "Name That Tune," smarmy David Letterman clone Igor Ugolnikov and the cheesy Ivan Demidov, emcee of the pop song television show "Muzoboz." Ugolnikov didn't show up to receive his prize of a multicolored slicker with "I'm the Bestest of the Best" written on it, designed by the flamboyant Andrei Bartenev. But insolent rapper Bogdan Titomir suddenly took a break from smooching with his beautiful female companion and shouted that he would accept the coat instead.


Silver Rain awarded itself the "Froth of the Year" prize for the most meaningless endeavor. The radio station was honored for its attempt to advertise on Mars by having its logo carried on a rocket. The launch failed and rocket ended up in the Pacific Ocean. A losing candidate was a plan by the tax police to collect payments from pop stars.


The "Dry and Comfortable" award, named after the prevalent Pampers advertisements, went to long-haired singer Dmitry Malikov for his mundane Head and Shoulders commercial. Red-headed diva Pugachyova accepted on behalf of Malikov the prize of a shaggy red wig, described as "the best dandruff treatment if there's no guillotine around."


Pugachyova also received her husband Filip Kirkorov's prize for "Most Independent Producer on Whom Nothing Depends." He was honored for "producing" Pugachyova's birthday show earlier this year with much help from his staff.


Despite its witty conception, the evening was worthy of an award or two from its own categories. Dragging on for four hours and full of flat jokes, it could have easily won a "Silver Narcissus" prize and perhaps even the "Dry and Comfortable" award. "We artists have a rather bad sense of humor," said Vadim Gordeyev of the pop group Mango-Mango.