Arts Desk

Moscow on the Potomac

Times are tough for arts organizations everywhere, but the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has found a promising new revenue stream: oligarchs. Last week, America’s temple to the arts announced a generous gift of $5 million from the Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin, one of the wealthiest men in the world. The tradeoff? Potanin gets his name etched in marble at the Kennedy Center, which is also renaming its Golden Circles Lounge the Russian Lounge.

That’s not a bad deal! In fact, Kennedy Center head Michael Kaiser may want to look into some additional retrofits, at least if he’s interested in attracting more rubles from this notoriously ostentatious class. Some suggestions:

* Cessa landing strip on the roof

* Damien Hirst shark-in-formaldehyde sculpture (to replace that tacky JFK bust!)

* Exclusivity measures in the Russian Lounge: bottle service and “feiskontrol

* Adjoining bodyguard lounge

* Valet for insanely tiny dog breeds

* Polonium detector

* Separate coat check for furs

* Introduction of sturgeon to the Potomac River

Photo by Flickr user Daniel Lobo, attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Illustration by Brooke Hatfield

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