Popoff Kitchen is no ordinary club night. Established by Nikita Egorov-Kirillov in Moscow in 2017, the party was created to enable community artists to be seen. A hedonistic, anything-goes scene evoking the heyday of Berlin clubbing, Popoff Kitchen also became a safe space platforming and celebrating queer art, sex and connection – a necessary act, after the ‘Gay Propaganda’ law made mentions of LGBTQ+ people in the media illegal, leading to an increase in homophobia and hate crime.
After a year that forced clubbing to a halt, in 2021 Egorov-Kirillov launched the Delicious Tour, a Popoff Kitchen showcase touring the biggest cities in Russia, as well as HOROVOD, a queer multidisciplinary festival in collaboration with Kyiev-based queer night VESELKA.
Though it was created for the LGBTQ+ community in Russia, Popoff Kitchen has become an international Mecca of queer culture. The work of a multifaceted team, the art direction by Sergey Nesterenko, PR work of Tanya Lonshakova and Roman Gunt have ensured it’s become something more than a party; it’s a community in itself. (And in the spirit of Berghain’s door policy, the fierce Slava Bolshakov is on hand at each event to keep the space as tolerant as possible.)
Now, Egorov-Kirillov is at work on the lunch of TRAWM, “an online platform that helps artists from marginalized groups to show, sell & educate.” TRAWM was originally thought up by Egorov-Kirillov’s boyfriend, the artist Rakan Suleiman (aka RAKANS), who is a Palestinian refugee living in Dresden, Germany. Their aim is to grow an online platform that works with marginalised groups around the world – the queer community, BIPOC, refugees and allies alike. Judging from the vital success of Popoff Kitchen, they are well on their way.
Text Zsofia Paulikovics