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Posted at 11:05 AM ET, 07/24/2006

A Tribute to 'Sasha'

By Fritz Hahn

Russian artist Alexandr "Sasha" Zhdanov exhibited his paintings in galleries from Washington to Moscow, and some of his expressionist works sold for as much as $50,000. But in his later years, Zhdanov was more likely to trade one of his canvases for a $50 bar tab at an Adams Morgan dive.

Zhadnov, who died last week at the age of 68, was born in Russia, earned fame not only for his art but his role as an anti-communist dissident. He settled in the U.S. in 1989 after being expelled from the Soviet Union, and soon became a regular fixture at bars like Madam's Organ, where customers were able to purchase one of Zhadnov's canvases for the price of a few glasses of vodka.

Tonight, his friends and fans are gathering at Madam's for a special memorial service. There will be stories, toasts and laughs, and Madam's Organ owner Bill Duggan requests that anyone who acquired a painting from Zhadnov bring it to display on the walls. Duggan says the event will run from 6 to 9, but in honor of Sasha, I'm willing to bet it's going to last all night.

By Fritz Hahn  | July 24, 2006; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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Comments

Many of us thought he was just a local homeless man. He was banned from half the bars on the street.

Posted by: Cal | July 25, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse

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