The life of the Russian avant-garde author Daniil Kharms (1905-1942) was every bit as absurd, as abrupt and as symbolically charged as one of his stories. The son of a populist-radical writer with religious leanings, he began a promising career as a poet in the freewheeling artistic scene of late-twenties Leningrad; he knew the great avant-garde artists Malevich, Tatlin, and Filonov, the formalist critic Viktor Shklovsky and the famous children’s authors Evgenii Shvartz and Samuil Marshak. Kharms was one of the founders of OBERIU, the Union of Real Art, an artistic society heavily influenced by constructivism, futurism and the za’um (Trans-sense) poets. OBERIU’s vaguely absurdist experimental performances ran afoul of the increasingly conservative Soviet artistic apparat, and by 1930 they were being denounced as counterrevolutionary. At their final performance, the OBERIU poets unveiled an amusing Soviet-style banner reading We Are Not Pirogis! Asked to explain this slogan, they responded, “So … we are pirogis?”