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A Guide to the Best of Southern California : CATALOGUES : A Different Kind of Russian Dressing

January 06, 1991|TAMAR MAHSHIGIAN

IF YOU'RE TEMPTED to throw away the next batch of catalogues you receive, look closely first. You may have been sent a relatively new catalogue that markets Soviet and Eastern European goods, some of which have been virtually impossible to get in the United States. Russian Dressing items include 1 1/2-inch chunks of the Berlin Wall ($9.50), the album of classic hits that Paul McCartney released exclusively for sale back in the U.S.S.R. in 1988 ($35), authentic Red Army parade hats ($89) and balalaikas ($245). "For the first time," the wittily written catalogue pronounces, "there's a black market here for something you can get only in Russia. And we succeeded--dealing with the sort of folk your mother warned you about--to obtain a bunch." Some of the items are brought to the Big Apple by Soviet visitors who trade them for Yankee spending money, as the ruble gets you nowhere in New York.

Russian Dressing, really a two-for-one publication, shares its cover with the Daily Planet catalogue, which sells items connected with environmental and social issues: nuts from rain forests in Brazil and Southeast Asia, sea-trash earrings, recycled rugs and statement-making T-shirts. The catalogue itself is printed on recycled and recyclable paper. Of the money made by the Daily Planet/Russian Dressing, 10% is donated to such nonprofit environmental and peace-promoting groups as Ecologia and the Samantha Smith World Peace Camp.

For a catalogue, send $1 to the Daily Planet/Russian Dressing, P.O. Box 1313, Canal Street Station, New York, N.Y. 10013.

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