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Category: Culture (page 6 of 22)

Local Israeli music, art, theater, celebs and talent. Culture in Israel, Middle East and around the world as it relates to Israel.

Klone Yourself in Tel Aviv

I’ve been seeing it all over town. A brownish alien-like creature, with green eyes, a long snout, and sharp teeth. Sometimes it’s just a head; sometimes the head is connected to a larger body — which may be male, female, human, or animal. I find it in different locations, in different postures, but there’s always a signature at the bottom of the graffiti. It reads “Klone“.

If you’ve been to Tel Aviv in the past year, you’ve probably seen this creature, even if you can’t recall it at the moment. It blends with the urban landscape like a shadow that barely escapes our conscious mind.

Photo by Whistling in the Dark via Flickr

Photos by Whistling in the Dark via Flickr

Who is Klone? What is he trying to say through these grotesque-style creatures?

The Face of KloneAccording to Wiki-TLV, Klone is a 25 year-old artist who currently works in Tel Aviv, and came to Israel from Ukraine at the age of 11. The City Mouse magazine interviewed the guy over a year ago. In that interview, he revealed he has a love / hate relationship with the city. Personally, I think this state of emotion echoes well in his graffiti works.

Other prominent street artists Klone often collaborates with include Know Hope and Zero Cents.

For a collection of his works, check out this Flickr gallery. It’s interesting to note how his creatures have apparently morphed with time, from the cute white imps, to the more somber wolf-human buffoons.

Pure Escapism

This week, the Broadcasting Authority (who controls “Channal 1″) has chosen Achinoam Nini — known internationally as Noa — and Mira Awad to represent Israel in the upcoming 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow, Russia.

Choosing an Arab / Jewish pair to represent Israel in these days of bitter conflict seems like pure escapism. Indeed, several Arab-Israeli artists have made a public appeal to Mira Awad, asking her not to take on the role of Israel’s “fig leaf” while atrocities are being committed in Gaza.

Personally, I think sending this pair can only do good to Jewish – Arab relations inside Israel. We need any glimpse of hope that could help us believe, still, that this land has a future — a viable future, for all its human inhabitants.

Noa & The palestinian singer Nabil Salameh performing together “Centro del Mundo” at Rome in 2002

Are we there yet ?

This morning there is another humanitarian break. It starts at 9:00 AM and the southern cities are bracing for the missile attacks that will follow. As soon as these Humanitarian breaks take place the Hamas uses the opportunity to fire rockets.

The show “Eretz Nehedert” was on live last night after the news on channel 2. These shows are usually prerecorded but this one was live. It was highly critical of the management and future of the war. The message was that Barak was looking for political gain in the polls, the government has no clear objectives and the South is still being attacked.

The skit below is called “No Goals – No Disappointments”. There is no translation but you can see Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Ehud Barak who walks into the interview to answer questions from the soldiers.

During the skit Ehud Barak answers some questions from the soldiers with candid answers. He starts with the question – “So Now What?”.
He answers: We are now waiting for a cease fire. You (the army) will need to hang around in the field making you an easy target to Hamas. A couple of soldiers here will be killed (he points to 2 of them). Then we will sign a cease fire agreement, which when you read it, you will not understand why we couldn’t sign it 2 weeks ago.

“And that’s it – that’s how it ends?” he is asked. No, Barak answers, it doesn’t end, you will be called back to reserve duty, 2 years from now to serve here or some other place, all of you will report for duty minus the 2 fallen soldiers obviously. This time it might be the north, south or center of Israel. You will be called to help change the reality of some place – a place with a strange reality to start with.

Ismail Haniyeh was speaking yesterday and was calling basically for a cease fire. He looked bad. He said Hamas was ready for any initiative that will end the violence and for the first time he didn’t sound combative, made no threats and sounded like he wanted out of this war. In the Middle East that’s probably as close to surrender as we will ever get, although I am sure that by the time a cease fire is signed Hamas/Iran/Hezbollah will all be celebrating there victory over our coward army and hailing the legendary ass whipping we received.

As a response today we hear that the Security Ministers Council (Kitchenette) Olmert, Barak and Livni has decided to hold off stepping us to the next level of the war. The army was instructed to continue pressure on selective Hamas positions and that the Egyptian cease fire option was to be explored. (sounds familiar…)

Hamas has indicated they would be willing to have a Turkish force to enforce the cease fire. Different sources say they are only interested in a short term cease fire and that they will reject the Egyptian cease fire offer today. It looks like they are going through some shift in thinking though.

I am not sure how far we are supposed to go but the Eretz Nehedert episode was foretelling the future. When I saw it my first impression was that it was in poor taste. Even the live studio audience was holding back when Barak made reference to the “future” dead soldiers we will be incurring. But the truth is that its probably right on the money. Now it seems like it’s the right thing to ask Are we there yet?

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

The hugely popular sketch comedy show “Eretz Nehederet” (translated as “A Wonderful Land”) was exceptionally satiric and keen last week, several days after the current war began. Since then they’ve been pulled off the air, because Channel 2 believes it’s inappropriate to broadcast live entertainment during wartime.

This is a very talked-about sketch from last week’s show. In it, an Ehud Barak (Minister of Defense) impersonator explains the projected phases of war.

Thanks Lisa for translating!

Gaza – The Information War

The war in Gaza and its surrounding Israeli cities is waging still, with no clear end in sight. Yet in this age of abundant technology and streaming information, there is also a propaganda war simultaneously going on via television networks, personal blogs, and YouTube videos. One enthusiastic even programmed a simple video game to demonstrate the war tactics, as he sees it.

This is a brief collection of home-made videos, news briefings, and the aforementioned notorious game.

Danny Gillerman, Israel’s former ambassador to the UN speaks about the war, 12/28/08:

“Raid Gaza” Flash Game – Gain Extra Points for Bombing a Hospital:

Annie Lennox on the Humanitarian perspective:

Qassams on Europe, a fictional cartoon:

2 Qassams are launched while CNN’s Paula Hancocks reports from the border:

When the alarm goes off, people in Sderot have 15 seconds to find cover:

A Prayer for Peace

Coming to Israel? Want to experience the land? Excavate!

There are many exciting Archeological excavations across Israel that are scheduled for 2009.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is inviting volunteers from around the world to join these exciting expeditions.

The work is physical, and it is done mostly outdoors in locations in the desert or near the sea. The nearest excavation is set to begin next week in Ein Gedi, and all other planned excavations will take place in the Spring and Summer of 2009.

For more information, visit this website.
Notice the page says the following: Some expeditions offer credit courses from sponsoring institutions.

Ein Gedi

1000 Dead or Wounded in 2 Days

It’s been 48 hours since the Air Force began pounding Gaza with “Operation Cast Lead”, and already more than 1,000 people have been killed or wounded.

While the heavily populated Gaza Strip is now under attack from both the air and the sea (Israeli Navy joined the offense), civilians who tried to flee the tiny Strip into Egyptian territory have been fired on by Egyptian forces. Surviving in Gaza is a very claustrophobic ordeal.

News reports claim 300 casualties on the Palestinian side, along with 700 injured. Hospitals lack supplies and blood units. And these early numbers are probably going to rise dramatically in the coming days.

On the Israeli side, 2 men have been killed by separate rocket attacks, while a dozen others were wounded. Hundreds of thousands of residents in southern Israeli towns are compelled to stay in or near available shelters all throughout the day. Indeed, there’s enough claustrophobia to go around on both sides of the fence.

I refrain from commentary at the moment. These are simply the dry facts.

All-Nighter of Artistic Nudity

The Avni Institute of Art and Design is holding a special “Blue Night” tonight. From 5pm and until the small hours of the night, 10 nude models (men and women) will await visitors who wish to experience the art of nude figure drawing for free.

The event will be held at 23 Eilat Street, in Jaffa, and visitors are required to bring their own drawing and painting equipment.

Hanukkah is the kids’ holiday

Ahh, it’s so much fun to be a kid in Hanukkah. You get a lengthy vacation from school. Your parents actually encourage you to eat doughnuts and chocolate coins. And there’s plenty of shows to drag mommy and daddy to.

This year 3 different “singing competitions” compete for the kids’ attention. The traditional “Festigal”, a newer “Festival” that aims to restore past glory, and another show by the cables’ “Hop” channel.

Here’s a teaser for the Festival:

Reality Tuesday

This coming Tuesday the hit reality show Big Brother will end its first Israeli season in a climatic live broadcast. Who will be crowned winner? Yossi Booblil? Shefra? Leon?

If you’re an addict of the show, like hundreds of thousands in Israel, then this question probably bothers you all day long and throughout the night as well.

But if you think that the “reality show culture” has gone too far, and is taking the place of quality content, then it’s about time you take a stand.

Instead of glaring at the TV screen this coming Tuesday, come out and express your disapproval of the reality monster. A demonstration will be held at the square outside of the Tel Aviv Museum of Arts, during the final episode. Many known actors and musicians are planned to speak in this unique gathering, and the event is likely to drawn very large crowds.

Idan Raichel Released a New Album

Idan Raichel‘s music is a distinctive one. It is usually cataloged as World Music, since it features a collection of musical styles.

After being very successful abroad in the past couple of years, Idan just released a new studio album, and the first single “Dreams of Others” is already very popular with Israeli radio stations.

Acco Festival Returns in Hanukkah

After being canceled earlier this year, the Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre is back in business. Originally meant to run during Succot, it is now scheduled for Hanukkah, during December 22 – 25.

Amos Gitai’s Disengagement

A new film by Amos Gitai is hitting theaters in Israel, after being featured in several festivals around the world. The film stars Juliette Binoche, Liron Levo, and Dana Ivgy.

The plot revolves around a Jewish French woman who goes on a journey to reconnect with the daughter she had abandoned 18 years ago, who is now living in a Settlement in the Gaza strip. Their emotional reunion takes place during the unilateral disengagement operation of August 2005.

This is not the first English-speaking movie Gitai makes about sensitive Israeli issues. In 2004, he directed “Free Zone”, starring Natalie Portman and Hana Laszlo.

Hanukkah is just around the corner

Winter is finally here in Israel. It arrived a few weeks back, and now it’s making another comeback.

I’m going out camping this weekend and I hope the weather will play nice.

Nevertheless, I’m excited that the cold season is upon us, since we don’t get much of it here in Israel.

In addition, Hanukkah is just 5 weeks away, and that’s always a good thing. Hanukkah is the perfect excuse to eat lots and lots of oil without feeling guilt, and decorating the home with colorful lights. Needless to say, Hanukkah gifts are always the best of the holiday gifts in the Jewish calendar. Perhaps we’re influenced by the tradition of Christmas gifts, which happens in December as well, but it doesn’t bother me too much. As long as the kids are having fun, and experiencing the Hanukkah tradition, there’s nothing wrong with spoiling them a bit with a Jewish gift.

I found yesterday that the supermarket downstairs is already selling strawberry-jam doughnuts, and I wonder if it’s a good idea to eat them by the campfire this weekend. (I’m joking of course)

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