a different side of Israel

Category: Culture (page 8 of 22)

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

Biggest Slumber Party

August is the month of festivals. Cellcom Volume is taking place right now on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. There’s a festival of Street Performers in Bat-Yam, another music festival in Holon, and so on and so forth.

Tonight comes the kids’ turn. The Tel Aviv municipality is holding a huge slumber party for kids in Park Ha’Yarkon this evening (Thursday, August 28). There will be lots of performances, a pyjama contest, a yawning contest, and several playgrounds.

Should be fun, and a good way to unwind before the school year returns next week.

Tel Aviv Slumber Party

Bye-Bye Olympics

Michael PhelpsWell, the 2008 Summer Olympics come to a close today. It’s been a unique journey.

First of all, the day the games began, Russia and Georgia had spiraled fast into a state of war, shocking the entire world.

Next, we had the bad weather in Beijing, and the murder of an American tourist by a Chinese citizen. The violence didn’t stop there, as we’ve seen yesterday the Cuban taekwondo contender kicking a judge in the head!

As for the winners, it’s been the time of their lives for Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, breaking several astounding records and demonstrating the ingenuity of the human spirit and body. On the Israeli front, Shahar Tzuberi made us all proud with his bronze medal in windsurfing, and rhythmic gymnast Irina Risenzon raised our hopes by making it to the final round.

Nevertheless, the big winners are no doubt the Chinese. They have gained many gold medals, but no less importantly, they’re enjoying the warm embrace of the West despite their failure to improve their human rights record or their environmental attitude. Yesterday they even had the audacity to block the iTunes service within the whole of China, because several guest Olympic athletes downloaded Tibetan protest music via Apple’s internet store. And they do it even before the closing ceremony!

The next summer show will take place in London 4 years from now, but I’m sure plenty water will flow under the bridge by then.

Beautiful Art

An Israeli student named Lior Rosenschpitz made this beautiful video clip:

IKEA from Lior Rosenschpitz on Vimeo.

Don’t look far, stay close

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The title line above is a quote of Berry Sakharof from his famous song “Kakha Ze Le’ehov O’takh” (“This is what it’s like, loving you”). The song was written especially for the opening theme of the Israeli drama “Shabatot Ve’Hagim” (Holy days) that premiered on HOT’s Channel 3 in 1999.

The video clip that accompanied the song during the show’s opening theme was simply amazing. It showed the Tel Aviv skyline at night.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find this unique video clip, so I put up a beautifully done live performance of the song by Berry:

Mahmoud Darwish dies at 67

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Mahmoud Darwish, regarded as the Palestinian national poet, died yesterday at a Texas hospital after heart surgery. He is one of the main authors of the Palestinian narrative, and the one who crafted the Palestinian declaration of independence in 1988.

Whatever your political opinion is, it is a big loss for the world of poetry. From the Jewish side of the spectrum, Israel suffered a great loss not too long ago when Dahlia Ravikovitch died in August of 2005. In fact, Mr. Darwish and Mrs. Ravikovitch met more than once and highly regarded each other’s works.

Mahmoud Darwish in Tel Aviv

I hope one day Palestinian children will learn of Dhalia’s poems in school while Israeli children will learn of Mahmoud’s works. In fact, Tel Aviv has already honored both poets by including them in the “Shira Hal Ha’derech” project (translated as “Poetry to Go”), which features short poems on posters all across town.

Straight to ViOD

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A new Israeli show titled “Red Band” is telling the story of a group of several aging musicians who get together after 30 years and plan to go out on a comeback tour. Two things make this show very special. First, the band members are all puppets, even though all other characters are regular humans. Secondly, the show isn’t broadcasted on any channel. Instead, it’s available for free via the VOD service of the HOT cable network.

I’ve seen 2 out of the 3 episodes that have been released so far, and I find it amusing and refreshing. Not all the jokes make me laugh, and I’m not interested in most of the characters, but so far it’s been a pleasure.

HOT\'s Red Band
  Photograph by Ohad Romano

Are you planning to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony

Well, in case you do plan on watching the Olympic Opening Ceremony, here’s a little background that could answer all the questions you might have and had no one to answer…

US Secret Service is operating within Israel


Yehezkel Ben-Shabat?

Yahara Goren?

Shimrit Harari?

Israelis socialize in English

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Walla! reports today that the number of Israelis on Facebook has reached 600,000. In other words, currently 1 out of every 10 Israelis has a Facebook profile.

Facebook Founder

Keep in mind there are many Israelis who do not subscribe to the Israeli network on Facebook or do not identify themselves as Israelis in their profile, so the real numbers may be even higher.

Urban Life in Tel Aviv

Press the post title to see the slideshow.

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Luck doesn’t live here anymore

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Pais (pronounced “Pa’ees”) is the name of Israel’s only Lottery organization. For dozens of years, the weekly lottery raffle had been broadcasted on Israel’s Channel 1 (“A’rutz E’had”) every Tuesday evening.

Beginning July 1, the Pais raffle has moved to Channel 10. The show’s mythological host, Irit Anavi, will continue to entertain the Israeli gamblers from the show’s new TV studio.

Israeli Pais

Tel Aviv is calling you tonight

In July 2003, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), proclaimed “The White City” of Tel Aviv as a World Cultural Heritage site, due the large number of buildings built in the city in the Bauhaus style.

Bauhaus in Tel Aviv

Every year since the UNESCO declaration, Tel Aviv celebrates its cultural heritage in an all-night festival all across the city. That festival, my friends, is happening tonight, Thursday July 3rd! Wherever you might stroll across town, you will encounter music performances, art displays, sporting events, and more.

Here’s a selected list of events happening tonight:

Tel Aviv University stays up all night, with free student movies, and a hip-hop concert that will showcase the famous Ha’Dag-Nahash alongside younger bands. It all starts there around 8pm.

White City celebrates in a White NightThe Banana Beach is hosting its own line of musicians. From 9pm and up to 4am, you could enjoy a fresh drink in the sandy beachside bar while listening to the Giraffes, Efrat Gosh, and Daniel Solomon. The bar will also display the movie Notting Hill on a large outdoor screen.

For all you romantic people, David Broza is holding a sunrise concert in the northern Ha’Tzuk beach. The music will start at 1am, and David himself will take to the stage at 3am. As far as I could find out, it’s all supposed to be free! And if you’d rather spend the night dancing, the southern Charles Chlore seaside park is having a wild dance party.

Jaffa Seaport, Tel Aviv’s Old Seaport, the Opera House, the Nach’lat Binyamin Market, Rothschild Boulevard — all these places will hold special events, such as public dancing, outside bazaars, and street performers.

In any case, feel free “to take it to streets” tonight, and I’m sure you’ll find something you enjoy.

Where’s the professionalism?

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Avraham MarselTwo weeks ago I wrote about the possibility of Leonard Cohen including Israel in his summer tour. However, the Israeli producer Avraham Marsel got cold feet and canceled the show, in fear he might lose money in the end. He claims that he could not find major commercial sponsors for the show (such as the cellular companies) and since he does not intend to invest much of his own money in the project, he has no choice but to call it a No Show.

This is absurd! After 15 years, the one and only Leonard Cohen once again hits the road in what may be his last World Tour, and there is full willingness on his behalf to come here to Israel — but due to Marsel’s lack of professionalism, many thousands (and tens of thousands) of fans are left empty handed and disappointed.

I’d bet my ticket money that Cohen is just as disappointed as we are.

Photo by NRG

Be Proud of Jerusalem

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Yesterday the Chords Bridge was inaugurated in Jerusalem in a massive celebration that cost 2 million shekels.

Jerusalem Chords Bridge at Night

Many people think the new bridge doesn’t fit the local atmosphere and is actually an attempt to try and make Jerusalem seem more European. The local Haredi (ultra-orthodox) population had threatened to boycott the event when it was discovered that an all-girl dance group would perform in the ceremony, eventually forcing the dance group to dress their girls in long puffy clothes.

Jerusalem Chords Bridge at Daytime

The Gay Pride Parade is scheduled to take place in Jerusalem this evening, despite protests made by the Haredi population. Last year the protests threatened to go out of hand and the parade turned into a much smaller event, and three years ago a Haredi man stabbed and wounded one of the marchers.

Jerusalem Pride Parade

Jerusalem is indeed a city in internal conflict: Jews vs. Arabs, Secular folks vs. Orthodox population, Old-style architecture vs. Western monumental designs.

Photos by Ynet/Sason Tiram, and the Jerusalem Open House

The Naked Truth

Assi Dayan is a renowned Israeli actor, writer, and director. In recent years he is most associated with the character of Reuven Dagan, the therapist in the midst of the hit drama “Be’Tipul” — which has been adapted to the American audiences by HBO, titled “In Treatment”. Assi Dayan is a long-time drug addict and he doesn’t hide this fact. In fact, he likes to talk about it.

T ShirtLast week, Dayan was twice viciously exposed in the media: First, he gave an interview to Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s leading daily newspaper in the Hebrew language, and was featured naked on the weekend edition. In the interview, he compared his hairy belly to the state of Israel, saying they’re both in terrible shape. Then a few days later he made a phone call to channel 10’s entertainment correspondent Haim Etgar and invited him to come with a film crew to document his messy apartment and his messy life. The piece, aired on primetime TV during the evening news, bluntly exposed Dayan snorting white powder

These sensational interviews brought much outrage on the media affiliates that apparently weighted ratings over ethics, while Haim Etgar defended himself by saying that Dayan was pleading for help and that the primetime exposure was meant to divert public attention (and support) to his ill condition. Needless to say that Dayan granted full permission to both these interviews — He initiated the whole affair.

Dayan’s cousin, the author Yonatan Geffen (who was once a drug addict himself) published an article in Ma’ariv — the second largest Israeli daily newspaper — in which he blames the media for exploiting his cousin’s condition, and reminding us that Dayan’s so-called consent is morally and legally invalid, since he was not thinking clearly at the time. He accused the media of “tenderly” pushing Dayan towards his death, comparing his cousin to Britney Spears, who has also been suffering from intrusive media reports. Although perhaps an Amy Winehouse comparison is more fitting in this case.

We all have demons of self-destruction; they are not the sole property of celebrities. I wonder why the camera loves them so much.

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