War, A Rock Opera – Read My Critique – or, Better Yet, Skip My Critique And Just Buy Your Tickets Today!

[singlepic id=59 w=200 h=300 float=right]War, A Rock Opera   has been running for a while now at Tzavta Theatre in Tel-Aviv, but I had the pleasure of watching it for the first time just this week. I really liked the show, but above all I think it is a very important show to watch. Kobi Vitman     , a young Israeli musician, started writing songs about his ordeals as a reserve infantry soldier during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 and about battling symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder upon returning home. Dialogues joined song and accumulated to an all-Israeli rock opera. Just like stand-up comics excel in the phrasing of our mutual experience into funny, Vitman and the cast serve the audience an intensive dosage of articulate Israeli bitterness, which, when served in the form of rock tunes, appeals to the sense of utter despair felt by an entire generation of my peers.

War, A Rock Opera - My Ticket

Highlights:
Cast: Dvir Benedek plays an excellent IDF commander, with just the right amounts of arrogance and smugness he reminds everyone the army commander each one of us had in our time.
Music: Vitman wrote some powerful songs, some of which are bound to enter the Israeli pantheon of political tunes. Most of the lyrics are written tongue in cheek and appeal to a cynical generation all too familiar with the knee-jerk sentences Israeli political figures dish out oh so easily.
Band: Electric guitarist Ron Bunker should be singled out for praise. While the entire band plays awesome rock, Bunker’s solos brought the roof down. Bravo!

Lowlights:
Sound: As I have said before, this is my biggest pet peeve when visiting the Israeli theatre. You always have to strain your ears to distinguish the words from the music. If they can balance it well abroad, why can’t they do it in Israel?

Have a listen to Sleep My Child (Shan Yaldi), one of many songs that so eloquently convey the pathos used in the efficient indoctrination of the Israeli citizen in the acceptance of perpetual war. My ad-hoc translation of the lyrics into English is provided for your listening pleasure.

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Sleep My Child (Shan Yaldi) – War, A Rock Opera – lyrics:

Maya (Ayelet Robinson):
Sleep now my wee child
You are not alone anymore
One day maybe we will fulfill the dream
Everything will work out
You will see one day
Instead of war peace will come

One day when you will grow up
Only if there will be no other choice
One day maybe you will be a soldier
You will run, observe, crawl, duck
You will think you have it all
I hope you will be fortunate

I as well wanted a son
That will study, get married,
That will build a family here
In the meantime there are laws, a constitution,
There is a cabinet office,
In the meantime you have no other choice

They’re building the future now
What is there else to say
My dear son
Go out and fight
Bring some warmth
To this cold world

Sleep now my wee child
You will see one day
We will not fear anymore
Sleep now my wee child
You will see one day
We will not fear anymore

Gever (Dvir Benedek):
It is a war for survival
It is who shall live – who shall die
My dear son
In a cruel world
Your narrow world
That is all that’s left

This is the war of existence
Forestall by slaying him
My son you will be grand
And you, give him love
You shall be filled with pride
Later we will mend it all

Cast:
Sleep now my wee child
You will see one day
We will not fear anymore
Sleep now my wee child
You will see one day
We will not fear anymore

Cast repeats: will not fear
indistinct speech in Arabic
Speaker in Arabic: Death to America!
Crowd in Arabic: Death to America!
Speaker in Arabic: Death to America!
Crowd in Arabic: Death to America!

Cast:
Sleep now my wee child
You will see one day
We will not fear anymore
Sleep now my wee child
You will see one day
We will not fear anymore

מאיה (איילת רובינסון):
שן עכשיו ילדי הקט
אתה כבר לא לבד
יום אחד אולי נגשים את החלום
הכל כאן יסתדר
אתה תראה שיום אחד
במקום המלחמה יבוא שלום

יום אחד כשתגדל
רק אם לא תהיה ברירה
יום אחד אולי תהיה חייל
תרוץ, תצפה, תזחל, תיפול
תחשוב שיש לך הכל
הלוואי יהיה לך מזל

גם אני רציתי בן
שתלמד, שתתחתן,
שתקים כאן משפחה
בינתיים יש חוקים, חוקה,
יש קבינט של ממשלה,
בינתיים אין לך ברירה

עכשיו בונים את העתיד,
מה כבר יש פה להגיד,
בן שלי יקר
צא ותלחם,
תביא קצת חום,
אל העולם הזה הקר

שן עכשיו ילדי הקט
תראה שיום אחד
כבר לא נפחד
שן עכשיו ילדי הקט
תראה שיום אחד
כבר לא נפחד

גבר (דביר בנדק):
זאת מלחמת השרדות
זה מי יחיה – זה מי ימות
בן שלי יקר
בעולם אכזר,
עולמך הצר,
זה כל מה שנשאר.

זאת מלחמת הקיום
להורגך תשקים לקום
בן שלי אתה תהיה גדול
ואת תתני לו אהבה
עוד תתמלאי בגאווה
אחר-כך נסדר הכל

כולם:
שן עכשיו ילדי הקט
תראה שיום אחד
כבר לא נפחד
שן עכשיו ילדי הקט
תראה שיום אחד
כבר לא נפחד

כולם חוזר: לא נפחד
נאום בערבית
נואם בערבית: מוות לאמריקה
המון בערבית: מוות לאמריקה
נואם בערבית: מוות לאמריקה
המון בערבית: מוות לאמריקה

כולם:
שן עכשיו ילדי הקט
תראה שיום אחד
כבר לא נפחד
שן עכשיו ילדי הקט
תראה שיום אחד
כבר לא נפחד

Here you can watch snippets. Here you can buy tickets.

Shulman – Zero Degrees

Artist: Shulman
Track: Zero Degrees
Album: Random Thoughts
Genre: Electronica / Psychedelic / Experimental
Label: Aleph Zero Records
Release Date: 2006
Shulman - Random Thoughts - 2006

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* This is the first of what would hopefully become a weekly post in which I will introduce one music track I liked by one Israeli artist. Oneg Shabbat is a Jewish term meaning the Joy of Sabbath, as Jews use this day to rest and spend time with the family. Devout Jews should probably not listen to this track on Shabbat, as using electricity is forbidden.

** This is another way to break the bitch-to-praise post ratio of my blog by decreasing the number of posts which feature some form of me complaining about something. The first corrective measure was using only two categories to sort my posts: positive and negative.

IDOL GIVS BAKE

This evening Israeli Channel 10 News covered Brad Pitt’s microphone malfunctioning on Fox’s Idol Gives Back and stage manager Debbie McVickers shining as she came to the rescue. Channel 10’s fluffy-issues correspondent Haim Etgar dubbed the incident ‘a huge screw-up’, right before using a caption that seemed like it was spelled by an 11 years old ‘Idol’ fan:

Israeli Channel 10: IDOL GIVS BAKE

Huge screw-up indeed! Thanks for attending mandatory English class in school, Haim.

I Was a Cliché at Age 14

[singlepic id=58 w=450 h=900 float=center]

The image above (click it for a larger size) is an advanced draft of a new artwork of mine. I will be presenting it in a collective work of Israeli portraits by Ehrlich Contemporary Art Gallery in the Florentin Biennale in Tel-Aviv, this coming May.

Format: Digital print
Dimensions: 210mm x 297mm
Name: Undetermined as of now. Possible names in descending order of probability include

  • I Was a (Already?) Cliché at Age 14
  • cliche93
  • Xerox-uality

Technique: The work is made out entirely out of digital-age found objects, that is, readymade images that were found on the Internet and were not photographed by me. The 12 images are all self portraits of 14 year old Israeli girls, each one published at Bona.co.il (now defunct), an Israeli social networking website for high school students. The text below each image is the stats that appear in each of the online profiles correspondingly (stats were accurate when gathered, but may have changed since).
Theme: While the complete artwork stands by itself, it is the first of a series of planned works, all of which present my commentary on the role and image of contemporary women as reflected by the online presence of the next emerging crop.

Feel free to check out the online profiles, by clicking the link that corresponds with each photo’s location.

x x x x
x x x x
x x x x

As always, I welcome your comments and observations. Oh, I forgot to mention I am toying with the idea of sending a personal invitation to the exhibit to each of the girls.

Mom, I Didn’t Kill Your Daughter

Jonathan Danilowitz, Adir Steiner, Uzi Even, Tal and Avital Yaros-Hakak – each of these individuals have helped Israel shape its laws and grant equal rights for queer people, that much cannot be disputed – but I contend that all these people have helped very little in softening the collective Israeli heart towards gay people, compared to one transsexual singer who granted Israel its first Eurovision Song Contest victory in nineteen years. As simplistic (dare I say, moronic) as that may sound, I believe that when Dana International performed on stage in Birmingham, England in 1998, she granted mothers and fathers from the generation right above mine a night of many firsts, as for most of them it was the first time they ever rooted for a queer person and the first time a queer individual had flooded them with feelings of pride and patriotism.

Just like straight men have an easier time accepting the idea of lesbians over gay men, as it is not perceived as a threat to their own masculinity, I believe that many straight men and women have an easier time accepting the idea of transgendered people over other queer individuals, as it is not perceived as a threat to the boy-meets-girl dogma.

Being a minority, any minority, is probably not much fun wherever you may live, but the fact that this country is so tiny must make it that much harder for individuals to surround themselves with enough people that love them, so that they would not be forced to constantly see the masses that hate them. This coming Thursday, Israeli Channel 10 will feature a documentary named ‘Mom, I Didn’t Kill Your Daughter‘ about two F2M transsexuals living in Israel who are also a couple. The film, directed by Orna Ben-Dor, received rave reviews in festivals around the world.

Here’s a snippet:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4RmwE4NCGU

‘Mom, I Didn’t Kill Your Daughter’ will air this coming Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 9pm on Israeli Channel 10. You can also watch it online here. Happy Passover, the Jewish festival of freedom from slavery!

My Rapist – The President

Israel’s national poet, Hayyim Nahman Bialik, pondered about the first thief in Tel-Aviv as a symbolic sign of Israel joining the League of Nations. Moshe Katsav, the 8th President of Israel, had sexually harassed and even raped numerous women over the years, according to the Israeli Attorney General. Katsav was scheduled today to plead guilty to lesser charges in a plea bargain, effectively closing this disgraceful chapter in Israel’s history, but in a surprising turn of events he appeared before the court and rejected the plea, asking to be tried.

The plea bargain was criticized by many Israelis that felt they did not get their day in court, contesting that the President of Israel is a symbol of the state and as such these kinds of allegations cannot be swept under the rag. As a critic of the plea bargain myself, I thought I would provide the masses with a tool to express their critique in the form of a stencil, which can be put to use with some aerosol spray paint. I had been waiting for the right moment to post this online, but the right moment never seems to arrive. Today, as we are on the brink of a new low in the pages of history, as we have many months, possibly years, before this matter is resolved, today seems like a good day to publish this post.

Here is a low resolution version of my stencil, with Katsav’s face and the Hebrew pun ‘My Rapist – The President’:

Moshe Katsav - Stencil: My Rapist - The President [low resolution - not for print]

 

For your downloading pleasure, I have provided a link to a high resolution image ready to print:
[download#2#size#nohits]
Feel free to link directly to the original post on my blog, but do not link directly to the file.

[singlepic id=57 w=320 h=240 float=right]Here is a tutorial on preparing stencils for use, courtesy of the Stencil Revolution.

 

 

 

Israeli Radio Legend Shosh Atari Dies

Shosh Atari - 1950-2008Shosh Atari, an Israeli radio legend, had succumbed to life’s difficulties yesterday. During the 1980s an entire generation of my peers tuned in daily to the show ‘Hadash, Hadish, uMehudash‘ on Israeli radio channel Reshet Gimmel, to listen to Shosh Atari as she played the newest records from England and the US. The show, edited by Tony Fine, was the only source at that time for teenagers to find out what’s cool. It was common practice to listen in using headphones while recording the show to a cassette tape, praying that Shosh would not talk too much over the new Modern Talking or Samantha Fox hit. With no Internet or MTV at that time, and only two radio stations that played music that teenagers liked, the allure of that show is something that cannot be grasped by today’s audiences.

Enjoy some nostalgic snippets from over the years:

1982, opening theme:

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1983, random chatter:

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1984, in front of a live audience in Tel-Aviv:

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April 1, 2008, last minute of the last show:

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