Hagigit and Jerusalem’s Train Theatre Present: Purim Shpiel in the Circus

Purim Shpiel 2010 at the Train Theatre in JerusalemThe artists collective I am part of, Hagigit, has joined the Train Theatre once again to celebrate Purim. Just like our cooperation last year, we set up a photography studio and took pictures of well-costumed kids. The parents were obviously delighted since these were their kids, but I was anxiously waiting for that one photo to transcend being cute into being really interesting. This doesn’t happen often, mind you, but it did happen before. Photos captured today can be found on Hagigit’s Flickr page.

The first day already gone, you can still join us today and tomorrow in Jerusalem. Admission is 30 NIS including the play “The Cubes Circus”. More details here.

For Once, the Yes Men Say No

Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, The Yes Men, have an unusual hobby: posing as top executives of corporations they hate. Armed with nothing but thrift-store suits, they lie their way into business conferences and parody their corporate nemeses by basically doing everything that they can to wake up their audiences to the danger of letting greed run the world. I have watched their 2003 documentary and was hoping to catch their newest film, when I found out they will be protesting Israeli policies by withdrawing from the Jerusalem Film Festival in solidarity with the ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign for Palestine’. Here’s an excerpt from their letter to the JFF:

[…] This decision does not come easily, as we feel a strong affinity with many people in Israel, sharing with them our Jewish roots, as well as the trauma of the Holocaust, in which both our grandfathers died. Andy lived in Jerusalem for a year long ago, can still get by in Hebrew, and counts several friends there. And Mike has always wanted to connect with the roots of his culture.
But despite all our feelings, we cannot abandon our mission as activists. In the 1980s, there was a call from the people of South Africa to artists and others to boycott that regime, and it helped end apartheid there. Today, there is a clear call for a boycott from Palestinian civil society. Obeying it is our only hope, as filmmakers and activists, of helping put pressure on the Israeli government to comply with international law.
[…] To those who want to see our film, savlanut and sabir (patience)! And for all the rest of us, a little LESS patience, please.
L’shanah haba’ah beyerushalayim,
Andy and Mike
The Yes Men

After reading their full letter I still disagree with their action but I do so respectfully. Here’s what we’ll be missing:

The Train Theatre Featuring Hagigit Present: Purim Spiel at Lilliput

It’s the Jewish holiday of Purim, and Hagigit, the artists collective I am part of, cooperated with Jerusalem’s Train Theatre for a Purim Spiel celebration for kids. The events started with a show called ‘Gulliver – The Journey to Lilliput’ by Amit Drori, based on the classic book by Jonathan Swift – and continued with us. We designed and erected a photography studio to correlate with Swift’s ideas of big and small, allowing the audience to experience being as tall as buildings or feel tinier than usual. We photographed the costumed kids and using our lean mean printing machines granted them a moment frozen in time.

Here’s a small selection of the photos taken today:

Jerusalem’s Answer To Magritte: das ist nicht a chazer

[singlepic id=146 w=320 h=240 float=right]The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo received new guests last week, called Collared Peccary, an American mammal whose looks resemble those of a pig. This would not matter much, only that in a city that is sacred to three religions, two of which consider pigs to be unclean animals who should be avoided – in a city like Jerusalem, a big is a pig deal a pig is a big deal.

That is why the zoo management put up a sign, which includes the regular informative stuff every visitor should know, but also the sentence “This is not a pig” in four languages: Hebrew, Arabic, English, and (get this) Yiddish for the Orthodox Jews. In Israel, even a walk in the park is no walk in the park.

Jerusalem Biblical Zoo sign: das ist nicht a chazer - Yiddish: This is not a pig

Obama Sworn In, In Jerusalem They Also Cheered L’Chaim

There is a new leader of the free world, and new additions to my Sightings-of-the-Hebrew-Obama-Posters-I-Designed scrapbook. This is today’s front page of ynet.co.il, the online edition of Israel’s leading newspaper:

Obama Inauguration Event in Jerusalem - January 20, 2009 | ynet.co.il [singlepic id=134 w=160 h=400]

You can check out the short video (in Hebrew) here.

Following is an Associated Press photo, as it appeared in the Los Angeles Times website:
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Democrats Abroad-Israel posted loads of photos from the inaugural event in Jerusalem – in many of them my poster is lurking, like so:
Democrats Abroad-Israel's inaugural event, Jerusalem, Israel, 2009-01-20

And last, this is my Hebrew Obama poster as it briefly appeared on one of my favorite shows, The Colbert Report, on its Un-American News segment – President Obama Edition:
A frame from The Colbert Report, 2009-01-22
The yellow circle was added by me.

Where in Israel Can I Celebrate Obama’s Inauguration?

In the spirit of true bipartisanship, Democrats Abroad-Israel through the tireless efforts of its Jerusalem branch, is hosting an Inaugural Event.

What: Obama’s Presidential Inauguration Event
When: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 – doors open at 5:30pm IST, actual inauguration ceremony and address will be viewed live on screen at 7pm IST
Where: Zollis Pub, 5 Rivlin Street, Nahalat Shiva, Jerusalem, Israel.
Who: Democrats, Republicans, Independents and their friends
How much: NIS 65 per person. Entrance fee includes Kosher dinner and beverage, snacks, music and lots of fun!
Why: Because we needed a Mentch in the White House and tomorrow we will have one.

Efrat from DA-Israel just informed me that it is getting more and more likely that they will reach their capacity, so RSVP now by email or take your chances and just show up.

Hebrew Obama Poster: CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN | frgdr.com

Hebrew Obama Poster: YES OUI KEN | frgdr.com

Hebrew Obama Poster: YES OUI KEN | frgdr.com

Hagigit Ends the Summer with A Blast at the Jerusalem Theatre

[singlepic id=95 w=300 h=400 float=right]Hagigit, the artists collective I co-founded, was invited to participate in the End of Summer events by the Jerusalem Theatre. We spent the last few weeks in preparation for the three day event, our biggest event to date both logistically and in terms of crowd participation. We set up our famous outdoors studio, packed it with theatre-related props, set up a work station consisting of 6 laptop computers, 2 photo printers, a wireless router, and one strategically placed electric fan.

The whole shebang worked like so: people could play dress up and don outrageous costumes, three Hagigit members staged the studio scenes and photographed them, another member was in charge of downloading the photos and distributing them using our wireless network. Most of the photos were instantly printed by another member, and a few were manipulated using Photoshop by two other Hagigit members.
Myself? I was in charge of hooking up to the jumbotron, displaying the photos taken and playing the Photoshop screen-captures, to the amusement of the crowd.

Here is a short movie consisting of photos taken at the studio:

And here is an example of the sort of Photoshop work that was done in real time, played here at 8 times the original speed:

…oh, and we got mentioned here and here.

Joy Cometh in the Morning, Delivered By the Paperboy

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Yesterday, in front of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Obama delivered an historic speech. Instead of the usual speech that every other politician gives, which basically show affection without backing it up with any specific commitments (‘we stand with Israel… Israel is strong… I cried at Yad Vashem… Bla bla bla…‘) – instead of that, Obama made elaborate and unprecedented commitments including:

  • keeping US aid at 30 billion dollars over the next decade
  • unequivocal commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon
  • rejection of the Palestinian right of return
  • Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – undivided

Now that Baruch Obama is the presumptive Democratic nominee, do yourself a favor and invest 35 minutes of your time to listen to one whole speech by the senator. Each day I watch in dismay how the TV channels summarize a speech to a 30 seconds sound bite, and while each day it is a different speech, the sound bites are almost the same: Change-change-change, Hope-hope-hope, Yes we can. People who say Obama has nothing but slogans to offer – this is for you:


Full transcript, below the fold:
Continue reading Joy Cometh in the Morning, Delivered By the Paperboy

Monopoly Game Manufacturer to End a Century Old Conflict

A month ago, I updated my readers on Hasbro’s worldwide vote to find the 22 greatest cities for the new world edition of the Monopoly board game. On my post titled ‘Up and Answer, Jewish Yeoman – Vote It Joyfully Aloud!‘ I jokingly called upon every right-wing nutter to defend Jerusalem, ‘eternal capital city of the Jewish people’, by voting for it on the Monopoly website.

Well, it turns out the joke was on me and my people:
Hasbro decided that the quickest way to end the Arab-Israeli conflict is to change the status of Jerusalem from the capital of Israel to an undefined territory, belonging to no man or nation. Although I probably should have foreseen that old shtick making a comeback, I did not – and so you will have to believe my word that the first version of the website listed ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ in one of the rankings.
Following are screenshots of the second and third versions:

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As you can clearly see, on the second version every world city is naturally located within a country, except for Jerusalem. Smart way to end the conflict, right?
After the Israeli Embassy protested Hasbro’s doing (no, I am not kidding), the company decided to put on their smarty-pants and remove all the countries. Yes folks, just like every fourth Eurovision Song Contest and every second Olympic Games event, someone always wants to show preemptive kindness on the official website, so that the people who tend to get mad – won’t. Even as we speak, Hasbro is removing additional connections between cities of the world and their corresponding countries:
Can you find which words are missing from one of these four Monopoly city guides? (yellow highlight mine)

[singlepic id=23 w=235 h=500 float=center] [singlepic id=25 w=235 h=500 float=center]
[singlepic id=26 w=235 h=500 float=center] [singlepic id=24 w=235 h=500 float=center]

Notes Following the Cancelled Football Match Tonight At Teddy Stadium

I was flipping through the channels when I saw firefighters all geared up in a live broadcast on Israel’s Channel 10. As an Israeli, my first thought was that something bad happened. It turns out that there was a power outage at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, and the football match between Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Haifa could not continue.

I was glued to the television set, watching in disbelief the colossal waste of airtime consisting of numerous interviews with the who’s who of football management. Apparently there are many ways to say ‘I have no earthly idea’ without using these specific words.

Now, I get watching sport events on TV, okay, I get it. I even did it a couple of times with my dad, pistachio scarfing and all. What I don’t get is watching the sports talk shows after the game, analyzing every move for an additional 90 minutes. What I don’t get is reading the daily sports section, further dissecting the game.

What I don’t get is watching a football match for 7 minutes and then watching 40 minutes of live reports from the generator room, with an additional 10 minutes recap later on on the nightly news.

For your viewing pleasure, here are the last minutes of the live broadcast – watch as much as you can bear: