Hi, my name is Christina

July 2, 2010 - 10:53 AM by · 4 Comments
Filed under: A New Reality, General, health, Israeliness, Life, Music, Pop Culture 

Aguilera before eye infection set in

This may be an urban legend, but stranger things have been known to take place in Israel.

According to a report in Yediot Aharonot, one day this week in Tel Aviv, a young, blonde woman was led into a health clinic by two large escorts, appearing to be bodyguards of some sort.

Speaking in English, the woman told the doctor that she had a very bad eye infection and could barely see. The situation was made more urgent when she told the MD that she needed to recover immediately because she was performing at a private function that night.

When the doctor asked to see some ID, one of the assistants handed him the woman’s US passport – opening it up, he saw her name – Christina Aguilera.

The doctor provided her with a remedy, and the bodyguards escorted Christina out of the store. When asked later by Yediot, he said that he was sure it was the real Aguilera and not an imposter.

However, a quick survey of music biz insiders by Yediot came up empty-handed, regarding knowledge of any hottite-tottie party/performance that was taking place with a budget that would enable Aguilera to parachute in. But they might not know everyone.

There have been events in the past, usually hosted by Russian oligarchs, who have brought in top talent from the US. So the idea of Aguilera showing up unannounced in Tel Aviv isn’t so far fetched. Here’s hoping that the eye remedy worked and that Christina worked her stuff for some lucky party-goers this week.

A porcupine tree grows in Tel Aviv

July 1, 2010 - 4:12 PM by · 1 Comment
Filed under: A New Reality, coexistence, General, Israeliness, Life, Music, Pop Culture 

Steven Wilson, foreground, with Aviv Gefen - two lovers of Tel Aviv.

It’s not often that a pretty well-known rock star – or even a marginally well-known one – adopts Tel Aviv as his home away from home.

But that’s what Steven Wilson, the talented founder and front man for British progressive rockers Porcupine Tree has been doing the last few years.

Ever since the guitarist/songwriter forged a friendship with Israeli icon Aviv Gefen and began early last decade collaborating with him on the musical project Blackfield, Wilson began spending more time in Israel. In 2006, he even rented an apartment in Tel Aviv and took up residence, along with an Israeli girlfriend.

With a million projects between Porcupine Tree albums and tours, Blackfield and countless other collaborations, Wilson hasn’t spent much time here the last couple years, but is returning next week with Porcupine Tree for their first show here since 2001.

Speaking to him last week, Wilson told me what he loved about the country.

“To me, Israel is almost the antithesis of what I had grown up with. Being English, we’re polite and reserved, we don’t express our opinions, we’re very private people. Plus the weather is shit, and I’ve never been a big fan of English women. In Israel, I found it all opposite. It’s friendly, there are beautiful women,” said Wilson.

“There was a fire missing from my personality, an element missing, and when I started to spend more time in Israel, I became more forthright, more passionate and opinionated – in a good way and in a bad way. I think I was able to complete my personality by finding its Israeli side.”

Wilson said that once things calm down for him professionally, he plans on coming back to Tel Aviv for another extended stay, and he’s already at work with Gefen on another Blackfield album. Sounds like he deserves the keys to the city.

White Nights

Bialik House lit up on one White Night

Get ready for another Tel Aviv White Night this coming Thursday, July 1. These all-activities, all-night events are a great opportunity to hear free music, take advantage of restaurant deals, clubs, walking tours, theater, and even designer sales. The idea behind White Night, or Layla Lavan in Hebrew, is to commemorate Tel Aviv’s being chosen as a UNESCO site in 2003 for its profusion of ‘white’ Bauhaus buildings. And so, on the anniversary of that great day, Tel Aviv celebrates each year.

Among the events on Thursday night, consider these: A Mondial soccer event on Rothschild Blvd; Gidi Gov performance, Rami Fortis performing in Yaffo, beach parties, midnight movies at the TA Cinemateque, flamenco fusion at Suzanne Dellal, a midnight concert of the Israel Opera, learning together in the Great Synagogue, Yehudit Ravitz at Zappa, dancing on the beach, and so on and so on. Newspaper Yediot Achronot also selected a few, and they offer some more information in English.

Among my personal emails are White Night notices for two designer sales, including one at Delicatessen (4 Barzilay Street), a great boutique in Gan Hachashmal, where the neighborhood will also be hosting free theater, events at the local bars and block parties. And Delicatessen is offering 10% off on all its inventory.

Studio Blush (also in Gan Hachashmal, 2 Levontin), is telling its customers that it will have all sorts of surprises, including shoes by Shoemaker, accessories from Shelly Dahari, okapi bags and a few other choice items.

So whether you want to shop, bop, listen or do a combination thereof, Thursday night’s ‘layla lavan’ is the destination for you.

Fan me

June 27, 2010 - 2:53 PM by · 9 Comments
Filed under: Art, Business, design, General 

Here’s a great new Israeli-designed item for the incredibly hot days that are rolling over the Israeli plains these days. Fancy Hand Fans are wood-and-cotton hand fans — no batteries necessary — for keeping cool, particularly on the urban sidewalks of various Israeli cities (read Tel Aviv).

Created by a mother-daughter pair, Sharon Jerushalmy and her mom, they were sitting in a Tel Aviv coffee shop, perspiring presumably, when they came up with the idea of reviving the hand fan as an every day fashion accessory.

Yeah, it’s a throwback to consider holding a fan, but it’s much more elegant than sweating or cooling yourself off with a handheld fan. And each fan comes with a brochure illustrating ‘the language of the fan’, telling you how to signal someone that you want them to call you, kiss you, buy you a drink or come over and talk to you.

As for the fans themselves, they come in several distinctive designs, including pink peace signs and brown and pink polka-dots to denim zippers, green jungle leaves and black and white graffiti, and the packaging is what you’d expect, as each fan comes in an organza bag with its own ‘fan language’ brochure.

Go for it. Check out the list of stores — in Tel Aviv — that are selling Fancy Hand Fans…maybe they’ll come to Jerusalem or Haifa soon.

Free hugs in Tel Aviv

June 24, 2010 - 10:35 AM by · 3 Comments
Filed under: A New Reality, coexistence, General, Israeliness, Life, Pop Culture 

Can you hug someone who’s really prickly on the outside?

That question will be answered on July 8th when Israel joins the international ‘free hug’ phenomenon.

In case you’re not familiar with the concept, the Free Hug movement was launched in Australia in 2004 by a mysterious figure named Juan Mann, and basically involves loving individuals who offer hugs to strangers in public places.

According to Wikipedia, the campaign became famous internationally in 2006 as the result of a music video on YouTube by the Australian band Sick Puppies, which is one of the most popular on the site, having been viewed over 50,000,000 times. The hugs are meant to be random acts of kindness – selfless acts performed just to make others feel better, and recent years have seen massive hug-ins in most major cities around the world (except perhaps for Teheran.)

Now, according to Yediot Aharonot, a group of students, led by recent US immigrant, and with the backing of the Foreign Ministry, are going to show their love to Israelis. They’ll be gathering on Tel Aviv’s promenade on July 8 and offer every passerby a warm hug.

“I am a yoga teacher and I thought it would be nice to give people something positive straight from the heart,” Maya Politi told Yediot. “I’m thinking about a meaningful hug. Not just a second-long hug, but a warm hug that will last a few moments.”

The Foreign Ministry will be filming the hug-in for a YouTube extravaganza that will show that we are indeed, a kind and gentle people. Just watch out for those prickles.

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