Tel Aviv Diary - February 12, 2010 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - February 12-16, 2010 Karen Alkalay-Gut

February 12, 2010

I wanted to link to Ha'aretz's piece by Sayyed Kashua because when I read the print edition, it seemed as important as anything else in the paper. He wrote an apparently domestic piece about his taking off from work to write at home, and finding a block in the sink, but as it turns out, he's frustrated about all the racial blocks to the production of his tv show. Why isn't it online? Is that another block? Everything else in the magazine is there. Here's a relatively recent piece on Kashua in the Times

February 14, 2010

Right. Who ever celebrates Valentine's Day in Israel except for restaurants and underwear shops? I actually bought Ezi a bouquet of vegetables, but that was it. We've got Tu'B'Av for a love day, which is more of a day of first love, and I don't think we need a kind of confirmation of adoration. If we do some kind of reaffirmation of vows it would probably be something like Tuvya's "Do I What?" to the question of 'do you love me?' And i like it that way

February 15, 2010

As someone who was first overwhelmed by the pieces of film, "Hitler Builds a City for the Jews," which was made by Thereisenstat inmate, the director Kurt Gerron, I read about Yael Herpolski's "A Film Unfinished" with a kind of glee. For while Gerron was blamed for "collaborating" with his jailers to make an image of a terrible concentration camp into a paradise, I sympathized with the desire of a film-maker to make a heaven from hell in celluloid that would perhaps create it in reality. Once it was filmed, I thought, there would be no way in which the contrast between the film and the camp would be maintained. But the discrepancy was solved in an antithetical way - Gerron and all the many participants in faking reality were erased, making the film the only evidence. Although i haven't seen "A Film Unfinished" as yet, the concept here is antithetical. It is an attempt to return the staged documentary on the Warsaw ghetto to its reality by interviewing participants, cameramen, etc. returning that famous documentary film, excerpted all the time to prove the condition of the ghetto, to fiction.

It is not that I do not approve of documentaries - but that they are only as good as the research done elsewhere by the filmmakers and the audience. When autobiography becomes propaganda it's past postmodernism.

Ever danced at a Kurdish wedding? Well about fifteen years ago I tried, but it was so complicated I couldn't get the steps right and I kept screwing up the circle. Tonight I got to go to the bar mitzvah of the first offspring of this wedding and I was just as excited and just a bit better. There is no celebratory dancing like it.

February 16, 2010

This little piggie's gone to market. All right it was only for spices and beans, but there is no place like the shuk hacarmel. Not so much as a place to sightsee, but to find out what's really going on, what is fresh in Tel Aviv. This time, though, I wasn't alone, so there were no intimate conversations, no jokes and winks, no ironic comments. It occurred to me that if I were a tourist, I would not be very excited about visiting the market, except perhaps as a 'colorful' place. It's true in general for Tel Aviv - it's not only about knowing where to go, it's about knowing how to go there, how to get in to where you visit.

It was appropriate that Lucille Clifton died on Valentine's Day, a woman full of complex and intelligent love. But the world is a little less at her death and I will miss anticipating new poems from her that will teach me how to cope with each new stage of life. I know that this has nothing to do with Tel Aviv, but everything to do with me.

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