Tel Aviv Diary May 9, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - May 9-13, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 9, 2006

Don't ask. I am slowly becoming one of the victims of the strange heavy air of this strange season, and together with the mosquitos, and the tension of the nuclear threats bandied about, being brought to my knees. So that even though I found Shimon Peres' explanation about how threats might backfire quite logical and restrained, i got into bed and pulled the covers over my head.

It might also have something to do with the cupboard that is now being installed in our bedroom. Three carpenters, expected at 8, arrived at 10:30. How long will it take? An hour and a half. I am in a rush. An hour and a half. At 11:00 I ask again. An hour and a half. But they make it eventually, and I am only a little late for work and everyone is happy.

When Marjorie Perloff was here, she had all kinds of delays in security getting out. Her computer didn't have a relay because she had used the one at the hotel, and it roused suspicion. By the time she got the computer back it was all screwed up and she had to spend hundreds of dollars fixing it. With typical Perloff aplomb she laughed the whole thing off as soon as the initial nervousness and anger was over. Aissa Deebi had a worse experience - with an erased hard disk. I probably would have reacted more like Aissa. But then I might have remembered what Yonatan always says: Don't attribute evil when stupidity is the more likely cause.

May 10, 2006

Lior Ben Bassat's necklace finally got to me. It might have been a year since I passed his almost hidden jewelry store but as soon as I did I went in, and fell in love again. So now I have a stunning blue bead and gold necklace i really don't need. But love.

May 11, 2006

and wore already.

I have been reading about Lisa's experiences with bloggers and the concept of blogging as a forum for transcending boundaries really intrigues me. She of course actually lives the kind of life that transcends boundaries any way, so when she says the media is doing a rotten job of transmitting the facts, and that bloggers of Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, Egyptian, Lebanese and Saudi countries are writing and talking to and about each other and, linking to one another, she knows how to compare what is happening on line with what is happening in meetings between these people, and what the media says - or more accurately - doesn't say - about it. Am I not making sense? I'm tired. Go read her.

Actually I'm tired because we had a rehearsal today as long (as they say in Hebrew) as the exile of the Jews from the promised land (it's only one word in Hebrew). But at least now I know that the show we're doing for the festival will be really really good. And if it doesn't break all the barriers I was aiming for, it WILL break some.

TO ALL MY FRIENDS FOR WHOM I HAVE DISAPPEARED: forgive me. i will come back to life on may 30th. Even if we have a hundred shows after then, this one has been the hardest to get off the ground, and I need to focus on that and doing my job right as a teacher and not being a total failure as a parent and spouse.

May 11, 2006

"We were little kids and that was long ago, me and Simone and Little Moise." The refrain of a song that Yossi Banai used to sing about his childhood in Jerusalem. Singer, songwriter, actor, comedian, he passed away today, and I will never again look up at his apartment as I drive down Chen Boulevard, wondering whether he gets any privacy in such a central neighborhood. (Remember that comedy routine he had with Rivka Michaeli about the crank calls he gets from fans? He answers the phone. Rivka asks, "Is this Yossi Banai?" He answers yes and she breaks out into wild giggles and hangs up. The phone rings again. "Is this Yossi Banai?" He answers yes and she breaks out into wild giggles and hangs up. By the third time, he answers with a barrage of curses, and the imperious voice on the other end asks, "Yossi? This is your mother speaking!" This is a line we use all the time whenever we make fake crank calls to each other.) Banai is so much an integrated part of our culture, it is impossible to imagine a society without him. "A man sings a single song his whole life long," he once said in an interview, "with different words, but it's the same song."

My back is in such a state - either the masseur made it worse or i'm just in need of Ezi's grandmother's cures. Now she would go to Hamat Hagader. Of course it wasn't easy. She had to take the diligance to jaffa and grab the boat for Haifa where she would get the Mecca Express train for Tzemach and from there the ferry to Hamat. A two-day trip. But then two weeks of the waters...

May 12, 2006

Since Friday is chore day, trying to get things done before everything closes, nothing much happens. I was wandering through Ace, waiting for Ezi to decide on which outlets to buy, and found myself singing a song of Yossi Banai. I caught myself and shut up, but after a few seconds heard someone else in the next aisle humming the same song. It was not a store I felt at home in, and a particularly slovenly branch, and that made it even more surprising when yet a third person had the same tune on his lips.

May 13, 2006

Looking for another picture of Oren that came out in yesterday's "Ha'ir" (The City - tel aviv), I discovered that it isn't on line. Or if it is, it's hiding. This is bad - this week's picture is so much better than last week. But it's not here so that's that.

I am watching Arabvision 2006 on tv. It's a local production and I didn't see it from the beginning so i don't know where it takes place, but I really like the dancers - especially when they are dancing middle-east style. The attempt at ballet doesn't work as well, but the cultural mix is brave. This seems a very unique experience in general, a production that could only occur here. The winner gets to go to the international competition in Morocco. Imagine how complex this situation is - the producer and I think director is Israeli, the production is Israeli, and the winner 'represents' Israel. Now these talented singers must realize this is the chance of a lifetime for their careers, but there must be a problem with the politics.

Like with the Muslim beauty queen this year who had to wear a star of david for a commercial.

Israel Festival - May 29, 2006 - Love Soup -

Even though I might have told you otherwise, this is a one-time event, so if you're thinking of ordering, it would be a good idea to order in advance.

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