+972 Magazine » Ori J. Lenkinski http://972mag.com Independent commentary and news from Israel & Palestine Mon, 26 Jan 2015 07:35:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8 No Give Backs! Facing down the Tel Aviv municipality http://972mag.com/no-give-backs-facing-down-the-tel-aviv-municipality/63540/ http://972mag.com/no-give-backs-facing-down-the-tel-aviv-municipality/63540/#comments Tue, 08 Jan 2013 15:59:16 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=63540 Three weeks ago, I received one of those hated bill-looking envelopes from the Tel Aviv municipality. It was not time for our hated Arnona bill to arrive, so I was skeptical about what they could possibly want from me. Enclosed were a letter and a bill for over 1,000 shekels. I found this strange.

The letter, which I had to read about twelve times to understand, informed me that I owed the municipality this money to pay back a discount I received four years ago. As an immigrant to the country, newcomers are granted a whole cushy bunch of benefits. One of these is a significant discount in municipal tax, a fee I still find baffling. The conditions I received when I arrived in 2008 stated that I had up to two years to request this discount. So, like a good girl I marched into the Tel Aviv municipal offices in 2009 with all of my documents in hand. My status, as is written clearly in all of my documents, is that of an immigrating citizen (Ezrach Oleh). Because I was born to an Israeli parent but never lived in Israel, I wasn’t considered a regular new immigrant (Oleh Chadash), rather I was given this special title. I was told that I would be treated exactly the same as new immigrants because I had never lived in the country before. On the website of the Ministry of the Interior there is a little blurb that says that these two statuses are identical in the eyes of the government.

On the day I arrived to request my discount, the office was particularly crowded. I hunkered down for a long wait and was pleasantly surprised when my number was called after only a few minutes. The representative of the municipality looked over my documents, photocopied them, asked me where I was from and quickly stamped a few papers. He smiled, handed me back my papers and said that everything was in order. From that point on, for twelve months, my roommate and I received the discount as promised.

The nasty letter attached to the horrifying bill stated that this exchange was “a mistake”. In 2011, a new law was passed making people with my status officially entitled to the discount, it said. This, in the eyes of the municipality, means that I was not entitled in 2009. Therefore, they are demanding the money in return and have threatened to freeze the sum in my bank account if I do not pay within three weeks.

“We don’t grant these discounts retroactively,” is what I was told when I called to clarify. They do, however, take them away retroactively.

I have been back and forth to the office several times. Each time I am told something different. Once, I was sent home to fax a letter protesting the charge to the office. Then, I was told that the only way to handle it was to show up and “stand my ground.” That was what one woman called Mor told me to do. “Show up and don’t leave until you get what you need,” she said. I found it shocking that making a scene was the official recommendation of a body dedicated to serving the public.

“It’s a shame you’re taking all of this so hard. Don’t sweat the small stuff,” said another municipal representative.

What I haven’t been able to find is where it says that I wasn’t entitled to this discount. “Maybe the person who gave you the discount thought you were a new immigrant,” said that same representative. “Maybe he didn’t look at your documents very closely. In any case, you have to pay it.”

First of all, the fact that the municipality says that my being granted this discount was a mistake does not mean that it’s true. Second, last time I checked, people who make mistakes have to pay for them. In my eyes, even if this discount was a mistake, the municipality has no place coming back to me for the money after all these years.

“I’m sorry,” said the last woman I spoke to. “Here, you see, I’m taking responsibility. Now, would you like to give me your credit card number?”

If anyone out there has been through a similar tackle or has any advice about how to proceed, I’m all ears.

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‘Us’, ‘them’ and the disconnect between Israelis and Gazans http://972mag.com/us-them-and-the-disconnect-between-israelis-and-gazans/60163/ http://972mag.com/us-them-and-the-disconnect-between-israelis-and-gazans/60163/#comments Sun, 18 Nov 2012 16:12:15 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=60163 For the last five days, Gaza has come up in just about every conversation, Facebook status and thought I have encountered. Today, as the fourth daily siren rang out in Tel Aviv, the response of locals seemed much more fluid and far less fear-ridden than that of Thursday’s unexpected alarm. Neighbors ushered each other towards  basements and shelters, wondering aloud about how long it would be before the tell tale “boom” would sound.

As a novice to situations such as these, I am filled with a wash of contradictory emotions.

I feel frightened, not so much by the actual physical presence of danger but by the panicky roil that grips me whenever I think about the sirens. Having spent most of my life far away from the Middle East, the possibility of of these events seemed as far away as an alien invasion.

While I do not generally like to think about sides, these past few days, as one would expect in times of conflict, seemed to sharpen a sense of us versus them. Who that “us” is and who the “them” are are questions that I can’t seem to get a handle on.

At the same time, I am filled with curiosity about life in Gaza. I have never been to Gaza myself and have little clarity about what the place looks, smells and feels like. Obviously, the gaping disconnect between Israelis and Palestinians only contributes to the “us” and “them” notion that keeps the situation rooted in the trenches.

This video by Suroosh Alvi, posted in July by Vice News, is aimed at giving a sense of what life is like under Hamas rule in Gaza. On the way, it also provides images of daily life in the strip.

Click here for more +972 coverage on the Israel-Gaza conflict.

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Not so friendly skies: The fall of in-flight courtesy http://972mag.com/not-so-friendly-skies-the-fall-of-in-flight-courtesy/57903/ http://972mag.com/not-so-friendly-skies-the-fall-of-in-flight-courtesy/57903/#comments Wed, 17 Oct 2012 17:29:31 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=57903 It has always been my understanding that competition forces companies to try harder, offer better services and be more creative. In many cases, competition brings prices down. However, in the case of air travel, it seems quite the opposite. The more I travel, the less I seem to be offered on board. So we gave up food, checking bags, free booze on international flights, but have we also given up common courtesy?

Last week, I returned to Israel on a United Airlines flight from Newark. The plane was almost entirely full, with passengers clambering to find spots for their precious carry-ons in the overheard compartments. For the most part, the flight passed without incident. I was served a strange dinner-like substance and slept until just before the beginning of the descent.

As I woke up, an announcement requesting of passengers to return to their seats was being played. “Passengers will be required to remain in their seats until we have reached the gate,” said the voice. This is one of the perks of flying into Israeli air space, being forced to frantically run to the bathroom a full hour before landing.

At this point, I began to feel ill. As I reached for the barf bag, I knew it was already a bit too late. So, for the first time in my traveling life, I made use of the little paper sac usually found between the Duty Free and Atmosphere magazines. At that point, I pressed the call button.

For over twenty minutes, I sat and watched as flight crew members walked back and forth on the other side of the cabin. No one came to my side of the plane. Then, a passing flight attendant walked by me. I stopped her and before I could say anything, she disgustedly looked at the barf bag and said, “I can’t take that. You’re going to have to put that in the lav yourself.”

I said, “What am I supposed to do? I can’t get up.”

She again glanced at the bag and said, “Well, I can’t take it. That’s not my job.”

Then she walked away and came back with a big plastic bag. She quickly tossed it in my lap and continued on.

I was left with a large plastic bag, inside which I placed the soiled paper bag, stuck in my seat feeling ill. I should mention that I am visibly pregnant.

I left the call button on for the remaining thirty minutes of the flight. At no point did any cabin crewmember return to see why I was requesting assistance or to ask if I needed anything. At the end of the flight, I ran to the washroom to dispose of the bag and get myself together. It took about thirty, nauseous, sickening minutes to get back to my seat from the washroom and deplane.

From the airport, I made my way to the emergency room, where I was treated for severe dehydration.

The next day, having thought over the flight experience, I lodged a complaint online at the United Customer Care interface. I received an automated response stating that someone would contact me at the earliest convenience to follow up.

I went ahead and called United to make sure the complaint would not be lost in the clutter of America’s largest commercial airline. This was the beginning of another humiliating and infuriating journey.

I was told that Customer Care did not use telephones. The only way they communicate is via email. I requested to speak with a supervisor. She assured me that there were no telephones in the Customer Care department.

Thanks to the internet, we were able to find a direct line to the Executive Customer Care. After holding for forty minutes, a woman answered the phone. I told her what had happened with the previous two United representatives and how frustrated I was at the difficulty I had encountered in attempting to file a complaint. She told me that it must have been my fault for not explaining myself clearly to the others. Then she said we should focus on the content of my complaint.

After about twenty minutes on the phone, I heard the following sentences,

“Did you ask for water? If not, how could you expect her to bring it to you?”

“Your expectations were obviously off. The flight attendant did everything she could have.”

“Pregnant women experience these kinds of things all the time, get used to it.”

She then gave me the number of the complaint she had filed. I asked what I should do with this number and she said, “nothing. The number won’t do anything for you. It is only for you to feel like you’ve done something.”

When I asked what the good of that would be she said, “my patience is running very thin with you. You are rude, loud and disrespectful and I am about to hang up the phone.”

I realize that perhaps I had expected too much when I honestly believed I would receive a sincere apology from United. But to be convinced that I was in the wrong by a nasty voice over the phone was too much to handle.

Update, October 18: After days of futile phone calls and filling out unanswered online forms, I decided to post my experience with United here. Within hours of publishing, I received the following response. I must note that the voucher they have extended my way will only insure that I fly with United in the future, and that I will pay them more money, as $250 won’t buy a flight to anywhere from Tel Aviv.

Dear Mrs. Lenkinski,

The Executives Office of United Airlines received an email from our Social Media Team in regards to your recent travel plans, I was asked to contact you on behalf of Corporate Customer Care. I would like to sincerely apologize for the negative impression this situation may have created for you. It is certainly disconcerting to read your comments regarding the experience, and it is unfortunate that you were left with a depreciated opinion of United Airlines.  We strive to have the highest level of professionalism exemplified through our services.

Mrs. Lenkinski, it is apparent our service has not met your expectations, and for that, I sincerely apologize. The situations you described are not reflective of our commitment to providing our customers with the highest level of service, and I apologize for the negative impression our representatives created.  We intend to provide a quality experience, tailored to meet the individual needs of each of our passengers.  Based on your comments we did not meet our goal or your expectations.  I am sharing your comments in detail with our senior management for review and internal action, as we continue our efforts to improve upon the service you can expect to receive.

As a tangible means of acknowledging your disappointment, I have sent via a separate email an Electronic Travel Certificate in the amount of $250.00 for your use on a future trip. This certificate is valid for one year from the date of issue.

Contrary to the impression that we have left with you, we value your business and we look forward to the opportunity to regain your confidence in our service

Kind Regards,

Shaunte’ Baker- Corporate Customer Care

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The next step in the fight for social justice: Jumping off Dizengoff Center http://972mag.com/the-next-step-in-the-fight-for-social-justice-jumping-off-dizengoff-center/56112/ http://972mag.com/the-next-step-in-the-fight-for-social-justice-jumping-off-dizengoff-center/56112/#comments Wed, 19 Sep 2012 16:43:58 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=56112 On my walk home from work this afternoon, I happened to pass by Dizengoff Center. There was a mass of people, which steadily grew during the time I spent watching, as police officers attempted to calm the scene. Eight young people stood, as if in some kind of eerie performance, on the bridge connected the two concrete buildings of the shopping mall. They had apparently all written farewell letters, demanding social justice and are currently threatening to jump to their deaths. All traffic was quickly stopped by passersby, and concurrently by police forces. Ambulances swiftly drove in with stretchers, ready to carry off any potential jumpers.

Demonstrators threatening to jump off of Dizengoff Center

The group of spectators gathering was busy asking one another if they thought anyone would actually take the leap. Though only two stories off the ground, the fall would no doubt cause serious damage. When I walked away, all of them had yet to jump.

And thus, the fight for social justice in Israel rages on.

At 8 P.M. this evening, Haaretz reported that the demonstrators had abandoned their posts at Dizengoff Center. As of right now, there are no injuries reported.

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Snapshot: The looming threat of war in the eyes of a Canadian http://972mag.com/snapshot-the-looming-threat-of-war-in-the-eyes-of-a-canadian/54766/ http://972mag.com/snapshot-the-looming-threat-of-war-in-the-eyes-of-a-canadian/54766/#comments Wed, 29 Aug 2012 09:25:18 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=54766 By A. Daniel Roth

While I was visiting Canada this summer a postcard arrived to my home in Israel. It was official looking and it explained how to procure my gas mask from the post office. The window of opportunity to do this came and went while I was abroad. In the end, I had to make a special order.

Canadian immigrants arriving in Israel (photo: A. Daniel Roth)

A major reason that I decided to move to Israel last November was to be a part of a movement that works toward justice and peace over here through anti-racist education and organizing with activists from different communities. I also decided to move to Israel because I like the culture of “today” that exists here. I find that I thrive on the urgency of life.

Somewhere in the back of everyone’s minds is the looming potential of war, other forms of violence, and these days we even have to be on the look out for racially motivated street lynches in city centers. Stores here require that you open your bags upon entry in order to check for weapons, racism turns to mob violence easily in my neighbourhood, and the weight of potential violence underlies much of life in Tel Aviv. About an hour from where I live Molotov cocktails are thrown at cabs carrying families, military checkpoints are regular, and gated communities with armed guards are the norm.

The spectre of violence is a part of everyday life here. Palestinians, Jews, and everyone else in this place experience it on a regular basis, but the past few months of speculation about war between Israel and Iran have changed the norm, at least for me. Maybe it’s because I am Canadian. At first I didn’t think much of it. Many have agreed that “wolf” has been cried too often over the last ten years to believe any talk of war with Iran. Rather, war will either come, or not. Only Bibi knows what Bibi is thinking, but recently friends began talking about war with Iran as if it was a probability. It seemed that suddenly everyone knew what Bibi was thinking.

Dinner outings and bar nights in Israel are routinely political roundtable forums. The past few weeks have been different. I have learned how gas masks are given out, and the fact that most people have no idea where the nearest bomb shelters are. I have learned that hipsters in Tel Aviv and Ramallah, and religious Jews and Palestinians in Jerusalem all fear war in the same way. No matter who I have spoken to, everyone has the same basic fears. The same nervous smile comes across everyone’s face and the same shrug is motioned. The same relief is felt that none of us know, while the same heavy weight is carried as we go about our day to day.

As a Canadian who grew up over the last few decades in Toronto, I haven’t ever experienced this kind of feeling of doomsday clock. Every war I have witnessed has been on TV. Two days ago there was a crashing noise outside my apartment. As I heard it, I remember thinking to myself: This is it. I find it hard to believe that any human with a television, radio, or internet connection is not feeling this way, but I also know that as a Canadian there is an emotional disconnectedness from the very human emotions that come with this kind of violence on the horizon.

It may be that all this talk of war is just a ploy to keep our focus off the terrible injustices of the occupation. It may be that Iran’s nuclear capabilities are a threat to world peace. It may be that Bibi mistakenly believes that he is Churchill reborn. I don’t know.
I do know, however, that it is important for people who are not here to be told about the feeling of disempowerment that exists in this situation. All of the fear and all of the unfounded speculation is rooted in our inability to control what happens next. It is the same deep sense of powerlessness that exists here with regard to the occupation and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We can shout in the streets and spread memes on facebook, but we don’t get to choose how this goes down. It is a scary feeling.

A. Daniel Roth was born and raised in Toronto and is currently a Tel Aviv-based writer, photographer and educator. His photography and writing can be found at allthesedays.org

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Israeli choreographers call for strike http://972mag.com/israeli-choreographers-call-for-strike/50791/ http://972mag.com/israeli-choreographers-call-for-strike/50791/#comments Thu, 12 Jul 2012 08:55:22 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=50791 This morning, I saw this statement as the opening log in a new group on Facebook called The Choreographers’ Strike.

“Why the hell do we put up with it?

Dance theaters and City municipalities love having festivals of all kinds. It shows how cultural the city is or how central the theater is. It generates economy for the businesses around the theaters creates income for the theaters themselves. The technicians and light designers get paid. And for the past few years even dancers have started earning a meager living somehow.

All these festivals fall directly on the private shoulders of the choreographers. We not only work for free during the artistic process, we also constantly pay out of our own pockets for the losses of putting on a show. Losses that are too much for an individual to bear. Losses which should be finances by either the ministry of culture, or by municipalities or by the theaters themselves.

But since we are each fighting for recognition and since the only way to succeed is to put on as many shows as we can (so that we MIGHT be considered for support), we give in and as individuals – as private citizens we, the choreographers PAY OUT OF OUR OWN POCKETS for the existence of our artistic scene.


A business can afford to go bankrupt. A municipality can afford to be in deficit and it is in the interest of the ministry of culture to culture to export and therefore claim as “Israeli Dance/Performance”.

We are not LTD businesses! (At least most of us). We cannot allow ourselves as private citizens to pay for the upkeep of this artistic scene!

I call for us to organize a strike! See how the theaters like it, when no one is willing to put on a show! See how the festivals like it when no one is willing to create! See how city municipalities like it when they cannot boast the existence of a Tel Aviv dance scene! Or see how the ministry of culture likes it when they have no “Israeli dance” to be proud of or export!

Let’s think of when and how we can go on strike most effectively!


As the day progresses, more and more messages are added to the list of gripes. Well-known choreographers have chipped in about their own struggles to make ends meet. The fact of the matter is that producing a dance performance is a sure way to lose money. With theater rentals going through the roof and technicians’ fees to pay, most choreographers go into debt in order to have their work shown.

There have been talks about this kind of strike for years. Maybe this will get the ball rolling…



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Experimental dance on display at 13th annual Intimadance Festival http://972mag.com/experimental-dance-on-display-at-13th-annual-intimadance-festival/50080/ http://972mag.com/experimental-dance-on-display-at-13th-annual-intimadance-festival/50080/#comments Thu, 05 Jul 2012 12:12:35 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=50080 Tonight (Thursday), the 13th annual Intimadance Festival will open at Tmuna Theater in south Tel Aviv. The program includes premiers by the local fringe elite and offers a good forecast of what’s to come in Israeli dance. Curated by Nava Zuckerman and Irad Mazliach, the festival invited choreographers to consider the theme In Between Memory and Forgetfulness during their creative processes.

I’m really excited about this festival. The local dance market becomes more varied every year. We now have festivals like Madridanza at the Suzanne Dellal Center for Flamenco fans and Hot Dance, which presents Indian, African and Irish dance as well as contemporary performance. While all of these flavors make our local dance scene more rich and colorful, I’m looking forward to taking a moment to watch the grassroots, indie choreographers trying things out and hitting sweet and sometimes sour notes.

All told, Intimadance will consist of four main events: two programs filled with sixteen premiers and two guest evenings. The two Intima programs may possible offer a crystal ball type of prediction of the near future in Israeli dance. The pieces are sharp, short, witty, gutsy and full of unusual moments. While I am certain that the viewer experience will be varied, and perhaps not seamlessly positive, from what I have seen, this festival is full of promise.

What struck me as I watched a presentation of a handful of the pieces that are currently in the wings, awaiting their premiers, is that there are many interesting uses of the dance medium on display in this festival. The pieces all employ movement, however, these choreographers are clearly testing out all kinds of methods of expressing their visions through physicality. There are props, text, songs supporting and enriching the dancing.

If Intimadance is the future of Israeli dance, then there will be a good helping of performance art tactics mixed with aggressive movement and strong stage presence.

Jason Danino Holt’s The Woman I Could Have Been rings, at first glance, as more of a theater piece than a dance. However, amidst Holt’s delivery of text, there are moments of pure, joyous choreography. His choice of minimalist movements is clear and precise.

Sharon Vazanna’s Red Fields, which I wrote about in The Jerusalem Post, is a clever and insightful piece. For those of us who may have tired of those dance pieces that have no dance in them, Red Fields will be a breath of fresh air. That said, there are no extraneous kicks or twirls in this piece, only steps that serve to depict the emotional state of Vazanna’s lone performer.

Ravid Abrabanel in Red Fields photo by Gadi Dagon

Last year, in Intimadance, Yuval Goldstein danced to the tones of Ein Li Eretz Acheret (I have no other land) in a piece that made his views on the current political situation clear. This year, Goldstein has added his thoughts on the dance world to the mix in his take on Romeo and Juliet. If Goldstein wasn’t so intelligent, both as a performer and as a choreographer, the piece probably would have been about as enjoyable as a bowl of hot soup on a summer day. But it’s worth going if only to see Goldstein’s partner in this work, Omer Uziel, leap about in a dog collar and chaps.

Yuval Goldstein and Omer Uziel photo by Gadi Dagon

The guest evenings give established choreographers a chance to present an evening-length work, a rarity considering the lack of theater space available. Rachel Erdos will show the extended version of a solo she made in collaboration with dancer and choreographer Ido Tadmor and musician Alberto Schwartz. For this engagement, Erdos and Tadmor invited former Batsheva dancer Stephen Perry to join them. The duet is entitled and Mr., the choreographer’s cut.

The second guest evening a trio by Michael Getman, Leo Lerus and Roy Assaf. Called Silent Warriors, the piece will, if nothing else, be a good chance to see three very talented male dancers take the stage.

Intimadance will run from tonight through Sunday, July 8.

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Interview: Actor, singer Mandy Patinkin on the world of performing http://972mag.com/interview-with-actor-mandy-patinkin-on-performance/48802/ http://972mag.com/interview-with-actor-mandy-patinkin-on-performance/48802/#comments Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:51:02 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=48802 It’s not every day that I encounter a person as inspiring as Mandy Patinkin. The clarity with which he speaks about performance is incredible. In the days since our meeting, I have found myself musing over the things he said.

Throughout his career, Patinkin has maintained an on-screen presence while actively pursuing the stage. In 1980, Patinkin won a Tony Award for his role as Che Guevara in the original production of Evita. It was Patinkin’s first role of many on Broadway. He went on to play in Sunday in the Park with George, The Secret Garden, and The Wild Party among others. At present, Patinkin gives regular performances of Yiddish songs and has released an album called Mamoloshen, or mother tongue.

While many actors find the transition between stage and screen challenging, Patinkin sees a deep connection between the two outlets.

“They say that the stage lights are blinding. It’s the opposite of being blind. In my opinion, it opens up the whole world. In that darkness you can see anything that you imagine. You can have anyone come visit you that you imagine. All those souls who you knew or didn’t can be sitting in those seats. I often believe, when I sing my Yiddish concert, that there are six million souls sitting on each other’s laps in those seats, listening to these songs that I’m just in the line of passing down to people. In television I think the same way I do when I’m on stage. The camera is capturing us talking to each other but my mind is imagining an audience of people that I wish to be there. I invite everyone into the room while we’re filming,” said Patinkin.

Patinkin explained that it was musical theater that first drew him into the world of acting. Raised in Chicago, Patinkin’s mother sent him to the Young Men’s Jewish Council Youth Center to take part in a play they were working on.

“The second play I was in was ‘Carousel.’ I remember the man who ran the program was a wonderful fellow who is responsible for my passion in this field and essentially in my life. His name is Robert Kondor, and one day he asked us what the play was about so everybody gave his answers. Then he said, ‘I think it’s about if you love someone tell them.’ I don’t know why, but it hit me like the sun. I thought, ‘I like this.’ And if this is what theater talks about, I like that and I want some more of that.”

Be it in Homeland or on stage, belting alongside Patti Lupone, Patinkin is able to reach through the fourth wall and touch his audience.

“I’m always thinking about the next performance. I spend all my life working on this material, the plays, the songs, the material I get to do. If you come on a given night, I don’t want to let you down. I’m not the genius; I’m just the mailman. I just want to deliver these messages the best I can, in any weather,” he said.

This is part of an article that was originally published in The Jerusaelm Post. To read the full article, click here.

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Jay Z and Kanye West’s picture of violence http://972mag.com/jay-z-and-kanye-wests-picture-of-violence/47444/ http://972mag.com/jay-z-and-kanye-wests-picture-of-violence/47444/#comments Sun, 03 Jun 2012 19:03:47 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=47444


Watching the new Jay Z and Kanye West video, this quote from one of my favorite teen movies, Clueless, popped into my head.

“So, okay,” chirps Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz, “the attorney general says that there’s too much violence on TV and that should stop. But even if you took out all the violence on shows, you could still see the news. So until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there’s no point in taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value.”

Romain Gavras’ video for No Church In The Wild certainly employs violence for entertainment. In fact, the last time I had as strong a reaction to a video was when I saw Born Free by MIA, which was also directed by Favras. While the MIA video portrayed a bizarre system of racist profiling against redheads, No Church shows angry mobs in various tackles with the authorities.

The images of riots and mass violence in this video bear striking resemblance to the footage we all sat watching last summer as demonstrations took hold of the streets of Cairo. I have watched the video many times. I am drawn to it in some voyeuristic way. It’s not often that we are privy to images as wild and unhinged as these.

While there is something incredibly satisfying about the slow motion shots of police cars burning, isn’t this a bit irresponsible? Maybe it’s the timing of the release of this video, or maybe it’s just the extreme nature of the shots that gives me a moment’s pause.

In some way I feel that Jay Z and Kanye West, two incredibly talented and rich artists, have capitalized on some serious distress. By using these images in this way, they de-contextualize them, using them only for their impact while subtracting their purpose.

Who are these riots against? Who are they for? It doesn’t really seem to matter. The thing that counts here is that the video has tapped into an international rage that seems to grow fierier every day.

It is true that this violence exists in the news. And maybe because of that, it shouldn’t just be copied to give meaning to a catchy tune.

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Four great upcoming cultural events around town http://972mag.com/four-great-upcoming-cultural-events-around-town/45036/ http://972mag.com/four-great-upcoming-cultural-events-around-town/45036/#comments Tue, 08 May 2012 15:49:32 +0000 http://972mag.com/?p=45036 This afternoon, I was meant to be at the Israeli Knesset for Culture Day. As a member of the Israel Union of Performing Artists, I was asked to be present as part of a delegation of active artists. And then, well… the government did a little hocus-pocus and there was no more time for culture. While the Knesset and Facebook are ablaze with political activity, I want to point out a few things to be culturally excited about in the coming weeks.


  • The Flying Karamazov Brothers tour to Israel. If you haven’t seen them or have never heard of them, check them out. Lead by founding member Paul David Magid, The Flying Karamazov Brothers are going to bring a lot of crazy good times to the country. Their wacky antics include juggling, comedy, freaky tricks and music. In fact, all four of the so-called brothers are apt musicians. They have rigged their bowling pins to make percussive sounds so that their juggling is actually a kind of musical instrument. They will be here from June 10-17 with performances in Jerusalem, Modi’in and Holon.
  • Fresh Paint. Now in its fifth year, Fresh Paint is a nomadic contemporary arts festival. Each year, the organizers choose a new, off-the-beaten-path location to showcase the works of local artists. Art buff or not, this is one of those not-to-miss events that is full of good vibes, handsome folks and lots of inspirational materials. Fresh Paint 5 will take place from May 15-19 at the New High School on Shoshana Persits Street in Tel Aviv. This is the clip from Fresh Paint 4:
  • The Talooy Bamakom Festival. Part of Tel Aviv Art Year, this festival is all about site-specific performance. Events will overtake public buses, a storefront, the municipal building, an elevator or a coffee shop during the three days of this festival. All performances are free and open to all audiences. The festival will take place on May 17, 18 and 19.
  • Oyster by Inbal Pinto Dance Company. As a kid, like many ballet-practicing little ones, I fell in love with The Nutcracker. The ballet was full of magical creatures wearing these beautiful costumes. It swept me away to a different world. Though I will never again experience that first performance, the closest I have come was the first time I saw this breath-taking piece. It has been running for more than a decade, I’ve seen it five times at least and yet every time I see that Inbal Pinto is presenting Oyster again, I feel compelled to go. The company will perform at the Suzanne Dellal Center on May 24 and 25 (matinee and evening performances).
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