Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Naomi Shemer

Signposts, the play about Naomi Shemer, is not all that good as a play, but the actors and production were fine, and I certainly learned a lot a about her work. For one thing, if asked who wrote any Israeli song, your best guess is "Naomi Shemer" for words and music.

For her most-praised song, "Jerusalem of Gold," she wrote the words and sort composed e the music. I say sort of, because anyone who hears the Basque lullaby that inspired her, almost certainly unconsciously. will recognize the tune. According to the play, J of G is different enough that she would not have been guilty of copyright fraud, had the folk melody even been copyrighted or copyrightable. So the real shame is that she denied for so many years that there was any connection. Even when, near death, she wrote that she had undoubtedly heard the Basque melody before she composed J of G, she added nonsense about the origins of the folk tune. Why a woman who had composed and written so many songs would be so dishonest about this one, I do not know.

But the melody remains.

Copyright 2018 Jane S. Fox

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Flamenco Project Concert

This concert at Confederation House was entirely instrumental and vocal -- and excellent, although not all the music was Flamenco, and I do not know why. Nor why this was a "project." No dancers, there'd have been no room for them on the narrow stage. Excellent concert, as every concert at Beit HaConfederation has been.

Copyright 2018 Jane S. Fox

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ismailia

The Israeli play Ismailia rather reminded me of the 1971 film HaTarnegol, but why? I suppose because both are about men who, years later, see themselves formed by army experience.
Before the play, in addition to the Jerusalem Theater's usual warning to turn off cellphones came a ringtone and a warning from the Cameri players that even an SMS (text) is distracting. In the middle of the play we all heard that same ringtone. I waited for someone on stage to answer a phone. Instead an usher ran silently down an aisle to a member of the audience I hope felt suitably embarrassed. My hope of that is small, however.

Copyright 2018 Jane S. Fox

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Vertigo

The superb dancers of Vertigo were backed by an onstage orchestra, one of whose cellists moved to become part of three dances. Their theme: White Noise and our reaction, or lack of reaction to all the noise around us, including the GPS's voice telling us how to get to where we said we wanted to go.
I once had a GPS order me in French where to turn to get to the rental car return in Avignon. We could not figure out how to turn it off, so, as it seemed to be directing us away from our goal, we ignored it. It was hard not to think of the voice as sentient and aware and judging that our problem was not understanding the language. The dance captured all that.


Copyright 2018 Jane S. Fox

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ha Tizmoret HaAndalusit Ashdod

We akways look forward to performances of this Israel-prize winning orchestra. But this week's concert lacked the energy that is such a great part of their appeal. And where was the kanoun? Instead they had an electronic keyboard. The single oud was, in most pieces, overwhelmed by the massive strings. Not a bad concert, but not up to standard.

Copyright 2018 JaneS. Fox

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

From Tunisia to Jerusalem and the Mahgreb

Last Thursday's concert at Confederation House was what we particularly like -- a bit of family history and a lot of North African music. I was particularly happy that I recognized the first tune. Not that I know its name, and I certainly could not sing it for you, but I knew I had heard it before. I was also pleased that when they played a new melody to words I know (such as Ya Ribon), I heard the music as a melody and could sing along. To be sure, the rest of the audience certainly knew the words and music and carried me.

The night before, at Beit Avi Chai, we had also heard north African music, from a slightly wider area. This, too, was a delightful concert. We were pleased to see such a variety of ages in the audience from primary-school kids to aged grandparents.

Copyright 2018 Jane S. Fox

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Testimony

I'm trying to figure out why this movie http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6856132/ , which we saw Tuesday at the Jerusalem Theater, is called The testament in English rather than The Testimony, for it seemed as much about how people testify to observed facts as about the protagonist's search for absolute facts.

Copyright 2018 Jane S. Fox

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Saturday Walking Tour Change

Jerusalem's Saturday morning walking tours now have a small fee2018 Jane S. Fox (NIS15)and, more important, require preregistration (https://www.itraveljerusalem.com/free-saturday-tours/ ).

According to last week's guide, the change came about because of complaints tof too many participants per guide. It amazes me that people complain about what they get for free. I have heard Etnakhta concert goers complain about programs or other arrangements. As far as I can ascertain, this year there are no Etnakhta concerts.

Copyright

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Junkyard

On many streets in Jerusalem, each apartment building (and almost all homes are individually-owned apartments) is set back a little bit with a low fieldstone wall between the sidewalk and the building. These small "gardens" and stone walls are similar to what you'll find in much of England, and, indeed the British set this plan by ordinance when they ruled Jerusalem.

Two or three years ago, along one length of the sidewalk appeared a wall faced in pinkinsh stone, such as I have only seen elsewhere used for pavers, and about two meters high. Soon after a notice from the municipality appered glued on said wall, ordering that it be demolished. I guessed someone had built a swimming pool in the front yeard. Ha!

In the wall was a tall metal gate, more than wide enough for a car. One day, on my morning walk to the grocery, I saw the gate was slightly open. Of course I looked inside. No pool. Some bits of machinery and metal I could not identify. An open area of packed dirt and stones.

The municipality's notice tayed on the outside of the wall.

This year the top of the wall has been removed, down to about a meter, easy to see over and anyway the gate is gone. The yard is full of metal beams, old furneture, other bits and pieces. a sign warns of demolition, though only the ground floor of the three story building seems empty. Pounding and shouts can be heard from behind a barrier blocking the side yard.

So what was here? A chop shop? Meth lab? Hoarder? I'll see if I can find out.

Coypright 2018 Jane S. Fox

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

East West Orchestra

The Jerusalem Andalusian Orchestra a spinoff from the Andalusian Orchestra of Ashdod, seems to have become the Jerusalem East West Orchestra. Last night's concert was sort of Misrakhi pop. We particularly enjoyed the A-wa trio (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jInF0ZLfNs ) who sang in Madison a couple of years back. A contigent from their old high school lowered the age of the crowd.

Copyright 2018 Jane S. Fox

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Cakemaker from Berlin

At the Jerusalem Theater's small venue, way under the Rivke Crown, we saw a joint German-Israeli movie whose English name is The Cakemaker (http://variety.com/2017/film/reviews/the-cakemaker-review-1202487213/ ). Tbe Berlin baker who goes to meet his lover's widow in Jerusalem is a soft and pasty fellow who speaks perfect English. It was an evenig well spent, though, or maybe because, it left me with questions like, Where is Moti's wife? Does he have one? What does Hanna know? What is the ending supposed to mean? Who ran and baked for the Berlin cafe while Thomas was in Jerusalem? OK. I have a problem with "willling suspension of disbelief." See the movie for yourself.

Copyright 2018 Jane S. Fox

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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Annual We'll-Show-You-Garbage Event

Once again the Jersualem used garbage to convince the Israeli government more money was needed for the city to fulfill its duties as capital. Garbage was left uncollected for one day. Powers that be, remember the state of sidewalks and open markets when previous garbage went uncollected for much longer in previous years, agreed the municipality should be financed better.

Today all is clean.

Copyright 2018 Jane S. Fox

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Thursday, January 04, 2018

Samson

At the Jerusalem Thater's Mikro venue we saw a fascinating, well-acted play about Samson. Not at all religious, but ver concernbed with the Bible in a way I think happens only in Israel and only among the secular. A few lines before the beginning of the first act suggested we loook on this as a novel based on the few chapters in the Bible.

Perhaps the most memorable line in the play was put in the mouth of the scibe. What is the truth about you? he asked Samson. He answered his own question, It is what I write down.

Copyright 2018 Jane S. Fox

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Vertigo

Vertigo Dance Company's new production was an entertaining exhibition of grace and athleticism, but without the program notes I would not have recognized that the lines of sand on the ground must represent separation of one person from the group or the outer from the inner. Even with the sparse notes I could not see how most of the dance related to relating. Still, I enjoyed watching.

Copyright 2017 Jane S. Fox

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Oud

The Confederation House is a good lace to find eastern music. Last Thursday we went to a concert in which a Mroccan old player wh o studied with an Iraqi master played that graceful instruument with his ensemble f accordionist, two percussionists, bass fiddler and kanonist. Wonderful.

Beit HaConfederatsia also holds a vegetarian restaurant (no fish) with vegan dishes marked.

Copyright 2017 Jane S. Fox

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