Saturday, August 19, 2006

Jerusalem Update: WorldPride, Arts and Crafts Fair

It's been a while. Well, we're in-between semesters now, so I have a bit of a break. Participated in Jerusalem WorldPride - smaller scale than some would have predicted, but very nice, to the point. Health conference, youth day, party at HaOman 17 (one of Jerusalem's big dance clubs), film festival, meeting at Jerusalem's City Hall (which in Hebrew is called Kiryat HaIriyah, which translates literally to Municipality Complex, or what Americans might call City Hall. It's a nice set of modern buildings at Kikar Safra, Safra Square, in downtown Jerusalem and there is a terrific view from the top which was opened to the Pride participants by. Wouldn't have gone to the parade anyway, so its just as well that part was war-cancelled. And it's great that the war has finally ended (at least for now); people can stop dying and get back to work, maybe I'll get to do some touring.

I went to the closing night of the Jerusalem International Arts and Crafts Fair. It was fabulous: a wealth of beautiful creations, breathtaking, charming. Loads of great food, superb music. My biggest regret is that I had no one to share it with. I called several friends, but couldn't find anyone to go with. This one had to work, those two were out of town, two others couldn't be reached by phone, etc. The event contrasted in my mind with New York's Javits Auto Show which I reviewed several months ago. The two were similar in that they were large, themed collections of exhibits and displays from different places and attracted huge crowds, but the differences are strikng. The J-lem fair was excellently executed, impresive , and delightful. But it seemed on a smaller scale. I'd estimate there were about 25 - 50 thousand visitors a night during the two weeks of the fair, so it wasn't small, half -baked or cheaply produced, but compared to NY, it looked almost like a low-budget knockoff. Not that this doesn't have its own charms - it does. The Israeli crowd will sit down on the grass. I know, most of you find this pretty normal, but watch New Yorkers - they won't just sit down on the grass in front of a stage to enjoy the music (eww, the graassss! You want me to sit where?).

I went on a tour that included a visit to a natural spring. Israeli youth just stripped to their underwear in the hot weather and jumped in (from atop a 15 foot cliff - I can hear the American whining "that is soo dannngerousss, how could they let them dooo that") for a cooling swim before getting back to their daily activities. Some stayed for a BBQ spring-side. It was so natural and beautiful (and you should see some of those bodies), I longed to jump in, but the American group was too civilized for that. You see, there is a certain quaint charm in the Israeli chilled-out-ness that Americans can learn from. Israel is just high-tech and modern enough to provide the comforts of 21st century living without giving up all of the charm of "backwards" third-world fun. The combination is great: hard-working, serious, studiousness mingles with the most laid-back attitudes imaginable and in a blink switches to the gruff abrasive manner that made Israel famous. Just one more reason to say, "Ain Kmo Yisrael" (There is no place like Israel). Remind me of those ads: fill-in-the-blank by day, Bacardi by night.

Some random sites: (unrelated to above)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Couch Potato Nation

Obese people claimed to eat healthy and exercise in a new survey. Interesting. Psychologists will enjoy explaining why they think that.

Saw the movie Basic. I had heard from everybody what a great movie it is. I won't say I was blown away, but I wasn't disappointed; it was pretty solid. has a lot of good content, but the site design is so awful, it runs slow, it is unstable and full of pop ups. I'm thinking boycott.