25 August 2013

What I Read for Summer

The Edward Said did not pan out, I'm sorry to say. So, what I have read this summer was Life on Sandpaper, by Yoram Kaniuk, may he rest; "The Real Thing" and most of "Rough Crossing" by Tom Stoppard; and The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif, which I think fell down in not making the 1900s characters less perfect. And I did read "Heathcliff" by Orly Castel-Bloom waiting for the bus to Jaffa. I usually read more, but I was working full-time this summer.

There's no doubt I missed out on some reading opportunities last week. At Woodland Pattern, après-museum, I fumbled buying a volume of Mizrahi writing. Flicking through the table of contents and recognizing none of the authors' names, I realized that all the Israeli writers I read, save Yehoshua, are Ashkenazi. (Yes, Castel-Bloom is also Mizrahi, according to Wikipedia, but I've only read the one story by her.) Hmm.  

And also, convoluted library logistics (Why was College Library closing before 5PM last week, if you please!?) thwarted my attempt to read something by David Mura. 

With one week left before classes start, I have to read something else. A mystery would go fast, maybe an Agatha Christie.




15 August 2013

Body Culture!!!



I started writing a poem about Tel Avivi DJs this week.

I have been thinking about the body culture  a lot of late. And I am just so excited that I need more than one exclamation mark in the title.

Earlier this month I gave my presentation at work about Israeli culture, which led me to reflect on how in my early twenties I was obsessed with whether there were some "Israeli essence" that gave Ohad Naharin's work its unmistakable look and character. (I hope it goes without saying that some 15 years on the idea of "Israeli essence" is not only specious, but also doesn't interest me.)

Last week I read an awesome article about Israeli dance in Dance Research Journal. I loved this article sooo much because it was just what I needed. I was thinking that there had to be something about Israeli culture that produced its (sorry about this) "edgy" contemporary dance. Duh, right? What I mean there must be something about the way Israeli dancers and choreographers relate to embodiment that is a result of factors of Israeli society like intense collective experience and the historical preoccupation with the creation of the (Zionist project of the radically different Jewish) Israeli body. Which also makes me wonder how Israeli conceptualizations of embodiment impinge upon Israeli DJs.

Last week I also found a paper I wrote for a dance history class taught by Rebekah Kowal at The University of Iowa some ten years ago. As you would expect, it was pure, unstoppable brilliance. One of the things I find interesting is that I was like, Everybody hold on a minute; Ohad Naharin is not necessarily a genius. Nowadays I'm like, Ohad Naharin is the god of dance; duh.

The Heymann Brothers are finishing their documentary about Naharin, you see. That's why I went searching for the cache of research materials I'd used for my dance history paper that I knew I'd never have thrown away even ten years on. Among the goodies was a VHS tape (!) of Kyr I'd gotten from some dance historian in New York and all the BAM promotional stuff for Virus.

And I finally saw Tomer Heymann's first documentary about Naharin Out of Focus, which went miles toward demystifying him for me. I never imagined Naharin smiled (why would he need to?); he had been an impregnable enigma to me.

And I'm going to a Gaga class on Saturday! I hadn't thought about this in ages and remembered it as I was preparing my Israeli culture presentation: the semester after I returned from study abroad at Tel Aviv University Batsheva performed at my school. Talk about felicitous coincidence. I was in a modern class taught by Muriel Cohan, and Ohad Naharin came to our class. Crazy, right? I was in my twenties and didn't have the modesty or self-awareness to be intimidated into a boneless pile of mush in his presence.

13 August 2013

Parading Shoes



This song has been going through my head when I'm out running, so it's worthy. Ladies and gentlemen, Ran Nir...

Unambiguously Gaga


 I've been thinking about dance a lot lately, noodling around watching videos of Batsheva, L-E-V, Kibbutz Dance, and Vertigo.

In my noodling, I happened onto the Gaga (by which I, of course, mean "Ohad Naharin's movement language) site yesterday night. And there's a class being taught in Chicago on August 17!! Totally affordable!

This is unreal! I cannot wait! Happy birthday to me!

05 August 2013

Wrong Demons Are the Right Demons As Far As I'm Concerned



Hey, looky here, music lovers! Here we have the dudes who used to play with Asaf Avidan and some additional dude, I think. They all got together and made themselves a music video. This song sounds like it was written and recorded in the ten years before I was born; I'm guessing this is the effect they were going for. That sound is sorta not my bag, but I really like the lyrics.

I was trying to work out who was singing. I supposed it was Ran Nir since he wrote the song, and I guess that's right.

Since I'm American, I feel uneasy if I don't point out that I do not condone underage drinking in any form or the immoderate use of alcohol. Or keytars.