The Arty Semite

Gaza Goes Gangnam Style

By Forward Staff

Back in November, Israel Defense Forces reservists waiting on the Gaza border for a possible ground invasion whiled away their time producing an IDF parody of “Gangnam Style,” the infamous viral video by South Korean comedian and pop star Psy. Well, two can play that game. Now, a group of young men in Gaza have made their own “Gangnam Gaza Style.” While borrowing Psy’s infectious rythyms and dance moves, the group points to everyday hardships in Gaza, such as unemployment and gas shortages. Take a look:

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Gaza Gangnam Style, Gaza, Gangnam Style, Psy

Out and About: Alice Walker Sails For Gaza; Woody Allen Heads For Rome

By Ezra Glinter

Getty Images
  • Novelist Alice Walker explains why she is sailing to Gaza.

  • The New York Times profiles Idan Raichel, Israel’s “musician of the decade.”

  • JWeekly profiles the Ridin’ Chai Motorcycle Club of Northern California.

  • In Souciant, The Arty Semite contributor Joel Schalit writes about Public Enemy in Arabic.

  • In Tablet, The Arty Semite contributor Shulem Deen writes about his journey from Hasid to Hipster Brooklyn.

  • Woody Allen has announced that his next film, “The Bop Decameron,” will be set in Rome and will star Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg and Ellen Page.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: The Bop Decameron, Ridin' Chai, Public Enemy, Paul LePage, Out and About, Idan Raichel, Jesse Eisenberg, Gaza, Ellen Page, Country Yossi, Alice Walker, Alec Baldwin, Woody Allen

Out and About: Israeli Winners at Sundance; Ian McEwan Defends Jerusalem Prize Acceptance

By Ezra Glinter

Israeli filmmaker Talya Lavie, whose ‘Zero Motivation’ won the Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
  • Two Israeli films, “Restoration” by Yossi Madmony and “Zero Motivation” by Talya Lavie, picked up prizes at Sundance.

  • The Egyptian Museum was hit by looters, but it could have been worse.

  • Israeli filmmakers have received death threats over their film on the Gaza war.

  • Ian McEwan has defended his decision to accept the Jerusalem Prize, telling his critics, “I’m for finding out for myself, and for dialogue, engagement, and looking of ways in which literature, especially fiction, with its impulse to enter other minds, can reach across political divides.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Zero Motivation, Yossi Madmony, Talya Lavie, Sundance, Seth Rogen, Saturday Night Live, SNL, Restoration, Mark Zuckerberg, My Mother's Curse, Out and About, Macy Gray, Looters, Jesse Eisenberg, Jerusalem Prize, Ian McEwan, Henry Meyer, Gaza, Egyptian Museum, Egypt, Barbra Streisand

Israeli Documentary Shortlisted for Oscar

By Haaretz Service

Crossposted from Haaretz

Blieberg Entertainment

Israeli documentary “Precious Life” was shortlisted for the Best Documentary Film category in the 83rd Academy Awards, alongside 15 feature documentaries.

Director Shlomi Eldar’s moving film documents a saga involving a breathtaking race to save the life of a desperately ill Palestinian baby.

The baby’s militant mother, an Israeli doctor and Eldar, the Channel 10 Gaza correspondent, star in the documentary, which premiered at the Jerusalem Film Festival in July and has since been screened in documentary film festivals around the world.

Read more at Haaretz.com

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Precious Life, Oscars, Haaretz, Jerusalem Film Festival, Film, Gaza, Documentaries, Academy Awards, Shlomi Eldar

This Week in Forward Arts and Culture

By Ezra Glinter

Tim Cragg and WGBH
  • Leah Koenig looks into the proliferation of kosher certification in America.

  • Curt Schleier and Gordon Haber ponder “God in America,” a six-hour PBS documentary that debunks the myth that the Founding Fathers were evangelicals.

  • Steven G. Kellman goes poking around in Nicole Krauss’s “Great House.”

  • Philologos wonders if swearing loyalty to a “Jewish and democratic state” really means anything, anyway.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: The Human Scale, This Week in Forward Arts and Culture, Rafael Goldwaser, Nicole Krauss, Lawrence Wright, Great House, God in America, Chaya Czernowin, Gaza

Q & A: New Yorker Writer Lawrence Wright on Bringing Gaza to the Stage

By Zohar Tirosh-Polk

Getty Images
Lawrence Wright at the premier of ‘My Trip to Al Qaeda.’

With his film “My Trip To Al-Qaeda” on HBO in September and his one-man show, “The Human Scale,” about to open in New York City, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and The New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Wright has a lot going on. During a short window between memorizing his lines and beginning rehearsals, he found time to answer a few questions about “The Human Scale,” which is based on his experiences in Israel and the Gaza Strip last year. Directed by Oskar Eustis of the Public Theater, the play opens on October 2 at The New Yorker Festival and will continue its run at 3LD Arts and Technology Center until October 31.

Zohar Tirosh-Polk: How did this play come about?

Lawrence Wright: I had a done a one-man play before, “My Trip to Al Qaeda.” That was anomalous to start with, and I thought I would never do that again. Then I went to Gaza for The New Yorker in July 2009, and when I came back Karen Greenberg at the Center on Law and Security asked me to give a speech about Gaza. The more I thought about it, I realized it was very familiar to the people of that region, but here people are so unacquainted with it. I thought maybe I would try another one-man presentation, so we assembled all this video and we did a reading last December at the 3-Legged Dog theater, and it was during that time that Oskar Eustis at the Public got interested.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Theater, The New Yorker Festival, The New Yorker, The Human Scale, The Freedom Theatre, Public Theater, Palestine, Oskar Eustis, Middle East, My Trip To Al-Qaeda, Lawrence Wright, Karen Greenberg, Journalism, Jenin, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Israel, HBO, Gaza, Drama, Damascus, Center on Law and Security, Bowe Bergdahl, Al Queda, Afghanistan, 3LD Arts and Technology Center, 3-Legged Dog

The Best Part of Traveling

By Martin Fletcher

Earlier this week, Martin Fletcher wrote about stories he’s covered for NBC’s London bureau and about choosing a title for his book. His newest book, “Walking Israel: A Personal Search for the Soul of a Nation,” is now available. His blog posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog series. For more information on the series, please visit:


What I loved about writing “Walking Israel” was meeting the people I came across during my walk, people I would never normally have come across, and who directed me towards aspects of Israel that had never occurred to me in my 35 years of reporting from there: The tour guide who used the four faces of Akko’s clocktower to show Jews and Arabs the four faces of the truth: “it just depends where you stand”; the botanist whose main goal, when Israel was fighting for its existence in 1948, was to save the sea turtles; the Tunisian and Moroccan Jews sitting around in Roger’s café in Ashkelon who barely budged as rockets landed from Gaza, and said if it was up to them they’d make peace with the Arabs in five minutes but in the meantime “in war, it’s war!”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Walking Israel, Roger's Cafe, NBC, Jewish Book Council, Martin Fletcher, My Jewish Learning, Gaza, Author Blog Series, Ashkelon, Akko




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