Wednesday, June 18, 2003

06.18.03...Be'er Sheva and Haifa
Haifa is such a beautiful city. It's built atop Mount Carmel and from the mountianside you can see the whole city and out into the Mediterranean. It's a far cry from what I saw of Be'er Sheva, which is the dusty desert city I was in yesterday. Dafna, the girl singer I met there, claimed that Be'er Sheva was the REAL Israel, because it it home to such a diversity of immigrants...from Ethiopia, Russia, etc.

Dafna was a ball. She's just made for the camera. I can't wait to see her band, Beer7, perform this weekend. She just turned 17, and already has her first meetings set up with the Army people. Crazy. We didn't really do an interview, but rather wandered around Be'er Sheva getting an impression of things. She had a good time telling people I was from an American news station and getting free stuff off of local business owners. (How punk rock! ha ha) We got some pretty good footage of one of her bandmates participating in a skateboarding demo. It was the first public skateboarding event in Be'er Sheva history. About time! I wonder why skateboarding and punk rock have always had a link. The guy who organized the event said it's because skaters and punks are all destroyers. I think this is partly true, but that both are also creators. Skaters are constantly building ramps and rails, and making playgrounds out of junkpiles. And punks break down old song structures or social structures, just to create new ones.

Anyway, I'm now in Haifa. I've had a couple of good interviews with Guy and Yotam from Useless I.D. It's amazing. All my "interviewees" so far have had pretty different answers to many of my questions, but the answer has been virtually the same for one question: "What does punk rock mean to you?" Older, younger, Russian, pop, political...they all answer, "FREEDOM." I am beginning to realize how important this concept or feeling of freedom is to these kids, who feel trapped in so many ways. They feel trapped by three years of obligatory military service, and a lifetime of reserve service following that. They can't move around freely, because there are security guards checking them in every public place. They are trapped in a situation that they didn't create but whose future is up to them. No wonder so many of them are clinging to this punk rock scene despite the pressures of society to follow a "normal" route.

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