I am sitting on Avital(my lovely, generous host)'s balcony in my underwear, eatting hummus as only Israelis make it, looking down on Tel Aviv's hipsters flirting by on the street below and out further to the sea that laps up against the city's shore, and I'm thinking,"My life is pretty fucking sweet right now."
I am also remembering why I'm SO BAD at keeping a blog! I just get too caught up in what's going on to stop and write it down. My first couple of days in Tel Aviv have been great. The festival premiere of Jericho's Echo is tonight (eeek!) and I am getting super excited, especially cuz I've already gotten to see some of my favorite people from the bands and of course Avital and Ari (my friends from Boston who both live in TA and have been integral to this project) and so the buzz is going on. It sounds like a lot of cool people are gonna be there.
I'll start with the less-than-good news, which is that the festival people waited until I arrived to tell me that the high-end PAL version of my tape that I spent a lot of $$ making and shipping to them doesn't play properly and they'll have to screen the movie from the DVD. This sucks on a couple levels...first of all, the DVD just won't look nearly as good on the big screen and secondly if I had known about the problem before I came to Israel then I could have done something about it. Oh well, if this is the worst that happens, then I am in pretty good shape.
My first night in town, I went to hang out with Dennis and Tom from Smash4$ (the two guys with mohawks sitting on the bed) and some of the other kids from the street punk scene. Dennis is one of the people I've kept in closest contact with since I was here shooting so I was totally psyched to see him. It was pretty surreal for me because we met up in the park where I orginally shot the interview with Choas Rabak and everyone was sitting on the same wall where we did it. I have been looking at that wall for two years, editing through Chaos Rabak's interview, so it was funny to be back there in "real life." Almost like walking on to a movie set only to discover it's actually your own neighborhood. It all looked pretty much the same--a bunch of kids with colored hair and tattoos, drinking Gold Star outside in the middle of the night.Only they are all wearing more clothes now because it's not summer.
Assi from Chaos Rabak (the guy with the religious brother) was also there which was a nice surprise for me. He told me that Choas Rabak actually broke up after about a 5-year-run and he is taking a course in audio engineering. He wants to do sound for bands and movies and stuff. That's awesome. It didn't seem that anyone else was getting particularly ambitious, though they all have slightly better jobs than when I was here last. Kaban from Chaos Rabak (the guy who went to jail because he wouldn't shave his mohawk) also pulled up on his Vespa eventually. He is now playing in the "Dead Rabins." Sound familar? Perhaps you've heard of the Dead Kennedys! Kaban is as full of life as I remembered. Everyone else is pretty jaded or jaded-acting but this guy just comes tooting up on his little Vespa and laughs the night away.
Yesterday I had a beer with Dennis at the beach and we got to catch up a little more in person. Even though he kicked my butt at air hockey, I really love him. He is truly a mensch with a mohawk. He was telling me about jumping out of airplanes when he was in the army, and now how he has been excused from his reserve service (Israeli men have to serve one month a year until they're around 40.) as he has been classified as a drunk. What a country.
The evening's activities included the opening night of the festival, with filmmaker introductions, wine, and of course--movies! It was kind of an underwhelming opening night to be honest--but my expectations were probably too high. The 2 films were "39 pounds of love" which just got picked up by HBO (lucky bastards!) and "shape of the moon" which was apparently a big hit at sundance and amsterdam. i wasn't in love with either one but it was interesting to see them in juxtaposition, as "39..." has a highly structured--almost contrived--storyline and "shape..." is completely verite with no narration or interviews. it is exciting to see how the documentary format is opening up. Also, I met a cool young filmmaker from Belgium named Stephane whose film I am going to try to catch tonight before mine.
I was so tired by the end of the films, but Avital convinced me to act like an Israeli and stay the hell awake! She reasoned that I am probably going to be up all night for the net two so I might as well get used to it. WHat a clever girl! So I met up with some of the guys from the band HaPussy shel Lussy, who are into the club scene in addition to being pivotal members of the punk scene. This never happens in the states--the two scenes are entirely separate. HaPussy is one of the bands that Steve interviewed so I had not met them in person yet. I hung out with Shmida,Amit and Gofen and they were soooo cool. Their understanding of the punk rock world is much closer to what mine has always been than most of the other punks here. They are all about working together to bring about change and to operate outside "the system." I will definitely hang out with them more while I am in town.
OK, so it's getting close to showtime. WISH ME LUCK!!!!