Top Israeli band HaDag Nachash (or Nahash – but the h is stronger) has been to Austin before. February 2008 to be precise.
Now they came back for SXSW all the way from the other side of the world. It’s very unfortunate that due to poor planning, the earlier shows at TenOak (formerly Cuba Libre) could not stick to their schedule apparently due to delays in setting up each show; so everything ran late and HaDag could not start playing until 1:45 AM, 15 minute before closing time.
When this happened last year at a different venue, they simply stopped serving alcohol and let the band finish their act… sure, after anti-Mubarak-like protests from the audience.
We were not so lucky this year. Shitheads. At least we got a good 15 minutes.
The topics were varied. From his time in the Gulag, his early struggles fighting for human rights as a refusenik, the founding and disolution of his Yisrael B’Aliyah political party, the free world’s betrayal of their own principles with their support of a dictatorship within the PA, his criticism of HRW for having become a biased political entity, etc.
If I can find a good article on what was covered I will update this post.
Israel deserves blame for what happened. They were not ready at all for the kind of violence encountered. Had they been properly prepared and equipped, the soldiers would not have been lowered one by one only to be lynched, and they would not have been put in a situation in which they were forced to protect themselves through force. It was a failure of logistics and of intelligence.
But the organizers of the flotilla deserve equal or greater blame, and this is not what I read in the press. A supposedly peaceful demonstration to bring humanitarian aid should not have members or terrorist organizations nor people who support violence against Israel on board. They should not have brutally attacked anyone. It was clear they were looking for a confrontation when Israel offered to transfer all aid cargo on the ships into Gaza as long as the flotilla agreed to first dock at the Israeli port of Ashdod for a weapons inspection before-hand… but it was not clear they were looking for such level of violent confrontation and blood.
Israel was clumsy, unprepared, and fell for a clear trap. The loss of life is regretful, and so is the lack of honesty with properly assigning the blame on the events. And remember, it’s not Israel who is impeding the lifting of the blockade in Gaza. It is Hamas who needs to meet the demands of the international community to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist. Once they do it, the blockade will be open.
But I don’t think anyone in that flotilla has the desire of reminding Hamas of that little fact.
Saturday was the final day of South By Southwest. Destination: Beauty Bar – or rather, a seemingly improvised venue called “Beauty Bar/Palm door” three blocks south of the real Beauty Bar. The place had three nasty problems:
A serious drainage issue that made the whole place stink, even though the bathrooms were surprisingly neat.
The bar had no way to charge credit cards, which is bad for today’s cash-less American society (and for my friends with cash who were nice enough to buy me beer).
A horribly annoying wooden column right in front of the stage, as you can see in the photos I took.
In spite of this, it turned out to be an excellent night with one of the best shows I’ve seen in a SXSW.
In May of 2006, a Mexican kid with a potty mouth and a strong regiomontano accent took the world by storm with his infamous YouTube video that recorded his fall for posterity.
In late 2009, his fame is yet to subside. The MKX® correspondent in Tel Aviv, Amit Safir, sends the photo above, showing Edgar “El que se cae” (“The one who falls”) starring in Israeli TV. You can tell because of the Hebrew and Russian subtitles. As our multilingual readers can attest, there is no good direct translation for his trademark phrase “¡Ya güey!‘.
The folks of Hillel held their yearly Israel Block Party last Wednesday. they somehow managed to match last year’s concert with another big act: they brought Israeli rock star Berry Sakharof. I have no clue how they do that.
The freak freezing and raining weather forced them to move the event from UT’s South Mall (cool link) into their building. This affected attendance. The concert itself was held in a tent at the parking lot; so while it protected us from the rain, it didn’t help that much with the cold.
Thankfully Berry put up an awesome concert, totally worth the hypothermia. And it’s always cool to see a good act in a small venue in which you can force your way so close to the stage, especially an artist that I don’t get many chances to see in concert. Hit Read more to see more photos and three of my shaky YouTube videos.
Diego and Joe were in town last weekend. Diego came to play at the UT MBA soccer tournament (4 games in 2 days). Joe came to exert his bad influence on me. For those not in the know, Joe and I were on the same ulpan program in Kibbutz Yehiam in 1995. Diego then joined us in early 1996 for the legendary Machon Le’Madrichei Chul in the City of Gold herself, Jerusalem. We all look exactly the same we did back then except we changed our haircuts.