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(photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
Mega-concert planner seeks J'lem show
French mega-concert planner and electronica superstar Jean Michel Jarre arrived in Jerusalem Sunday for a two-day search of the city. The goal of the search: a location for a massive concert next year in honor of Israel's 60th anniversary.
Though still in the early stages of planning, the concert would likely be among the biggest and most technically demanding ever staged in Israel. Jarre, who's sold tens of millions of electronica and New Age records, has gained a second following for staging concerts of record-setting size. The performer entered The Guinness Book of World Records in 1978 with a concert before an estimated one million spectators at Paris' Place de la Concorde, and has since performed even larger shows honoring occasions such as NASA's 25th anniversary and a papal visit to his hometown, Lyon. Often accompanied by lasers and other special effects, Jarre ushered in the year 2000 at one of the world's biggest Y2K celebrations - this one staged at the Giza Pyramids of Egypt.
This week's trip served purely as a scouting tour of Jerusalem, Jarre's manager said, and the artist has not yet initiated formal discussions with city officials about the proposed Jerusalem show. His visit was arranged by Benny Boret, a French-Israeli producer. - JP staff
Raichel named 'notable' by 'NY Times'
Musician Idan Raichel can count New York Times music critic Jon Pareles among his ever expanding legion of fans. The singer-songwriter's last album appeared on Pareles' list earlier this week of 'the most notable world music CDs released over the last year,' joining artists from countries including Guinea, Brazil and Tanzania. Raichel's last CD "was a huge hit in Israel for good reason," Pareles wrote, describing Raichel as "devoted to love and tolerance" and as an artist "as familiar with Peter Gabriel as with Middle Eastern traditions."
Raichel recently returned from an American tour, and has also performed in recent years in Ethiopia, a regular inspiration for his music. His last disc, Mamakim, was released in Israel in January 2005 and has since gone double-platinum.
Portman adopts latest cause: gorillas
After campaigning for U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 and writing a letter on Israel's behalf to her college newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, in 2002, Jerusalem-born actress Natalie Portman has found a new cause: mountain gorillas. The Garden State and V for Vendetta star visited a wildlife park in Rwanda over the weekend, Agence France Presse has reported, to take part in a naming ceremony for 23 endangered gorillas.
Portman, who was joined for the ceremony by conservationist Jack Hanna, paid $500 - the regular tourist fee - to visit the wildlife park, and named her gorilla Ahazaza, or "future." The animal was named in absentia, remaining in its natural habitat during the ceremony.
A 2005 Oscar nominee for her supporting role in Closer, Portman teamed up earlier this year with Jordan's Queen Rania to begin raising $200 million for Finca International, a microfinance organization fighting Third World poverty.
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