UP UNTIL a few years ago, the pre-Eurovision competition meant voting for both a song and an entertainer or a duo of entertainers to represent Israel at the prestigious song contest. Now the public only votes for the song, as a small committee already chose Ahinoam Nini and Mira Awad as Israel's delegates and a symbol of peace - one is an Israeli Yemenite Jew and the other an Israeli Christian. In May, they will appear together in Moscow for the Eurovision. Meanwhile, the Israeli public will determine which of four competing songs the two will sing. The choices are: "Bo'ee Lirkod Iti" (Come Dance with Me), "Einecha" (Your Eyes), "Yesh Yamim" (There are Days) and "Kol Shniya" (Every Moment). The songs will air for the first time on February 24 on Avi Etgar's program on Reshet Gimmel between 5 and 6 p.m. The four songs were chosen by the two singers and guitarist Gili Dor, who is Nini's longtime accompanist. The trio recorded the songs earlier this month. Voting will begin immediately after the last song is played and will continue until immediately after the television broadcast of the contest on Channel 1 at 9:45 p.m. on March 2. Anyone can vote via cellular phone by dialing *11. The most popular song will compete in the Eurovision semifinals on May 12, and if successful, will compete in the finals on May 16.
FANS OF Shlomo Artzi know him first and foremost as a singer, but he's also a songwriter and the presenter of a radio program. Now he's added another string to his bow and has become a director of a documentary which will be shown on Channel 8 next month. Artzi, whose parents came to Israel from Romania, had a Romanian maid, Mariana, who cleaned his house twice a week. Artzi empathized with Mariana's plight as a foreign worker being sought by the immigration police and decided to let her tell her story in front of the camera just before she returned to her country, barely a step ahead of being arrested. The film is called Beautiful Mariana.
CASTRO FASHION shows inevitably attract a plethora of celebrities. It's not just because Castro is a big name on the Israeli fashion scene, but also because Castro's PR man is the famed Rani Rahav, who manages to get publicity for all his clients, their friends and hangers-on. Among the celebs seen viewing Castro's spring/summer collection at the Tel Aviv port were Adi Himmelbleu, Maya Buskila, Gilat Ankori, Shirli Glick, Rotem Sela, Michal Amdurski, Yuval Caspin and Vika Finkelstein. The port is increasingly becoming the it place for events, and on Sunday night will host a WIZO fund-raiser - a fashion show under the title of "100 years of Tel Aviv Fashion."
SEATED ALONGSIDE each other at Beit Lessin were Rita and Rami Kleinstein. No, the legendary couple has not decided to get back together. But they do have two daughters in common, one of whom, Noam, is a student at the Mahol Dance School, which put on a performance at Beit Lessin. Naturally, Mama and Papa were there to applaud.
FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER and model agent Adi Barkan, who discovered many young beauties who later became top-ranking models - among them Esti Ginzburg, Moran Atias, Sari Givati, Moran Gros and Sandy Bar - has launched a new campaign under the title "Simply You" to find the ideal Israeli women. Together with image maker Alon Gal, Barkan has assembled a film crew that will pursue the project in Ashkelon, Beit She'an, Tiberias, Haifa and its suburbs, Ramat Hasharon and Tel Aviv. In November 2007, Barkan rushed fashion model Hila Elmalich to the hospital, where she died of anorexia. In 2004, he began an international campaign to take the pressure off models who starve themselves into remaining thin, but very little changed in the fashion industry. Barkan is trying to establish new standards of beauty and is conducting contests in cities around the country among women aged 15 to 30. A group of 20 finalists will undergo a month of training in proper nutrition, sport, self-image, skin care, makeup, posing in front of the camera and parading the catwalk. The project is being supported by Strauss, L'Oreal Paris, the Galit Rosenstein Modeling School and others. Still, most of the applicants to date have been painfully thin.
MARRIAGE AND motherhood have not diminished the charm and grace of international model Anna Bauman. Now 26 and the mother of two, Bauman has been chosen by Yoop to present its spring/summer collection for 2009. Born in Holland to an Israeli mother, Bauman came with her family to Israel when she was 14, and a year later she launched her modeling career.
THE WORLD may belong to the young, but stars continue to shine even when they've passed a certain age. Case in point is Zvika Pik, 57, who is still in demand, and who sang to a full house at the Coliseum Club on Valentine's Day. Club owner Haim Pinchas invested NIS 140,000 in the show in which Pik sang golden oldies as well as some of his more recent compositions - for which he received not only applause and a fat fee, but also flowers.
WITH THE exception of Idan Alterman and Yael Levental, the cast of Life isn't Everything showed up at JCS to see the 100th episode of the show, whose main stars Anat Waksman and Avi Kushnir have won awards for their performances. Discussions regarding the show's eighth season have already begun, and the cast is delighted that although life isn't everything, it will definitely go on.
FILMMAKER Dover Kosashvili, who has directed a couple of very successful productions, has for the first time agreed to direct a commercial. Over the years, Kosashvili has always refused advertisements - until now, when he was approached by Mifal Hapayis to direct a spot highlighting the new Lotto.