Hutzot Hayotzer reinvented

The popular international arts and crafts fair has some new and very welcome surprises this year

Juggler (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Hutzot Hayotzer, the popular international arts and crafts fair that has become a Jerusalemite ritual, is scheduled to open next week and will run until August 27.
As usual, the main attractions of the event, which is now in its 35th consecutive year, will be displays by both Israeli and international artisans. But this year’s fair has a few surprises on its itinerary.
For one thing, the area separating the Israeli and international artists, which usually remains empty, will be filled with impressive sculpture collections. One such collection will be Dudu Gerstein’s gargantuan colorful metal kettles.
New additions to the international pavilions come from Latin America, including El Salvador, Argentina and a new twist on the Brazilian booth – a group of Brazilian artisans from an ancient village on the banks of the Amazon River, who will recreate their ancient works of art.
Additionally, Korean, Thai and Georgian folk music will be played by ethnic bands from the respective countries.
Other attractions include an interactive theater encounter called “Tav Café,” a display by Bezalel students, and a Middle Eastern section.
The theater group running Tav Café will create an interdisciplinary encounter for spectators – the crowd will be able to drive the performance in the direction it wishes. That means the show could be about anything, from yoga to reading someone’s fortune from a coffee cup.
The Bezalel exhibit, meanwhile, will be quite large, boasting a virtual cornucopia of art forms and works, including fashion, animation, design, painting and pottery.
The Middle Eastern section will have Armenian crafts, olive tree carvings and a Beduin tent with hookah pipes.
And what would Hutzot Hayotzer be without a slew of famous local performers? The organizers have arranged a series of shows to spruce up each evening of the festival. The long list includes big names like Shiri Maimon and Shimon Buskila, performing ensemble on Thursday, August 18, as well as Hayehudim, who will be performing on Saturday night, August 20.
Though the event is generally known as a mainstream festival for the whole family, this year the organizers decided to have a wider array of artists representing different music genres. Hip-hoppers Hadag Nahash will perform on the 21st, rock-folk singer Mosh Ben-Ari on the 23rd, and ethnic-rock group Knesiyat HaSechel on the 24th.
But, some may ask, how will parents who want to enjoy the festival keep their children busy? The organizers’ answer is an itinerary that includes not only children’s plays, but also workshops corresponding to those performances.
One such play-and-workshop extravaganza will be organized by the Train Theater, a Jerusalem establishment that puts on puppet shows for children. This one will be called Kirkasum, a combination of the Hebrew words, kirkas (circus) and kasum (magic). As the show is mainly about juggling, the workshop will teach children this important life skill (it looks good on college applications).
Another show that should be of interest is the papier-mâché puppet show, which will be run by a theater group coming in especially from Italy. The corresponding workshop will, appropriately, be about making papier-mâché dolls.
From August 15-27, Sun.-Thurs. 6 p.m.- 11 p.m., Saturday nights from one hour after Shabbat until midnight. Tickets cost NIS 55 for adults, NIS 30 for children, and NIS 45 for students, pensioners and soldiers. For more information: One can purchase tickets in advance through Bimot ticket sales: 02-623-7000