Grapevine: Viva España!

Jose Merce, one of the world’s leading exponents of flamenco singing, performs.

Flamenco in the desert 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Flamenco in the desert 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
WHISTLES, CHEERS, stamping of feet and thunderous applause are not usually the sounds one hears in a museum. But then again, you don't always get one of the world’s leading exponents of flamenco singing performing in front of a largely Spanish-speaking audience that is familiar with both his reputation and his art. Thus when Jose Merce, considered to be one of the best singers in his field over the past century, came to perform at the Israel Museum within the framework of the 25th anniversary celebrations of diplomatic ties with Spain, the audience, which included a large representation from the Spanish Embassy, went wild.
Merce said he was thrilled to be performing in Jerusalem. Most of his songs were performed in a sitting position, but in the second half of his act he also danced, to the delight of the appreciative crowd.
According to both museum director James Snyder and Spanish Ambassador Alvaro Gutierrez, there will be further cooperation between the museum and the Spanish Embassy next year. Snyder disclosed plans for an exhibition based on Joan Miro’s “Spanish Dancer” series with works from the Israel Museum’s collection enhanced by paintings borrowed from museums around the world.
Gutierrez also noted the enormous popularity that flamenco singers enjoy in Israel and suggested that it may have something to do with the Israelis’ Sephardic roots.
■ COMMENTING ON the latest Knesset quirk that enables MKs who earn eight times more than the minimum wage to work less for their salaries by extending the Knesset’s summer recess period by two weeks, Israel Radio’s Arye Golan said that perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if those MKs who persist in proposing anti-democratic laws stayed away from the Knesset for even longer.
■ CHANNEL 1 Mabat news anchor Yinon Magal returned to the small screen this week after a brief absence caused by the birth of his third son.The circumcision ceremony for the youngest addition to the family was last Saturday in the synagogue of the Prima Royal hotel in Jerusalem. After the service Magal and his wife entertained some 70 relatives and friends to a royal breakfast.
■ THE APPLE doesn't fall far from the tree in the sausage-making and restaurant business. When Swiss-born Marcel Hess opened up his delis and restaurants in Ra’anana and Jerusalem, he came with an international reputation, several medals won in international sausage-making competitions and close connections with dignitaries and celebrities from many countries. The walls of his establishments testified to his good connections. Hess’s son Doron, who now runs the Jerusalem restaurant adjacent to the Russian Compound, is following in the family footsteps in more ways than one. Aside from having mastered the secrets of sausagemaking and meat-curing, he has also hosted several dignitaries, among them Moscow Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, head of the Staten Island Yeshiva Rabbi Reuven Feinstein (son of of halachic authority Rabbi Moshe Feinstein) and this week Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is partial to goulash soup and lamb shoulder.
■ MORE THAN 100 people attended the opening at Hamigdalor Gallery in Old Jaffa last Friday of artist Shirley Siegel‘s new exhibition, “Bygone Beauty.”
Among the art lovers was Channel 2 current affairs host Oded Ben-Ami, who spent a lot of time chatting to the artist’s father, Dr. Tzony Siegal, MD, DMD, founder and chief medical officer of NonLinear Technologies Ltd. Also present was Yael Goldman who curated the show, which will be displayed until December 11 .
A professional painter and an instructor of drawing and painting workshops, Shirley Siegal has experience teaching art, art history and graphic design and has worked as an independent artist and designer for more than a decade. Her paintings center around the female figure in the past and the present. From 2007-2009 she was the head administrator of museum studies at Tel Aviv University.
A woman of many interests, she has a degree in archeology and South-East Asia studies from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a diploma in museum studies from Tel Aviv University.
She is currently writing her master’s and PhD thesis on archeological museums.
■ IT DOESN'T matter how good any performing or visual arts artist(s) may be; appreciation and encouragement never go astray. Winning a prize in an international competition is of course the best expression of both. Sasha Gentelev, whose film The Violinists about the Musicians of Tomorrow, which was initially screened at the DocAviv Film Festival in May of this year, has won the International Gold Panda Award at the Sichuan TV Festival in China. The win is a triumph not only for Gentelev but also for the young musicians and their teacher Anna Rosnovsky, former first violinist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, who relocated to the Galilee to bring out the best in these gifted youngsters who have performed all over Israel and abroad. This month they will also perform at the Ma’alot Film Festival and the Gourmet Food Festival in the Jordan Valley.
■ ON HANUKKA its customary to give small sums money to children to spend as they please. Many chocolate companies produce coin-shaped chocolates wrapped in gold paper to convey the idea of Hanukka “gelt” (money).
But Zichron Menachem, an organization that tries to make life sweeter for children with cancer, has come up with a different proposal and is asking the public to donate hair for wigs for such children.
Numerous hairdressers around the country have joined the campaign and are willing to cut hair for free for anyone who is donating hair (a braid or ponytail at least 25 centimeters long) to the cause. The campaign will be conducted from December 18 to 20 between 2 and 8 p.m. Makeup artist Mickey Boganin has joined the campaign’s television promos, playing a hairdresser who cuts the hair of 10-and-ahalf- year old May Malovitz who grew her tresses for two years in order to donate her hair to another little girl Also appearing in the campaign promos is 13-year-old cancer patient Daniella Mor Mizrahi, who has not allowed her condition to overshadow her sparkling personality.
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