Third Ear’s Sweet Sixteen

The DVD and video library will become a music and visual arts hot spot as it celebrates its birthday.

Painting by Noa Haruvi 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Painting by Noa Haruvi 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Tucked away in a small courtyard at the end of Emek Refaim Street is a veritable subterranean Shangri-La. The Jerusalem branch of the Third Ear may seem like just just a DVD and videotape lending library, but there is something about the place that exudes a special cultural mind-set that goes far beyond finding some choice visual entertainment for the evening or weekend.
The staff there is not only courteous and helpful, but also knowledgeable about the material that abounds in the cavernous premises.
As you walk down the steps, you are generally met by some high-quality musical vibes, which vary between classy jazz and some envelope-pushing sounds from the fringes of more commercial areas of the music market.
Now the Third Ear managers have decided to take the outlet’s cultural profile a notch or two higher and, for a few hours tomorrow at 8 p.m., the lending library will become a music and visual arts hot spot as the establishment celebrates its 16th birthday.
The birthday bash is the brainchild of Michael Goldboim who, together with fellow Third Ear staff member Noa Kolker, put together an artistic program that incorporates a wide swath of aural entertainment, from Yehuda Ledgley’s hard-edged folksy pop trio to electronic hip hop act Reisskinder, singer-songwriter Bela Tarr and British electronic sound and video art performer Matt Green.
The visual side of the lineup features a dance and video art show by Tama Ovadia and Lina Huna, a video art and sculpture spot by Third Ear employee Elika Feldman and an exhibition of paintings by former Third Ear staff member Noa Haruvi, who currently resides in New York.
The artistic ethos is very much an offshoot of Goldboim’s own experiences in the field. “I used to be a musician, a saxophonist, and I mostly played new classical music,” he explains, “so I naturally look for things that are less Establishment and are more ‘something else.’” Jerusalem-born Goldboim spent a number of years away from the city, mostly in Switzerland and Tel Aviv, and says he got a fresh angle on the cultural goings-on in the capital when he returned. “I saw there was a void for something different here.”
Arts consumers with more mainstream leanings should not be put off by the “something different” observation.
Goldboim adopted an inclusive approach to curating the Sweet Sixteen event.
“I wouldn’t call anything in the program extreme avantgarde. I have absolutely no intention of putting on something that you can’t listen to,” he stresses. “But it was very important for me to create something that is not just about music. I wanted this to be a wide artistic interdisciplinary experience with an exhibition of art, whether we are talking music, dance or the plastic arts. This is something that appeals to all the senses.”
Part of the Sweet Sixteen vibe will be based on an accumulative artistic-entertainment happening.
“As a musician, I had the honor of taking part in all sorts of events like this at interdisciplinary exhibitions in galleries, museums and other arts spaces, and I feel it is a very special experience to move around and see and hear all different kinds of artistic presentations,” he says.
Then again, the arts venues Goldboim performed in were probably far more spacious than the cozy confines of the Third Ear.
But there is more to the Third Ear than meets the eye.
Goldboim says there is plenty of added aesthetic and historic value to be had and that the layout offers unique advantages. “I haven’t seen many places like this. There are lots of little corners and hidden nooks and crannies,” he points out.
It is a structural aspect that, says Kolker, can be put to good use. “It sorts of leads visitors on, through the ‘maze,’ from corner to corner. There will be a show in one room and another somewhere else – each act will lead on to the next.”
The regular furniture and fittings will also do their bit.
“The shelving obscures some spaces but also offers glimpses of some partially hidden places,” continues Goldboim.
“There’s a kind of interplay all around the place.”
Besides offering patrons a good time and possibly providing them with some artistic food for thought, Kolker says she and Goldboim are keen to augment the cultural offerings available in the capital.
“I am a Jerusalemite. As a kid, I lived in a house just around the corner from here, and I remember when the Third Ear opened. Most of the people who will perform here are Jerusalemites. But there is something about this city that closes in on you culturally, for students and for people who are a bit older, like Michael and myself.”
Kolker feels that the Third Ear can help to fill that cultural void, with Sweet Sixteen and other events currently in the pipeline.
“I think the ‘Ear’ has always been associated with culture, and Sweet Sixteen will also launch the acoustic music happening line we are planning to hold here on a regular basis. I think it offers another alternative to what is going on in Jerusalem,” she says.
Kolker is optimistic about the way things are developing locally. “There is a kind of cultural revival happening in the city right now. There was a real dearth for three years, but now there are new places opening up, like Hamahsan in the center of town, which are injecting some young blood into the scene.”
Goldboim believes that the will and the talent are there, but the facilities are lacking. “There is some amazing artistic stuff going on in Jerusalem, but it is very hard. There is a strong desire to do something here, but there’s nowhere for young artists to work and develop.”
Goldboim and Kolker are certainly doing their bit for the local cultural cause and hope that Sweet Sixteen will get some momentum going.
“We want to provide young talented Jerusalemites with a place to show what they can do,” says Kolker, adding that the Third Ear is an ideal venue to provide the necessary impetus. “Blockbuster closed down, and there is only one branch of Videon left, but we offer more than lending movies here. It’s not just a bunch of clerks doing their work.
We all really love cinema and music, and we live and breathe culture. It is very important to all of us.”
The Third Ear also recently started selling secondhand LPs and CDs. “We want to expand what we offer here, and Sweet Sixteen is a good way to start,” says Kolker.
For more information: 054-466-2325 and 054-757-1175.