February fun

Sheon Horef offers a month of Monday entertainment at some unexpected venues.

The ‘Food as Art’ exhibition (photo credit: Courtesy)
The ‘Food as Art’ exhibition
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Instigators of festivals and other cultural offerings tend to express the hope that the new venture will become “a tradition” – in other words, that it will survive its debut and subsequently become an annual fixture. The winter event Sheon Horef has certainly achieved that fundamental goal.
Now about to take place for the fourth year running, the lineup for the four Mondays through February provides undeniable evidence that Sheon Horef is well and truly on the Jerusalem, and national, cultural map.
The roster of events – the vast majority of which are free or very low-priced – is both quantitatively and qualitatively impressive, and the organizers have clearly done their homework, setting out to appeal to as wide a cross-section of the public as possible in terms of cultural orientation and age group.
Sheon Horef is the brainchild of the Jerusalem Municipality’s Young Adult Authority and, as such, the authority’s Media and Production Department head Yonatan Striers was instrumental in compiling the eclectic artistic content. Striers is delighted the venture is gaining a good head of steam. “I’d say this has become the authority’s flagship project,” he declares. “It has really taken off.”
Since its inception, Sheon Horef has not only aimed to appeal to as broad a cultural and artistic consumer hinterland as possible, it has always been very much about setting out its stall at street-level. To that end, the organizers have taken great pains to go for locations frequented by all and sundry, rather than running events in the more cloistered environs of the city’s established cultural centers. True, this year’s roster does include the Zappa- Hasadna-Justice Club complex, but that is the four-week finale afterparty, not part of the main evening schedule.
This year’s Monday evening/night offerings will take place in four spots around the capital. These include the area on and around Havatzelet Street, and some left-field-oriented venues around Shushan Street, which also take in Shlomzion Hamalka Street – where Striers and I met – Yanai Street and Koresh Street, with an intriguing Soviet throwback evening of song slated for the nearby Putin Bar on Jaffa Road.
There are also two geographic newcomers to the Sheon Horef roster.
“We have added two locations this year,” notes Striers – the first of which, one would have thought, is a given.
“There’s the [Mahaneh Yehuda] market, which is a natural place for Sheon Horef, where we’ll have the first event. The last event will be on Yad Harutzim Street [in Talpiot], near the building of the Sam Spiegel [Film & Television] School and the [School of] Visual Theater, and all the big hangars.”
There can’t be many Jerusalemites who are not cognizant of the fact that, over the last few years, Mahaneh Yehuda has become one of the city’s leading cultural and leisure time hotspots. After the stall owners shut up shop and wend their weary way home, the market’s alleyways and adjoining side streets are gradually taken over by revelers of all ages – who head for the motley collection of bars, cafes and restaurants, and groove to the alfresco musical entertainment.
“We waited until this year to use the shuk because there are now more enterprises there that can benefit from having events held at, and in the vicinity of, their place,” Striers explains. “A year or two ago there would have been five to 10 businesses in and near the shuk that would have benefited; now, there are many more.”
While getting on down at the market has become a Thursday-night fixture and signals the start of the weekend, Striers says Sheon Horef’s street-level ethos is very much about generating new income avenues for local proprietors. “We have the events on Mondays because the store and stall owners don’t need our help on a Thursday, they already have plenty of customers then. We want to help them, not get in their way.”
The four-week program mind-set, says Striers, feeds off several tenets. “We want to strengthen the various areas where the events are held. If we take Sheon Horef to Shushan Street, it’s a statement – there are things happening on Shushan Street, and there are places for culture there.”
“We also want to give the artists a boost. There are over 400 artists involved in Sheon Horef, the majority of whom are Jerusalemites,” Striers adds with pride, proffering some eyecatching tangible evidence of the artistpromotion side of the venture.
“Look at this,” he says, handing me a copy of the Sheon Horef program, the cover of which is graced by a funky-looking design created by now- Barcelona-based Israeli artist Elna Gurvitz, a.k.a. ELNA. “That’s even before you open the program to take a look at the things that are happening,” adds Striers. Each section of the program, devoted to the each of the four locations, is prefaced by a similarly funky aesthetic ELNA creation.
Naturally, the bottom line is what Striers and his Young Adult Authority cohorts, Yoram Braverman and Ofra Abramson, have set up for our entertainment and elucidation over the coming month.
The choices appear to be boundless, and include hands-on activities, musical offerings of various ilks and all sorts of surprising items happening at seemingly incongruous venues.
While one might naturally assume that bars, cafes and other eateries would be the automatic choice for Sheon Horef slots, Striers begs to differ. One of the more esoteric items on the agenda will take place on the third Monday, February 16, at the Charlotte Antique Objects store on Koresh Street. “There will be someone there who will hold a voice vibration therapy session,” he explains. “She will shout at you and she will decipher your condition through what she gets back from you.” Sounds eminently healthy and relaxing.
Meanwhile, just down the road, Koresh Gallery will host an exhibition that examines the relationship between Barbie dolls and self-image, and our social and environmental standing.
There will also be an arts-and-crafts fair on the street, and hearty and healthy ambiance on-offer at the Marakia, while the Hamazkeka alternative music venue will proffer a wide range of musical sounds and sensibilities.
Yad Harutzim will also keep locals and visitors from further afield engaged and engrossed with a table tennis competition; open performing arts sessions; and tidbits from a variety of dance styles and story sessions, at which the audience will be regaled with tales of various Jerusalem venues and personalities, from the Abraham Hostel to Mayor Nir Barkat’s highly successful participation in the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally. Add to that a lecture about the so-called 27 Club – pop and rock stars who died at the age of 27 – a lip-sync contest, a top-rate gastronomic slot with Tzachi Buksheshter and the Make-Your-Own-Booze workshop at the Haschena bar near the shuk, and you end up with a well-rounded, fun and intriguing lineup that should keep one and all duly on-board the Sheon Horef roller-coaster.
And that’s even before you hit the after-hours afterparty scene…
For more information: www.jerusalem.muni.il