Out and About: Top 10 things to do

The greatest love story ever told, starring... garden gnomes?; Negev Potato Festival for fans of spud dishes.

Potato Festival 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Potato Festival 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The greatest love story ever told, starring... garden gnomes? Shakespeare’s revered tale gets a comical, off-the-wall makeover. Directed by Kelly Asbury and showcasing both classic and original songs by Elton John, the film features the voices of James McAvoy and Emily Blunt as Gnomeo and Juliet, who have as many obstacles to overcome as their quasi namesakes when they are caught up in a feud between neighbors.
At selected cinemas throughout the country.
The Liat Dror Nir Bengal Dance Company has organized a two-day festival of dance and movement, most of which is taking place in the open space of the desert.
One can choose from a variety of workshops including free dance, yoga, Pilates and even juggling. There will also be classes and master classes with professional dancers from the Liat Dror Dance Company, as well as special dance workshops for children.
Runs today and tomorrow, Hangar Adama, Mitzpe Ramon, (08) 659-5190 or adama.org.il
Forty-three-year-old Cameroon-born multi-instrumentalist Richard Bona will front his quintet at the Performing Arts Center in Tel Aviv as part of Idan Raichel’s world music series. Bona is best known for his bass guitar playing and singularly mellifluous vocals but is adept at a wide range of instruments.
He has had eight albums released in the last 12 years and has umpteen projects running simultaneously across the globe.
Tomorrow, 9 p.m., www.israel-opera.co.il
Since 1999, Israeli group Rockfour has been prominent on the US indie music scene, with several successful tours and performances, including a supporting slot for the Dave Matthews Band. Critically, the band has also been lauded in the US and UK, with features in Rolling Stone and Q magazines, Entertainment Weekly, and a spot on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Catch these ambassadors of rock as they strut their stuff at Tel Aviv’s Barby Club. NIS 70/80.
Tonight, 10, Rehov Kibbutz Galuyot 52, (03) 518-8123.

One of the most unusual modern vocal groups, The Swingle Singers is known for innovative, jazz-inflected performances of everything from Bach keyboard works to songs of the Beatles. Formed in Paris during the early ’60s by American expatriate Ward Swingle, The Swingle Singers have won many Grammies including Best Performance by a Chorus. This week, the group returns to Israel to perform three shows throughout the country.
Wednesday through next Friday, www.brass-productions.com.

This year, the Israel Museum’s Ruth Youth Wing for Art Education is all about instructions: how to peel a banana, how to assemble a truck, how to prepare gefilte fish. A new family-oriented exhibition, Life: A User’s Manual, displays the works of prominent contemporary artists from Israel and abroad alongside objects from the Museum’s encyclopedic collections. Among the participating artists are Guy Ben-Ner, Marcel Duchamp, Damian Ortega, Andy Warhol and Yuval Yairi.
Ongoing at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, (02) 670-8811.
The Israeli Opera 26th season continues with a new production of Bellini’s Norma.
One of the most important early 19thcentury composers of Italian opera, Bellini wrote Norma while dogged by fear that there would be no theaters in which to stage it. Bellini’s fears turned out to be unfounded. The season at La Scala opened with Norma in 1831, and the opera has been in production ever since.
Based on a French tragedy by Alexandre Soumet, and set in Gaul, Norma is the eponymous tale of a druid priestess who falls in love with a Roman. Love leads – as it tends to do in opera – to rage, jealousy and revenge.
Runs today through Saturday, www.israelopera.co.il
Fans of fish and chips, mashed potatoes and any other form of spud dish might want to head off to the negev to catch the Potato Festival which takes place at Mitzpe Gvulot, near Kibbutz Gvulot, in the Besor Region, west of Beersheba.
Highlights include tours of potato fields, workshops, a farmers’ market and potato- based cooked dishes.
Today through Saturday, www.habsor.co.il
Keep kids entertained with a visit to the Yakum Adventure Playground in what is left of the Pessah vacation. The park’s circus-themed Pessah attractions, running through Tuesday, include acrobatic shows, juggling workshops and performances by Rinat Gabai of the popular Hop channel show Rinat and the Circus.
At Yakum Adventure Playground, 10 minutes north of Tel Aviv, (03) 691-2229
If you live by a Latin rhythm, be sure not to miss out on the ninth annual International Salsa Congress in Eilat. The summit will host thousands of professional salsa dancers from both Israel and abroad who will perform in the Brazilian, Cuban and hip-hop subgenres of salsa dance. Among the performers will be Israel's top salsa group, Walakata.
Runs next Thursday through Saturday, www.medsalsacongress.com.