Not really, but I thought it was a funny title.
After my hardest-working week ever, I was thrilled to be able to join my friend Danny and head out to Ha Te-atron (The Threatre Club), for a Gay Purim Dance Party called “Express Yourself.” This is the same venue where the bi-weekly party Big Boys is, that I’ve been to and written about on here. The difference was that Big Boys is for men 30 and older, and this was open to both sexes (but still a gay event), ages 24 and up.
I went as “70s Gay Workout Guy,” and my costume consisted of a 6-day-old pornstache I’ve been growing, my Jewfro hair I’ve been growing out, some really gay short-shorts I bought from Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet Tour and saving for exactly this kind of über gay happening, a too-tight t-shirt, headband, wristband and tube socks.
I’m awaiting pics from Danny and another friend, which I’ll add when I get them.
Let me just tell you – the costumes were serious and all get out !!! For secular adults in Israel, there’s almost no difference b/t Purim and Halloween. For kids, it’s a bit different – there’s no trick-0r-treating, and there’s no emphasis on macabre (no skeletons, witches, ghosts). But for the adults, it’s just an excuse to go to costume parties, exactly like in America.
And there were some super fierce and fun ones. I’ll post some pics, but they were taken w/my BlackBerry camera, so they ain’t great. I brought my real cam too, but left it in the car, b/c didn’t wanna bring two devices inside the club. The immediacy of Twitpic trumped the quality of pics for the long-term.
They played a lot of my favorites – Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Madonna, etc. My friends Russell and Eyal were there, too. Plus, I met a deliscious and big-hearted adorable college-student, who fancied me. Always nice what that that never happens. Had an outstanding celebratory time!
So different from how I spent my last Purim: picking up a repaired Lenovo laptop in an Orthodox neighborhood and watching the drunk Frums be idiots.
After working 12 hours straight on Friday and then still going out to see my friend Danna, I went out after that to a club called Ha’Oman 17. It was the 10th anniversary of the popular Israeli sex dating site Atraf that everybody knows and uses.
Holy shit, you guys! I had no idea this place existed. You mean they have bi-weekly gay dance parties here, alternating with the weeks Big Boys is off?
Where as Big Boys is fun and all, but has music that would be scoffed at by true clubbers as just literally spinning the baby pop hits, this was true, serious tribal house music that flowed and built upon itself and took the dancefloor on a journey. A shirtless journey, I might add. There was a second room of spinning, for the poppier crowd – although just like Andy Anderson’s awesome top room at Roxy circa 2000, it had all the twinks, chubs and fag hags in it. The real action was in the main room, where DJ Hector Romero was spinning.
There were plenty of tweakers – peeps on Meth or Ecstasy. You can tell by their tweaked out eyes. But no matter, I got into the awesome music and being in the center of all that Sexy Jewish Guy Israeli Shirtlessness. I can’t believe this party has been going on every other week, and I am only just finding out about it. Not that I’d want to go every week, but every now and then – fo’ sho.
I didn’t really meet anyone, but then I usually don’t meet guys in bars or clubs. Not for lack of trying; I just find that usually the guys I am really into aren’t into me, and conversely I get followed around by a pack o’ trolls I can’t get rid of. Although I may have had one or two bouts of dance floor kissing and/or dirty dancing. Here’s a buncha pix. I was tweeting and sending to Twitpic like a mofo. Not like I was removing myself from and missing out on the immediacy of my surroundings, more like feeling so happy I had to share it:
It was fascinating though – inside the club, I couldda been in New York. The beats were Grade A, and the boys were a step above what I’d find on the dance floor in New York, at least for my tastes. But, then you’d step outside, and we were like in some industrial alley that looked like….well, the Middle East. Plus, do you have to pass through metal detectors when you go clubbing?
Around 7am, I got my jacket and left the club….almost. I got outside and heard a souped up version of “We Are Family” come on, to re-energize the floor now that the smaller room had closed and the separate crowds were coming together. Like any good Gay, I 180°d and went back inside. Danced for like another hour. Fun, fun times!
Leaving a club after hours of shirtless beats, fierce lighting and dangerous dBs and entering into the tranquility of a new dawn is a really special moment, I’ve always found – a real sweet spot. Something about traveling thru the wormhole of intense tribal dance journey into the calm promise of a fresh day is just presh. Of course, it’s also the reason God invented shades. I snapped these pics on my bike ride home.
I was totes ready to sleep all day. But my boy Pete needed to go out, as he was at the upper range of his bladder capacity after being crated for nearly 8 hours. Plus, since he had just gotten a ton of rest, a walk around the block wasn’t going to cut it. If I wanted to really get some shut eye, I was going to have to tire him out. So, I armored up with the shades, and we went to the dog park for an hour. Mission accomplished. We both crashed upon returning, and got up around 8:30 p.m.
I was delivered after a week of entirely too much work. Thank you, God.
Filed under: Work | Tags: broadcasting, gay, gay middle east, gaymiddleeast.com, TV news
Look, I’m not embarrassed by them, but I also don’t think these are good enough to send as links to the producers of the English-language evening newscast here in Israel. With no budget or teleprompter, I am reading the stories from a script in my hand. My head is bobbing up and down faster than Pamela Anderson in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ locker room. But it’s OK. Next time we are going to try a creative solution – slowly filming us moving the script upwards in front of the camera, then playing it back on a monitor next to the camera when we record me. Makeshift teleprompter!
Stick the popcorn in the microwave for these. But don’t take a sip of water before pressing play – you might just do aspit-take.
Filed under: Cool Things, Work | Tags: broadcasting, gay, Silvano Orsi, TV news
On top of both my jobs, this week I did a third job, albeit one that didn’t pay me anything. I mentioned it already on here; it’s sort of combination news writer/reporter/anchor work for GayMiddleEast.com. GME is a news-aggregator site for LGBT stories from throughout the Middle East. I’m part of a new project for them, where we’re creating original video content from the stories on the site and posting it on YouTube. You never know – there’s at least one English-language newscast in Israel, and I’m sure the talent pool for native English-speakers with broadcasting skills is pretty small…who knows – maybe this will be the thing that pops, and I’ll wind up the Israeli Anderson Cooper.
One of the videos we’re working on is an interview with Silvano Orsi. It’s a pretty incredible story. In 2003 Orsi, an American citizen, was chilling in a 5-star hotel restaurant in Geneva, Switzerland, when Sheikh Falah al-Nahyan – the brother of the President of the United Arab Emirates – came up to him and started hitting on him hardcore. When Orsi turned him down (he’s not gay), the Sheik sent over a $500 bottle of champaign. When Orsi turned him down again, the Sheik whipped the shit out of him in front of everybody in the hotel bar with a heavy metal belt buckle. Orsi tried to get away to another room, and then to the reception desk to call for help, and each time the Sheik followed him and whipped him with the belt buckle in his face all over again. Because the Swiss didn’t wanna piss off UAE royalty, they confiscated Orsi’s cell phone, refused to call the police for him, and kept him against his will at the hotel until 3:00 a.m. Anyway, that’s just the beginning of the story – but already, WTF, right ???
GME.com’s Shabi Gatenio (who’s, I guess, my boss in this non-paying gig; but actually more like my friend) interviewed Orsi over Skype last month. This week, we videotaped me outside the Swiss embassy reporting on part of the story. Then, today at Shabi’s house, we videoed me in front of a green screen asking questions that will be edited together with Orsi’s interview. We also recorded a separate news brief of six LGBT stories from around the Middle East the last six months.
Now, look: there wadn’t no tellyprompter; I had to look down at the pages I was holding a lot. Our budget was less than what a pack of cigarettes cost in New York City these days. But, like I said, what if this explodes into a new career for me here? Israel’s a very “small pond;” it is entirely within the realm of possibility. Also, think of all the LGBTs throughout the Middle East – many of whom are educated and speak English – they’ll get some validation seeing their issues broadcast in this Internet video coverage. Also, people from around the world looking for these stories will find our coverage online. What I’m getting at is: drawing attention to the many abuses inflicted upon LGBTs in this region is a very worthwhile service to be providing. I’m proud and happy to do it!
Oh, what’s with the title of this post? Funny joke from the classic movie Airplane II: The Sequel.
…the soundtrack is a disc called “Techno Arabia.” (Classic Arabic songs set to a beat.)
The morning after the Big Boys Xmas Party, I slept pretty late, like until noon. When I got up I saw that my friend Russell had called me twice and txt’d me once. I called him back, and was happy to receive his invitation to join him, his husband Avi and some of their other friends for brunch that afternoon. After eating, they were going to watch a Lebanese movie on DVD about a bunch of women who hang out in the same beauty shop.
I had planned to blog all day, because I was going to an Israeli Blogger’s Evening that night, and wanted to have fresh content up. So, I said I would be over for brunch but not stay for the movie.
I was the first one to arrive. Avi was finishing up the cooking and preparations. He prepared three different quiches, a salad, and a spicy pasta salad. Yummers McYum!
A nice gay couple (one Israeli, one Muslim Arab) and nice guy (Christian Arab) I had seen last night at Big Boys were the other guests. We were pretty diverse! An interesting twist was that the couple were BFFs with the new Oleh I didn’t quite get started with. They asked if I’d like to come out with them + the Oleh. Well, duh!
Good times with the א List Gays.
After bowling, we got some grub at Karnaf, which was delicious and probably the closest I will come in Israel to experiencing my beloved and jonesed-for Chipotle. Then, I dashed home to take Petey for a quick walk and set off on my bike to The Theatre Club in Jaffo for the Big Boys party.
You’ll see in my next iGoogled column when it comes out tomorrow that yesterday was a really significant anniversary for me. One year ago on Christmas, I arrived in Israel for the very first time. I was here for a two-week vacation, but we all know now that I wound up making Aliyah as soon as I returned home on January 9, and quickly returned as an Oleh Chadash (new immigrant) on March 1, 2009.
As I wrote the iGoogle piece yesterday, I was playing Xmas music. I actually haven’t been missing “the holidays” (Xmas, New Years) as we typically celebrate them this time of year in the US. I’ve been getting the holiday theme from American websites and blogs I read regularly, so it hasn’t flown under my radar. And then, I also really enjoy the bizzaro aspect of life in Israel, meaning that – I really enjoy being part of the Majority, where the dominant holiday is not Christmas; it’s Hanukkah. Token menorahs are not tacked onto ubiquitous Xmas displays; it’s Christmas trees that are the token inclusionary symbol. In fact, I really didn’t see one at all in Israel the whole month of December.
But then, as I was writing yesterday, I one-eighty’d and suddenly wanted to hear all secular carols – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, The Christmas Song, Frosty the Snowman, etc. And I really enjoyed singing them out loud on my bicycle as I passed by people on the sidewalk. I was getting off on the contrarian aspect of it, as well as feeling a resurgence of my inner American, which of course I still am and will always be.
So, who does celebrate Christmas in Israel? I don’t mean the birth of Jesus and all that shiz. I mean the good secular, commercial, pagan stuff – Santa, the North Pole, Rudolph, elves.
The Gays, that’s who !!!
Big Boys was completely done up with Christmas trees everywhere, Santa bartenders and red & white cap adorned GoGo Boys. 🙂 It was really fun, and I danced up a storm with my friends Russell, Shabi and all the other hot mens.
Here’s a few more shots from the dance floor:
As I wrote about a few weeks ago in my iGoogledIsrael column, while there are resident gay bars in TLV, a lot of the nightlife scene revolves around independently promoted parties that happen weekly in usually straight venues. Big Boys is one of these that happens in a big space in Jaffo called The Theatre Club. The “big” in the title refers to men over 30, not bears.
Serious gay clubbers would scoff at the music. It’s not pro-spinning for sure, though we do have that in Israel. There are huge after-hours parties with “real” DJs like Offer Nissim who spin the latest original mixes with creative transitions, etc. This isn’t that. It’s mainly europop and dancepop like GaGa, Madonna, and Beyonce, and I’m cool with that. As for the guys, it’s a bit like shopping at Marshall’s: there are good finds there, but you have to look through a lot of crap to find them. Plus, I like that unlike most bars in Tel Aviv, they don’t allow smoking inside.
Anyway, I met my friend Danny there last Friday night, and we met up with our friends Russell and Avi, and then I met a new Oleh who turned out to be from my exact small town in suburban Philly (We Are! U.D.!), and the music was pretty good.
This shot is from my BlackBerry cam on the dancefloor.