Crazy Ozzy

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Ozzy Osbourne performed in Israel last night as part of his farewell tour. The 70-year-old rocker kicked all fucking ass, and I was blown away by just how hard a 70-year-old dude can rock. He started off with Bark at the Moon which got me going right from the start.

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Before he came on, there was a performance by Orphaned Land which I had absolutely no interest in. Since they started incorporating Middle Eastern instrumentation and vocals in their songs, I was interested in them even less.

I was not surprised by the crowd, but it was still a great feeling to see that most of it was made up of old people. Many of the concerts we go to, I find myself surrounded by kids, adolescent kids, pre-army or fresh out of the army, and it makes me feel old. But last night, at the Ozzy show, gray hair was all around.

The Prince of Fucking Darkness kept encouraging the crowd to scream louder and louder, so losing my voice was inevitable, especially as I had spent the past couple of days coughing my lungs out for god knows what reason. And songs like Crazy Train, War Pigs, and Fairies Wear Boots got me headbanging till my neck felt like a limp noodle. The last song, Paranoid, even got me jumping around.

Due to my coughing fits of the last two days, I also didn’t get any sleep, and I was tired as fuck when we got to the park where the show took place. But Ozzy was so phenomenal that I forgot all about my exhaustion and proceeded to “going fucking crazy” as Ozzy is wont to say.

Also the light show that accompanied every song got me all woozy. At some point, I actually wished for a toke. I can only imagine what the light show coupled with the amazing music would have done to me if I was high.

The only thing I didn’t like about the show was the guitar. More specifically, the guitarist, Zakk Wylde. I mean, fine, he’s talented, we got that. But goddamnit, this was an OZZY  show, not a Zakk Wylde one and not a Black Label Society one. And his solos just drilled into my brain and I was getting bored and restless. Suddenly, I started wishing for Slash to go onstage and replace him. Slash played with Ozzy when we saw him at Hellfest in 2012 and that was amazing. Slash plays in a way that makes you say “WHOA” without him shredding the fucking strings and without using his teeth and WITHOUT TAKING OVER THE SHOW THAT BELONGS TO OZZY! Zakk Wylde, take note.

But besides that, the show owns.

I got home all sweaty, with the humid Rishon air still stuck to my skin. Said humid air also did a number on my hair and the headbanging just added to that number. I don’t know how anybody can live in the Center, seriously.

I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough so that I could bring her with me to concerts and show her what good music really is.

Peace, love and ALL ABOARD!!!!!!!!

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Music for the People

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So these past two days, I focused on two Folk Metal bands – Arafel and Vogelfrey. Arafel, from Tel Aviv, Israel, sings in English and Russian, and Vogelfrey, from Hamburg, Germany, sings in the love-of-my-life German. And we got two sweeping 5/5’s!

ArafelDay 14:
Arafel – Second Strike: Through the Flames of the Ages (5/5)
This band unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore, but I was lucky enough to see them live in Jerusalem a few years ago at the Yellow Submarine, during a metal night called Battle for Jerusalem. Then I discovered the last CD they released, For Battles Once Fought, which I find is the best thing to ever come out of Israel’s metal scene. So for Fun-a-Day, I decided to give one of their earlier albums a shot. Again, finding it for download was impossible, so I settled for streaming, and my love for this album was as immediate as it was for Battles. They way they incorporate the violin and the keyboard with the black elements of blast beats and pig squeal vocals is unreal. Every time the violin kicked in, I felt shivers down my spine and exclaimed with glee “I have got to get my hands on a copy of this! FUCK!!” In some songs, the pig squeals were accompanied with guttural growls, sometimes the violin melody accompanied and doubled the guitar solo, giving the songs a dimension that is incomparable in any other band. Terrific arrangements. Phenomenal vocals. Perfect record.

VogelfreyDay 15:
Vogelfrey – Zwolf Schritte zum Strick (5/5)
I remember streaming a couple of their songs on YouTube before my husband and I went to Wacken in 2014. And I loved their songs so much I just had to check out a full album. If I haven’t already said it, let me reiterate: I. FUCKING. LOVE. GERMAN!!! It just sounds so perfect with any metal sub-genre. And Vogelfrey sings only in German. It’s pure folk, but some of their songs are also heavy and rugged. And though most of their songs have clean vocals, they don’t sound like fucking boy bands as other clean vocal metal bands tend to sound. Plus, they include growls that sometimes seem to come out of nowhere, and this twist makes their songs into sheer metal rollercoaster rides. I also love how they sometimes sound like Melechesh with their quasi-Middle Eastern beats, with distorted guits and double-bass drum beats. Listening to their songs, I wanted to get up and start bellydancing while headbanging at the same time.  Feed that corpse to the birds, bitch. Fucking LOVE Vogelfrey!

Peace, love and Folk Metal for all Metalfolk

Bang to the Beat of the Gun

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Yesterday, I read the final story from a book my friend got me for my birthday – The Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsabari. Not a book I would pick to read on my own, but my friend sent it to me and I said I’d give it a shot, and was pleasantly surprised.

Anyway, the last story of the book, titled as the book, includes a part where the character describes the difference between living in Israel and living anywhere else. She says that the quiet that saturates every other part of the world (or particularly the place where she was at the time) feels lonely and boring. In a stark contrast to the noise and the stress of daily life in Israel. She says that maybe it’s the fact that in Israel, there is the ever-present shadow of death lurking everywhere, the fact that you can die at any moment that makes this place so fast-paced and so loud.

In another story, the author also depicts life everywhere else as safe and comfortable. But that it only depends on how one perceives it, because safe and comfortable can also be described as utterly boring.

This is how I view it. When I lived in Montreal, nothing moved. Everything was quiet, everyone kept silent and to themselves, nothing moved, and I was bored and depressed and I couldn’t stand it.

Moving to Israel, I was thrilled by the excitement and the flow of events. How people appeared to be moving together and thinking together without even noticing it. How people would all stop together whenever there was a siren on Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron, and how life suddenly resumed when the siren stopped. Also how traffic and pedestrians stopped flowing into the street when there was a suspicious object in the area, and how they spilled back into the streets when the danger was removed. And how complete strangers suddenly become your only safety net when you all congregate in a safe space during a siren. How danger, fear and tragedy brings together people from different backgrounds, descents, origins, cultures, and yes, even religions.

During these times in Jerusalem, we all stare at each other to make sure the other person is of no threat. When a suspicious person walks onto a bus, again, this sense of togetherness comes through – everyone shifts together, everyone fumbles in their purse or pocket for a self-defense object (pepper spray, gun, a blunt object).

Stuff like that never happened in Montreal. In Montreal, you had to look for your community and your safety net, and even they might not want to join in your fear and may not care about your tragedy. This is the loneliness of a quiet place. The boredom in the overwhelming lack of danger.

One day in our office, we had a wave of clients waiting in the hall. A Muslim family walked in, facial expressions changed at once, the wave shifted back, the two people who owned a gun reached for it, all at the same time, everyone on high alert in a heartbeat. It was like some kind of morbid dance. But it’s through this dance and this atmosphere where I felt most at home. It was like I found my entire extended family, my true safety net, the only people I can trust no matter how sketchy and disappointing some of these people can be in other areas of life. In this one thing – danger – we all stand together, move, think and speak together. Because you can die at any moment, and you must dance with the crowd in order to survive.

I also wrote about this in my upcoming zine. I said that safe and comfortable are not adjectives that are usually used in the same sentence as Israel. But that is where I feel safe and comfortable. I know the dance, I learned the steps, I know what to expect and what’s expected of me.

I love this place. I love the noise, the stress, the danger, the fear, the excitement, the love and the hate. It’s the mindset you learn to accept – taking the bitter with the sweet, the life with the death – and appreciate every moment.

Peace, love and war and hate.

My Feminist Dick

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Yesterday, I started writing a zine about my trip to Salem and the Boston Zine Fest. At some point, I recalled a conversation I had with my friend about the common mispronunciation of the word “zine” and suddenly came up with this:

Any person who pronounces that word as “za-in” would not think anything of it. UNLESS they were Israeli/Hebrew-speakers. As the word “za’in” in Hebrew can mean the seventh letter of the alphabet, the number seven and another word for “weapon”, it is most commonly used as the Hebrew pejorative for penis…

A dick is a weapon, right? Both are operated pretty much the same way – point and shoot. However, one is used in the creation of life, while the other one is used in taking it away.

Either way, don’t you think it would be kind of off to refer to my FEMINIST publication as a dick?

And so! if you want to talk to me about my zine, and not my dick or my weapon (neither of which I have), kindly pronounce it properly. It’s ZEEN. Say it with me: ZEEEEEEN!

Peace, love and I would really prefer if you referred to my zine as an ass. A BADass!

Of Men and Eagles

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Recently, Bust Magazine posted this piece about “manspreading” – the habit that some men have of spreading their legs so wide on public transit that they sometimes take up two seats.

The point that the article makes is strong and I agree with most of it. I, too, have suffered the wrath of men’s long legs on buses, pushing me to the edge of my seat and forcing me to squish up against one of the windows on the bus.

However, the video that they posted shows that the man is not only spreading his legs but also takes up an extra seat by putting his bag on it. That, my friends, has nothing to do with manspreading.

I think it’s a question of communication between people and how it differs from region to region, country to country, depending on people’s mentality in that particular place. I’m just speaking from my own personal experience in Montreal, Canada and Jerusalem, Israel – two separate countries, two completely different mentalities.

For example, in Montreal, if a dude puts his bag on the seat next to him, chances are people will just let that pass because actually approaching a stranger and asking him to move his bag so that you can sit is simply not something that you do (unless you’re an Israeli like me or you got guts). The man is a stranger. You do not talk to strangers. You don’t even acknowledge their presence. I remember riding the bus or the metro in Canada, people would not even make the slightest eye contact. Everyone would suddenly find their shoes extremely fascinating and stare at them during the entire ride. Same thing would happen on elevators.

In Israel, however, people don’t give a shit. If you are sitting on the bus with your bag taking up an extra seat, nobody would have a problem coming up to you and asking you to move your bag. Some may even do it politely: “Is this seat taken?” or “May I sit here?” That’s because the mentality in Israel says that there is no such thing as personal space and there is certainly no such thing as “object” space and if you are riding with heavy ass luggage, you should have stored your bag in the luggage compartment or on yourself.

This issue of no personal space is indeed a problem when it comes to actual manspreading when bags are not involved. So yes, squishing up on windows is wont to happen in Israel, too.

Another thing, I’ve noticed that if a man is manspreading, it may not necessarily be because his balls are too big, but rather because his legs are too long. That is something I’ve noticed with my husband when we ride on the bus. My husband is a tall dude, probably over 180 cm, and his legs definitely reflect that. His femur is twice the size of mine. So when we sit on the bus, it’s rare to find a seat where the seat in front of us is far enough for my man to sit comfortably without manspreading his way to a split. Maybe on the subway it’s a different issue. I guess we’ll find that out when we travel to the States in June.

The major problem in Jerusalem, and I think it’s the same in every Israeli city with a significant religious population, is that if you’re a chick and you see an orthodox dude sitting on the bus with an empty seat next to him, you should not sit next to him. The orthodox reasoning for that stupid more is that if a woman sits next to a man and they are not married, a hard-on may occur and that is a sin.

Now, most buses in Jerusalem have a sign that reads “Every passenger is entitled to sit where they choose (unless in places marked for people with physical disabilities). Harassing a passenger on this matter may be grounds for criminal offense.” Or something along those lines. So technically, you can play the dumb tourist and sit next to the dude. He might say something, or he might just do the polite thing and go sit elsewhere or just stand up.

But there are some buses – mainly those that drive to and from settlements around Jerusalem like Beitar Eilit or Gush Etzion – that fall under the category of “Mehadrin” buses. A funny term, usually associated with dietary laws, to refer to something that is very kosher. It’s just a better way of saying that this bus is fucking segregated! That’s right, men sit in the front, and women are relegated to the back. Now THAT, my friends, is MANSPREADING!

I dare anyone in the diaspora to find a single man who can manspread so wide that he takes up half a bus, and sends all women to the very back. You can’t. And Mehadrin buses or Mehadrin subways do not exist in the diaspora.

Therein lies the real problem. Men will be men living in a by-men-for-men world and will keep manspreading to their hearts’ content, not that I’m justifying it or anything. But the real problem, where I come from, is when men start segregating women completely. There is word that they are actually starting to do that also on international flights. El-Al is screwed.

Lucky for me, I’m married. So if my meaty metalover decides to manspread, I will have no problem stretching out my legs and put them right on top of his. I do that all the time anyway – on the bus, at a bar, on the dinner table, even when we’re home, sitting on the couch, watching TV – and it’s comfy as hell!

Peace, love and I manspread too, and with pride!

Jerusalem and Zine

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I started my search for Jerusalemite zinesters again. Every once in a while, I go through a wave of hope and inspiration and start searching again. This is a period of telling myself “Well, it’s been a while since I last looked for zinesters in my area and failed to find any. Perhaps since then, things have changed.”

The first thing I do is Google “zine” and “Jerusalem” and all that comes up is my own website, some interviews people had with me, and a link to my defunct zine Fallopian Falafel (and nothing about my current zine Purple Myrtle Squeegy, which is pretty frustrating. Goddamn site is getting no traffic).

The second thing I do is look up for the search terms in Hebrew (changing the word “zine” to the full version “fanzine” because zine written in Hebrew letters can point me to some unwanted porn sites). But then, all that comes up are forums about fanzines in Tel Aviv and some zine fairs that took place several years ago, also in Tel Aviv. Nothing to do with Jerusalem zines, indie art or DIY culture at all.

Then I look up for related groups or pages around in Facebook, write messages, post posts on Jerusalem community sites, try to reach out to organizations who may be interested. Still nothing.

So anyway, I decided to give all this another shot. Somehow I simply refuse to believe I am the ONLY zinester living in Jerusalem. I know for a fact, I am not the only American living in Jerusalem. Far from it. So from all this mass of American Jerusalemites, I am bound to find someone who is as enthusiastic about zines, or at least about some indie DIY art, as I am. Right?

So here’s another one of my attempts to build a DIY community in Israel’s Capital, and post a call for fellow artists/zinesters:

In case the reader of this post happens to be an artist, writer, zinester, comics writer, or simply interested in talking about and learning more about DIY culture and zines, please get in touch with me! You can do so by commenting on this post or write me an email at fallopian.falafel@gmail.com.

I want to have a chance to get together with like-minded folk for regular nights of zine-production or art-production. Anyone is welcome – men, women, religious or not, Anglos or Hebrews, right- or left-wingers… talent is optional, inspiration is mandatory!

Peace, love and DIYers Unite!

Saved by the Divinity

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The war in Israel is still going on and the anti-Israel world is still going shithouse. As if this wasn’t predictable.

But I recently realized something amazing. If I had been accepted to that German internship that I applied for last year, I would be in Germany now, along with other Israelis who may very well be extreme leftists and a group of Palestinians who may also be anti-Israel, and I would be in the midst of an extremely charged political climate which causes Europeans to gravitate to the anti side rather than the pro. And I would be utterly miserable. I mean,  in devastatingly sheer and complete misery. And I would be in it for a full six months. That’s besides the fact that I would worry myself into psychological oblivion thinking about my family in Be’er Sheva under constant fire and missing my boyfriend and my dog.

However! As if I needed any further proof of the Mother Goddess’s existence, She saved me from this misery and borderline insanity by making the organizers decline my application for the program. And now I am in Israel, which is truly the only place in the world where I can feel safe as a Zionist Jew and support my troops with pride.

As I am still going to Germany from July 29 to August 7, I will most likely be forced to hide my identity. I am even inclined to speak to my boyfriend in English during our stay in Europe, which is rather upsetting to say the least. But at least it will be for only 10 days and not six months. And then, I will return to Israel in one piece and resume my unyielding support for my country and its armed forces.

May the Goddess see Her Chosen People through it all.

Peace, love and amen.