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“When the kids in Gal and Noa’s kindergarden wanted to play ‘Mom and Dad,’ Noa and Gal suggested that they play Dad and Dad, but the rest of the kids thought there was no such thing.” This is the opening sentence of the new children’s book, entitled ‘Noa’s Dads,’ that’s being released November 1st in Israel, based on the true story of the Pinkas-Arad family. “I wanted to give kids who grow up in new families the legitimate feeling that they belong to Israeli society,” grandmother Shosh Pinkas, who wrote the book, tells Israeli web magazine mako.
Sperm giving, egg donation, hormones, surrogate mothers, in vitro fertilization, transfer, are some of the terms that are related to the complicated (yet wonderful) process that gay couples go through on their way to expanding their families. While the subject can be difficult to digest for grownups, Pinkas has spent months of work in order to compile the process in an easy and light way that can be suitable for kids. “After many sleepless nights trying to find the right words, the book was born,” she says, and then explains that part of her long process included reading all of the sexual education books for children, and presenting the book to a psychologist who specializes in children of young ages.
For Lider — whose solo career in Israel includes four gold- and two platinum-selling albums — working with TYP is a change of pace. “It enables me to do something that I didn’t do in my own career, and that is to be a bit more trashy, a bit more direct,” he says.
Case in point: “Gucci Gun,” a meditation on online hook-ups, in which he sings, “Let’s go naked on the floor, just close the door and bring it on.” In “Dirty Pictures,” he promises to get creative with his camera: “I love it when you send me dirty pictures to my mail/ The room is full of people and I’m just smiling to myself,” he sings. “I’ll be going to the bathroom/ Return the favor, as they say.”
Lider wasn’t always this forward. In high school, the young basketball fanatic found it easy to fall in love with boys, but painfully difficult to make any moves. It wasn’t until he was 24 and already a successful musician that things changed — but only after another guy made the first move. Coming out to his family was a breeze.
“I was living with my mom, and one evening I didn’t come home, and the next day she called from work and just said, ‘Is it a girl or a guy?’ I said, ‘It’s actually a guy,’ and she said, ‘Oh, cool, there’s pasta in the fridge.’ With my family, it was that easy.”
Although all the songs on TYP’s debut album, Nine to Five, Five to Whenever, are propelled by wall-of-sound synths and beats, dancing is not the only thing on the band’s agenda. Lider’s engagement with the popular protests that erupted across the world in the wake of Occupy Wall Street comes through in songs such as “Wake Up,” a paean to the street marches that closed down Tel Aviv last year. “It was the biggest demonstration I can remember — we had tents in the main boulevard for a long time — and I think it influenced some of the collaborative spirit of TYP,” says Lider, adding that Israel’s domestic politics are more fascinating to him than the long-running external conflicts that have defined the country’s image abroad, and which most Israelis feel powerless to change.
“These days, I’m much more interested in the internal politics,” he says, “which will of course affect the external politics of Israel — I see a cultural war going on here between religious parties and those who are more Western-oriented and liberal.”
With glitter bombs like Nine to Five, Lider is putting himself squarely on the front lines of that fight.
Ivri Lider’s Tel Aviv Must List
Montefiore Bar and Restaurant: One of my favorite restaurants in Tel Aviv, on the ground floor of the Montefiore Hotel — super good food and a cool bar with a very nice atmosphere. 36 Montefiore St.;HotelMontefiore.co.il
Yarkon Park: Next to the Yarkon river in the north of the city — great for running or rowing, basketball, or just sitting next to the water. HotelMontefiore.co.il
Tazzo D’Oro: The best coffee in Tel Aviv is at this Neve Tzedek café with great, simple food. 6 Ehad Ha’am St.; TazzaDOro.rest-e.co.il
Tel Aviv Museum of Art: The new building is impressive inside and out. TYP had the privilege to perform at the opening ceremony. 27 Shaul Hamelech Blvd.; TAMuseum.com
One Bike Studio: A single-speed bike store in Tel Aviv. Yuval, the owner of the shop, is a real expert at taking old bikes and turning them into beautiful art works. 75 Frishman St.
After a clever competition to choose the itinerary – the dance brand La Demence have announced their 2013 cruise, which will ply its way from crisis-torn Athens to the increasingly gay-friendly Tel Aviv, where it will arrive just in time for Tel Aviv pride. The cruise will be stopping at the pretty Greek islands of Santorini and Patmos, and there will probably be organised excursions from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the Dead Sea. It should be very much a party atmosphere on board, and the parties each night promise to be full-on.
“We have all traveled and had to deal with bad situations at hotels or not having any inside information of what to do,” explains Cohen. “Now there’s no question. We know what gays like and where they want to be — in the center of it all. And at ease.” That attitude — not to mention a score of winking YouTube commercials that typically end with a near-naked Cohen sexing up your screen, often with the comedic assistance of Gila Goldstein, Israel’s first transsexual and a Rubenesque force of nature — has grown a base of 50 initial hosts to more than 2,500 properties in 360 cities and 64 countries around the globe. Not bad for a lark from four friends who met through a mutual gal pal at the beach. Event listings and city guides written by locals and jazzed up by personalities such as drag sensation Shequida add value beyond the beds, but Cohen credits community as the business’s real driving force. “If the world is six degrees of separation, gays have, like, two or three,” he says with a laugh. “I’ve partied with my guests. We’ve become friends. It’s like making the world a small village.” A gay village, if you will.
Bauhaus Architecture: Tel Aviv is known as the “White City” because of the many Bauhaus buildings. Check out the Bauhaus walking tour, starting at the former City Hall located on Bialik Street.
Hilton Hotel Beach: Tel Aviv is a beach town, and the gay beach is located behind the Hilton Hotel. There’s a beach bar as well, so you can stay well hydrated while you work on your tan.
Neve Tzedek: This bohemian neighborhood is one of the oldest parts of Tel Aviv, and it’s filled with great little shops, cafés, and restaurants. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped out of the city for a little while.
Gay Nightlife: Some of our best clubs include HaOman (“The Artist” in Hebrew), The Block, Lima Lima on a Monday night, and Drek.
Besides wanting to promote lesbian filmmakers, Anat Nir co-founded the ‘Lethal Lesbian Festival’ in 2008 with Dana Ziv and Lior Alphent because they put together quite a few Israeli lesbian projects that never found a way to a real mass audience. “At the beginning we didn’t think we were launching a yearly event,” says Anat. “It started because we had a few movies made by our friends and decided to present the works in a long ‘movie night’ event. In time we realized that this event can be a great stage for these creations, and can kick-start a wider recognition of lesbian Israeli filmmakers.”