Archive for the 'activism' Category


Art VS Porn – Israel’s gay magazine breaks all taboos

Posted by okt 10 2012

Revolutionarry, übercool, and cutting edge in many ways: that’s all what it’s takek to describe Israel’s underground gay magazine. After all not so many publisher can allow itself to promote raw, un-manipulated beauty on controversial photos, exposing naked bodies of every kind of Israeli men. Boys, bears, queens and gym bunnies are all happy to strike a pose in front of Dror Amsallem’s camera – the man behind the Bayad phenomenon.

The Bayad magazine is on the fine line of art and pornography, yet you get to sell it in museums, fancy bookstores and cinematic festivals. How did you convince everyone that naked boys and erotic novels are more on the “art” side?

Most people would probably say that art start’s to become porn when it comes to a hard penis. What I think is that it doesn’t matter if it’s erecting or not, what counts is the concept, and what the picture represents from a social point of view. We also present illustrations, poems, and interviews and all this is what pulls it more to the art side.

Israel has a history of gay magazines blossoming for a few years, and closing down. What will make Bayad’s story different?

First of all what makes it different is that it’s by me. More over: as we come out four times a year, we constantly available for our readers at the Bayad blog and the social networks. We’ll survive.

Who would you say is a typical reader of yours? Where do you get your subscribers from?

As most of our models are Israelis, our subscribers are usually men who are really into our kind of beauty. Bayad is a great way to understand and read the gay community of Tel Aviv and because of this I’d say our readers are everyone, who just love Israeli men.

I know you are celebrating every issue with a big party, and you often have a specific. How does the crowd react to the non-conventional party settings?

People are crazy about it, our parties are always very popular and as they are open for the public, they are often talked about in the city the night after… or a few nights after. The host of the event usually dresses up in rather unusual outfits: last time it was a thorn hospital gown with opened back. He had a white mask on and he was going around the bar, sharing giveaways our guests.

Who are these guys who appear in the magazine? Clearly not professional models.

Almost never. The main concept of Bayad magazine is to present regular people as they are. We don’t need them to go to the gym, remove their hair, and we don’t use airbrush. We want guys on the pictures who everyone can identify with. Boys, who could walk in front of you on the street.

You seem to promote “down to earth” beauty over manipulated and perfectionist beauty. Is this a mission of yours?

I’m working as a graphic designer, often for clients from the fashion industry and when people ask me to do everything “prettier” than the reality, I do it, but I don’t agree with it. I personally think being who you really are brings out the beauty of the people, and not photo shop.

How does your family react to your passion and profession? I’m not sure a typical Jewish mum would be happy to show this magazine to the neighbours, saying “look, my son is doing this, I’m so proud”.

They don’t really know about it… and I want to keep it that way.

What is the inspiration behind the Rosh Hashanah-photo shooting? A religious guy, naked, wearing only a yamaka, munching apples on the hills of Jerusalem…

I got a mail from this religious guy, who really wanted to be in the magazine, and I realized he was perfect for the concept. As a Jewish guy I grew up experiencing the holidays every year the very same way, so I thought: why not to show our Mitzva in a different way?

Are you aware of it that you might upset people? Do you like to provoke?

No, I don’t like to provoke. I do what I think will look interesting and beautiful. We are an underground magazine and we don’t try to please people who have “main stream” expectations. And our readers are used to it that we are shameless.

Your short movie about your grandmother’s story in the holocaust is included in the program of a documentary film festival in Berlin. Congrats and tell us about the film.

The film tells the tale of my grandmother and her brother’s childhood in Tunis, living under the Nazi regime during the World War II., interweaving the personal and historical events. We get to know the story from my grandmother’s point of view while her brother was incarcerated and forced to work in the concentration camp of Bizerte. I created it as the final project in my studies and it ended up being presented in some international film fests. It made my granny very happe… and it made me “The Grandson Of The Year”.

Subscribe here, or visit the magazine’s Facebook page. This article of mine was written for Time Out Israel’s September issue, 2012.

 

 

 

No war with Iran! Or at least let us die happy…

Posted by márc 15 2012

Whoever thinks that word peace could ever come from war clearly never understood the meaning of love. But Madonna’s new single (the one with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. screaming “L.U.V.”) made it’s way to changing the world as Israeli art student, Kobi Zvili (28) took the words of the pop goddess and turned it into an anti-war online regime against Israel’s planned attack of Iran. Will Madonna fans save the Middle East? 

Madonna art work by Kobi

A few days ago Madonna’s Israeli team announced it on a major press conference: the material mum is starting her world tour in Tel Aviv. While most tickets have been sold in pre-sales, not getting a ticket is not the only fear Israeli Madonna fans are now facing. Since so many artists (like the Klaxons, Pixies and Gorillaz) have cancelled their Israeli shows in the past because of government tensions, the fans are now concerned: will Madonna follow their lead? Will the show be called off in case of a possible war with Iran? Kobi Zvili asked himself this question before he created a Facebook group, where he asked Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to please not attack Iran, or if he must, at least not before the long waited Madonna concert. I met up with the super creative pop-peace activist on a sunny day in Tel Aviv to give you this exclusive interview.

First of all you are a genius. My only problem is that it’s not easy to find your site?

I know, when I created the group I really did it as a joke. I had no idea it will blow up the Internet. This is why I made the title in Hebrew, and it turns out after two hundred “likes” you can’t change the name of the group.

How did your idea became a global phenomenon?

I was just watching it happening, on the first two days it was only some friends and me, and when a friend of a friend mentioned it in a local newspaper, all the big papers and magazines started to run the story.

Did you get any reaction from anyone special? Maybe from Madonna or Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu? 

Nothing from the prime minister or the government. A few reporters approached me after it was published in New York Post and Los Angeles Times. It was even mentioned in the morning news. Madonna or her team didn’t get back to me, but I’m sure she had to hear about it. Some of my friends are pretty sure sooner or later she will give us a sign.

The international feedback was great, but naturally there always have to be some haters. What do you think about the people who think that it’s insensitive that you are not declaring that you are against the war generally, but only if it’s before the Madonna gig?

Some people took it in the wrong way, of course I am against any kind of war at any time. This is just a funny way of dealing with the sometimes not-so-funny life in the Middle East.

So did you buy your ticket already?

Of course, no question about it. I have my Golden Circle ticket. I’ve been a huge Madonna fan since Ray of Light. And as Madonna will stay in Tel Aviv for two weeks, rehearsing her show I hope she might surprise us with some unexpected appearances in some clubs as Kylie does when she is the New York City. For me Madonna is the queen, Kylie is the princess.

How about GaGa?

Honestly I think she should go on a long holiday to give us the chance to see if we’d miss her if she’d be gone. I loved the Fame Monster album and I still think Bad Romance is one of the greatest songs of pop history, but now she is just way too much.

You can join Kobi’s anti war, pro-Madonna group here. This entry was published in The Wild magazine blog.

Cheap Chic – Charity Shopping in London

Posted by jan 21 2012

The holidays are over, but the real feast is just about to get started. Gigantic “sale” signs all over the fashion metropolises of the world, and the hungry fashion victims are willing to give up all their manners just to put their hands on anything which has a “%” label on it. But not true London bois and gals, who know well: the end of the season brings fresh new blood in the circulation of the charity shops.

Have a look, darling!

Travelling to London there is nothing more stressful than walking in to a fully packed, crowded shopping temple, and try to see trough the mess the sales-hunters built up in the name of the new year resolution: changing their wardrobes, entirely. Well, okay… the chance of meeting Katie Price in real life is actually more stressful, but let’s not be pessimists. Back to style: who wants to wear the discounted stuff, anyways, knowing that it just a matter of time, when will it appear on a stranger on the street in front of us, or – even worse – on one of the party people, rocking your fav club, wearing the exact same outfit as yours. However, no one can leave the Brit’s capital at this time of the year (and any other time, of course) without stuffing a huge bag full of clothing and accessories… it’s London, baby! In the city, where Johnny Rotten, Twiggy, Debbie Harry and Harry Potter are the local heroes, you don’t need to go “bling-bling” to get attention: forget the high streets and get yourself into the much less posh, but much more interesting style-states: charity shops. In the UK the charity shop phenomenon is larger than life and cheaper than dirt: you can dress up from top to bottom, for 22 Sterlings. Walking around East London, from Hackney Central up to Clapton Pond there are five treasure caves, each and every one of them is supporting a different organisation. Civil rights, animal care, homeless issues, and religious foundations are the inspirations for the dedicated volunteers to collect money in these small shops, presenting a wide range of goods: not to be missed vintage stuff from local old peeps, and brand new goodies from youngsters who just didn’t like their Christmas presents as much as they love to do good. True fashionistas must check out the bookshelves as well: fashion photography and illustration albums are often sold for ridiculous prices.

Check out the listing here, and you’ll understand why Oxford and Regent streets are full of tourists, while the real cool Londoners are hopping on bus 38, heading to Hackney with an organic textile bag and a huge smile on their face… almost covered by a “to-die-for” vintage sunglasses. And where did they get them? The answer is always charity shops, my love!