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Lockdown entertainment

Culture will never die in Tel Aviv, festival organizers vow

The city’s latest festival brings performers to the home screen from stages at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Composer Shlomo Gronich will participate in Tel Aviv's 'Culture or Die' festival, January 5-6, 2021 (Courtesy Avihai Levy)
Composer Shlomo Gronich will participate in Tel Aviv's 'Culture or Die' festival, January 5-6, 2021 (Courtesy Avihai Levy)

Whatever happens in this year of the coronavirus, culture will never die, vow organizers of the Tel Aviv Tarbut Onamut festival, a series of 60-minute, online performances by local performers set to take place in early January.

The festival, a play on the Hebrew words for art and culture (tarbut and omanut) with the letters for omanut switched around to onamut — meaning, culture or die —  includes well-known performers like vocalist Marina Maximilian, DJ Reif Cohen and composer Shlomo Gronich.

“Everyone wants to participate in anything nowadays,” said Shabi Mizrachi, deputy director of culture and arts and manager of events in the Tel Aviv municipality who helped organize the city’s drive-in and sail-in theaters, as well as several online events. “I pick up the phone and they say, ‘Sure, whatever it is, we want to create and work.”

The performances in Tarbut Onamut will take place in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, where they’re being filmed without an audience and then screened online for ticket buyers.

Vocalist Marina Maximilian will participate in Tel Aviv’s ‘Culture or Die’ festival, January 5-6, 2021 (Courtesy Ilanit Cohen)

Maximilian will host several guests and perform on Wednesday, January 5, at 8:30 p.m., followed by Shlomo Gronich with Mark Eliyahu on piano and electric guitar at 10:30 p.m. Gronich’s works include solos by construction workers he pulled off the street outside his studio and recorded.

DJ Reif Cohen will participate in Tel Aviv’s ‘Culture or Die’ festival, January 5-6, 2021 (Courtesy Idan Barzani)

Reif Cohen’s DJ set is on January 6 at 10:30 p.m., preceded by Maya Blazitzman and Matan Efrat’s premiere at 8:30 p.m. of their new album, “Indoors,” created during the first lockdown. Their music will be accompanied by tribal and belly dances performed by Ofir Yanai and Alma Kravat Shemesh, members of the Batsheva youth dance troupe.

Tickets for the online screening are available from Tarbutona, at NIS 65 per person for one event, NIS 120 for two events and a package of four events for NIS 220.

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