Monday, March 26, 2012

Holy Tour Day 2 (Part 4)- Falafel First. Jerusalem Later.





Antigone Rising &Polina from US Embassy, Tel Aviv eat falafel!


Immediately following my mortifying Mohammed moment, we went out to lunch. There really is no better way to alleviate the mortification of a terribly stupid moment than stuffing your belly. So that's precisely what I did.

Polina, one of our gracious US Embassy Tel Aviv hosts, was charged with the responsibility of feeding us. She went to great lengths to give us as authentic an Israeli lunch as possible. She asked around and found out there was an amazing outdoor falafel stand just around the corner from the school we just performed at in Beer Sheva. So we took off in search of it.

During our walk to the falafel stand, Polina told us the bomb sirens had gone off in Beer Sheva just a few days earlier. Apparently, missiles from the Gaza strip can only travel as far as Beer Sheva, so they're constantly under siege.

Gulp.

Let's eat.

#Hendo


Antigone Rising lunches in Beersheba or Beer Sheva on Feb. 20, 2012











Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Holy Tour Day 2 (Part 3) - My Mortifying Mohammed Moment - The Hangin' With Hendo Blogumentary

"Hangin with Hendo, The #HolyTour Blogumentary", is my attempt to document as much of our trip through Israel and the West Bank as humanly possible. I did blog a bit while we were there, but it was incredibly difficult to keep up with posting entries while tweeting, facebooking, playing shows and learning to speak Hebrew and Arabic fluently. So follow along while I recount our trip. I'll incorporate some of our Facebook and Tweet action wherever it makes sense, and plan to include a video with each post incorporating photos & videos from mine and Julie's iPhones, Sib's mini-cam, my camcorder and any other media I can yank from various sources to paint as complete a picture as possible. I will leave no stone unturned, except the one under the Dome of the Rock. And we did have a few #Holytour moments I reserve the right to keep on the #Holytour. --#Hendo


YOU MAY WANT TO READ THE BLOG FIRST BEFORE ROLLING VIDEO...I LEAVE THAT UP TO YOU.


A lot of nervous energy led to the moment I am about to blogfess to. I'm sure it could be attributed in large part to the jet lag and Israeli shots the night prior, and a warning from the US Embassy workers that "the kids may have culture shock" upon seeing us. Needless to say, I believe it is what led to the "in-my-headness" I was experiencing as we took the stage in Beer Sheva, the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel.

Let me rewind the cassette tape to the beginning of the day. After spending our first night in Tel Aviv, we woke on Tuesday morning, 02.21.12, and headed to a town called Beer Sheva. I was confused, misinformed, actually maybe only half paying attention, and was under the impression we were headed to Jerusalem that morning to conduct an "outreach program" for an eclectic mix of Israeli and Arab students. So during our hour plus drive, that did include camel sightings, I was tweeting misinformation about poor Beer Sheva, as evidenced here:


Though it does seem our tour manager's first morning tweet could be what led me astray as we embarked on our journey to Beer Sheva:


I realize now, his tweet meant we'd be in Jerusalem later that night for a theater performance, but no good did it do me as we pulled into Beer Sheva and I continued tweeting ignorance:



Finally, as we pulled up to the school we'd be "outreaching" at, someone loudly proclaimed we were in Beer Sheva. I pried my face away from the iPhone and, in my snottiest tone, asked a van full of bandmates, managers, and US Embassy workers, "have none of you been reading my ignor-tweets (that's a sniglet for ignorant tweeting)?"

Insert crickets chirping.

Well, regardless of whether any of my bandmates, managers, or US Embassy peeps were reading my twitter feed, I had close to 2,000 followers back in the United States likely glued to my every tweet. After all, it was anywhere from 1am to 4am in America, depending on which state you were in. I could only imagine the confusion I was causing knowing our tour dates page clearly stated we'd be in Beer Sheva at the time of my "we're in Jerusalem" tweets.

So I quickly recanted to the best of my ability as follows:


If only this were the worst of my missteps on this, the first full day of our #holytour. There were so many more misfires ahead of me on this day, and I cringe knowing every single one of them was either captured via Sib's video camera or various social media vehicles. #FourSquare. #Twitter.


So roll the video and enjoy the third installation in my v-blog series, "My Mortifying Mohammed Moment."

I couldn't possibly be the only person to have one of these moments...could I be?

#Hendo

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Holy Tour - Day 1 (part 2) - From Landing to Sleeping - The Hangin' With Hendo Blogumentary

"Hangin with Hendo, The #HolyTour Blogumentary", is my attempt to document as much of our trip through Israel and the West Bank as humanly possible. I did blog a bit while we were there, but it was incredibly difficult to keep up with posting entries while tweeting, facebooking, playing shows and learning to speak Hebrew and Arabic fluently. So follow along while I recount our trip. I'll incorporate some of our Facebook and Tweet action wherever it makes sense, and plan to include a video with each post incorporating photos & videos from mine and Julie's iPhones, Sib's mini-cam, my camcorder and any other media I can yank from various sources to paint as complete a picture as possible. I will leave no stone unturned, except the one under the Dome of the Rock. And we did have a few #Holytour moments I reserve the right to keep on the #Holytour. --#Hendo


(watch it on YouTube to get the full hi-def effect...)


Nini, Bird & Sib get dropped at JFK
carrying our purple guitar flight cases, the "barneys"


It will surprise none of you that Jude drove the band to the airport to catch our sweet Delta flight to Tel Aviv. One of the things that excited us most about flying Delta was that Dena heard they served free beer and wine on all international flights.

The Tweets of @denatauriello, compliments of The Twitter

One of the other things that excited us about the trip was that our itinerary had fantastic catch phrases and buzz words in it like: "Embassy driver and expeditor will meet you at Ben Gurion International Airport and drive you to Savoy Hotel, 5 Geula St., Tel Aviv." One of our later itineraries used the phrase, "you will travel by motor pool," but I don't want to jump ahead of myself.

So, if you rolled the part 1 video in my prior blog post, you heard Julie mention that we were in "passport control with Tal, who's picking us up and rushing us through customs." And that is PRECISELY what he did. It was so f'in rockstar hot. We rolled off the plane like a bag of pretzels, our entire double decker flight racing to customs, the line was already about four days long without our Delta free boozin' flight mates, and Tal literally walks us right up to the counter and tells us to bust out our passports for the customs agent. Voila, just like that, we're standing at the baggage claim waiting for our oversized Barney cases, bagzillas, and whatever else we checked in back at JFK (total cost for checked bags, $750 - #holytour, #holybaggagecrisis).

Us blowing through Israeli customs. That's Tal behind my left shoulder. Or is that  my right shoulder? He sorta looks like an Israeli Joe Pesci, but I didn't tell him that.
We hop into our Tal driven white van, heads feeling like it's 6am, the sunlight in the sky sitting somewhere around 3:30PM, and start our drive to Tel Aviv. The roads look just like the ones we'd be driving on back in New York. I do know this makes me sound like an idiot, but I wasn't really expecting it to feel exactly like home. I mean, I didn't think we'd be driving via camelback on dirt roads, but maybe...on some deep, dark, inundated by CNN/Fox News propagandized media level, I was! The only reason I knew I wasn't in Kansas anymore was because the street signs were in Hebrew and every single building, and I do mean every single one of them, was built using Jerusalem Sandstone. Benjamin Moore really needs to come up with a tan paint color called Jerusalem Sandstone, by the by.

Across the street from our hotel
Mediterranean Sea, Tel Aviv

Anyhooch, we pull up to our hotel in Tel Aviv to be greeted by THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA. They don't have that in the United States, I'll tell you what. And we also finally get to meet Michele and Polina, our United States Embassy (Tel Aviv) point peeps who put together the most amazing schedule of events for us in Israel.

Us with Michele from US Embassy, Tel Aviv
on our way out to dinner standing in front of
the Mediterranean Sea, of all things.
Tony, our tour manager, checks us all in. We're staying at The Savoy, a boutique hotel with plenty of charm and a free cappuccino machine in the lobby. We all have single rooms, meaning no roomie nonsense, not that we don't love each other, but we're psyched about it. He hands us our room keys and our electric plug converters so we can plug our various social media driven smart devices in for a charge and we make a plan to meet in the lobby 25 minutes later for dinner, even though it's breakfast time in our bodies. and minds. and souls.

Roll video to see if I run into Julie in the elevator on our way out to eat...
#Hendo




http://youtu.be/VkUg-nyes84?hd=1

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Holy Tour - Day 1 (part 1) - From Take Off to Landing - The Hangin' With Hendo Blogumentary


"Hangin with Hendo, The #HolyTour Blogumentary", is my attempt to document as much of our trip through Israel and the West Bank as humanly possible. I did blog a bit while we were there, but it was incredibly difficult to keep up with posting entries while tweeting, facebooking, playing shows and learning to speak Hebrew and Arabic fluently. So follow along while I recount our trip. I'll incorporate some of our Facebook and Tweet action wherever it makes sense, and plan to include a video with each post incorporating photos & videos from mine and Julie's iPhones, Sib's mini-cam, my camcorder and any other media I can yank from various sources to paint as complete a picture as possible. I will leave no stone unturned, except the one under the Dome of the Rock. And we did have a few #Holytour moments I reserve the right to keep on the #Holytour. --#Hendo


We arrive at JFK International airport and the tweeting begins:



It's Sunday, Feb 19 at 4:15 p.m. I need a shower before I board a 10 hour flight to Israel. I just got my hair done yesterday and am concerned about the manic panic red highlights washing out, but these are rock n' roll risks we take in the line of duty. The van will be here in 45 minutes to take me to the airport. I'm downloading travel guides to my iPad as I blog because, I'm not going to lie, I have no idea what I'm getting myself into. It's my worst fear to be the ignorant ugly American when we touch down tomorrow evening in Tel Aviv.


So, quickly, I will share our story.


Back in May 2011, our former tour manager got an email from someone she graduated high school with. The email went something like this: “We would be interested in inviting Antigone Rising as guests of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem to perform for Israeli and Palestinian audiences in the West Bank, Tel Aviv, Ramallah and Jerusalem.”


We are a band of extremes. We're either playing 280 shows a year or on complete hiatus because we're giving birth to babies. Sometimes we have a record deal, sometimes we don't. We either get paid a lot of money to play shows, or we play them for free and don't tell anyone we did that. You've either heard of us or you haven't. Hopefully, you have. Heard of us, that is.


So, the one time we get an offer to play shows outside the United States, we're invited to do so by the U.S. State Department, as Arts Envoys as part of a peace program in which we perform for both Palestinian and Israeli audiences in the Middle East. Extreme, right?


We are thrilled and honored to have been asked by our government to represent the United States as Arts Envoys & Cultural Ambassadors throughout Israel and the West Bank. We look forward to learning about new cultures, sharing new ideas with the people, and at least for a little while, creating an understanding that so long as we're all singing the same song it doesn't matter if you're gay or straight, Palestinian, Israeli, or American.


So follow us on our journey, playing shows and hosting seminars for college students of both Israeli and Palestinian backgrounds. We'll be holding drum workshops for the developmentally disabled, performing shows for the LGBT community in Tel Aviv, making radio and television appearances along the way, and hopefully winning over the hearts and minds of the people of Israel and the West Bank.


#Hendo
(parts of this blog post originally appeared on AfterEllen.com)


We arrive at JFK International airport and the tweeting begins: