Israel, as many already know, is a small country. Unlike in the States, where for the most part famous people try their best to hide out in their McMansions and avoid paparazzi, Israeli stars are seen every day in normal life. It is quite possible that you might see your favorite actor on the street in Tel-Aviv doing supermarket shopping by day and on national, live t.v. by night. A couple years ago, I was in Rishon LeTzion with a good friend, Pini, and we were discussing our night plans. Rishon is known for its great beaches, but also has a pretty solid bar scene spanning a few streets. All of a sudden, Pini got a call from his friend who works at one such bar, and Pini's eyes lit up. "Jonah," he proclaimed, "We're going to this pub tonight. It's all set. 30 Shekel (4+ dollars) entrance fee and we'll see Mosh Ben Ari play an acoustic set." Now, Mosh Ben Ari is an f'in rockstar in Israel, he has dreads down to his butt, and he has a real chill vibe to him. So to get the opportunity to see him at a small bar in front of 50 people was quite the appealing one. This is how close I stood to him at that show: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2001173&id=1243590012#/photo.php?pid=30032121&id=1243590012, and I did indeed meet him after the show. It was pretty cool. When I saw him a few weeks later playing in front of 10 or so thousand, it was even cooler because I had caught a glimpse up close.
Situations like this happened to me not that infrequently two years ago (where I also saw and consequently met other favorite artists in intimate settings), so it was not so surprising when I saw a posting on campus yesterday that Eric Berman would be coming to the Student Center today at noon for a free, anyone can join, sit down lunch-time interview and mini-set. Eric Berman's first album came out and skyrocketed two years ago while I was in Haifa, with four of the songs becoming significant radio hits. So yes, I was pretty psyched. I got out of my intensive Hebrew lesson at 11:15, darted back to my dorm, grabbed my camera, made a quick turkey/hummus sandwich, and hustled back to the Student Center. Perfect timing. Just as I grabbed a chair from the dining hall next door and sat down, Berman showed up on the makeshift stage. He sat and talked for about an hour, discussing his old songs, modestly reminding us that his new one came out yesterday (which was news to me--I will buy it asap), and playing a song here and there. Probably pretty similar to a Mix 98.5 "Mix Lounge" sort of thing.
בקיצור, in short, it was awesome. An afternoon delight of sorts. And of course I met him after the show and chitchatted for a solid minute.
Tonight (and every Tuesday night) there is Salsa on campus, so I'm gonna check it out in hopes of minglin with the locals yeh.
Also, election fever is high in Israel, as election day quickly approaches. More on that another time.