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Stripping and Kissing: Ukrainian singer has a novel approach for winning Eurovision 2017 (NSFW)

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Well, where do I begin with this little gem? Probably the history….

So, the Eurovision Song Contest that tacky annual sing-a-long started off as a way of bringing together those many battle-weary nations of Europe after the long bloody devastation of the Second World War. It was the brainchild of Marcel Bezençon—a Swiss TV exec who pinched the format from an Italian music festival where unreleased tracks vied in competition for the title of best new song. So far so good—though it behoves me to mention that Switzerland was neutral in WW2 which might explain why Eurovision is such a bland, inoffensive and unbearably condescending idea…anyhoo...

Since the Eurovision’s first appearance in May 1956—when it was called Eurovision Grand Prix—the competition has come around every year with that unenviable certainty of death, taxes and a visit to the in-laws every Christmas. Over the years there have been some fun things—ABBA, Sandie Shaw, Lulu, that heavy metal band Lordi and the first transgender winner Conchita Wurst. Then of course there has always been a lot of crap—way, way too much to mention. Still the Eurovision remains incredibly popular—some 200 million people watched the show go out live in 2015.

Winning Eurovision usually guarantees a lot of money, fame and shedload of sequins. The stakes are always high for anyone hoping to be win the privilege of officially representing their country in the competition. To find the most suitable artiste—each year, every participating country holds a national televised contest to find the person they think is going to win. As you can imagine, this brings out some of the most talented, strange and downright weird.

All of which brings me to Alex Angel who auditioned this week for the honor of representing the Ukraine in next year’s Eurovision. Most acts have a good song. Most acts can sing. But Alex doesn’t need any of that. He has a novel approach to booking his place in the final—his stripping partner Natasha Olejnik. This week Alex and Natasha tried their best to impress Ukraine’s Eurovision selection panel with their song “Running For Love.”

Let’s just say, they made an impression….
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Waiter, there’s a Jew in my soup: The Jewish theme restaurant where you haggle over the prices!
04.06.2015
06:06 pm

Topics:
Food
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Jews
Ukraine


 
Many moons ago, a friend of mine, who shall remain nameless (unless you bother scrolling to the very bottom of this post), had a brief stretch of working in a relatively upscale Mexican restaurant in midtown Manhattan. Although she was super broke at the time and desperately needed the job, there was the matter of the uniform… an oversized poncho.

It greatly offended her sense of style, not to mention her dignity, but at least, I told her, they’re not making you wear a sombrero and a droopy moustache like the Frito Bandito...

The concept of the “droopy” became a one-word catalyst that sees the two of us completely crack up whenever the other mentions it. One of those things, I suppose you had to be there, but I was reminded of this anecdote by finding out recently about the existence of the curious Jewish “theme” restaurant Pid Zolotoyu Rozoyu (“Under the Golden Rose”) restaurant in L’viv, Ukraine for reasons which are about to become quite obvious…
 

 
The restaurant itself is located next to the ruins of what had been the 350-year-old Golden Rose synagogue that was destroyed by the Nazis with several Jews inside of it (150,000 Jews died in the L’viv ghetto during World War II). While you nosh on gefilte fish, pickled herring and matzoh ball soup, they will give you wool hats to wear with payot (curly side-locks worn by Hassidim) attached. Perhaps you’d like to enjoy the house drink, “The Funny Jew.” There are no prices on the menu, guests are expected to haggle with the waitstaff over the prices, and one might presume “jew them down.”

Such fun! Such biddy biddy bum!
 

 
The spot is one of fifteen so-called “emotional restaurants” owned by a company called !Fest who operate theme restaurants pertaining to such things as sadomasochism (Café Masoch‘s namesake, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, was born in L’viv) with kinky outfits on the wait staff, plus whips and chains; Kryjivka—which claims to be the single most visited restaurant in all of Europe, with one million annual covers—built in the bunker of the last hiding place of the ultranationalist Ukrainian Insurgent Army (the password for entrance is “Glory to Ukraine” although “ethnic cleansing” probably would have sufficed); as well as an execution-themed charcuterie, replete with fine meats and a guillotine for just that right cut of meat… There is even an !Fest restaurant with a Freemasonry theme that has a special “throne” in the men’s room.
 

 
The crazy thing is, if you look at the !Fest enterprise as a whole, it doesn’t really appear that anti-Semitism per se is on the menu at Pid Zolotoyu Rozoyu. They obviously like to court controversy, and of course, it’s easy to argue that this is incredibly tacky, but the attitude of the owners—three guys in their late 20s/early 30s who have probably never even met a real Jew—seem to be that it’s “educational” and “historical” and that they’re simply running a cheeky tourist attraction. Few of L’viv’s remaining Jews tend to see it that way.

Oy vey…
 

 
Thank you kindly Oberon Sinclair and Andrew Deutsch!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Smackdown: World leaders brawl


Turkish parliament, fighting over a security bill.
 
One of the fun parts about living in a (sort of) democracy is transparency (at least, ostensibly). Governments like to make overtures to the people, meaning there is the promise that you may witness legitimate battles of power between politicians and representatives. In America, this means a lot of sniping, bitching, disingenuous rhetoric and sometimes maybe a little yelling. In other countries, this can mean actual fighting.

Below is a series of shots from recent Skirmishes between lawmakers from various countries. I’m not going to say it’s a better way to do politics—Ukraine apparently does this a lot, and they don’t really seem to have their shit together—but there’s something refreshing about this kind of legitimate passion. Part of me suspects that this doesn’t happen in America because most politics are actually done behind closed doors, between politicians and private interests.

Then again, you’ve got Rob Ford who just blindly stampeded a woman to go after hecklers. Ignoble of course, but more interesting than C-SPAN!
 

Ukrainian parliament, brawling over a presidential decree to activate reserve troops.
 

South African lawmakers who accused the president of corruption were removed by police
 

Someone threw a chair at a Nepali Constituent Assembly meeting.
 

A Jordanian member of Parliament fired a Kalashnikov (though not towards anyone) outside of parliamentary chambers.
 

Rob Ford goes after hecklers, knocking over a colleague in the process.
 

A brawl erupts Taiwan’s legislature in July 2010.

Below, Venezuela MPs in punch-up over disputed election

 
Via Mother Jones

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘The Neglected’: David Gillanders’ heart-breaking film on the street children of Ukraine

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There are plenty of reasons why so many children are homeless in Ukraine. Some have been abandoned by their families. Others are victims of abuse. Whatever the reasons, each child is different, and has a unique story to tell.

There are no official statistics for the total number of children and young people living or working on the streets of Ukraine, yet various children’s charities and homeless organizations suggest the number is somewhere between 50,000 and 300,000.

Over the past 8 years, Scottish photographer David Gillanders has photographed the lives of these street children - documenting their stories of grim day-to-day existence on the streets of Odessa.

David found the children living underground, seeking warmth from central heating pipes. They were ravaged by malnutrition and addicted to drugs - nasal decongestants, which they crushed down and then injected.

“When I first started to take pictures of children living like that, I knew that I wasn’t going to change the world. But I did think something would happen - that it would improve. It didn’t.”

A photograph of one street child, Yana, won UNICEF Photograph of the Year. It captured the 13-year-old only 5 days before she froze to death on the streets.

Most of the children David has documented are now dead and his photographs are the only evidence of their tragic, short lives.

Based around his photographs,  David has made a powerful and moving short film, The Neglected for Channel 4 television. Produced by Nicola Black of Blackwatch Media, the film reveals the lives of a lost generation of children who live in desolation underneath the streets of Odessa.

UNICEF on Ukraine street children. Hope and Homes for Children in Ukraine

The Neglected will be broadcast on Channel 4, Thursday 22nd March 12 midnight.

Above photograph copyright to David Gillanders.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment