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Eurovision 2019

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Eurovision was a bit of a letdown this year. Even for a show that many people watch because of, not despite, the questionable quality of some of the entries, the average quality of the songs was very… average.

I’m happy that the Dutchies won but their song, performed by bisexual singer Duncan Laurence, was not exactly a super hit. Italy and Sweden were solid. Cyprus was actually pretty good. But the only performance that really managed to stand out was Iceland.

The queer, anti-capitalist punk/metal/industrial band Hatari delivered the only memorable moment of the show–as well as a mini scandal that made the organisers visibly nervous.

Sending this kind of song to Eurovision and not shying away from using the massive publicity the contest attracts with its 200 million viewers to make a statement was a bold choice.

See you next year in the Netherlands then! In the meantime an American version of Eurovision seems to be in the works. Of course by a bunch of Swedes, makes sense ;) (If you’re not a regular ESC watcher: Swedish song writers usually pen half of the songs performed at the contest).

 

Road to ESC 2019: Iceland

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Iceland didn’t compete in the finals of Eurovision since 2014, but this year they’re having a good chance to make it past the semi-finals. RUV have chosen Hatari to be Iceland’s representative in Israel this year.

The techno punk band from Reykjavik is unlike anything you’ve ever seen at Eurovision before. They are queer, they love BDSM, and they should be a big talking point at the competition.

Formed in 2015, Hatari consists of Klemens Nikulásson Hannigan, Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson and Einar Hrafn Stefánsson. The band beat out five other performers in a local competition to gain the honor.

Iceland is the only Nordic country to never win the contest. While they’ve released a few singles, this is the biggest platform Hatari has ever had. They will be performing Hatrid Mun Sigra.

An Israeli organization has asked the government to prevent the Icelandic entrant into the Eurovision Song Contest being allowed in the country over alleged claims that Hatari intended to use its time on stage to express support for the Palestinians.

Israel is hosting the competition this year after its 2018 entrant Netta Barzilai claimed the trophy with her song “Toy.” The live final of the contest is set to take place in Tel Aviv on May 18.

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French President’s Chef teaches queer Arabs & Israelis rejected by their Families how to cook

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The head chef of the French presidential palace was in Israel on Monday to teach Jewish and Arab gay teens rejected by their families how to cook for themselves.

The 39-year-old chef, who has been working for French presidents at the Elysee Palace for 20 years, visited the Jewish state for the class. “I will teach you simple recipes that you can remake,” Gomez told the kids.

One of those listening intently was a young man from an ultra-Orthodox family who has had no contact with them since he came out at the age of 16. “Meeting this chef is an extraordinary experience,” said the teenager who asked to be named only as “O.”

O lives at Beit Dror, an organisation which supports gay people in Israel, while attending cooking classes at a school in the centre of the country.

Gomez taught the young people to make cannelloni spinach gratin and apple pie. Gomez is taking part for the sixth year in a row in the “So French, So Food” festival in Israel, which brings around 20 prominent French chefs to work with Israeli counterparts.

“Every year I support a charitable cause and put my name at the service of an organization,” Gomez said. He was the youngest person to win the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France award for chefs in 2004, when he was just 25.

“It’s good for them to participate in this workshop. This moment of happiness for these young people is not insignificant,” said Yael Doron, director of Beit Dror. Beit Dror has 14 beds for young people rejected by their families who are homeless and sometimes even forced into prostitution, Doron said. Most come from religious Jewish or Muslim families.

“Beit Dror saved my life,” said an 18-year-old referred to as “L” and wearing ripped jeans and a black T-shirt. His father is Muslim and his mother Christian and he said he was a victim of physical violence during his adolescence. “I don’t believe in religion any more; I believe in myself now,” he said.

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