I have been so incredibly busy these last few weeks that Antwerp wasn’t well represented on our blog. Thank you Marilyn for making up my lack of free time with some great articles about (her life in) Tel Aviv.
Being busy isn’t always that bad though. For example last weekend, i was booked as a photographer for the nice people of the Yelp Community. Yelp is a social local review website, founded in America, with a focus on the “Real Reviews” feature where users could write and publish unsolicited reviews. And the more reviews you write, the more Yelp gives back to you. So from time to time a group of selected Yelp Elite members can enjoy a good Yelp Event, and this time this event was no less than a tour through Antwerp with – according to CNN – “one of the 7 savviest guides in the world”: Tanguy Ottomer.
Tanguy is quite the know-it-all when it comes to Antwerp and he has an entire wall filled with books exclusively about Antwerp to prove it. Like music is to John Miles, Antwerp is to Tanguy: his first and last love. Touring with Tanguy through my favorite city has been on my wishlist for quite a long time. However, our agendas never seemed to match so I was quite thankful to be booked on the special Yelp Tour. Tanguy talks with such fun and passion about his beloved city, it’s hard not to fall in love with it yourself (or re-fall, since i had actually already fallen for Antwerp’s charms when I moved here 10 years ago). He unfolds Antwerp’s little secrets in such an interesting and fun way. Even I didn’t know half the things he told us about Antwerp. Next to a brilliant guide, Tanguy is also a fashion-fixer, a personal shopper or just a guy with the proverbial key to some of Antwerp’s coolest and most unreachable fashion walhalla’s. Of course I’m not gonna spoil the fun and share the secrets here. If you wanna know, you’ll have to book a tour yourself. Tanguy offers a whole lot of special tours on his website. Go check it out. Can’t wait and want a preview? Watch a little tour Tanguy did for the Flemish TV show ‘Fans of Flanders’ here. Typical Belgian weather included 😉
Here are some of my pictures for the Yelp Community Event:
“That sh*t cray” is all i can say after last night’s performance of Watch the Throne by the legendary Jay-Z and Kanye West (that, and “get your diamonds up”). Without doubt the craziest and best concert ever! I must say i like Jay-Z more than Kanye, but they both owned up to their music, leaving Antwerp (and especially me) behind with a big smile on our face. Next stop: Paris??
Did you also see the concert? What did you think?
I moved to Tel Aviv in 2007 and I guess one of the main purposes of this blog is to tell you why I’m still here. For sure back then, I didn’t really know what to expect, as always when you dive into the scary unknown. I came in January 2007 to “check it out”. I had an apartment to arrange and told myself I’d stay if I’d find work in my industry: the music industry. Certainly not a country with a big international live music scene then. So in my first year I worked as a music supervisor for tv, films and commercials with a genius music man called Koby Ben Atar. Then, in 2008, Paul McCartney announced he would perform in Tel Aviv and it was obvious I’d find my way to be part of that. The show drew 57,000 fans to the Hayarkon Park and was the beginning of a new wave of big concerts. In 2009 Leonard Cohen announced his concert at the Ramat Gan Stadium and of course I joined forces there too. It was an unforgettable evening for the artist, the crew and 47,000 people in the audience (but wait, my history with him is not over). And this is how it keeps going: I work as a freelance local promoter/production under Live on Mars. Doing shows like: Rihanna, Tom Jones, Julio Iglesias, the Pet Shop Boys, Harlem Globetrotters, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Justin Bieber, Metallica, Rod Stewart….
As these are outdoor shows and mostly happen in the summertime, in winter there are other things to do. Going on tour for example. In 2010 I had the honor to be asked by Leonard Cohen to be part of his crew and join a 5 month world tour.
You can watch the archive and photos here: http://leonardcohen.tumblr.com/archive
So, my business is called “Live on Mars”. Why? Because as most of you know, they call me Mars since I’m a kid. For my creative world I use “Life on Mars”, but more about that later. What do I do? Many things; between organizing shows, events and production work. It mostly involves international visits where my side activity is to show these people around; through culture, food, hospitality and entertainment I have the chance to share with them this amazing city. Of course I say this because most of them arrive with a lot of prejudice. Besides the usual security questions they sometimes even ask me if we ride camels, if we have internet and stuff. So it’s an honor for me to be their first impression and to make it a positive impression. I feel safe in this city. Safer than anywhere else in the world. And so does every guest I’ve ever had, both for professional and private visits. All these visitors give me a great opportunity to view, review, discover and rediscover life in Tel Aviv. Stay tuned for more…