Turkish Movie “Toll Booth” at MoMA and Smithsonian

Toll BoothJanuary will witness the screening of  a 2010 Turkish movie, Toll Booth, at MoMA in New York, and at the Smithsonian Institute at Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Toll Booth will be screened at MoMA from January 12th to the 18th every day except the 17th. Full schedule is available here. Tickets cost $12 each.

Washingtonians are getting a better deal: Free screening for everyone! But there will only be one screening, on January 14th at 2pm. More information can be found here and on the Facebook event page.

Tolga Karaçelik, director of the movie, will be present at the January 12th screening in New York and at the January 14th screening in Washington, D.C. He will be accompanied by actors Serkan Ercan, Zafer Diper, Nur Fettahoğlu, Nergis Öztürk, Sermet Yeşil, Büşra Pekin, producer Engin Yenidünya, and many others.

This movie is presented by the Global Film Initiative. Don’t forget to visit the official web page (sorry, Turkish only!).

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Kilim Exhibition at de Young Museum

Anatolian Kilim

Anatolian Kilim (image by de Young Museum)

San Francisco is hosting an exhibition of Anatolian Kilims at the de Young Fine Arts Museums: The Art of the Anatolian Kilim. A kilim is a type of rug that is usually tapestry-woven and very colorful. Anatolian kilims are considered to be some of the finest kilims in existence.

At the exhibition visitors get the chance to see about two dozen fine kilims dating as early as the 15th century. These kilims are showcased by McCoy Jones and his wife Caroline. de Young Museum provides curated tours of the exhibition most days over the holidays at 12.30pm. The full schedule of tours are available here.

Poetic and Chic has a very informative post on the exhibition here. Apartment Therapy also has a post along with a few pictures from the exhibition.

Turkish Cultural Foundation is one of the main sponsors of the exhibition.

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Turkish Restaurant Week 2011, DC

Mark down your calendars for this year’s “taste of Turkish cuisine” week : September 16-25 , 2011.  Enjoy discounted fixed-price lunch and dinner options in select restaurants offering great tastes from Turkey. Three-course lunch costs $20 and four-course dinner costs $30 (excluding tip and tax). The participating restaurants this year include:

As usual, Turkspot team will be visiting some of these restaurants. Which ones? You’ll learn! In the meantime you can share your ideas about which of these restaurants we should visit in the comments section.

Visit the official festival webpage for more details and see the map of participating restaurants below:

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Filmed in Turkey: Av Mevsimi

We are starting a new series in our blog: Filmed in Turkey. In these set of blog posts, we will be talking about Turkish-influenced movies, whether they are filmed fully in Turkey with all Turkish actors and actresses, or just have some sort of Turkish flavor in it.

Av MevsimiYavuz Turgul’s Av Mevsimi (Hunting Season) is a crime-drama movie, a genre that has recently become popular in Turkey with the hit TV-series Behzat Ç. Bir Ankara Polisiyesi. The high-profile cast raises the expectations really high: Şener Şen, one of the most well-known actors in Turkey, and Cem Yılmaz, Turkey’s most reputed stand-up comedian, play detectives in a homicide case and are assisted by Okan Yalabık, who is famous for his role as Pargalı İbrahim Paşa in Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Magnificent Century). The trio traces the clues that take them to a drug dealer, and then to a powerful businessman (played by Çetin Tekindor, who stole lots of hearts with his performance in Babam ve Oğlum).

The story, Turgul’s own work, is well-written; there isn’t any discontinuities in the plot. The final cut doesn’t contain extensive redundant or irrelevant scenes, although some of the conversations between Tekindor’s and Şen’s characters could have been omitted. There is a twist towards the end that, fortunately, isn’t very obvious; so it might come as a surprise to some viewers. The few action scenes are not meant to be impressive, and they lack the energy of action movies in Hollywood; however, they blend in well with the rest of the slow-paced movie.

The strongest part of the movie is acting. Şener Şen, being the master of all sorts of characters in his some 40 years of acting, does not disappoint. Cem Yılmaz once again proves he can handle serious roles just like he did in Hokkabaz. As a backdrop of the main story line, Yılmaz’ character has to deal with emotional problems, and the audience can easily relate to him as he suffers going through a divorce.

Turgul worked with Şener Şen in many other projects including Gönül Yarası and Eşkıya (one of the best Turkish movies without any doubt). This movie is not the best cooperation they had; but crime being a new genre in the Turkish film industry, Av Mevsimi is definitely worth watching. Why don’t you start with enjoying the trailer:

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Recap: Istanbulive III

The third Istanbulive festival took place in New York City on June 17th. Turkish rock band Manga, New York based ethnic band NY Gypsy All-Stars and legendary Turkish folk musician Zülfü Livaneli took the stage for their performances.

Friday, June 17th was a day with a lot of clouds around New York City, and hours of heavy rain, all the way until 6:00pm! So much heavy rain forced the organizers to seriously consider canceling the event, but luckily the rain stopped before the scheduled start of Istanbulive. Zülfü Livaneli later mentioned in his talk that while he was leaving his hotel for the concert, he told his wife that he was not expecting a single person to show up for Istanbulive. More than 3,000 people did, and they didn’t regret it! Fans gathered at the SummerStage to have an amazing time with Manga, NY Gypsy All-Stars and Zülfü Livaneli.

Manga at the SummerStage

Manga at the SummerStage

Manga performed their favorite Turkish songs such as Beni Benimle BırakDünyanın Sonuna Doğmuşum, and Bir Kadın Çizeceksin. They also performed English songs including their famous Eurovision song We Could Be The Same which brought them the second place in Eurovision Song Contest in 2010.

After Manga, NY Gypsy All Stars took the stage and entertained the fans with traditional Balkan songs as well as songs from their upcoming album, planned to be released this September.

And lastly, Zülfü Livaneli took the stage. He started his concert with his song Merhaba which means Hello in Turkish, and greeted the audience. Livaneli’s concert included performances with special guests Al Di Meola, Lina Orfanos, Selloane Lekhoaba and Demet Sağıroğlu. It was another night where Livaneli fans attended his concert ‘to sing as well as to listen Livaneli songs’ as Livaneli describes. Thousands of fans sang along songs like Leylim Ley, Gün Olur, Sevda Değil, and Güneş Topla Benim İçin.

In the amazing atmosphere, a surprise birthday cake with candles was presented to Livaneli on stage for his upcoming 65th birthday. Livaneli thanked the audience for the great ‘birthday party’!

After the concert, Istanbulive after-party took place at Drom. Istanbulive fans had fun with NY Gypsy All-Stars on stage.

Turkish rock band Manga took the stage at Drom on Saturday, June 18th. Manga fans got to enjoy the songs of their favorite band one more time. After the concert, the group members mingled with the fans, so it was a great opportunity for the fans to get autographs and have their pictures taken with the band members.

Livaneli at Drom

Livaneli at Drom

On Sunday, June 19th, Zülfü Livaneli fans gathered at Drom this time for a special screening of the movie Veda. The movie, which is based on Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s life, was written and directed by Livaneli in 2010.  Right after the screening, a special performance of the scores of Veda and Bliss, the movie based on Livaneli’s international bestselling book, were performed. Afterwards the audience got the opportunity to have a Q&A session with Livaneli. The questions were about Livaneli’s books, movies, musical and political life, and current political climate in Turkey. After the Q&A session, the event ended with book signing of Bliss.

It was a very nice weekend full of music and culture. Turkspot team is already excited about the next year’s show!

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Review : Chicago Turkish Festival 2011

The Turkish Festival in Chicago was a great success. Taking place at the Daley Plaza, one of the most central regions of downtown, lots of visitors were able to attend and enjoy the offerings for 4 days, making this event one of the biggest events of the year. To see some stills from the festival, browse our slideshow below.

The motto of the festival was “Chicago Goes Turkish”, and the poster featured the Bean reflecting Istanbul landmarks over the Chicago skyline in the background, giving the perfect message for the event. Artists and craftsmen came from Turkey to promote their work, including ceramic art, hand-made glassware, Turkish rugs, traditional jewelry, silk carpet weaving, paper marbling, calligraphy, and meerschaum figures. Many attendees were fascinated by the uniqueness and quality of the products, and bought gifts for their family, children, friends or themselves, taking a piece of Turkey back home. The main stage was filled with performances, music and Turkish culture throughout the event, although the breaks in between was a bit long and the stage couldn’t be set up outside on the last day because of the weather conditions.

Also included was Turkish cuisine, of course. Thousands of cups of Turkish coffee were served during the festival. For lunch, kabobs, doner sandwiches, vegetable and meat dishes were ready; and for desserts, what could be better than some Turkish delight, baklava; or for a cold treat, Kahraman Maras orchid ice cream? Offering fun for the whole family, the kids were entertained with traditional shadow theater, clowns, story telling, coloring, face painting and games. They could even go behind the shadow theater and experience the act themselves. Another interesting view from the festival was the celebration for the champions of the Turkish football league, which was decided with the final games on Sunday. The celebration featured a big flag of the winning team brought to the stage by its fans.

Don’t forget to attend next year’s festival if you have the chance, because it is probably the best thing to do in town whenever it takes place. The festival is getting bigger and greater every year, thanks to the efforts of Turkish American Cultural Alliance of Chicago, the Consul General of Turkey in Chicago and the volunteers, so, expect as much fun and entertainment next year as well!

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Istanbulive III

Istanbulive II

Istanbulive II in 2010

Istanbulive is taking place tomorrow, Friday, June 17th, from 6pm to 10pm in Central Park. This year’s lineup includes Turkish rock band Manga, New York based ethnic band NY Gypsy All-Stars (read more on our earlier blog post), and finally legendary Turkish folk musician Zülfü Livaneli. Demet Sağıroğlu (and read more on her here) will also make a guest appearance.

The third of Istanbulive festivals is taking place on a Friday for the first time; but since it doesn’t start before 6pm, you can still make it to the Central Park on time to enjoy great music. Don’t forget, you can also grab something to eat at the festival area!

Don’t worry if you miss the show: NY Gypsy All-Stars will perform at Drom for an after-party; and Manga will follow the next day, June 18th, for another gig also at Drom. On Sunday, Zülfü Livaneli will appear at the same venue for a book-reading (Bliss) and a film-screening (Veda, in Turkish with English subtitles) as well as a Q&A.

It seems like New Yorkers will enjoy a highly memorable weekend. Why don’t you start relaxing with a song by Zülfü Livaneli:

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