Post 345: Cultural Events at the National Library in September – Open Houses September 22-23 How Broadway Artisan turns out rag costumes

The last time that I visited the Givat Ram Campus of Hebrew University was to buy a part 2 Arabic Textbook from Academon Press. Before that I took a tour of the exotic gardens and before that treated our grand-kids to a docent lead guide through some of the research areas. Three visits in ten years. That was the old grounds of the Givat Ram campus and the Old National Library, first opened in 1960.

Cultural Events are on the agenda at the  New National Library: You may not have visited the new Israel National Library on the Givat Ram Campus of Hebrew University. Now there are special events to entice you there.

Gallery discussion with songwriter and researcher Dr. Dan Almagor and Hanoch Marmari, Head of Education and Culture at the National Library of Israel

Guided tour of the current exhibition followed by conversation about Hebrew song in Israel in 1960.

Sunday, 8 Elul / 11 September, 17:00

Participation is free. Details on the website National Library.

Gallery discussion with architect Michael Jacobson and exhibition curator Dr. Gil Weissblei

Guided tour of the current exhibition followed by conversation about the National Library of Israel building as representative of Israeli architecture in 1960.

The events described herein seem far away. However, since the National Library has limited seating, it would be a good idea to sign up “straight away”.

Thursday, 19 Elul / 22 September, 17:00

Prior to the conversation, an architectural tour will take place as part of Open House Jerusalem (see below).

Participation is free. Details on the website National Library.

Open House Jerusalem The 

On September 22-23, two architectural tours of the National Library will take place as part of Open House Jerusalem (Batim Mibifnim). The National Library building, one of the most significant milestones in Israeli architecture, is considered to be one of the outstanding International Style works in Jerusalem and of public architecture from the period in which it was built. In the spirit of Le Corbusier, the building was designed as a cube standing on free pillars and it is characterized by clean and simple lines.

The tour will include visits to the reading rooms, interior courtyards and external passageways. Visitors will also see images of the new National Library of Israel complex currently under construction in the National District.


Architects: Amnon Alexandroni, Avraham Yaski, Ziva Armoni, Hanan Hebron, Michael Nadler, Shulamit Nadler, and Shimon Povzner; 1960.

Tours will be held on: Thursday, 19 Elul / 22 September at 15:00; and Friday, 20 Elul / 23 September at 10:00.


For guided tours please contact the Visitors Center:  074-7336125 

Excellant website


 New Exhibition: How to Draw a Poem?

Poets illustrate drawings, illustrators write poetry. How do you reconcile these ideas and what is the special relationship between author and illustrator? The exhibition showcases 21 intersections between poem and drawing, which uncover surprising and unknown facets of well known creators.

Rare items that highlight four kinds of relationships between poets and painters, between  illustrators and poetry, and between the image and the written word.

July 31st – November 1st, 2016

Availabilty: Sunday – Thursday 09:00 – 18:00 Friday 09:00- 12:00

Entrance is free of charge.


1960: Israel in the year the National Library Opened

1960The cornerstone-laying ceremony for the future home of the National Library – on 5 April 2016 – not only marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in our history. It also sets in motion the process of bidding farewell to the library’s current home on the Givat Ram campus. We have decided at this historic moment, as a gesture to the generation of dreamers and builders, to focus on the year when this building was inaugurated: 1960.

1960 was a year of restraint, set between the struggles and crises that preceded it and those that would follow. This exhibition, from the treasures of the National Library, is a tribute to the library of 1960, from whose spirit we will draw inspiration as we build the Library’s new home for the next hundred years.
April 6th – September 1st, 2016
Availability: Sunday-Friday
Entrance is free of charge.

Participation is free. Details on the website National Library or use contact information above.

Link to Open House weekend 22-24

As you know, I am an old hand at reconstructing clothing, skirts from jackets, skirts from tee-shirts. This article really blew me away.

Broadway’s Dirty Secret: How an Artisan Turns Costumes From Riches to Rags


Hochi Asiatico gives Broadway costumes the appearance of having a long (and soiled) history.CreditRebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

The nicest thing you can say toHochi Asiatico is that his work looks like hell.

That’s because Mr. Asiatico is one of a small number of Broadway distressors, artisans who make costumes look beautifully bad. In the play “Eclipsed,” he turned a “Rugrats” T-shirt, worn by Lupita Nyong’o, into a sweaty rag that looked as if it had spent weeks forsaken in Liberia, where the play is set. Clint Ramos, who won a Tony Award for his “Eclipsed” costume design, said that Mr. Asiatico created “a history for a garment” that came across onstage as “organic and inherent.”


Mr. Asiatico turned the “Rugrats” T-shirt worn by Lupita Nyong’o in “Eclipsed” into a shirt that looked as if it had been worn for weeks.CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times

“In his mind, he can picture how the character goes through his or her day,” Mr. Ramos said. “He has a relationship to the clothing and how it interacts with the environment in a physical way. It informs everything.”

Mr. Asiatico does more than make clothes look as if they’d been dragged through the mud or bloodied in a fight. He’s mostly a costume painter, whose brush strokes can be seen on the unitards in the Broadway revival of “Cats.”In “The Color Purple,” his painting and silk-screening add elegance to the kimono worn by the actress Heather Headley.

Hiring Mr. Asiatico, who also designs costumes, isn’t cheap. The cost can range from $3,000 to $140,000 per production. Perfectly ragged clothing doesn’t just come off the rack.

“Producers say, ‘There’s no fabric out there that can do the part?’” said Mr. Asiatico, who has been in the business for some 22 years. “But costume designers know that what I’m going to give adds finesse to the show.”

Distressing for the stage requires exaggerated painting and destruction techniques, such that color, shadows and “damage” can be read under the lights and from a distance. Recently, Mr. Asiatico added subtle variations of “blood” and “sweat” to costumes in the revival of “The Crucible,” and made uniforms in the musical “Doctor Zhivago” look as if they had gotten wet from fresh snow.

The New York Times recently asked Mr. Asiatico to modify some of his techniques to turn a jean jacket into a wearable, distressed, chic-looking garment that anyone can make. Here, in four relatively easy steps, is Mr. Asiatico’s guide to D.I.Y. distressing.

Step No. 1: S


CreditRebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

Distressing a garment requires a combination of washing (to break down the fabric), painting and working it over with tools, like scissors and sandpaper. Mr. Asiatico begins with a shredder, a hand-held, spiky comb that looks like a torture chamber device. In short, quick strokes, he breaks down the fibers, pulls down the shape and trims the edges, giving the garment the appearance of everyday wear.“You don’t want it to look fake,” Mr. Asiatico said. “It has to look lived in.”

It’s a workout to distress a fabric as tough as denim, but the result can be almost delicately soft. And expensive-looking, like “Ralph Lauren, what you’d find in a vintage store,” Mr. Asiatico said.

Step No. 2: Paint

CreditRebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

After shredding, Mr. Asiatico applies layers of paint, usually with an airbrush. Here, he uses a spray bottle that can accommodate attachable jars, each with different colors of thinned-down, Setasilk paint (about 25 percent paint and 75 percent water). He applies thin layers of gold, brown and black on the chest and arms, spraying more heavily around the collar and the sides, “where the garment tends to get more of the dirt.” He then uses a small brush to apply black low lights, or shadows, on the sides of the denim. This “blocking” technique creates depth and gives the garment dimension.

Step No. 3: Dry



CreditRebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

After he paints the garment, Mr. Asiatico uses a hair dryer to make the paint permanent. (For Broadway, the costumes are usually heat-set in a clothes dryer.) When dried, the paint will appear on the garment in a lighter shade. And it’s not going anywhere.

“If you don’t heat set, you can wash and remove the paint,” Mr. Asiatico said. “It’s hard to remove paint when it’s dry.”

After drying, he adds more accents of paint here and there, and dries those areas again.

Step No. 4: Sand



CreditRebecca Smeyne for The New York Times


After the paint is dried, Mr. Asiatico sandpapers parts of the jacket, a technique that returns highlights to the garment by forcing the paint into the fabric. “It brings back life into the garment,” he said. “It was becoming too painted. Now it has shadows and light.” Mr. Asiatico does the sanding on a dress form, which helps pull down the garment and naturally distresses the denim. (It can also be done on a table.) He also cuts off some excess threads on the hem. The finished look is about a six on a distressing scale of one to 10.

“For the theater, they would buy a jean jacket that costs $30 and charge me a couple hundred to do this,” he said. “A full jacket for a Broadway show would take probably four hours. We did this in about 90 minutes.” The contrasts in various sections of the chest get emphasized by his treatment. (My comment).



The original denim jacket, left, and the finished version, completed by Mr. Asiatico in about 90 minutes.CreditPhotographs by Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times. It was not mentioned in the article, that only cotton or linen could work be used as a substrate, much like canvas. 



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