Turkey's religion-themed reality show upsets the imams, an Israeli animation studio aims to out-draw Pixar and we report on the relaunch and redesign of Germany's premier financial newspaper, Handelsblatt - reworked by Monocle's media expert Mario Garcia, whose column reflects on the challenges of going "bookish".
Germany’s leading financial daily the Handelsblatt hits newsstands on 2 November a lot fatter, healthier-looking and smarter. The new 64-page (up from 32) tabloid-format will be printed in full colour and comes with the newspaper’s staple-coverage of the global economic world as well as lengthier analysis and commentary sections.
The business news source of choice for many German decision-makers since it began in 1946, the Handelsblatt is set to woo tech-savvy readers with a slicker handelsblatt.com, due to go live the same day as its BlackBerry and iPhone news services.
Like their counterparts in other parts of the world, German print media outlets have been struggling with falling advertising revenue lately but the Handelsblatt’s deputy managing editor Florian Kolf assures the switch isn’t about cutting costs: “We don’t aim to save money with the change of format but to develop a product that serves our reader best. Our main focus is quality.”
What do you get when you put 12 atheists in a room with a Christian priest, a Buddhist monk, a Jewish rabbi and a Muslim imam? It might sound like an ethnic joke but it’s the premise of Turkey’s newest reality TV show, “Penitents Compete” (Tovbekarlar Yarisiyor in Turkish), that will feature contestants living together in an Istanbul villa. For 10 weeks, the holy men will try to persuade the non-believers to see the light.
Those who convert will win a pilgrimage to the holy place of their new faith. The show’s producer Seyhan “Sisi” Soylu, also the CEO of Kanal T that will air the programme, says she sold the rights to the format in 16 countries even before filming began. The first broadcast was due to take place in mid-October.
Turkey’s top religious official called the show a “debasement of religion” and refused to allow Turkish imams to participate in the show, while Soylu says she had already received offers from imams in Tunisia and Egypt. “The most important thing is to see the light of god,” Soylu told Monocle. “We’re not trying to show that any particular religion is the best path.” Soylu, a transsexual and former policeman, made headlines last year when she was arrested as part of a nationwide conspiracy into a plot to topple the government.
A board of theologians vetted the 280 applicants for the 12 spots and will verify the spiritual conviction of any new believers.
Other Turkish reality and call-in shows:
Yasamak Sanattir: “Living is an Art” – instead of boring health shows, a sexy nurse in a mini-skirt dispenses health advice with attitude.
Benim Kocam Bir Melek: “My Husband is an Angel” – five husbands learn how to perform household chores while their wives are out. The winner receives a cash prize.
Su Gibi: “Like Water” – from the Turkish expression meaning “easy to do”, male and female singles field phone calls from interested suitors who try to convince them of their worthiness as a spouse.
By Mario García, García Media
Germany’s oldest financial daily, Handelsblatt, wears a new, compact suit this month. I have worked with a talented team to get the orange and black distiller of economic news into what the editors call a “business format”.
Format changes are routine these days, so I call attention to what is truly different in this remake: the newspaper that follows a “book” concept. Let online give you breaking news in its jumpy, energetic style. When readers come to print, they enter a more contemplative mode. So this design celebrates text, classic typography, a new approach to visuals – small, delicate, invoking Mondrian. You may be looking at a model of the sophisticated printed newspaper of the future here.
Some of the most talented animation artists in the world now work in Jerusalem’s Animation Lab, among them one of the scriptwriters for Pocahontas, Philip LaZebnik, and The Lion King animator Alex Williams. The aim of Erel Margalit, founder of the Israeli venture capital fund JVP and of Animation Lab, is to create a worthy competitor for the Hollywood animation giants Pixar, DreamWorks and Disney.
Margalit raised $100m (€68m) and recruited more than 100 animators from all over the world. The first feature is about a group of anthropomorphised flowers and plants (voiced by Liz Hurley and Willem Dafoe) that, apparently, “must defend their little meadow against an attack by an army of genetically modified corn stalks intent on taking over the world”. This unapologetically apocryphal tale, The Wild Bunch, is set to be released in mid-2010.
“Either my sister or I go to the US, London, Asia and Brazil every month to source new books,” says globe-trotting bookshop owner Alexandre Thumerelle with energetic vim. Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier and Marc Newson are regulars, scooping armfuls of fashion and design titles for their nearby ateliers.
Avid readers flock from as far afield as Japan and Korea for its wide selection of new, vintage and rare books – alongside more than 200 magazine titles that have been selected by Thumerelle and his sister, Marie. The store opened in 1999 in the rundown rue Beaurepaire near République, but two years ago moved to classier Le Marais. The duo are never short of a project, already doubling as publishers and, as Alexandre enthuses, “We also have an art gallery along with the shop that is 70 sq m and holds exhibitions and events as often as possible. It’s crazy, people say we have to slow down.” Ofr, 20 rue Dupetit-Thouars, + 33 (0) 1 4245 7288, ofrsystem.com
- Cy Twombly: States of Mind
- Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life
- Derek Birdsall: Harri Peccinotti H.P.
- Danny Lyon: Knave of Hearts
- Roger & Mauricio Padilha: The Stephen Sprouse Book
- Maria Luisa Frisa: Raf Simons Redux
- Kenya Hara: Designing Design
- Jan Tschichold: Master Typographer
- Martha Cooper & Henry Chalfant: Subway Art 25th Anniversary Edition
- Lisa Iwamoto: Digital Fabrications Architectural and Material Techniques
Split into two sections, this sale will appeal to any film buffs still floating around London after the recent BFI film festival. First up is a selection of vintage film posters, including sci-fi icons such as giantess Allison Hayes in Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman (1958), to promotional material from Le Mans (1971) starring Steve McQueen. For the real die-hards, Christie’s will host a memorabilia section. The highlight is the 22-inch metal skeleton used to help animate King Kong in the 1933 movie by Carl Denham. This model was used to scale the Manhattan skyscapers in the movie’s legendary imagery.
“Invasion of the Saucer-Men”
1957, A.I.P, £1,500-£2,000
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”
concept drawing, 1937, £6,000-£8,000
Set up last year, All Visual Arts (AVA) is an art partnership established by hedge-fund CEO Mike Platt and dealer/editor/ gallerist Joe La Placa. Rather than collecting through auctions or galleries, AVA in London, UK, works with its artists and special commissions to create its collection.
What makes the AVA enterprise so unique in the art world?
We’re a multi-million pound project, and our five artists are all contractually tied to us – usually in the art world, a handshake is enough. At first the artists were like ‘contracts, are you crazy?’ – and then the recession hit, and now they are very, very happy people. We are one of the first legally-viable hybrids – we’re not a gallery, we’re not a foundation or fund. I work as a collector, dealer and agent all in one. We have been created to adapt to the new financial environment.
How does the partnership work?
Mike has incredible acumen in the financial industry, he’s certainly been around, but as he says ‘Joe’s forgotten more about art than I know’. Mike leaves me to get on with it and do all the day-to-day stuff, he becomes instrumental with currency and looking at the market in general.
A big name masquerading as a small business, Damien Hirst’s shopkeeper alias opens a new outlet in NYC. Peddling art, design, books and funereal jewellery, publisher Other Criteria has found a snug berth in the Gagosian Store. But is this art?