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Issue #614

25.05.12 - 31.05.12

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Disappointment, Consolation

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Author:  By Tony Hanmer

Late April: rejection email from Kolga, the annual “100 best” photographic competition. I’ve succeeded twice (2009 and 2011) and failed twice, now, there. A bit depressed.

Early May: hearing that my Georgia Today/Focus people have opened a new Cafй/Restaurant, I suggested an exhibition there. In the end, I had a week to choose work, get it printed and hung, and open the thing. Much better! Solo show! Things are looking up! I called it “A Taste of Svaneti”. Opening night was Friday, May 18.

I had invited several Ambassadors, but none was able to be there. Instead, two from the Kazakh Embassy came. But many of my friends were there, foreign and local, including my blood brother from Svaneti and his family. My wife, and a number of people connected with Georgia Today newspaper and Focus magazine, to whom the establishment belongs. The Deputy Minister of Tourism. Nokia Georgia’s CEO, a Svan. And several different TV stations or newspapers.

The Cheese Lady, Anna, brought delicious aromas hitherto unknown to me from her amazing job, researching and reproducing many different cheeses from across Georgia. Chateau Mukhrani supplied the wine. And a Svan lady made tiny, individual k’ubdari, Svan meat pies, all evening long in the kitchen.

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Tbilisi Fashion Week brings out Georgian style

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Author:  By Kate Lekishvili

The area near the recently opened Buddha Bar in Tbilisi was especially crowded during the past week. From May17-20, this area was wholly dedicated to Tbilisi Fashion Week (TFW). This year’s Fashion Week was organized by the Geo Fashion Company sixth year in a row.

For the first time, Tbilisi Fashion Week opened with a photo exhibition. About ten photos were displayed featuring models dressed in Tamuna Ingorokva’s fragile, minimalist costumes. In line with the characteristics of Ingorokva’s sense of fashion, the costumes accentuated the subtle silhouette of the female figure. Adding strength to Ingorokva’s softness, the models were adorned with Queen Jewelry, a series from Mavi’s accessory collection which consist of metal, chains and sharp colored stones.

Once the guests absorbed the photo exhibition, they moved to the first floor of the bar, where the Georgian accessory designer collections were displayed. This part of TFW is one of the most interesting and wonderful. It can be confidently that there is no other platform in Georgia where guests can view distinctive, handmade, accessories displayed in a single area.

In addition, this exhibition is very important and useful for designers, as on the one hand, they are given the opportunity to present themselves, and on the other hand, they have the chance to bring their work to the attention of potential customers. “We have taken part in the previous fashion week and since then we had many exhibitions and have gained [a lot of] public interest,” said Maiko Tvalavadze, who works together with Nini Qareli under the brand Nenem.

Later TFW continued in its traditional format, as the catwalk placed on the zero floor of the bar was devoted to Aka Nanitashvili’s collection. Aka’s costumes turned out to be traditionally positive and light. However, this time the designer decided to reveal her collection in four seasons. Costumes created with white lace, print, pastel colors and low heal espadrilles looked casual, yet youthful and modern.

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Handicraft studio opens for IDP’s in Koda

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Author:  By Ia Natsvlishvili

Aiming to promote the rights and socioeconomic integration of women displaced from S. Ossetia currently residing in Koda, a settlement located in the Tetritskaro district, a handicraft studio was opened within the framework of the EU-funded project entitled Promoting the Rights and Social and Economic Integration of Displaced Women from South Ossetia.

With the support of the Tetritskaro Municipality, a handicraft studio was outfitted with the accessories, furniture, sewing equipment and tools essential for the proper training in handicraft development. The studio was also equipped to operate after the project’s completion.

Koda is located in a rural area in the Kvemo Kartli region. Opportunities for employment and income generating activities are severely limited. Although there are no official statistics available on IDPs and employment rates, recent surveys suggest higher rates of unemployment amongst IDPs than in the general population.

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Violence at gay demonstration exposes darker side of Georgian culture

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Author:  By Teona Betlemidze

On May 17, the NGO’s Identoba and LGBT Georgia organized a peaceful march on behalf of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The march, which began in front of Tbilisi’s Philharmonic and was to make its way down Rustaveli Avenue towards the parliament of Georgia turned violent as its participants were beaten and their posters and flags torn and vandalized.

Members belonging to the radical religious groups Union of Orthodox Parents and the Union of St. King Vakhtang Gorgasali purposely blocked the procession by first verbally assaulting the marchers and then physically attacking the demonstrators. In addition, some conservative-minded citizens for whom non-traditional sexual orientation is deemed unacceptable also joined in the fray, and punches were thrown. The Union of Orthodox Parents is known for showing up at similar events; most recently when they mobilized against a peaceful Halloween celebration.

Ekaterine Agdomelashvili, Director of the Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group, a local human rights organization, notes that while there has not been any special research conducted to measure the level of homophobia in Georgia or to identify the reasons behind it, some surveys show that the situation does not seem promising.

“The Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) conducts a survey on values each year, where there is one question about the public’s attitude towards homosexuality,” said Agdgomelashvili. “The last data set shows that 90% of the population thinks that homosexuality is not acceptable.”

According to the study conducted by Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group aimed to reveal the cases of assault, out of 150 gay, bisexual men, lesbians and bisexual women respondents, more men had experienced physical violence then had women.

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Wine, porn, and journalism

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Author:  By Robert Linkous

In his 2012 Georgian Wine Guide Malkhaz Kharbedia reports that “the first example of modern Western wine journalism in Georgia” did not appear until 2006, to which wine professionals around the world might have shouted out ecstatically, “Hallelujah!”

Or as the current Managing Director of a leading New York City fine wine retailer once acerbically remarked, “I think there are more wine writers in America than wine drinkers.”

Why the vitriol? Reason one: Robert Parker, of whom a biography is entitled The Emperor of Wine.

In the late 1970’s, as Americans were taking to food and drink consumerism with what could sometimes seem like a feeding frenzy, Parker introduced a newsletter in which he reviewed wines and rated them on a 100-point scale, the latter affording accessibility to those who could not fathom the former.

Those who did not know “bouquet” from “buttery” or “structure” from “astringency” did know the difference between 98 and 84.

Consider the competent wine salesperson delivering an honest, authoritative sales pitch. Momentarily the client seems to take it in trustingly, but then suddenly blenches. “What did Parker rate it?”

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