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I was assigned to write an item on gay Tel Aviv for The New York Times. But I found more -- the real journey begins here, in pictures.

PLANET TEL AVIV

Tel Aviv: Call it the Mediterranean capital of cool or call it what you will, the truth is we don’t know Tel Aviv like we could.

Planet Tel Aviv will be an attempt to chart a map of color and emotion across this city of white Bauhaus buildings and golden beaches.

Because beyond the headlines and emerging clichés there is more. The Tel Aviv lifestyle– good, bad and sometimes barely classifiable.  New ways of thinking and modes of expression.

Planet Tel Aviv is a response to Tel Aviv through my own photos, many of vibrant street art, and short stories or more precisely, impressions...chronicles of sensory impacts from cafe terraces to hotel bedrooms and above and  beyond. Each image will be paired with a brief account of a sensory experience either real or imagined (or more likely, both) that took place there. 

If you want restaurant recommendations, there’s Lonely Planet. This is something else: Planet Tel Aviv. 

Genesis of the Project 

The first time I came to Tel Aviv as an adult was by mistake -- I thought I was going to Barcelona but an Israeli friend played a little trick on me and I ended up in Tel Aviv in the middle of Gay Pride Week. I wrote about that for The New York Times, but it was just the start. Despite the long schlep from New York, I found myself returning to Israel within weeks to chase down more stories.

Two years later, there are still too many stories to keep up with.

In fact, there was way too much material for any one newspaper, so I pitched and ended up producing the first-ever dedicated Israel Travel site on About.com. But just as editors tend to trim the creative good bits from even the cleanest copy, no work for a corporate entity, though raising the profile of Israel as a destination, can really do creative justice to the "Holy Land" or its wonderfully unholy capital, Tel Aviv. 

So that's where Planet Tel Aviv comes from: visual, visceral, salty, sweet. And neat: if you can get through the short bursts of prose, you'll find yourself with some pretty captivating postcards (and other goodies) to give you a flavor of Tel Aviv, whether you're planning a trip or are here already. 

Funding

I flunked statistics in college -- twice -- and have never balanced a checkbook in my life.* But I was writing on travel for my local newspaper in Thousand Oaks, Calif. from the age of 12 and that is to say I do not approach travel writing as a way to get free trips but rather to probe the depth of a place. Any funding received from this project I view as off-setting income I will not be earning from freelance work while the writing and production is in progress. 

*Which is to say, I don't know how realistic the figure I put forward is, but because Tel Aviv like all cities does not exist in isolation, I will pledge a portion of proceeds to The Peres Center for Peace, and my time to help publicize and otherwise enhance the work of this important non-profit organization based in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel. 

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    Thank you for your support. You will received an e-book (PDF) version of Planet Tel Aviv

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    Thank you for your support. You will receive an e-book in PDF format of Planet Tel Aviv You will receive an e-book in PDF format and 20 limited edition Planet Tel Aviv postcards as well as a customized travel tip sheet for your next Tel Aviv visit. In addition, a keepsake Tel Aviv beach bracelet (retail value $50).

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    Thank you for your support. You will receive an e-book in PDF format of Planet Tel Aviv and 50 limited edition Planet Tel Aviv postcards as well as a customized travel tip sheet for your next trip to Tel Aviv. In addition, I will treat you to a shakshuka and two arak sparklers on your next trip to Tel Aviv as well as a mini walking tour of the city's cool spots (customizable to taste i.e. food, Bahaus, street art, nightlife, gay, beach etc.)

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    Thank you for your support. You will receive a signed printed copy of Planet Tel Aviv and 50 limited edition Planet Tel Aviv postcards as well as a customized travel tip sheet for your next Tel Aviv visit. In addition, you will receive one night complimentary at an artsy Tel Aviv hotel along with welcome cocktail.

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- (30 days)