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Issue no: 1193



In this week’s issue... Authenticity of General Prosecutor's Diploma Questioned NEWS PAGE 2

Gakharia on his First Official Visit to Baku POLITICS PAGE 3

Impeach Trump? – Good Luck! POLITICS PAGE 4

FOCUS ON TRADITIONS What would you get if you crossed a Georgian toastmaster and 1970s New York?


NGO: Legislation Does Not Include Regulations about Disposal of State Reserve Funds

Black Tomato: Emerging Hostel Chain to Shake Up the Hospitality Industry BUSINESS PAGE 4

Premium Quality Belgian Beer Chimay Now Available in Georgia BUSINESS PAGE 6

Churchkhela Could Become a Trendy Product on the Int'l Market



he Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) says that the Georgian legislation does not have records that regulate the disposal of state reserve funds. The organization studied the expenditures made by 60 municipalities last year and found that there are risks of inappropriate use of finances and unjustified spending of budget funds. To note, the state budget of Georgia includes reserve funds which aim to cover unforeseen expenses arising during the year. Like the state budget, reserve funds are also included in the budgets of local governments. The Law of Georgia on the Budget of the Local Self-Government Units reads that the Reserve Fund is designated by the local self-government budget for financing “unforeseen, extraordinary and other local events.” Consequently, the Reserve Fund is intended to cover expenses incurred during the year that could not be accounted for in objective budgeting processes, such as natural disasters, epidemics, environmental and other disasters. Continued on page 2


Leading Public, Private Sector Organizations Line up to Sponsor World Tolerance Summit 2019 SOCIETY PAGE 8

Venue of the Week: Healthy, Comfy, Innovative: Skola Coffee & Wine Bar Image source: azernews.az





OCTOBER 11 - 14, 2019

Authenticity of General Prosecutor's Diploma Questioned BY TEA MARIAMIDZE


he non-governmental sector and some opposition parties are questioning the authenticity of a diploma of the Georgian General Prosecutor Shalva Tadumadze, who is one of the nominees for Supreme Court lifetime judge and a candidate for the Supreme Court Chair. NGO Transparency International Georgia studied documents which confirm inconsistencies with regard to the diploma of the General Prosecutor, saying according to the diploma, Shalva Tadumadze enrolled in the institute in 1993 while the institute itself was established in 1994. “There are inconsistencies in terms of the graduation date too: the diploma indicated 1998, while, according to Shalva Tadumadze’s resume, it is 1999. We should also note the suspicious unanimity with which the administrative agencies refused for many months to provide us with a copy of Tadumadze’s diploma under various pretexts,” the organization says. Initially, questions about Tadumadze’s diploma were raised when he was nominated for the post of General Prosecutor. Transparency International Georgia says they had more doubts when none of the state institutions agreed to provide them with copies of Tadumadze’s edu-

cational documents. Among the institutions that rejected the request of the organization is the Administration of the Government where Tadumadze was the Parliamentary Secretary and then Head of the Administration. Further, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Justice Ministry and even Parliament, which elected Tadumadze to the post of General Prosecutor with 101 votes, refused to provide the NGO with the requested documents. The NGO says that based on these findings, the proper authorities must study the diploma of the General Prosecutor and present substantiated explanations concerning the existing discrep-

The Embassy of Georgia Changes London Address

there are no documents confirming that I do not have the legal education. For 18 years there has never been a single document that would cast doubts on my diploma, since I have always been an active lawyer,” he said. The Prosecutor also said he is sorry that he was born in such a country where during his student years the education system was of a Soviet model. “Those years we had such an education system…I went to the university there was and learned what they taught me. Accordingly, I have the diploma they gave me… I cannot take responsibility for the Soviet education law that was in force in the country until 1997,” he explained. Mamuka Mdinaradze, Chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream faction, responded to the criticism towards Tadumadze by saying it is speculation and that it is an attempt to “deliberately mislead society.” Tadumadze was GD founder and billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s lawyer and, after the Georgian Dream came to power, he became the government’s Parliamentary Secretary and then Head of the Administration of the Government. In July 2018, Tbilisi State University nominated Shalva Tadumadze for the General Prosecutor’s post and Parliament upheld his candidacy with 101 votes. Tadumadze has since been nominated to Parliament for the post of a lifetime judge of the Supreme Court.

The 49th Round of Geneva Discussions Challenges Intricate Issues


he Embassy of Georgia to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has changed its premises and moved to its own building. The new address of the Embassy is 20 St George’s Square, Pimlico, London, SW1V 2HP. It is somewhat symbolic that the Embassy of Georgia is now located on St George’s Square, in the heart of a central and historical part of London, the City of Westminster, St George being the patron saint of Georgia and England. The Embassy is near distinguished political, religious and historical places (the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, Downing Street, etc.) of the receiving state. The owner of the new premises of the Embassy is the Georgian state, and at this moment London is the only city in the world where Georgians have their own church, the Georgian Orthodox Cathedral Church of the Nativity of Our Lord, and where the Georgian Embassy owns its premises, both of which demonstrate the special relations and strategic partnership between Georgia and the UK. The issue of changing the premises of the Embassy of Georgia in London became particularly relevant in 2016. In 2018, as a result of active efforts of the Embassy and with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, the Ministry

ancies. Otherwise, the authenticity of this diploma will remain under question. The information published on the website of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia reads that Tadumadze studied at the Tbilisi Humanitarian Institute, graduating in 1999 with the qualification of lawyer. Later, he graduated the Faculty of Mining and Geology at the Technical University with a master’s degree in technical sciences. The resume submitted to the High Council of Justice indicates in greater detail that Tadumadze graduated from the Nodar Dumbadze Tbilisi Humanitarian Institute and that the period of study was 1994-1998. During his speech

in Parliament, Tadumadze also confirmed that he began his studies in 1994. On October 9, at a sitting of the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, where the lawmakers held an interview with the Prosecutor General, the opposition MPs stated that the diploma of Tadumadze and the legal education he received are questionable and the candidate has no right to be a judge nor a General Prosecutor. Giga Bokeria, opposition European Georgia leader, asked Tadumadze to name three persons who studied with him and his professors but the Prosecutor General had no permission to reveal their identities. Otar Kakhidze, a lawmaker of the same party, inquired about Tadumadze’s academic grade in the History of Law at the university. Tadumadze’s answer was unclear in this case too. Salome Samadashvili, member of the opposition United National Movement party, openly accused Tadumadze of being “unlettered” and a “swindler,” claiming his diploma was falsified. Tadumadze said he studied in a higher education institution which was operated lawfully. “For a year and a half, a group of people has been trying to create a myth that the country has an uncertified General Prosecutor,” Tadumadze said. “There are attempts to create the falsification that this country will have a non-certificated judge of the Supreme Court. But


O of Finance of Georgia and former Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, a new building for the Embassy was bought and a relevant agreement was signed. Now, the Embassy of Georgia in London has new and proper infrastructure that ensures safety compliance, a high level consular service for citizens, as well as more opportunities to organize events to promote cultural and business ties. In addition, in order to promote Georgia and raise awareness about the country, the Embassy intends to participate in campaigns relevant to diplomatic and other communities in London, such as gender equality, digital diplomacy, sustainable development, environment protection, and more.

n 8-9 October, the 49th round of the Geneva Discussions took place, a format aimed at resolving, or at least easing, the tensions between Russia and Georgia. The parties attending the talks include representatives of the EU, OSCE, UN, USA, Russia, Georgia and the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “The focus was on tensions near the village of Tsnelisi in the Georgian-South Ossetian border region, provoked by Tbilisi’s decision to relocate a police post directly in the village at the end of August. This prompted Tskhinvali to take retaliatory measures, including by opening its own checkpoint and temporarily blocking the border with Georgia. We have informed the parties about our approach to regulate the situation. We called on the parties to show restraint as well as to take steps to de-escalate the situation by using a direct dialogue format within the framework of existing negotiation mechanisms. Such a position was supported by the participants of the Geneva talks,” the Russian Foreign Ministry states. The statement further reads that the Russian, Abkhaz and Ossetian parties

stressed the importance of continuing efforts of the partakers in the discussions to reach a deal on ‘non-use of force.’ The Russian MFA also mentioned Georgia’s aspirations of joining the NATO coalition. “We focused on Georgia’s continued efforts to join NATO, continued militarization of the South Caucasus country, regular military exercises of the Alliance on this territory. Together with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, we assess this as a process undermining regional security.” The Georgian side also issued a statement. As noted in a report released by the MFO, the delegates of the United States and Georgia suggested the par-

ticipants from Moscow, Sukhumi and Tskhinvali open all the supposed crossing checkpoints and not obstruct the free movement of local residents. “One of the main topics of discussion was ethnic discrimination and the ethnic persecution of residents of the Gali and Akhalgori regions. The issue of coercion to change the ethnic identity of Georgians living there as well as the grave consequences of the ban on receiving education in their native language was sharply raised,” the statement from the Georgian MFA reads. All the participating parties agreed that the next round of Geneva negotiations will be held on December 10-11.

NGO: Legislation Does Not Include Regulations about Disposal of State Reserve Funds Continued from page 1 In addition to this, the Reserve Fund should not exceed 2% of the total appropriations provided from the annual budget. After carrying out its study, the IDFI found that in 2018, GEL 8,949,777 ($3,015,118) was spent from 60 Municipalities’ Reserve Funds, the highest amount being spent by Tbilisi City Hall - GEL 2,747,100 ($925,479). Further, during 2018, the largest part

of the total expenditure of Municipal Reserve Funds, 30%, was spent on financial assistance and amounted to GEL 2,653,706 ($894,015). “The fate of 15% of the total expenditures is completely unknown,” the organization stressed. “Specifically, 7 municipalities (Kutaisi, Borjomi, Kobuleti, Marneuli, Lentekhi, Tsageri, Lanchkhuti) did not disclose information regarding the destination of GEL 1,367,811 ($460,806) spent from their Reserve Funds.”

The NGO says that last year the Reserve Funds from various Municipalities funded a number of capital projects, yet failed to indicate the purpose or need for funding these projects. The study also revealed that in some cases, reserve funds are used to finance cultural, sports and educational events, which is not envisaged by the legislation. “Effective planning of reserve funds for local governments is problematic both in terms of exceeding the planned

rate and failing to use it. For example, in 2018, the Gori, Kaspi, Kazbegi, Tsalka and Sighnaghi municipalities did not spend money from their Reserve Funds, which amounted to GEL 280,000 ($94,330),” the IDFI said. The NGO concluded that the current legislation does not include important regulations related to the management of reserve funds, leading to risks of inappropriate use of finances and unjustified spending of budgetary funds.

“The Law of Georgia on State Procurement does not apply to the funds allocated from the Reserve Fund of Tbilisi City Hall. Accordingly, purchases from the Tbilisi City Hall Reserve Fund are carried out without ensuring the principles of competitive environment and transparency,” the IDFI reported, adding that there is no united standard for justifying the appropriateness of expenditures from the Reserve Funds or their proper monitoring.




Georgia’s PM & the Changing Geopolitics of the Caucasus OP-ED BY EMIL AVDALIANI


he world is in deep turmoil. From Syria to the South China Sea and from Iran to the European plains, developments of a vast geopolitical caliber are taking place. We are essentially witnessing a restructuring of the world order, which means that if not complete, but at least serious changes are being made in the security architecture. Georgia, being a small country and at the crossroads of various geopolitical combinations of great Eurasian players, is particularly vulnerable to the changing situation on the continent. Perhaps the most serious problem for Tbilisi is the nascent rapprochement between the West and Russia. Political statements as well as various practical moves show that there is a

serious discussion going on in the EU on reinstating at least some parts of erstwhile relations with Moscow. Quite naturally, the countries (Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova) hammed in between and close to Russia, see this development as troublesome for their vulnerable security. On top of this there is also a bigger destabilizing factor, namely the US’ reconsideration of its global status. Whether Washington plans to continue its tacit security obligations to the former Soviet countries is unclear, but the fact that the US policies towards Ukraine and other states have seen some unusual changes, undermines America’s status in Eurasia. Thus, the small and vulnerable states of the former Soviet space, being in an increasingly hostile geopolitical situation, have to maneuver, which includes among many things, establishing direct (closer) contact with Moscow. It is no surprise then that the first ever high level meeting between Georgian and Russian

officials since Russian invasion in 2008 took place several weeks ago. While many castigated the ruling party for re-establishing a high-level contact with the Russians, a larger geopolitical perspective has been missed: the need to secure its positions in an increasingly destabilized region drove Tbilisi to act at this specific moment. Georgia is not the sole country to initiate active diplomacy. The Ukrainian President’s efforts to reach even partial progress in eastern Ukraine fits well into the bigger picture of an increasingly unpredictable world order, with a lower US military presence on the continent and larger chances for European Union (EU)-Russia rapprochement. Taking a longer-term view of geopolitical processes in the region, the Georgian government thus will need to reconsider many of its traditional policies. The backbone of the state strategy should again serve the Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan trilateral format. Appreciation of this geopolitical near-alliance from the

Image source: tobintouch.wordpress.com

Georgian side can be seen in the Georgian PM’s first ever foreign trip since the appointment: Azerbaijan. This will be followed later on by a similar visit to Turkey. Armenia is also important, but in many ways the relative poorness of both countries, as well as Yerevan’s close (strategic) relations with Moscow, limit the development of Georgian-Armenian relations. Further afield, closer relations with the EU and the US will continue as usual, but with the consideration that grand strategic shifts are taking place in the perceptions of western elites as regards

Georgia’s major problem – Russia. In the years to come, on top of its internal problems, the Georgian government will see a further deteriorating of the geopolitical landscape in and around the South Caucasus. Many will remain the same as it was for decades (and some might argue for centuries) – Georgia will try to minimize/balance Russia’s power with increasing cooperation with other states’ regional or global powers. But it will nevertheless require exceptional diplomatic skills from the ruling party officials to play a delicate balancing game to maneuver in the deteriorating regional balance of power.

Gakharia on his First Official Visit to Baku BY BEKA ALEXISHVILI

G Image source: Government of Georgia

eorgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia met with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliev. “My first official visit to Azerbaijan is not accidental since we are sure that with this visit we will prove to our friends and enemies that there are no problems between Georgia and Azerbaijan that cannot be resolved in a friendly manner.”

Dutring the meeting, the parties discussed issues of vital importance, including major aspects of strategic partnership and joint regional projects. The Georgian PM accentuated that partnership between the two states had upgraded to an international level, especially with regards to economic, transport, trade and energy spheres. Head of the Georgian government expressed gratitude to the President of Azerbaijan for supporting Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In turn, President Aliyev complimented Gakharia on his appointment as the new Prime Minister of Georgia. He also thanked

the PM for officially traveling to Azerbaijan in his newly attained positioned. “This confirms that Georgia and Azerbaijan are close friends and partners. Georgia is the closest friend, neighbor and partner. We are linked by history, geography, a fact that serves as an important factor for the development of relations,” stated Aliyev. The President of Azerbaijan also underlined that affairs amongst the peoples were very important and that Azerbaijanis living in Georgia and Georgians living in Azerbaijan played a big role in the development of these relations.




OCTOBER 11 - 14, 2019

Impeach Trump? – Good Luck! OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


s Donald Trump good or bad for civilization in general and for America in particular? My personal opinion has no considerable weight to flaunt, so I am mostly about what I have heard so far. Since the difficult times of Abraham Lincoln, America has never been divided as much as it is nowadays, and the opposed political forces of the country have never displayed this much disdain for each other as they do right now. What a terrible example for Georgia from a paragon of political solidity! Trump was elected almost a term ago, but the unbridled hatred of Democrats towards his activity and his personality is not subsiding. They have not yet found enough will in themselves to recover from the shock they suffered following Hillary Clinton’s loss of the presidential race. Memorably, at that crucial-for-thenation moment, the democrats had almost made it to the historical triumph, and all of a sudden, Nike lifted on her powerful wings not the running madam but her adversary. And the very second the unexpected fiasco took place, the dis-

heartened Democrats swore to God to bring down the newly born star of American politics at any cost, having since made this goal the most vested political interest of their lives. This is a brief story of how the quarterof-a-millennium American political culture may collapse and never recuperate. Whatever Trump accomplishes, the Democrats are tramping down no matter how strong and healthy the achievement might be ranking to benefit the American people. Democrats have a vicious determination, at least this is the general impression, to see the sitting president in the most painfully ignominious topsy-turvy in history. Why? What’s wrong with the losers? Can’t they wait until the end of this presidential term and then, fully restored and reinvigorated, start the coming-up race and relax at the end of the marathon on the laurel-strewn makeshift ceremonial elevation? Of course they can’t! Because they know they are going to lose the next battle too. The problem with Democrats is that they have lost the electoral confidence and are craving compensation for the defeat with a monstrous political court case like impeachment against the President of the United States of America,

whose popularity both at home and abroad is growing like crazy. Trump is working hard, and is working for America. He is certainly a controversial leader, every once in a while making an unpopular decision, and yet he is in control, firmly standing on pure American values, reminding us of the days of the unforgettable missionary. His recent comparison with Washington in a negative context, clownishly engineered by his permanently-angered opponents, only elevates him to the level of founding fathers, inspired by ideals like the American Dream and America First. Trump certainly has his share of blunders and weaknesses, but how about the feats under his belt, all based on officially published and readily accessible data: millions of newly created jobs and lowered unemployment, economic growth, enhanced household income, improved vocational education, heightened optimism about the future, a surge in retail sales, the biggest tax cut in history, a record number of eliminated regulations, more affordable healthcare and generic drugs, the reform of Medicare, reduced high-dose opioid prescriptions, expended tele-health services, increase in coal and gas exports, withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, repaired military fund-

Image source: vanityfair.com

ing, more circuit court judges, backing out from the one-sided Iran Deal, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, strengthened protection of Americans from terrorists, keeping open Guantanamo Bay, the historic US-Mexico Trade Deal to replace NAFTA, the agreement with the EU to increase American exports, imposed tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum to protect national security, imposition of tariffs on China, refreshment of the style in dealing with Russia, stricter handling of the nuclear proliferation dilemma, limited financial and

political participation in international organizations, restriction of unbridled immigration, improved vetting and screening for refugees, switched focus to overseas resettlement, building the wall on the Mexican border to eliminate crime. And this is not the complete roster of Trumpian deeds, making him a good enough an American president to continue ruling the country and even better an international player, presenting America to the world in a totally renovated image. Again, this is not me, but only what I have read and heard!

60 New Isuzu Municipal Buses to Serve Passengers in Tbilisi BY ANA DUMBADZE


ixty Isuzu-mark, 8-meter-long municipal buses have been imported to Georgia. The buses, presented by Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze in

Photo Source: Tbilisi City Hall


Europe Square, will begin serving passengers in Tbilisi this week. The Euro 6 standard diesel buses were produced by the Turkish Anadolu Group. Representatives of Tbilisi Transport Company GT Group, Isuzu and Anadolu Group Turkish Company attended the presentation. A total of 220 Isuzu-mark buses will

be imported by the end of the year. Tbilisi Mayor noted that the remaining 160 buses will enter the capital city before the end of the year to replace outdated public transport. The buses have 21 seats, are adapted for persons with limited physical capabilities and are provided with Wi-Fi internet, heating and ventilation systems.

Black Tomato: Emerging Hostel Chain to Shake Up the Hospitality Industry industry,” they say, noting that at this stage maintaining sky-high quality is the major priority and the main challenge for them. We then ask, why Kutaisi? “Kutaisi is the heart of Georgia, with stunning sights and mesmerizing landscapes. The close location of the city to other incredible regions of the country makes it even more attractive. We believe that Kutaisi has great potential for tourism.” The Tbilisi branch of Black Tomato is situated in the historic district of the Georgian capital, making a stay more enjoyable against the background of the domination of contemporary urban environ. During the conversation, Elene and Mariam say that the signature colors of Black Tomato are blue, yellow and red, a combination which ultimately makes black. That is why the Kutaisi branch of the hostel is yellow, while the one in Tbilisi is blue. In future, the young entrepreneurs state they aspire to develop the chain and introduce it countrywide and change the stereotypical perception of the notion of a hostel, which in most cases is associated with a low-cost, uncomfortable and unclean accommodation, and introduce it from a completely new perspective.



he hospitality industry is one of the most promising industries on the contemporary Georgian market, seeing various new types of accommodation, as well as services, appearing in the sphere. While the country is rich in large chain hotels and guest houses, the notion of “hostel” remains less popular. However, Kutaisi, the second largest city in Georgia, welcomed a new hostel with the interesting name of Black Tomato in spring this year. GEORGIA TODAY contacted the authors of the initiative, Elene Zamtaradze and Mariam Ramishvili, to gauge the success of the project and find out about their experience of entrepreneurship. First, we asked the young entrepreneurs to talk about the Black Tomato project and the challenges they have had to face on the way to implementing it. “Black Tomato is an emerging hostel chain which strives to become a new statement in the Georgian hospitality industry and promote the idea of hostels on the market,” the founders tell us. “Through our concept, we aim to integrate five main components and offer them to clientele: moderate prices and a budget-friendly venue; high-quality services; a great location; a nice interior and pleasant environ; and an area for socializing. There is nothing

innovative in the individual components, but bringing them together in one space is undoubtedly a novelty.” While speaking about the challenges, Elene and Mariam highlighted the distance from the capital city where they reside and work, to Kutaisi, which has

proved to be an obstacle in terms of managing the new venue and keeping up-to-date with all the details related to running it. “The 210 km between the two cities is not the only difficulty we have faced so far. It is also challenging to enter an

ever-changing market, boasting a number of major players, with limited finances. In addition, on our path to development we have often come across skepticism from society about our age [27] and prospects of success due to the lack of experience of operating in the




OCTOBER 11 - 14, 2019

Premium Quality Belgian Beer Chimay Now Available in Georgia INTERVIEW BY ANA DUMBADZE


reat news for beer enthusiasts! You can already taste Belgian premium quality Chimay in Georgia, a beer distinguished for its special taste and unforgettable flavor. On October 8, the presentation and tasting of the renowned brand took place at the newly opened Café Achechili, on Shardeni Street in Old Tbilisi, a wellknown place for entertainment and nightlife lovers. The company Premiere is official representative of Belgian Beers. Their portfolio includes wellknown brands such as Chimay, Rochefort, Delirium and Lindemans. The products of the brand are available for Georgian customers at limited locations in Tbilisi: at the hypermarket Agrohub, authentic craft beer restaurant 9 Mta and Café Achechili. Visitors to these places can enjoy the different varieties of the Chimay Brand, choosing according to their taste. Jos Timmermans, Export Area Manager of Chimay, who is currently paying a visit to Georgia, led the presentation and introduced the history and four different varieties of the brand to the audience. The event was attended by media, business representatives and public figures, who got to enjoy the authentic Belgian beer while listening to the presentation. The uniqueness of the beer lies in various details, first of all, due to the fact that the Chimay Brewery, founded in 1862, is located in Scourmont Abbey, a monastery in the province of Hainaut, Belgium, one of the eleven breweries worldwide that produce Trappist beer, brewed by Trappist monks (a Catholic religious order of cloistered monastics that branched off from the Cistercians). The monastery also makes four varieties of cheese. The beer is transported from the monastery to the bottling plant 12 km away, which can fill 40,000 bot-

tles per hour, of which many are returns. The beer is then re-fermented in the bottle for three weeks before being shipped worldwide. 50% of Chimay beer production is sold on the export markets. There are four different colored labels: red, white, blue and gold. The ingredients are: water, malted barley, wheat starch, sugar, hop extract and yeast; malt extract is used in the Red and Blue beers for coloring. Chimay Red, 7% ABV, presented in a 75 cl bottle, is known as a Première. It is a dark brown color dubbel and has a sweet, fruity aroma. Chimay Blue is the strongest of these wonderful beers, boasting a 9% alcohol volume. It is known as Grande Réserve because of its unique storage method - it can be stored for up to 20 years. The darkest of the Chimay beers, this brew is powerful and complex, with chocolate, caramel and spice. Chimay Chimay Triple, 8% ABV golden tripel, comes in a 75 cl bottle and is known as Cinq Cents. This crisp beer bears a light orange color and is the most hopped and driest of the three. Chimay Dorée (Golden), 4.8% ABV ale, is brewed from very similar ingredients to the Red, but is paler and spiced differently. The monks themselves drink this variety rather than the stronger three. Prior to 2013, it was unusual for bottles of the Chimay Dorée to be available outside the Abbey or local inn. However, from 2013, a limited quantity of this beer began to be sold on draught in the United Kingdom, at 19 Fuller's pubs, and in Italy, where only 50 pubs sell this variety of beer, as well as in 330 ml bottles in some export markets. In the Christmas season of 2016, Chimay was made available as a gift set with all four varieties and two chalices, and since has been available in limited quantities in the USA. Chimay beer first appeared in Georgia about a month ago, however, it has already gained the growing popularity and admiration among the local customers. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to the official repre-

sentative of the brand, Jos Timmermans, to find out more about their expectations for the Georgian market and Chimay’s competitiveness with local and foreign brands currently on the market.

TELL US ABOUT THE HISTORY AND DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF CHIMAY. The brand boasts a hundred years of history. The special characteristic of Trappist monks is that the beer and cheese they produce is sold only for the financial support of the monastery and for good causes. The majority of the profit from the sale of the beer is distributed to charities and for community development around the region. In general, the beer industry is divided into two parts: industrial beer and craft beer. The difference between them is that industrial beer is widely produced and is available almost everywhere, while craft beer is made in micro-breweries only, and is a relatively new product which is currently gaining position on the market. However, despite their long history, the Belgian beers stand beyond such classification, being neither industrial nor craft beers, as they are produced in limited quantities and varieties in order to maintain the quality.For instance, Chimay produces only four varieties of beer, mostly Blue. At first, it was a so-called Christmas beer, however, due to the growing demand, production expanded and now represents 50% of Chimay beer sales. Each variety of Chimay beer carries a different content and “character” and can satisfy the taste of any customer depending on their needs and taste. You will definitely find one kind of beer among these four, which satisfy you. Each is made with traditional methods, however, through special technologies and additional ingredients, you can taste the aroma of fruit, caramel, chocolate, coffee, etc. What is most important in Belgian beers: each is produced with an original method called bottle conditioning, also known as “bottle re-fermentation,” which means that yeast is added to the beer in the bottle during the second fermentation, enhancing its taste and aroma. Accordingly, almost any beer made this way is better than a decanted

one. Chimay is an example showing that bottle conditioning beer is much better.

THERE ARE OTHER PREMIUM QUALITY BEERS PRODUCED IN BELGIUM. WHY WAS CHIMAY SELECTED TO ENTER THE GEORGIAN MARKET? Why Chimay? The brand products have been on sale for about a month in Georgia, and there is a significantly increasing interest and demand among customers. In addition, the price is affordable in comparison to the prices of other European beers. Chimay is also the most diverse brand, offering four different kinds of beer- light, heavy, black and white, so it can meet the needs of customers of any taste.

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE GEORGIAN MARKET? The expectations are really great. We are sure that Chimay will gain even more popularity among Georgian customers. When tasting Chimay, more and more people will understand why beer is a special drink among other alcoholic beverages and the culture of Belgian beers will gain a stable position in the Georgian market without any obstacles.

SO, THERE’LL BE NO DIFFICULTLY FOR CHIMAY TO COMPETE WITH LOCAL AND FOREIGN BRANDS HERE? “Definitely not, because it has already caught the attention and love of Georgian beer lovers. Our beer is sold at the restaurant 9 Mta, and often the demand is higher than supply, because customers already know what they like and why they want to order our beer. So, I don’t see any circumstances which might interrupt or hinder this process.” As for future plans, the brand representative said they will soon increase beer export to Georgia, increasing the number of bars and stores selling Chimay. Those interested in giving this authentic Belgian beer a try and those wanting to feel the true meaning of this drink- check out Chimay novelties on their Facebook page Premiere Belgian Beers – PBB.

Churchkhela Could Become a Trendy Product on the Int'l Market BY KETEVAN KVARATSKHELIYA


s Georgians continue introducing one of the most popular local candies churchkhela, also known as the ‘Georgian Snickers’ to guests, Andriy Yarmak, an economist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has given his vision to the East Fruit media platform regarding the potential of churchkhela to become a trendy and in-demand product on the global market. “Traditional Georgian churchkhela fully suits the notion of a healthy product and with efforts it could become a popular and in-demand product worldwide,” Yarmak stated, referring to the growth of the significance of healthy nutrition observed globally. “Large supermarket chains and marketers are searching for new relevant products and churchkhela is made of natural edible material, without added sugar. It is an energy bar, a healthy snack.” The FAO economist also notes that churchkhela has high prospects in terms monetarization and the product needs to be actively promoted on the international arena so as to catch the eye of leading supermarket chains. For churchkhela to gain popularity and successfully establish itself on foreign markets, Yarmak strongly recommends the diversification of the product and the offering of a variety of fillings aside

from the traditionally used walnuts. He also notes that through the augmentation of the production of churchkhela, it is also possible to increase the price of nuts, which already represent an expensive product. Yarmak also spoke of the legislation related to the export of churchkhela and its production beyond the limits of Georgia. East Fruit expands this theme by providing the comment of Irakli Kasradze, Head of the Department of Trademarks, Geographical Indications and Design at the National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia (SAKPATENTI), who notes that “Churchkhela is a serious products and its movement abroad might bring profit to the business sector, as well as the entire country.”




OCTOBER 11 - 14, 2019

Leading Public, Private Sector Organizations Line up to Sponsor World Tolerance Summit 2019


he Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation, Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai and Emirates Real Estate Solutions are the main sponsors of the upcoming World Tolerance Summit, which will be held at the Madinat Jumeirah Conference & Events Center on 13-14 November under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The International Institute for Tolerance (IIT) in Dubai, one of the initiatives of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Foundation, is the organizer of the two-day summit themed ‘Tolerance in Multiculturalism: Achieving the Social, Economic and Humane Benefits of a Tolerant World.’ Ministries, government and private entities support major events and initiatives to strengthen their presence in community initiatives as part of their national responsibility and support for community development initiatives. Dr Hamad bin Sheikh Ahmed Al Shaibani, Managing Director of the IIT,

Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Summit Sponsors, said that the summit demonstrates the UAE's commitment to the values represented by the culture of dialogue and acceptance, which is in accordance with the principles of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who founded the nation. “The second edition of WTS is based on the outcome of the first summit (held last year), which stressed the need to have joint global efforts to promote the values of tolerance and brotherhood among communities,” Al Shaibani added.

“We are living in a world that rejects all forms of discrimination, and promotes intellectual, social and cultural diversity.” “Since its inception, the UAE has provided a true translation of the values of tolerance and openness, which has contributed to the creation of a rich cultural environment that promotes harmony,” said Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Chairman of Emirates Real Estate Solutions. “Values of respect and equality derived from Sharia laws and authentic Arab customs have helped create this ideal climate in a country like the UAE which ensures tolerance,

and where everyone contributes to the progress and prosperity of the society.” “Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Directors of RTA, noted that tolerance has become an integral part of the UAE society. “At RTA, we are committed to making a significant difference in the community and we support all social and cultural programs and initiatives aimed at spreading the principles of Islam, based on tolerance, compassion and traditional values.” The people of the UAE have benefited from the values established by the found-

ing fathers under the leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed. The UAE offers one of the finest stories of tolerance in human history despite being home to millions of people from different religions, creed, ethnicities and race. The two-day global summit will be attended by government officials, thinktanks, intellectuals, influencers, representatives of international organisations, diplomats, as well as student community to share their knowledge and experiences that will promote and consolidate the values and principles of tolerance in communities. World Tolerance Summit, started in 2018, is a first of its kind event in the region that brings together more than 2000+ delegates, including government representatives, peace experts, youth, men and women from more than 105 countries to promote the concept of tolerance as a language of understanding and dialogue across the globe. Organized by Strategic Exhibitions and Conferences, WTS 2019 is in line with the declaration of 2019 as Year of Tolerance by the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

in Georgia and the British Embassy in Tbilisi, which will run from September to December 2019. The Season will include events in Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi and other locations throughout Georgia and will showcase the best that modern, diverse, global Britain has to offer in culture, sport, education, and business. The British team draws on the shared

values of both the UK and Georgia to deliver a program with a specific focus on diversity and inclusion. The UK Season 2019 is funded by the British Council and the British Embassy working closely with a small group of sponsors including Georgia Capital, Bank of Georgia, BP, Adjara Group and Wissol.


O2 Performance Wows Tbilisi BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE


et another extraordinary event has been held within the frames of the UK Season2019 in Georgia: on October 5, Tbilisi hosted Studio Wayne McGregor and Tbilisi International Festival of Theater (TIFT) co-production O2. The semi-improvised performance from professional and amateur dancers was offered to the audience in the open-air. In partnership with the TIFT, the legendary Studio Wayne McGregor came to Tbilisi to create a stunning new site-specific participatory dance piece. To create the extraordinary performance, artists from the London-based and internationally renowned company

worked with Georgian choreographers, dancers and people of different ages, interests, and cultures. The creative process of professional and enthusiast individuals began in July 2019. The culmination of their moving work was seen last Sunday in Orbeliani Square, Tbilisi, where their art manifested in movement was presented to the audience. The Studio Wayne McGregor and the TIFT united to create a commissioned work that celebrates the people and the city of Tbilisi through dance, sound, and costume. The performance also featured a specially commissioned score by international artist Scanner. Studio Wayne McGregor is the creative engine for choreographer and director Wayne McGregor CBE, and the home of his life-long inquiry into thinking through and with the body. Studio Wayne McGregor has a 20-year history of creating high

quality, innovative participatory dance performances and Wayne McGregor has won many international awards. His approach has changed the way modern dance is viewed, radically redefining the contemporary dance culture. The British studio’s strong name and its high-quality reputation promised an outstanding performance in Tbilisi and it delivered nothing short of expectations. “What makes our performances different and engaging is that we include everyone in our dance projects; those of different abilities, talents, and individualistic views,” said Jasmine Wilson, Director of Learning and Engagement at Studio Wayne. “What’s more, we don’t teach them how to move: they create the production of movements themselves.” UKSeason in Georgia 2019 is a specially curated program of more than 60 events jointly presented by the British Council

Batumi to Host Rural Tourism Festival Gandagana on October 13-14 TRANSLATED BY ANA DUMBADZE


n October 13-14, Georgia’s coastal city of Batumi, the capital of the Ajara region, will host the most exciting and popular festival in rural tourism, Gandagana, which will be traditionally held in Europe Square. The festival was postponed for a day due to inappropriate weather conditions. For two days, all the five municipalities of the Ajara region will present their unique products, fruits, sweets, handmade items and traditions on Europe Square, allowing visitors to learn more about the villages without having to travel there. Compared to the previous year, the number of festival participants has increased and will be represented from other regions of Georgia besides Ajara. Within the framework of the Festival, guests will be able to get involved in competitions, dancing and culinary masterclasses, making of churchkhela and chacha, the process of cutting tobacco,

pressing grapes in the winepress (Satsnakheli in Georgian), and more. Along with local folk bands, bands "Ara", "SVANSIKH" and "SEASIDE" will rock the audience. "Gandagana" Festival has been organized by the Tourism Products Development Agency of the Adjara Tourism Department since 2015. Its aim is to popularize and present villages of Ajara and encourage tourists to travel in rural areas. The festival program includes: October 13 16:00 - 16:50 - Vocal Ensemble "Pesvebi" (Roots) 16:50 - 17:50 - Vocal Ensemble "Elesa" and Enver Khabadze State Choreographic Ensemble "Batumi" 17:50 - 18:30 - Ajarian Dishes Presentation - Master Class - Batumi State Puppet and Young Spectator Theater - Performance "Little Red Riding Hood" 18:30 - 19:10 - Kobuleti Song and Dance Ensemble 19:10 - 19:30 – Fun and interactive group competition 19:30 - 21:00 - Band “Ara” 21:00 - 22:30 - Band "Svansikh"

October 14 14:00 - 14:30 - Choreographic ensemble "Bermukha" 14:30 - 15:30 - Vocal Ensemble "Chvana"

15:30 - 16:30 - Vocal ensemble "Atzali" and choreographic ensemble "Kolkha" 16:30 - 17:00 - Grape press in the winepress

17:00 - 18:00 - State Academic Ensemble "Arsiani" 18:00 - 19:30 - Band “Seaside”



Venue of the Week: Healthy, Comfy, Innovative: Skola Coffee & Wine Bar BY KETEVAN KVARATSKHELIYA


hile taking a walk along Paliashvili Street in the center of the Georgian capital, which is packed with shops, eateries and offices, a venue called ‘Skola Coffee & Wine Bar’ is certain to catch your eye. School, translated in Georgian as ‘Skola,’ is usually associated with an academic, formal establishment with multiple subjects and endless homework. Yet, Skola Coffee & Wine Bar on Paliashvili, which welcomed its first guests this summer, has something new and pleasant to offer Tbilisians and guests to the city. GEORGIA TODAY sat down with Vakhtang Beraia, CEO of the Skola Coffee & Wine Bar, and Erekle Ghonghadze, its young chef, to explore the distinctive features of Skola Coffee & Wine Bar, as well as the secret behind the name of the eatery. The story of Skola Coffee & Wine Bar chain kicked off on Rustaveli Avenue nearly two years ago, when it established itself on the market as one of the pioneers introducing and promoting the concept of specialty coffee to guests. Aside from a wonderful, eclectic menu and a wide assortment of refreshments, which we’ll come to in a moment, coffee and wine represent the two major priorities of the founders of Skola. And why exactly, we ask them, coffee and wine? Coffee is one of the oldest and best loved products worldwide, listed among the leaders of sales across the globe, whereas through 8,000 years of winemaking traditions, wine has become an inalienable part of the Georgian culture and the country in general. Skola Coffee & Wine Bar offers a stunning array of the best coffees, served in lovely mugs with the tinge of artwork on the top, and the best Georgian qvevri wines, undoubtedly winning the hearts of enthusiasts of these two drinks. The concept of the venue is equally refreshing, as the founders of Skola Coffee & Wine Bar have gone beyond the limits of a simple eatery and, though modest at first glance, the establishment makes for a wonderful place for formal and semi-formal gatherings in the busy

urban environ, where guests can benefit from an opportunity to socialize and establish new communications. In addition, Skola certainly justifies its name, as it has launched a project titled Book Club, where on specific days of each month, visitors, especially youngsters, have a chance to enjoy a pleasant evening, establish new communications, discuss a specific book and share their impressions and expand their global outlook. The founders of the venue also have a focus on young artists, giving them a chance to exhibit their works on site. It is no exaggeration to say that through this excellent initiative, Skola Coffee & Wine Bar has successfully assimilated the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The chef of the venue briefed us about the menu, noting that the Skola team follows the latest trends of world gastronomy and spares no effort to offer

the best choices from European cuisine, suitable for the tastes of local residents and foreigners. They also strongly accentuate the notion of healthy nutrition and provide high-quality dishes and snacks, suitable for lunch, as well as full dinners. The menu changes every season. In addition to mouthwatering burgers of beef and chicken, served with perfectly fried chips, to quesadilla and fish salad, you can also try a number of diverse specialties, such as a pear salad, and their desserts are nothing short of spectacular. The venue is also distinguished for its huge assortment of healthy smoothies and lemonades, adding a sprinkle of freshness. The aesthetic appearance of all the above is not to be missed either. If you are searching for the ideal mélange of tasty food, comfortable environ and innovative concept, Skola Coffee & Wine Bar is definitely worth a visit.





OCTOBER 11 - 14, 2019


TBILISI INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THEATER 2019 October 14 WOMEN Neil Simon Genre: Comedy Directed by Cicino Kobiashvili Designer- Irina Klimenchenko Choreographer- Svitlana Melnuk Music Adapted by Ihor Sablin Start time: 20:00 Venue: K. Marjanishvili State Drama Theater (The Roof) October 16 Roy Oppenheim & Ido Ricklin (E)MOTION WITHOUT MOVEMENT A musical fantasy for orchestra, actor and video art Directed by Ido Ricklin & Roy Oppenheim Composer- Zohar Sharon Video Art- Yoav Cohen Choreographer- Miri Lazar Start time: 20:00 Venue: K. Marjanishvili State Drama Theater (The Roof) TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 25 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 04 56 October 16 NATHALIE Premiere Ballet in two acts Choreography by August Bournonville New choreographic version and staging by Frank Andersen and Dinna Bjørn Reconstructed by Frank Andersen, Dinna Bjørn, Eva Kloborg and Anne Marie Vessel Schlüter Music by Carl Christian Møller Orchestration by Zurab Nadareishvili Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theater Orchestra Conductor- Henrik Vagn Christensen Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-200 GEL SILK FACTORY STUDIO 59 Kostava Ave. October 11, 12, 13 METAMORPHOSES Contemporary ballet based on Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ Music by Johann Sebastian Bach

Original music by Nika Machaidze Original idea and choreography by Mariam Aleksidze Stage design by Ana Ninua Project idea, concept and supervision by David Maziashvili Cast: Giorgi Aleksidze Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet Company Artistic DirectorMariam Aleksidze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-20 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER 14 Shavteli Str. October 11 THE AUTUMN OF MY SPRINGTIME Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL October 15, 17 STALINGRAD Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL October 16 RAMONA Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL SHALIKASHVILI THEATER 37 Rustaveli Ave. Ocotber 11, 12 REFLECTION Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER 182 Agmashenebli Ave. October 12 TAMADA IN MANHATTAN Washington Theater Company E and Movement Theater co-staged performance in the format of Broadway musical Directed by Paul Gordon Author: Paul Gordon, Ioseb Bakuradze, Genre: Musical Decorator: Kakha Bakuradze Choreographer: Robbie Priore, Abby Leithart, Vanessa Owen, Gavin Strewart, Lasha Robakidze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 25 GEL

October 15 ISLAND Stage-director– Ioseb Bakuradze Costume designer– Bidzina Sidiani Music director- Sandro Nikoladze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL MUSIC & DRAMA STATE THEATER 182 Agmashenebeli Ave. October 15 WELCOME TO GEORGIA The Musical A musical, theatrical play and romantic comedy telling a story about Georgia and its people by combining song, dance, culture, traditions, history, national costumes and local cuisine. Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50-80 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM 3 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 299 80 22, 293 48 21 www.museum.ge Exhibitions: GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF THE 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS Until December 15 The first-ever exhibition of A REMARKABLE COIN FROM THE TIME OF KING DAVID THE BUILDER The inscription on the coin reflects the major line of Georgia's foreign policy at the time - obverse shows Kind David IV dressed in Byzantine imperial attire, wearing stemma, and holding a Globus cruciger. On reverse is an invocation in Georgian surrounding a cross lists the extent of David's kingdom: 'Lord, aid David, king of Abkhazians, Kartvelians, Rans, Kakhs, Armenians.' Until November 30 Exhibition ‘WISDOM TRANSFORMED INTO GOLD' Supported by the EU With ancient archaeological finds, the exhibition presents for the first time gold jewelry of Late

Antiquity (2nd-4th century AD), goldsmiths' tools from the Museum's ethnographic collection, and items made from gold and precious metals. MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION 4 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors, where visitors can see documentaries of various historical events. MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS 10 Betlemi Str. Discover the Museum of Illusions Be brave enough to jump into an illusion created by the Vortex, deform the image of yourself in a Mirror Room, be free in the Infinity room, resist the laws of gravity and size ratio, and take selfies in every possible pose. Enjoy the collection of holograms, and discover optical illusions.

MONUMENT 32 R. Agladze Str. October 11 VINI VICI A project from Aviram Saharai & Matan Kadosh, a well-known and experienced electronic music producer for more than a decade Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 40-50 GEL October 12 OSCAR AND THE WOLF Start time: 21:30 Ticket: 50-60 GEL TBILISI CONCERT HALL 1 Melikishvili Ave. October 12 Group FORTE Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-40 GEL October 13, 14 SUKHISHVILEBI Renewed program Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-50 GEL


THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 215 73 00 GRAND MASTERS FROM THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM COLLECTION XIX – XX CENTURY Discover the cultural heritage of artists who founded 20th century fine art in Georgia: Gigo Gabashvili, Mose Toidze, Valerian SidamonEristavi, Alexander Tsimakuridze, Aleksandre Bazbeuk-Melikov, Dimitri Shevardnadze, Sergo Kobuladze, Irina Shtenberg, Mikheil Bilanishvili, Felix Varlamishvili and Tamar Abakelia. Until November 20 Georgian National Museum and the Embassy of Italy in Georgia present the exhibition "THE FORM OF COLOR FROM TINTORETTO TO CANALETTO" from Trieste's National Gallery of Ancient Art. The Gallery displays three centuries of Italian painting– from the late Renaissance to the Rococo. The National Gallery brings together 55 artworks of Tintoretto, Guerchino, Bernando Strozzi, Antonio Canaletto, Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini and other painters. Visitors will get acquainted with the major painting schools of Northern Italy from the 16th18th centuries - from Bologna (Giuseppe Maria Crespi) to Genoa (Givanni Batista Paggi, Gioacchino Assereto, Giovanni Francesco Castiglione) and from Lombardy (Pier Francesco Mazzucchelli, Pier Francesco Cittadini) to Veneto (Bonifacio de' Pitati, Carlo Caliari, Francesco Maffei, Nicola Grassi). MUSIC

DJANSUG KAKHIDZE TBILISI CENTER FOR MUSIC AND CULTURE 123a D. Agmashenebeli Ave. October 17 In the frames of the 27th International Music festival “Autumn Tbilisi” THE CONCERT OF YOUTH CHOIR “TUTARCHELA” from Rustavi Artistic leader and Choir master Tamar Buadze Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-28 GEL

TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE 8 Griboedovi Str. October 14 Giorgi Kiknadze Quartet JAZZ CONCERT SERIES PAYSAGE Giorgi Kiknadze- Double bass, Composer Frank Delle- Saxophone Lukas Klapp- Grand Piano Konrad Ullrich– Drum The PAYSAGE concert series in Georgia is organized by Kavkaz Jazz Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-25 GEL U-BAN NIGHT CLUB 164 Agmashenebeli Ave. SIVRCE Line up: Main Stage: L8 B2B Jay Sebua, Shinobi B2B ChiRga, Blade Runners, Sportsmanship Small room: 7Eleven, Ottonian, Reverie, Aksed, Nanoko, BMO B2B K2 Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 20 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER 182 Agmashenebli Ave. October 15 JAM SESSIONImprov played by different Georgian and foreign musicians and instrumentalists. Musical art director- Sandro Nikoladze Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 5 GEL SOUNDS OF GEORGIA SING AND DRINK Mini concerts in the cozy atmosphere of Old Tbilisi, a mix of traditional Georgian music of different genres: folklore, a capella, guitar, and Georgian pop and city songs every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 24 GEL Venue: October 1110 Erekle II Sq., Tekla Palace Hotel, October 12New Tiflis, 9 Agmashenebeli Ave., Wine bar ‘Wine Station’ October 16Corner of 2 Turgenev Str., and 37 Javakhishvili Str., deep yard, October 17Europe Square, 2 D. Megreli Str., Hotel “Nata”




Discover the Journey of the Georgian Tamada in Manhattan INTERVIEW BY KETEVAN KVARATSKHELIYA


eorgia is an interesting country, striving for development and following the latest world trends, yet maintaining the ancient traditions inherited from the previous generations. The notion of the feast table (Supra) and its ‘leader,’ a toastmaster, translated in Georgian as Tamada, certainly represents a symbol of the authenticity of Georgia. No gathering is imaginable without a Tamada, who is a sort of storyteller, who brings together the representatives of different generations, offers toasts on numerous themes in a beautiful, poetic way, revives old stories, and adds a sprinkle of uniqueness to each supra. Georgian hospitality and customs of locals caught the eye of foreigners years ago, but the concept of Tamada seems to be the most interesting for the international audience. The upcoming premiere of the Broadway-style musical, named ‘Tamada in Manhattan’ and created by the American Director Paul Gordon Emerson in collaboration with the Embassy of the USA to Georgia, is the certainly the best proof of that. GEORGIA TODAY met the cast to find out about the concept behind the intriguing title of the musical and its main messages for viewers. We start with Abby Leithart, one of the choreographers and actors, asking for her views about ‘Tamada in Manhattan.’ “This project is really different compared to what we’ve done before,” she tells us. “In other plays I dance, but here I’m to take to the stage as a singer. It’s been a diverse yet fun experience. I’ve no doubt the musical will be interesting and exciting to watch.” We ask Abby about her opinion of combining the traditions of two completely different countries. “It’s very interesting to see how they [traditions] come together, as even though they are very dissimilar, they still can work and co-exist. It has been equally fascinating to see the process of the creation of the show with such a concept and how a Tamada finds himself in New York,” she says. The director, Paul Gordon Emerson,

joins our conversation, so we ask him why he decided to move a Georgian Tamada to the US and what the source of his inspiration was for the musical. “There are multiple parts to what was inspiring about this project,” he answers. “For a long time, Georgians and Americans were in very different parts of a political system and I’m not sure whether these peoples know each other well enough. Sometimes, you think that there are big divides between people and anytime you visit them together you always discover that they are the same in an incredible number of ways.” The director goes on to emphasize the crucial importance of the notion of family in Georgia, which was the first thing that “struck” him, and noted that family is equally powerful in the US. “The United States is at its heart all about the family. And how much that’s the same here caught my attention,” he states. “We don’t have a toastmaster tradition,” Emerson continues. “Tamada is a unique idea. But what is very familiar is the idea of the storyteller and the idea that the Tamada shares stories about various themes, including elder generations, heroes, God and more. Thus you begin to understand that a Tamada could be



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very much at the dinner table in the US.” While discussing the upcoming premiere, it becomes obvious that Emerson has gone beyond the frames of offering the audience simply something unorthodox with the elements of a wonderful show: Tamada in Manhattan is definitely much deeper in context. The director tells us that alongside the constantly evolving country, the concept of Tamada also experiences particular shifts. “In order to share the Tamada’s experience from an American perspective, but make it relatable to the home, we decided to simply ‘parachute’ him into Manhattan. There is no logic to how the protagonist finds himself in 1970s New York: how he gets there and why he gets there is a complete mystery.” The melodies represent the main lead of the musical and Emerson chose the pieces with very profound and interesting connotations. “We built the structure of the entire story around iconic American songs from the 1960s and an impressive number of them are about the concept of change. And while working on the project, we aspired to give the Tamada a journey, using these pieces and stories to build his toasts,” the Director says, spotlighting the diverse scenes of the conflict between generations and the love story the viewers will discover in the play. “As his journey moves along, ultimately it seems that everything is fractured, but through him, as a toastmaster and head of the supra, he brings everyone back together.” “We hope that we will honor the traditions here, honor our families back home, and I hope that through this great music, people will celebrate a way to understand that we may live oceans apart, but we are really the same people and that at the end of the day we are strong because of our families,” Emerson adds. Why a Tamada, we ask. “For an American, this character is fascinating. I was jealous of the idea of having someone like that at home, who

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is a gatherer of traditions. He is a sort of historian. Minors at a feast table learn so much about their families, culture, customs and traditions through the stories of the Tamada, and this is extremely powerful.” “This theater is unique for dramatic as well as aerial work,” he adds. “Fantasy is a reality and oral history is a visual history here. At the Movement Theater, they do not talk. The Tamada is a talker, though, and his words make up an image. To try to mix the tradition that is about language and the theater, that is about movement, was an absolutely fascinating and stunning experience.” Regardless of the high respect of Georgians and Americans towards their families, sometimes it can be a little boring for youngsters to spend hours with the representatives of elder generations and listen to dusty old stories. So, we ask Paul if there are any particular messages in Tamada in Manhattan that would help the young generation to revise their outlook in this regards. “It is a huge challenge,” he tells us, revealing a secret that will catch the attention of minors in particular. “Hopefully, we will have the guest appearance of a Spiderman in the play. In addition, children have extraordinary imagination and ability to live beyond a specific moment. And these kinds of experiences at theaters are always about living outside the immediate visual. We hope all the elements of Tamada in Manhattan will transform their idea about how to see the family.” Tamada in Manhattan demonstrates the power of traditions. But the notion of a tradition sometimes becomes a matter of strong debate, with some enjoying their presence in our lives and others against it, stating that at some point they hinder development. We ask Paul for his personal views on maintaining traditions in the modern world. “Our traditions are our heritage. They are our roots, but every tree grows differently. Every tree needs roots, but each of them branches in its own way. Therefore, to know where to go, you need to be aware of where you came from. But how you choose to go is entirely up to you. I believe it is pivotal to hold our history and grow from it. I don’t think it is possible to be trapped by history, rather for it to be a root for a new tree,” Emerson tells us with a smile. Finally, we ask him to tell us more about his impressions of the Georgian theater. “I am firmly convinced that Georgian dancers have been spirted away and given extra bones that nobody talks about,” he says. “What they do is not physically possible. I am obsessed with traditional Georgian music as well. Georgian theater is a little hard for me to understand, as I do not speak your language, because it is so deep and so dense,” he says. We spoke to the musical director of the show, Amikaeyla Gaston, who is preparing to mesmerize the Georgian audience with an interesting mélange of ancient tradition with contemporary music. Like Paul, we ask her about her experience on moving a Tamada to Manhattan.

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“The Tamada is such a beautiful tradition that we do not have in the US. To talk about that in the show, to talk about the different phases of life, is astonishingly interesting,” she says, adding “It is really beautiful to be able to work here and discover different local culture, as well as traditions, and to infuse the music from here coupled with the music from the States.” It is also interesting to learn from Amikaeyla how the music used in the performance will catch the eye of youngsters. “Music is timeless to a certain degree. And in this show, the music from the 60s and 70s is incorporated into the contemporary policies and the ways we look at the world, meaning that the issues that were significant at that time are still applicable today. In addition, the cultures that are still struggling to co-exist in the world together can be bettered by music, and art and theater, and that kind of cross-cultural activity.” The Movement Theater, where the musical is to be hosted, is also very symbolic. Located in a former aircraft hangar and launched in 2001, it has established itself as a place giving spectators, as well as performers, freedom of thought and imagination and freedom of expression. On a final note, we ask Gaston her impressions of working in such a diverse venue. “There are some very old prestigious theaters with specific frames. Yet there are spots where people go. The Movement Theater is undoubtedly the spot where people go. And this is the place where you want to bring a cool and fresh performance with feelings and emotions. The authenticity of it is accentuated by the authenticity of the theater itself,” Amikaeyla concludes with a smile. To close, we spoke to Ioseb Bakuradze, Artistic Director of the Movement Theater and the co-author of the libretto of the musical, on how interesting working with the American team proved to be. “It was very interesting, the American working system and process of creating a play is completely different from what we have here in Georgia,” he says. “Our entire team has had a great experience throughout this project. Discovering the American vision of Georgia and our being, as well as introducing the Georgian perspective about the American lifestyle, was also incredibly interesting. We really wanted to launch a Broadway-style musical and I initiated this project. I am sure that we have created a marvelous project with picturesque scenery and a sort of interesting chaos,” Bakuradze said.


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1193  

October 11 - 14, 2019

Issue #1193  

October 11 - 14, 2019