Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Istanbul: Saturday Night Fever

Saturday evening in Istanbul, we had the unexpected pleasure of an invitation from Sertab Erener, one of the nation's most popular singers (and a wonderful ally to Ayhan and me, since she and partner Demir came to the States to release her English-language debut "Painted On Water" last year) to see singer Nil Karaibrahimgil (on right) in concert.

Along with Ayhan's niece Pinar, who works in Istanbul as a textile designer, we met Sertab at a fabu bar in the crowded Beyoğlu district, had a cocktail, then dashed to four-level club XLarge, a former cinema (and gay club on weekends). Sertab was admitted through a back entrance and we were all escorted to the top level—above the VIP area!—where we were all treated like royalty. It doesn't get much better than this.Before meeting with Sertab, Ayhan and I met with Mehmet—who was part of the children's choir in Ayhan's musical "Gods," in the mid 1990s. Ironically, Pinar was also in the chorus, and she joined us at cool coffee bar Urban, nestled along a back alley in the Beyoğlu nabe—which is characterized by a wide pedestrian-only walkway (below) with shops, stores and restaurants on both sides. Ayhan invited Mehmet to come to the States to serve as an intern as he and production partner Dennis work on Karine Hannah's upcoming third album. He arrives in NYC Feb. 1, so we'll be seeing more of his handsome face...