For subscribers to Harper's, there's a fantastic essay by Christopher Beha about his stint as a City Opera "super." Read it, a must. Beha, an editor at the magazine, reports on the comical, often infuriating but ultimately riveting experience of being an extra ("super") in the City Opera's 2009 production of Hugo Weisgall's "Esther."
This week I wrote an essay about how Jewish culture will change in light of the coming e-book revoluion. I talked to at least a dozen Jewish book experts, from scholars and publishers, to readers and rabbis, and there was clearly no consensus about what might happen--only unanimous agreement that something important will.
If you are anything like me, you've been transfixed by the Egyptian revolution. If you value political freedom, human dignity and non-violent resistance as means to achieve both, than this was an event impossible not to love. We all know the future is uncertain--if a legitimate democracy will takes Mubarak's place, and if that democracy will mesh with its former allies, America and Israel among them--but the short history of the revolution itself is what both conservatives and liberals alike in the U.S.
If you haven't heard the pianist Mitsuko Uchida play, do. She's performing tonight at Carnegie Hall -- solo works by Schumann, Chopin and Beethoven -- but even if you miss it, check out some of her albums online.
You would have waited in vain during last night's Super Bowl if you were expecting a new installmant of Dos Equis beer's new iconic Most Interesting Man ads. There were no spots given to those campaigns--the ones featuring a tanned, slightly weathered older man with an ironic baritone voice-over saying things like: "The police often question him just because they find him interesting," "His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man's entire body," and "His blood smells like cologne."
This week I wrote about the minimalist composer Steve Reich, whose groundbreaking Jewish chorale piece "Tehillim" (1981) is being performed by the teenage new music ensemble Face the Music next Thursday at Le Poisson Rouge. (They'll perform "Tehillim" at other locations over the next few months as well.)
The New York Times today raised an interesting question about the Oscar front-runner for best picture, "The King's Speech." It wondered whether the real King George--who aggressively endorsed a policy of appeasement toward Hitler, something the film entirely ignores--might derail the film's chance for capturing the golden statuette.
A classical music program that includes works by Haydn may not strike you as radical. After all Haydn--friend of Mozart, teacher of Beethoven--virtually invented the classical symphony as we know it. When newcomers think "classical music," it is probably the sounds of Haydn they hear in their head.
This week I wrote about Mark Kurlansky's seemingly strange inclusion in "Haiti Noir," a collection of short stories written mostly by Haitians. You're not wrong for wondering whether Kurlansky's Haitian--he's not--but he did once have a long career reporting from the island in the 1980s. But the story begs the question, are there other good Jewish Haitian stories we should know about?