Arts Guide

Jewish Identity, To a 'T'

08/29/2003
Staff Writer
Want to create an instant community? Just add cotton. That's what one San Francisco-based entrepreneur says she's doing with a line of T-shirts silk-screened with the slogans "Yo Semite" (a play on the national park's name) and "Jews for Jeter": in support of the Yankees' star shortstop. Undeniably clever, the shirts ($15 to $20) are "no joke" to their designer, Sarah Lepton, 30.

The Other 'King' Of Rock 'n' Roll

08/15/2003
Staff Writer
When Sun Records' founder Sam Philips died late last month in Memphis, he was rightly hailed as the man who discovered Elvis Presley and one of the progenitors of rock-and-roll music. Earlier this year, and 412 miles to the northeast, another of rock's forefathers was remembered for his contributions to music's contemporary canon.

Searching For Home

08/01/2003
Staff Writer
Siona Benjamin is alone again. Surrounded by other artists who, like her, have roots in South Asia, the Bombay native stands apart. Her paintings (which are reminiscent of Indian miniatures) clearly reflect the visual culture of her homeland. But a closer look reveals a distinctive iconography of Hebrew words, menorahs and Sabbath flames drawn from Benjamin's Jewish heritage. "I believe in using the specifics to get to the general," Benjamin said during a recent interview at her tidy home and studio in Montclair, N.J.

Sound and Story

07/25/2003
Staff Writer
At first glance, the Lower West Side of Buffalo is not the most photogenic neighborhood. Seen through the lens of optometrist-turned-photographer Milton Rogovin, however, one of the poorest urban areas in New York State reveals a wealth of individual stories full of dramatic difficulty and bittersweet joy. His portraits of otherwise overlooked subjects (including growing families and longtime friends, steel mill workers, drug abusers, prostitutes and preachers) are currently on view in "The Forgotten Ones," an exhibition at the New-York Historical Society.

The Attraction Of Opposites

07/18/2003
Staff Writer
'Anaphase" refers to the stage in human cell division when the chromosomes break in half and are pulled in opposite directions. The Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin chose the name "Anaphaza" for a large-scale dance piece first performed a decade ago by the Batsheva Dance Company, the Tel Aviv-based troupe he's directed since 1990. Today Naharin, 51, says that while the piece is about "changes, development and evolution," he picked the title simply because he liked the word.

A Landscape For Contemplation

07/11/2003
Staff Writer
The Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, is an austere space for ecumenical meditation. One of the oil town's most famous landmarks, its walls are adorned with 14 monumental paintings by the Russian-born artist Mark Rothko, rendered in his definitive style of floating patches of color: in this case, black, deep brown and purple. The art patron Dominique de Menil, who commissioned the space and its somber paintings, reportedly said the works evoke "the mystery of the cosmos, the tragic mystery of our perishable condition, [and] the silence of god, the unbearable silence of God."

Staging Vengeance

07/04/2003
Staff Writer
With her latest play, Israeli theater director Rina Yerushalmi has put herself in esteemed literary company. "Mythos," Yerushalmi's adaptation of Greek legend of the House of Atreus, follows in the tradition of Aeschylus, Euripides, Hugo von Hofmannstahl and Jean Paul Sartre, among others, who saw in the tale's cycle of bloody revenge universal themes ripe for exploration.

Ladies (And Gentleman) Of Spain

06/20/2003
Staff Writer
With a bare midriff and gyrating hips, Sarah Aroeste performs jazz and rock blended into favorites from her Sephardic repertoire: songs like "Hija Mia" (The One I Want) and "Yo M'enamori" (Moon Trick).

Dark Star

05/16/2003
Staff Writer
Next week, television viewers will have a chance to spend a few revealing hours with Adolph Hitler. "Hitler: The Rise of Evil," the two-part miniseries that airs May 18 and 20 on CBS, covers biographical territory well-known to fans of the History Channel, the cable network awash in Hitler-centric documentaries. But for audiences with limited knowledge of Hitler's prewar career, the lushly filmed four-hour drama will illuminate how the infamous hate-monger came to wield unlimited power over a modern democratic nation.

Goldberg's Variations... Not Bach

05/09/2003
Staff Writer
Legend has it that Johann Sebastian Bach composed the Baroque masterpiece known as the "Goldberg Variations" for an insomniac ambassador to be played on sleepless nights by the diplomat's teenage harpsichordist, Johann Gottlieb Goldberg (1727-1756). The clarinetist Andy Biskin had Bach's work in mind when he playfully named his latest composition "Goldberg's Variations." But the only person losing sleep in this case was the composer himself.  
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