Arts Guide

Raising The Curtain Again

04/26/2002
Staff Writer

Keeping a small Jewish theater company going for 28 years has never been easy, but Sept. 11 almost put the Jewish Repertory Theatre out of business.

On that morning, the theater’s manager Laura Rockefeller was stage-managing a financial seminar at Windows on the World and never had a chance to escape after the first plane struck Tower One. The tragic death of the 41-year-old theater lover nearly forced artistic director Ran Avni to give up on the already hobbled company he had founded in 1974.

Serious Fun

05/09/2001
Staff Writer

Like Joseph Cornell’s boxes blown up to human scale, Sigalit Landau’s installations isolate moments of transition. For her project last year, “Somnambulin,” the Israeli artist transformed a cement mixer into a mobile music box. Traveling in costume on her magic bus through the streets of Exeter, England, Landau passed out tiny body bags containing lollypops in the shape of a small girl, modeled after the archaeological remains of a frozen vagrant.

What’s Jewish At The MLA?

01/19/2001
Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe had just begun hitting the shores in 1883 when a small group of American professors founded the Modern Language Association to advocate tongues other than ancient Greek and Latin. But they probably weren’t thinking of Yiddish, Hebrew or Ladino.

Being Real

01/05/2001
Staff Writer

Growing up was never easy for copper-skinned Rebecca Walker, the trophy baby of a new America. Born in 1969, the “Movement Child” of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and activist Alice Walker and civil rights lawyer Mel Leventhal, Walker spent the first two decades of her life failing to fit into a country that still assumes fixed racial categories.

Split Infinitives

11/09/2001
Staff Writer

Pity poor Zeno, tormented by his weakness for cigarettes, guilt about his mistress and unresolved tensions with his father. At his psychoanalyst’s suggestion, Zeno writes his memoirs, but the result is the imperfect recollection of an intelligent man blindsided by swirling desires and frozen by inhibitions.

Zeno, the prematurely aged protagonist of Italian Jewish writer Italo Svevo’s comic masterpiece “Confessions of Zeno,” deeply resonated with William Kentridge when he first read the book in college.

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.

The (Jewish) Mother Of DNA

04/18/2003
Staff Writer

In March 1953, Maurice Wilkins of the King's College London announced the departure of his colleague Rosalind Franklin in a private letter to his friend Francis Crick, a scientist at the rival Cavendish Laboratory. "Our dark lady is leaving us next week," Wilkins wrote.

'Wartime' For Hitler

04/11/2003
Staff Writer

Just as they had won over some of their harshest critics, the people behind an upcoming miniseries about Adolph Hitler find themselves on the defensive again.

This week's TV Guide quotes Ed Gernon, who was executive producer of "Hitler: The Rise of Evil," as characterizing the German leader's ascent to power as a cautionary tale for Americans today.

Giving Second Avenue Its Due

04/04/2003
Staff Writer

Think of the East Village, and the names Charlie Parker, Allen Ginsburg and even Emma Goldman come to mind. At least to the mind of Philip Hartman, a filmmaker and restaurateur who recently founded the Federation of East Village Artists "to honor the historic role of the East Village as the cradle of the city's, if not the world's counterculture," according to the group's press release.

Writers Without Borders

03/21/2003
Staff Writer

Just after the attacks of 9-11, as the intifada simmered outside, Peter Cole, a poet and publisher living in Jerusalem, sat down at the breakfast table to read the morning e-mail from New York. One message contained a verse by the great scholar Gershom Scholem, and it represented one of the first translations of Scholem's poetry into any language.

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