The Arts

A Grunt’s-Eye-View Of Modern Combat

Samuel Fuller’s WWII epic ‘The Big Red One’ raises big moral questions.

09/25/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

Lee Marvin in “The Big Red One.” Warner Brothers

The Keys To Survival

Mona Golabek’s Holocaust-themed ‘The Pianist of Willesden Lane.’

07/30/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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If anyone believes in the healing and redemptive properties of music, it is pianist Mona Golabek. Her new play, “The Pianist of Willesden Lane” traces the harrowing story of her mother’s escape from the Nazis on the Kindertransport and the rebuilding of her life in London, on the way to a concert music career. It opened last week in Midtown; Charles Isherwood of The New York Times calls it “deeply affecting,” noting that the play is “packed with startling setbacks … and equally dramatic triumphs.”

Mona Golabek in “The Pianist of Willesden Lane.” Cynthia N. Olkie

Immigrants All Around

Meyer Lansky, his mistress and an American journalist on assignment collide in Zachary Lazar’s new novel.

07/30/2014
Culture Editor
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Hannah Groff travels to Israel on assignment, to write about the murder of poet David Bellen. The poet had writen a book called “Kid Bethlehem,” with the biblical King David reimagined as a 20th-century gangster, and then his body was found in the village of Beit Sahour, outside of Bethlehem. As soon as Hannah arrives, she’s asked again and again, Why have you never been to Israel?

Keeper Of Her Grandfather’s Memory

Remembering Bel Kaufman, author of influential city schools novel and diplomat-at-large for the iconic Sholem Aleichem.

07/29/2014
Culture Editor
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Bel Kaufman published her first poem, a paean to spring, as a 7-year-old in Odessa. It was four lines long, signed Belochka Koifman, in a Russian children’s magazine. When she was 11, she began a drama, and wrote 60 pages describing the characters in a notebook that she carried with her when the family moved to New York later that year, and which she kept through her life. Everyone in her family wrote: her mother Lyalya published stories; her father, a physician, was a poet and translator; and her grandfather, who wrote many letters to her, was the great Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem.

Bel Kaufman, who died last week at 103, at her home in recent years, and with Sholem Aleichem. RECENT PHOTO CREDIT: M Dadikash

A Filmmaker Shaped By War

New film documents life and work of Samuel Fuller, who helped liberate the camps.

07/29/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Samuel Fuller held the distinction of being the only Hollywood filmmaker/GI who participated in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp at the end of World War II. Already in his early 30s, Fuller (whose family name was changed from Rabinowitz before he was born) had logged several screenwriting credits before he volunteered in the wake of Pearl Harbor; his mother would send him a 16mm movie camera while he was overseas with the 1st U.S. Infantry, and with it he shot footage of his buddies, of the brutal combat he endured over the course of four years and, inevitably, of the camp at Falkenau.

Samuel Fuller on the set, in a scene from “A Fuller Life.”  Courtesy of MoMA.

Cycle Of (Family) Life

A dysfunctional family is at center of Pilobolus dance troupe’s collaboration with Israeli fiction writer Etgar Keret.

07/22/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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In their utter dependence and sheer vulnerability, children often keep dysfunctional families from spinning apart. But can children also provide the energy and drive to keep their family going? An acrobatic new dance by the modern dance company Pilobolus, “The Inconsistent Pedaler,” centers on a teenage girl whose family members lose all their energy and momentum as soon as she stops pedaling her stationary bicycle.

In “The Inconsistent Pedaler,” a mysterious stranger teaches a family’s teenage daughter to ride calmly. Robert Whitman

‘Wish’: Hits, And Misses

Zach Braff plays dreamer, family man in new film chock-full of Jewish references.

07/22/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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In “Wish I Was Here,” Zach Braff’s character, Aidan Bloom, has a question that many Jewish parents share. How am I going to pay the children’s yeshiva tuition?

An image from Braff's Kickstarter campaign, which helped finance the film. Via Kickstarter.com

Now You See Her…

07/15/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Is the border between life and death more permeable than we imagine? In Patrick Emile’s new musical, “As We Lie Still,” a Jewish magician in Jazz Age New York performs a shocking, mind-bending trick every night on stage — until the fateful night when the trick fails, and his life and career are changed forever. “As We Lie Still” is running at the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) in Midtown.

Patrick Emile’s “As We Lie Still” investigates the border between life and death. Courtesy of Patrick Emile

The Music Of Spanish Exile

In her N.Y. debut, a Catalan singer and lutenist moves from Sephardic songs to John Donne.

07/15/2014
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Clara Sanabras knows something about exile. The thirty-something Catalan singer was born in France, raised in Barcelona and for the past 20 years has lived in London. Her family history is so complicated that even she finds it a bit amusing. Her career path has had enough unlikely turns for an entire music festival.

The cover of Sanabras’ new CD, translated as “Scattered Flight.” Hill & Aubrey

Channeling Lenny

Hershey Felder’s one-man show about ‘Maestro’ Leonard Bernstein.

07/09/2014
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He captivated a nation with the power of classical music, but failed in his lifelong ambition to become a major composer in his own right. With an outsize talent, and an ego to match, Leonard Bernstein led millions to an understanding and appreciation of classical music. Now, pianist Hershey Felder channels the great musician in “Maestro,” a performance at Town Hall next Thursday night. When it ran last month in Northern California, critic Robert Hurwitt of the San Francisco Chronicle called the 100-minute show a “blend of biography, humor, piano virtuosity, pathos and musical appreciation.”

Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in "Maestro." Michael Lamont
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