The Arts

Tara’s Minorities

‘Women of the Wind’ looks at two secondary characters in the Civil War drama and their Russian-Jewish acting coach.

02/03/2015
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Nothing marked the end of an era in American history as spectacularly as “Gone With the Wind,” the film that displayed the crumbling of the Southern aristocratic way of life in the years following the Civil War. But as Barbara Kahn shows in her new play, “Women of the Wind,” the movie ironically truncated the careers of some of the women who worked on it — women who could not overcome intolerance in American society. “Women of the Wind” opens this week at the Theater for the New City, 75 years after the premiere of Victor Fleming’s cinematic masterpiece in December 1939.

Butterfly McQueen (Adrienne Powell), Alla Nazimova (Steph Van Vlack) and Ona Munson (Reanna Armellino). Robert Gonzales, Jr.

Tapping Into Race, And More

01/27/2015
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Opposites attract, they say, and no less in same-sex relationships than in opposite-sex ones.

In Margaret Morrison’s first full-length play, “Home in Her Heart,” set in late-1930s London, a young black female pianist and a middle-aged Jewish male impersonator, both of whom are American expats, struggle to carry on an intense romance despite the forces of social repression arrayed against them — not the least of which are the genocidal ambitions of the Third Reich.

Ava Jenkins, left, and Margaret Morrison star in “Home in Her Heart,” about forbidden love in 1930s London. Keith Gemerek

The Holocaust Footage You’ve Never Seen

New production on HBO reveals material shot by British army cameramen at Bergen-Belsen.

01/27/2015
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It was a strange interlude in the savagery of war. In early 1945, with the full approval of the German commanders on the ground, a convoy of British soldiers was given free passage under a flag of truce to see the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. The ostensible reason for this unusual event was the Germans’ concern that the typhus rampant in the camp not spread to the neighboring towns when the British troops inevitably pushed through the beleaguered German lines.

One of the cameramen featured in “Night Will Fall.” Imperial War Museums/Courtesy of HBO

Black-Jewish Group Chasing The Trane

Afro-Semitic Experience now flirting with late-’60s free-flowing spiritual jazz pioneered by John Coltrane.

01/27/2015
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This is, quite simply, the sound of joy. Seven musicians playing with great passion, performing 10 tunes by composers they love in a loose-limbed style that runs the gamut from post-bop to klez-jazz to Latin clave to gospel.

Afro-Semitic Experience, top. Courtesy of Afro-Semitic Experience

Roger Cohen’s Back Pages

The Times columnist traces the meandering arc of his family, from Lithuania to South Africa to England.

01/20/2015
Culture Editor
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Roger Cohen’s maternal great-grandfather was born in Siauliai, Lithuania, in 1877, and left for South Africa in 1896. Arriving penniless, Isaac Michel had no formal education but could add and subtract, and eventually built a large retail empire. He died almost five decades later, with a lavish estate in Johannesburg that included a sprawling home, an arboretum and a turquoise Cadillac in the curving driveway, the chauffeur at his call.

“For my family, the past was gone,” says Cohen. “It took me quite a long time to decide I wanted to explore it.”  Rebecca Ring

A Little Cinematic Home Cooking

Documentaries on Jews in the performing arts and the latest from Daniel Burman.

01/20/2015
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Note: This is the third of three articles on this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival.

One of the comforting aspects of a film festival designed around a theme is that there will be certain familiar standbys. With the New York Jewish Film Festival, wrapping up its 24th annual event, one is drawn to two regular aspects of home cooking: the presence of a director who can be counted on for a reliably intelligent film, and the inevitable documentaries about Jews in the performing arts.

Sophie Tucker with longtime accompanist Ted Shapiro in “Gay Love.” Menemsha Films

On Borrowed Time

01/20/2015
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Money is such a taboo subject that discussing our sex lives is more comfortable for many of us than revealing our income. For playwright Ben Rimalower, who performs his own one-man show, “Bad With Money,” spending money is a way to avoid dealing with debilitating emotional problems. Jenna Scherer of Time Out New York raves that Rimalower “exorcises his financial demons” in a “purgative hour-long monologue in which he entertainingly (and excruciatingly) itemizes his monetary sins.” The show continues through the end of February in the West Village.

Ben Rimalower stars in one-man show about his abusive relationship with money.  Allison Michael Orenstein

Israeli Films, Front And Center

The Elkabetzes’ ‘Gett,’ two from Yossi Aviram and the latest Amos Gitai offering show off the country’s cinematic creativity.

01/13/2015
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Note: This is the second of three articles on this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival.

In the first of three articles on this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival, now underway at Lincoln Center, the continuing growth of the event was attributed in part to the splendid creative effulgence of the Israeli film industry during the nearly quarter-century of the festival’s existence. This year’s festival, the 24th annual, is an excellent example, with the final film in a splendid trilogy and a debut feature of consummate art and feeling contributed by Israeli filmmakers.

Ronit Elkabetz as Viviane Amsalem in “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,”: Courtesy of Music Box Films DUNE: Filmsdupoisson

For Emil Zrihan, ‘So Many Colors To Choose From’

In the Moroccan-born Israeli cantor’s musical palette, a mix of flamenco, Western classical and other influences.

01/13/2015
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It has been an unexpectedly hectic day for Emil Zrihan and the members of his band. They were unfortunate enough to land in a snowy New York City and everything has taken longer than expected. Their hotel rooms are being readied and Zrihan has already been checking around the neighborhood to buy food for their Shabbes meals, but when the group alights in the hotel lobby near the Flatiron Building, they are chipper, if a bit subdued.

“I have strong memories of Rabat from my childhood,” Zrihan says.

‘Family Is Not Only Blood’

Yael Reuveny’s roots journey in her debut documentary ‘Farewell, Herr Schwarz.’

01/07/2015
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Yael Reuveny is at her parents’ home in Israel, visiting family and friends and escaping from the relentlessly Christmas-y atmosphere of her current residence in Berlin.

Yael Reuveny, director of “Farewell Herr Schwarz.” Kino Lorber
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