The Arts

The Make-up Of A Style Maker

Helena Rubinstein’s eclectic take on beauty on view at The Jewish Museum.

11/04/2014
Culture Editor

The Jewish Museum’s new exhibition, “Helena Rubinstein: Beauty is Power,” is about biography and art, telling an uncommon life story and showcasing the spectacular art collected over a lifetime and reassembled here. What links the personal history and 200 objects is Rubinstein’s own pioneering, eclectic and highly inclusive take on beauty.  

The Sound Of (Electronic) Music

11/04/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

His name may not ring a bell, but his music became part of the soundtrack of American pop culture. Raymond Scott was a bandleader, pianist, composer and inventor of electronic instruments whose zany melodies were used in more than 100 animated shorts. In the new play, “Powerhouse,” Scott comes roaring back to life. When “Powerhouse” premiered at the Fringe Festival five years ago, Jason Zinoman of The New York Times called it “one steam train of a drama … the rare Fringe show that lives up to its title.” A revised version opened last weekend in the West Village.

Scene from “Powerhouse,” about electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott.  Josh Luxenberg

Leaning On His Dancers

In his new work at BAM, Batsheva’s Ohad Naharin doesn’t separate his choreography from his troupe’s interpretation.

11/04/2014
Culture Editor

Celebrating its 50th season, Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company returns to BAM next week to present “Sadeh 21,” along with a master class — already sold out — and a talk by the company’s artistic director, Ohad Naharin.

Batsheva Dance Company. Gadi Dagon

Lieder Of The Pack

‘Art Song on the Couch,’ inspired by the edginess of Freud’s Vienna, features music by Mahler, Schoenberg and Strauss.

11/04/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

Despite his powerful attraction to literature and the visual arts, Sigmund Freud was by his own admission utterly immune to the charms of music. In a 1914 essay, he wrote, “I spend a long time before [works of art] trying to apprehend them in my own way, i.e. to explain to myself what their effect is due to. Wherever I cannot do this, as for instance with music, I am almost incapable of obtaining any pleasure. Some rationalistic, or perhaps analytic, turn of mind in me rebels against being moved by a thing without knowing why I am thus affected and what it is that affects me.”

Sometimes a song is just a song: Mahler, left, and Freud. Wikimedia Commons

‘Sweet’ Spots At Other Israel Festival

A documentary about Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and a dark comedy about the candy business on tap.

10/28/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

Contemplating the eighth edition of the Other Israel Film Festival, which opens Nov. 6, it occurs to me that the event, which underwent a subtle shift in focus a few years ago, has become a richer, more interesting program as a result. While the festival originally sought to showcase films by or about the segments of the Israeli population that were neither Jews nor Palestinians (and hence shunted to the margins of our perception of the country), it now presents the reality of “otherness” in Israeli society.

Scenes from the offbeat dark comedy “Sweets,” about an Arab Christian candy entrepreneur. Courtesy of Other Israel Film Festival

Double Vision On Israel

Zvi Sahar’s ‘Salt of the Earth’ features puppetry set against shifting pillars of salt.

10/28/2014
Culture Editor

The puppet at the center of Zvi Sahar’s “Salt of the Earth” is made out of an Israeli combat bag from the 1967 war. Sahar thought that he might make the figure out of stone or olive wood, but when he saw the bag at a Jaffa flea market, he liked it immediately.

Ships: Jim R. Moore

Shulamit’s Song

10/28/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

From Neil Diamond’s 1969 gospel-infused tune, “Holly Holy,” to this past summer’s “Song of Solomon: The Musical” by Andrew Beall and Neil van Leeuwen, the Song of Songs from the Hebrew Bible has inspired American songwriters for generations. Now comes pianist Dina Pruzhansky’s chamber opera, “Shulamit,” which centers on the bold and beautiful lover taken by King Solomon. The work, which premieres this weekend at the JCC Manhattan, will be sung in Hebrew with English supertitles.

Pianist Dina Pruzhansky’s chamber opera, “Shulamit,” is based on the biblical Song of Songs. Rusiko Mchedlishvili

‘This Is About How Rich The Culture Was'

Filmmaker Péter Forgács re-orchestrates the poignant home movies taken by Polish-American Jews returning to the Old Country.

10/28/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

The faces look out at you, some shy, some defiant, some amused, some even downright playful. They are men and women, children and the elderly. It’s the late-1920s, the 1930s, these are Jews living in the Poland of the late-1920s and ’30, and although neither they nor the American citizens filming them know it, they are doomed. The images bespeak a flourishing culture, but by the end of the Second World War, 90 percent of Polish Jews will have been murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices.

The movies in “Letters to Afar” were filmed in such Polish shtetls as Kaluszyn and Kolbuszowa. Courtesy of YIVO Archive

A Writer Of A Certain Age (And Temperament)

Brian Morton’s latest literary creation is a feisty New York character through and through.

10/21/2014
Culture Editor

What distinguishes a New York novel are not just the streetscapes, but also the pull this great city has on its characters. The eponymous Florence Gordon is one of those fictional New Yorkers who believe that “a life that took place elsewhere couldn’t truly be called life.”

Novelist Brian Morton’s latest work is a kind of generational tug of war.  David Kumin

Caught In History’s Maelstrom

10/21/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

Mass migrations and persecutions can be difficult for us to comprehend, since they involve so many people and so many overlapping historical trajectories. Actress Pippa White finds a way into these wrenching social and political shifts through a laser- sharp focus on individuals caught up in the maelstrom of history. In two one-woman shows, “Voices from the Resistance” and “Voices from Ellis Island,” White brings to life the true stories of those daring men and women who risked their lives for freedom. Each show runs next week for one performance only at the United Solo Festival in Midtown.

Actress Pippa White performs roles of women resisting the Nazis, and coming to the U.S., in show at Theatre Row.
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