The Arts

Precious Stones

A Holocaust-themed play, with diamonds.

05/22/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Many Holocaust survivors have harrowing tales of persevering against the odds. But in few such stories does courage shine through in quite the same way as in Carrie Robbins’ multifaceted play, “The Diamond Eater,” about a jeweler who swallows his precious stones in order to retrieve them later for barter.  

A darkly funny Holocaust play is based on a true story. Fotolia

Words Matter, A Lot

Mel Bochner’s ‘Strong Language’ show challenges our notions about reading and seeing.

05/20/2014
Culture Editor
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Mel Bochner’s new show at The Jewish Museum involves a lot of reading. The more than 70 drawings and paintings are lists of synonyms, portraits conveyed with words, texts with philosophical leanings and emoticons, too.

Bochner’s “Language is Not Transparent.” Will Ragozzinno/The Jewish Museum

Golem’s Back, With A Bang

The klez-punk returns after a five-year hiatus with a set of originals, thanks to a noted world music label.

05/20/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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The new album by Golem, “Tanz,” opens with a veritable explosion of energy, a burst of rocket-fuel-fed klez-punk that reminds listeners that the band hasn’t released an album since 2009. That’s five years’ worth of frustration you hear being blown away in those opening bars of the title cut.

Recent events in Ukraine color new album by Golem. Pascal Perich

Seniors In The Promised Land

David Gaynes’ ‘Next Year Jerusalem’ chronicles the journey to Israel of eight residents of a Connecticut nursing home.

05/20/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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 “Next Year Jerusalem” is something of an oddity. The non-fiction film, which opened May 16, is a gentle film, almost placid in its understated serenity, a quiet portrait of a group of eight residents of the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield, Conn., who undertake a weeklong tour of Israel. As a subject for a feature film, this excursion is almost as improbable as the trip it documents.

Residents of a Connecticut nursing home tour Israel in "Next Year Jerusalem." Courtesy of First Run Features

Immigrant Tales Hit The Streets

05/14/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Inspired by immigrant-themed stories from The New York Times from a century ago, Ryan Gilliam and Michael Hickey’s new site-specific musical, “The News,” is running on street corners, parks, and other venues on the Lower East Side. As the audience members, who are wearing special MP3 players, move from one place to the next, the youthful 31-member company (ages 12 to 16) dances to pre-recorded music that only the audience can hear.

A scene from the site-specific immigrant-themed play “The News.”  Michael Hickey

Ellis Island’s Haunted Side

Finding beauty (and buried memories) in the abandoned buildings on the south side of the island.

05/13/2014
Culture Editor
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In February 2002, Paul Margolis traveled to the south side of Ellis Island — not to the restored main buildings that now serve as a museum of immigration but to the abandoned site of hospital wards, quarantine quarters and the morgue. A documentary photographer, he found quiet beauty and powerful imagery amid the abundant decay and buried memories. 

Paul Margolis’ images provide a haunting reminder of the dark side of immigration history. Paul Margolis

What American Dream?

James Gray returns to themes of acculturation in ‘The Immigrant,’ this time drawing on his grandparents’ experiences.

05/13/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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James Gray announces his intentions boldly with the very first image of his new film, “The Immigrant,” which opens theatrically on May 16. As you might expect from the title, the first shot of the film is of the Statue of Liberty. But Gray stands the cliché on its head, showing us not the iconic picture of welcome but the back of the statue.

Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard in “The Immigrant.” Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

“Neighbors,” Soulmates And Israel

Seth Rogen discusses new film, solves Mideast conflict.

05/13/2014
Jewish Week Correspondent
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Seth Rogen is known as a regular guy, but he hasn’t had a regular career. The 32-year-old actor, writer and director from Vancouver has starred in such films as “Knocked Up,” “Superbad,” and “Pineapple Express.” He joined pals Jonah Hill and James Franco in “This Is the End.” In his new film, “Neighbors,” he plays a married man who has to deal with the antics of a fraternity that moved in next door. In a phone interview, Rogen spoke about his bar-mitzvah attire, his one experience with anti-Semitism, and a circumstance in which he might actually save Justin Bieber’s life.

Seth Rogen gets down in “Neighbors.” Glen Wilson/Universal Pictures

Jenny Scheinman’s California Dreamin’

The jazz violinist has left Brooklyn behind for her old stomping grounds, and she seems to be thriving creatively.

05/06/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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When Jenny Scheinman’s newest CD, “The Littlest Prisoner,” is released this week, buyers may be a bit surprised. It’s no excursion into the variegated jazz styles that characterized her last recording, 2012’s “Mischief and Mayhem.”

Scheinman’s new CD features her charming songwriting and vocals.  Joshua Black Wilkins

Variations On A Theme Of Family

05/06/2014
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Each generation reinterprets its family history, finding new connections and drawing new conclusions. Just ask playwright Charlie Schulman and composer Michael Roberts, who crafted “The Goldstein Variations,” a new musical about three generations of a Jewish family. Like Jon Robin Baitz’s recent play, “Other Desert Cities,” the work shows how a child’s tell-all memoir opens up fault lines within the family, as different generations join the battle to defend their respective understandings of the past. It will be performed in a workshop production beginning next Monday in Midtown.

Eric Liberman stars as a successful Jewish novelist writing a memoir in “The Goldstein Variations.”
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