The Arts

The Meat Of A Documentary

Ziggy Gruber, to the slicer born (so to speak), is the juicy center of ‘Deli Man.’

03/03/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Just because a film is a documentary, it is not without need of a structure, a narrative line to help make clear what is at stake in the story it tells. Consequently, almost every documentarian ponders the same question at the outset of a new project:

Ziggy Gruber, New York-born deli man in Houston, in scene from  “Deli Man.”  Cohen Media Group

The Music Of Defiance

A chance encounter at a Minneapolis bookstore led acclaimed conductor Murry Sidlin to recreate the Verdi work performed at Terezin.

03/03/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

It was a simple act, one that book-lovers perform every day. But it changed Murry Sidlin’s career forever.

Conductor Murry Sidlin has brought the music of Terezin prisoners to life in “Defiant Requiem.”  Jeff Roffman

Shul Politics, The Novel

Raphael Silver’s posthumously published novel, set in a Cleveland synagogue, dissects congregational life.

02/24/2015
Culture Editor

Around the time he was 80, Raphael D. Silver sat down to write his first novel. A few years earlier, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, his first climb. He’s a man who, after much success as a real estate developer, began producing and directing films.

The author, son of the prominent Zionist leader Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver. Courtesy of Author House

Heavy Metal

Transforming terror into fantasy lies at the heart of Omer and Tal Golan’s ‘playground’ artwork.

02/24/2015
Calendar Editor

Fifteen years ago, a suicide bomber carrying 15 pounds of explosives laced with bullets and metal scraps grabbed Omer Golan from behind — and blew them both up. Miraculously, Golan survived. Along with his wife, Tal Golan, he went on to become one of the most interesting new-media artists to come out of Israel.

From shrapnel X-rays to virtual playground: The work of Omer and Tal Golan.  Courtesy of Omer and Tal Golan

Staging A Conflict’s Complexity

02/24/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

My favorite proverb,” theater artist Aaron Davidman says, “is that your enemy is someone whose story you do not know.” His new one-man show, “Wrestling Jerusalem,” which hits that theme head-on, will be performed this weekend at the JCC Manhattan. “People often ask me to explain what is going on in the Middle East,” he said. “My play is an 85-minute, 17-character answer to that question.”

A multiplicity of voices: Aaron Davidman’s “Wrestling Jerusalem.” Aaron Davidman

The Kings Of The B Movies

Documentary tells the story of Hollywood’s Go-Go Boys, Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus.

02/17/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

The 1980s were arguably the worst decade in American film history. So if I tell you that there are not one but two new documentaries about Cannon Films, the schlocky ’80s film production company led by Israeli cousins Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus, you probably will shake your head and ask why. I would have thought even one film about those two characters would have been excessive, but after seeing “Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films,” a new film by Australian film maven Mark Hartley, I have to admit that it was worth a couple hours of my time.

Catherine Mary Stewart in the disco-rock opera “The Apple,” one of the films by Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus. Film Comment

From Menace To Muse To Mitzvah

What happened when Allen Kurzweil tracked down his childhood tormentor.

02/17/2015
Culture Editor

Allen Kurzweil was 5 when his father died. He doesn’t remember much about him. But that hasn’t stopped him from missing him for all of his life, perhaps his clearest memory being a hospital scene a few months before his father’s death. Robert Kurzweil, 54, was lying down and he squeezed his young son’s hand. Allen can’t recall his words or voice, but he remembers the sensation. Almost 50 years later, he remembers the face of the watch on his father’s wrist more vividly than the face of its owner. 

The author, then and now. KURZWEIL CREDIT: ©Ferrante Ferranti YOUNG KURZWEIL CREDIT: Edith Kurzweil

What Lies Beneath

Damián Szifron’s Oscar-nominated ‘Wild Tales’ exposes dangers lurking in modern-day Buenos Aires.

02/17/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

A Jewish filmmaker working in Buenos Aires can be forgiven if he is a bit paranoid. Given ongoing events in Argentina, culminating in the ongoing investigation of the death of Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor in the AMIA bombing case, you would have to be insane not to be suspicious.

In a scene from “Wild Tales,” Erica Rivas realizes that her husband is not what she imagined. Sony Pictures Classics

‘It’s Magic, Turning These Pieces Into Gold’

Barbara Wolff brings medieval artistry to contemporary Hebrew manuscript design.

02/10/2015
Culture Editor

In the lush greens of a great Tabor oak tree, 24 species of birds perch in their finery, with a black stork, a great white egret and a black-crowned night heron poised in the reeds below, and a yellow-breasted bird in mid-air. The tree is indigenous to the Middle East, and each of these birds is native to the Land of Israel or part of the large migration of birds that flies over in the spring and fall.

“Among the branches they sing”: Wolff’s works illuminate Psalm 104. Courtesy of Morgan Library & Muse

Odets, Dreaming Of A Better Life

02/10/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

No one summed up the boiling frustrations of struggling New Yorkers during the Great Depression better than Clifford Odets. While Odets languished in obscurity for decades, he was rediscovered about a decade ago, with landmark Broadway revivals of “Awake and Sing!” and “Golden Boy.” Now comes an Off-Broadway production of “Rocket to the Moon,” Odets’ drama about a Jewish dentist whose life and career are at a standstill. It opened this week at the Theatre for St. Clement’s in Midtown, as a production of the Peccadillo Theatre Company, which is devoted to rescuing overlooked plays with high literary merit.

Katie McClellan and Ned Eisenberg in a new production of Clifford Odets’ “Rocket to the Moon.”  JD Urban
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