The Arts

A Little Cinematic Home Cooking

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

01/20/2015
Special To The Jewish Week
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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
Special To The Jewish Week
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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
Special To The Jewish Week
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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
Special To The Jewish Week
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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
Special To The Jewish Week
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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

Steve Israel’s Terror Plot (Just Kidding)

The L.I. Democrat’s debut novel (featuring one Morris Feldstein of Great Neck) grew out of his experiences in the House Armed Services Committee.

01/06/2015
Culture Editor
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‘Tsuris ahead,” Steve Israel opens his debut novel, “The Global War on Morris” (Simon & Schuster). I’m not sure how many of his congressional colleagues in Washington would know the Yiddish word for troubles, but the meaning quickly becomes clear.

Israel: “Major threats” exist, “but there are moments in government that are funny.”  Katrina Hajagos

Remembering Mina, A ‘Mother Hen’ To Actors

01/06/2015
Special To The Jewish Week
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If anyone stood for the vitality of the theater as an art form, it was Mina Bern, the indomitable actress whose career long outlasted the glory days of the Second Avenue Yiddish stage. To mark the fifth anniversary of her death, the Congress for Jewish Culture, in conjunction with the American Jewish Historial Society, is assembling a starry roster of Bern’s former students to pay tribute to the beloved performer. The free program will take place this Sunday afternoon at the Center for Jewish History in Chelsea.

Mina Bern, subject of a celebration at the Center for Jewish History.  Joan Roth

A Film Festival’s Growing Reach

From the Israeli air force, to a Houston deli, to I.B. Singer, non-fiction cinema is key to the Jewish Film Festival.

01/06/2015
Special To The Jewish Week
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Note: This is the first of three articles on this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival.

As the New York Jewish Film Festival nears the quarter-century mark with its 24th annual edition opening on Wednesday, Jan. 14, the surprise isn’t the event’s longevity. Backed by two formidable New York institutions, The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and located in an urban center that includes a goodly percentage of the world’s Jews, the failure of such a program would be more of a shock.

Scenes from “The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer,” above, “Above and Beyond,” top right, and “Deli Man,” right.

The Man Who Integrated The Bandstand

12/31/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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While they often worked together to write and record songs, black and white jazz musicians rarely appeared together on stage in the racially divided world of New York in the 1930s and ’40s. So it was with considerable courage that Barney Josephson, the son of Jewish immigrants from Latvia, opened Café Society on Sheridan Square, a color-blind jazz joint that helped to launch the careers of Billie Holiday, Sara Vaughn, Lena Horne, Count Basie and many other legendary African-American musicians.

Charenee Wade in “Café Society Swing,” the story of club owner Barney Josephson. Carol Rosegg

The Overlooked List

Ten books from 2014 that didn’t get the attention they deserved.

12/31/2014
Culture Editor
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At this time of looking back and looking ahead, we’d like to point to some titles published over this past year that have been overlooked and are worthy of attention. Many relate to exile and memory, and one novel even speaks of a black market in memory.

Read it. Via lbi.org
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