The Arts

Being Ruth Gruber

The pioneering, nonagenarian Jewish journalist is a perfect documentary subject; fortunately, the film landed the perfect director as well.

09/08/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Ruth Gruber, the subject of a wonderfully economical and crisp documentary, "Ahead of Time," is a magnificent one-of-a-kind figure in 20th-century Jewish history. Gruber is the product of, she recounts with a grin, "a shtetl called Brooklyn. … Everybody there was Jewish." She was a prodigy who entered New York University at 15 and earned a doctorate from the University of Cologne at 20. But the attractions of the academy couldn't compete with the turmoil of worldwide economic depression, the New Deal at home and the rise of Fascism in Europe.

Ruth Gruber

Leaving The Bronx

09/07/2010

‘The longest journey in the world,” Norman Podhoretz once ruefully noted, “is the journey between Brooklyn and Manhattan.”

“A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx” playwright Gary Moregenstein: From city to suburbs.

Temporary Housing Of The Highest Order

Sukkah competition in Union Square to highlight modernist designs conformed to ancient architectural principles.

09/07/2010
Staff Writer

It wasn’t easy getting more than a dozen major architecture figures in the room to decide what makes a great sukkah.

One of the winning sukkah designs is “Gathering,” by the team Dale Suttle, So Sugita and Ginna Nguyen.

Hitler, The Film

Hans-Jurgen Syberberg plumbs the German character,
and film history, across more than seven hours in
‘Hitler: A Film from Germany.’

08/31/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

The 1970s was the age of heroic avant-gardism, a period of out-sized works — the lengthy “operas” of Robert Wilson, the monumental portraits of Chuck Close, Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow,” William Gaddis’ “J.R.” It was a time of omnivorous works that strove to include the entire world — self-referential, bombastic, difficult endurance tests fueled by a frequently thrilling blend of audacity, encyclopedic knowledge and testosterone — nowhere more so than in film, and nowhere in film more than in the films of Hans-J

A German child holds a Hitler puppet in Hans-Jurgen Syberberg’s “Hitler: A Film From Germany.”

Can Howard Jacobson Play In America?

The British author’s new novel, ‘The Finkler Question,’ tackles anti-Semitism across the pond, with a good dose of humor. How well it travels is open to question.

08/31/2010
Staff Writer

Book publishing has a logic all its own, though even “logic” may be too generous a term. For the wildly popular British author Howard Jacobson, it is way too generous.

Howard Jacobson, below, is sometimes called the “British Philip Roth,” though he claims Roth has lost his comic punch.

As American As … Stuffed Pike

Jane Ziegelman explores the immigrant experience and the primacy of food in ‘97 Orchard.’

08/31/2010
Jewish Week Book Critic

I remember a round coffee table, made of smooth wood and a glass top that revolved, that stood at the center of my parents’ living room for many years. In the days when I wasn’t much taller than the table, my cousins and I would run alongside it as we turned it, and then sit on the edge for a ride, much like a private merry-go-round. The glass top broke several times, but even as we got older and it became less a ride and more a place to serve food, it was my favorite piece of furniture. With yet another new glass top, it now sits in my sister’s home.

A book with ta’am: Jane Ziegelman crosses ethnic boundaries to share gastronomic memories from the Lower East Side.

Kenny Solms Confronts His Demons

08/24/2010

When do we stop looking for love in all the wrong places?

Peter Scolari as a gay sitcom writer facing a midlife crisis in “It Must Be Him.” Carol Rosegg

The Jewish Side Of Judy (Cohen) Chicago

Since her controversial 1993 ‘Holocaust Project,’ the groundbreaking feminist artist has been incorporating her heritage in many of her works.

08/24/2010
Staff Writer

In 1984, the artist Judy Chicago was at party where a poet read a piece about the Holocaust.

Judy Chicago, born Judith Sylvia Cohen.

Outcasts Of The Resistance

08/17/2010

 Regionally based filmmaking is a relatively new trend in France, with a very few notable exceptions. Prominent among them is Marseille’s Robert Guediguian. Guediguian is an old hand whose newest film, opening this week, is “Army of Crime,” the 16th feature in a directorial career that began almost 30 years ago.

Being The Safdie Brothers

The life and ‘manic cinema’ of the buzz-generating filmmaking duo.

08/17/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

What makes a filmmaker’s work Jewish?

Benny Safdie, at 24 the younger half of a filmmaking duo with his brother Josh, earnestly asserts that the Jewishness of the two pervades their work, and this critic tends to agree with him. That work is the subject of a current program at BAMCinemathek that includes not only their two features and many shorts but also films that influenced them.

Safdie also readily admits that he’d be hard put to identify Jewishy specifics from their small but significant output.

Brother act: Josh, left, and Benny Safdie.
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