There’s a lively contradiction at work in Basya Schechter’s music. On the one hand, as the singer-songwriter and leader of Pharaoh’s Daughter says, “I love the pentatonic scales; they’re sweet and mournful and yearning.” On the other hand, as her excellent new album, “Dumiyah” (Magenta), reminds a listener, one of the great strengths of her music is the clarity, poise and above all, the simplicity with which she sings, a vocal sound that is stripped of ornamentation and the fake emotion that mars much contemporary music.
Paris in the early-20th century was a hotbed of artistic and sexual experimentation. Even so, the expatriate American writer Gertrude Stein stood out as a gay Jewish woman whose art was as uncompromising and unconventional as her lifestyle. Stein’s book of prose poetry, “Tender Buttons,” comes to the stage this month in an epic production by the Van Reipen Collective that promises to shed new light on one of Stein’s most challenging and influential works. It starts this week in the East Village.
New novel, set in a concentration camp, is latest in cultural trend to probe Shoah with satire.
In a German concentration camp, the commandant and an officer of the Waffen-SS, the armed wing of the Nazis’ SS paramilitary unit, are discussing the “selection” of Jewish prisoners to live or die. “There was no selection. They were all certainties for the gas,” one Nazi tells the other.
Exiled from their land for more than 350 years, English Jews have always led a somewhat marginalized existence, even though many of the have risen to positions of great prominence and prestige. In Daniel Cainer’s one-man show, “Jewish Chronicles,” the contradictions of Jewish life in England come both bruisingly and enchantingly to the fore. When he performed in Sydney, Australia, in 2010, critic Lloyd Bradford of Australian Stage Online found that Cainer’s songs forge “deep connections” between his own chaotic personal experiences and the colorful life of his people. “Jewish Chronicles” opens downtown in early October for a five-and-a-half-week run.
It would be hard to conceive of a more controversial figure in the Nazi inner circle than Albert Speer. One of Hitler’s closest confidantes, Speer was a master architect who had the ear of the failed-artist-turned-Führer. He was an integral part of the totality that was Nazi Germany, the chief creator of the Nazi public aesthetic, as well as the minister of armaments and munitions from 1942 on. Yet Speer was one of the very few high-ranking Nazis to declare his own guilt and shame publicly and to reveal the inner workings of the German government under Hitler in his memoirs.
According to Jewish tradition, the most important book in the history of the world came from his hand, but most of us think of him more as a prince and prophet than as a writer. In Andrew Heinze’s new comedy, “Moses, the Author,” the leader of the Israelites comes back to life as a struggling wordsmith facing a plethora of perplexing personal problems. The play, which was performed at the Fringe Festival in August, will return as part of the Fringe Encores series. It runs at the Soho Playhouse over the last weekend of September and the first weekend of October.
The complex relationship between a Palestinian spy and his Israeli handler forms the basis of ‘The Green Prince.’
Special To The Jewish Week
As the great American journalist I.F. Stone once said, “All governments lie,” and they never lie more freely than when they are conducting the business of spying. For all the professions of national, professional and tribal loyalties that are earnestly voiced throughout Nadav Schirman’s documentary film “The Green Prince,” which opens Sept. 12, it is ultimately personal loyalty that governs the behavior of its protagonists. That outcome feels entirely appropriate in a film about the hallucinatory world of counter-intelligence, double agents, lies and betrayals that Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben Yitzhak inhabit. When everyone around you is a professional liar, you have to trust the person who tells you the truth, however reluctantly.