The Arts

The New Sounds Of ‘Silence’

10/01/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

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.

Basya Schechter's new CD, "Dumiyah," features a bigger sound than her previous albums.

Staging Gertrude Stein’s Modernism

10/01/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

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.

A scene from "Tender Buttons," adapted from the writings of Gertrude Stein. Gary Heidt

Amis Moves Needle On Holocaust Humor

New novel, set in a concentration camp, is latest in cultural trend to probe Shoah with satire.

09/29/2014
Staff Writer

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.

Amis

Sending Up British Jewry, Lovingly

09/24/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

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.

The book on British Jews: Daniel Cainer his "Jewish Chronicles." Sheila Burnett

Memory, History And Albert Speer

Dani Gal’s video installation, ‘As from Afar.’

09/24/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

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.

In Dani Gal's "As From Afar," at The Jewish Museum, actors portray a post-World War II meeting.

Godard Goes 3-D, The Safdies Take To The Streets

‘Goodbye to Language’ and ‘Heaven Knows What’ tackle Hitler and heroin at New York Film Festival.

09/24/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

Note: This is the first of two articles on Jewish-themed works in this year’s New York Film Festival.

Homeless heroin addicts and Hitler: Sounds like a typical opening week for the New York Film Festival, huh?

Moses’ Sixth Book

09/16/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

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.

Moses, portrayed by Mitch Tebo, center, struggles with writer’s block and family dynamics. Dixie Sheridan

Model Congregations

YU Museum gathers together its scale models of synagogues the world over.

09/16/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

Beginning this weekend, the Yeshiva University Museum is offering the opportunity to engage in Jewish tourism from its West 16th Street galleries.

A model of the Beit Alpha Synagogue from Israel’s Jezreel Valley. Courtesy of YU Museum

Two Outsiders Come In ‘From The Margins’

Abstract Expressionists Lee Krasner and Norman Lewis get a second look in Jewish Museum show.

09/16/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

The pairing of two paintings in The Jewish Museum’s 2008 blockbuster exhibition, “Action Abstraction,” made a lasting impression on many, including the exhibit’s curator, Norman Kleeblatt.

Norman Lewis’ “Twilight Sounds” (1947) are part of new Jewish Museum show. ©2014 The Pollack-Krasner Foundation/ARS

When A Hamas ‘Prince’ Turns

The complex relationship between a Palestinian spy and his Israeli handler forms the basis of ‘The Green Prince.’

09/16/2014
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.

Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben Yitzhak as spy and handler in “The Green Prince.”  Courtesy of Music Box Films
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