The Arts

Total Recall

Joshua Foer’s journalistic journey down memory lane.
03/07/2011 - 19:00
Jewish Week Book Critic

Back in 2006, journalist Joshua Foer found himself seated on a stage in the Con Ed headquarters in New York City, wearing earmuffs over earplugs, sweating as he flipped through two decks of shuffled playing cards in order to memorize their order.

Like a marathoner, Foer kept to a strict memory training regimen.

Putting A Face On Triangle Victims

03/07/2011 - 19:00

It happened a century ago, but the terrible memories remain seared into our collective consciousness. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire on the Lower East Side, in which 146 Jewish and Italian garment workers died, was a defining event in the history of immigrant life — and death — in New York.

Gusta Johnson and Amanda Yachechak in scene from Barbara Kahn’s “Birds on Fire.”

Guess Who’s Coming To (Shabbos) Dinner?

02/28/2011 - 19:00

The question of whether people can escape their fate is at the center of Chana Porter’s new play, “Besharet” (the Yiddish word for destiny). In the play, the inaugural production of AliveWire Theatrics, an encounter with the supernatural upends the lives of a Jewish attorney and his wife, causing deeply submerged memories and feelings to erupt. “Besharet” opens this weekend at P.S. 122 in the East Village.

Olivia Rorick, MacLeod Andrews and William Green in scene from “Besharet.”

The Art Of ‘Sisterhood’

Israeli artist Ofri Cnaani challenges the Talmudic Sota story.
02/28/2011 - 19:00
Staff Writer

There is not much ambiguity in the 14-line Talmudic story known as “Sota.” As a parable about adultery, the tale is pretty straightforward: a husband accuses his wife of cheating on him, and then orders her to drink from a special fountain with “bitter water.” If she’s guilty, she’ll die; if she’s innocent she’ll be blessed with fertility.

The Talmudic story called “Sota” focuses on two sisters.

Eran Riklis’ New Role Player

In Eran Riklis’ ‘Human Resources Manager,’ the bakery-employee protagonist struggles to transcend a mere job.
02/28/2011 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

At the heart of Eran Riklis’ last three films — “The Syrian Bride” (2004), “Lemon Tree” (2008) and “The Human Rights Manager” (2010), which opens here on March 4 — are protagonists who have been so crushed by daily routine and pressure that they can only be brought back to real life by being shaken and stirred by circumstance.

Mark Ivanir as the human resources manager in Eran Riklis’ “The Human Resources Manager.”

Anne, With Strings Attached

Puppets are moving, but ‘Compulsion,’Patinkin are less so.
02/28/2011 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

She seems both alive and dead at the same time, a plucky, precocious girl whose life was tragically cut short at 15. How perfectly appropriate then, that Anne Frank is played by an amazingly life-like marionette in Rinne Groff’s “Compulsion,” a play about the Jewish writer Meyer Levin’s obsession with Anne Frank’s diary.

Hannah Cabell, Mandy Patinkin and the life-like marionette portraying Anne Frank in “Compulsion.” Joan Marcus

Claude Lanzmann, Briefly

Rare screening of three of the ‘Shoah’ director’s more recent short films at Film Comment Select series.
02/21/2011 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

In the death camp at Treblinka there was a fake railroad station that included a clock on which the painted hands always read 6 o’clock. The entire construction was a grotesque joke perpetrated by the camp’s commandant Fritz Stangl; in Treblinka, time stood still because all those brought there were dead from the moment they entered.

A scene from Lanzmann's "Sobibor."

Symphony For King Solomon

In his ambitious new work, ‘Shlomo,’ young composer Judd Greenstein grapples with a biblical giant.
02/21/2011 - 19:00
Staff Writer

For a long time, the composer Judd Greenstein kept a wall between his interest in Judaism and his passion for music. Though he was raised in a secular Greenwich Village home and is still not observant, for at least the past decade he’s cultivated a deep knowledge of Jewish history, literature and law.

“It’s interesting that my music has been divorced from my interest in Jewish texts and Jewish learning,” Greenstein said in an interview last week, sitting in his Brooklyn studio.

Greenstein, 31, is trying to synthesize Jewish and classical music traditions. Michael Datikash

Matthew Lopez’s Ambivalent Seder

‘Whipping Man’ playwright discusses what the Passover meal says about freedom and redemption.
02/21/2011 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Passover is, for many of us, an unequivocally joyful holiday. The tablecloth is set with fine china and sparkling silverware, the children are freshly scrubbed, and the seder rejuvenates us with its theme of freedom and rebirth.

Jay Wilkison, André Braugher and André Holland in the pivotal scene from Matthew Lopez’s “The Whipping Man.”

Avner Dorman’s Musical Exoticism

Israeli Philharmonic to perform the young Israeli composer’s ‘Azerbaijani Dances’ here next week.
02/16/2011 - 19:00
Staff Writer

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will give the U.S. premiere of Israeli composer Avner Dorman’s “Azerbaijani Dance” at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday. But it will not be the first time the conductor, Zubin Mehta, one of the world’s most prominent maestros, collaborated with Dorman. In fact, Mehta essentially gave Dorman his start.

Avner Dorman's "Azerbaijani Dance" will be performed by the Israeli Philharmonic  next week at Carnegie Hall.
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