The Arts

Stiller Waters Run Deep

In ‘Greenberg,’ Ben Stiller veers from the typical Jewish neurotic role.

03/23/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Roger Greenberg, the eponymous hero of Noah Baumbach’s new film, “Greenberg,” is a direct descendant of all those solipsistic, narcissistic, inconsiderate neurotics embodied by Woody Allen and, most recently, Larry David. At 40, he is a twitching bundle of nerves, barely suppressed anger and tightly held grudges going back to his college days. And he is unmistakably Jewish, although, as he dryly notes, “my mother is a Protestant, so I don’t even count.”

Character rather than caricature: Stiller as  Roger Goldberg.

Klezmer’s True North

Remembering the clarinetist who sparked the klez revival.

03/18/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Readers will no doubt recall a long-running advertising campaign for a fur company that posed famous women with the slogan, “What becomes a legend most?” Not, we grant, a campaign you’d be likely to see in these more animal-friendly days, but the question is a good one, “What becomes a legend most?”
 
If the legend is a musician, the answer is simple: play the music. Anything extra is nice, but nearly extraneous.    
 

Joel Rubin, right, pays tribute to Dave Tarras, left, in concert at Museum at Eldridge Street.

Portrait Of A Nazi Serial Killer

‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ is an example
of the mystery genre fulfilling the Jewish injunction to remember.

03/18/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

At its heart the mystery genre is about how people deal with past actions. Go all the way back to “Oedipus Rex” and you’ve got a man investigating a crime that happened decades before, and its consequences in the present. It’s a perfect setup for a people whose religion explicitly and repeatedly tells them to remember the past.
 

Niels Arden Oplev’s new “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” has no Jewish characters but a Jewish theme.

Biblical Psychology

02/06/2004
Staff Writer

Ask clinical psychologist Marsha Mirkin, and she’ll tell you that the essential psychology textbook was written more than 3,000 years before the birth of pioneering analyst Sigmund Freud. Freud may have deemed religion “a mass delusion,” but Mirkin contends that the Divine parables of the Torah can provide unrivaled insights into human behavior.

Almost Everything Is Illuminated

Yeshiva University Museum exhibit features a dazzling array
of mostly hand-written Hebrew books.

03/18/2010

About six years ago, the curator Sharon L. Mintz was looking for rare printed Talmuds for an exhibit she was organizing at the Yeshiva University Museum. She came across the name of a little-known collector in Switzerland who said he could help. Mintz was flown out to the private home of the collector, but discovered that he had much more than Talmuds.
 

The new exhibit is devoted to the collection of rare Hebrew books held by Rene Braginsky

New/Old French Lenses

A directorial debut and the latest from veteran Robert Guediguian highlight ‘Rendezvous with French Cinema’ series.

03/11/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

French film criticism graduates filmmakers the way Penn State used to turn out linebackers. The latest example is Axelle Ropert, one-time editor of “La Lettre du Cinema,” whose first feature, “The Wolberg Family,” is one of the pleasant surprises in this year’s “Rendezvous with French Cinema” series.

The French Family Wolberg: Axelle Ropert’s new film portrays a Jewish family with hidden secrets.

Out Of South Africa

Whether in “The Nose” or his stop-animation,
artist William Kentridge’s work is unmistakably Jewish.

03/11/2010
Staff Writer

The Museum of Modern Art’s new retrospective of the work of the South African artist William Kentridge is organized around five themes. “Themes” is something of a misnomer, though, since the five sections of the show coalesce around what might more accurately be described as “distinct bodies of work.” Either way, several themes (and certainly more than five) recur in many sections, with at least one being very hard to ignore: Jewishness, an omnipresent feature throughout Kentridge’s oeuvre.

A Jazz Man’s Roots Music

10/22/2004
Managing Editor

Of the elite jazz musicians working in New York, pianist Bruce Barth is probably the only one who can claim a klezmer pedigree.

Barth, 46, who has emerged as one of his generation’s most compelling pianists and will share the stage Monday at Merkin Hall with the legendary Cedar Walton in a two-piano duet, developed an ear for klezmer in high school in Harrison, N.Y. It was then that his brother introduced him to a clique of New York bluegrass musicians, including mandolinist/clarinetist Andy Statman and banjoist Tony Trischka.

Threshold Of A New Age

02/01/2000
Staff Writer

Borders are alluring and charged places. In Orson Welles’ classic film “A Touch of Evil,” a psychological study of life at the border, the place where America and Mexico meet is full of shadows. It’s hard to get a fix on it. The old rules don’t seem to apply at the border, and a new reality is born of the collision of two worlds.

A Jazz Man’s Roots Music

10/22/2004
Managing Editor

Of the elite jazz musicians working in New York, pianist Bruce Barth is probably the only one who can claim a klezmer pedigree.

Barth, 46, who has emerged as one of his generation’s most compelling pianists and will share the stage Monday at Merkin Hall with the legendary Cedar Walton in a two-piano duet, developed an ear for klezmer in high school in Harrison, N.Y. It was then that his brother introduced him to a clique of New York bluegrass musicians, including mandolinist/clarinetist Andy Statman and banjoist Tony Trischka.

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