At 52 and the new dean of California Institute of the Arts dance program, Koplowitz is currently preparing to make his Los Angeles debut with what he calls his most ambitious project to date
Created in 1973, "Caught in the Act" juxtaposes a 36-minute video with accompanying still photography and stars Eleanor Antin as a prima ballerina performing a series of ballet poses for the camera."Caught in the Act" is one of Antin's signature video works to be included in the Getty Center's "California Video" survey exhibition, March 15-June 8.
Such quintessential "biz" questions proved to be hot topics for a select group of 25 film and television professionals from Los Angeles and Tel Aviv as they sat in a conference room July 13 at The Jewish Federation's Goldsmith Center. It was still early in the morning on the first full day of the ninth annual Master Class in Cinema and Television, but already people seemed to be in the throes of furious note-taking as they listened to tricks-of-the-trade advice from several Hollywood veterans.
As a schoolboy, Oren Jacoby once gave a research report about the Crusades, without "having any idea about the Jewish communities that were massacred. We were taught a sanitized version of events," he said.
In this life, Oren Rudavsky has forged a successful career as a New York City-based filmmaker known for award-winning documentaries about Jewish life, including the 2004 "Hiding and Seeking," which explored faith and tolerance through the lens of an Orthodox Jewish family's emotionally charged trip to Poland. In his latest film, "The Treatment," he takes on a subject that has long been a source of fascination.
Since she began her career in the 1970s, Suzy Evans has been on a mission to educate the public about a dance form "that is so much more than what you might see in a restaurant or in a class." As the founder of the now 11-year-old International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance (IAMED), Evans is producing her fourth "This Is Belly Dance!" concert at the Ford Amphitheatre on Aug. 11.
Considered one of America's leading and most distinctive contemporary dance companies, Hubbard Street will display its trademark eclecticism when it debuts at the Hollywood Bowl on July 25.
Choreographer Keith Glassman always wanted to learn more about his grandfathers and why they both pursued boxing careers in their youth. Known for dances that blend natural, athletic movement with sociological commentary, Glassman decided to make a piece that would allow him to explore whether other Jewish men in his grandfathers' generation also boxed "to make money. I was surprised to find out that there were a lot of Jewish boxers," he says. "It was an immigrant's way of trying to make it in America."
Sitting in her living room and poring through an enormous photo album, Alexandra More acts like the proud parent of successful offspring.
By the age of 4, Dani Dassa knew what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.
When they first started dancing together, Noam Gagnon and Dana Gingras used to lock themselves in a studio for somewhere between five and seven hours a day. Together, they tried to make their bodies react in "authentic ways," irrespective of how high they could jump, how fast they could turn or any other techniques their dance training had already taught them.
While other photographers have sought to document Chasidism from more of an insider's perspective, Maya Dreilinger purposefully maintained her distance as an outsider. She wandered around the La Brea area dressed as she normally does and refused the occasional invitation to dinner at someone's home.
The dance, called "Missa Brevis," premiered the following year in a bombed-out church in Budapest and would become a masterpiece of the Limon canon. The June 1958 issue of Dance Magazine declared "it has been a long time since modern dance has produced a work so profoundly stirring and exalting." Carla Maxwell, artistic director of the Jose Limon Dance Company since 1978, called it "one of those rare, perfect dances. Poland moved Limon profoundly, and from it, he created some of the most glorious choreography."
The Naumanns are the central characters of "Bee Season," which opens this week in theaters. The film explores the dissolution of the Naumann family after the youngest member, 9-year-old Eliza (Flora Cross), discovers she's a spelling prodigy.
Jerry Herman doesn't play favorites with his musicals. Ask him to rank "Mame," "Hello, Dolly!" or "La Cage aux Folles" and he'll tell you, "I love them all."
Although he became famous for graphic, sensationalist and emotionally raw photographs that simultaneously exaggerate and illuminate human folly, Weegee never forgot his Lower East Side roots as an immigrant Jew.
Schlitt spent the past five years transforming a midlife crisis, a professionally disastrous trip to India, and his burning and failed ambition to make a movie about that disaster into a one-man show called, "Mike's Incredible Indian Adventure."
For the past four years, Kadosh and Alfi have been meeting regularly to exchange pedagogical advice, offer insight into each other's communities, pay visits to the other's turf and, above all, continually affirm how educators of different faiths can help each other.
These two women have formed a solid friendship, and whether or not that will eventually lead to an enduring bridge between Jewish and Arab educators in Los Angeles, they have set an important precedent.
Growing up in Syracuse, N.Y, Eileen Douglas lived for the moments she could climb into her grandfather's lap and find the pennies he brought -- special for her. He faithfully visited his grandchildren every day after leaving his work as a butcher. Yet he never really spoke about his upbringing in Kovno, Lithuania.
"I thought we weren't allowed to talk about it, that if you did, you would hurt the family," Douglas recalled. "My grandfather died suddenly when I was 12 and I never got to say goodbye."
Some 25 years after her grandfather died, Douglas paid a visit to her childhood home and stumbled upon a series of forgotten family photographs.
"The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt" edited by Ruth Andrew Ellenson (Dutton, $24.95).
When Ruth Andrew Ellenson achieved the writer's milestone of selling her first book, her father responded in classic Jewish parental fashion.
"He was thrilled and said, 'Honey, that's wonderful.' Then there was a long pause," Ellenson recalled. "And he said, 'I guess this means I have to wait longer for grandchildren.'"
As the editor of the newly released "The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt," Ellenson now has both the professional and personal credentials to speak on behalf of any Jewish woman who struggles with the notion of "letting my people down. I've always been interested in what's complicated about being Jewish and how you balance the different parts of life," said the 31-year-old freelance journalist. "Jewish women have been given opportunities they never had before. We live in a time of choice and so there are myriad new ways to feel guilty."
Opportunities to view Jewish-themed dance by contemporary choreographers, however, do not occur every day and, in the case of Duckler, "Narrow Bridge" represents the first time she has explored issues of Jewish identity.
During the period he lived in New York and worked odd jobs, Charlie Kaufman once had a conversation with a colleague about Jews and height.
Driving down Wilshire Boulevard about 35 years ago, Savina J. Teubal saw the bumper sticker that changed her life.
Wendy Graf sat in a synagogue several years ago listening to a rabbi's sermon. "She was talking about experiencing a traumatic event and how her faith had been sorely tested," Graf recalled. "That really got me thinking."
On the telephone, Anders speaks exactly like the book she's written. Candid, passionate and prone to interspersing the conversation with hysterical impersonations of her mother's Cuban-accented English, Anders also emphasized that she "fiercely loves" her parents, now in their 70s.
Like her protagonist Sophie Katz, Kyra Davis has skin the color of a "well-brewed latte." That's why she has spent a large portion of her life fielding comments about her ethnicity.
There was her supervisor at a clothing store, for example, who asked about her Star of David necklace, since how could Davis be Jewish when she looks black? Or all the times people have assumed she's Puerto Rican and lecture her on taking pride in one's heritage when they discover she can't speak Spanish.
"Occasionally, when people ask me where I'm from, I'll make up some country in Africa and act really offended if they say they never heard of it," Davis said.
As a kid growing up in Philadelphia, Edward Schwarzschild did a stint as a Kosher Boy Scout and hated it.
"Carrying two sets of dishes into the wilderness was a real turn-off for me," he said.
Now 40, Schwarzschild hails from a venerable tradition of writers who have mined their formative Jewish experiences for literary purposes. This makes sense, considering that his first novel, "Responsible Men" (Algonquin) due out April 8, revolves around a Jewish family in Philadelphia faced with the challenge of understanding their past and improving their present.
When it comes to film festivals, Calabasas is far off the beaten path for the Sundance crowd. But there's method to the madness of film lovers who beat a path to Calabasas in the first week of April.
The seventh annual Method Fest claims to be the nation's only festival that specifically celebrates actors and their performances. This year's lineup includes significant works with Jewish themes. There are films about the Holocaust, contemporary Jewish families and Israeli-Palestinian issues among the 25 feature films and 47 short films. The festival also features panel discussions, workshops and special events.
"Daily life is certainly limited," A.S. says. "My friends and I have been doing a lot of video nights, just so we won't feel so isolated in our apartments."
Esther has been dreaming about Jake for four years. So when he finally asked her out, she did not hesitate to say yes. It no longer mattered that he lived in Miami and did not lead an Orthodox Jewish life. Though she hated to think of leaving New York City and wanted to make sure that their future children would receive a Jewish education, "we were going to try to work it out," she says. "It's really hard to find someone Jewish, so if you don't try, then what?"
Lydia has dated Mark for three months and characterizes their relationship as "still being in that blissful, lovey-dovey phase." There's only one problem. He's not Jewish.
If only Lauren knew that two years after her wedding, the whispers would focus on her.
Carl Birman would like to meet the right man one day. For now, he's trying to put the past to rest and advocates celibacy as a way "to help people figure out their direction in life. It's a way to come to terms with feelings without acting on them," he says.
When Ephraim took her hand, "I was not reaching out to her as a man does to a woman but as a soul reaching out to a soul in mourning," he recalls. "I was very surprised when she wouldn't let me take my hand back. She was giving me a green light, and I was intrigued."
After she gave birth to Kitty, Jane Modell Rosen would sit by her daughter's crib and cry.