Posted by Jana Banin, JTA
Thanks to the cultural gem that is “Princesses: Long Island,” lately the term “JAP” has been bandied around with a vigor that hasn’t been seen since the lavish bat mitzvah and nose job-filled days of our adolescence.
If you’re not happy about this development, you’re not alone. Donald Silverman, father of JAC (Jewish American Comedian) Sarah Silverman, finds it infuriating that anyone would proudly own a label that implies they are materialistic and shallow.
In fact, anyone who does this is “being an asshole,” he told HuffPost Live.
While Silverman’s four daughters and five grandchildren “don’t wear jewelry or drive new cars,” we don’t doubt Silverman’s expertise in this area. He was skyped into the interview from Boca Raton, after all.
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June 21, 2013 | 1:35 am
Posted by Rob Eshman
They finally put the LA in LAX.
Five years ago, if someone had invited you to a black tie party at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, you’d think they were being ironic. The main international terminal at the country’s third largest airport had all the sophistication and charm of a school hallway.
Fast forward to Thursday night, June 20, when 1000 guests walked past a partition of curtains and down a red carpet and entered the new “TBIT,” as it’s been rechristened. It is a sleek, futuristic space, bejeweled with giant video installations and tricked out with the world’s best retailers and some of LA’s finest restaurants.
I swung an invite to the preview of the TBIT at Los Angeles International Airport. It kind of helps when the chairman of my newspaper board also happens to be Peter Lowy, the co-CEO of the Westfield Group, the company that developed the concessions inside the terminal.
The evening itself had the feel of a Hollywood premiere, with about 100 times more security. Guests in their evening wear arrived by shuttle vans from a satellite parking lot, and threaded their way through passengers in sweat pants schlepping excess luggage.
The entrance to TBIT was lined with models in suitably tight dresses offering pretty drinks along the way. They were as show-stopping as the bomb-sniffing Belgian malinois that stood by their handlers.
Just at the entrance to the terminal, a massive video display of falling water provoked initial oooohs and ahhs. Then the terminal opened up—a vast space of arched white roofs and glass. As much iron went into this terminal, so the brochure says, as would go into two Eiffel Towers. But the big visual deal are those video screens—screens the size of football fields it seemed—displaying stunning images of surf, stars, Big Ben-like clocks, dancing girls. Jaw-dropping stuff.
The terminal itself is a place to seriously shop. Gucci, Burberry, Kitson, and, in a nod to LA, Fred Segal are interspersed with numerous other high-end retailers and duty free stores. Even the duty-free tilts to the highest end: the display at the liquor shop offered a 50 year-old Glenfiddich single malt scotch and a bottle of rare Chinese rice wine for $17,000.
The food was the biggest upgrade, from my point of view. That because while you can find Gucci anywhere, Westfield wisely tapped restaurants that either originated in LA or cook as if they did. So, as you wait in the future for your El Al flight, you can check out Umami Burger, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, The Larder, Border Grill, Chaya, LaMill Coffee, Marmalade, 800 Degrees, Ink Sack or some of the non-LA offerings: III Forks from Dallas, Petrossian Caviar, Vino Volo. There was also, of course, Panda Express. But the chef dishing out its vegetarian eggrolls assured me, “This is the high end Panda Express.”
Many of the restaurants turned out for the event with endless bites for the guests. Border Grill’s founders Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger were there serving plantains, rice and beans, as well as ceviche. The Larder at Tavern offered sandwiches of burrata and rapini. Chaya made tuna tartare. InkSack, Michael Voltaggio’s lunchtime place, offered fried chicken sandwiches. And those Panda Express eggrolls? Not bad.
Westfield didn’t design the interior, but it did reconfigure the shopping to give the terminal the feel of a high-end urban mall, not a way station serving 4,000 passengers per hour.
“This is a perfect example of public-private partnership,” Peter Lowy said in a short speech to the crowd. “Sometimes government really works.”
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took the stage and pronounced the terminal the best in the United States, if not the world. Across from where he stood, in the grand hall, a sign proclaimed this the Villaraigosa Hall—so he may be biased.
But the mayor spread the credit: to Lowy and Westfield, to Gina Marie Lindsey, the 5 foot tall powerhouse executive of Los Angeles World Airports who is overseeing what is the largest public works project in LA history, and to the airport commissioners, headed by Michael Lawson.
There’s still a ways to go before the TBIT opens. If the preview came before the actual premiere, that may be because the mayor leaves office July 1, and he wanted to rightly be the one to open the project he managed to pushed through.
“I want to see us celebrate this great town,” he said, before the Hollywood Scoring Orchestra played a tribute to him entitled, “Portale.”
The evening continued, with composer David Foster and some former American Idols entertaining the crowd. I left as a young Korean man was onstage singing Italian opera. I grabbed a chocolate chip cookie from a model holding a silver tray, smiled at the bomb-sniffing shepherd, and made my way back out to the old terminal. There, exhausted passengers slunked across dirty floors to join ever-lengthening lines—with no idea of the terminal just beyond the curtain.
June 18, 2013 | 10:35 am
Posted by Ryan Torok
Actor Jeff Garlin ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") was released from a Van Nuys jail yesterday, at approximately 7:30 a.m., according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) website.
An incident that sounds like it’s straight out of “Curb,” Garlin--who has also appeared on television show “Arrested Development” and co-starred with comedienne Sarah Silverman in the film “I Want Someone to East Cheese With”–apparently became too heated during an argument over a parking space at CVS drugstore in Studio City, Variety reported.
The 51-year-old comedian-actor was arrested on Saturday, June 15, by Los Angeles Police Department’s North Hollywood division, according to the LASD.
Garlin will be “interviewed by city prosecutors, but he will not appear in court on the matter,” according to studiocity.patch.com.
He posted $20,000 in bail, according to LASD.
June 14, 2013 | 1:49 pm
Posted by Joe Winkler, JTA
Last week was the 84th birthday of Anne Frank, as well as anniversary of the first post in her diary in which she famously wrote, “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”
First published in 1947, “The Diary of A Young Girl,” was an immediate sensation — not only for the impressive writing, but for the stark description of life in hiding. The book has had a storied history since then, winning a Pulitzer Prize, earning worldwide accolades, and drawing royalty to performances of the stage version. Not everyone was enthused by the performance, however. In 1957, Parisian officials would not allow the play to run for fear that Germans would feel slighted by the performance. Moreover, the play became a lightning rod for anti-Semitism, attracting neo-Nazis throughout the world to disrupt performances.
Still, the book has become a staple of school curricula, though even this has sparked controversy. In the United States, the religious right found the book offensive for portraying different religions in a pluralistic manner. Some parents went so far as to pull their children from class the days the diary would be read. In 2009, Hezbollah pressured a private school in Beirut to remove snippets of the diary from its curriculum.
Perhaps most interestingly, the diary was used by prosecutors to convict the Nazi officers who deported Jews out of Holland to concentration camps.
With time, Anne Frank became a universal symbol of hope and the desire for freedom. In 1961, President Kennedy honored Anne Frank and explained that she gave the world …
… a gift that will survive her enemies…Of the multitude who throughout history have spoken for human dignity in times of great suffering and loss, few are more compelling than that of Anne Frank. Her humor, her humanity and her hope illuminate the hearts of men heavily clouded by the apparent willingness of those who seek power and domain over the soul of man to again deprive people of the right to live in peace, tolerance and freedom.
In 1994, appearing at the opening here of an exhibition about the life of Anne Frank, South African President Nelson Mandela said: ”The victory of the democratic forces in South Africa is a contribution to this worldwide effort to rid humanity of the evil of racism. It is Anne Frank’s victory. It is an achievement of humanity as a whole.”
June 12, 2013 | 12:24 pm
Posted by Jay Firestone
Last night I attended a press screening of the latest installment of the Superman franchise, “Man of Steel,” directed by Zack Snyder and produced by "Batman" director Christopher Nolan.
An avid comic book fan, I expected one of two portrayals of Superman.
Jewish or Jesus.
There’s been a fair amount of discourse on whether the superhero created by two Jews in the late 30s was in fact a Jew. He’s an immigrant, he an outcast, he’s a golem, etc. It’s no surprise that Jews love to call Superman Jewish. (You can read more about that theory here, here or here.)
Then there’s the notion that Superman is Jesus, which tends to eclipse the character’s similarities to Jewish immigrants of the 30s. The 2006 film, "Superman Returns" (directed by Bryan Singer) depicted the man in blue as a godlike savior, sacrificing himself for the good people of Metropolis. The audience is even treated to that classic snapshot of Superman in the clouds, like an angel in heaven…or something cheesy like that.
So how does Superman fare, religiously, in “Man of Steel?"
Well he’s not Jewish…that’s for sure. In fact, he’s as non-Jewish as the Pope is Catholic.
And here are the top six reasons why. [WARNING: Spoilers ahead]
1) Holy Trinity. There’s a strong father-son theme in this movie between Superman (Henry Cavill) and his human father, Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner). Throughout the film, repeated flashbacks recall this relationship, establishing context for Superman’s morality. Later, Superman is introduced to the holographic consciousness of his biological father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe). In this incarnation, Jor-El offers guidance and a sense of clarity to Superman (known by his Krypton name, Kal-El). It’s even hinted that Jor-El is like a ghost. So here we have it, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
2) Superman goes to church, seriously. In a moment of uncertainty, Clark Kent finds himself in church seeking advice from a minister. Furthermore, you can see a stained glass Jesus in the background of a close-up on Clark. Real subtle.
3) Superman is willing to die for our sins. In the film, General Zod (Michael Shannon) requests that the people of Earth deliver Superman in exchange for not destroying the planet (Seems legit). Superman, of course, turns himself in. Such a mensch.
4) Superman LOVES to pose like Jesus. There’s a scene where Superman leaps from a spaceship outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Instead of taking a confident nosedive or cannonball, he falls backwards from the ship with his arms extended, mimicking a “cross.” I’d say it’s a coincidence, but this poses happens twice (at least).
5) Immaculate conception. Or rather…the only conception. In this story, Superman is actually the first natural birth on Krypton in centuries. Other babies are born via some Kryptonian harvest that grows infants out of pods. (It’s like “The Matrix” meets “Children of Men.”) Why don’t Krypton women give birth anymore? Probably because Krypton’s Sunday morning farmer’s market has the freshest babies in town. That…or Jor-El forgot to buy Kryptonite-coated condoms.
6) Superman is 33 and unmarried. If he were Jewish, his mom would be ALL over that.
June 12, 2013 | 11:08 am
Posted by Uri Fintzy
“Ask and ye shall receive!” (John 16:24)
Yesterday, we wondered about the extent of Israel’s informality with social media. Today, the Internet gods have answered.
Not to be outdone by a sexy Israelilawmaker, or pictures of half-naked soldiers, a group of female IDF soldiers stripping on video has surfaced, complete with an M-16 rifle standing in for a stripper pole.
One soldier offers her booty-shaking comrades this piece of advice: “Dance like a prostitute on that rifle!”
Later she warns, “I am posting this to Facebook and tagging you!”
According to Israeli website Mako, these cases are being treated privately by the girls’ commanders.
June 10, 2013 | 11:55 am
Posted by Jana Banin, JTA
Usually when you think of keeping the Yiddish language alive you think theater and literature — not freestyle rap. Especially not freestyle rap performed by a legendary comic like Jerry Lewis.
Yet thanks to TMZ, the world now has grainy smartphone footage footage of the 87-year-old on the set of his new movie “Max Rose,” engaging in a rap battle with Chris La Vrar, of “America’s Got Talent” fame.
It’s unclear what La Vrar was doing there or how the rhyming got started — or if Lewis’ rhymes are in fact actually Yiddish. Either way, it’s pretty endearing when, after getting rapped at by La Vrar, Lewis shoots back with, “Very good. Very, VERY good … I want to do one now in Jewish.”
June 10, 2013 | 11:51 am
Posted by Adam Soclof, JTA
Old Spice guy Isaiah Mustafa has taken his act to Israel… again.
Two months after sporting a suit and tie for a Maccabee beer ad, the actor has gone shirtless again for Old Spice with an ad called “Israeli men.”
The minimalist ad sports Mustafa posing in front of a shower donning a towel around the waist, peppering his homage to the Israeli manly-man, or “gever gever,” with Hebrew slang.
“They eat manly food like shawarma, matbucha and gefilte fish,” he deadpans to the camera.
The ad borrows the look of Old Spice’s award-winning social media campaign from 2010, though without the campaign’s quintessential real-time element.
Still, the low tech version of the famous “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign is a safe play for Old Spice, adapting a fan favorite to the Israeli market.
Think Old Spice will teach Terry Crews how to say “odor blocker” in Hebrew?