February 25, 2009
Perlman Plays Sinai Temple, ‘Bashir’s’ Folman Reacts to Oscar Loss
Perlman Plays Sinai Temple
Itzhak Perlman plays the violin with such grace, his strokes so effortless and his expression so pure that it seems as if the music he makes was created within him and not the result of some genius composer. In fact, during the two-hour performance at Sinai Temple on Feb. 19, he barely referenced his sheet music. Perlman is as intimately acquainted with the pieces he plays as he is with the multimillion-dollar Stradivarius that rests on his shoulder. Were it not for the fact that now and then he wiped sweat from his brow in a very cold room, you could hardly tell he was challenged.
The presence of a Carnegie Hall-size talent in a community setting lent the concert an atmosphere of intimacy as 1,000 people gazed at Perlman as if in a trance.
“It’s like watching Mozart in your living room,” the man sitting next to me whispered.
In his eloquent style, Perlman moved through scores from sophisticated to simplistic. He played Handel and Beethoven sonatas before launching into a more playful, improvised second act. Short, energetic pieces from Fritz Chrysler and Franz Liszt were heard alongside dramatic contemporary works like John Williams’ “Theme From Schindler’s List.” A consummate entertainer, Perlman peppered his performance with casual chatter, a poetry recitation and a few jokes.
A violin virtuoso since he was a child in Tel Aviv, Perlman was celebrating the 50th anniversary (to the day) of the time he first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and was catapulted into the international spotlight. Since then, he has performed with every major orchestra in the world, served as conductor at more than 14 major city symphony orchestras and won 15 Grammys and four Emmys. For all this and more, Perlman received a standing ovation before he played his first note.
‘Bashir’s’ Folman Reacts to Oscar Loss
“Waltz With Bashir” is a movie that expresses filmmaker Ari Folman’s hatred for war. But the run up to the Academy’s announcement for best foreign-language film felt like a war zone of the spirit, with Israeli Oscar dreams crushed by the Japanese.
“I was really hyped and tense. Then it was a drop of adrenaline immediately after the announcement of ‘Departures,’” Folman told The Circuit at the post-Oscar bash at the Beverly Hilton.
He described the exact mood at the Hilton’s International Ballroom, where the Israeli production team — not lucky enough to attend the actual ceremony at the Kodak Theater — watched the Oscars at a viewing banquet held by Jewish philanthropist Daphne Ziman’s Children Uniting Nations and co-sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and 93.5 FM The Beat.
Ziman spread her hope for Zionist victory by reserving several tables for the “Waltz With Bashir” brigade, engaging in hasbara (publicity) by leaving brochures about the film for some 600 guests, including Oscar Nunez (“The Office”), William “Billy” Baldwin, Jane Seymour and Tia Tequila.
The battle was long and drawn out as the best foreign-language film was announced more than two hours into the ceremony.
“It was a total build-up with five categories, then four categories, commercial breaks, sitting here feeling like my heart will jump out of my body,” said Tel Aviv-based animator Neta Holzer, moments after the Japanese bomb fell.
Israeli Consul-General Yaakov Dayan, on hand with consulate staff to provide support, shared the disappointment.
Folman, dashing in a tuxedo, acted like the dignified general as he graciously took time to speak with Israeli reporters, rehashing the same sound bites to give each warring network some individuality, all with the same basic message: “It’s a letdown, but on the other hand, we got so far,” he told them in Hebrew, “that it’s not so bad now.”
He now looks forward to going back to Israel and spending quality time with his family — in real peace. — Orit Arfa, Contributing Writer
Kosher Good Life in Oxnard
Add 10 tables of more than 200 assorted top kosher wines, stir in a buffet of chef Todd Aarons’ gourmet delicacies and simmer in the elegant expanse of the Tierra Sur, a gourmet kosher restaurant in Oxnard, and what do you get? The second annual International Food and Wine Festival hosted by Herzog Wine Cellars on Feb. 18.
The atmosphere was merry yet refined as CEO David Herzog and his nephew, Joseph Herzog, vice president of operations, showcased the best of kosher wines from Spain, Italy, France and California, with an entire hall dedicated to Israeli wines.
Winemakers shared their libations with a crowd of about 200 sprinkled with foodies and wine lovers of all religious shades, members of the Herzog Wine Club, Oxnard Mayor Tom Holden and renowned wine critic Daniel Rogov, who commented on “the increasing level of awareness among both Jewish and non-Jewish wine consumers that there need be no contradiction between fine wine and kosher wine.”
With cigars being hand-rolled in the corner, the evening certainly undid any stereotype that kosher keepers can’t enjoy the good life. — Orit Arfa, Contributing Writer