A giant risk is being taken with The Wallis — as the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills is being called, and for which the 1934 Beverly Hills Post Office on Santa Monica Boulevard, between Canon and Crescent drives, has been rehabbed to pristine beauty.
For most Jews, the word Kaddish evokes images of loss, mourning, death. But for Hal Willner, “Kaddish” is a spoken-word piece — some would call it poetry — by Allen Ginsberg that evokes a very different image: family.
The contentious, often hilarious, collaboration between legendary screenwriter-director Billy Wilder and mystery novelist Raymond Chandler is the subject of a new play, “Billy & Ray,” opening April 5 at Garry Marshall’s Falcon Theatre in Burbank.
Speaking by phone from Montreal, Israeli-born cellist Matt Haimovitz revealed that he’s a great admirer of the American singer Nina Simone. Looking at his life and career, one can easily see why. Like Simone, Haimovitz is admired for his solid classical grounding, eclecticism, improvisatory brilliance and the fact that he defies easy classification.
Divorce can be a devastating experience, but one can get through it, survive and even thrive, according to Amy Botwinick, co-author of “Divorce Party: The Musical,” currently running at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood.
Yossi, the central character in the new eponymous Israeli movie, has changed over the past 10 years, and so have Israel and the world. In 2002, director Eytan Fox introduced him in “Yossi & Jagger,” which became Israel’s highest-grossing film abroad, up to that time.
Newspaper-reading Angelenos may recognize the byline Robert Lloyd. What they may not know is that the Los Angeles Times television critic once was more concerned with singing about a “Bitchen Party” than with covering the Golden Globes, which take place this year on Jan. 13.
Barbara Heller likes to refer to herself as a “growing Jew.” The actress/singer has created a biographical show, “Finding Barb,” that traces her life from her dysfunctional family in Boca Raton, Fla., through her disappointing pursuit of an acting career in New York, to her indoctrination into Orthodox Judaism and, finally, to her present state of trying to balance her commitment to an observant life with her professional ambitions.
“The Vote,” the best show in town, opened at 7:45 p.m. on Nov. 29 and, after 23 acts, closed down 60 minutes later. During that one hour, speakers, actors, musicians, singers and dancers commemorated the day, 65 years ago, when the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state.
Two documentary films, each touching the Holocaust era and celebrating the courage and devotion of non-Jews, are screening in Los Angeles. The first is about Leopold Engleitner, bright-eyed and lucid at 107, who spent 11 years in and out of prisons and Nazi concentration camps, and, after a flight from Vienna to Los Angeles, is ready for his personal appearance tour.
In the new movie “Hirokin: The Last Samurai,” due out Tuesday on DVD, the title character, a stranger in a strange world, sets off on a soul-searching odyssey in which his calling becomes inextricably linked to the new inhabitants he meets around him.
The storied Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, founded as the Palestine Symphony Orchestra 12 years before the rebirth of the Jewish state, and its music-director-for-life Zubin Mehta, will join in concert on Oct. 30 at Disney Hall.
When Zubin Mehta takes the stage at the Disney Concert Hall on Oct. 30 to conduct the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), most in the audience will know that they’re hearing a world-class orchestra. Very few will realize, however, that the IPO’s founding was integral to the origins of the modern Jewish state. That beginning not only inaugurated the arts in Israel, but it was coupled with the saving of untold numbers of Jews from the Holocaust. Now that story is being told on the big screen in director Josh Aronson’s “Orchestra of Exiles,” in first-run screenings at selected Laemmle theaters beginning Nov. 2.
Few can chronicle the changes in the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra better than Gabriel Vole, a veteran double bass player.
The Talmud is on display this month at the USC Fisher Museum of Art, but if you’re expecting a dry examination of rabbinic law and ethics, you’ve come to the wrong place. Ofri Cnaani’s “The Sota Project” offers a daring and even graphic take on Jewish views of adultery, sexuality and sisterhood through a little-known but fascinating piece of talmudic text.
It’s an age-old, common dilemma faced by adult children of aging parents: What is the right thing to do when those parents begin to lose their faculties? That theme is at the heart of “Surviving Mama,” by playwright Sonia Levitin, which opens Oct. 12 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica.
Daniel Joseph Martinez has a question, or, rather, he wants you to have one. Well-known as one of the art world’s favorite provocateurs, the Los Angeles native and resident has brought his unique brand of art-as-conversation-piece to Culver City’s Roberts & Tilton Gallery for his first L.A. gallery exhibition in a decade, “I Am a Verb.” But why is Martinez, a non-Jewish artist, getting coverage in the Jewish Journal? Well that’s simple, really; one of the works he made for the show is a series of photos of a hunchbacked, masked man with the Shema tattooed on his chest, along with a Muslim prayer inscribed in Arabic on one arm and a Catholic prayer in Latin on the other.
West Hollywood’s celebration of the written word features more than 220 authors and artists. Speakers include “Saturday Night Live” alum Rachel Dratch (“Girl Walks Into a Bar”) and comedy writer David Misch (“Funny: The Book”); Journal columnist Bill Boyarsky (“Inventing L.A.”); political commentators Robert Scheer (“The Great American Stickup”) and Nancy L. Cohen (“Delirium”); novelists David Brin (“Existence”), Seth Greenland (“The Angry Buddhist”), Tod Goldberg (“Living Dead Girl”), Gregg Hurwitz (“The Survivor”), Stephen Jay Schwartz (“Beat”) and Jerry Stahl (“Pain Killers”); and children’s writers Amy Goldman Koss (“Side Effects”) and Eugene Yelchin (“Breaking Stalin’s Nose”).
“Fundamentally, your job is not that different from my job,” screenwriter Alex Litvak told a room full of rabbis assembled at American Jewish University for the annual High Holy Days conference sponsored by the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.
As you approach the Barbara Mendes Gallery on South Robertson Boulevard, you know you’re in for an experience. The brightly colored, psychedelic exterior of the little gallery in the SoRo neighborhood doesn’t cry out Jewish art, and neither does the gallery’s proprietor at first glance. Barbara Mendes looks every bit the ex-hippie, from her tie-dyed clothes to her funky glasses, but when she opens her mouth and starts chattering about kashrut and the Tehillim, you realize that you’re speaking to a woman who’s been on a journey to finding her very Jewish self and her Jewish art.
The best-selling author of “Tuesdays With Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” sits down with Rabbi David Wolpe to discuss his new book, “The Time Keeper.”
A careful search has uncovered a small treasure trove of unusual and provocative films slated for release this fall.
When Aaron Henne decided to form a new Jewish theater company, he knew he needed to push boundaries and make bold statements to challenge the traditional image of what constitutes Jewish theater. So now, with its first major production, Henne’s aptly named Theatre Dybbuk is attempting just that, with “Cave … A Dance for Lilith,” a collaborative, imaginative piece conceived in partnership with the L.A. Contemporary Dance Company.
The Broadway debut of “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone satirizes organized religion in lewd, crude — and musical — fashion. The story of two mismatched Mormon missionaries who are sent to Africa to proselytize pagans was deemed “best musical of this century” by The New York Times, won nine Tony Awards last year — including Best Musical — and is playing at the Pantages for a limited run. Fri. Through Nov. 25. 8 p.m. $35-$175. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. (800) 982-2787. broadwayla.org.
This has been a good year for filmmaker Ira Sachs. His new feature, "Keep the Lights On," received a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and won the prestigious Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. And while the intensely personal, autobiographical film centers on a tumultuous love affair between two men, Sachs believes audiences will relate to the human experience of relationships shared by all couples.
If you take Israel out of the equation, there’s little in the Jewish world that gets people as riled up as the idea of intermarriage.
As he researched the complex life of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach for a new musical, playwright Daniel Wise found a surprisingly candid source.
John Logan’s two-person play, “Red,” which spotlights the legendary Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko, is set a decade before the notoriously prickly painter committed suicide in 1970. The drama, which opens at the Mark Taper Forum on Aug. 12, begins as Rothko (Alfred Molina) has accepted a hefty commission to create a series of murals for the swanky Four Seasons restaurant in New York’s iconic Seagram Building. He intends his luminous, contemplative paintings to transform the space into a “temple,” while his initially timid new assistant, Ken (Jonathan Groff), grows bolder and insists that the work will merely serve as décor for pricey boozing and dining.
American pop culture is filled with ethnic cuisines, art and games that have traversed the veritable chasm from curiosity to mainstream success.
Was Christopher Columbus Jewish? And did he bury a treasure that, if discovered, would shake the political and cultural landscape of the Jewish state? This is the intriguing premise of the suspenseful and extensively researched novel, “The Columbus Affair” (Ballantine Books: $27), by New York Times best-selling author Steve Berry.
When Federico Garcia Lorca was a child, long before his ascension to the heights of Spanish literary circles, he idolized his mother’s gift for playing the piano. The young Garcia Lorca studied piano, hoping that he shared some of his mother’s talent, but Garcia Lorca would never become an influential musician. It was through the pen that he found his voice. Nevertheless, Garcia Lorca’s first works, with titles like “Nocturne” and “Sonata,” drew heavily upon his musical background, and throughout his short life, his poetry and prose would reflect an obsession with music and rhythm, with Beethoven and Chopin. So it seems natural that nearly a century later, a man who was inspired by Garcia Lorca’s words would turn his life into music.
Back in the 1930s and ’40s, when Diaspora Jews desperately needed a symbol of Jewish strength and pride, the brawny, sunburned kibbutznik became the poster image for the new Jew emerging in Palestine.