While other music fanatics visit Hollywood's nightclubs to discover groundbreaking music, Kun rummages through countless bins at places like the National Council of Jewish Women's thrift shop looking for Jewish records of the past. But he hasn't done it alone.
Museums, like movie studios, prefer to open big.
The high cost of museum management, from health care to advertising, has forced institutions to reach for blockbuster exhibits -- Tutmania! -- market them like summer movies, and pray for long lines and lasting buzz on opening day.
Then there's Max Liebermann.
Skirball Cultural Center founder and director Uri Herscher was in Jerusalem several years ago, visiting a friend's small, art-filled apartment. His eye caught an attractive painting, a Liebermann, his friend said, and Herscher responded, "Who?"
Virtually unknown today, Max Liebermann was the most famous German painter of his time. He died at age 87 in 1935, just as Adolf Hitler rose to power. As he watched the Nazis march through the Brandenburg Gate celebrating the takeover of Hitler, Liebermann famously remarked, "One cannot eat as much as one would like to vomit."
Fagin, who recruits a gang of young thieves in "Oliver Twist," is arguably the most villainous caricature of a Jew in English literature -- not excepting Shakespeare's Shylock -- but his creator, Charles Dickens, was no dyed-in-the-wool anti-Semite.
Indeed, in "Our Mutual Friend," his last completed novel, Dickens took a 180-degree turn in his portrayal of the Jew Riah, who is as saintly as Fagin is evil. For good measure, Dickens added a Jewish factory owner and his wife, who treated all their employees with kindness and generosity.
The appraisal of Dickens comes from Harry Stone, one of the foremost collectors and authorities on the great 19th-century English novelist.
Stone, who taught English literature at Cal State Northridge for 32 years, recently donated to the university the thousands of items in his private Dickens collection, including first editions of all the novelist's works, the monthly newspaper installments in which they first appeared, personal letters, corrected proof sheets, translations, photographs, and even dolls and figurines inspired by his characters.