When Israeli documentary filmmaker David Fisher discovers the memoir of his late father, a Holocaust survivor who was interned in Gusen and Gunskirchen, Austria, Fisher decides to retrace his father’s footsteps.
Last April, just inside the entrance to the “Salute to Israel” Festival at Rancho Park, the National Council of Jewish Women set up a large tented area where it sold all sorts of secondhand items from its thrift stores: clothes, Judaica, kitchenware, art.
Marc Maron’s refreshingly honest — not to mention popular — podcast features one-on-one interviews with some of the biggest names in entertainment. Tonight, the stand-up comedian hosts “WTF With Marc Maron” before a live audience as part of Riot: L.A.’s Alternative Comedy Festival. Sat. 8 p.m. $20. Downtown Independent Theater, 251 S. Main St., downtown. (312) 730-4000. riotla.com.
In a small Israeli jail cell, a 17-year-old settler hears the air raid siren that signals the beginning of the Sabbath. From her pocket, she pulls out two travel-friendly candles. When the last of the matches in her small box breaks, her cellmate, a vegan left-wing activist who was on the other side of that morning’s protest, hands the young religious girl her lighter.
What do Grammy-winning band Ozomatli, tree planting and a bungee trampoline have in common? This year, they’ll all be part of a festival celebrating Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish holiday of nature and abundance.
Jewish community leaders in Australia are appalled that a neo-Nazi music festival has been allowed to go ahead in Queensland.
Building as Sukkah is more involved than you think...
Director Lars von Trier was questioned by Danish police for saying at the Cannes Film Festival that he had sympathy for Hitler.
It is ironic that Judea Pearl wrote this article on the eve of perhaps the worst foreign policy speech on Israel and the Middle East in American history (“Words Matter — Obama’s Next Challenge,” May 20). His phrase “Words Matter” tells it all. The words in this case, were all wrong.
Spotlight: Purim museum tour. Sat. 1 p.m. and Sun 1 p.m. Free (does not include museum admission). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org.
“My country, Israel, is full of contradictions and volcanic eruptions. We fluctuate between extremes. One morning you say peace is at hand and all problems will be resolved. The next day, it’s the apocalypse.” The thumbnail description comes from Amos Gitai, who, more than any other Israeli filmmaker, has explored the emotional peaks and valleys of his people in more than 40 feature films and documentaries.
When the American Jewish dairy farmer Max Yasgur died in 1973, he became one of few non-musicians to receive a full-page obituary in Rolling Stone magazine. That’s because Yasgur said “yes” to organizers of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair 40 years ago this week, allowing half a million young people to camp out on his land in Bethel, NY, after neighboring towns refused to grant access to the flower children.
Sukkot is 'z'man simchatenu' -- our season of rejoicing. It is a time to celebrate, to enjoy meals with guests, to sing, to study and to appreciate life. It is a time 'le-shev ba-Sukkah,' to live life to its fullest -- in the sukkah.
Against a backdrop of threatening skies, clearly not a metaphor for the future of Israel's film industry, two Israeli feature films premiered on May 15, opening day of the 61st Cannes Film Festival. And a short by Israeli student filmmaker Elad Keidan took first prize in the Cinefondation, a competition supporting new talent.
The first song Ya'akov Shimoni ever wrote was called, "Genesis." The lyrics -- in English, Hebrew and French -- were about pollution, global warming, Mother Earth and the destruction of Israel's natural resources. It was 1997 -- long before "An Inconvenient Truth" became a blockbuster and the green movement reached an unprecedented level of hipness.
Calendar Girls picks and kicks for March 1 - 7
Next July 6, more than 1,000 Lithuanian folk dancers decked out in authentic woven costumes, representing close to 40 dance ensembles, will perform the windmill, the scarf dance and other traditional dances at the XIII Lithuanian Folk Dance Festival, hosted for the first time in Los Angeles.
A new bookshelf, overflowing with volumes, testifies to Gady Levy's latest and perhaps most ambitious endeavor: the Celebration of Jewish Books, which begins on Monday and extends through an all-day festival on Sunday. The celebration will offer lectures and signings with 40 authors -- including big names, such as Larry King, Michael Chabon, Kirk Douglas and Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) -- plus music and dance performances, food and a thousand titles for sale, provided by Borders and the Hebrew-language bookseller Steimatzky.
Jews have participated regularly in RenFaire -- which recreates with the greatest possible accuracy English life during the Renaissance -- and actors like Luskin are now finding greater freedom to express their cultural identity in the roles they play. The main stumbling block to date had been that Jews were exiled from England 300 years before the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The trade mission storyline allows this Ottoman tribe of 35 performers to slip its Jewish characters into the formerly Judenrein shire. In keeping with its historical recreation, Oojahm features a detailed history that includes Jewish-Muslim coexistence and cooperation.
Last Sunday's Israel Independence Day Festival at Woodley Park attracted 25,000 people -- Israelis and supporters of Israel, and some just out for the fun of it. Here are some of their pictures and stories.
While there's no conflict with Mother's Day this year, organizers of the April 29 Israel Independence Day Festival at Woodley Park are facing another challenge. The celebration of Israel's 59th year falls on the same day as Big Sunday, a citywide Mitzvah Day, as well as the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA.
Just four years ago, Nextbook got its start as an organization committed to promoting public library programs dedicated to Jewish topics. In short order, the ever-evolving nonprofit has conquered a swath of territory in the contested realm of Jewish arts and ideas, steadily expanding while maintaining its focus on Jewish cultural and intellectual life.
The "goal is to use the entire event, not just a seder" to raise awareness and funds for Darfur, Jewish World Watch Executive Director Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug said.
"Jews are not cultured people," she complains. The other woman disagrees.
"They are cultured," she insists, "they are just different."
Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts takes you to "funkel town." It's Art Garfunkel in concert this evening, singing American tunes from his days with Paul Simon, as well as solo pieces from days since.
Noshing on a bagel while shlepping his groceries, the klutz fell on his tush.
The Liberty Film Festival, now in its third year, aims to present and promote the work of conservative filmmakers who, according to the organizers, are ignored, persecuted and otherwise absent from "Hollywood."
I put Hollywood in quotes because its meaning, as the evening at the Luxe Bel Air Hotel wore on, was elusive.
7 Days in the Arts
Upon entering the museum, visitors will receive a grain of rice, representing themselves. Then, they will walk into a room filled with 300 million grains of rice - one for every person in the United States. The rice will be divided into piles, each one illustrating a statistic, such as the number of people who have walked on the moon or the millions of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island. One grain of rice will stand for one person.
And there it will be, among all the piles: a large mound with 6 million pieces, representing each individual Jewish life lost in the Holocaust.
7 Days in the Arts
More than 80 studio executives, producers, directors, lawyers, agents, distributors and rabbis all enjoyed a Shabbat dinner together in the south of France. For some, Shabbat was a new experience. For others, a weekly ritual. Still for others, it was simply another networking event.
7 Days in the Arts
7 Days in the Arts.
It has long been a cliché that Los Angeles does not respect the culture of the book. It is true that this town famously eviscerated Faulkner and Fitzgerald, that Hollywood suits to this day treat screenwriters the way Henry VIII treated his wives. Yet, it is also true that Los Angeles has spawned unique brands of literature, such as the hard-boiled detective story.
Throughout his life, until his death at 57 in 1951, Szyk always returned to his Jewish themes, from argumentative shtetl figures and paintings of Jewish craftsmen and merchants to Jewish refugees and fighters.
7 Days in the Arts
7 Days in the Arts
As a 9-year-old violinist performing for world-renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, Camilla Tsiperovich was told to call herself Camilla Gadjieva. Her headmaster at the Azerbaijan Conservatory considered this a more suitable name, one that reflected the Muslim heritage of her country. While representing Azerbaijan in international music competitions and spending her first year of high school at the famed Moscow Conservatory, she always understood that "there was something wrong because you were Jewish."
"We need for America to speak out and really do something," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, one of the many high-powered guests in attendance. "Where to start, of course, is in the faith community."
In Israel, no one wants to be a friar -- a sucker, a patsy, a flunky, a tool.
It's the Israeli equivalent of the Chinese never wanting to lose face. And in Israel, this primary motivation explains much of the country's machismo -- and perhaps even its political situation.
It is not only illegal immigrants for whom the Passover tale holds appeal. The story of the Exodus can be easily updated for any of the numerous people in the Third World seeking freedom from oppression.
Not that there's really any question about it, but bang Improv Studio poses it just the same. In the arena of funny, only one religious group can reign supreme, and tonight, bang hosts its biannual showdown of "The Jews vs. The Christians" for the title of Funniest People.
The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival runs April 1-6 at a variety of venues around town. Below are the reviews for two of the films.
Theater with a historical lesson comes to The Other Space at Santa Monica Playhouse, with the guest production of "Black and Bluestein." The dramedy written by Jerry Mayer takes place in early '60s St. Louis, and tells the story of Jewish homeowner Jeff Bluestein and the issues he faces while deliberating whether to sell his home -- in a largely white Jewish neighborhood -- to a black family.
Filmmaker Tiffany Shlain laughs when asked where she gets her finely honed sense of ironic humor. It comes with being Jewish, she explains -- a group whose number constitutes just one-quarter of 1 percent of the human race and thus makes getting along with others paramount.
Saturday, February 4
It’s the year of the gay cowboy, so why not the privileged lesbian? Head to the Geffen Playhouse for the Los Angeles premiere of David Mamet’s, “Boston Marriage,” titled after the Victorian euphemism used to describe a long-term, intimate relationship between two unmarried women. The play about two upper-class women involved thusly is also directed by Mamet and stars Rebecca Pidgeon, Alicia Silverstone and Mary Steenburgen.
Through March 12. $35-$69. 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. (310) 208-5454.
Sunday, February 5
Israeli musician Ehud Banai comes to the Avalon Hollywood. Hear songs from the folk/rock/traditional songwriter’s album, “Answer Me,” which won Best Album of the Year at the 2004 Israeli Music Awards, and other favorites tonight only.
9 p.m. $45. 1735 Vine St., Hollywood. (323) 462-8900. www.groovetickets.com.
At the Sundance wintertime festival, which began Jan. 19 and runs through Jan. 29, Jewish viewers can check out a blizzard of flicks.
The best way to discover Mozart here might be a night at the Vienna Opera. I was lucky enough to attend a performance of "The Magic Flute" during my visit, which was sponsored by Austria Tourism. This was classical Mozart through and through in terms of the music, but the performance was strikingly modern.
Cohen became first an accomplished poet and then, starting with 1967's "Songs of Leonard Cohen" (which contained the oft-recorded "Suzanne") a singer-songwriter. According to Ira Nader's Cohen biography, "Various Positions," Cohen's Judaism has influenced his songs greatly -- "Who By Fire" is based on the melody of a Yom Kippur prayer, "Mi Bamayim, Mi Ba Esh," and "If It Be Your Will" is derived from a "Kol Nidre" phrase.
7 Days in the Arts
Martin Scorsese has famously influenced a whole generation of American filmmakers, from Abel Ferrara and Quentin Tarantino to Rob Weiss and Nick Gomez. But his influence is not limited to filmmakers in this country.
The filmmaker, who is also Jewish, relates to her subjects because she was once obsessed with the scale.
Three Jews are in a room screaming at one another, poking each other in the eyes, hitting each other on the head with objects ranging from frying pans to anvils. It's either a meeting of the synagogue's board of trustees or a Three Stooges film festival. Fortunately, this time, it's the latter, a quick but lethal -- and lethally funny -- display of Stoogehood by the American Cinematheque as part of its year-end festivities from Dec. 28-Dec.30.