There are many ways to celebrate Israel's 60th anniversary, and the Skirball Cultural Center is leading with its strength by offering a series of wide-ranging programs of art shows, music, film and lectures.
"It's All True" (Simon & Schuster, 2004) by David Freeman offers us a portrait of an outsized Hollywood, so unbelievable that it must be dead on. It is, more precisely, a novel, lovingly unfolded about the movie business: How it works and how its players -- adults spoiled by too much money and power -- act out their lives. "Oh me-oh, my-oh," as Henry Wearie would say.
Wearie is the novel's hero. He is actually a fictitious character, a screenwriter trying to hustle a script idea into a movie deal, but in a voice that sounds eerily like that of Freeman, who himself is a screenwriter. In its way, this book serves as a more knowing successor to Freeman's earlier work, "A Hollywood Education," published 18 years ago, after the author had moved to Los Angeles from New York.
Pearl Gluck sought her Chasidic forbears in "Divan"; Nathaniel Kahn pursued his estranged father in "My Architect," and now Lindsay Crystal unearths family stories in "My Uncle Berns," a quirky portrait of her wildly eccentric great-uncle.
For the 26-year-old director -- and daughter of Billy Crystal -- the subject isn't surprising.
Jill Poyourow's preoccupation with portraits began amid the savory smell of soup in her grandmother's kitchen. There hung an intriguing photograph of her grandma's grandfather, who had cared for her from infancy after her own mother abandoned her to come to America. The 1910 picture revealed a devout-looking man with a long, flowing white beard, seated with his right hand resting on an open book. In the shadows, Poyourow could barely make out his worn shoes.
Some of you may have caught last week's New Yorker (May 25) with journalist David Remnick's profile of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. If not, I urge you to call the magazine's offices in New York and order a back copy, or simply visit your local library.