Some brides look for the hottest new places for their wedding ceremonies and receptions. Others are interested in staging their nuptials at L.A. mainstays. There are places, however, that offer the best of both worlds — locations that are definitively part of the local DNA, yet have undergone renovations or added new spaces that make them modern and more relevant than ever for today’s brides.
One day in early March 1954, Uri Herscher, just 12 at the time, ran away from his parents. His father, Joseph, a cabinetmaker, and mother, Lucy, a laundress, were having trouble making ends meet living in Israel. Together with Uri and his younger brother, Eli, they were meant to leave from Haifa the next morning to travel to the United States. There, the family would find a new home in San Jose, Calif., a thriving middle-class community with very few Jews, where Joseph’s sister had already set down roots.
The Skirball Cultural Center, which stands at the crest of Sepulveda and Mulholland just west of the 405 Freeway, was built on a dump. Literally. Who knew? Before the Skirball acquired the land, it was a garbage dump.
Daniel Rolnik bills himself as “The World’s Most Adorable Art Critic,” and if you speak to him for even a minute, it’s easy to see why. Animated, passionate, whimsical and delightfully upbeat, Rolnik, 24, has made it his mission to introduce people to new and exciting artists, and more recently, to Judaism as well.
There’s an old saying that goes something like this: We spend the first half of our lives running away from home and the rest trying to get back. Consider Homer, way back in ancient Greece, who defined our notion of a life’s odyssey as a journey that begins and ends at home.
This Passover, to take your first steps toward an L.A. Exodus — fulfilling the haggadah’s edict that each person must see themselves as if they were leaving Egypt — you must first make it up to the Sepulveda Pass.
When 89-year-old Max Stodel arrived for a Feb. 17 program at the Skirball Cultural Center marking the run-up to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s (USHMM) 20th anniversary in April, he didn’t come alone.
It started with the morning paper. Every day, when Joe Sherwood read the news, he was struck by an imbalance he saw in law-enforcement reporting.
Abraham Lincoln has been dead for almost 150 years, yet suddenly he’s everywhere. At the Skirball Cultural Center, you can see an original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Lincoln, amid an impressive array of founding American documents.
Nothing says more about the unsettled state of American publishing than the fact that Jonathan Adler is the only author who will be presenting a book event at the Skirball Cultural Center during Jewish Book Month.
Home movies have long played an important role in the lives of American Jews. Backyard barbecues, baby namings, bar mitzvahs — few are the events that haven’t been captured on film by the Jewish parent or grandparent.
It takes a little effort to find the exhibition “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” at the Skirball Cultural Center. You have to bypass three alluring gift shops and a bunch of other special exhibitions as well as close your ears to the children laughing in “Noah’s Ark” to get to a quiet gallery at the back of the museum, where a display of photos and wall texts will punch you in the stomach, then fill you with hope.
SoCal Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Inducts 2011 Class
Milken Community High School and Stephen S. Wise Temple are severing ties, both institutions announced on Friday, March 25.
“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.
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.
Passionately devoted to the resurgence of Jewish life in Poland, entertainer Theodore Bikel, accompanied by Tamara Brooks, performed an hour-long private concert of Yiddish, English and Hebrew songs to benefit the nonprofit Friends of Jewish Renewal in Poland.
Just beyond the new Noah's Ark installation at the Skirball Cultural Center, where Asian elephants and Boringo giraffes tower, a lushly landscaped courtyard has been designed as a rainbow arbor. Rising from a base of rocks, Kahn's rainbow is a curved metal form that wraps around a walkway, spraying droplets of mist that coalesce to form a rainbow. It is the marriage of a museum exhibit and a symbolic natural oasis, recalling both the benevolent and destructive elements of nature and symbolizing God's promise to Noah not to flood the earth again.
Zimmerman's installation is one of three works from the Skirball's permanent collection on view in the exhibition "Artful Dwellings: Sukkot at the Skirball." The other two are by artists Sam Erenberg and Therman Statom.
"We used to develop and perform material after Shabbat dinner in our parents' house," recalls Erran Baron Cohen.
To 8-year-old Ezra, the pre-opening event at the new Noah's Ark at the Skirball Cultural Center is a novel and memorable play experience, with all the sorts of things kids love -- noisy cranks and pulleys to operate, to play with and to discover. While fun is high on the list of goals for the fanciful and compelling world of Noah's Ark, opening to the public on June 26, curators believe a couple hours aboard the ark can also help kids and the grownups they bring learn about the importance of collaboration and the effect your actions can have on your world -- all with the underlying epic theme of how to weather a storm and find safe harbor.
How the Nuremberg Laws came to California in the possession of Gen. George S. Patton, who left them to reside first at the Huntington Museum and Library in Pasadena and now at the Skirball, is a story explored in the recently released book, "Bloodlines: Recovering Hitler's Nuremberg Laws From Patton's Trophy to Public Memorial" by Anthony M. Platt and Cecilia E. O'Leary" (Paradigm).
Where can a family go in Los Angeles -- with toddler, tweener and grandparent in tow -- to whip up a huge storm, repair leaks, build nests, feed animals, climb ropes and resolve to improve the world, all while being inspired by artistry both grand and fanciful? Beginning June 26, they will be able to visit "Noah's Ark," the Skirball Cultural Center's $5 million, five-years-in-the-making, new addition to its galleries.
Picks and Clicks
Singer and performer Mike Burstyn -- known internationally for his roles on stage, in films and on television -- stars in the 40th-anniversary celebration of the groundbreaking works of Yiddish theater, "The Megillah of Itzak Manger" 's premiere in Israel.
The Skirball Cultural Center has chosen to focus on Italian Jewry as the theme for its upcoming "Hanukkah Family Festival," a series of performances, workshops, exhibits and other activities on Sunday, Dec. 10.
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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."
In 1956's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," a mannequin-like figure mysteriously appears on a billiards table, a half-formed thing without hair, face or fingerprints. Meanwhile, a woman insists that her uncle isn't her uncle, but an imposter who looks just like him; husbands say the same of their wives and children of their parents.
To most people, "Jewish music" is something familiar: the
"Avinu Malkeinu" they hear every Rosh Hashana, a Yiddish lullaby or the theme
from "Schindler's List."
Naked women covered in ... tallitot and tefillin? The black-and-white photographs in "Shekhina" (Umbrage Editions, $39.95) a new book by Leonard Nimoy -- a.k.a. "Star Trek's" Mr. Spock -- have ignited a debate in the Jewish community over art and censorship.
Alan Rosenberg and Marg Helgenberger know playwright A.R. Gurney is perhaps the quintessential chronicler of WASP American life. So why are the Jewish actor and his lapsed Catholic TV-star wife performing Gurney's "Love Letters" June 9 at the Skirball Cultural Center to benefit West L.A. congregation Adat Shalom?
"It's a bit odd," says the willowy Helgenberger, 43, who's on the CBS smash hit "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
"But theater is the purview of Jews more than any other group," pipes up Rosenberg ("The Guardian"). "So the play wouldn't have been successful if Jews hadn't gone to see it."
Shut your eyes. Go on. Now think of Eden. Chances are the image forming in your mind includes a full-frontal Adam and Eve, fig leaves, apple and coiled serpent. Staple icons of the culture? Not in the new interpretation of the "Six Days of Creation" by artist Margaret Handwerker. The tree and plenty of symbolism are there, but Handwerker's fresh take reminds us why this story survives the ages.
The medium itself is unusual. "The Six Days of Creation" is a tapestry, five feet wide and 16 feet long. The result of a commission to the artist by the Skirball Cultural Center, here is an ancient medium, an ancient story, but a distinctly contemporary sensibility.
In a compelling collection of 19th and 20th century images and objects, the Skirball Cultural Center's new exhibit of photographs, lithographs and archaeological artifacts tells the story of Israel as, literally, a "holy land" -- a place that has long held fascination for the three monotheistic faiths, academics and Western tourists hoping to discover the exotic world of the East.
When 20 artists with developmental disabilities began talking about the idea of home and community, they never expected to land their first major exhibition. But the Skirball Cultural Center is now featuring their work in an exhibit called "In Search of Home."
When the Skirball Cultural Center opened in April 1996, its founding president and CEO, Rabbi Uri D. Herscher, didn't buy the philosophy "If you build it, they will come."
As you walk through the "Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture" exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center, a scratchy BBC recording of Freud speaking in heavily accented English wafts through the space like an unintelligible message from the unconscious. It is only when you stand directly in front of the speaker at the end of the exhibition that his words become clear: "I discovered some new and important facts of the unconscious in psychic life. ... I had to pay heavily for this bit of good luck. ... Resistance was strong and unrelenting ... the struggle is not yet over."
The Freud exhibit opens at the Skirball Cultural Center Tues., April 4, and it has set my mind racing; free associating, if you will.
Edward James Olmos wants to connect. Give him a large multi-ethnic crowd -- as was on hand Sunday at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles -- and he'll split himself into pieces finding common links.
Who would have thought, muses Dr. Uri D. Herscher, that the Skirball Cultural Center would reach such prominence in so short a time.
Three days before its festive rededication ceremony (see story on page 10), the Skirball Cultural Center received some unrequested publicity when it hosted actor Charlton Heston for an evening of poetry and Shakespearean readings.
The Skirball Cultural Center will dedicate its expanded and redesigned galleries on Sunday (Dec. 5) during an all-day Chanukah family festival.
Artist Tobi Kahn is obsessed with memories of the Holocaust. His abstract landscapes depict recollections of a haunted time and place he never experienced. Simple shapes conjure rivers and roads that snake through still valleys, serene at first glance, disturbing upon reflection. Mountain peaks thrust from brooding waters, in a palette of muted browns, golds and blues. Almost always, the paintings are devoid of people. "Sky and water always stay the same," Kahn says, "no matter how well- or ill-behaved we are."
I despise 'Schindler's List' because it ends on a redemptive note, and I don't see the slightest bit of redemption in the Shoah...There's all this nonsense out there about healing, but I don't want to heal anything. I want to rip open the stitches. I want readers to bleed."
Don't get author Melvin Jules Bukiet started about the cliché of the sad-eyed Holocaust survivor.
At noon on Sunday the Passover Posse will tromp through the lobby of the Skirball Cultural Center.
As a rule, you don't go to museums to eat. Unless you're like me -- someone who, when push comes to shove, prefers great food to great art. I make no apologies: The last time I visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I ate a tasteless, watery and expensive fruit salad in the cafe there. That I remember. What exhibit I was there to see I've long forgotten. It had something to do with famous dead artists.
Therman Statom, one of this country's pre-eminent experimental glass artists, was perched atop a ladder beside his precarious-looking installation at the Skirball Cultural Center.
There is, of course, the thriving Skirball Cultural Center in theSepulveda Pass. And the American Jewish Committee's SkirballInstitute on American Values. And the Skirball ArchaeologicalBuilding and Skirball Museum on the Hebrew Union College campus inJerusalem. And the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at NewYork University.
There is also the Skirball Film Archive Fund at UCLA.
Sephardic, Ashkenazic, Mizrachic, or just out for a good time -- whatever their background, Jews poured into the Skirball Cultural Center last Sunday for the first annual Sephardic Arts Festival. The event was a success beyond its organizers' wildest dreams. Attendance, estimated at more than 4,000, was more than double the anticipated turnout, making it the largest audience for any one-day event since the Skirball opened in April 1996. Despite long lines for shuttle buses and food, the mood of participants -- a mix of generations and ethnicities -- was festive and good-humored. Many people bumped into relatives and friends -- often literally -- while searching for seats, program notes or restrooms.