Posted by Dikla Kadosh
However, I was pleasantly surprised and amused at his sharp humor and genuine lyrical skill. The “suburban homeboy” is charming, funny, original and well…smooth. I was humming his Sanjaya diddly for weeks and I don’t even watch American Idol. Check out his latest satire slamming the sleeziest of celebs:
For more Schwartz parodies, tune in to BET’s “Take the Cake” on August 11 at 11 p.m.
To see him live, I recommend the King Davids of Comedy at the Improv in Hollywood on August 9 at 8 p.m. Some of the top Jewish comedians in the country will be entertaining and a portion of the proceeds go to benefit Magen David Adom.
8.18.08 at 2:26 pm | Hollywood producer/talent manager Joan Hyler. . .
8.15.08 at 7:21 pm | Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be. . .
8.14.08 at 6:37 pm | In town to promote her new book, House Speaker. . .
7.18.08 at 3:03 pm | The new Contemporary Jewish Museum in San. . .
6.25.08 at 10:36 am | Jina, our Calendar intern, is heading to an. . .
6.24.08 at 11:18 am | A clandestine love affair at a girls seminary. . .
August 3, 2007 | 3:34 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
It began when I heard Dov Rosenblatt was in town with his band, Fools for April, a dynamic pairing of acoustic and electric guitar. Having just returned from a weekend at Camp Ramah with his other band, “Blue Fringe—the Jewish one,” as he refers to it, he joined family, friends and fans for a Tuesday night gig at the L.A. dive, The Mint.
I threw on some pearls and drove down to Pico-Robertson to catch Dov’s act. The dark, intimate club with tables hovering around the stage and horseshoe booths lining the walls evoked the atmosphere of something you’d find in a back alley of downtown Manhattan. I sat down and watched Dov, who was sporting workman’s pants and a camel-colored beret, tune his strings. He sang sweet songs with his honey voice, pure and delicate, while his bandmate “C” Lanzbom ripped out aching riffs on the electric. For a Tuesday night, I was content to listen and go home.
But then something happened—a young woman with stringy red hair and bangs covering her eyes walked upon the stage. She sang back-up during a few of Dov’s songs and although she respectfully refrained from overpowering him, her presence was captivating. She crooned softly, contorting her face with fervid expression: pouty lips, squinting eyelids and a jaw that seemed elastic. Her name, he said, is Deena Goodman and they grew up together in New Jersey. Intrigued by the interplay of this duo, I stayed.
During a short intermission between acts, a crowd poured in. Not a seat was spared nor a space uninhabited. The energy revved up like the blaring speakers. With a full band behind her (and Dov on guitar) Deena unleashed the full force of her vocal coloratura—and folks, this gal makes Aretha Franklin sound timid. Her voice is this explosive, sultry sensation and her Joplin-styled performance is the perfect complement.
After the show, I caught up with the two of them. Introducing myself from the Jewish Journal, Deena exclaimed, “I’m Jewish!”
But there’s more to her story than that.
I learned that she graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Did she study musical theater? “Yes, but I don’t like to talk about that.” Why not? “Because I’m a rock star now!”
She is indeed; but she also possesses a harrowing tale that almost derailed her dreams.
In a few minutes, I’ll meet with Dov (pronounced with a long “o”) and Deena to get the dish on being young Jewish “rocker” friends from New York and why they love Los Angeles. Stay tuned for more on this wickedly talented team…
August 2, 2007 | 5:36 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
As the Israeli indie rock group, âFeel Aboutâ continued their U.S. trip to perform in Long Beach at The Blue CafÃ© on Wednesday night, I was truly impressed to see such dedication to music. Traveling all the way from Israel, just to play music…this was beautiful. See, I too made quite an extreme journey for the showâ¦all the way from Brentwood, a rather grueling voyage considering a portion of the 710 freeway was under construction.
Upon arriving, 30 minutes fashionably too late, I was thrilled to pay the $7 cover charge that most likely went to the bandâs drinks for the eveningâ¦tzedakah, right?
But who cares. I was at an Israeli rock concert, ready to meet some fine Israeli girls, and they were most likely ready to meet meâ¦wrong. Through no fault of the band, the attendance was sub-parâ¦definitely âless than minyan status.â But who could have predicted that a Wednesday night rock concert in Long Beach would draw such a modest crowd (insert sarcasm here)?
Despite a limited ability to mingle, I was still excited to be there and engage in Israeli cultureâ¦I love Israelis.
Having unfortunately missed the blurb about the band in last weekâs Jewish Journal, I naively expected the lyrics of this Israeli band to be solely in Hebrew. Much to my surprise, however, English was the only language projecting from the amps. As I tried to understand the idea of an English-singing Israeli band, I listened to lead singer Roni Weinstockâs stunning vocals while the rest of “Feel About” jammed along. She truly has talent.
Roni, a rising star, has even been nominated for Best Female Vocalist for the Los Angeles Music Awards taking place this fall.
Did I mention I love Israelis?
From what I can remember of my 20 minutes at the bar, âFeel Aboutâ was enthused, pumped, and totally excited to be in the U.S. It was just really nice to be able to watch such a talented group of Israelis pursuing their dream. I was so ecstatic, I almost broke out in prayer. But then I remembered, there werenât enough of us for a minyan.
Photo courtesy of Yohay Elam.
August 1, 2007 | 1:14 pm
Posted by Dikla Kadosh
All the ingredients for a fabulous fest were there:
- An incredible venue: The Lot, formerly the Warner Hollywood Studio, is steeped in movie history and located on still up-and-coming Santa Monica Blvd. in WestHo. The sheer size of the outdoor grounds allowed for endless creative potential.
- A big-name performer: The Violent Femmes, recognizable though clearly past their prime, headlined the evening. Their biggest hit is the rock classic and karaoke favorite “Blister in the Sun,” which still had everyone crouching and whispering…then jumping and screaming.
- Great press: Los Angeles magazine confidently declared it one of the “top ten coolest things to do in July” and LA Weekly selected the fundraiser as a “pick of the week.”
- Super attendance: The Justice Ball website promised over 3,000 attendees and from the looks of it, I wouldn’t argue with that number. The crowd was unquestionably large and decidedly lovely. Women were dressed in chic summer dresses and men (mostly) in sharp dress shirts.
So what was missing from this large, colorful salad?
Those tiny finishing touches that make all the difference between mediocre and magnificent. Here are some things that could have made the party even more palatable:
- Friendly and attentive volunteers. More than a few seemed flustered by the lack of organization and therefore were just focused on doing the minimum to keep things operating, instead of concentrating on making guests feel welcomed and appreciated.
- Extended VIP benefits past 9:30 p.m. Free drinks and munchies were passed around early in the evening for those who could get it together before the sun set, but after that, there was no apparent advantage to having paid an extra $75.
- Food options for Jews and vegetarians. The Italian sausage and chicken quesadillas seemed strangely incongruent with the Jewish L.A. scene.
- Cheaper drinks. $9 for a small mixed drink?
- Better lighting and more creative decorations (I can’t recall if there were any at all) to bring the entire venue together. Dark walkways and deserted areas made the party seem disjointed and uneven.
- Enviable swag bags. And enough of them. They ran out before the party had even ended. I have to admit, I was very excited to see what would be in the VIP gift bags. My mom called me Sunday morning to find out what was in the bag. They’re legendary for being the cherry on top. Here is what was in the Justice Ball swag bag (you decide whether it’s worth writing home about):
1) A can of Lost Five-o energy juice
2) Two packets of Alterna Ten moisturizer
3) Wonka Bottle Caps
4) A can of Izze sparkling juice
5) A gift certificate for a haircut at Lance Christopher Salon
6) $50 gift certificate to Petit Tresor children’s furniture store
7) A CozmoCard with discounts to shops, restaurants and spas (not sure which ones)
8) A deck of Cozmo Cards with discounts to restaurants
9) A free ticket to Pros in the City’s summer mixer
10) 10% off discount card to Tarina Tarantino
11) A Damien Rice CD
12) A DVD of Batman Beyond
13) A bag of peanuts
14) The Jewish Journal (yes, we are a proud sponsor)
15) A Sees Candy butterscotch pop
16) Lawdragon magazine
In the end, it was a nice event. I had a good time and I’m sure most other people did too. And of course, most importantly, tons of money was raised for an excellent charity. I ate the proverbial salad and left satiated, but if I had to pay for it with a journalist’s salary, I would have to think twice before ordering that dish again. Since I generally prefer to donate something more precious than money - my time - maybe next year I’ll volunteer to prepare the salad.
July 30, 2007 | 3:16 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Emma Forrest read her pretty prose to a small crowd surrounded by books; her cadence flushed with a crisp English accent, her voice so soft it alluded to the vulnerability of a woman with a secret.
As her book proves, she isn’t alone in her reservoir of hidden passions, and that is precisely the point. Many women save the contents of their interior selves for semi-strangers they know they can trust—the other women who, by nourishing their exterior, penetrate the core—as Emma says, “the intimate strangers who work with the surface and get to the depths.” These women are the aestheticians of a woman’s world: therapists, hairstylists, manicurists, facialists and most notably, bikini waxers. In her editorial debut “Damage Control,” a collection of essays, women reveal that the relationships cultivated during beauty maintenance are as important as beauty itself.
As a preface to her reading at Book Soup, Emma wrote on her website:
‘Damage Control’ is my first go as editor and also at publishing non-fiction. People magazine just called the book “provocative,” so I promise to wear either red shoes or red lipstick.
She wore red lipstick, and a purple sun-dress loosely hugging her curves. She looked as provocative as the piece she read, a story of heartbreak driving her into the arms of a Manhattan tattoo artist. She needed to talk. She needed to be touched. She never knew a needle could feel so delicate…
The book itself is a kind of confession, a substitute receptacle in which women spill their guts. Francesca Lia Block told the audience the reading would be difficult for her because her story was so personal. In it, she revealed a deep shame over her appearance and the botched plastic surgeries that worsened her self-concept.
It is in those moments of pain, when a woman is messy underneath, that she craves a little ‘lift,’ a touch of color, or a new ‘do. When her appearance improves, her emotions follow suit. Or do they?
And what is wounding all these women? The pressure? The knives and needles? The cruel lovers and neglecting fathers? Whatever it is, the idea of “beauty,” of being attractive and ageless, has become a mechanism through which women confront (and project) their innermost demons.
An anonymous makeup artist who works at a strip club wrote, “Sometimes, the only peace in a woman’s day is the twenty-minutes when she’s getting her toes done or her fingernails done. The only time she has when someone else is completely focusing on her. One of those rare opportunities when someone’s looking her in the eyes and seeing what she needs.”
So, what do we need? A wax or a pluck—or a new approach to healing our hurt.
July 27, 2007 | 11:10 am
Posted by Dikla Kadosh
My 18-year-old sister, Shirel, recently returned from a Birthright trip and joined 7,500 alumni in the greater Los Angeles area. The all expense paid group excursion to the Holy Land, though widely shared, is still highly personal and for many, intensely spiritual. Here, in her own words, is Shirel’s experience:
Three days back from Israel and it already seems like forever. Today is uneventful and slow, at least compared to the last 10 days of the birthright trip I went on. I was so hesitant to go at first. I was scared that I wouldnât make friends or that it would be too hard away from home, my parents, and my boyfriend, but half an hour into the trip (at the airport) I knew that it couldnât possibly turn out to be a mistake. The vast majority of people were from Orange County, allowing them to share the same colleges, lifestyle and acquaintances, and I sometimes felt a little bit like an outsider being from Los Angeles. But being with 40 people for 10 days, it was impossible not to end up all mingling and having fun together. I walked out with four or five good friends that I hope to stay in touch with for a really long time.
The days were jam-packed with amazing things to do. We saw everything from the Golan Heights to the ancient city of Tzefat. Kayaking in the Jordan River was incredible and refreshing. Any chance we got to cool down from Israelâs summer heat, we did. We all took a dip. We visited independence hall, walked around Jaffa and got to explore the flea market independently. This was one of the best moments. For once I got to feel integrated with Israelis. I felt like I was on my own bargaining and living the lifestyle like everyone else, not feeling like a tourist.
We were joined by eight Israeli soldiers our age that traveled with us for a few days. We got to learn how they live and the cultural differences between Americans and Israelis. We floated in the Dead Sea, climbed Masada and slept in a Bedouin tent. At night things continued to heat up. We went to bars and night clubs. We drank, partied, created a stronger bond with each other and snapped away with our digital cameras. Once the sun rose we were back on the bus traveling to Jerusalem and getting ready for Shabbat services.
By far the best thing about this trip was finally seeing the Kotel (the western wall). At first I thought it would just be fun like everything else on the trip. We would go, I would put a note in the wall, touch it and snap a few photos. I was wrong. Of course, I did all that, but it wasnât like everything else on the trip. For me it was the most beautiful thing ever. The moment I touched the wall tears streamed down my face. I still canât explain why or what it was but it was just a feeling of someone being there with me. It was the closest I ever felt to God.
Being a group of 18-25-year-olds, sometimes it was hard not to feel like we were on MTVâs The Real World, but then again who wouldn’t want to be on that show? Itâs insanely difficult not to have a wonderful time on this trip. I not only had fun with people my age, and ate amazing food, but I also connected with Israel and Judaism more than ever. I got to see what we fought for, how important a land of our own is and how beautiful Israel truly is.
July 26, 2007 | 5:49 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Turns out, our adulated editor-in-chief may have a thing or two to say about dating after all. In an excerpt from this week’s editorial about Jewish philanthropy at the Playboy Mansion, Rob notes what he thinks comprises a cute Jewish bunny:
After I left, I was told, Hef came down to the courts for a moment, accompanied by two fully clothed aspiring models/actresses. But there were plenty of attractive women if, like me, you find smart, successful and charitable middle-aged Jewish women totally hot.
For most Jewish gals, smart and successful does not an attractive appearance make. Hence, a little self-charity begs stylists, beauticians and yoga instructors to ensure women get noticed for wisdom and not wrinkles. It’s called “Damage Control” and it’s happening tonight—a reading reveals beauty secrets and boils—at Book Soup.
July 26, 2007 | 2:41 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
On Tuesday night, I peeled myself away from a satisfying read of Daniel Mendelsohn’s “The Lost” to satiate my appetite for community connection on a holiday. Though appropriate material for erev Tisha B’Av, a tinge of curiosity as to what JConnectLA and Birthright had in store prompted me to drag myself out of Bolechow, Ukraine to attend “A Time to Cry” at the Museum of Tolerance.
After navigating the winding pathways of a museum under construction, I found my way into a small, dark theater and plopped into a seat as the film began. While Kevin Costner narrated, I scanned the room, checking out the (hip) crowd and counting heads. Twenty-three…twenty-four…twenty-five, as the ingression of a few grungy looking youngsters tip-toed in even later than myself. A mere twenty-five? Blogger Luke Ford reported attending along with a crowd of 200. Wouldn’t I have noticed an exodus of 175 people? To clarify the discrepancy, I emailed JConnectLA’s program director Michal. Her records reflect a count of 150. Math was never my strong suit but something here doesn’t add up. (***NOTE: Apparently, my tardiness precluded me from knowing or even noticing that there was another theatre, quite full, and I was in the overflow room.)
Truth be told, I was less bothered by the thin turnout than the documentary “Ever Again.” The Museum’s own Moriah Films presented a disturbing collection of anti-Semitic incidents and propaganda currently consuming Europe. The more than two-hour documentary depicted an apocalyptic message for the Jews: lots of people in Europe hate us and daily plot our demise.
I drove home downtrodden. Was I upset because I had to listen to my “Dances With Wolves” hero document distaste for my people and for me? Or was it more unsettling to consider the effect of such a repetitious recounting in propagating the hatred the Museum of Tolerance is trying to suppress?
Regardless, from “The Lost” to the ludicrous, this Tisha B’Av made me realize that no matter who seeks our destruction, no matter what is lost from the physical world, we retain our memory—even if it’s only twenty-five Jews remembering together.