Choreographer Leonid Yakobson’s Soviet struggle detailed at USC Conney Conference

Dance · Language & ideas
Our good friend, the Stanford University-based dance historian Janice Ross, has written an important new biography about a seminal choreographer in the Soviet Union whose name does not have much recognition in the U.S. Few outside Russia know of Leonid Yakobson, a contemporary to George Balanchine and the leading modernist — and only Jewish — ...

How did ‘Cuddles’ do it? Revealed at Skirball Center’s “Light and Noir”

As this TCM tribute sets forth, the Budapest-born, jowly S.Z. ‘Cuddles’ Sakall was adorable, hilarious and popular on the set. But did those qualities alone get the character actor prominent play in 46 Hollywood movies? One of many film people to flee Nazi-dominated Europe, arrive on American shores, and wend their way to southern California, ...

Four walls hold haunting memories in “An Apartment in Berlin”

Architecture & Design · Film
“An Apartment in Berlin” feels like just the right movie to see after our Sunday visit to the Skirball Center’s Light and Noir, a highly affecting exhibit which through multimedia recounts the lives of emigres and exiles who fled European anti-Semitism and wended their way to Los Angeles to contribute brilliantly in the film industry. ...

Shtetl soul to rock citywide Laemmle Theatre “Fiddler” screenings 1

Dance · Film
On view here Jerome Robbins’s great “bottle dance” rising in a cloud of soulful Jewish peasant-dust at the wedding ‘banquet’ of Tzeitel and Motel. Apropos this brilliant dance number — for this dance critic the indelible imprint of director Norman Jewison’s surprisingly powerful visual recreation of the Eastern European world of the ‘shtetl’ Jews — ...

Forget your tsuris! Attend Laemmle Theatres’ “Fiddler” sing-a-long. 1

For an “alternative” Christmas Eve, not restricted to the Jewishly oriented but for shower-stall-soloists of every persuasion, we have a suggestion. Try Laemmle Theatres’ sixth annual “anything goes” (and we’re not talking Cole Porter) “Fiddler on the Roof Sing-a-Long.” Belt out your holiday spirit — or your holiday angst — with your fellow meshuggenahs while ...

Anti-Defamation League auction to combat hate with art

Language & ideas · Visual arts
More than forty Los Angeles artists have volunteered time and their best thinking to produce works of art inspired by the Anti-Defamation League’s centennial theme, Imagine a World Without Hate. The powerful art will be exhibited and auctioned at ArtWorks ADL:  Justice, Advocacy & Art on September 17. The ticketed event is open to those ...

Catskills University, educating Jewish comics 2

Film · Language & ideas
Oh pure pleasure to watch these guys — and a few very brave women, Totie Fields and Joan Rivers — spiel, kvetch and kill in WHEN COMEDY WENT TO SCHOOL. A wonderful new documentary opening Friday at Laemmle theaters spools a nostalgic tour of a sweaty swathe of summertime civilization — the erstwhile Borsht Belt, a ...

Celebrating Iran’s Jewish artists: Shulamit Gallery

Visual arts
Two weeks after a bustling opening party launched a new house of art at Venice Beach, we revisited the multi-floored Shulamit Gallery on a grey-skied late-November afternoon. The smart, post-modern shoebox structure wedges neatly into a row of buildings that marks the end of Venice Boulevard. At this location, arguably the western-most point of sprawling ...

“Yidishe Glik” at the Arbeter Ring/Worksmen’s Circle

In “Yidishe Glik”, Shloyme Mikhoels (1890 – 1948), the great Yiddish actor/orator and head of the Moscow Jewish State Theater, is a master of pantomime and “attains the summit of ethnic Jewish dandyism.” (Osip Mandelstam writing in a Leningrad newspaper, 1925 – as quoted in Bridge of Light by J. Hoberman)

Gary Lucas’s “scary magical Jews” terrify in “Der Golem” @ Cinefamily 1

Film · Music · Reviews
Grammy-nominated Gary Lucas, whom Rolling Stone calls “one of the best and most original guitarists in America,” performed his well-traveled and exceedingly harrowing  score to “Der Golem,” the brilliant 1920 silent horror exemplar of German expressionism. The sold-out performance took place earlier this evening at The Cinefamily on Fairfax Avenue — speaking of ghostly Jewish ...