‘Opera Man’ Adam Sandler hits high note with Hollywood star

Adam Sandler was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Sandler brought his two daughters, ages 2 and 4, to Tuesday’s ceremony in front of the W Hollywood Hotel. His is the 2,431st star awarded on the walk.

The girls stole the show, taking the microphone from their father several times during his acceptance speech to say “I love my daddy.”

“Let’s hear it for my kids, who are now showing you that I cannot control them,” Sandler joked.

Actor Henry Winkler spoke on Sandler’s behalf, telling the crowd that the location of Sandler’s star is “bashert,” Hebrew for meant to be, since it is located directly across the street from his own.

Sandler, who gained fame on “Saturday Night Live,” has starred in such films as “Big Daddy,” “The Wedding Singer” and “50 First Dates.” His new film, “Just Go With it,” in which he stars with Jennifer Aniston, opens later this month.

Also a singer—among his notable tunes is “The Chanukah Song”—he has released five albums.

Annie Leibovitz, Ed Asner, Shelly Berman, Lainie Kazan and Elliot Gould


Jack and Robin Firestone, an average American Jewish couple, were vacationing in Paris in 1997. Then tragedy struck — right before their eyes, a car carrying Princess Diana fatally crashed in a Paris tunnel. The Firestones have since written a book, “Chasing Diana,” about their tumultuous experience and their role in the ensuing investigation. “You never want to believe it was anything more than an accident, but the more we saw, we could not help believe that there’s something deeper here,” Robin said. “The inquest, the verdict, the book; it’s all closure for us. Now we’ll just let the reader decide.” Sat. 7 p.m. Free. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 659-3110. ” target=”_blank”>http://www.belairfilmfestival.com.

You can lend a hand in the fight against cancer by playing a hand at the eighth annual Visions Israel Cancer Research Fund’s Monte Carlo Night. Dressed in chic evening attire, you can dance, bid on auction goodies, roll the dice in craps, take a chance on roulette and don your poker face in Texas Hold’em while feeling good that your money is going to the best hospitals, universities and cancer research institutions in Israel. Visions, the ambitious “next generation” of charitable organizations, will honor Rachael Tanenbaum and Benjamin Sternberg with its “Visionary of the Year Awards.” Sat. 8 p.m. $80 (before Nov. 14 at noon), $95 (thereafter). Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 651-1200. ” target=”_blank”>http://www.westsidejcc.org.


Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews are a minority within a minority. The largely understudied cultures of Jews from Iraq, Syria, Georgia, Iran, Morocco and other Arab countries are the focus of an academic-minded conference, “Integrating Sephardi and Mizrachi Studies, Research and Practice,” co-sponsored by Hebrew ” target=”_blank”>http://www.huc.edu/sephardic/conference.

Going Metro is becoming all the rage in our eternally traffic-jammed city. Even ATID is hopping on the bandwagon with its Outdoors Metro Rail Art Tour — a sightseeing trip that takes you below ground to view the eclectic artwork in and around the Metro Rail system in Los Angeles. Knowledgeable guides will point out the works, tell you about the artists and provide insight into the communities they beautify. The tour, beginning at the Union Station Metro stop, will also provide a chance to try out the city’s burgeoning public transportation system — it ain’t New York, but it’s a start! Sun. 10:45 a.m. Free (members), $8 (guests). Metro Station at Historic Union Station, 900 Alameda St., Los Angeles. ” target=”_blank”>http://www.aabgu.org.

The West Coast Jewish Theatre invites you to “An Evening of Stars!” The benefit show, starring Jewish theater favorites Ed Asner, Shelley Berman, Hal Linden and others, will enable the organization to continue producing quality theater that presents Jewish themes, traditions and ideas. Famous former host of “Let’s Make a Deal,” Monty Hall, will be the master of ceremonies at this grand evening of entertainment. Sun. 6:30 p.m. $150-$225. American Jewish University, Gindi Auditorium, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. (323) 650-6973. ” border = 0 vspace = ‘8’ hspace = ‘8’ align = ‘left’>relationship with the courageous German businessman who saved the lives of hundreds of Jews, at “Little Leyson — The Youngest Schindler’s List Survivor Tells His Story.” Mon. 8 p.m. $15-$20. Hyatt Westlake Plaza Hotel, 880 S. Westlake Blvd., Westlake Village. (818) 991-0991. ” target=”_blank”>http://www.skirball.org.


Painting and poetry meld together beautifully in Marcia Falk’s new exhibition, “Inner East: Illuminated Poetry and Blessings.” Falk, author of “The Song of Songs: Love Lyrics from the Bible” and “The Book of Blessings: New Jewish ” target=”_blank”>http://www.uclahillel.org.


“M*A*S*H” and “Ocean’s Eleven” star Elliot Gould will be honored at the Laugh Factory during a special night for Hillel 818. The comedy-filled evening will feature Elon Gold, Bret Ernst and The Skylar Brothers. Proceeds from the event will help support Hillel programs at Cal State Northridge, and Pierce and Valley colleges. Thu. 7 p.m. (VIP reception) 8 p.m. (show) $10-$25; $75 (VIP). The Laugh Factory, 8001 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (818) 887-5901 or (818) 886-5101. ” target=”_blank”>http://www.jmcla.org.

What can the Jewish community expect from our next president? Congregation Ner Tamid of South Bay will host Jonathan Adelman, a professor at University of Denver’s Joseph Korbel School of International Studies and author of “The Rise of Israel: A History of a Revolutionary State,” for a special Shabbat service that will address this and many other questions. Adelman will speak on “What Does Our New President Mean for Israel and the Middle East?” If you’re not already impressed with Adelman’s credentials, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice can vouch for him: She was his former doctoral student. Fri. 6:15 p.m. Free. Congregation Ner Tamid, 5721 Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes. (310) 377-6986.

Calendar Girls Picks and Clicks July 26-August 1 — Rothman, Pressman live



First there was the mischievous musical duo of Miriam and Shoshana, who rocked YouTube and the Jewish community with their (un)orthodox rhymes. Now there’s the real-life Jewish musicians Chana Rothman and Stephanie Pressman, who offer Jewish soul instead of Jewish satire and inspire audience participation, not ” target=”_blank”>http://www.myspace.com/chanarothman; ” target=”_blank”>http://templebethdavid.org.


Set in the tumultuous time of World War II, “Lost in Yonkers” manages to capture the ideals of that moment in history — the importance of family, love and survival — infused with humor. Called Neil Simon’s best play, “Yonkers” is a coming-of-age story within a dysfunctional family, focused on two young boys left by their father to live with their grandmother and aunt following the death of their mother. Sat. 8 p.m. Through Aug. 28. $20-$22. Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 364-0535. ” target=”_blank”>https://www.plays411.net.



Beverly Hills, Beethoven and Mozart are on the menu at this sizzlin’ summer soiree, where three virtuoso musicians will pluck their strings for ” target=”_blank”>http://www.americancinematheque.com.


The Jewish Outdoor Adventures crew can help get you off the couch today. Enjoy breathtaking views as you and your fellow nature buffs conquer the seven-mile hike on Mount Islip — the San Gabriel Mountains’ pride and joy. Get out of your pajamas, turn off those summer reality TV shows that have been piling up on your Tivo and get some fresh air! Sun. 10:10 a.m. Pacific Crest Trail. Various carpools are available; call for more information. (310) 926-1344. JewishOutdoor@yahoo.com. Sam@jewishventuracounty.org.



Allow yourself to be dazzled as six painters, who also happen to have been friends since the ’80s, come together to showcase their talent in “Personal Views.” Although they are all graduates of the Art Center in Pasadena, no two artists’ works are the same; they range from expressionism to cityscape, realism to iconic art. Curator and participating artist Pnina Ben Daniel described the work as “seductive and professional.” At the Finegood Gallery. Tue. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (Mon.-Thu.), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Fri.), 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sun.). Through Aug. 10. Free. Bernard Milken Community Center, Finegood Art Gallery, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills. (818) 464-3218.



Political, provocative and controversial, Russian-born artist Roman Genn was dubbed “the attack dog that [William F.] Buckley unleashed upon humanity” by the New York Review of Books. The political cartoonist and contributing editor to ” target=”_blank”>http://www.alpertjcc.org.



You can never hear too many Jewish jokes, can you? Here’s a good one: What do you call steaks ordered by 10 Jews? A filet minyan. Get it? Well, get more when ATID’s young Jew-pros head to the “Kosher Comedy” fest at the Laugh Factory. The monthly series features some of Los Angeles’s best-known Jewish comedians who want to prove that their schtick don’t stink. If they don’t get you grinnin’ from ear to ear, there are always Woody Allen flicks at Blockbuster. Thu. 7 p.m. (VIP reception), 8 p.m. (show). $20, plus two-drink minimum. Laugh Factory, 8001 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 656-1336 ext. 1. info@chaicenter.org.

Arts in L.A. Calendar June — August


Thu., June 12
“The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company.” The ragtag band of tech-geeks who created such enormously successful hits as “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo” and “Ratatouille” are dissected and discussed in David A. Price’s book about the high-minded company and its rags-to-riches success in filmmaking. At his appearance, Price will share behind-the-scenes stories about the animation studio dreamed up during a power lunch. 7:30 p.m. Free. Barnes and Noble, 1201 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica. (310) 260-9110. http://www.bn.com.

Sat., June 14
Beastly Ball at the Los Angeles Zoo. Monkeys and hippos and tigers, oh my! The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) is, for the 38th year in a row, throwing its annual animal-filled shebang in support of the educational and conservation of endangered animal programs subsidized and run by the Los Angeles Zoo. No small get-together, GLAZA’s event is expected to be one of the hottest parties of the year, including special tours of the zoo, high-end catering, various forms of live musical entertainment and a silent auction with phenomenal items. Ever wonder what really happens in the jungle at night? Here is your chance to find out! 6 p.m. $1,000. Los Angeles Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles. (323) 644-4708. http://lazoo.org/calendar.

Sat., June 14
Toy Theatre Festival at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Devoted to giving all genres of stimulating art a place to shine, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is hosting a festival recognizing the talents of numerous international toy puppeteers. A delightful treat for both adults and children, Toy Theatre is a production that encompasses two-dimensional rod puppets in mini-theatres that date back to the early 19th century. Adaptations of such classics as “Alice in Wonderland” are only a few of the many enthralling performances that will be taking place over the course of this two-day event. 10 a.m-6 p.m. Through June 15. Free. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 972-8500. http://www.musiccenter.org.

Mon., June 16
Silverdocs: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival. With documentaries becoming some of the most talked-about films on the silver screen today, the Silverdocs festival is one of the hottest film fests in town. This year’s opening-night film, “All Together Now,” follows the powerful panoply of creative talent that makes up the Cirque du Soleil production of “Love” at the Mirage in Las Vegas. The closing-night film, “Theater of War,” also takes a look at the behind-the-scenes creation of a different theatrical production — The Public Theater’s 2006 performance of Bertolt Brecht’s anti-war play “Mother Courage and Her Children” starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. Sandwiched between these two films are many other screen-worthy documentaries. Through June 23. $10 (general admission). For a full listing of films, visit http://www.silverdocs.com.

Tue., June 17
“The Body Has a Mind of Its Own.” Mother-and-son science writing duo, Sandra and Matt Blakeslee, will explore how the brain connects with your body parts, movements, space, actions and emotions of others during the ALOUD Science Series on Seeing and Being. Find out how the brain directly links to your body’s health and susceptibility to disease. Engage in conversation with science writer and author Margaret Wertheim on how your mind knows where your body ends and the outside world begins. Tue. 7 p.m. Free. Mark Taper Auditorium at Los Angeles Central Library, 630 W. Fifth St., Los Angeles. (310) 657-5511. http://www.lfla.org/aloud.

Wed., June 25
“Zocalo at the Skirball: The Oracle in the Gut.” New York Times science writer Carl Zimmer will discuss surprising and fascinating research that makes E. coli more than just a deadly bacteria in fast food. The Skirball hosts the popular Los Angeles cultural forum, Zocalo, in this discussion of how the Escherichia coli microbe has had a significant role in the history of biology and continues to advance the search for life-saving medicine, clean fuel and a greater understanding of our own genetic makeup. The lecture, subtitled “E. Coli and the Meaning of Life,” is part of a quarterly Zocalo at the Skirball series of engaging expert-led talks on some of today’s most pressing subjects. 7:30 p.m. Free. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P. strongly recommended. (213) 403-0416. http://www.zocalola.org.

Fri., June 27
“American Tales.” Mark Twain and Herman Melville, two of the most notable writers in American history, will be brought to life in a musical performance, “American Tales,” directed by Thor Steingraber. Los Angeles’ Classical Theater Ensemble, the Antaeus Company, is kicking off this year’s eight-week ClassicFest with “The Loves of Alonzo Fitz Clarence and Rosannah Ethelton,” an adaptation of Twain’s comic look at the telephone — one of the world’s most valuable inventions. Meeting by chance through crossed telephone lines, Alonzo from Maine and Rosannah from California develop an instant love connection. Playing off broken and mended connections, “American Tales” brings in Melville’s tragic story, “Bartleby the Scrivener.” Catch the play’s world premiere along with workshops and readings of classic plays featured throughout the festival. 8 p.m. Fri. and Sat. Through August 17. $25. Deaf West Theatre, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. (818) 762-2773. http://www.deafwest.org.

Sat., June 28
“Cover Version.” This innovative exhibition is the result of a challenge New York-based artist Timothy Hull posed to 20 other artists from around the country: design the cover of your favorite book. Turning the aphorism “Don’t judge a book by its cover” on its ear, this clever analysis demonstrates quite the opposite — that a book’s cover is actually indicative of its emotional and intellectual resonance and becomes something of a cultural icon. In the same vein as musicians reinterpreting canonical songs by “covering” them, these artists reify and re-imagine the cultural import of such classics as “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf, “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville and “The Book of Mormon,” among others. 6 -9 p.m. (opening reception), 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (Tue.-Sat.). Through Aug. 10. Free. Taylor De Cordoba, 2660 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 559-9156. http://www.taylordecordoba.com.

Sat., June 28
Heidi Duckler Collage Dance Theatre: “A Guide to an Exhibitionist.” Triple-billed as a gallery opening, live performance and party, Duckler’s latest site-specific work explores nudity, still-life and the colors framing the space in a performance that ponders the relationship between artist, audience and the physical space in which these three elements intimately collide. 7 p.m. (performances every 30 minutes until 9 p.m.) $25 (includes wine and cheese reception). Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. (818) 784-8669. http://www.collagedancetheatre.org.

Celebrating Israel’s 60th, Skirball Style

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.

Two current shows pay tribute to the nation’s distaff side: “Ziva Sivan: Painting Is Her Home” and “Israeli Women: A Portrait in Photographs.”

The Sivan exhibition marks the first public showing of her paintings, drawings and sculptures in the United States, but she is relatively unknown even in her native country, though she was born in Jerusalem, rarely left the city and died there.

By her own choice, Sivan remained a nonpublic figure whose house was her studio. She rarely allowed a showing of her works and discouraged potential buyers.

Judging by the 33 works selected for the current exhibition by curator Barbara C. Gilbert, who also edited the handsome catalogue, Sivan’s expressive, colorful and large-sized paintings on canvas and cardboard varied in style during a 30-year career from naturalism to abstract and back to realistic.

Throughout, Sivan’s predominant subject was the female nude, to the point that her often Rubenesque models became part of her extended family.

Her smaller-sized bronze sculptures are again mostly female, with the exception of a particularly expressive figure of a seated old man.

Sivan lived from 1936 to 2004, during the last decade finding some relief from the pain of a malignant cancer through her art, which complemented, but did not overshadow, her domestic life.

As art historian Dalia Manor quotes Sivan, “I see myself, first and foremost, as a family woman. The home and the family are the most important things to me. The art — which is my more public persona — that’s very important for me spiritually, but still, my first priority is my family.”

In light of these sentiments, it was fitting that at last week’s opening of the exhibit, which closes June 30, Skirball president Uri Herscher introduced, as honored guests, Sivan’s husband, Uzi; son, Ehud, and daughter, Noa.

The companion photo exhibit of Israeli women represents an instant time warp, with tanned kibbutzniks plucking oranges in 1948 and their uniformed sisters somewhat unheroically bringing tea to male officers.

But, as the decades pass, there is also a suitably gowned Miss Israel 2000 and hip young Tel Avivians frolicking at the beach.

In between the two eras are some exceptional portraits by Moshe Milner of immigrant women from Yemen and Algeria, as well as contributions by Hollywood’s own Roman Freulich and from documentary filmmaker Zion Ozeri.

A total of 63 images by 18 photographers make up the display, which runs through Aug. 10.

Other upcoming Israel at 60 events include the multicultural Esta musical ensemble, which will perform May 15, and theater artist Sara Felder, starring in the play “Out of Sight” on May 21 and 23.

For additional information, call (310) 440-4500.

Ziva Sivan, Musicians, 1988.Acrylic on canvas.Photo by Oded Antman

David’s the singer, he’s the rapper

Oded Turgeman, director of the new short film “Song of David,” doesn’t do things the easy way.

As a burgeoning film director, he applied to Jerusalem’s most prestigious film school, with a commander in a combat unit as his only prior life experience. Then he moved to America to attend the American Film Institute — the first Orthodox Jew ever to enroll there — and, because of his Sabbath observance, had to shoot and produce each of his four thesis films in two days, not the usual three.

And when the deadline for AFI’s short-film contest was two weeks away — this was the night before Passover 2006 — and most applicants had worked on their proposals for months, Turgeman was struck with inspiration for the film that would, nearly two years later, become “Song of David.”

“It was accepted by the committee,” Turgeman said, laughing. “It was an impossible thing, but they accepted it.”

He secured a shooting location in Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon near Hancock Park and a star in the rapper Niz (real name: Nosson Zand), who flew to Los Angeles to meet Turgeman. Despite his lack of experience (truly: Zand had never acted before), Turgeman was immediately convinced he was the right Chasid for the part. For Niz, a ba’al teshuvah who had been Orthodox for only a few years, landing the role of David was a coup.

“I tell people that David is a yeshiva bocher who wants to be a rapper, whereas I am a rapper who wants to be a yeshiva bocher,” he said.

As for the film itself, it would be tempting to describe “Song of David” as a straight-up Orthodox hip-hop movie, if such a thing existed. The truth is, it’s much more complicated. The film is a study of its titular character’s struggle: the struggle to be a good Jew and a good artist.

From the start, the movie dwells firmly in iconic imagery. The opening credits fade from black into the striking blue water of a ritual bath, with a man in his early 20s dunking himself beneath the water. From there, the film places Niz in terse, bleak scenes, light on words and heavy with intended meaning, of David being scorned by other yeshiva students, of him standing on the yeshiva rooftop and writing verses.

The paradigm of David’s character — a Chasidic Jew who can find solace only in hip-hop music — is hardly a unique occurrence in today’s real-life Chasidic world, where professional masters of ceremonies like Y-Love and Matisyahu use music as a way of both self-expression and proselytization, and bands that sound like MTV clones play to packed auditoriums of single-sex audiences.

But the clash of hip-hop and Chasidic cultures is still such a striking study in oppositions, especially to non-Orthodox audiences, that the film is almost forced to traffic in these stark, hard-hitting images in order to get through to the audience: the black-and-white clothes, the bearded face nodding in time to rhymes, the traditional wordless niggun hummed over vocal beatboxing. (The film’s soundtrack features Ta-Shma, a hip-hop duo based in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights who contribute both original songs and music from their 2006 album, “Come Listen.”)

To shoot the film, Turgeman had to wait nearly a full year, until Passover 2007 — the only time that the yeshiva was out of session.

“The catering alone was a nightmare,” Turgeman recalled. “Even though 95 percent of the crew was not Jewish, all the food had to be Kehila kosher. And it was a week before Passover. It was really tough. But we withstood it.”

In order to meet with the yeshiva’s demands, all the women on the set had to wear skirts, and married women, even non-Jewish ones, were asked to cover their hair. But those restrictions were easy compared with the ones imposed by the film’s star. After becoming Orthodox and going through the yeshiva system himself, Niz was wary of getting involved in any sort of film, especially one in which he’s first seen underwater and shirtless inside a ritual bath. To film that scene, all female crewmembers were asked to leave the room, including the cinematographer.

“The [bath] shot was one of the more questionable moments that I encountered,” Niz said, although “eventually, the scene gained the approval of a local rabbi whom I both trust and respect.”

With production completed, Turgeman is now taking the film on a festival tour. In March, “David” had its L.A. premiere, as well as a screening at the prestigious AFI Dallas International Film Festival, one of the preliminary screenings that leads to Oscar qualification. Turgeman and his screenwriter are working on a full-length adaptation.

In the meantime, though, Niz is back to his first love, hip-hop. “I don’t know if I’d act in another film,” he said. “I believe as a Jew that many things in this world can be used for both good and bad. I viewed this movie as an opportunity to spiritually elevate the film industry.”

This article originally appeared in The Forward (www.forward.com) and is reprinted with permission.

Spring Calendar

Trailer for the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival, May 8


Sun., March 9
Barrage in “High Strung.” The young, hip cast of Barrage, a contemporary string ensemble, will dish out high-energy virtuosity in their newest show. The international cast features six violinists/vocalists, a drummer, a bass player and a guitarist who will present an amalgam of music, song and dance with a diverse fusion of cultures and musical styles. Join in on the spine-tingling fiddle-fest. 2 p.m. $35 (adults), $20 (17 and under), $10 (Pepperdine students). Pepperdine University Smothers Theatre, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. (310) 506-4522. http://www.barrage.org.

Tue., March 11
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The renowned dance company, founded by a giant of American dance, comes to Orange County for a program that incorporates gospel, jazz and popular music, modern dance and ballet. Highlights will include Ailey’s masterpiece “Revelations,” which has been performed on hundreds of stages around the world and has been received with awe and delight since its debut in 1960. As an added bonus, ticket holders are invited to a free performance preview with a member of the Ailey company, one hour before the show. 7:30 p.m. Through March 16. $25-$85. Orange County Performing Arts Center, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. (714) 556-2787. http://www.ocpac.org.

“Lessons From Bernard Rudofsky.” In a day and age where body image is the craze, an exhibition of the work of late Austrian-born Bernard Rudofsky will display innovative concepts of the body and fashion in an exhibit presented by the Getty Center Research Institute. Rudofsky, an architect, designer and critic, believed that people in Western society lost their spontaneity to design liberating, not restricting, clothing. Devoting his life to exposing the West to foreign architecture paradigms and unfamiliar customs, this breakthrough artist wrote nine books and more than 100 articles on the subject. View Rudofsky’s work accompanied by a 296-page catalogue with contributions from several talented artists. Tue.-Sun. Through June 8. $8 (parking). The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 440-7300. http://www.getty.edu/.

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” It’s difficult to separate the dashing Johnny Depp from Sweeney Todd’s character, after having seen the recent film. Although Depp won’t be on stage at this show, you can still have an up-close-and-personal look at the eerie character in an exciting theatrical performance based on the 19th-century legend of a London barber driven to madness after a judge takes his wife and child away. Sweeney Todd, played by David Hess, plots his revenge with Mrs. Lovett, played by Judy Kaye, who conjures up surprisingly tasty meat pies infused with a secret ingredient. Adapted from a book by Hugh Wheeler, the production’s music and lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim with musical orchestrations by Sarah Travis. 8 p.m. Through April 6. $30-$90. Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. For tickets and additional show times, call (213) 628-2772. http://www.centertheatregroup.org.

Fri., March 14
“Beaufort.” The Israeli war film “Beaufort” stirred up scads of excitement this year with its Best Foreign Language Oscar nomination. Although the film didn’t win, it won many people’s hearts. Based on a novel by Ron Leshem, “Beaufort” was directed by Joseph Cedar and recreates the events prior to the Israeli troop withdrawal from the Beaufort military base in Southern Lebanon. Led by 22-year-old commander Liraz Liberti, played by Oshri Cohen, the small Israeli cohort of troops become weary of their mission when fellow soldiers are killed and injured. The film takes an in-depth look at the fear and drudgery of soldiers’ daily routines and examines the country’s ambivalence toward the 18-year presence in Lebanon. Playing in two locations: Laemmle’s Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; and Laemmle’s Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino. For tickets and show times, call (310) 274-6869 or (818) 981-9811. http://www.laemmle.com/index.php.

Tori Spelling at Barnes and Noble. Admit it, you have a tinge of curiosity about how Aaron Spelling’s daughter is prolonging her 15 minutes of fame. Since playing Donna Martin on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” the high-school soap-drama that started it all, Spelling has appeared on various reality TV series, wed and borne children and endured a public tussle with her mother over her alleged exclusion from her late father’s estate. Now, Tori Spelling is telling the story like it is with her new memoir, “sTORI Telling,” and today she’ll appear to sign books you can place alongside old “90210” posters. Just don’t expect her to talk about her “poor little rich girl” reputation. 7:30 p.m. Book purchase required for signing. Barnes and Noble at The Grove, 189 Grove Drive, Los Angeles. (323) 525-0366. http://www.bn.com.

“Strauss Meets Frankenstein” at the Long Beach Opera. In a dramatic and different double-bill, actor Michael York will perform Tennyson’s epic poem “Enoch Arden,” about the love and loss that ensues when three friends find themselves romantically entwined. The heartbreak of destiny is deepened by Richard Strauss’ rich, evocative score. The performance changes tone when the audience enters the wild, macabre underworld of Frankenstein where rodents, vampires, werewolves, John Wayne and Superman coalesce in a real monster of a musical. 8 p.m. Also March 15 and 16. $45-$95. Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Center Theatre, 300 E. Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach. (562) 432-5934. http://www.longbeachopera.org.

Pasadena ArtWeekend. During a fun-filled weekend featuring more than 20 exhibitions, performances and cultural activities, Pasadena will host a comprehensive celebration of fine arts, visual arts, poetry, spoken word, music, storytelling and theater. Several cultural institutions will open their doors for “ArtNight,” offering a free peek at their collections. “ArtTalk” features a variety of performances, and the weekend is rounded off with “ArtMarket,” a design open market focusing on the work of students, faculty and alumni from Art Center College of Design and Pasadena City College, which will be available for sale. Sponsored by the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs with the Arts & Culture Commission. ArtWeekend will take place at various venues and times over the course of three days, and all events are free and open to the public. For more information, call (800) 307-7977 or visit http://www.pasadenaartweekend.com.

Gypsy Kings at Cerritos Center. Starting on the shores of the French Cote d’Azur, the Gypsy Kings fused South American rumba with fiery Spanish flamenco and their colorful blend of rhythms, leading to international success and recognition on the World Music scene. Tonight they “cast their spell” for a Southern California audience. 8 p.m. $45-$100. (562) 467-8818.

Calendar Girls picks and kicks for March 8 -15


” target=”_blank”>http://www.kcdancers.org. Tickets also available through Steimatsky (818) 205-1650.

Israeli Rachel Levy and Palestinian Ayat al-Akhras had a lot in common. The teens, with similar dark hair and dark complexions, went to the same grocery store on March 29, 2002. But the similarities — and their lives — ended there. Levy, 17, was a victim of a suicide bombing, and Al-Akhras, 18, was the terrorist who carried out the attack. “To Die in Jerusalem” by Israeli filmmaker Hilla Medalia explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through these young women and their families’ struggle to cope with the aftermath of their deaths. This screening, sponsored by the Temple Ahavat Shalom Judaism Beyond Our Boundaries committee. 8 p.m. $10 (temple members), $15 (general). TAS, 18200 Rinaldi Place, Northridge. (818) 360-2258. ” target=”_blank”>http://www.stagela.com.

Purim is right around the corner, so don’t forget to buy your tickets to “Purim on the Strip” at The Roxy Theatre, a citywide gathering sponsored by ATID, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ Young Leadership Division and other Jewish groups. Shake your groggers and your tushes while sipping cocktails and nibbling on hors d’oeurves and desserts. Please bring school supplies for the Gramercy Place Homeless Shelter. 8 p.m. $36 (online), $54 (at the door). The Roxy Theatre, 9009 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 481-3244. info@atidla.com.

Treat yourself to a double scoop of Jerry’s — one sweet and one tangy. For nine weeks, two of Jerry Mayer’s staged works will appear at The Other Space at the Santa Monica Playhouse. After writing and producing for hit TV comedies like “All in the Family” and “The Facts of Life,” Mayer turned to the stage. In “Black & Bluestein,” an African American family in 1963 St. Louis wants to buy a home in a Jewish neighborhood, while “Dietrich & Chevalier — the Musical” recounts the true romance of the Hollywood stars torn apart by World War II but later reunited. “Black & Bluestein” plays Saturdays starting March 8. “Dietrich & Chevalier” plays Sundays starting March 9. Through May 4. $25. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica. (800) 838-3006. ” border = 0 vspace = ‘8’ hspace = ‘8’ align = ‘left’ alt=”pick gif”>Author and Jewish Journal columnist Gina Nahai possesses an important voice in the Iranian American community, and her experience as an Iranian Jew colors her novels with poignant social and political undertones. This immigrant experience is one facet of L.A. Jewry that the Autry Museum wants to represent in their upcoming exhibit on Los Angeles’ populous and diverse Jewish community. Nahai will discuss “Creativity, Los Angeles and Its Persian Jewish Community” with Journal editor-in-chief Rob Eshman and sign copies of her newest book, “Caspian Rain.” 2 p.m. Free with advance reservation. Autry National Center, Heritage Court, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles. (323) 667-2000 or egreenberg@autrynationalcenter.org. ” target=”_blank”>http://www.duttonsbrentwood.com.

If you’re ready to satisfy that deep craving to dig into your family’s history and discover long-buried details about that great-grandmother who was a Maori Jew from New Zealand, then you need to learn the twists and turns of navigating Internet resources. In a one-day seminar, “It’s Online! Internet Sleuthing for the Family Genealogist,” Pamela Weisberger of the Jewish Genealogical Society of L.A. will reveal the secrets of sifting through online archives, periodicals and record databases. Guest presenters will explain how to access and use prison records, national archives and historical documents to aid you in your search. 1:30-5:30 p.m. $15-$25. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (877) 722-4849.

Calendar Girls picks and kicks for March 1 – 7


” target=”_top”>http://www.theoldglobe.org.

You don’t have to leave Southern California to gamble tonight. Women of Reform Judaism and the Brotherhood of Temple Beth Torah are sponsoring a wild Vegas-style soiree to rival parties on The Strip. Temple Beth Torah Casino Night is a good reason to lose money for a good cause: Anything the house wins through roulette, blackjack and craps goes to support the activities of the synagogue. If you’re feeling extra generous, they’re soliciting the help of volunteers to run the tables, deal cards, bartend and decorate the venue. The bonus is everybody wins when you buy a ticket. 6:30 p.m. $36. Temple Beth Torah, 7620 Foothill Road, Ventura. (805) 647-4181. ” target=”_top”>http://www.jewliciousfestival.com.

Rock out with Persian Jewish Singles, dancing the night away with vivacious disc jockey Ariel Rashti serving up the hottest club hits. Take advantage of the decadent wine and martini bar and nibble on kosher hors d’oeuvres while mingling with Jewish professionals ages 20 to 40. Who knows what new face might grab your attention or what familiar face will suddenly hold romantic appeal! 8 p.m.- 1 a.m. Free. Samueli Jewish Campus, 1 Federation Way, Irvine. (949) 435-3484. ” border = 0 vspace = ‘8’ alt=”Matthew Boger, Tim Zaal”>
” target=”_top”>http://museumoftolerance.com

Why let the holidays melt away when you can bring them back to life with joyous songs in “Around the Year in Song and Story: A Musical Tour of the Jewish Calendar.” Join Benny Friedman in concert, sponsored by the Chabad of Conejo, as he revives the musical wonder of holidays like Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah and Passover. Rabbi Moshe D. Bryski will narrate the classical tunes while recounting sacred holiday stories and insights. 7-10 p.m. $18-$25 (general), $180 (concert sponsor, includes recognition in concert program and VIP seating). JCC at Milken, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills. (818) 991-0991. ” target=”_top”>http://www.bnaihayim.org.

In his film “House of the Generals,” Dan Spigel traces the plight of one family and their struggle to survive against a historical backdrop that claimed the lives of 10 million Jewish Ukrainians. Through revolution, love and war, Spigel’s film bridges the dictatorships of Stalin and Hitler from the Russian Revolution to World War II and the Holocaust, illuminating the tremendous loss of life that permeated the first half of the 20th century. Following the screening, audience members are invited to stay for a special Q-and-A with the filmmaker. 7 p.m. $5. The Workmen’s Circle, 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 552-2007. ” vspace = ‘8’ alt=”Doron Kornbluth”>
” target=”_top”>http://www.jewishacademy.com


Redheaded Andrea Sabesin never quite fit in. Growing up, she was the only Jewish student at an Episcopal school, the only non-Orthodox student at a Hebrew day school and one of the only white students at a mostly black school. Exploring this theme of identity, the actress/writer is back in “Girl, Your Hair’s On Fire! Season 2,” a follow-up to her previous well-received one-woman show. Sharing personal anecdotes and insights, Sabesin uses wit and physical comedy (sans the clich�(c)d kvetchy tone) to cover topics such as her Southern Jewish family, being single, and her many stints as a wedding singer. 8 p.m. Through March 11. $15. Acme Comedy Theatre, 135 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 822-1146.

Think you know ‘The Jazz Singer’? You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!

On Oct. 6, 1927, audiences attending the premiere of “The Jazz Singer” at New York’s Warner Theatre witnessed a revolution that gave voice to a medium that had lived in silence since its birth, more than 30 years before. With his double-barrel delivery of the improvised line, “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You ain’t heard nothin’ yet. Wait a minute, I tell ya. You ain’t heard nothin’!” Al Jolson fired the ad-lib heard around the world, signifying the death of the silent era and the birth of the “talkies.”

It’s been 80 years, and now the American Cinematheque is celebrating the anniversary with a three-day tribute to Jolson that includes a screening of a new digitally restored print of “The Jazz Singer,” screening Oct. 5 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. In addition, Warner Bros. plans to release a special three-disc DVD set including the restored film plus several of the first shorts produced by Vitaphone, Warner’s pioneer sound division.

“The Jazz Singer” tells the story of Jakie Rabinowitz, a cantor’s son who rejects his father’s wishes to follow family tradition and serve in the synagogue, pursuing instead a career in show business as a jazz singer. The music-based story afforded Warners the opportunity to produce a feature film using the sound-on-disc Vitaphone process they had recently licensed from Bell Telephone. Up to that point, Vitaphone had been used only experimentally on short subjects.

The Warners predicted, correctly, that “The Jazz Singer” would be “without a doubt, the biggest stride since the birth of the industry.” But the film’s importance may not rest solely on the fact that it was the first sound film. It was also the first film to boldly address the assimilation of immigrant Jews into American culture.

“It is basically a showbiz story, but in back of it is the big question of assimilation and, of course, the conflict of the generations,” Herbert Goldman, author of the book “Jolson: The Legend Comes to Life,” said in an interview. Goldman, who will be a guest panelist at the Cinematheque event adds, “There was a special appeal to the Jewish people, but the national audience was not Jewish, and yet it went over with them too. When you think about it, it’s amazing that for the first talking picture Warner Bros. chose a theme that was so overtly Jewish for a national audience.”

It may not be so amazing, considering the parallel between Jakie Rabinowitz and the Warners themselves. Like Jakie, the Warner brothers left home to enter show business, and like so many of the other Jewish studio moguls, they assimilated themselves into secular American culture. In his book “An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood,” author Neal Gabler points out ‘”The Jazz Singer’ did something that was extremely rare in Hollywood; it provided an extraordinary revealing window on the dilemmas of the Hollywood Jews generally, and the Warners specifically.”

“The Jazz Singer” began as a short story called “The Day of Atonement,” published in Everybody’s Magazine in 1922. The author was Samson Raphaelson, who would go on to become a top writer in Hollywood, known for witty and sophisticated screenplays, many of which were directed by the legendary Ernst Lubitsch. Jolson, already a popular entertainer, read the story and was drawn to it because he felt the story’s conflict between an aging cantor and his “Americanized” son who yearned to be in show business mirrored his own life.

Jolson brought the story to DW Griffith, who rejected it because he felt it was too racial. The other studios in town passed for the same reason. Apparently, Raphaelson was unaware of Jolson’s efforts. When Jolson met the writer at a nightclub, he told him he wanted to turn the story into a musical revue. Raphaelson dismissed the idea and instead adapted his story into a straight dramatic play. Ironically, Raphaelson had been inspired to write his story after seeing Jolson perform in “Robinson Crusoe, Jr.” in 1917 at the University of Illinois, while the young author was a student there. Raphaelson recalled, “I shall never forget the first five minutes of Jolson — his velocity, the amazing fluidity with which he shifted from tremendous absorption in his audience to a tremendous absorption in his song … when he finished I turned to the girl beside me, dazed with memories of my childhood on the East Side … my God, this isn’t a jazz singer, this is a cantor!”

The original title of Raphaelson’s play was “Prayboy” but it was changed to “The Jazz Singer” before its Broadway opening on Sept. 14, 1925. The star of the show was vaudeville comedian George Jessel. Reviews of the show were lukewarm, and it got off to a slow start. But since the audiences were 90 percent Jewish, it picked up momentum around the High Holy Days and ran for 38 weeks, closing only because Jessel had signed a contract with Warner Bros. The day before closing, Warner Bros. purchased the rights for $50,000, presumably with the intention of having Jessel reprise his stage role. According to Jessel, in Neal Gabler’s book “An Empire of Their Own,” Harry Warner thought, “It would be a good picture to make for the sake of racial tolerance, if nothing else.”

The story of why Jessel was replaced by Jolson is a film history “Rashomon.” One version is that Jessel’s contract with Warner was for silent films, but when Jessel discovered it was going to be a Vitaphone production, he demanded $10,000 extra. Jessel would later claim the reason he did not do the film was not over money differences, but because he objected to the revised ending. In the play, the son abandons the stage and becomes cantor of his father’s synagogue, but in the film, he remains an entertainer. Jessel demanded they keep the original ending, but Jack Warner refused. Another version is that Jessel was upset over the casting of two non-Jews, Warner Oland and Eugenie Besserer, as Jakie’s parents. According to Neal Gabler in his book, “Jessel was probably too Jewish for the kind of assimilation story that Jack and Sam Warner wanted to make. To them ‘The Jazz Singer’ was more of a personal dramatization of their own family conflicts than a plea for racial tolerance, and they would want to cast a Jew that was as assimilated as they were.” Losing the film role plagued Jessel for the rest of his life.

The opening of “The Jazz Singer” lived up to the film’s tag line “Warner Brothers’ Supreme Triumph!” According to The New York Times, it received “The biggest ovation in a theater since the introduction of Vitaphone.” Variety called the film “Undoubtedly the best thing Vitaphone ever put on the screen.” But Miles Kreuger, president of The Institute of the American Musical, attributes the film’s success solely to its star: “It was Al Jolson, even more than the film itself, or even the content of the film that made it an international success. Just the fact that the whole world, which had heard Jolson on phonograph records, could finally see him in a movie, that is the key to the success of ‘The Jazz Singer.'”

Low down on the high rise

Low Down on High Rises

Songwriter Hal David hosted a cocktail reception to celebrate the L.A. launch of “High Rise Low Down” by Denise LeFrak Calicchio, Eunice David and Kathryn Livingston at the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel.

The book gives an inside look at the secrets of New York’s fancy schmanciest high-rise apartments names names and dishes the scoop about inhabitants who have been allowed in and others who’ve received a thumbs down (among them, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Joan Crawford, Mike Wallace, Barbra Streisand and Richard Nixon).

Some of the insider knowledge came from LeFrak Calicchio of the Manhattan real estate LeFrak family, and Eunice David, wife of Academy Award-winning songwriter Hal David. Of course there are devious dealings and scandalous battles galore. Livingston added historical details, architectural references and personal accounts.

Enjoying the nibbles and schmoozing were celebs Sally Kellerman, former Governor Gray and Sharon Davis, Michelle Lee, Steven Bochco and Marilynn and Monty Hall.

Better With Age

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra kicked off its 70th anniversary in December with a 12-concert festival in Israel, and concluded its 70th anniversary celebration with two performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Feb. 5 and 6.

On Feb. 5, conductor Zubin Mehta led the orchestra in Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht and Berlioz’s Sinfonie Fantastique. On Feb. 6, marking his debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Lorin Maazel took the helm with Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and Italian Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture/Fantasy and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe, second suite.

The concerts were sponsored by the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Ilene and Stanley Gold and Helgard and Irwin Field, Journal board chair, co-chaired the gala dinner following the event at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Feb. 5.

Seen happily enjoying the strains of Beethoven were Sherry Lansing, William Friedkin, Frank McCourt, Margo and Irwin Winkler and Sonia and George Segal.

Jews and Christians United

The Rev. Jim Tolle, senior pastor of The Church on the Way in Van Nuys; Shimon Erem, founder and president of Israel Christian Nexus (ICN); and Rabbi Isaac Jeret of Congregation Ner Tamid in the South Bay were among those who spoke before a group of members and supporters of ICN at Nessah Synagogue Feb. 7.

Jeret had just returned from a visit to Israel and Bethlehem, where he was the first rabbi to address a Palestinian Christian church.

“If you want to know what the world will look like in the future, look at Bethlehem and other places Christians are being forced to vacate by Muslims,” he said. “Our greatest challenge in the 21st century is the plight of the Christians in Muslim lands.”

Tolle told the group that his father inspired his commitment to Israel and the Jewish people: “When I was a child, my father read me the passage in Genesis when God tells Abraham, ‘I will bless those who bless you.’ I have spent my life loving the Jewish people.”

Erem reiterated ICN’s belief that the work of Christian Zionists is vital to the survival of Israel. Broaching the subject of Iran, Erem received applause as he repeated what he’d told government officials at the White House during a recent visit.

“No glove of diplomacy, unless it’s filled with the fist of power, can ever be meaningful,” he said.

Honor for Nature

The Jewish community received a warm reception at the 22nd annual Santa Barbara Film Festival during its 10-day run from Jan. 25 to Feb 4.

A highlight of the festival was the presentation of the Sir David Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking to director Davis Guggenheim and Al Gore for their Academy Award-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Before receiving the award from director James Cameron, Guggenheim and Gore participated in a Q-and-A with cinematographer Mike deGruy.

They discussed the filmmaking process; the world’s recognition of global warming; and their fathers, director Charles Guggenheim and former Sen. Al Gore, Sr., who had worked together on a campaign documentary in the 1960s.

The festival also featured documentaries about Shoah survivors, most of which were were followed by Q-and-As with the filmmakers and survivors.

Dan Katzir’s “Yiddish Theater: A Love Story,” about New York’s Lower East Side Yiddish theater world, portrays the late Zypora Spaisman and her colleagues as they attempted to keep their company alive during the eight days of Chanukah in 2000.

Jon Kean’s “Swimming in Aushwitz” tells the stories of six survivors — Eva Beckmann, Rena Drexler, Renee Firestone, Erika Jacobi, Lili Majzner and Linda Sherman — who didn’t know each other while at Auschwitz-Birkenau, but come together years later to discuss family, faith and the camp.

The film “Henry” documents Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a Canadian abortionist, Holocaust survivor, womanizer and crusader as he reflects on his life and actions.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara and UCSB presented “Video Portraits of Survival: Volume Two,” which contains stories of Santa Barbara survivors and refugees of the Shoah.

— Sara Bakhshian, Contributing Writer

Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad; ‘West Bank Story’ screening

Saturday the 3rd

Naughty Jewish girls need love, too. Show it to ’em this weekend. “Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad” returns to Los Angeles for three nights at Tangiers. The variety show features comedy, music, spoken word and burlesque, with a healthy helping of kitsch. Klezmer Juice also performs.

March 2-4, 8 p.m. $15. Tangiers Restaurant, 2138 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 666-8666.

Sunday the 4th

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Wondering where to see those short films you’d never heard of before your Oscar pool? The Very Short Movies Festival presents a perfect opportunity. March 8-11, the festival takes over the Egyptian Theater, where it will screen comedy, drama, documentary, animated and experimental shorts, including “The Tribe,” and Oscar-winner “West Bank Story.”

$8-$10 (tickets), $12-$15 (festival packages). 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (866) 376-9047. Oscar 2007: A good year for the Jews!

Crooners celebrate Canuckia’s Cohen and a first for our very own Greenberg

Saturday the 24th

A Leonard Cohen love fest takes place at Royce Hall this evening. The enigmatic genius poet/songwriter is paid tribute in an event titled “The Gospel According to Leonard Cohen,” which is presented by Perla Batalla, a vocalist with whom he has frequently worked. While surprise guests are promised, confirmed performers include Jackson Browne, Michael McDonald, Howard Tate, Bill Gable, Bill Frisell and Don Was.

8 p.m. $17-$52. UCLA Royce Hall, Westwood. (310) 825-2101. ‘ target=’_blank’>www.sundancechannel.com.

Tuesday the 27th

Despite what we feel is a terrible title, “Melanoma My Love” may be worth your attention. The interesting premise of this Israeli film is a tragic tale about a young dancer who is diagnosed with melanoma at age 30, and given only three months to live. Not wanting to shatter her spirit with such precious time left, her husband chooses to hide the prognosis from her. The film screens — with a conversation with star Sharon Zukerman to follow — at UC Irvine tonight, and Pomona College tomorrow.

Feb. 27, UC Irvine.

Feb. 28, Pomona College International Theater, Pomona.
‘ target=’_blank’>www.graymattersmovie.com.

Thursday the 1st

Local author T Cooper signs her new acclaimed novel, “Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes” at Malibu’s Diesel bookstore on Wednesday, and Skylight Books today. To quote Publisher’s Weekly’s assessment of her latest, “[Cooper] takes apart the usual Jewish heritage tale and the themes of assimilation, touching them with postmodern parody and Chagallesque folk magic.”

Feb. 28, 7 p.m., Diesel, A Bookstore, 3890 Cross Creek Road, Malibu. (310) 456-9961.

March 1, 7:30 p.m. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 660-1175.

Friday the 2nd

A Shabbat service with vocal resonance awaits at the Wilshire Theatre, this evening. The 50-voice Tabernacle Gospel Choir led by Justin White joins the Tova Marcos Singers of Temple of the Arts in an interfaith, intercultural “Shared Heritage of Freedom” service. They will be led by Rabbi David Baron and Bishop Charles Blake of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ.

8 p.m. Wilshire Theatre Beverly Hills, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (323) 658-9100. IFF: Engaging in disengagement — five horrible days in Gaza

Gershwin is resurrected but Miller’s ‘Salesman’ dies again; Theater gets ‘Bent;’ Eshman and Barak Q

Saturday the 20th

The unlikely worlds of “General Hospital” and “24” converge tonight, with the opening of 68 Cent Crew Theatre Company’s production of the Martin Sherman play “Bent.” Actors Tyler Christopher (of the aforementioned soap) and Jamison Jones (of the aforementioned terrorism TV drama) play Max and Horst in this Holocaust piece about two homosexuals held prisoner in a concentration camp, who fall in love despite never being able to touch one another.

Jan. 19-March 4. $25. Theatre 68, 5419 Sunset Blvd., Suite D, Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (323) 960-7827. ‘ target=’_blank’>www.tix.com.

Monday the 22nd

If you haven’t yet seen the new genocide documentary, “Screamers,” or even if you have, tonight’s an opportunity to view the film, as well as hear from those involved in its making. Focusing on modern day genocides from Armenia to Darfur, it screens tonight at Valley Beth Shalom. Rabbi Ed Feinstein leads a post-film discussion with Armenian community leaders and rock band System of a Down, who produced and lent their music to the film.

7 p.m. Free. 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 788-6000. ‘ target=’_blank’>festival.sundance.org.

Wednesday the 24th

Artist Sharon Ben-Tal lays it on thick in her new exhibition at Bandini Art. Layering color wash upon color wash — infused with graphite, mica and a range of pure pigments, and sanded — Ben-Tal plays with depth, light and luster in her backgrounds, juxtaposed by relief line drawings in the foreground. The results challenge the viewer to make peace of the contradiction. Her paintings are on view through Feb. 24.

Opening reception Jan. 20, 6-8 p.m. 2635 S. Fairfax Ave., Culver City. (310) 837-6230. ‘ target=’_blank’>www.ticketmaster.com.

Get on down to ‘Funkel Town; Middle Eastern humor; Accordians! Accordians! Accordians!

Saturday the 6th

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.

8 p.m. $32-$57.50. 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. (562) 467-8818. ‘ TARGET=’_blank’>www.levantinecenter.org.

Monday the 8th

The subjects and media of Susan Soffer Cohn’s art have varied over the course of her career. Focusing in on two of her series is the Pauline and Zena Gatov Gallery at the Alpert JCC. Their first exhibition of the year will present her colorful biblical paintings, with titles like “Miriam Led the Women” and “In the Beginning,” as well as her horse portraits, under the title, “Inspired by New Circles.” The exhibit opens this week, with an artist reception scheduled for Jan. 14.

3601 E. Willow St., Long Beach. (562) 426-7601. ‘ TARGET=’_blank’>www.lmangallery.com.

Wednesday the 10th

The new year means more new art on view — in fact, three times as much at UCLA Hillel’s Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts. It debuts a trifecta of new exhibitions simultaneously today. “American Jewish Legacy” features a collection of historical documents chronicling the Jewish experience in America, from 1654’s arrival of immigrants to New Amsterdam, through today. Also on view are two divergent photographic exhibitions: “Pure Faith” presents images by Israeli photographer Harel Stanton of religious ceremonies from around the world. “Jewish Musical Icons of the 20th Century” displays the photographs of cellist and photographer Jim Arkatov, who, in the course of his distinguished career in various orchestras, also snapped photos of leading musical icons.

574 Hilgard Ave., Westwood. (310) 208-3081.

Thursday the 11th

The Skirball takes a giant leap in making the accordion cool again with the concert series, “Compressing the World.” Tonight’s third installment features the squeeze box stylings of Rob Curto’s Forró for All. The New York-based band plays northeast Brazilian forró pé de serra dance music, known for its use of accordion, triangle and zabumba drum.

8 p.m. $15-$25. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (866) 468-3399.

Friday the 12th

Gurus galore, puppet people, jazz giants and Jackie Mason

Saturday the 9th

Get inspired, or at least get a yoga mat, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Gurus will converge this weekend for the interfaith “Celebration of Oneness,” a two-day event featuring lectures and panels on spiritual matters with speakers ranging from Ariana Huffington to “lifestyle astrologer” Susan Miller to “Celestine Prophesy” prophet James Redfield. Also on the agenda are concerts, an expo hall and film screenings, including Rabbi Ruth Broyde-Sharone’s “God and Allah Need to Talk.”

$15-$65. 300 E. Green St., Pasadena. (866) 706-7279. www.celebrationofoneness.com.

Sunday the 10th

Kids are introduced to the world, and the world of puppets, in this afternoon’s program at the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles. Educator and puppeteer Marilyn Price presents “The Wonderful Whirl of Puppets,” an interactive children’s show with global stories, folktales and parables.

3-4 p.m. Free. 6505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 761-8648.

Monday the 11th

In his need to grasp the human stories behind the black and white faces that stared out of his family’s old photo album, author Daniel Mendelsohn journeyed to the shtetl of Bolechow to learn about the lives of his ancestors who had died in the Holocaust. His search continued over three years and 12 countries, the story of which is documented in his book, “The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million.” The Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles hosts him at the Skirball Cultural Center tonight.

Free (JGSLA members), $5 (nonmembers). 7:30 p.m. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. www.jgsla.org.

Tuesday the 12th

Before they get their gifts, teach them about giving. Kids can help wrap gifts for children in the hospital at a special Chabad Chanukah Program at Sherman Oaks Branch Library this afternoon. A candle making workshop and storytelling are also planned.

Free. 14245 Moorpark St., Sherman Oaks. (818) 205-9716.

Wednesday the 13th

Arts in LA


Sat., Dec. 9

“Jamaica, Farewell.” Jamaica Cultural Alliance benefit performance of the one-woman show, written and performed by Debra Ehrhardt, about her bold escape from revolution-torn Jamaica in the early 1980s. Post-performance reception with Jamaican specialties and an exhibit of Jamaican artist Bernard Hoyes’ work. 7:30 p.m. $35. The Colony Theatre, 555 N. Third St., Burbank. (323) 692-0423.

Filipino American Jazz Festival. Two-day festival features Filipino jazz vocal quintet Crescendo; pianist, conductor and arranger Toti Fuentes; vocalist Charmaine Clamor; and saxophonist Julius Tolentino, among others. Jazz-Phil. 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.; also Dec. 10, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. $25-$30. Catalina Bar and Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 512-5543, ext. 2.

Sun., Dec. 10

“Laugh Is Hope Comedy Club” Aboard the Queen Mary. Comedy, fashion, silent auction and dancing fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Featuring comedian Steven E. Kimbrough. 7-11:30 p.m. $65. (909) 631-0100. www.laughishope.com.

Debbie Reynolds’ Show-Stopping Hits. Reynolds pairs with dance partner Jerry Antes in this musical revue. 3 p.m. $35-$57.50. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. (800) 300-4345.

Mon., Dec. 11

Los Angeles Master Chorale’s “Messiah” Sing-Along. Music Director Grant Gershon conducts the Master Chorale and the audience in a singalong to Haydn’s masterpiece, including the “Hallelujah Chorus.” 7:30 p.m. Also Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m. $19-$64. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (800) 787-5262.

Tue., Dec. 12

Matthew Bourne’s “Edward Scissorhands.” Adaptation of Tim Burton’s gothic fairytale motion picture. Dance at the Music Center with Center Theatre Group. 8 p.m. $35-$85. Through Dec. 31. Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 365-3500. www.musiccenter.org/dance.

“Slava’s Snowshow.” This theatrical extravaganza, created by master clown Slava Polunin, melds the art of clowning with visual images and fantasy, culminating in a snowstorm that engulfs the audience. UCLA Live series. 8 p.m. $32-$68. Through Jan. 7. Royce Hall, UCLA campus, Los Angeles. (310) 825-2101. www.UCLALive.org.

Thu., Dec. 14.

Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter. The comedians, two of the stars and creators of the 2005 TV show “Stella,” appear together. 8 p.m. $22.50. Wiltern LG, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (213) 388-1400.

Fri., Dec. 15.

Tyne Daly in Scenes From “Agamemnon.” Stephen Wadsworth directs a small cast performing significant scenes from the first play in the “Oresteia” trilogy and explores Aeschylus’ dramaturgy, literary identity, and preoccupations as artist and citizen. Villa Theater Lab. 8 p.m. Also Dec. 16, 8 p.m.; Dec. 16, 3 p.m. $17. Getty Villa Auditorium, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. (310) 440-7300.

Sat., Dec. 16.

Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band. Writer, actor, director and jazz clarinetist Allen performs with his jazz ensemble. 8 p.m. $25-$125. Royce Hall, UCLA Campus, Los Angeles. (310) 825-2101.

“Gold Rush!” Interactive programs allows visitors to discover the myths and realities of the American gold rush. 30-minute programs, ongoing between 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Sat. and Sun. Free with museum admission ($3-$7.50). The Autry National Center’s Museum of the American West, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles. (323) 667-2000.

Thu., Dec. 21

Bolshoi Ballet Academy’s “Nutcracker.” More than 50 dancers from the Bolshoi Academy perform this family holiday classic to Tchaikovsky’s music. 7:30 p.m. Through Dec. 24. $15-$55. 300 East Green St., Pasadena. (213) 365-3500.

Fri., Dec. 22

Hoobastank. Alternative pop/rock group best known for their crossover hit “The Reason.” 7 p.m. $17-$20. The Key Club, 9039 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. (310) 274-5800.


Thu., Jan. 4

“Saul Bass: The Hollywood Connection.” Exhibition of the graphic designer’s work for the American film industry includes film posters, a montage of motion picture title sequences and an Oscar-nominated short documentary. Our California Series. Through April 1. Free. Related film screenings on Tuesday afternoons, through February. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. www.skirball.org.

Fri., Jan. 5

“Up Close and Personal.” Exhibition of Gilbert B. Weingourt’s candid photos of icons and public figures from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s. 11 a.m.-midnight, daily through Feb. 15. Reception with the photographer Jan. 13, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. ArcLight Cinemas Galleries, 6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 464-1478.

Blues Traveler Concert. Hamonica Virtuoso John Popper performs with his blues and rock band, best known for their hit “Run Around.” 8 p.m. $25-$47.50. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. (800) 300-4345.

Sat., Jan. 6.

Louis Malle’s “Black Moon” and “Lacombe Lucien.” Part of American Cinematheque’s “Overlooked and Underrated” series, showcasing films from the 1940s through the 1980s that received modest praise when released but have emerged as classics. Upcoming films include Jules Dassin’s “10:30 PM Summer,” Edward Dmytryk’s “Mirage” and Robert Mulligan’s “Baby, the Rain Must Fall,” among others. 7:30 p.m. Through Feb. 4. $7-$10. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 466-3456.

Art Garfunkel. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend performs his greatest hits and personal favorites, including “Mrs. Robinson” and “Sound of Silence.” 8 p.m. $32-$57.50. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. (800) 300-4345.

Melody of China and The Hsiao Hsi Yuan Puppet Theater. Director Hong Wang narrates an exploration of Chinese music played on traditional instruments. Also, southern Chinese traditional puppet theater, “budai that,” with stage movements and vocal styles adopted from Peking Opera. World City Series. 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Free. W.M. Keck Foundation Children’s Amphitheater, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 972-3379. www.musiccenter.org

Tue., Jan. 9.

Justin Timberlake’s “Futuresex/LoveShow.” Accompanied by a 14-piece band and back-up dancers, Timberlake will perform in the round. Includes special guest Pink. 8 p.m. $56-$97.50. Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim. www.hondacenter.com. Also Jan. 16 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (213) 480-3232.

Fri., Jan. 12

“Defiance.” Set in 1971, this second play in John Patrick Shanley’s trilogy that began with “Doubt!” explores race relations on a North Carolina military base. Through Feb. 18. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. (626) 356-7529.

‘Borat’ laughs across the U S and A — in Hebrew

Borat perfoms ‘Throw the Jew Down the Well’ at a country music bar in Arizona. Click on the big arrow to playAll Saturday evening screenings of “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” at the Sherman Oaks Galleria were sold out, but I snuck in on Sunday and will pass on two observations.

First, almost all reviews have missed the movie’s funniest running joke, and, second, judging from audience reaction and some exit interviews, it’s pretty hard to shock teenagers and adults in my neighborhood.Given, there are some real knee-slappers as the faux Khazakhstani TV reporter Borat Sagdiyev makes his way across America in an ice cream truck, but the biggest laugh must be reserved for star Sacha Baron Cohen and the folks at 20th Century Fox as they shlep the box office receipts to the bank.

At the Grove on Saturday night, endless lines of mainly boys shuffled through the mall, according to one observer, and the scene was repeated at 834 other theaters across the United States and Canada.The film earned an astonishing weekend gross of $26.4 million, easily beating second-ranked “The Santa Clause 3,” which opened in four times as many theaters as “Borat.”

The mock documentary also topped the charts in six European countries, including Baron Cohen’s native Britain.

In his travels across the “U.S. and A.,” the wide-eyed, mustachioed Borat encounters, and generally makes fools of, a cross-section of unsuspecting Americans. His hapless foils include humor and etiquette coaches, Washington politicians, feminists, gays, Pentecostal revivalists, drunken frat boys, blacks, rednecks at a rodeo, a car salesman and an antique store owner.

But Borat’s favorite targets are Jews, and he plays the true believer of Jewish conspiracy theories to the hilt. For instance, he refuses to fly from New York to Los Angeles for fear the Jews will hijack his plane, “as they did on 9/11.” His Jew phobia is so over the top, so whacky, that it is doubtful that even an assembly of ayatollahs would take it at face value.

There’s a bit more shock value in some pretty gross scenes, including a highly graphic nude wrestling match between the hairy Borat and his obscenely fat producer. In another, Borat presents a bag of feces to a Southern society lady, but the teenage girl on my left said it didn’t bother her.

The screening was punctuated by a lot of laughs and a few squeals, but at about the same volume as greeted a trailer of coming attractions about a bunch of klutzy cops.

Darius Moghadan of Tarzana attended with his wife and 15-year-old son, Arash. They enjoyed the movie, thought it was funny and were not put off by the wrestling and feces scenes. Arash Moghadan observed that most of his friends would see the film, because “everyone enjoys watching fools.”

I had purposely skipped the advance press screening of the movie to see it with fresh eyes, as part of an opening-weekend audience.

Although “Borat” was well worth the $7.75 senior ticket, the anticipated shockwaves and full-throated laughter never fully kicked in. That’s partially because I felt a sneaky sympathy for most of Borat’s victims, even the bigots, who were really trying to understand and help a weird foreigner.

What’s more, Baron Cohen’s/Borat’s nonstop appearances on TV and radio shows in advance of the opening and excerpts from the movie on the Internet had given me a pretty complete picture of what to expect.

In all the glowing reviews of the film in major newspapers and magazines, only a couple of Jewish reporters got the supreme jest that the Jew-bashing Borat frequently spoke in Hebrew. For instance, when Borat takes leave of his home village, he tells a one-armed peasant, “Doltan, I’ll get you a new arm in America,” according to the subtitles translated from “Kazakh.” What he is actually saying is, “I’ll buy you some kind of a new arm” — in Hebrew.

He also sings the lyrics from an old Hebrew folk song and identifies his country’s greatest scientist, who discovered that a woman’s brain is the same size as that of a squirrel, as “Dr. Yarmulke.”

Baron Cohen’s Hebrew is quite excellent, thanks to an Israeli mother of Iranian descent, a year spent at Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra and his early membership in the Habonim Dror youth movement. To top it off, the 35-year-old comedian played Tevya in “Fiddler on the Roof” while attending Cambridge University.

We can expect to see a great deal more of Baron Cohen, if not as Borat, then as two of his alter egos, Ali G, a not-too-bright, would-be London rapper, and as Bruno, a gay Austrian fashionista.

Top Ten Jewish silver screen landmarks

Some film historians claim that the Jews invented Hollywood, and so it’s only fitting that so much of Los Angeles’ Jewish life has been captured on film.

Many local landmarks have played significant parts in TV series (memorably, Brentwood’s University Synagogue in Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”), but it’s only when an institution appears in a feature film that it achieves a certain level of silver-screen immortality.

Like the faces of character actors whose names you don’t know, these 10 L.A. Jewish locations are instantly familiar from their celluloid incarnations:

1. Breed Street Shul, Boyle Heights: This East L.A. landmark, and future home of a museum, plays “The Jazz Singer’s” (1980) New York City shul, where Cantor Laurence Olivier is surprised by his pop star son Neil Diamond chanting “Kol Nidrei” on Erev Yom Kippur. “One of the great community myths is that the 1927 Al Jolson ‘Jazz Singer,’ was shot here,” Los Angeles historian Stephen J. Sass said, “but that appears to be a location bubbemeise.”

2. Old Sinai Temple Site, Koreatown: Sinai’s second incarnation (1925-1961) is located at Fourth Street and New Hampshire Avenue. Although it’s now the Korean Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, the domed structure still retains many of its original features, including the stained-glass windows seen in the Danny Thomas version of “The Jazz Singer” (1952), according to location manager Ned Shapiro.

3. Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Mid-City: A 1929 landmark, built by Hollywood’s golden-age moguls, features biblical-themed murals designed by famed artist and studio director Hugo Ballin. The synagogue is featured in Diane Keaton’s eccentric 1995 drama “Unstrung Heroes,” with Andie MacDowell, John Turturro, Michael Richards and Valley Beth Shalom’s Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis.

4. Museum of Tolerance, Pico Boulevard, Beverlywood: This brick-and-glass educational outreach complex, part of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, hosts regular entertainment-related events and screenings. It was a location for the upcoming Paramount Pictures tolerance-themed drama, “The Freedom Writers” (opening in January 2007), with Hilary Swank as a high school teacher working with at-risk students.

5. Fairfax Avenue Bakeries: Here you’ll find classic old-world bakeries specializing in everything from rugellach to chocolate babka. In the 1968 comedy “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!,” groovy Beverly Hills lawyer Peter Sellers claims that the movie’s infamous hash brownies come from a “small bakery on Fairfax.” At the film’s end, runaway bridegroom Sellers flees down Fairfax Avenue, past the film’s screenwriters Paul Mazursky and Larry Tucker (in cameo appearances) and the old Famous Bakery building.

6. Canter’s Deli, Fairfax: This 24-hour restaurant and cocktail lounge dates back to 1931 in Boyle Heights and is beloved by rock stars, night owls and celebrities. Canter’s is where screenwriter Walter Matthau meets with daughter Dinah Manoff in Neil Simon’s “I Ought to Be in Pictures,” where D.C. attorney Will Smith meets with informant Lisa Bonet in Tony Scott’s thriller “Enemy of the State,” and where agent Vince Vaughn meets with hit man Robert Pastorelli in “Be Cool.” The deli is also featured in an episode of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” with Larry David, Moon Zappa and Paul Mazursky.

7. Brandeis Bardin Institute (BBI), Simi Valley: The famed Jewish retreat center consists of the old Maier’s Ranch and an adjoining parcel donated by actor James Arness (star of TV’s “Gunsmoke”). In Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park,” a T-Rex chases Jeff Goldblum’s and Laura Dern’s jeep through the Brandeis riverbed, according to BBI’s Ken Hailpern. Brandeis’ futuristic-looking House of the Book is Camp Khitomer, the setting for a peace conference in “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” where William Shatner foils an assassination attempt.

8. Mishkon Tephillo, Venice: Built in 1948, this egalitarian Conservative synagogue is across the street from trendy industry hangout Chaya Venice. The landmark shul features a Gothic revival, columned entrance and front steps where an elderly man identifies fugitive Richard Gere in the 1983 remake of “Breathless.”

9. Israel Levin Center, Venice: This senior citizen center played a prominent role in Lynne Littman’s 1976 Oscar-winning short “Number Our Days” and Jeremy Kagan’s “The Big Fix” (1978) where private detective Moses Wine (Richard Dreyfuss) visits his radical communist aunt; its mural “Chagall Comes Back to Venice Beach” can be seen in “Falling Down” (1993), with Michael Douglas and Barbara Hershey.

10. Pacific Jewish Center (PJC)/Shul on the Beach, Venice: The last of the original Venice Beach synagogues is where Sacha Baron Cohen led the priestly blessings at Yom Kippur last year. Its compact 1940s building is glimpsed in Paul Mazursky’s “Down & Out in Beverly Hills” with Richard Dreyfuss as well as the Greg Kinnear comedy “Dear God.” “Toklas'” Sellers visits hippie brother David Arkin outside the shul, while Neil Diamond’s “Jazz Singer” beach pad is farther south on the boardwalk, at 28th Street and Ocean Front Walk.

On Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m., Harry Medved will sign books and show historic film clips at Book Soup on 8818 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, followed by a free walking tour of infamous Sunset Strip movie locations as seen in the clips.

Harry Medved is the co-author of “Hollywood Escapes,” a travel guide to Southern California’s filming locations.

The Breed Street Shul

7 Days in the Arts

Saturday the 4th

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“The Simpsons'” annual “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween episode airs tonight, featuring three supernatural tales, including one with a Jewish nod called “You Gotta Know When to Golem.” The story has Bart bringing to life a Golem, voiced by Richard Lewis, to do his evil bidding. The segment also features Fran Drescher in the role she was born to play: the Jewish monster’s bride.

8 p.m. on Fox. ” target=”_blank”>www.lamoth.org.

Tuesday the 7th

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“Girl Culture” photographer and documentarian Lauren Greenfield most recently has snapped shots of girls and women residing in Southern Florida’s Renfrew Center, an eating disorder treatment clinic. Their painful struggles with anorexia and bulimia are depicted in Greenfield’s new book of photographs and documentary, both titled “THIN.” Selected images from the publication are on view at Fahey/Klein Gallery through Nov. 25. The film debuts Nov. 14 on HBO.

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Thursday the 9th
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Friday the 10th

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Bittersweet symphonies: the Pearls struggle to find life after Daniel’s death

Eight days after Yom Kippur, Judea and Ruth Pearl will commemorate what would have been the 43rd birthday of their son, Daniel. As on every Oct. 10 for the last five years, it will be a day of intensely personal reflection and remembrance by the couple and their daughters, Tamara and Michelle, intensifying their emotions of the other 364 days.
By contrast, the date also will be marked by public worldwide concerts celebrating the life of Daniel Pearl, an accomplished violinist, equally passionate about the classical, jazz, country and bluegrass musical idioms.
As of a week ago, the master calendar showed 166 different performances scheduled in 24 countries — from China to El Salvador and Kenya to Egypt — on and around Oct. 10. It is expected that the numbers will reach last year’s record of 300 concerts in 41 countries.
Music was Daniel Pearl’s avocation, but journalism was his profession. In pursuit of a story on Al Qaeda’s financial ties, the then-38-year-old Wall Street Journal reporter was kidnapped in early 2002 in Pakistan and beheaded by Islamic extremists.

The life and death of Daniel Pearl on HBO
It has a handsome, brilliant, fun-loving reporter, who kisses his beautiful, pregnant wife goodbye as he goes off to track down an Al Qaeda financial network in Pakistan. His nemesis is Omar Sheikh, a man not unlike Pearl in background — intelligent, well educated, but who has become a fanatical terrorist.
Sheikh lures Pearl into a trap, where kidnappers abduct The Wall Street Journal reporter and withhold news of him for almost a month, while Pearl’s parents and wife, and much of the rest of the world, hold their breath.
The Pakistani police search everywhere for Pearl, while the same country’s intelligence service apparently shields the terrorist. Finally, the kidnappers release a grisly video in which Pearl is decapitated by a sword.
No wonder four different film projects on the case have been announced, although only one is actually ready for prime time.
On Oct. 10, the day on which Pearl would have celebrated his 43rd birthday, HBO will air “The Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl,” a 90-minute documentary, which will be hard to beat for drama and intensity by subsequent movies.
The film was produced and directed by Ahmed A. Jamal, a Pakistani, and Ramesh Sharma, an Indian, with the full cooperation of Pearl’s wife, Marianne, and his parents, UCLA professor Judea Pearl and Ruth Pearl, both raised in Israel. It is narrated by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
What gives the film much of its emotional impact are lovely home videos of Pearl’s childhood in Encino, his passion for music, a makeshift seder conducted on a trans-Siberian railroad train, and the joyous wedding joining him to his Cuban Dutch wife.
The life of the secretive Omar Sheikh is, of necessity, less well documented, and at times the directors have to stretch quite a bit to force the two protagonists’ backgrounds into parallel lines.
There remain a number of yet unanswered questions, both in the film and in the actual investigations:

  • Did Pearl’s kidnappers sell him to an Arab gang that then murdered him?
  • What was the role of the Pakistani government?
  • Why has the death sentence, imposed on Sheikh by a Pakistani court in July 2002, never been carried out?

Until such questions are answered, the documentary serves as a riveting history of a case that has gripped the world’s attention.
“The Journalist and the Jihadi” airs at 8 p.m. on Oct. 10. It will be repeated on various dates in October on HBO and HBO2.

Check www.hbo.com for details.
— TT

Yet the wake of this tragedy is an extraordinary story of renewal in itself. Ruth and Judea Pearl are both high-achieving professionals. He is an emeritus professor of computer science at UCLA and internationally recognized for his pioneer research on artificial intelligence. She is an electrical engineer and for years was a highly paid industry consultant. Although quieter than her more exuberant husband, in the immediate days after the tragedy, “she was the captain and ran a tight ship,” her daughter wrote.
Both parents cherish their privacy and still shudder each time an inquiring reporter thrusts a mike in their face and asks, “Well, and how did you feel when you first heard that your son had been murdered?”
But on the day before Rosh Hashanah this year, sitting in the living room of their pleasant Encino home, they agreed to talk openly about their agonizing experience and how they transformed their lives by transmuting private grief into public good.
The story begins on the morning of Jan. 23, 2002, an ordinary day when life seemed especially good for Daniel Pearl. He was a highly respected and popular foreign correspondent for a leading American daily, married to fellow journalist Marianne, and the couple were expecting their first child.
That evening, Daniel went to a restaurant in the Pakistani port city of Karachi to meet a supposed source who could provide a break for his investigative story on the financing of the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
That was the last time his family saw Daniel, except for videos released by his shadowy captors, one showing the journalist in chains with an unknown hand pointing a gun at his head.
It was the beginning of 28 days of hope and despair for the Pearl parents, and their six new houseguests from the FBI.
Repeatedly during that period, the Pearls were informed their son was dead and his body had been found, and each time the report turned out to be wrong.
Throughout the ordeal, Daniel’s colleagues and editors at The Wall Street Journal were in touch with the parents, lending moral support and advice. One of the editors’ main concerns was that other media might leak the fact that both parents come from an Israeli background, thus increasing the threat to Daniel’s life.
Judea was born in suburban Tel Aviv in the fervently Orthodox enclave of B’nai Brak, co-founded by his grandfather, and he had served in the Israeli army.
Ruth was born in Baghdad, when one-quarter of the Iraqi capital’s population was Jewish, and emigrated with her parents to Israel in 1951. She and Judea met as college students at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
In a rare display of professional solidarity in the competitive media, no one raised the Israeli angle until after Daniel’s death.
During the torturous waiting period, Barney Calame, a Wall Street Journal editor, phoned the Pearls daily with a situation report. “He was a slow, deliberate speaker and each time our hearts kept sinking until, at the end, he would report that there had been no new developments,” Judea recalled. “We finally taught him to open each conversation with the sentence, ‘I have no news.'”
In the last days before Daniel’s death, the Pearls were fairly hopeful.
“Danny was a careful professional, not a Don Quixote type, and he had always gotten himself out of any trouble before,” his mother said. “Besides, his goodness shone through, and we couldn’t believe that his kidnappers could live with him for weeks and not be affected by it.”
Adding to the hopefulness was the history of other journalists abducted in Parkistan previously, who had always been returned after a few days in exchange for enemy prisoners or ransom.
On the morning of Feb. 21, 2002, the last glimmer of hope was extinguished. “We were having breakfast when three FBI agents, two women and a man, walked in,” Ruth remembered. “One woman had tears in her eyes, and she asked me if I had anything cooking on the stove. Then she told us that she had bad news and that Danny had been killed.”
After the previous false alarms, the Pearls refused to believe the report. They phoned the American consul in Karachi, who confirmed that he had seen the gruesome video showing the decapitation of their son.
Pakistani police did not find Daniel’s mutilated body until May 16, and it took another three months until the remains were returned to the United States. Hours before the funeral, the FBI stopped the proceedings on the grounds that the agents needed four more days to perform an autopsy.
Finally, after the burial and the memorial service, the Pearls were left to ponder their loss and their future.
“I felt that my life was over,” Ruth said. “We would never again have a normal life. I still cannot comprehend it; I try not to comprehend it; there’s a mental mechanism blocking it.”Added Judea, “As human beings, we don’t have the software, the computational machinery, to comprehend the logical contradiction that such a beautiful person, who tried so hard to explain the Muslim world to the West, would be killed by people who elevated their grievance above all norms of civilization.”
But rather than the sad ending that might have happened, this is where the story takes a surprising turn. The Pearls faced three obvious options. One was to retreat into their private grief, another to resume their professional lives as best they could, and a third to do whatever they could to exact revenge on their son’s murderers.
They chose a fourth way. “We refused to accept the idea that Danny’s contributions to the world as a journalist, as a musician, as a gentle human being was ended forever,” Judea said.
“We decided on a different kind of defiance,” he added. “We would fight hatred with everything in our power, but we wouldn’t seek physical revenge — that’s what his murderers wanted.”
The parents found the vehicle to turn thoughts into action a few days later, as a steady stream of condolence cards, flowers and envelopes with $20 bills and other small donations arrived at the house.
“We didn’t know how to cope with all that,” said Ruth, so The Wall Street Journal arranged for a team of lawyers to advise the family.
The first decision was to set up a trust fund for Marianne and her soon-to-be-born son, Adam. As the discussions continued, all agreed that the most relevant way to honor Daniel’s life and death was to establish a foundation to perpetuate his work and ideals.
Exactly one week after the FBI agent reported Danny’s death, the legal papers establishing the Daniel Pearl Foundation were signed by Judea Pearl as president and Ruth Pearl as chief financial officer.

Three Generations of Pearls

Three Generations of Pearls. back row: Tosha Pearl (center) is flanked by her daughter-in-law, Ruth, and son, Judea, during a Tel Aviv family reunion. front row: Tamara Pearl and her brother, Daniel Pearl. Photo courtesy Ruth and Judea Pearl

“We wanted to fight the tsunami of hatred engulfing the world and we had a powerful weapon — the memory of Danny, respected by millions of Muslims, Christians and Jews, and through the three fields in which he excelled, journalism, music and dialogue.”
Working with a miniscule staff and a $400,000 annual budget, raised mainly through small contributions (“We don’t get any celebrities,” Judea said), the foundation has transformed Daniel’s legacy and the parents’ vision into reality.
In journalism, reporters and editors from Muslim countries annually travel to the United States for six-month working fellowships on American newspapers, including The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
Through the Web-based World Youth News, students at 20,000 high schools in 109 countries develop professional skills, unbiased reporting and respect for cultural differences.
In music, World Music Days will be celebrated this year Oct. 6-15. Among the hundreds of performers and performances will be Sir Elton John, world premiere of Steve Reich’s “Daniel Variations,” symphony orchestras in five different countries, neo-soul artist Nya Jade, Bo Diddley and Friends, Hollywood Interfaith Choir and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.
Judea Pearl and professor Akbar Ahmed, a leading Islamic scholar from Pakistan, have engaged in dialogues before multiethnic audiences throughout the United States and in the British House of Lords.
“We have only two rules,” Pearl said. “No topic is taboo and both speakers and audience must maintain civilized tone.”
The foundation has promoted publication of books of Daniel’s own writings and about his beliefs. Among a number of projected films, HBO will air “The Journalist and the Jihadi” on Oct. 10.
Somewhat to their own surprise, Judea and Ruth have become accomplished and passionate public speakers and are constantly busy promoting and running the Daniel Pearl Foundation.They have also evolved into skillful interviewees, with Judea as the more animated and gesticulating responder, while Ruth is quieter on the surface and occasionally corrects her husband’s recollections.
But, Judea said, “I resist the idea that I’m doing all this for therapeutic reasons. If I didn’t believe that our work makes some difference, I would quit tomorrow.”Added Ruth, “Some days we are encouraged and on other days we are down. But we are doers and we don’t quit.”

Daniel Pearl

Arts in L.A Calendar

Sat., Sept. 16
“The California Modernist Portrait.” Exhibition of portraiture from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s by Victor Arnautoff, Otis Oldfield, Mabel Alvarez and others. Sept. 16-Nov. 11. Spencer Jon Helfen Fine Arts, 9200 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 200, Beverly Hills. (310) 273-8838.
“Vaudeville Extravaganza!” With variety acts by Janet Klein and Her Parlor Boys, Davis and Faversham and juggler Beejay Joyer; and screenings of a cartoon, vintage newsreel, Charlie Chaplin comedy “One A.M.” and Buster Keaton’s “Pardon My Berth Marks.” Alex Film Society. 8 p.m. $12.50-$19.50. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. (818) 243-2539.
“Mexico — Mi Tierra y Mis Pasiones” by Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company. Features “De Cara al Mar,” choreographed by Viviana Basanta Hernandez in collaboration with Los Angeles’ Grandeza Mexicana. 8 p.m. $25-$30. Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood. (323) 461-3673.
Sun., Sept. 17
“Five Days of Freedom: Photographs From the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.” Images by Austrian photojournalist Erich Lessing. Opening Reception: 3 p.m., Sept. 17. “The Art of Photojournalism” symposium: 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Sept. 18. On view: Sept. 17-Dec. 17. Doheny Memorial Library, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. R.S.V.P. (213) 740-3270.
Mon., Sept. 18
Writers Bloc Presents Michael Tolkin in Conversation With Stephen Gaghan. Tolkin, the writer of “The Player” and “The Return of the Player” is interviewed by Gaghan, screenwriter of “Traffic” and “Syriana.” 7:30 p.m. $20. Fine Arts Theater, 8556 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. R.S.V.P., (310) 335-0917.
Tue., Sept. 19
Classical Pianist Gabriela Montero in Concert. 8 p.m. $35. Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 655-2520.
Wed., Sept. 20
“SIDES: The Fear Is Real…” Comedic play about six hopeful actors and their audition nightmares. East West Players. Sept. 20-Oct. 1. $20-$60. David Henry Hwang Theater, Union Center for the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles. (213) 625-7000.
Fri., Sept. 22
“Yosemite: Art of an American Icon — Part I: 1855-1969.” Includes works by Albert Bierstadt, William Keith, Maurice Braun and Ansel Adams. Sept. 22-Jan. 21. Free (children under 6), $3-$7.50 (general). Museum of the American West, 234 Museum Drive, Los Angeles. (323) 221-2164.
Sat., Sept. 23
“On Being Human: Expressions of Faith, Love, Shame and Hope.” Exhibit of works by figurative artists representing free and captive societies around the globe. Sept. 23-Oct.21. Johnson Art Collection, 8304 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 655-5738.
Fri., Sept. 29
“Un Domingo en La Alameda/A Sunday in the Alameda.” World premiere play inspired by a mural by painter Diego Rivera. Sept. 29-Nov. 5. (All performances in Spanish, with English performances from Oct. 12-15 only.) $20-$35.Teatro Carmen Zapata, Bilingual Foundation of the Arts, 421 N. Avenue 19, Los Angeles. (323) 225-4044.
Garth Fagan Dance. Fagan is perhaps best known for his choreography of the musical “The Lion King.” Program includes “Prelude From Discipline Is Freedom,” “Oatka Trail,” “Touring Jubilee 1924 (Professional),” “Life: Dark/Light” and “Translation Transition.” 8 p.m. $20-$36. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. (562) 467-8818.
Sat., Sept. 30
Jules Massenet’s “Manon.” The opera is performed by Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón, and conducted by Plácido Domingo. Pre-performance lectures occur one hour prior to each performance. Sept. 30-Oct. 21. $30+. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Music Center of Los Angeles, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 972-8001.
Sun., Oct. 1
2006 Mak Architecture Tour. Sample L.A. modernism with houses by Irving Gill, Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolph Schindler, John Lautner and Peirre Koenig. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $65-$135. R.S.V.P., (323) 651-1510.
Wed., Oct. 4
Cinema Italian Style. Screening series celebrates contemporary Italian cinema and is the official site for Golden Globes for best foreign picture eligibility screenings. In-person guests include actress Valeria Golino. Oct. 4-8. $6-$9. American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. (323) 466-3456.
Fri., Oct. 6
“The Marvelous Wonderettes.” The pop musical tells the story of four high school girls and features songs from the ’50s and ’60s. Oct. 6-Nov. 26. $40. El Portal Forum Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. (866) 811-4111.

“Transforming Vision: The Wood Sculpture of William Hunter, 1970-2005.” First retrospective exhibition of the seminal artist’s work. Oct. 6-Dec. 10. Free (members, children under 12 and all Fridays), $6-$7 (general). Long Beach Museum of Art, 2300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. (562) 439-2119.
Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montréal. The contemporary ballet company presents “Noces,” a fast, energetic piece choreographed by Belgian dance maker Stijn Celis, and “TooT,” by Dutch choreographer Didy Veldman, known for her humor and energetic dance theater. Oct. 6-7. $25-$95. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Music Center of Los Angeles, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 365-3500.
Three Mo’ Tenors. The trio of African American operatic tenors perform Broadway and gospel music. Oct. 6-7, 8 p.m. $42-$67. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. (562) 467-8818.
City Ballet of Los Angeles performs “Behind the Red Door.” The cabaret-style ballet explores the Greenwich Village jazz scene of the 1950s and celebrates the music of John Coltrane, plus classical ballet works. 8 p.m. $12-$20. Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood. (323) 461-3673.
Sat., Oct. 7
The Folk Tree Collection Presents Joel Nakamura. The award-winning illustrator and fine artist uses a sense of humor and critical social eye to reflect on contemporary issues in his paintings on tin. Opening reception: 2-6 p.m. On view: Oct. 7-Nov. 4. 199 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena. (626) 795-8733.

Thirty Years of Carlebach Rock

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s musical legacy has taken many forms, from the
dozens of minyanim whose worship uses his music to the excellent recordings
made by his daughter, Neshama. But the most enduring and unexpected
offspring from Carlebach’s folkie neo-Chasidism is the number of jam bands
performing his music. If that seems incongruous, you only need to hear the
Moshav Band to realize how natural it really is.

Moshav Band, which was founded as a direct result of Carlebach’s influence,
just released its first English only album — “Misplaced.”

Reb Shlomo and a group of his followers had created a musical moshav in
Israel in 1977 in the hills between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, a community
called Moshav Meor Modi’im. Yehuda (vocals), Dovid (guitar), Meir (guitar,
mandolin) and Yosef Solomon (bass), the sons of one of the original members
of that community, are the core of the group, joined by drummer David
Swirsky. Like Inasense and Soulfarm, two other Carlebach-spawned jam bands,
they melded his musical influence with that of the rock groups they heard as
kids — most obviously, The Dead, Dylan, Neil Young — in a splendid blend
of sacred and secular.

The Moshav Band has long been one of the most popular of Jewish-oriented
rock groups, but sometime at the end of the millennium that distinction
ceased to satisfy the group. Perhaps the band had always intended to try
hurdling the wall that generally separates openly Jewish music from rest of
the entertainment world; for Christians that wall has been more of a
semipermeable membrane, as any country-music fan will tell you. Whatever
their motivation, in 2000 the band members relocated to Los Angeles to
launch their assault on rest of the pop/rock world.

“Higher and Higher: The Best of the Moshav Band,” which the Jewish Music
Group released earlier this year, is a canny attempt to straddle the gap
between the moshav and the mosh pit. The set has more English-language songs
than its previous recordings, and it is long on anthemic rockers like
“Waiting for the Calling” that would not be out of place on an album by U2
or Pearl Jam, two bands to which it bears more than a slight resemblance.
But even the straighthead rockers and love songs can be easily read as calls
to God, rather than your usual pop invocations of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’
roll. In truth, the bands it most resembles are ones that are firmly
grounded in the soil of a homeland and its political struggles, bands like
The Levellers or The Pogues (if you sobered them up).

In that respect, the Moshav Band’s heart and soul are still linked tightly
to the hills outside Jerusalem and, fittingly, to the musical and spiritual
legacy of Rabbi Carlebach.

George Robinson is the film and music critic for Jewish Week. His book, “Essential Torah,” will be published by Shocken Books in fall 2006.

7 Days in the Arts

Saturday the 5th

Buying vintage helps the disadvantaged when you shop at the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles Thrift Stores. This weekend they launch their new flagship store on the Westside, in an airy, former Pier One space. A “Best of the Best” sale goes on Aug. 4-6 in honor of their grand opening weekend, featuring designer clothing, accessories, shoes, furniture and antiques. Council Thrift stores provide more than 60 percent of the NCJW/LA programmatic budget, helping to fund numerous social service programs for the community.

Aug. 4-6, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 10960 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 477-9601.

Sunday the 6th

Our booming downtown is finally a primetime player, and the Downtown Center Business Improvement District hosts its second annual Walk-In Movie Series of free al fresco screenings to thank new residents for making downtown their home. All are welcome, however, so take advantage and head east to see tonight’s film. “Strange Fruit” explores the history behind the song about lynchings in the South, made famous by Billie Holiday.

8 p.m. Free. California Plaza, 350 South Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 624-2146.” TARGET=”_blank”>www.sonypictures.com/movies/talladeganights

Tuesday the 8th

More outdoor films run Tuesdays at the Santa Monica Pier this summer. Santa Monica Drive-In at the Pier is a picnic and movie-under-the-stars weekly event benefiting the Cancer Relief Fund. Tickets are free, but must be picked up in advance. And you can help them raise money by renting a chair or purchasing raffle tickets. Tonight, bring the family to see the classic “The Muppet Movie,” or if you’re too late to get tickets, grab some for next week’s “Madagascar.”

Tuesdays in August and September. 7 p.m. (gates open); Screening starts at sunset. Tickets may be picked up the Wednesday prior to the show at three Santa Monica locations.

” TARGET=”_blank”>www.CenterTheatreGroup.org

Thursday the 10th

Coming off the accolades of his last movie, “Match Point,” Woody Allen strikes next with “Scoop,” again featuring muse Scarlett Johansson. This time, dear Scarlett is an American journalist in London, investigating a series of murders with the help of American magician Sid Waterman (a.k.a. Splendini), played by Allen. The comedy/thriller is in theaters now.

7 Days in the Arts

Saturday, July 1
In time for summertime, the Skirball has rekindled its weekly Café Z live music series. Take advantage today, and head down to groove to Elliott Caine Quintet’s Afro-Cuban jazz beats. According to Caine’s Web site, KCRW’s Bo Leibowitz described him as a “terrific trumpet player, bandleader and composer … deserving of wider recognition.”

Noon-2 p.m. Free. Zeidler’s Café, Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500.


Sunday, July 2
Miami City Ballet whoops it up for its 20th anniversary, with its tour of performances of signature pieces by Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine and Twyla Tharp. Included are Robbins’ classic “Fancy Free,” which was the inspiration for the musical, “On the Town,” and Tharp’s “Nine Sinatra Songs,” accompanied, as you might’ve guessed, by songs by the blue-eyed crooner.

June 30-July 2. $25-$95. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 365-3500

Monday, July 3
Shaken or stirred, the martini is more than a drink today. It is a symbol. Sculptor Thomas Mann asked artists to riff on it, reinterpreting the conical glass’ shape and context. “The Martini Show” premiered in New Orleans as a benefit for Craft Emergency Relief Fund. It runs here at Altered Space Gallery, through July 24.

Contemporary art+craft+design, 1221 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 452-8121

Tuesday, July 4
What goes great with burgers and dogs? Your radio dial tuned to 89.9 KCRW-FM. Its special Independence Day programming features “a day of music by American artists who embrace the spirit of independence.” The lineup of musical patriots includes Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Roy Orbison, Patti Smith and the Dixie Chicks. The presentations feature music as well as interview clips and other materials.

89.9 KCRW-F, ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Wednesday, July 5
Collapsing just moments after a performance of his stirring trio, “In memoriam Dmitri Shostakovich,” at the Jewish Music Commission concert last month, professor Joseph Dorfman was unable to be revived. He died at age 65. In his memory, a concert will be held this evening at Valley Beth Shalom, to benefit the newly founded fund in his name.

7:30 p.m. Free (general), $15 (reserved seats). 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. R.S.V.P., (818) 788-6000.

Thursday, July 6
Gay lovers struggle to deal with their oppressive societies against the backdrop of World War II France in the case of “A Love to Hide (Un Amour à Taire),” and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the case of “Zero Degrees of Separation.” The two films are part of this year’s Outfest 24th Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which begins today.

Times, prices and screening venues vary by film. Abovementioned films screen at Directors Guild Theatre, 7920 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles.

Friday, July 7
More lovers caught on opposite sides of the political fence emerge in the film, “Only Human.” Opening today, the Spanish production tells the farcical tale of Jewish Leni, who brings home her boyfriend, Rafi, to meet the folks. But madness ensues when they find out Rafi is Palestinian.

Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino. (818) 981-9811. Laemmle One Colorado, Pasadena. (626) 744-1244. www.laemmle.com” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

7 Days in The Arts

Saturday, June 3

Left-leaning readers will appreciate tonight’s show featuring political commentary. “Laughing Liberally” is in town for just one night, after a successful February debut at New York City’s Town Hall. Attend to hear comedians/commentators Will Durst, Jim David, Marc Maron, Dean Obeidallah, Rick Overton and Katie Halper skewer Bush and roast the White House.

8:30 p.m. $25-$43. Wadsworth Theatre (on the VA grounds), Building 226, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Brentwood. (213) 365-3500. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Sunday, June 4

The South Robertson Neighborhoods Council puts on its annual block party “It’s a SoRo World” this weekend.
The free festival will include vendor and food booths representing area businesses, including Nathan’s kosher hot dogs, a block-long kids fun zone and an environmental pavilion.

11 a.m.-4 p.m. South Robertson Boulevard, between Beverlywood Street and Cattaraugus Avenue. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Monday, June 5

“Reel Talk With Stephen Farber,” the preview film screening and conversation series hosted by Movieline’s film critic, returns for another 10-evening series, beginning tonight. Head to the Wadsworth Theatre for a screening of “Who Killed the Electric Car?” the documentary by Chris Paine recently shown at Sundance and Tribeca film fests. Farber will converse with Paine and exec producer Dean Devlin following the movie.

7 p.m. Mondays, June 5-Aug. 14. $20 (individual screenings), $150 (series). Wadsworth Theatre (on the VA grounds), Building 226, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Brentwood. (213) 365-3500. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Tuesday, June 6

Writers Bloc’s concept of featuring one renowned author interviewing another has made for unique literary evenings, offering something more than the usual book reading and signing. This evening, their duo will be modern master John Updike, interviewed by L.A.-centric satirical writer Bruce Wagner.

$20. Writers Guild Theater, 135 S. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 335-0917. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>


Wednesday, June 7

Don’t call the late Claire Falkenstein’s pieces “sculpture.” She preferred “structures,” OK? The acclaimed artist’s works included gates designed for Peggy Guggenheim’s estate in Venice, Italy, in 1961,and many of her large-scale pieces can still be viewed in touring our fair city. Easier still, Louis Stern Fine Arts presents one in a series of exhibitions displaying works from Falkenstein’s estate. “Claire Falkenstein: Structure and Flow, Works from 1950-1980” is on view through Aug. 26.

Free. 9002 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. (310) 276-0147. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Thursday, June 8

They call it California’s Shangri-La; classical music lovers call it home this weekend. It’s Ojai Valley, and today through Sunday, it presents the annual Ojai Music Festival, now in its 60th year. Hear the music of contemporary composer Osvaldo Golijov performed by various vocalists and musicians over the course of the four days, attend lectures and take in the beauty of the lush surroundings.

June 8-11. Single tickets on sale. (805) 646-2094.  

Friday, June 9

The Contemporary Crafts Market offers decorative, functional and wearable art at all price points this weekend at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. More than 250 artisans will show their stuff — including glassware, jewelry, ceramics, watercolors, wood furniture and plenty more.

10 a.m.-6 p.m. (June 9-11). Free (children 12 and under), $6 (adults). 1855 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 285-3655. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

7 Days in The Arts

Saturday, April 8

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. Like we said, we already know who should win, but the victor is decided by audience votes. So show up and represent the tribe.

8 p.m. $10. 457 N. Fairfax Ave., Hollywood. (323) 653-6886. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Sunday, April 9

Celebrate the rich history of one L.A. neighborhood at the Da Camera Society’s Boyle Heights Festival. The years have seen the faces of Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles change from Jewish to Latino, but our cultural landmarks intermingle. Today’s event will feature musical concerts in the Breed Street Shul and Tamayo Restaurant, a documentary screening about the shul, self-guided walking/driving tours of area landmarks, artists reception at Latin Art Brokers Gallery and post-concert dinner at the restaurant.

First concert begins at 12:15 p.m. (213) 477-2929. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Monday, April 10

Director Nicole Holofcener’s film about the midlife struggles of four female friends — and their uneasy relationships with money and each other-comes to theaters this week. Jennifer Aniston, Catherine Keener, Joan Cusack and Frances McDormand star in the comedy/drama “Friends With Money,” which was the opening night film at the Sundance Film Festival.

” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Tuesday, April 11

Artist and scholar Ruth Weisberg exhibits her latest works of large- and small-scale paintings and drawings in “Ruth Weisberg: New Beginnings” now on view at Jack Rutberg Fine Arts. The show expands on themes Weisberg recently explored in a mural commissioned by UJA Federation of New York — those of “Diaspora, hope, community and new beginnings.”

Through May 31. 357 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 938-5222. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Wednesday, April 12

Take a break from the seder prepping and get in the Pesach spirit another way. Newly released on video and DVD is the movie “Ushpizin.” Sure, it takes place on Sukkot, rather than Passover, but the story about tests of faith and obnoxious houseguests is still bound to resonate.

” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Thursday, April 13

Those not indulging in a second-night seder can still celebrate the Exodus story by considering the way Jews have always celebrated (and coped) — with laughter. The Jewish Federation of Santa Barbara presents “Point. Click. Laugh. Humor in Photography” through May 26. The collection features images by professional as well as amateur photographers.

524 Chapala St., Santa Barbara. (805) 957-1115.

Friday, April 7

Self-described “hybrid,” performer Ameenah Kaplan says her multiethnic background resulted in a “life-long pursuit to define myself.” The outcome has been the African American Jewish woman’s unique form of “hybrid populist theater,” which combines dance, acrobatics and capoeira with theater. Her newest project is “Everyman for Himself,” a young man’s coming-of-age tale now on stage at the Unknown Theater.

Through April 29. 8 p.m. (Fri. and Sat.). $18-$22. 1110 Seward St., Hollywood. (323) 466-7781. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Vintage Israeli posters, MethodFest, ‘Bush Is Bad’

Saturday the 31st

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.

Through April 29. $22-$25. 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. (323) 960-4418. ” target=”_blank”>www.methodfest.com.

Monday the 2nd

Another independent film worth your attention is Russell Brown’s “Race You to the Bottom,” which opens this week. The film focuses on the relationship between two friends, Maggie and Nathan. Maggie is straight, and Nathan identifies as gay, and both of them are involved with other people. Despite all of this, however, the two are also in the midst of a passionate affair and decide to take a romantic road trip to Napa together.
Special screenings: Sat., March 31, 7:30 p.m. Post-screening Q-and-A with Russell Brown.

Sun., April 1, 7:30 p.m. 2-for-1 “Girls Grab Your Best Gay/Gays Grab Your Best Girl” promotion. The Regent Showcase Theatre, 614 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. ” target=”_blank”>www.georgebillis.com.

Wednesday the 4th

AFI goes behind the music at the Arclight in their sixth-annual Music Documentary Series. Tonight’s opening night features the 1982 classic “Pink Floyd: The Wall.” Subsequent Wednesdays will screen “Buena Vista Social Club,” “Punk Rock Eats its Own: A Film About Face to Face,” “Shut Up and Sing,” “Rock the Bells” and “Last Days of Left Eye.” Post screening Q-and-A’s with filmmakers are also planned.

Through May 9. 8 p.m. $10-$11 (per screening). 6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 464-4226. ” target=”_blank”>www.skirball.org.

Friday the 6th

Following a successful 15-month run in New York, “Bush Is Bad” makes its West Coast debut this evening. Those making up that 30-something percent approval rating will want to ignore this suggestion; others, however, may welcome a show with a bit of comic relief, described as “the hysterical love-child of ‘Forbidden Broadway’ and ‘The Daily Show.'”

Through May 20. $35. NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. (818) 508-7101.

7 Days in The Arts

Saturday, March 25

Hollywood Fight Club’s current production “A Lively … and Deathly Evening With Woody Allen” brings to the stage three written works by the Neurotic One. Woody Allen’s “God,” “Death Knocks” and “Mr. Big” all deal with existential dilemmas as only Allen can.

Through April 2. 8 p.m. (Saturdays), 8:30 p.m. (Thursdays), 3 p.m. (Sundays). $14. 6767 W. Sunset Blvd., Suite No. 6, Hollywood. R.S.V.P., (323) 465-0800.

Sunday, March 26

Jewish school spirit can be found in abundance on the USC campus this weekend. The Jewish Student Film Festival has coordinated a weekend of Jewish activities, which culminates in today’s film fest. Friday evening, attend Shabbat services at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion followed by Shabbat dinner at USC Hillel; Saturday, attend “Jewzika: A Night of Jewish Musicians” featuring Dov Kogen and the Hidden, SoCalled and the Moshav Band.

Film fest: Free (students), $5 (general). Jewzika: $10 (students), $12 (general). ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Monday, March 27

“Minimalist Jukebox,” L.A. Philharmonic’s minimalism festival, gives us music by Steve Reich on March 25 and 26, including “Tehillim,” the composer’s music for Psalms. Then today, also in conjunction with the Minimalist Jukebox, California EAR Unit explores the theme with Lamon Young’s “Composition No. 7,” David Rosenboom’s “The Seduction of Sapentia” and other works.

Reich concerts: ” target=”_blank”>www.lacma.org or (323) 857-6010.

Tuesday, March 28

Those seeking romance and mystery look no further than the last place you’d think of. National Council of Jewish Women steams things up with “An Evening of Literature and Conversation” with romance authors Loraine Despres and Dora Levy Mossanen, as well as mystery writer Rochelle Krich. Jewish Community Library Director Abigail Yasgur moderates.

7:30-9:30 p.m. Free. 543 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (323) 651-2930, ext. 512.

” border=”0″ alt=””>
Dora Levy Mossanen

Wednesday, March 29

Tonight it’s sex, drugs and a night at the Writers Bloc. Authors and cultural icons Erica Jong (“Fear of Flying”) and Jerry Stahl (“Permanent Midnight”) converse about writing at the Skirball.

7:30 p.m. $20. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Thursday, March30

Step inside to view the Getty Garden — as photographed by Becky Cohen — at the Persimmon gallery. Lovely permanent pigment prints from transparencies Cohen shot for the book “Robert Irwin Getty Garden” are on view through April 22.

310 N. Flores St., Los Angeles. (323) 951-9540.

Friday, March 31

“Methodfest,” the only film festival “dedicated to the actor,” opens tonight and continues through April 7. Count on panels, tributes, workshops, galas and plenty of self-importance. But you can also catch a few intriguing indie flicks, including tonight’s opening coming-of-age film, “Dreamland,” starring Agnes Bruckner, John Corbett and Gina Gershon, among others.

Woodland Hills and Calabasas. Prices vary. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>


Not Our Movie

Contrary to Rob Eshman’s analysis, protests against “Paradise Now” did not increase the film’s potential audience (“Not Our Movie,” March 10). It already commanded attention because of its Golden Globe Award and Oscar nomination and because it was made by a Palestinian (actually an Israeli Arab who lives in Europe) and had a riveting subject: Palestinian suicide bombers.

But Eshman should not be excusing — let alone praising — the film. The film is intentionally dishonest. It whitewashes suicide terrorism, portraying it as a normal response to frustration, political conflict or even, as filmmaker Abu Assad told a University of Judaism audience, to delays at a checkpoint. That’s not normal. It’s pathological.

Furthermore, the film ignores the cultural sickness that creates suicide bombers: the Palestinian Authority’s relentless indoctrination and incitement to hate and violence, the jihadist clerics promoting genocide, the glorification of shaheeds in schools and the media.

In addition, it is absurd to claim, as Eshman did, that the film did not show Israeli victims only because it was made from a Palestinian perspective.

The suicide missions are not about despondent young men driven to suicide, although this is exactly what Assad wants audiences to think. They are about committing mass murder.

Dead and dismembered Jews, including children, are the suicide bombers’ prize trophies, the reason they are adulated. The more Jews maimed, the better.

Finally, the film relentlessly and falsely blamed Israel for the Palestinians’ self-destructive choices. Just as Leni Riefenstahl made an effective film about Nazism, so Abu Assad has made one about Palestinian terrorism. Both are rank propaganda and hide monstrous facts.

Protests of “Paradise Now” were not just in order: It would have been the height of irresponsibility not to raise a cry of outrage.

Roz Rothstein
National Director,
Roberta P Seid

While I always appreciate the clarity, independence and appropriateness of your editorials, I have to say that the [“Not Our Movie”] editorial was really special. It reminded me — particularly in these times when the pursuit of truth seems so undervalued — of what is best about being Jewish.

Whether laughing or crying, Jews survive and thrive in democratic societies, not by pandering to their own weaknesses and insecurities, but by a zealous faith in truth. Your lucid explication of the Palestinian movie moved me the way that only the best journalism can.

Michael B. Lehrer
Los Angeles

Thanks Rob Eshman for your perceptive and brave defense of a controversial film that carries the same message as “Munich.” We, as Jews, must try to see our enemies not just as monsters who commit inhuman acts with the intent to destroy us, but as human beings driven by circumstances and infected by unscrupulous religious and political leaders to do their dirty work, often left with conflicting feelings and doubts about the meaning of their own actions.

Since we must share our world with them, we must keep searching for a way to reach them, to communicate with them, or we will never get beyond the horrendous deadlock in which we are stuck. Film is an effective tool to achieve this.

Trudi Alexy

Proposition 227

Jill Stewart (“A Definite Maybe,” March 10) scolds Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for opposing Proposition 227, the initiative that dismantled bilingual education in California. But Villaraigosa was right. Contrary to Stewart’s claim, English-language reading and writing skills have not improved dramatically among Latino children since Proposition 227 passed.

A recent and widely publicized report from the American Institutes for Research and West Ed found that dismantling bilingual education did not result in any improvement in the English language of minority children in California.

Less widely known is the scientific research. Scientific studies consistently show that children in bilingual programs typically score higher on tests of English than do children in all-English immersion programs. In fact, three major reviews coming to this conclusion were published last year in professional, scientific journals.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus

Klinghoffer vs. Berenbaum

David Klinghoffer is not fooling anyone in his response to Michael Berenbaum’s letter (Letters, March 3) requesting he withdraw his op-ed piece defending convicted felon Jack Abramoff. Yes, Klinghoffer’s op-ed piece did include a plea for sympathy for Abramoff, but the real subtext of the article was a not-so-subtle argument that Abramoff’s sins are understandable, explainable and excusable.

Mitch Paradise
Los Angeles

Erin Aubry Kaplan

On Feb. 10, we were proud to be members of Temple Emanuel (“A.M.E., Rhythm and Jews,” Feb. 24). Approximately 700 people filled the congregation with an energy we had not previously experienced at a synagogue service.

This is the beginning of a journey that is generating much enthusiasm in both congregations, a journey toward becoming neighbors in a very divided city. It is unfortunate that the perceived faux pas described by Erin Aubry Kaplan clouded her experience of the evening.

If we are to tell each other our stories through music or words, we will stumble at times. As we get to know each other as individuals instead of congregations, we hope those awkward moments, experienced when we first reach out to each other, will evolve into bonds of friendship as we work to make our city a better place. We are proud to be participants in that journey.

Diane Vanette and Janet Noah
Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills

Get a Life

I read the article, “Get a Life, George,” (March 10) with great interest. However, I was — both as a Jew and “Seinfeld” fan — appalled to find George Costanza being compared to the notorious Jew-haterHaman.

Rabbi Daniel Korobkin writes the following: “This annoyed Haman to no end (I think his last name was Costanza).” Hence, the Costanzas, who are never portrayed as anti-Semitic, are compared to one of the most notorious Jew-haters of that time and in general.

This is especially gruesome, since both Costanza [men] are played by Jewish actors: Jason Alexander (né Greenspan) and Jerry Stiller (Ben Stiller’s father). Should they be hung like Haman? Should their names be cursed with a chorus of groggers, clanging pots, cap guns and sirens like Haman’s name every time it is mentioned? I hope not.

Furthermore, the Costanzas, who never hurt anyone physically, Jewish or not, are compared with a historical figure who planned a pogrom that would have all Jews of Persia murdered. A family that couldn’t harm a fly, not to speak of humans, is compared to a descendent and heir of Amalek, about whom the Torah says the following: “Remember what Amalek did to you as you were leaving Egypt. He happened upon you, and struck the weakest people trailing behind, when you were exhausted. And he did not fear God” (Deut. 25:17-18).

Is this really as bad as the quote by George: “Yes! Yes! Everybody has to like me. I must be liked!”

Korobkin writes: “Because of Haman’s obsession with image, he decided that … he had to wipe out the entire Jewish people.” Where does George Costanza fit in here?

In conclusion, it can be said that Korobkin might be very well versed in Tanakh and Talmud but not in “Seinfeld.” Comparing harmless characters of this TV show to one of the worst Jew haters and pogrom planners is nothing short of historical relativism.

We are obliged to drink so much on Purim that we can’t differentiate between “Haman is bad” and “Mordechai is good.” However, no matter how much I’ll drink, I think I’ll be able to differentiate George Costanza (may he live to 120) from Haman (may his name be cursed).

Benjamin Rosendahl
Los Angeles

‘Paradise Now’

Rob Eshman’s review of “Paradise Now” adds credibility to the movie’s critics (“Not Our Movie,” March 10). By admonishing one of the would-be bombers that his act would “destroy us” (Palestinian recognition) is precisely the point. We should not be bothered about innocent civilians about to be murdered; our only concern is to have the world believe in our cause.

Contrary to the two anti-heros’ impoverished circumstances, many of the bombers have been identified as middle class (at least by Palestinian standards), so their intended murderous act is not out of economic desperation but cold blooded and motivated by a warped ideology.

Peter Daniels
Los Angeles

“The film and its director were warmly received at a sold-out audience of nearly 500 at the University of Judaism [UJ]” (Where in the World Is ‘Paradise’?” March 3).

I was at the screening at the UJ for “Paradise Now.” The moderator was insensitive to some of his audience for the reason that some of the audience have family in Israel who are members of the Israel Defense Forces and citizens of Israel.

This moderator, who contributes to your paper, opened with the greeting, “Did you enjoy the movie?” What’s to enjoy? Watching murderers being groomed and selected from poor people and being brainwashed?

I think the audience was mostly left wing. I didn’t stay for the panel, as we had to leave, but the director of the movie and the movie should not be glorified, because it sends a message of “murderers who are really human beings” — a contradiction in terms.

Whatever the cinematic skill of the film, it should not have been shown in that venue. I wrote the UJ and many of the rabbis and teachers there, and I am writing you — there were objections to the screening.

Joanna Aloni-Boldon


Your March 10 opinion page contained articles by Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post (“Every Jew Is on the Front Lines of War”) and Wafa Sultan an Arab American psychologist (Middle Ages and 21st Century Clashing”). Glick whines that Jews are perpetual victims and that the Kadima gang stinks, whereas Sultan extols Jewish virtues and accomplishments.

Unfortunately, Glick refuses to see the forest (either Israeli or Palestinian) for the trees. Glick does not realize that the cause of anti-Semitism is jealously.

The enormous accomplishments of so few people in Israel and the Diaspora foments hatred by those who are failures in our modern world. Smart Jews know that Israel cannot be destroyed militarily and that the West Bank is an unnecessary burden. The Gaza disengagement gave Israel a great worldwide public relations boost.

I believe that when a Palestinian state is finally established, whether behind a wall or not, worldwide anti-Semitism will no longer be as fashionable as it is today.

Martin J. Weisman
Westlake Village


Jonathan Klein may not realize it, but he is indeed helping to save countless lives by “refusing to consume the flesh of once-living, breathing animals” (“I Love You, Carnivore,” March 3). It is estimated that each vegetarian saves 83 animals every year.

The Jewish religion has an entire code of laws mandating that animals be treated with compassion. “Tsa’ar ba’alei hayim” is the commandment to prevent the suffering of all living beings.

In addition to saving animals, vegetarians also save more water, land and resources than just about anyone else on the planet. And, of course, vegetarians are far less likely to die from heart disease, cancer and other diseases, so we can spend more time with our loved ones.

I have been vegan for 17 years, and I don’t miss meat one bit, because mock meats have basically the same taste and texture as meat. There is a lot of helpful information on vegetarianism at JewishVeg.com. I encourage everyone to check it out.

Stewart David
Asheville, N.C.

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