Performers Go It Alone and Like It That Way
7 Days in the Arts
Saturday, July 8
The Hollywood Palladium’s got the beat tonight. Head there for ’80s retro fun wrapped up in a good cause. Bet Tzedek — The House of Justice presents its annual Justice Ball benefit with headliners The Go-Go’s.
8:30 p.m. $75-$150. Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Blvd. (323) 656-9069. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>
Sunday, July 9
A midsummer night’s edutainment comes courtesy of the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony. Tonight, they perform “Ahava: From Israel with Love” at the Ford Amphitheatre, with Chen Zimbalista on marimba and Alon Reuven on French horn. Explanatory introductions of each piece will be given by conductor Noreen Green.
7:30 p.m. $12-$36. 2850 Cahuenga Blvd., East, Hollywood. (323) 461-3673.
Monday, July 10
TV gets some artistic recognition, thanks to Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). Today FIDM opens its new exhibition, “The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design,” which continues through Sept. 9. On display are highlights from 40 years of television costuming, including clothes worn by Sonny and Cher, Barry Manilow and Carol Burnett, on their shows and specials.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. (daily, except Sundays). Free. FIDM Museum and Galleries on the Park, 919 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 624-1200, ext. 2224.
Tuesday, July 11
The sound of music drifts through the air, mixing with that signature zoo scent, this evening. The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association kicks off the first of two “Music in the Zoo” nights. Tonight, hear the Masanga Marimba Ensemble of Zimbabwe, the Scottish Wicked Tinkers, the Mediterranean music of Shaya and Rafi and the Irish Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder. Plus, the animals get a later bedtime of 8 p.m. and “Club Med Circus Performers” monkey around.
Tues., July 11 and 25, 6-9 p.m. Free (children 5 and under), $7-$16. Los Angeles Zoo, Griffith Park. (323) 644-6042. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>
Wednesday, July 12
Invisible friends get revenge in “Bunbury: A Serious Play for Trivial People.” The play by Tom Jacobson features the never-seen characters of Bunbury (of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”) and Rosaline (of “Romeo and Juliet”), teaming up to sabotage classic literary works. It is performed at the Skirball Cultural Center, and recorded to air on L.A. Theatre Works’ radio theater series, The Play’s the Thing, which broadcasts weekly on public and satellite radio, including 89.3 KPCC.
8 p.m. (July 12-14), 3 pm. (July 15), 4 p.m. (July 16). $25-$45. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P.,
Thursday, July 13
July gets a little hotter with Stephen Cohen Gallery’s “Summer Skin” exhibition. The group show features nude works, some naughty, some nice, by artists like Diane Arbus, Anthony Friedkin and Horace Bristo. The raciest stuff, by guys like David Levinthal, Larry Clark and Robert Mapplethorpe, can be seen in a separate viewing room.
July 7-Aug. 26. Free. 7358 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 937-5525.
Friday, July 14
Literature takes center stage with The New Short Fiction Series, a host of evenings in which actors read from a published work of fiction. This year’s first featured writer is author and poet Carol Schwalberg, whose “The Midnight Lover and Other Stories” will be performed, tonight.
8 p.m. $10. Beverly Hills Public Library Auditorium, 444 N. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 288-2220.
7 Days in the Arts
For 16-year-old former Encino resident Marisa Gobuty it’s all about basketball.
Throughout the summer, Gobuty, a 5-foot-7 high school junior point guard, who now lives in Israel and plays for Israel’s National Basketball Team, will be playing for the Southern California-based Finest Basketball Club (FBC), and compete in tournaments across the United States.
Six years ago, she and her family moved to Israel for a short two-year stint. They have lived there ever since. But like in Encino, Gobuty’s love and passion for basketball led her back on to the courts around Tel Aviv, eventually landing a spot on the Israel National team at age 15. She is now one of only 12 team members on Israel’s Segel Zahav, which means Gold Team. It is comprised of the top players in the 16-24 age bracket.
“Living in Israel has been a great learning experience culturally and emotionally,” Gobuty said. “By playing basketball there I’ve also gotten to compete against some of the best in the world playing in European FIBA Championships, as well as having the opportunity to learn about different cultures. But some of my most rewarding moments have been talking to other high school-age teenagers about what it’s like to grow up in a country that is constantly on alert in a war time like state and being able to share my experiences.”
Support Your Students
The West Coast Supporters of Yeshiva University (YU) recently held a dinner at the L.A. home of Esthi and Walter Feinblum. Forty YU supporters attended the event and raised $100,000 for the West Coast Scholarship Drive to ensure that all qualified undergraduate students who wish to attend YU can do so regardless of their financial circumstances.
Take one part Jewish mother, one part Italian mama, add a dash of hot-blooded lethario and you have an evening of laughs with Renee Taylor, Lainie Kazan and Joe Bologna at the Brentwood Theatre production of “The Bermuda Avenue Triangle.”
The star-studded opening night featured such icons as Carl Reiner and wife Estelle, Larry Gelbart, Dom DeLuise and Norm Crosby who showed up to support the cast. The farce, written by Taylor and Bologna, addresses the plight of two mothers in their golden years and the daughters who love and endure them.
Lucky Night for JFS
The Regent Beverly Wilshire was filled May 23 as guests mingled and munched on healthy appetizers. The occasion was the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS) 13th annual gala fundraising dinner. Husband and wife Deborah Barak and her Dr. Etan Milgrom received the Spirit of Humanity Award, and Connie Mandles was honored with the Anita and Stanley Hirsh Award.
The annual gala brought in $700,000 to help JFS provide vital services to people of all ages, ethnicities and religions. JFS’ nationally recognized programs counsel troubled families and individuals, support the elderly, house the homeless and abused and feed the hungry.
Rob Morrow and David Krumholtz, the stars of the hit CBS series “Numb3rs” were a standout as masters of ceremonies, bringing to the job the sharp and funny relationship they share as the Eppes brothers in their show.
Renee Olstead, 16, a star of the CBS sitcom “Still Standing,” wowed the crowd with sultry jazz standards and an original tune from her upcoming second CD, accompanied by Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster. Foster also coaxed Krumholtz into crooning a respectable version of the Frank Sinatra hit “That’s Life,” to the delight of the crowd.
Founded in 1854, JFS is the oldest and largest social service agency in Los Angeles. JFS is a beneficiary agency of The Jewish Federation and United Way.
A Call to Action
Noted author and journalist Frank Gaffney Jr. spoke to an overflowing crowd May 30 at Valley Beth Shalom when more than 500 people attended the Republican Jewish Coalition Los Angeles chapter event.
His new book “War Footing and President of the Center for Security Policy America & Israel: How We Can Prevail In The War On Terror” speaks to America’s role in supporting the war on terror. The crowd listened — and noshed — as Gaffney addressed the issue of Iran and its potential threat to Israel and the United States, urging Americans to play a more aggressive role in stopping terror.
Gaffney said threats to Israel are designed to demean the American spirit.
“We need to support our troops by doing more than putting a bumper sticker on our cars,” he said. “We need to ensure they have the resources they need to fight the war. To mobilize the resources of this country’s resources, energies and talents to prevail.”
U.N. Asks Israel to Stop Making Nukes
A U.N. commission recommended that Israel refrain from manufacturing any more nuclear weapons as a step to a nuclear-free Middle East. The United Nation’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, chaired by weapons inspector Hans Blix, released its 60 recommendations on Monday. Regarding the Middle East, Blix recommended that most nations commit to not possessing any nuclear weapons. However, with Israel he recommended only that it commit to not manufacturing any more weapons. Israel is highly unlikely to agree to dismantle the 200 warheads it is believed to possess as the region’s sole nuclear power. Israel’s agreement would be a start, Blix said.
State Dept. Blasts Israel for Human Trafficking
Israel is on a U.S. State Department watch list of nations that fail to effectively prevent human trafficking. Israel was classified as being on the Tier Two watch list in the report released Monday. Tier Three is the worst classification, reserved for countries that fail to comply with minimum U.S. standards. Israeli law enforcement has made strides in cracking down on sex trafficking, the report said, but the same was not true of labor trafficking and “the estimated thousands of victims of forced labor were not provided with protection.” It described fees demanded of laborers ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, “a practice that often leads to debt bondage and makes these workers highly vulnerable to forced labor once in Israel,” it said.
FDA Approves Israeli Parkinson’s Drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved an Israeli drug that treats Parkinson’s, a chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled shaking and muscle stiffness. Marketed under the name Azilect, this is the first once-daily oral treatment for Parkinson’s to be distributed in the United States; it was developed by Technion professors Moussa Youdim and John Finberg and is being manufactured by Tel Aviv-based generic pharmaceutical giant Teva. The drug is expected to become available by prescription in the United States by July or August.
While not a cure, the drug slows the progression of the disease. Azilect works by blocking the breakdown of dopamine, which tells the body how and when to move.
Parkinson’s currently affects 1 million people in the United States.
“This is a welcome development for the more than 50,000 Americans who are each year diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, ” said Dr. Steven Galson, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Parkinson’s is a relentless disease with limited treatment options, and each new therapy is an important addition to the physicians’ treatment options.”
However, the FDA is warning that the drug could carry an increased risk of hypertensive crisis — a precursor to a stroke — if taken with tyramine-rich foods (cheese, chocolate, red wine), dietary supplements or cough/cold medicines. — Adam Wills, Associate Editor
Nazi Papers Declassified
The U.S. government declassified more than 8 million pages of files related to Nazi war crimes. The material including documents relating to the CIA’s employment of suspected Nazi war criminals after World War II. The members of the government’s Interagency Working Group said at a news conference Tuesday that the revelations pointed to the dangers of working with war criminals, as the United States did after World War II. Among other revelations, the papers show that former Nazis employed by the United States were more susceptible to recruitment as double agents by the Soviet Union. Additionally, the papers show that the United States had a strong lead on the whereabouts of Adolf Eichmann in 1958, but did not pursue it because of fears that his capture would expose the Nazi past of high-ranking officials in the West German government, which was allied with the United States.
Trump Fires Jewish Contestant
An observant Jew failed in his bid to become Donald Trump’s next apprentice. Lee Bienstock was fired Monday on the season finale of “The Apprentice.” Bienstock and another Jewish contestant, New Jersey’s Dan Brody, observed Rosh Hashanah together early in the season missing the third episode’s task but only Bienstock, who grew up in the New York area, stayed in the show long enough to observe Yom Kippur, missing another task.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Nation World Briefs
‘Hybrid’ Actor Crafts ‘Everyman’ Show
Is it possible for an everyman to be a leader? Can an everyman be a woman?
Ameenah Kaplan, who calls herself a “hybrid” — the product of an African American mother who converted to Judaism and a Jewish father — is directing, choreographing and co-producing “Everyman for Himself.” Appearing weekends at the Unknown Theatre in Hollywood, the show is a hybrid itself, in that it blends music, dance, theater and capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian dance form that incorporates self-defense maneuvers. Kaplan also wrote and conceived the production and, indeed, thinks of herself as an everyman.
Shaped by Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” Kaplan, 31, grew up in Atlanta, where she was bat mitzvahed and confirmed and where, she says, she would “float into different communities and never really fit into any of them.” As the only non-Christian among blacks, the only black among Jews, she says, “you’d be in a room and nobody sees you.”
Everyman, the title character in her show, played by Michael Gallagher, is both invisible and conspicuously visible. Where the other ensemble players paint their faces and wear togs like members of an African or Indian tribe, Everyman looks like a stiff businessman, donning a tie, starched shirt and long pants.
“Go with the flow,” is one of the adages he reads from a book, yet Everyman never quite fits in. He is singled out by one female character, who engages in a kind of martial arts match with him that is equal parts seduction and boxing.
None of Kaplan’s characters have traditional names; instead, they sport generic titles like Ball Girl, Judge, Bee and Boss. With the beat of African drums playing in the background as the ensemble characters teach Everyman to dance, there is the sense that we are witnessing an ancient ritual among primal beings.
In the production notes, Everyman is billed as a Buster Keaton/Charlie Chaplin “genius/fool”; he appears awkward, a modern man, exposed as if for the first time to the world of conformity that dates back to our days as early Homo sapiens in the Horn of Africa.
“People are essentially primal anyway,” says Kaplan, sitting on a couch in a lounge down the hall from her actors’ rehearsal hall. Wearing a head wrap that conceals her afro, Kaplan says, “We’re all simple and alike at the bottom. My acting training taught us that. Come into the room, get your shoes off and build the actor from the ground up.”
We share more than not, she says, pointing out “the visceral body connections celebrating those things that bring us together — sound, energy, drums, heartbeat, blood flowing.”
Kaplan has the slim, athletic body of a dancer; she has played numerous TV and legitimate theater roles, and sees herself first as an actor. She smiles when asked if she was somewhat conflicted over not playing the lead role herself, but she says that Gallagher embodies Everyman. She also stresses that every actor in the show contributes as much as the others. All of the actors play multiple roles: “The ensemble is the show. There are no supporting roles. No one’s playing crossword puzzles backstage. There are no cigarette breaks.”
One scene flows into the next, each one carrying totemic significance. The smallest prop — whether it’s a book, a jacket, a ball or a handkerchief (a nod perhaps to “Othello”) — becomes a talisman in this primordial landscape, where the characters speak very few words and those they do are often monosyllabic.
Everyman may be more Jesus than Adam. He must choose whether to fight or kill another man. Unlike the others, he is consumed with grief.
“What he’s going through is the human condition,” says Kaplan, whose work ethic really comes through in person. Reluctant to leave her actors for an interview, Kaplan never loses her graciousness and generosity; she has the maturity and seriousness of one who knows that, without her, the play will not proceed. Even during the brief interview, she wants to make sure that the actors are OK. At one point, she tells the stage manager that the actors will need her to be there for the next scene, involving some dance routines that they have not tried before.
As the interview ends, Kaplan, the everyman, springs to her feet with the physicality of Keaton. She will direct her cast without any crossword puzzle or cigarette breaks. She is anything but invisible.
“Everyman for Himself” plays Friday and Saturday nights at Unknown Theater, 1110 Seward St., near Santa Monica Boulevard, through April 29. For tickets and information, call (323) 466-7781.
Hip Cynics for Export
Darfur Seder Raises Awareness, Funds
Alula Tsadik, a lithe black man in dreds, wearing a red-and-black-striped poncholike tallit, pounded his chest and moaned, “Mama,” as he slowly circled the room at UCLA’s Hillel.
His tuneless melody, meant to capture the pain and horror of genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, was the first of many performances in last weekend’s Seder for Darfur. The Sunday pre-Passover event was held both to raise awareness and to raise money for Jewish World Watch on behalf of victims.
“Sometimes I feel like a motherless child/a long way from home,” the Gwen Wyatt Chorale somberly sang, its singers dispersed throughout the standing-room-only crowd of about 300 people.
“We need for America to speak out and really do something,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, one of the many high-powered guests in attendance. “Where to start, of course, is in the faith community.”
Others on hand for the 90-minute program included actor Mare Winningham, Danny Glover, Ed Asner and Forest Whitaker, as well as Jewish community notables, such as Valley Beth Shalom’s Rabbi Harold Schulweis, UCLA Hillel director Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller and singer Debbie Friedman. The event had few speeches; instead, the message was conveyed by readings, music and the firsthand accounts of students from Jewish World Watch who have gone to the Darfur region.
One of them, Lauren Gasparo, told of meeting a man who had just run away from his village, leaving behind his pregnant wife and his four children, ages 3 to 12.
“The Janjaweed will rape and kill my family, and there is nothing I can do,” the man said to her.
A slide show illustrated the crisis, using Ron Haviv’s photos from his “Children of Darfur” exhibit. The slides depicted displaced people, burning refugee camps and emaciated and dead victims of the genocide, which has claimed more than 300,000 people and displaced millions since 2003. Observers say most of the atrocities have been committed by Janjaweed militias, acting with the tacit approval and support of Sudan’s government.
“At every seder it’s our tradition to call, ‘Let all those who are hungry come and eat’ … in Darfur, their voices call out and remind us that in every generation we must see ourselves as if we left Egypt,” Seidler-Feller said. “Why is this seder different from all other seders? What has changed this year? Why are we gathering? Why do we care? Egypt is not a place and slavery is not a condition of the past.”
“Some nations are still ruled by present-day pharaohs,” he said. “Are you a freedom fighter? Then you believe in the Exodus. Today we are all freedom fighters.”
Seder participants were encouraged to use their own Passover seder to motivate their guests to help victims of oppression in Darfur. Inside orange “gift bags” were green postcards to mail to President Bush and contribution envelopes made out to Jewish World Watch, with the address line “Do Not Stand Idly By.”
The L.A.-based Jewish World Watch was formed in 2003 to educate and activate the community to decry genocide, as well as to bring humanitarian relief to victims in the form of water wells, medical clinics and sanitation. The organization has raised some $300,000 since its inception.
The gift bag also contained instructions for making the Passover seder different by adding a fourth matzah to the traditional three: “The Matzah of Hope.”
“We raise this fourth Matzah to remind ourselves that slavery and genocide still exist,” states the accompanying reading, “that people are being bought and sold as property, that ethnic people are being persecuted and slaughtered, that the Divine image within them is yet being denied….”
“We have suffered much for daring to be different. But we do not own suffering,” Asner read. “We live our lives in pursuit of justice…. We must not stand idly by….”
People were encouraged to attend an April 23 rally at the Federal Building in West Los Angeles. On April 30, Jewish World Watch is sponsoring a march on Washington and one in San Francisco, as well.
“It is easy to feel discouraged and say, what can I do?” director Robert Townsend said. “It is not helpless. By joining us today you are making a difference.”
The musical interludes used both traditional seder music — with saxophonist Dave Koz playing “Let My People Go” and Todd Herzog playing the Elijah song — and nonseder music — with Debbie Friedman singing, ” I still believe in people/and I still believe in you…” and Winningham on guitar, singing, “Hard times come again no more.”
Whitaker and Ahavat Shalom’s Cantor Patti Linksy mixed the two forms, as she read the closing “Chad Gad Ya” from the haggadah and the actor-director interspersed readings.
“What has changed? I have changed,” he read. “When will this circle of terror continue? When will this madness stop?”
“Our struggle must not stop,” said the seder’s executive producer, Janice Kaminer-Resnick. Just before the event, she announced, a donor had offered an $18,000 matching grant to the day’s contributions.
Craig Taubman, the writer of the seder, and producer of “Let My People Sing,” the nine-day Passover festival of which this was a part, ended the show on a jaunty note, playing with his band and Laurence Juber.
“Dayeinu,” they sang. Enough!
As people streamed out the door, Kaminer-Resnick announced that she had just received another check for $18,000, bringing the day’s pledges to $100,000.
Competing Moments of Truth on Schools
The Ultimate Taste Test
Inside Kosher World, the recent “for-the-trade” food show, you had to remind yourself you were in Anaheim. To my left, two gentlemen negotiated a deal in animated Hebrew. To my right, wine connoisseurs swirled, sniffed and sipped kosher-for-Passover premium varietals from Israel and 11 other countries. Behind me, hungry visitors, beckoned by the intoxicating aromas of smoked meat grilling, speared six varieties of kosher sausage. And at what other trade show would you find a curtained section designated “Davening Area”?
While this was the third year for Kosher World, it was the first time the show joined with the ethnic and halal markets, under the umbrella of the World Ethnic Market.
“These foods are no longer limited today to specialty suppliers or people of a particular religion or ethnicity,” said show director Phyllis Koegel. “They’re now routinely available at major food retailers, restaurants, hotels and food service operations.”
About 40 companies exhibited kosher products, ranging from wines to cheese to meat and halvah, but there also were cashews from Dan-D-Pack, a product of Vietnam; halal beef franks from Midamar, and salted lassi from Gulf & Safa Dairies of Dubai.
As usual at such shows, I sampled far too much, but what don’t you do in the name of research? My first stop was Neshama Gourmet Kosher Foods, for the best sausage I’ve ever tasted. My personal favorite is the exotic Merguez line, made from beef and lamb.
“For the first time our smoked andouille and country apple will be available kosher for Passover,” announced vice president Evelyn Baran.
I sampled salad dressing from Mistral — loved the soy ginger — and the yummiest individually wrapped Kugelettes — sure, there were Traditional Golden Raisin, but could grandma dream up Green Chile and Cheese with Salsa?
Next I visited Raphy’s booth, where samples of baba ghanoush, stuffed eggplant and a host of other delicacies, all produced in Turkey — the watermelon peel preserves are to die for — were dished up with flair.
Only fine wine could top off this “balanced meal,” so I headed for Royal Wine Corp., the world’s largest producer, importer and distributor of kosher wines. “When people hear ‘kosher’ and ‘wine’ in the same breath, they think sweet,” said Dennis Bookbinder, the company’s director of sales. “Our slogan is: ‘We produce and import premium varietal wines that happen to be kosher.’ Today you’ll find world-class kosher wines from $200 a bottle on down.”
Many of the company’s 300 wines from 12 countries regularly garner awards and top ratings from the world’s foremost wine critics and publications. And with Passover around the corner, expect a flood of new kosher wines. Petit Castel from the Judean Hills is considered the finest wine from Israel, Bookbinder said. Baron Herzog Jeunesse, as well as premium wines from Segal’s, Barkan and Carmel, are just a few he recommended to grace the seder table.
This year’s show also included the Natural Products Expo in the same building, “because people tend to associate kosher food with natural and organic,” said show director Koegel.
According to analysts, only 20 percent to 33 percent of kosher foods produced worldwide is consumed by Jews, and this is one of the fastest growing segments of the food industry. So just who is buying the rest? Muslims, Seventh-day Adventists, Hindus and others who follow similar dietary restrictions, for starters. With 20 percent of the population lactose intolerant and millions calling themselves vegetarians of one sort or another, plus countless others who are health conscious, it is easy to see why kosher products have wide appeal. The mad cow disease scare hasn’t hurt either; because of strict cleanliness requirements and butchering procedures, there has never been a case of the disease found in kosher beef.
So, as the motto on a banner said at the first Kosher World: “Bringing kosher to mainstream and mainstream to kosher.” Truer today than ever, I’d say.
Judy Bart Kancigor is the author of “Cooking Jewish: 652 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family” (Workman, September 2006) and can be found on the Web at
Wandering Jew – Upside Down
A Photojournalist’s Twist on Nazi Image
A visitor to the Getty Center encounters a 1932 photomontage of Hitler, his right arm raised Nazi style. Behind him stands a corpulent German industrialist slipping wads of money into the Fuehrer’s outstretched hand.
The ironic title is “The Meaning of the Hitler Salute: Little Man Asks for Big Gift,” and the picture is part of the small but striking exhibit, “Agitated Images: John Heartfield and German Photomontage, 1920-1938.”
Heartfield was born in Berlin as Helmut Herzfeld to parents who were both ardent socialist activists. They left their four children behind to shift for themselves, when Helmut was 8, and fled Germany to avoid a prison sentence for “blasphemy.”
The boy quickly proved that he had inherited his parents’ rebellious streak. Drafted into the Kaiser’s army at the beginning of World War I, he started out by sending anti-militaristic photomontaged postcards to the front.
In 1916, soldier Helmut Herzfeld expressed his disgust for the war slogan, “May God Punish England,” by anglicizing his name to John Heartfield.
Threatened with transfer to a combat unit, the newly renamed soldier faked a nervous breakdown so successfully that he got a medical discharge.
Was Herzfeld/Heartfield partly Jewish?
Art historian Andres Mario Zervigon of Rutgers University, who curated the exhibition and is writing a book about Heartfield, thinks almost certainly not, though he is still looking into the matter.
But even in this case, Heartfield went against the norm.
“Though he was of German descent, he identified himself as Jewish,” Zervigon said.
Back in civilian life, Heartfield helped found the Dada movement in Germany and began his lifelong membership in the Communist Party.
Initially trained in advertising, he created photomontages to twist standard pictures carried by the mainstream or Nazi press into subversive attacks on the pictured dignitaries.
One of his 1929 exhibits carried the title, “Use Photography as a Weapon,” and the Getty display illustrates what he meant.
Taking a well-known picture of Hitler in the throes of an emotional speech, Heartfield superimposed a chest X-ray, exposing a neatly stacked column of gold coins. The caption reads, “Hitler, the Superman, Swallows Gold and Spouts Tin.” The last two words are German slang for talking nonsense.
One of Heartfield’s favorite targets was the rotund Hermann Goering, mocking him with his own words that “steel makes a nation strong, but butter and lard only makes people fat.”
With Heartfield and his German colleagues in the lead, photomontage became an art form, designed to sell both soap and ideology, which made a strong impression in the United States on the founders of LIFE magazine.
The same style became a major tool for agitprop, especially by the rival Nazis and communists. Heartfield never wavered in his loyalty to the party of Lenin and Stalin and turned out a series of worshipful posters in praise of the Soviet workers paradise.
He also turned to the design of book covers, and his illustrations for the German translations of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” and John Dos Passos’ “Three Soldiers” are striking to this day.
Heartfield completed only one book of his own, which he titled, with characteristic irony, “Deutschland, Deutschland Ueber Alles” — then the first line of the German national anthem.
Following the Communist party line, Heartfield could lampoon the Social Democratic leaders of the Weimar Republic as viciously as he did the Nazis, sharpening the enmity between the two left-wing parties that paved the way for the Nazi takeover.
Knowing full well what was in store for him under Nazi rule, Heartfield fled to Czechoslovakia, where he resumed his anti-Nazi fusillade. In honor of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he designed a montage of new Nazi “sports,” including axe swinging for judges and head-rolling for Brown Shirt bullies.
After wartime refuge in England, he returned to East Berlin in 1948, but was greeted with suspicion. For one, the party now denounced photomontage as a “formalist” art form, and communists who had spent time in the West were seen as potential traitors.
But gradually Heartfield was rehabilitated, had a one-man retrospective show in 1957, and died as an honored artist in 1968, at the age of 77.
The current exhibit brings back, with a sense of immediacy, the fierce political struggles of the Weimar Republic between the two world wars. Now that these hatreds have faded into the past, Heartfield remains as one of the innovative minds that ushered in the golden age of photojournalism.
“Agitated Images,” continues through June 25 at the Research Institute Gallery of the Getty Center. Admission is free, parking is $7, and no reservations are required. For more information, call (310) 440-7300 or visit www.getty.edu.
Director Pays Price in Making ‘Capote’
‘Design’-ing Woman Comes to Town
“Kosher by Design,” (ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications, $32.99) “Kosher by Design Entertains” ($34.99) and “Kosher by Design Kids in the Kitchen” ($22.99) by Susie Fishbein.
With the frenzied anticipation generally reserved for the appearance of a rock star — or at the very least, Oprah — the Orthodox community of Los Angeles is abuzz with excitement: Susie is coming!
“Susie” is Susie Fishbein, the effervescent author of the “Kosher by Design” cookbooks, who has turned kosher cooking on its proverbial ear. And no wonder she bubbles over. According to Gedaliah Zlotowitz, Mesorah’s vice-president of sales and marketing, more than 160,000 copies have sold with no end in sight.
Fishbein will be making three exclusive appearances this month in Los Angeles (see box), and those lucky enough to get a reservation will watch, kvell and sample as their idol cooks.
“Susie Fishbein has done for Jewish cooking what [rabbi and author] Aryeh Kaplan did for beginning Judaism,” said Rabbi Shimon Kraft of the 613 Mitzvah Store on Pico Boulevard. “They’re buying her cookbooks en masse. She’s a genius at editing and putting everything all together.”
“Our patrons are meshugah for her books,” echoed Abigail Yasgur, director of the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles. “We have over 30,000 resources here, and the most precious part of our collection is Jewish cookbooks. Hers circulate so robustly. They’re fabulous.”
Just what is this revolution in kosher cooking that Fishbein has spawned? As food columnist, cooking instructor and dinnerware designer Debby Segura explained, “Lots of people used to feel tied to a few kosher cookbooks, but so much has happened in kosher food over the last 20 years that just wasn’t being reflected, and if it was, it was too complicated. Susie gives you food styling, kosher tips, kitchen tips. But the big deal about Susie’s recipes is they work.”
Risa Moskowitz, who chairs the event for Emek, added, “When I booked the event, everyone said, ‘Oh my gosh, I live by her cookbooks!’ There wasn’t one person who said ‘Who?’ People who aren’t kosher don’t realize what’s possible for us now, the variety of foods and the way to prepare them. They think kosher means dried-out, salted meat. Her books have had a tremendous impact.”
Toras Emes chair Sara Leah Beinstock agreed: “These are the ultimate kosher cookbooks. There’s nothing close to them on the market. Her recipes are easy to follow, and the food is appetizing and delicious. It’s very exciting to have gourmet Jewish cookbooks.”
Fishbein, an Orthodox Jew and mother of four children ages 3 to 11, understands that today’s observant Jews want to prepare many of the same exciting dishes found on restaurant menus and serve them with style. Those who grew up on Grandma’s Shabbos brisket now embrace her Rack of Lamb with Fig-Port-Shallot Sauce.
“Kosher food doesn’t have to be simple or bland,” noted Fishbein by phone from her New Jersey home. “Just about every ingredient is available out there kosher.”
The luscious table settings and presentation ideas that party planner Renee Erreich and Fishbein created for these books — and that photographer John Uher shot — fairly leap off the pages. But everything is doable.
“The food looks intimidating, but the recipes are not,” Fishbein said. “It’s not about putting on a show. These are recipes the family will want to eat over and over.” And they do. So popular are these dishes that guests recognize them on each other’s Shabbat tables.
Routinely dubbed the Jewish Martha Stewart, Fishbein squirms at the comparison.
“I’m flattered, but it’s not really accurate,” she said. “Martha Stewart is all about a lifestyle. If you want beautiful flowers, you plant them and this is how you do it. We’re busy. We have kids. We have jobs. We’re in and out of the kitchen trying to make fabulous meals. I take shortcuts she would never take. I’m about cutting to the chase to accomplish our goals.”
Beloria Fink, whose sister will be driving from San Diego to join her for the Emek event, observed, “Susie can take a simple recipe and it looks extravagant and elegant, like you’ve really knocked yourself out. She’s taken the bland, traditional Shabbos meal and turned it into elegant cuisine. She shows you how to set a beautiful table for each holiday so you can create a legacy for your own children.”
“Kosher by Design” marries food to holiday traditions in new ways that resonate with those seeking a deeper Jewish experience for their families.
“When I think back to Passover in my childhood,” Fishbein reflected, “I remember my cousin Jeff scrubbing the maror, my aunt cutting sheets of egg noodles and Grandma Mollie making chremslach, because 10 minutes shouldn’t go by without her feeding us something. These memories are like yesterday. It’s a happy place for me. I want that for my kids.”
To accomplish this Fishbein went way beyond “It’s Rosh Hashanah, let’s have honey.” Case in point: Pomegranate Chicken. “I tell my kids, ‘You know why I made this dish, you guys? Pomegranate has 613 seeds corresponding to the 613 mitzvot in the Torah.’ Maybe it’s not my grandmother’s chicken, but it’s incredibly appropriate.”
Similarly, envelope-shaped Won Ton Wrapped Chicken appetizers for Purim are edible reminders of the lots (purim) Haman drew to select the date for the Jews’ extinction.
For Simchat Torah she incorporates the tradition of eating rolled foods to mimic Torah scrolls.
“I thought stuffed cabbage was overdone,” Fishbein noted, “but I’ve got this awesome Chicken Negemaki. Chicken is rolled around scallion and red pepper strips and tied like a scroll with a blanched scallion. True, God never told us to eat Chicken Negemaki, but he didn’t tell us to eat stuffed cabbage either.”
With “Kosher by Design Entertains,” Fishbein moved on to celebrations — a housewarming, dinner for two, an engagement party — nine in all, with spectacular menus and extravagant serving ideas along with the simple, yet elegant recipes she had become famous for.
Now “Kosher by Design Kids in the Kitchen” offers the dishes kids like to eat — and cook — clearly explained, beautifully photographed and coded for difficulty with one, two or three chefs hats (see story p. 49).
How does Fishbein herself explain the hoopla surrounding her books?
“I think I hit a nerve in the community,” she said. “People clearly have had a creative passion in them that was waiting to be unleashed. I’ve unleashed their inner cook.”
Rack of Lamb with Fig-Port-Shallot Sauce
From “Kosher by Design” by Susie Fishbein.
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried minced thyme
2 racks of baby lamb chops, 8-9 chops per rack; have butcher French the bones
1 cup port wine, divided
8 fresh Mission figs or 6 dried figs, cut into quarters
1/2 cup chicken stock
Preheat oven to 450 F. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process 2 tablespoons olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and shallots 30-45 seconds or until thick paste forms. Rub herb paste into lamb.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium oven-proof skillet. Add lamb, fat side down, and cook over high heat 5 minutes. Turn lamb and cook an additional minute so that both sides are brown.
Add 1/2 cup port to skillet. Place skillet in the oven and roast 18 minutes.
Remove skillet from oven. Place lamb on a platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Add remaining 1/2 cup port and figs to skillet. Bring to a simmer. Use a spatula to loosen brown bits from pan. Add stock and simmer 3-4 minutes. Sauce will thicken to a nice amber color. Pour sauce over lamb and serve.
Makes four servings.
Additional recipes can be found at ” target=”_blank”>www.cookingjewish.com.
Susie Fishbein will appear in private homes on:
Marshall and Ricki Kulkin