7 Days in the Arts


Disabled artists make headway today thanks to the Irene Vaksberg Salon. The hair salon-by-day becomes an art space this evening, offering a forum for work by emerging artists with disabilities. “Readings From Explore and Express” features works by blind photographer Michael Richard and ceramicist Beth Abrams.

7 p.m. $10. 7803 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 939-7400.


Jerusalem-born artist Rhea Carmi is one of eight early and mid-career artists whose work appears as part of TarFest Art Show 2004. According to her Web site, her body of mixed-media pieces “depicts brutality and insanity of war and its resultant human suffering both physical and spiritual.” The exhibition is part of the Miracle Mile Players’ Festival of Film, Music and Art being held this weekend, but remains on display at Lawrence Asher Gallery through Nov. 6.

5820 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. www.tarfest.com.


Fashion designer-cum-musical producer Max Azria and BCBGMaxAzria Entertainment compatriot Charles Cohen are honored tonight by AMIT Cherish the Children. The Israeli organization provides religious and general education in the form of 60 schools, as well as youth villages, surrogate family residences and other programs. The gala dinner benefits the AMIT network of schools in Israel.

5:30 p.m. $300+. Luxe Hotel, 11461 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 859-4885.


Tonight, those not yet sick of the political season get one last dose of wit before Big Tuesday. Parlor Performances and Harris and Frank Productions present the next and last installment of “Entertaining Politics: Six Tuesdays of Post-Conventional Wisdom,” with “philosopher-comedian” and Harvard grad Emily Levine.

7:30 p.m. $25. Magicopolis, 1418 Fourth St., Santa Monica. (310) 471-3979. www.entertainingpolitics.com.


With hopes to become an annual event, The Century City Film Festival kicks off this year featuring films falling under the banner of “Camp, Cult, Classics,” and raising much-needed money and conversation on behalf of minorities in entertainment. Tonight’s benefit lasts through Friday and gives to the Minorities in Broadcasting Training Program.

Oct. 27-30. (877) 723-6887.” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>


Simians get center stage at the Paul Kopeikin Gallery’s new exhibition by celebrity photographer Jill Greenberg. A departure from her usual subject, “Monkey Portraits” is true to its title, featuring portraits of apes, who, through Greenberg’s lens, begin to look remarkably human.

Through Dec. 11. 6150 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 937-0765. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>


Sure, ventriloquism can be creepy in the same way that uncle who used to pull a coin out of your ear always kind of freaked you out. But David Strassman has got the stuff, if you believe anything the Brit and Irish critics say. His one-man/many-puppet show “Dummy” was well-received on that other continent, so check out his latest, “Strassman,” for yourself. Just leave the kids at home for this decidedly grown-up puppet show.

8 p.m. (Fri. and Sat.), 2 p.m. (Sun.). $14-$16. 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. (818) 769-7529.

Seeking Klezmer at the Source by Naomi Pfefferman, Arts & Entertainment Editor

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When Yale Strom created his first klezmer band in 1981, he promptly bought a one-way ticket to Eastern Europe. While other groups in the emerging klezmer revival were transcribing old-world music off 78s, Strom intended to “find songs that existed only in the memories of Jews who still lived there,” he said.
Scholars scoffed as he packed his backpack, violin and tape recorder: “After the Holocaust, they assumed the Jews who had returned to their former homes had succumbed to communism,” said Strom, 47, a leading klezmer musician and scholar.
He proved them wrong during his year-long 1981 trip, the subject of his new memoir, “A Wandering Feast: A Journey Through the Jewish Culture of Eastern Europe” (Jossey-Bass, $24.95), co-written with his wife, Elizabeth Schwartz. This Jewish “On the Road” records his musical detective work as well as songs and recipes he encountered.
It all began when he arrived at Zagreb’s Jewish old age home on a drizzly night; the next morning, 79-year-old Rut sang the “Waltz From Senta” she had danced to at her cousin’s wedding in Szeged, Hungary as a girl.
In Kosice, Czechoslovakia, Strom sloshed through eight inches of snow to the shul on Zvonarska Street, where the shammes cried as he remembered how his mother, who had died in Auschwitz, had loved Yiddish songs.
To capture the zmiros the man and his friends sang on the Sabbath, Strom strapped his tape recorder to his leg and turned it on as the elderly Jews pounded their fists against the chipped, wooden table covered with siddurim, crumbs and shot glasses.
In the Carpathain Ukraine that spring, he traveled by horse and cart to perform with a Rom (Gypsy) band at a wedding and was so inspired that he improvised a song, “On the Road to Salang.” When the musician returned to the United States in 1982, he brought back more than just 50 obscure songs for his band to perform.
“I felt I had literally walked the paths where our forbears had walked, whether they were marching to the chuppah or the gas chambers,” he said.
If Strom is now renown as one of the world’s most prolific klezmer aficionados (he’s completed 10 books, eight films and nine CDs), he traces his passion to the journey.
“I learned not to take any day for granted, because you may not know where you’ll be the next day,” he said.