Jon Stewart on Ehud Barak, World War III and the lower Manhattan

Veteran World War III chasers have pinned their hopes for global annihilation on Israel and Iran, but don't count out North Korea.

Donald Trump endorses Netanyahu in video

American billionaire Donald Trump endorsed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a video released on YouTube.

“My name is Donald Trump and I’m a big fan of Israel,” Trump says at the start of the 36-second video.

“You truly have a great prime minister in Benjamin Netanyahu — there’s nobody like him. He’s a winner. He’s highly respected. He’s highly thought of by all. And people really do have great, great respect for what’s happened in Israel.”

Trump concludes, “So vote for Benjamin. Terrific guy, terrific leader. Great for Israel.”

Trump endorsed Mitt Romney in the recent U.S. presidential election. Trump's daughter, Ivanka, is a convert to Judaism and married a Jewish businessman, Jared Kushner.

Life in the Lopez Beatles [VIDEO]

Newspaper-reading Angelenos may recognize the byline Robert Lloyd. 

What they may not know is that the Los Angeles Times television critic once was more concerned with singing about a “Bitchen Party” than with covering the Golden Globes, which take place this year on Jan. 13.

Back in the early ’80s, Lloyd sang and played guitar on a catchy single with that name by a group called Lopez Beatles. It aired on MTV and local programs nationwide, including Richard Blade’s “MV3” on Channel 9.

Don’t tear your gray hairs out if you can’t remember. Neither Lopez Beatles nor their facetious song got very far — not that it matters to Lloyd.

“It was a true, fun experience,” he said. “A lot of music at the time was sort of dark, and we weren’t dark.”

The tongue-in-cheek video for the song featured the happy-go-lucky Lopez Beatles rocking out at a prom-like party, riffing on who was going to attend: “Student drivers are gonna be there, and easy riders are gonna be there. The heads of NATO are gonna be there, and Quasimodo is gonna be there.”

The video’s dead ringer for Rick Moranis, Lloyd co-wrote the song with the band’s chief songwriter/founding frontman, Bruce D. Rhodewalt.

Story continues after the video.

Lloyd, of Ukrainian descent, grew up in Encino and attended California State University, Northridge, and New College of Florida in Sarasota. The art major said his “aspiration was not to work in an office or to do anything where I was required to wear a tie.”

Ground zero for Lopez Beatles was Echo Park, where Rhodewalt and his roommate Lloyd Ehrenberg, who played guitar, lived in an Angeleno Heights duplex. In 1981, assistant music editor Rhodewalt and typesetter-cum-music reviewer Lloyd became friends at LA Weekly. Together with Ehrenberg, they formed the band, which eventually came to include drummer Jim Goodall and bassist Doug Freeman. 

“I thought it’d be a great idea to call ourselves the Beatles,” Rhodewalt said. “We’d get sued, get our names in the paper. … Since we lived in Echo Park, every other tire store, every other carniceria is called Lopez, so … the Lopez Beatles.”

Glenn Morgan directed the “Bitchen Party” video with co-director/producer Ellen Pittleman, who later became a Paramount executive.

“Originally, the song had no fixed lyrics except for the chorus,” Lloyd said. “We would just make up who was going to be there on the spot, sometimes naming people in our terrifically tiny audience. We wrote set lyrics [and recorded the song] in order for our friend Glenn to make the video, as a calling card for his directing.”

Morgan had entered the business as editor on Mary Lambert’s videos for a suddenly hot Warner Bros. artist.

“We both rode Madonna’s coattails to great success,” joked Morgan, who edited the singer’s breakthrough video “Borderline,” as well as “Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl.” 

After Janet Jackson’s “Nasty Boys,” the Knoxville, Tenn., native yearned to direct. So he, Lloyd, Rhodewalt and Pittleman finalized lyrics to “Bitchen,” conscious of their $5,000 budget. At former bassist David Vaught’s Van Nuys studio, the band recorded the definitive version of the video, with the Lopez Beatles jamming to an empty room, ticking off an eclectic list of expected party guests.

Morgan shot exteriors near Farmers Market at Third Street and Fairfax Avenue, but a shutter problem junked the footage. Reshooting weeks later, Morgan enlisted video-world colleague Bill Pope, who went on to be director of photography for the “Matrix” and “Spider-Man” movies.

“We did a better job the second time,” Morgan said, smiling.

“Bitchen Party” ran on MTV’s “Basement Tapes” co-hosted by Martha Quinn and special guest Billy Crystal. The Los Angeles Times’ Calendar section, which now regularly runs Lloyd’s byline, praised the clip over Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer.”

In 1985, John Schweitzer’s minuscule label Shanghai Records pressed 1,000 copies of a “Bitchen Party”/”Spin-a-Roo” single.

“I remember hearing it on the radio,” Lloyd said.

Failing to capitalize on any momentum, Lopez Beatles faded away after Rhodewalt moved to Long Beach to start a family. Occasionally, they reunite for friends.

“We weren’t careerist about it,” Lloyd added.

After editing LA Style magazine, Lloyd returned to LA Weekly from 1996 to 2001, writing the Critical List column. In 2003, he jumped to the Times.

Today, Freeman, who jams Thursday nights at the Culver Hotel in Culver City, supervises editing on documentaries, while La Quinta resident Rhodewalt teaches math at Palm Springs High School. Goodall toured worldwide with band Medicine. 

Tiring of videos, Morgan settled into television in 1994. Since 2008, the Malibou Lake resident has worked post-production on “Project Runway.” Work relocated graphic artist Ehrenberg to Oakland. He returned to Ocean Park and, in 1994, died of Lou Gehrig’s disease at 36.

“Bitchen Party” may not have become a major part of the pop-culture musical canon, but, Lloyd said, “That video does seem to have made its way through the world. It’s authentically celebratory, and we were authentically excited when we recorded it. I think that’s why people responded to it. It was very simple.”

Kipah-wearing teen wows ‘America’s Got Talent’ semis [VIDEO]

Edon Pinchot, a kipah-wearing Jewish day school student, won cheers from the live audience and the judges in the semifinals of “America’s Got Talent.”

Pinchot, 14, of Skokie, Ill., performed One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” on the popular NBC reality show and received a standing ovation from the live audience. Judge Howie Mandel told Pinchot that he is “the best singer of the competition.”

The teen was among 12 acts performing live Tuesday night. Other semifinalists joining Pinchot, a singer and pianist, included singers, a dancer, a dog ventriloquist, an acrobat, a mind reader and a comedian.

The second set of 12 semifinalists will perform Sept. 4.

[Related: The Jewish Channel interviews Edon Pinchot]

Should enough TV viewers cast their votes for Pinchot, he will advance to the finals and a chance to take home the $1 million prize. He has performed an audition, in the Vegas round and in the quarterfinals to reach the semis. His kipah has made him a focal point for viewers.

Pinchot,  who is Sabbath observant and keeps kosher, is the fourth of five children and has been playing piano since he was 9. His grandmother, Ginger Pinchot of Silver Spring, Md., says Edon is “very athletic. He’s one of the stars of his soccer team, and he’s also a straight A student. He’s just kind of an all-around guy.”

The show’s three judges—Mandel, Sharon Osbourne and Howard Stern—are Jewish.

Pinchot will be starting high school soon at the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago.


Suissa vs. Beinart – ‘Is Zionism in Crisis?’ [VIDEO]

Moderated by Rabbi John Rosove

This is a recording of a live broadcast from Wed. May, 15, 2012.

Video by Jay Firestone

Adelson took sharp jabs at Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, the two leading candidates in the Republican primary races.

“I know Rick [Santorum]. I like him. We’re friendly. But I got to tell you something, I don’t want him running my country,” he said.

Romney is “not the bold decision maker like Newt Gingrich is,” Adelson said.

Adelson predicted it’s unlikely Gingrich will become a vice presidential candidate.

Adelson is chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., a company valued at more than $21 billion, according to Forbes magazine.  He is also a major donor to the Birthright Israel program and has been said to be single-handedly responsible for keeping Gingrich’s campaign alive in recent months.

Finding their place [VIDEO]

Lauren Levine is settling in with a group of friends apartment to watch “American Idol,” when a look of panic comes over her face. She rummages around, finds her keys and darts out.

“I left the hair thing on,” she says when she returns, breathless, from her own apartment downstairs. “I was straightening Jasmine’s hair before we came up here, and I forgot to turn it off. Wow. That was close.”

Levine has wide blue eyes accentuated with sparkly eye shadow, and her voice is spiced with a sense of interested wonder. She wants to be a cosmetologist — she’s taken some classes — but for now she is just happy to be living on her own, and working the front desk at a gym in Century City.

Levine’s developmental delays are less obvious than those of her roommate, Jasmine Banayan, who has Down syndrome. Banayan is gregarious and warm and asserts herself as something of a leader among the dozen or so friends who live in a cluster of apartments in Westwood.

The group gets together every night to hang out at one or another of their homes, or to go out to dinner, and, on Friday nights, the five Jewish members of the group are regulars at Shabbat dinner and services at nearby UCLA Hillel.

All are participants in a parent-led experiment in independent living for adults with developmental or cognitive disabilities.

Today’s 20-somethings with disabilities have grown up at the vanguard of a successful mainstreaming model, and they and their parents now are determined to continue to break the mold, to live adult lives with high expectations, in keeping with the ideal that not only is there a place for them within mainstream society, but that they can contribute in meaningful and enriching ways.

While the impetus for change exists, needed funds won’t necessarily follow. Government budget cuts are endangering existing programs, and start-up costs for new programs can be prohibitive.

Story continues after the video.

The Hanukkah Song: A 2011 update

Bill Funt parodies Adam Sandler’s holiday gem, “The Hanukkah Song.”

Video footage of Gilad Shalit’s release

No fly-by-night arts complex

The Santa Monica Art Studios is located in a historic hangar on the southern edge of the Santa Monica Municipal Airport, but co-founder and co-director Yossi Govrin thinks of the space’s mix of skylights, white walls and towering ceilings in religious terms.

“It feels like a Gothic church,” the Israeli artist said.

Celebrating the venue’s seventh anniversary, Santa Monica Art Studios, which features 29 artist spaces and three galleries, will hold an open-house exhibition on Oct. 15 and 16. The complex’s 35 artists-in-residence — including painters, sculptors, mixed-media artists and photographers — and approximately 15 outside artists will participate in the event. Visitors can explore the artists’ studios, galleries and the Arena 1 exhibition space, which are all part of the 22,000-square-foot complex.

“It’s only once a year that we open the studio in this manner,” Govrin said. “It’s extremely festive and beautiful.”

In Arena 1, architectural exhibition “Unruly” — curated by local architects Lisa Little and Emily White — examines the personality of static objects and the unexpected chaos that results when using machines in art.

Oscar-nominated costume designer Julie Weiss (“American Beauty”), oil painter Krista Augius and veteran printmaker Mitchell Friedman are among the artists-in-residence whose work will also be featured.

“We like it when people come in,” Friedman said. “That’s why we do what we do.”

Govrin’s sculptures and paintings will also be featured during the show.

Born in Iran, Govrin moved to Israel when he was 10. In the late 1960s, he served as a paratrooper in the Israeli army, then studied sociology and diplomacy at Hebrew University. But when he started dating an artist, her passion rerouted his direction in life.

“I saw that she had more fun than me. I took her material and started painting,” he said. “I finished my studies but never went into diplomacy or international relations.”

Govrin enrolled in the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem in 1977, then moved to the United States two years later.

Nowadays, Govrin counts celebrities — including Halle Berry and Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh — among his clients, and his work is featured on the television show “House.”

One of his most prized pieces, however, is thousands of miles away — in Israel. About 10 years ago, the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles commissioned Govrin to create a monument honoring the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Govrin was thrilled to work on the Rabin piece. There was one problem: how to move the 800-pound sculpture from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv.

“I said I would do it for free if [they] initiated how to get it to Israel and install it,” he said.

Ron Huldai, the mayor of Tel Aviv, helped transport Govrin’s sculpture to Israel. Today, the bronze bust of Rabin sits on display in Tel Aviv City Hall.

“It was one of those pieces you’re touched by as an artist,” Govrin said.

Govrin co-founded Santa Monica Art Studios with Sherry Frumkin, who previously ran a gallery at Bergamot Station Arts Center, also in Santa Monica.

Frumkin said her talents complement Govrin’s.

“Yossi had much more experience with putting together a collective of artists who worked in a space,” Frumkin said. “I had more experience with exhibitions.”

As the former home of the Douglas Aircraft Co. — noteworthy for having built the first plane to circumnavigate the earth — the Santa Monica Municipal Airport has been friendly to Govrin and Frumkin’s art world.

In fact, Govrin created a sculpture of Donald Douglas, founder of the Douglas Aircraft Co., for the airport’s Douglas DC-3 Monument Plaza in 2009. Beverly Hoskinson, who worked for the Douglas Aircraft Co. for several decades, helped arrange the commission.

“Judging by the person he is, and the heart he puts in his work, he was the logical choice,” she said.

Santa Monica Art Studios, Hoskinson added, is “a wonderful thing for the airport, and very integral for what a lot of us would like to see the airport be. Just a gathering ground for all parts of the community.”

The occasional planes flying overhead, the pilots coming in to check out art — Govrin loves the environment.

“It’s fantastic,” he said. “It’s a fun energy.”

The open-house exhibition runs for two days — Saturday, Oct. 15, 6-9 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 16, 1-5 p.m. Tickets are available starting at $25 at, via Ticketmaster or through the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310-825-2101.

How to build a Sukkah [VIDEO]

The Maccabeats spoof OneRepublic in ‘Book of Good Life’ [VIDEO]

Rosh Hashanah remix to the Muppets’ ‘Mahna Mahna’

Rosh Hashanah ‘in the house tonight’ dances into the new year

Aish brings together rhythm, beats and davening for their Rosh Hashanah ‘in the house tonight’ dancing spectacle that parodies LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem.  Here’s the chorus from the lyrics, but be sure to watch the video for the full effect.

Rosh Hashanah’s in the house tonight
All the world is passing through the light
Let’s all get written in the book of Life
Shana Tova—it’s High Holiday time


‘Upper West Side Story’ – The Groggers [MUSIC VIDEO]

The United Nations, Durban III and Israel [VIDEO]

Hava Nagila: The Movie

2nd Avenue Deli is movin’ on up, to the East Side

New York’s Second Avenue Deli now has two locations—neither of which is on Second Avenue.  JTA has video of the new branch’s opening, featuring a cameo by television and Yiddish stage star Fyvush Finkel.

Tisha B’Av Social Justice [VIDEO]

Netanyahu comments on protests get music remix [VIDEO]

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has become the latest target of Israeli musician Noy Alooshe and his satirical music videos.

In the clip released this week, Alooshe takes comments by the prime minister claiming that there would be no protests in Israel akin to those in the Arab World and mixes them with recent footage of Israelis taking to the streets en masse over the spiraling cost of living in the country.

This is not the first that Alooshe has remixed the prime minister’s words. In May, the musician made a video based on Netanyahu’s speech to Congress; other leaders to find themselves as stars of one of his videos include Silvio Berlusconi and Muammar Gadhafi.


Black and Jewish (Black and Yellow Parody)

‘Bridesmaids’ Kali Hawk & ‘Vampire Diaries’ Katerina Graham shout out Drake, Lenny Kravitz, Lauren London and Rashida Jones as they pay homage to Black & Jewish celebs in a new Funny or Die video.