It seems like so long ago that The Maccabeats warmed the hearts of millions and inspired thousands to take pop songs and make Hanukkah themed YouTube videos. Those friendly Yeshiva boys have split, seemingly, into StandFour and the intriguingly named The Maccabeats. While the schadenfreudistic side of me would love to see live footage of the split, the bubbe side of me can’t help but note that they are all growing up so nicely!
StandFour (they know what they stand for!) have a highly produced parody medley of pop songs with a nice reference to the silliness of it all — “random jewish references in a Hanukkah song.” But this time around all seems a little serious and samey — even to the white frames floating around the video. It feels a little like this singing might be a career now and maybe it’s time to find a nice wife and settle down. Noey, bubbele, why not spill jam from the doughnut again, that was so funny!
After I was mercifully saved from the bourgeois enjoyment of a sailing trip off the Horn of Africa in 2008 by the merciful boats of the Navy of Wadiya, I spent several months lying prostrate at the doors of a Wadiyan palace hoping that the then Colonel-General Aladeen would release me.
In early 2010 he deigned to lean out of the door and cover me in the divine mouth-water that meant I would be free to leave as soon as my family sent him a Mercedes Benz S600 and a copy of Lil Wayne’s “Rebirth.” So it was with great personal fondness that I submitted a few questions to him via the intimate medium of email.
Dan Friedman: The peoples of Egypt and Tunisia rose up against their very own rulers. What can dictators do about the Arab spring?
Colonel-General Aladeen: I think that the Arab Spring is a passing fad, like the Atkins diet, or human rights, and you’ll find that pretty soon it will turn into the Crackdown Summer, Torture Fall and Execution Winter. But you know the Arab Spring could have been avoided. I told Mubarak a thousand times: “If you get Wi-Fi in your palace, put a f**king password on it. The people will start using it.”
Image courtesy of Studio Daniel Libeskind
Rising from the conservative courtyard of the Military History Museum of Dresden, a gleaming metallic wedge heads straight for the wall of the original 1873 Saxon armory building. Without pausing, Daniel Libeskind’s new wing cuts through the 19th-century structure and reaches its soaring vantage point on its far side. Since its opening on October 15, visitors have been able to climb up to the exposed viewing balcony at the tip and look out over Dresden.
The architectural intervention would be striking anywhere, but in Dresden it’s downright startling. Talking to Libeskind about the project, it’s clear he’s deeply excited about the possibilities of making a building in the context of Dresden. In an interview with The Arty Semite, he characterized the town’s post-war recovery as nostalgic:
When we talk about the Enlightenment, or the Haskalah, in Europe, we have a general historical sense that all Jews were in ghettos and then the walls came down. One day pogroms, the next Einstein, Freud and Kafka. The period of time was indeed extraordinary, as Michael Goldfarb elucidates in his book “Emancipation: How Liberating Europe’s Jews From the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance,” recently released in paperback from Simon & Schuster. The shift, however, was more gradual and more geographically specific than we might imagine, and the results were more nuanced and even more spectacular than could have been expected. I caught up with Goldfarb at a recent book talk at the JCC in Manhattan and, unfairly, asked him to summarize his 432-page book in a couple of minutes.
Rarely has the presence of the Divine Being been so radically affirmed by the actions of a Wired magazine columnist. Having decided that our own created universe was getting perilously close to extinction, Jargon Watch writer Jonathon Keats set up an altar designed to stimulate the Ineffable One into further acts of creation.
The title “Pornography for God” recalls his equal opportunity 2007 piece “Pornography for Plants” (also known as “Cinema Botanica”) which projects explicit images of plants being pollinated onto plants on the floor in the gallery. From November 12, both pieces will be hosted at alternative arts space Louis V E.S.P. Located on an upper floor of a walkup in Williamsburg, Louis V E.S.P. is at the perfect nexus of belief and hipsterdom.
Rather than the prurient delights of pollination, though, this new installation displays images from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. The two LHC tunnels, Alice and Atlas, have live online graphic feeds of the experiments where they replicate the Big Bang, and these glow through a ghostly altar in front of which votive candles, incense, flowers and other objects are offered. In the tradition of pornographic exhibitions, the show is intended to excite the Creator by showing acts of creation. “I felt sorry for God,” Keats told me, “monotheism must be lonely.”
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