Arts & Culture


The End of the World as We Know It

By Joshua Cohen

Lenny Bruce Is Dead By Jonathan Goldstein Counterpoint, 193 pages, $13. Lenny Bruce died in 1966 at the age of 40, from a morphine overdose in his home in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles. Like Elvis would a little more than a decade later, Bruce died in the bathroom, which is both funny and sad — and altogether 20th century. NeitherRead More


KGB Confidential: Unearthing a Hero of Soviet Jewry

By Gal Beckerman

There is a long-standing tradition among the Russian intelligentsia of honoring one’s intellectual heroes by prominently displaying their image for all to see. In a place where others might put family portraits, the Russian physicist has a photo of the professor who trained him; the poet stares up at Mandelstam or Brodsky. When I went to visitRead More


Clothes Maketh the Man?

By Jeffrey Fiskin

In a great metropolis, two gentlemen meet outside a large store that specializes in photographic and video equipment. They are both dressed soberly, one in the familiar navy-blue business suit, the other in a black caftan and a round cap with a thick fur brim and old-fashioned shoes, as well.Yehuda: Naftali! How are you?Naftali: Yehuda! Fine. LongRead More


Video Artist Presents a Reinterpretation of Scripture

By Dinah A. Spritzer

It takes some kind of chutzpah to announce at your wedding that you’re going to rewrite Deuteronomy because you find it offensive. But what kind of person turns such a wedding proclamation into an art exhibit?Melissa Shiff — a postmodern Canadian Jewish performance artist who was married by a secular humanist rabbi at a TorontoRead More


CONTRASTING LANDSCAPES

By Sarah Kricheff

Known for his bold brushstrokes and vibrant colors, Michael Kovner creates paintings that offer lush images of Israeli scenery. An expansive beach dotted with red umbrellas, piles of yellow haystacks casting moody shadows in the sunlight and a blunt portrait of a lemon tree ripe with fruit are among his subjects. InRead More


Nice Jewish Boy Turns Bad, Gets Role

By Jordana Horn

Sometimes the most creative acting gets done off-camera.Take Scott Cohen, whom big- and small-screen audiences will recognize from the television shows “Gilmore Girls” and “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” the film “Kissing Jessica Stein” and, most famously, “The 10th Kingdom,” NBC’s seven-hour fantasy narrative in which heRead More


A Witness To His Time

By A.J. Goldmann

‘A filmmaker must be a witness of his times,” said great French director Jean-Pierre Melville, widely acknowledged as the grandfather of the French New Wave, in an interview about his 1969 movie, “Army of Shadows.” The film, a gloomy existentialist set piece of espionage that details the heroism of French partisans in the face of certainRead More


Humbly Going About His Work

By Menachem Wecker

Jules Olitski, the subject of an exhibit opening May 10 at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery at the George Washington University, has been compared to nearly every artist in the canon — Rembrandt, Frederic Edwin Church, Picasso, Hans Hoffman, El Greco — as well as deemed the newest painting god to emerge from the stratosphere ex nihilo. It’sRead More


The Incidental Advantage

By David R. Slavitt

Daniel C. Dennett’s recent book, “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon” (2006), is a fascinating volume, but it is not my purpose here either to review it or even to try to summarize its highly original approach to what one might call the biology of religions — how they grow, develop, adapt and either benefit orRead More


Etgar Keret’s Unlikely Landscape

By Stephen Marche

The Nimrod Flip-out By Etgar Keret Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 176 pages, $12. * * *Etgar Keret’s fame in Israel is as unlikely as one of his own stories: A young writer of ultrashort, ultramodern fictions produces four straight best-selling collections. The stories in his collections go on to be translated into 16 languages and turnedRead More





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