Arts & Culture

A Jew Among the Inuit

By Judy Stone

As Norman Cohn will tell you now, he believes that the Jews and the Eskimos are the longest tribal survivors in history. But it’s a shared trait that the New York Jewish pioneer video artist had not considered until he found a spiritual home, and community work, among the Inuit people of Igloolik in the Canadian Arctic.Read More

Cooking Up A New Niche:The Chef Shot

By Noga Tarnopolsky

France, as we know, is a country fiercely attached to its many traditions. Every January, Lyon — that cradle of haute cuisine spanning the vine-endowed banks of the Rhône River, home to world-famous chef Paul Bocuse — welcomes the nation’s top gastronomy fair, internationally known by its French acronym, Sirha. This past January, the city papered itself in posters displaying a fetching young woman in a blond bob, thoughtfully sucking on a chocolate-covered cherry while gazing forthrightly at all passersby. Kitschy but probably effective, the image was even embossed onto small chocolate rectangles given to guests upon arrival.Read More

Between Us Girls

By Jenna Weissman Joselit

Strange as it may sound, I’ve been thinking a lot about dolls this month, or, more to the point, perhaps, about girl culture in modern America. Some of my thoughts were triggered by the imperatives of academic research: I was preparing a talk on the material culture of Jewish teenage girls of the 1950s for a forthcoming conference, and was spending a fair amount of time in the archives. And some of my thoughts were sparked by a recent visit to New York City’s Times Square branch of Toys ”R” Us, where, with my 7-year-old niece in tow, I paid my respects to that special kingdom over which scantily clad Barbies preside, an encounter that left me quaking in my boots — my feminist boots, to be clear about it. As the professional shaded into the personal, I couldn’t help but reflect on just how fraught, even vexed, it once was — and continues to be — to grow up as an American Jewish girl.Read More

A New Book Probes Chagall’s Conflicts and Contradictions

By David Kaufmann

What are we supposed to do with Marc Chagall? Picasso admired him as a colorist, but, on the whole, Chagall is not remembered for his painterly technique. People know him for his subjects — for his off-kilter, dreamy takes on life in a Hasidic shtetl, and for his desperately serious depictions of a very Jewish Christ on the cross. Though he was obviously a Modernist magpie — he poached his compositional tricks from a number of his contemporaries —Chagall was in essence quite conservative. He was a narrative painter, an illustrator and, as Jonathan Wilson is forced to concede in this new biography, he was often an overly sentimental artist. Nevertheless — or because of this — by force of his talent and a certain degree of historical luck, Chagall was, at the time of his death more than two decades ago at the age of 97, the best-known and most widely admired Jewish artist of the 20th century.Read More

A Stitch in Time

By Gabriel Sanders

No one can accuse Magda Goebbels of having been impervious to the damage wrought on Kristallnacht. “What a nuisance,” Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels’s wife said upon hearing that a clothier she favored, Berlin’s Salon Kohnen, was being forced to close up shop. “We all know that when the Jews go, so will Berlin’s elegance.”Read More

Once Suppressed, Composers Enjoy Revival

By David Mermelstein

James Conlon, music director of Los Angeles Opera, and Marilyn Ziering, a Beverly Hills philanthropist, met for the first time only a year ago, but they have become fast friends. A common interest unites them: making sure that music suppressed by the Nazis and then largely forgotten — much of it by Jewish composers — gets a fair hearing.Read More

A Documentary Wrings Poetry From Politics

By Steven Zeitchik

Almost as inevitable as the endless feature stories about the recent increase in political documentaries is the limpness of the films themselves. A strong documentary demands both surprising characters and a rich ethical imagination; make subjects’ impulses too obvious, as many of these films do, and you wind up with pamphleteering, pandering or Michael Moore.Read More

'West Bank' Musical Comedy Wins Oscar

By Elissa Strauss

“West Bank Story,” a musical comedy about the eruption of love between an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian falafel-stand worker, won this year’s Academy Award for best live short.Read More

Warhol’s Tribe

By Beth Schwartzapfel

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Andy Warhol — as good a time as any to reminisce, in these pages, about the famed artist’s place in Jewish history. Although Warhol is best known for his portraits of such pop icons as Elvis Presley and Jackie Kennedy, in 1980 he also completed a set of 10 portraits of Jewish icons, commissioned by art dealer and gallery owner Ronald Feldman.Read More

Kissing and Telling

By Joshua Cohen

Though David Evanier should best be known as a writer of stories that feign to punch and kick in the upstart manner of their Chosen People, he also traffics in the ethnicities of others, having authored nonfiction volumes on singers Bobby Darin and Jimmy Roselli. A few years ago he co-authored the memoir of an actor, Joe Pantoliano, who, according to a note appended to the end of his lastest book, “plays Ralph on HBO’s ‘The Sopranos’.”Read More

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