Yes, the days are longer now, the better to appreciate the various shades of green likely to overtake cities this weekend for St. Patrick’s Day. Never fear, you have ample reason to participate in the celebrations: Trust Seth Rogovoy, whose “Secret Jewish History of St. Patrick’s Day” reveals such interesting tidbits as the relationship between Irish corned beef and brisket — spoilers, they’re basically the same! — and makes such bold proclamations as “Irish music is really just klezmer with an Irish accent.”
If you choose not to spend your precious extra hours of sunlight gawping at the green-dyed Chicago River or trying to avoid considering the particular chemical combination involved in crafting your emerald-colored beer, read on for the best of weekend culture in New York, Washington D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles.
Michael Lukas’s new novel “The Last Watchman of Old Cairo”, centered on Old Cairo’s Ibn Ezra Synagogue, spans centuries in examining part of the Jewish people’s long and tangled history in Egypt. Miles J. Unger’s “Picasso and the Painting that Shocked the World” recounts Pablo Picasso’s early years as an artist in Paris, culminating with his painting of the astonishing “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”; read an excerpt regarding the influence of the art collectors Gertrude and Leo Stein — yes, that Gertrude Stein — at Literary Hub. And as the winners of the 2018 Ellies, the annual awards presented by the American Society of Magazine Editors, were announced this week, take time to revisit the work of two honorees: Rebecca Traister of New York Magazine and Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker.
The traditional post-Oscars dead zone has set in, meaning we have no movie recommendations for you this week. Let us take this opportunity, instead, to advise you to skip the newly-released “7 Days in Entebbe.” Per Josh Nathan-Kazis’s review, there’s quite a bit to dislike about the film, not least this: “In the meetings of the Israeli leadership, the really famous guys refer to each other by first names (‘Ehud!’ ‘Shimon!’ ‘Yoni!’ ‘Yitzhak!’), presumably so that husbands in the audience can elbow their wives and be like ‘That’s Rabin!’ and wives can roll their eyes and be like, ‘Duh.’” Go for one of the Forward’s recommended films about the IDF instead.
3) New York City
An abundance of new offerings are about to open on Broadway; pre-opening night, catch a preview of “Angels in America,” “Carousel” or, if you have children to please, “Frozen.” If you’re artistically-minded this weekend, head to the Museum of Arts and Design for the exhibit “Fellow Focus: Camille Hoffman.” And no, Monday is not technically the weekend; still, try to make it to Lincoln Center that evening for a concert by Joshua Bell and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the program of which includes Wieniawski’s “Violin Concerto No. 2 in D Minor.”
4) Washington D.C.
This weekend marks the start of Washington D.C.’s Environmental Film Festival; check out this year’s roster of films, here. The Folger Shakespeare Library’s new production of “The Winter’s Tale,” directed by Aaron Posner, makes for a worthwhile evening’s entertainment. Ditto for Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan’s debut with the National Symphony Orchestra, featuring a program including works by Brahms and Dvorák.
This has been an inspiring week on the teenagers-speaking-up front, making the individual finale of this year’s “Louder than a Bomb,” the country’s most prestigious youth slam poetry competition, particularly well-timed. Inspiring in somewhat different ways are both outer space and the future, interests you can indulge to your heart’s nerdiest content at the Music Box Theatre’s weekend-long “Sci-Fi Spielberg” series. (Another option is the Davis Theater’s “Sci-Fi Spectacular 2018.”) And in a repertoire choice suited to these morally troubled times, the Lyric Opera’s production of Gounod’s “Faust,” starring tenor Benjamin Bernheim as the titular tortured soul, ought to be provocative.
6) Los Angeles
Two interesting theatrical choices lead our Los Angeles recommendations, this week: L.A. Theatre Works’s world premiere of Kate McCall’s “Daniel Deronda,” a new adaptation of George Eliot’s novel of 19th-century Zionism, and David Auburn’s “Proof,” presented by the New American Theatre. Your Saturday or Sunday evening will also be well-spent at the Los Angele Chamber Orchestra, where conductor laureate Jeffrey Kahane will conduct works by Haydn, Respighi and Pierre Jalbert.