Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

The meaning of family

Playwright Wendy Kout looks at three generations of Jewish life in We Are the Levinsons By MAX SPARBER Playwriting and writing for television are ostensibly similar undertakings. In fact, if you’ve ever been on the set of a sitcom, it can look very much like a stage set, with bleachers set up for live audiences […]

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

In a time of walls, Ladino is a bridge

A Sephardic studies scholar sees preserving Ladino as an ‘act of resistance’ against Trump By JOSEPHIN DOLSTEN (JTA) — One-year-old Vidal doesn’t know the significance behind the lullaby his father sings him at bedtime. He knows it helps him fall asleep, but not that the Ladino song is part of an effort to teach him […]

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

A life onscreen

The Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival puts the Jewish experience front and center By MAX SPARBER Jewish filmmakers can be strangely touchy about Jewish subjects. Although arguably the first film blockbuster was an explicitly Jewish story — 1927’s The Jazz Singer, about a cantor’s son — it’s surprising how often films have minimized or even […]

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Staging Yemen

The Illusion Theater’s new play includes Yemenite-inspired music by a local composer By MAX SPARBER The Illusion Theater is one of the Twin Cities older professional theaters, having started in 1974. This was just nine years after the founding of the Guthrie Theater, a watershed moment in American regional theater, and I have always felt […]

Monday, February 13th, 2017

More theater

The Guthrie highlights a frequently neglected Jewish playwright By MAX SPARBER The Guthrie Theater has a relatively new artistic director, Joseph Haj, who has promised greater diversity in the plays the theater chooses to stage. Despite this, on its surface, The Royal Family, playing through March 19 at the Guthrie, isn’t much of a break […]

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

What Jelly and George shared

Upcoming shows at Dakota Jazz Club will feature music of two 20th century musical icons By MORDECAI SPECKTOR Jelly Roll Morton (1890-1941), ragtime pianist, composer and bandleader, is seen as a pivotal figure in the development of jazz. His song “Jelly Roll Blues” was the first published jazz composition, in 1915. George Gershwin (1898-1937), pianist […]

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Inspired by words of Torah and prayer

Words @ Work exhibit speaks volumes By DORIS RUBENSTEIN The main sanctuary walls at Beth Jacob Synagogue in Mendota Heights are bare, like a Torah scroll, unillustrated but filled with meaning. On any given Shabbat, these walls can serve as a virtual blank canvas onto which three young artists who pray there regularly might project […]

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

The ‘new Jew’ in Israel

The Man Who Never Stopped Sleeping, by Aharon Appelfeld, Schocken, 288 pages, $26. Reviewed by NEAL GENDLER The famous line “You can’t go home again” applies to almost all survivors of the Shoah. But to Aharon Appelfeld’s teenage character Erwin, it’s only true when he’s awake, which after the war is seldom. “At the end […]

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Sally Wingert to direct play at Minnesota Jewish Theatre

Sally Wingert has long been a beloved local actress, having worked for years at the Guthrie but also frequently appearing as a lead performer at smaller local theaters, including several well-regarded appearances at the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company. Now Wingert is preparing to make her debut as a director, helming one of the most highly […]

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Bob Dylan: ‘I remember ev’ry face’

Light Come Shining: The Transformations of Bob Dylan, by Andrew McCarron, Oxford, 232 pages, $19.95 Reviewed by NEAL GENDLER Bob Dylan devotees may gain new understanding of their Nobel laureate’s life changes from an analysis and interpretation by Andrew McCarron. In Light Come Shining, McCarron has produced a “psychobiography,” a work that “attempts to demythologize […]