Blue Box

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Velvl Greene reflects on God and science

Dr. Velvl Greene, the son of Jewish refugees from Ukraine, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He came to Minnesota for post-graduate studies at the U of M, where he earned a master’s degree in in dairy bacteriology. He later was a University of Minnesota professor and a NASA scientist, and a disciple and confidante of […]

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma plays Golijov concerto ‘Azul’

Music lovers with open ears will be dazzled by Golijov: Azul (Warner Classics), an album that features Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov’s sublime cello concerto. The title composition, “Azul” (“blue” in Spanish), was written in 2006, for acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma. This is the first recording of the work, which is performed by Ma; The Knights, […]

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Paul Shaffer bops the blues on new CD

Best known for his 33-year gig as David Letterman’s bandleader, Paul Shaffer is shifting gears post-Late Show. His latest project finds the music maven reunited in the studio with his musical mates from TV land. Paul Shaffer & The World’s Most Dangerous Band (Sire) is a swingin’ collection of a dozen pop, rock and R&B […]

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Life holy and profane on the Mount of Olives

In director Yaelle Kayam’s Mountain, now available on DVD from First Run Features, a young Orthodox woman raises her family in a stone house set in the fabled Mount of Olives cemetery overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. Her husband teaches in a yeshiva; and when her children go off to school, Zvia (Shani Klein) […]

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Author offers advice for a life of wonder

There’s a saying, “It’s your mind playing tricks on you.” Author Estelle Frankel, a licensed marriage counselor, family and child therapist and teacher of Jewish mysticism, admits that her mind got in the habit of “filling in the blanks” with the worst possible outcomes. Her husband remarked on her “genius for worry.” In The Wisdom […]

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

New sounds from the Michaël Attias Quartet

Originally from Israel, jazz saxophonist Michaël Attias spent a good part of his youth right here in St. Louis Park. A questing musician, Attias combines diverse influences, from Moroccan tribal rhythms to Ornette Coleman, in his playing. His new album, Nerve Dance, will be available early next month from Clean Feed Records. Attias plays alto […]

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

A loving view of Buenos Aires’ Jews

If you can’t afford the cost of a trip to Argentina, director Daniel Burman’s The Tenth Man, available on DVD from Kino Lorber, offers an intimate glimpse of a little known corner of Buenos Aires, the city’s Jewish neighborhood called Once. (The film’s Spanish title, El Rey Del Once, translates as “the king of Once.”) […]

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

James Baldwin revealed as an American prophet

February is Black History Month, and it’s hard to think of a more appropriate film to view than Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, a Magnolia Pictures release that opens locally Feb. 3. The documentary probes a never completed book project by James Baldwin, which looked at the lives of three of the author’s […]

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Yotam Silberstein’s ‘The Village’ entrances

I first became aware of Yotam Silberstein’s prodigious guitar talent when he played on Monty Alexander’s Grammy-nominated Harlem-Kingston Express Live! album, a rollicking fusion of jazz and reggae accoutrements. The Israeli guitarist’s new album is The Village, soon to be released on the Paris-based jazz&people label. In the tradition of lyrical guitarists like Wes Montgomery […]

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Avi Avraham tries to crack the case

Israeli author D.A. Mishani, a former editor of the Haaretz literary supplement, is a scholar of detective fiction. He has taught the history of the detective novel at Tel Aviv University. When I met him, in 2013, he said, “I like the realistic, psychological, police procedural.” His third novel translated into English, and available in […]