Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Butcher's Share

Songs Are Dangerous, Cont'd: Yes, it was just last week that Abq Jew quoted Ronnie Gilbert of The Weavers via Jane Ellen.

Songs are dangerous.

Well, it's still true this week. And it's particularly true of the newest release by Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird (see Labor Day & The Painted Bird).
Detroit-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter, polyglot poet, translator and activist Daniel Kahn concocts furious, tender, electrifying and revolutionary Alienation Klezmer. 
With the Painted Bird, he presents a variety of passionate songs inspired in part by the struggles of Jewish revolutionaries at the turn of the century, and in part by his own intense desire for a better world. 
The Painted Bird has brought “Yiddish Punk Cabaret” to rock clubs, festivals and shtetls, from Berlin to Boston, Leningrad to Louisiana. 

George Robinson recently wrote in The Jewish Week -
Singing Political Songs In A Troubled Time 
Daniel Kahn’s newest album reminds the listener that the message his music tells is especially pertinent today. 
As the leader of the Painted Bird, his scintillating Berlin-based punk-klez-folk-Yiddish band, Kahn has been bringing the works of such politically astute songwriters, along with his own driving originals, to a new audience for almost a decade and a half. 
Although Kahn will firmly assert that the message of his music is timeless, a cursory reading of newspaper headlines will remind you that his music is especially pertinent today.
Miles Hoyle wrote in No Depression: The Journal of Roots Music -
These Berlin-Based Butchers Give You More Than Your Fair Share
The group is still firmly rooted in Klezmer and Eastern European folk, coupled with bursts of punk-like energy that is irresistible to fans old and new. Perhaps the best example of this lies within, “The Butcher’s Sher” with its intense use of dynamics and aggressive vocal delivery. 
Yet what lies at the core of, “The Butcher’s Share” is the showcase of a powerful and resourceful songwriter.
If a newcomer were to walk the trail of Kahn’s latest offering, they would be starting at what just might be a creative milestone in the growing discography of a productive and extraordinary artist. 
Whether you’re just getting your feet wet with this release, or already a fan and craving more of the Painted Bird’s material, “The Butcher’s Share” just might be the most unique folk record of 2017. 
Here is the title cut from the new album.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The President Sang Amazing Grace

Songs Are Dangerous, Cont'd: Surely you, Abq Jew's loyal readers, will remember (see The Little Red Hen) when Jane Ellen began her recent OASIS Albuquerque class Ronnie, Lee, Fred, & Pete: The Weavers by quoting Ronnie Gilbert:

Malvina Reynolds' The Little Red Hen was one example that Abq Jew thoughtfully provided. Judy Collins' version of Malvina's 'It Isn't Nice' was another.

Well, here is another great example: Joan Baez's version of Zoe Mulford's The President Sang Amazing Grace.
“I was driving when I heard ‘The President Sang Amazing Grace,’” Joan Baez told The Atlantic, “and I had to pull over to make sure I heard whose song it was because I knew I had to sing it.” 
Joan Baez recently released her first album in 10 years, “Whistle Down the Wind.”
She has also announced that this record, and her current tour, will be her last.

Credit: Ryan Shorosky for The New York Times

The Atlantic further tells us
The 77-year-old folk legend included the song in her final album, Whistle Down The Wind, released in early March. 
Originally written and performed by Zoe Mulford following the 2015 mass shooting in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, 
Baez’s rendition of The President Sang Amazing Grace has been animated in a powerful new video ... by Jeff Scher. 
It is part of The Atlantic Selects, an online showcase of short documentaries from independent creators, curated by The Atlantic.
“[When Barack] Obama sang ‘Amazing Grace’ at the service for the Charleston Church shooting victims, it was deeply moving,” Scher told The Atlantic. 
“Somehow Obama, with his humble singing voice, turned grief into grace. With humility, compassion, and a two-hundred-year-old hymn, he made us feel that the evil deeds of a sick individual could not shake the bonds of our common humanity.” 
For Scher, Obama’s performance expressed the emotions of “what it was like to be an American on that day— to have a great leader lift us up from despair.”

Baez’s performance lends the song a complex mix of emotions. “I love her voice at this stage in her career,” said Scher. “She still sings like an angel, but there is weather in her voice now, and it gives gravity to the sorrow.”

Scher approached the animation with careful attention to how the form would influence the substance of the song. 
“I wanted to give the animation a human, non-digital feel,” he said. “I used watercolor and pastel because they have the most emotion of any mediums. I wanted the scenes to feel like they were blooming from the white of the paper, like a photograph in a developer or a memory emerging from a cloud. I wanted it to feel as if the scenes were being remembered… which is really the grand goal of the song.”

This video was produced by Rick Litvin and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. It is the first of a 10-part visual album in collaboration with NYU that coincides with each of the 10 songs on Baez’s new album.

Rick Litvin, in case you didn't know, is the husband of the one and only singer-songwriter Lucy Kaplansky (see You've Got Hate Mail!), who this morning tweeted:
My husband Rick Litvin's video is featured in the NY Times
And sure enough -
What we’re reading (and watching) 
Lynda Richardson, an editor in Travel, recommends this video from The Atlantic: “I saw this on a friend’s Facebook feed — a powerful animated video that shows that grief can be turned into grace, lifting you from despair. 
The soundtrack is Joan Baez singing ‘The President Sang Amazing Grace,’ a meditation on the June 2015 mass shooting, a hate crime, at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C.”

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Yom Limmud Santa Fe 2018

A Day of Jewish Learning: Congregation Beit Tikva of Santa Fe, the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society, the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival, Gaon Web, and the Jewish Community Council of Northern New Mexico - phew! - are proud to present

This year's troika of talks by internationally-recognized Jewish scholars on the theme

"The Power of Words in Jewish Identity"

will take place
Sunday August 12 1-5 pm
Congregation Beit Tikva, Santa Fe

Avinoam J. Patt
“Heroes and Martyrs of the Warsaw Ghetto: Memory and Identity”

Ph.D. New York University. He is the Philip D. Feltman Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, where he is also director of the Museum of Jewish Civilization. Previously, he worked at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He has written extensively on Jews in post-Holocaust Europe. His recent anthology on American Jewish fiction was Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.

Vanessa Paloma Elbaz
“Encoded Messages in the Jewish Music of Morocco”

Ph.D. Sorbonne. She is the director of KHOYA: Jewish Morocco Sound Archive. She is a Broome and Allen Fellow of the American Sephardi Federation and a member of the Center for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Studies of the Sorbonne. Her publications have been with Cambridge University Press, Routledge, CSIC among others. In 2018 she was honored for her contribution to Moroccan cultural life by the Foundation of the Hassan II Mosque and by the Association Marocains Pluriels.

Joseph Skibell
“Family Matters: Joseph Skibell Reads from his Fiction and Nonfiction”

University of Texas, Yale University. He is the Winship Distinguished Research Professor in the Humanities and Tam Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University. He is the author of leading books, both fiction and non-fiction in Jewish Studies. His awards include the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Sami Rohr Award in Jewish Literature, and the Turner Prize. His work has been described as “daring in its … honesty” (New York Times); “witty and profound” (Jerusalem Report); and “laugh-outloud humorous” (Forward).

Click below for tickets

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Dance Up Close in August

Ballet Fundraiser for Congregation B'nai Israel

Dance Up Close

A ballet performed by renowned ballerina Alisha Brach, a New Mexico native currently with the Royal Danish Ballet.

Joining her will be Da'Von Doane, a professional dancer from the Dance Theater of Harlem in New York.

The program will include a a variety of solo, pas de deux, and ensemble pieces choreographed by Ms. Brach and Beth Griffin.

There will be a pre-performance reception during which guests can preview and participate in a silent auction featuring works of art, jewelry, clothing and gift certificates from local restaurants and businesses.

After the show, guests are invited to attend a "Meet The Artists" Dessert reception, where they will be joined by Alisha, Da'Von, and the corps de ballet.

Proceeds from the performance will be used to generate funding to bring artists, lecturers and entertainers into our community, further enhancing the Jewish tradition of support for the arts.

Ticket prices are as follows: 
Adults $97, Children up to 10 years old $27; Students $47

Special Children's Event! 
Dance Up Close for Kids on Thursday August 9!

Dance Up Close for Kids
a FREE (donation requested) children's event
with Alisha Brach and Da'Von Doane

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Pine Tar Game + 35

Like It Was Yesterday: Under normal circumstances, Abq Jew would wait until '2xChai' to memorialize such an important event. But circumstances these days are nowhere near normal. And Abq Jew isn't getting any younger. So here goes.

And besides which. Abq Jew's good friend Steve Goldstein posted this on Facebook yesterday, along with a video about 'The Pine Tar Game':
35th anniversary of the Pine Tar Game. I was there at the original Yankee Stadium with my friend Marc Yellin. We were sitting in the 2nd deck (mezzanine) in right field, directly above the spot where Brett's home run ball cleared the fence. For a split second, as the ball clears the fence, Marc and I are in the video.
To which Laura G, Steve's ex-wife and also our good friend, responded:
Uh, can you actually SEE yourself in the video? I can't!
And Steve replied:
I know exactly where we were sitting. Consequently, I know which people in the stands are us. There were not many people sitting near us. 
And Abq Jew said:
OMG, 35 years. Yep, it's just like Steven Goldstein says. That's exactly where we were sitting. Like it was yesterday. And of course we're in the video. You just have to look hard enough!

For those of you, Abq Jew's loyal readers, who were either a) too young; or b) could not have cared less about the 1983 New York Yankees - Wikipedia will explain.
The Pine Tar Incident (also known as the Pine Tar Game) was a controversial incident during an American League Baseball game played between the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees on July 24, 1983, at Yankee Stadium in New York City. 
With his team trailing 4–3 in the top half of the ninth inning, with two outs, George Brett of the Royals hit a two-run home run to give his team the lead. 
However, Yankees manager Billy Martin, who had noticed a large amount of pine tar on Brett's bat, requested that the umpires inspect his bat. The umpires ruled that the amount of pine tar on the bat exceeded the amount allowed by rule, nullified Brett's home run, and called him out. 
As Brett was the third out in the ninth inning with the home team in the lead, the game ended with a Yankees win. 
The Royals protested the game, and American League president Lee MacPhail upheld their protest and ordered that the game be restarted from the point of Brett's home run. The game was restarted on August 18 and officially ended with the Royals winning 5–4.

 And for those who are really, really interested:
The bat is currently on display in the Baseball Hall of Fame, where it has been since 1987. During a broadcast of Mike & Mike in the Morning, ESPN analyst Tim Kurkjian stated that Brett used the bat for a few games after the incident until being cautioned that the bat would be worthless if broken. 
Brett sold the bat to famed collector and then partial owner of the Yankees, Barry Halper, for $25,000, had second thoughts, repurchased the bat for the same amount from the collector and then donated the bat to the Hall of Fame.
The home run ball was caught and sold by journalist Ephraim Schwartz to Halper for $500 plus 12 Yankees tickets, as well as Schwartz's ticket stub. Halper also acquired the signed business card of Justice Orest V. Maresca, who had issued the injunction, and the can of Oriole Pine Tar Brett had used on the bat. Gossage later signed the pine-tar ball, "Barry, I threw the fucking thing."

On a more somber note: This week also marks the 53rd anniversary of that fateful day, July 25, 1965, when Bob Dylan went electric (for a performance of Maggie's Farm, et al) at the Newport Folk Festival.

For those of you, Abq Jew's loyal readers, who were either a) too young; or b) could not have cared more about Komodo dragons and other endangered species - Wikipedia reminds us.

In the 1990 movie The Freshman, Bert Parks, portraying a version of himself and acting as event MC and musical host, performs a cover of Maggie's Farm during the final gathering of the Gourmet Club, a group of wealthy individuals who attend a covert and expensive dinner in order to dine on the last of an endangered species (which is actually an elaborate con, with the real meal consisting of more traditional ingredients).
And yes, Bert Parks also sang Tequila!

Abq Jew reminds us all, himself included: