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What’s Going on in NYC this Week: Ashley Blaker, ‘Waiting for Anya,’ Taali Music… More
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What’s Going on in NYC this Week: Ashley Blaker, ‘Waiting for Anya,’ Taali Music… More

Arts and cultural happenings around town this week!

Noah Schnapp, Anjelica Huston in “Waiting for Anya.” Vertical Entertainment
Noah Schnapp, Anjelica Huston in “Waiting for Anya.” Vertical Entertainment

Please note, this list is just a handful of events our editor’s chose to highlight. For a full calendar of community events – updated daily — click here

WAITING FOR ANYA

“Some people collect coins, stamps. We collect enemies of the Reich — children … Jewish children.” So intones a kerchiefed Anjelica Huston, looking every inch like a French peasant in the new film, “Waiting for Anya.” Based on Michael Morpurgo’s children’s book from 1990, the film, like the book, is set in the mountainous region of southern France near the border with Spain, wherein lies freedom. It follows Jo Lalande (Noah Schnapp), a 13-year-old shepherd boy, and reclusive widow Horcada (Huston), who come together with their village to help smuggle Jewish children into Spain during the Nazi occupation. With refugees all over the world fleeing oppression and war, and borders being locked down, Huston’s character’s moral backbone is a beacon in dark times. — Opens Friday, Feb. 7, Kent Theater, 1170 Coney Island Ave., Midwood, Brooklyn, and other cinemas.

ASHLEY BLAKER

Ashley Blaker, England’s leading cultural export when it comes to observant comics, doesn’t work blue. He works … black. He’s an Orthodox comedian who quipped to us in late 2017, when his “Strictly Unorthodox” show hit town, about how hard it was to live an observant life: “I never listen to Bread during Pesach. I wouldn’t listen to The Doors before putting up a mezuzah.” Now, Blaker’s back with an Off-Broadway set, “Goy Friendly,” that might be dubbed “coexistence comedy.” Turns out that Blaker’s friendship with the Kenyan-born British comic Imran Yusuf, who is Muslim, has had a deep effect on him. So much so that he’s crafted a new Ten Commandments for the 21st century.

(“The Bible says Thou Shalt Not Kill and Thou Shalt Not Steal but what 21st century transgression should be added to the list?”)  To see the two of them side by side on stage during their “Prophet Sharing” tour — Blaker in, well, all black, and Yusuf in denim (“I’m in the tribe of Levi,” Blaker jokes. “We made your jeans!”) — is to renew your faith that tolerance is possible — as long as we can laugh at each other. — Opens Monday, Feb. 3 through Feb. 23, Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam St., sohoplayhouse.com/ashley-blaker-goy-friendly. $50.

 

Theater

THE WHORE FROM OHIO

Hanoch Levin’s acclaimed black comedy, the parable of a not-so-holy trinity of father and son paupers and the prostitute whose services they are unable to fully enjoy, is presented by New Yiddish Rep. Originally written in Hebrew by the Israeli playwright, the play is presented in Eli Rosen’s Yiddish translation with English supertitles. — Feb. 19-23, Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., newyiddishrep.org. $25.

BRECHT: CALL AND RESPOND

Bertolt Brecht’s iconic 1938 one-act play “The Jewish Wife,” about the way in which the politics of hate seeps into the everyday lives of ordinary people, is the inspiration behind two world-premiere one-acts on the same bill. Arlene Hutton’s “Sunset Point” explores the effect of the past on a young couple’s life, and Kristin Idaszak’s “Self Help in the Anthropocene” examines the holes in our lives that we try to fill through consumption. A production of New Light Theater Project. — Jan. 30-Feb. 15, Paradise Factory, 64 E. 4th St., newlighttheaterproject.com. $25-$35.

MISS AMERICA’S UGLY DAUGHTER

 

Barra Grant stars in her two-character, one-woman autobiographical show about growing up as the un-pageant-ready daughter of Bess Meyerson, the first and so far only Jewish Miss America, and then having a daughter of her own. The Los Angeles Times calls the play “harrowing, heartbreaking, hilarious comic gold.” — Through March 1, Margorie Dean Little Theater, 10 W. 64th St., missamericasuglydaughter.com

Film

A BLOOD ARTIST

The premiere of Jeffrey Wengrosky’s short documentary about Axel Stocks, who was born to a Jewish woman in a DP camp. When Stocks, who became a maker of psychedelic jewelry, met Salvador Dali and told of the horrors his mother faced to survive the Nazis, the great surrealist wanted him to paint — in blood. Part of the Secrets of Inner Space festival. — Saturday, Feb. 1, 9 p.m., Film Noir Cinema (122 Meserole St.) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, filmnoircinema.com.

JOJO RABBIT

The 2020 Academy Award-nominee for Best Picture “has defied all odds to become one of the year’s most beloved films,” says The Hollywood Reporter. It’s a comedy about a very young, very nationalistic Hitler Youth recruit whose imaginary friend is none other than Adolph Hitler. With Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson and Jewish director Taika Waititi as the imaginary Hitler. — In wide release.

INCITEMENT

 

Yaron Zilberman’s new film, about the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin on Nov. 4, 1995, at the hands of a religious nationalist, arrives at a moment when nationalism is sweeping the globe. The film, Israel’s entry in the best foreign film category in this year’s Oscars, probes Yigal Amir’s mindset and chronicles the year leading up to the killing; it is an assassin’s-eye view. — Opening Friday, Jan. 31 at Angelika Film Center (18 W. Houston St., angelikafilmcenter.com) and Landmark at 57 West (657 W. 57th St., landmarktheatres.com). (See story here.)

Music

OMER SHAISH: MY BROADWAY SHPIEL

Hit Broadway songs from a Jewish state of mind. In an act filled with laughter, tears and a dash of guilt, the former Israeli Air Force Band soloist known for “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” and Kol Esperanza sings personal favorites, including selections from “West Side Story” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” — Tuesday, Feb. 4, 7:30 p.m., City Vineyard at Pier 26, 233 West St., cityvinyardnyc.com. $20-$35.

TAALI

Taali’s flowing vocals will be showcased at Rockwood Music Hall on Feb., 5. Courtesy of Karston Tannis

The L.A. singer-songwriter née Talia Billig from Washington Heights weaves Jewish culture, melody and harmony into the wider American pop landscape. Her song “Los Angeles” is “a beguiling mix of layered vocals, chamber pop and avant-electronica to directly address trauma, love, and identity,” says Guitar Girl. — Wednesday, Feb. 5, 8:30 p.m., Rockwood Music Hall, 296 Allen St., rockwoodmusichall.com. $18 plus two-drink minimum.

Dance

YOU AND I

Hadar Ahuvia and Tatyana Tenenbaum use their unique backgrounds — one is an Israeli American and one is the grandchild of Broadway producers — as well as choreography, music and text to make “space for repairing our Jewishness within the ongoing wreckage of colonialism.” — Friday, Jan. 31, 6 p.m., The Center at West Park, 165 W. 86th St. (entrance on Amsterdam Ave.), centeratwestpark.org. $10.

Talk

SHTISEL UNCOVERED: THE NEW HAREDIM

The cast of ‘Shtisel. Courtesy of Ohad Romano

Charedi social activist Pnina Pfeuffer and Yehonatan Indursky, co-creator of the popular Nexflix drama “Shtisel,” will discuss the rapidly growing charedi sector in Israel and the changes taking place in that community. In partnership with the New Israel Fund. — Tuesday, Feb. 4, 7 p.m., Bnai Jeshurun, 257 W. 88th St., nif.org.

NEW JEWISH THEATER: THE SABBATH GIRL

The Jewish Plays Project, dedicated to putting “bold, progressive Jewish conversations on world stages,” helped develop “The Sabbath Girl,” a cross-cultural romantic comedy. Playwright Cary Gitter, director Joe Brancato and cast members discuss the work and contemporary Jewish theater more broadly with JPP founder David Winitsky. (The play opens later in February.) — The talk: Saturday, Feb. 1, 7 p.m., 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., 92y.org, $32. The play: Feb. 11-Mar. 8, 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St., 59E59.org, $35.

Exhibitions

EDITH HALPERT AND THE RISE OF AMERICAN ART

Halpert (1900-1970), a Jewish immigrant, is considered the first significant female gallerist in the country. She championed American art at a time when the European avant-garde was in ascendance, and her Downtown Gallery in Greenwich Village promoted the work of modernists like Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keefe and Ben Shahn. — Through Feb. 9, The Jewish Museum, Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, thejewishmuseum.org.

ART FROM BEZALEL

A work in the “Materialness” show. Courtesy of Gabriel Attab & Areil Lavian

George Harrison, who mixed heaven and earth poignantly in his lyrics, sang of “living in the material world.” It’s an apt description of the work created by six artists associated with Israel’s prestigious Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in the installation titled “Materialness.” The artists fashion jewelry, vases, stools and other pieces out of a startling range of materials including bacterial cellulose, cultured pearls and volcanic rock. One even uses the edible fungus Auricularia auricula-judae, Latin for Jew’s ear. Inevitably, the show raises questions about the environment, sustainability and natural resources and offers a subtle commentary on our throwaway culture. — Through Feb. 3, Parasol Projects Gallery, 213 Bowery, parasolproject.com, bezalelfriends.org.

To publish events, submit them to jewishweekcalendar@gmail.com two weeks or more in advance. We cannot guarantee inclusion due to space limitations. Since scheduling changes may occur, we recommend contacting the venue before heading out to an event.

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