From Willis Shawver. Follow him on Twitter at @WShawver or email him at Willis[AT]borderstan.com.
Experience a celebration of music and culture at the 14th Annual Washington Jewish Music Festival, which runs Sunday, April 28, through Saturday, May 11. Hosted by the Washington DC Jewish Community Center (1529 16th Street NW), the festival will showcase the diversity of Jewish music through a variety of live performances at venues all around the Washington DC area.
Tickets for the festival can be purchased online, by phone (202-777-3251), or in-person at the various performance venues. Full festival passes are also available.
- Accomplished Israeli artist Noa kicks off the festival on Sunday, April 28, with a performance at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center in Rockville. Noa’s performance will feature songs from her newest album, “The Israeli Songbook”.
- A double bill at the Artisphere in Arlington on May 2 will showcase Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) music from artist Sarah Aroeste and the Yiddish punk sensibilities of Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird.
- Bring the whole family to Stead Park in Dupont Circle on Sunday, May 5 for a day of FREE outdoor concerts. WJMF in the Park will feature performances by children’s entertainer Robbie Schaefer, bluegrass fusion band Margot Leverette and the Klezmer Mountain Boys, and the pop duo Stereo Sinai. Come for the music and stay for the moonbounce and face painting.
- On the evening of May 6 at the DC Jewish Community Center, catch a screening of the documentary, “Defiant Requiem,” by director Doug Shultz. The film tells the story of a group Theresienstadt prisoners who found hope through their performance of Verdi’s Requiem in front of the Nazi high command.
- Don’t miss a performance by the “Prince of Kosher Gospel”, Joshua Nelson, on Thursday, May 9 at the DC Jewish Community Center.
Visit the Washington Jewish Musical Festival website for see the entire festival performance schedule.
Today’s guest column is by Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele. She is a multimedia journalist specializing in politics, popular culture and race relations. Ozemebhoya Eromosele is the creator and executive producer of “Lectures to Beats,” the first-of-its-kind web show that builds a bridge between the cerebral and creative worlds.
After speaking on a panel about how race has played a role in a few highly publicized scandals, I stood in the DC Jewish Community Center’s foyer to wait for the next city bus.
It was freezing outside and I glanced at my smartphone every few minutes to see when I needed to make the 10-second dash to the bus stop out front. Theater goers were pouring out of the building after having just watched the Center’s production of David Mamet’s “Race” a few hours earlier.
I never boarded a bus. A black woman — impressed by my contributions to the discussion — offered to give me a ride home since my apartment building was on her way. During the drive, she told me about the good ol’ times as a young girl growing up in the 1960s.
She would go to a local theater with her aunts and uncles as a child and dress up in beautiful fur coats, pristine dresses and matching elbow-length gloves. She missed those days, and longed for the time when décor, tea time and other festivities associated with that sort of pomp and circumstance were appreciated.
She even remembered how she and her family members would always sit up in the theater’s balcony. An older cousin later revealed to her that they had sit in the balcony. You see, that was the only place in the theater reserved for colored folk.
I was shocked. She looked much younger than how old she must have been in order to remember that kind of America. Moments earlier I watched her make a pretty difficult U-turn on 16th Street’s two lanes, and she did not miss a beat. This lady was in her prime, but her demeanor masked her true age.
She revealed more about those times, particularly harrowing incidents when she and other family members were bullied or harassed because of their skin color. Her anecdotes got me thinking about the opening scene from “Race” when a black male attorney tells a white man who is accused of sexually assaulting a black woman that there is nothing a white person can say to a black person on the subject of race.
But that can’t be true. If this woman is alive and well, then some of her former bullies must be too. And if there is anyone who could tell us if we are living in post-racial times (whatever post-racial means) would it not be those who were on the other side of the fence during the Civil Rights Movement?
Those who opposed the efforts of the Dr. Martin Luther Kings and the Malcolm Xs and the Medgar Evers? Where are they now? How have their views changed, if at all? What could they tell America about the evolution of their ideas towards black Americans and equality?
These are the sort of voices that are missing and underrepresented in this ongoing conversation about race, and the perennial question of How far have we come? I hope these individuals come to understand the significance of contributing their perspectives to this conversation, and if we promised to withhold judgment, I’m sure they could tell us mounds.
The 21st Reel Affirmations Film Festival begins this week, November 1, and will take place at two locations in the neighborhood.
The annual festival showcases the best work, by, about and of interest to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. One In Ten, a DC-based nonprofit, organization committed to developing and executing cultural events, is the sponsor of the Reel Affirmation Film Festival.
The festival includes 16 films that will be shown through Sunday, November 4 at The Carnegie Institution of Science (1530 P Street NW) and the DC Jewish Community Center (1529 16th Street NW); both venues are at the corner of 16th Street NW. The Reel Affirmation’s schedule is available online.
The annual Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival will take place October 14-24 at the DC Jewish Community Center (1529 16th Street NW). The 10-day celebration includes 15 events from celebrated authors and scholars such as Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon and Nobel Prize-winner Eric Kandel.
The Festival also includes an evening of film and theatre, storytelling, activities for kids and a local author fair.
The Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival is presented by the Washington DC Jewish Community Center’s Morris Cafritz Center for the Arts. More information is available on the DC Jewish Community Center’s website or by contacting litfest[AT]washingtondcjcc.org.
On Wednesday, June 20 at 6:30 pm Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B is hosting a community meeting for residents and business owners to discuss public safety issues in the neighborhood. ANC 2B covers the Dupont Circle area. The meeting is at the DC Jewish Community Center, 16th and Q Streets NW.
Police and Transportation officials will be in attendance, as well as community leaders, elected representatives, and public safety liaisons. This is an opportunity to have your voices heard on concerns, issues, and ideas from neighborhood crime to pedestrian and bicycle safety — and for you to help inform and guide the city’s public safety agenda. Organizers explain that “It will not be an opportunity for blaming and alleging, but rather an opportunity have your concerns noted and discussed so that they can be addressed productively and collaboratively — if not at the meeting, at least in the near future.”
In addition to ANC 2B, the Urban Neighborhood Alliance, the Dupont Circle Citizens Association, Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence and Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets helped to organize Wednesday night’s meeting. Senior representatives from the DC Department of Transportation, the DC Council, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington Area Bicyclists Association, and Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) will be in attendance.
For more information, contact ANC 2B’s Public Safety liaisons, Kishan Putta or Noah Smith.
- What: “Traces of Memory” photography exhibition.
- When: Opening reception, Yom Hashoah, April 19, 6 to 8 pm. Event and exhibition are free. Presentation at 7 pm. Exhibition runs to May 21.
- Where: Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery, Washington DC Jewish Community Center, 16th and Q Streets NW.
- More Information: Alissa Perman at alissap[AT]washingtondcjcc.org or 202-777-3260.
Featured image: Tablets at the remains of a synagogue in Polish Galicia (courtesy of Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery).
To mark Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day – the legacy of those lost will be remembered in a photographic exhibition, “Traces of Memory,” at the DC Jewish Community Center’s Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery.
The exhibition pieces together the relics of Jewish life and culture in Polish Galicia, a region in Eastern Europe that straddles present-day Poland and Ukraine. It is designed to give visitors a brief glimpse into history — and to provoke them to reflect on the how and why of this lost community, according to the Bronfman Gallery.
Over a period of 12 years, the late British photojournalist Chris Schwarz and professor Jonathan Weber, UNESCO Chair of Jewish and Interfaith Studies, University of Birmingham, England, worked together to gather photos and texts that offer a completely new way of looking at the Jewish past that was destroyed in Poland.
Dzielski will join Shana Penn, executive director of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, Jakub Nowakowski, director of the Galicia Jewish Museum, and Chuck Weiss, uncle of the late photojournalist Chris Schwarz in offering remarks in honor of the opening of the exhibition at 7 p.m during the April 19 opening
The exhibition is divided into five sections, corresponding to different approaches to the subject matter:
- Section one, “Jewish Life in Ruins”
- Section two, “Jewish Culture as it Once Was”
- Section three, “Sites of Massacre and Destruction”
- Section four, “How the Past is Being Remembered”
- Section five, “People Making Memory Today”
“Traces of Memory” is on loan from the Galicia Jewish Museum with support from the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture and is co-sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland.
What: Authors Out Loud presents Marni Davis, “Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition.” Davis, the author, is Assistant Professor of History at Georgia State University.
When: Monday, February 27, 7:30 pm.
Where: Washington DC Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th Street NW.
Admission: $10; for member, students with ID and seniors, $8. Purchase tickets online.
Overview: “At the turn of the century, American Jews and prohibitionists viewed one another with growing suspicion. Jews believed that all Americans had the right to sell and consume alcohol, while prohibitionists insisted that alcohol commerce and consumption posed a threat to the nation’s morality
“The two groups possessed incompatible visions of what it meant to be a productive and patriotic American — and in 1920, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution made alcohol commerce illegal, Jews discovered that anti-Semitic sentiments had mixed with anti-alcohol ideology, threatening their reputation and their standing in American society.” (JCC)
The DC Jewish Community Center is hosting its semi-annual used book sale on Wednesday, January 18, from 4 to 8 pm. The JCC is at the corner of 16th and Q Streets NW. Used CDs and DVDs will also be on sale.
The JCC is accepting donations of books, CDs and DVDs in good condition from Sunday, January 15, through Tuesday, January 17. Donations can be dropped off in bags or boxes with the front desk or put in the library; please mark them as donations.
When it comes to film appreciation, my tastes run the gamut. A long closeted hip-hop dance movie aficionado, I also logged hours helping to manage the Baltimore Museum of Art’s independent film series. I’ve watched every independent film National Geographic has put out over the last few years. I also saw the newest Muppet Movie on opening night last week, only slightly justified by taking my nieces along.
Get the Festival Schedule: 27 films are being shown at the JCC’s Goldman Theater at 16th and Q Streets NW. More films are being show at other venues.
If you are similarly inclined to appreciate everything from art house to kitsch (or even if you prefer one to the other), get yourself out to see at least one of the films in the 22nd Washington Jewish Film Festival. The festival opens tomorrow with the Israeli film Mabul (The Flood) about an Israeli boy, about to become a man, and his family in crisis. It’s winning the hearts of critics and moviegoers in festivals; I’m hoping to see it while it’s here.
But the films don’t stop there. With 47 films ranging from documentaries (such as Yoo-hoo Mrs. Goldberg and An Encounter with Simone Weil) to heart-warming and heart-wrenching features (such as Je T’Aime, I Love You Terminal, Kaddish for a Friend and My Australia), there’s a little something for everyone.
The festival runs December 1 through 11; more information (film information, times and ticket info) can be found on the Washington Jewish Film Festival website. Films are being shown at nine different venues, including the DC Jewish Community Center at 16th and Q Streets NW.