Saturday night, February 18th at the Fillmore in downtown Silver Spring was quite an experience. A bunch of friends from Baltimore and Silver Spring went to see LOCASH, a country band based in Nashville that has a number of top hit songs, including “I Know Somebody” and “I Love this Life.” The band is led by Preston Burst and Chris Lucas, and three members of the band are from local areas, including Chris, who is from Baltimore, another from Fairfax, and another from Frederick. The band came out swinging from the start and had the crowd into it the entire night. They were engaging, fun, relatable to the crowd with their sports talk in between songs, and brought a unique swagger that only country folks can demonstrate.
Purim, on the 14th of Adar celebrates the gutsy Jewish woman, Esther, who dared to approach the king to advise him of Haman’s intention to kill her and her uncle Mordechai along with the rest of the Jewish people in the kingdom. Esther deconstructed her relationship with the king by daring to appear before him, rather than being called upon, and then disrupted the power relationship of Haman with the king, criminalizing Haman, and enabling Mordechai to assume his post. Haman out, Mordechai in. She had the guts and beauty, and thanks to Megillat Esther (the Book of Esther), she has the glory for all time. In honor of Queen Esther, Kol Habirah presents a tour of select Jewish women artists exhibited in major museums in the Washington, D.C. area.
At the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C., the work of several Jewish women artists can be found, including Louise Nevelson’s early tall abstract wooden structures painted black, and her later work made of Corten steel. This later steel work keeps its structural integrity whole rusting on the outside. Cindy Sherman, another Jewish woman artist, whose work at NMWA is represented by photographic self portraits in costume and makeup made to look like an aging Virginia Wolfe, confronts the truth of aging and deterioration, showing the process while holding onto the structure, just like Nevelson’s steel work.
The supercharged, super-fast, super-crowded and super-loud environment at rallies and marches makes it difficult to engage with a work slowly and quietly. This is the reason the exhibition “Enacting Stillness,” introducing politically engaged art to be contemplated and seen quietly and at one’s own pace, is so timely and important in the realm of art today.
“Enacting Stillness” is an exhibition of social-justice engaged work sponsored by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation at The 8th Floor gallery in New York. The 8th Floor is a private exhibition space established to promote cultural and philanthropic initiatives. Inspired by the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, whose website notes its exploration of “the potential of art as an instrument of social change,” its exhibitions express the tenets of tikkun olam, showing artists’ attempts to make the public aware of situations and inspire them to consider solutions to fix the world.
Rarely, if ever, has a concentration of arts programming come to the Baltimore area like the upcoming conference for Jewish Women in the Creative and Performing Arts. Marking the 10th anniversary of ATARA, The Arts & Torah Association for Religious Artists, the conference promises an exciting program of events held over three days.
From Thursday, March 2 through Sunday, March 5, various venues in Baltimore will offer multi-programmed, participatory, professionally led events and exhibitions of dance, theater and the visual arts. As well as classes in mime, mask making and creative writing, practical instruction in intellectual property law and commercial training for artists, will be included.
“The arts have tremendous, unique abilities— to captivate and unify, to draw out deep and often inaccessible emotions, and to convey ideas through art, music and movement that cannot be expressed or captured by language,” said Michelle Penn, owner and director of La Zooz Dance. Penn is both involved in organizing this year’s event with Director Miriam Leah Droz and is also one of the weekend’s performers.
It is said every one of us has a trouper inside.
If you’re a female whose inner performer is looking to come out, or you’re someone who enjoys watching others display their talents, you should check out the third annual Open Mic Night for girls and women this Saturday night, February 4..
“Women are invited to share their talents or just be part of the audience,” said Dahlia Topolosky, creator and coordinator of the event.
With a new glamorous first family firmly ensconced in the White House, style-watchers from around the globe will be eagerly watching the nation’s capital to see what fashionable ensembles the First Lady (and Daughter) will be wearing. The statuesque Melania will surely give Jackie O a run for her money in the style stakes.
Celebrity style, however, usually comes with a hefty price tag, so we want to create a designer look on a budget that can appeal to young professionals, working mums and anyone else looking to replicate that groomed sophistication (but without a team of stylists and make-up artists on call).
A touching tribute to Steven Spielberg’s mother from a local Israeli American filmmaker upon her passing.
There’s a little kosher restaurant on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles called The Milky Way. It’s an unassuming establishment with a modest sign and a few potted plants out front. Thousands of people drive by it every day without a moment’s thought, but to those of us who know it, The Milky Way is an oasis.
The proprietor, Leah Adler, who celebrated her 97th birthday not long ago, passed away last week. To a great extent, the restaurant is an extension of Mrs. Adler. Its charm is her charm. Its welcoming warmth is an extension of her emphatic sense of hospitality.
On August 17, 1790, President George Washington visited Newport, Rhode Island. He was greeted there by city officials and clergy. Moses Seixas, President of Congregation Yeshuat Israel, welcomed Washington as the leader of a new democracy “which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” A few days after leaving Newport, Washington wrote to Seixas, “May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”
The warm sentiments expressed by George Washington surely make his home a fitting destination. At Mount Vernon, learn more about this historic figure–– the first President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army–– in a personal setting, the place he called home for most of his life.
I am sure that many of you saw the news in December that the legendary star Kirk Douglas turned 100 years old. It turns out that we have a family connection that goes way back.
Here’s the story: Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch in Amsterdam, New York, just a short distance from Albany where my dad Nate Shor a”h was born. (How the family got to Washington in 1944 is the subject for another column). It turns out that our two families are somehow related; cousins of cousins, etc.
Welcome to the inaugural issue of a new newspaper, Kol HaBirah: Voice of the Capitol, and to the inauguration of a new President Trump.
As Kol Habirah considers the artistic landscape of the Greater Washington area and beyond, we will consider the particular concerns of our region and how artists express their views and comments on those concerns. We will relate the arts in the region to events in our nation’s capital, and hope you will read our views and send us your views in return.
As Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for Trees, approaches, we think of trees in bloom heralding the spring season. In the land of Israel, this harbinger of springtime takes place when the sap in fact is rising, but that stands in contrast to our stark February landscape of bare trees bereft of their leafy adornments.
Let me offer a solution to this seasonal dissonance: the United States Botanic Garden beckons us to enjoy indoor trees in the full flowering of warmer climes. What a refreshing way to spend time on a cold winter’s day.