This was a weekend of contemporary art and Jewish culture, not together. On Thursday Renee and I went to Chelsea and looked at galleries for about two hours. We saw some lovely Japanese ceramics, although nothing extraordinary, an interesting exhibit of the work of Yinka Shonibare, and not much else I can remember. Our real reason for going to Chelsea was a performance at a comedy club.
Are you scratching your head wondering why we were going to a comedy club? Perhaps I should have done more head scratching before I ordered the tickets. The performance was the opening event in a festival called, "Jews and Power," written up as follows:
From Queen Esther to Jon Stewart, Jews have taken delight in skewing the powers that be. Join us for an evening of political satire, featuring standup by Jeff Kreisler ("Comedy Against Evil"), skits from New York's funniest Purim show ("The Shushan Channel"), a celebrity reading from the upcoming film "Hebrew Hammer II," songs from "Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad" and "Good for the Jews," and much more.
I should have read it more carefully: I didn't recognize any of the names except Jon Stewart, and he wasn't part of it. We found some of it to be funny, but easily two thirds of it just didn't resonate with us. We never heard of these people. This event, and the lectures I attended today, was sponsored by Nextbook, a group that promotes Jewish culture. I'm sure the comedy event was meant to attract young people. Unfortunately, most of the audience was over 50, as was today's audience for much more serious discussions, about culture, assimilation, Israel and antisemitism, along with power, the need for it and our abdication of it. Very interesting, and much more interesting than the comedy club.
On Friday, my Jewish weekend included a movie, "Constantine's Sword," a fascinating examination of antisemitism from a Christian point of view. I highly recommend it.
Saturday, the Sabbath, which should have been a Jewish day, was another day of art. I took the train up to Pelham to visit with old friends, and we went to Yonkers to an art studio open house. My friends knew two of the artists, a husband and wife team of photographers. They had a beautiful show of photos from China.
The artist studios are in an old building that was once the Alexander Smith Carpet Co, another manufacturer long gone. In addition to the artists we visited a piano restorer and got to see how they handle the innards of a piano, and a stained glass restorer. Both of those studios were really fascinating; well worth the trip.
After dinner we went for a walk on Glen Island, a part of New York that was entirely new to me. My weekend also included visits to two different street fairs. I'll have some pictures and more to say about them when I return to Pittsburgh.