Hebrew School

Zion’s shoe, Ringo’s foot
January 30, 2008, 1:54 am
Filed under: israel | Tags: , , , , ,

I was happy to read today that a dreadful historical wrongdoing was corrected yesterday when Israel apologized for the cancellation of a 1965 Beatles show in the holy land. This bit of truth and reconciliation went out to Paul McCartney and Ringo, as well as to the families of John Lennon and George Harrison.

While budgetary concerns were cited as the reason for the fiasco, it’s also clear that the Beatles were a target of the Knesset’s cultural and political agendas.

A big toda raba to the Jar for alerting me to this development.

Since I’m a little short on time at the moment due to my upcoming show, perhaps it’s time for a CONTEST to fill in this spot. [????? Could this be you ?????] So here’s the question: What’s the Beatles lyric or quote that most wittily or sillily sheds light on this situation? Put on your bloggin’ boots, post it in the comments section below, and win a special prize if you’ve got the best quip.

Because right now it’s all Sir Paul–

I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go
I’m filling the cracks that ran through the door
And kept my mind from wandering
Where it will go
And it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong
I’m right
Where I belong I’m right
Where I belong.
See the people standing there who disagree and never win
And wonder why they don’t get in my door.
I’m painting the room in a colourful way
And when my mind is wandering
There I will go.
And it really doesn’t matter if
I’m wrong I’m right
Where I belong I’m right
Where I belong.
Silly people run around they worry me
And never ask me why they don’t get past my door.
I’m taking the time for a number of things
That weren’t important yesterday
And I still go.
I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go.


Hebrew School debut!
January 27, 2008, 10:08 pm
Filed under: > Project, events

I’m happy to announce that Hebrew School will have its first show this coming Sunday, February 3 at Banjo Jim’s. We’ll be playing a short set of new material I have been working on for the last six months or so. Joining me will be Golemites Taylor Bergren-Chrisman on bass and Tim Monaghan on drums. (Taylor also plays with bands such as Las Rubias del Norte; Tim with such bands as J.A.C.K.)

Joining Hebrew School on Sunday will be fellow Six Points fellows Clare Burson, Dan Fishback, and Jeremiah Lockwood. We’ll all be playing half-hour sets starting at 9pm. See events page for more details. Hope to see you there!

And, for the sake of posterity and an illusion of lack of continuity, check out this 8-year-old clip of our old klezmer band, the Murrays, playing the first and last rock show ever held at Katz’s Delicatessen. (If you have to ask which one is me, you probably shouldn’t be told.)

Jews in the woods
January 23, 2008, 1:30 am
Filed under: > Project, jews | Tags: , , ,

This past weekend, the Jews kidnapped the fellowship artists and brought us to a secluded location in rural New Jersey. Fortunately our quarters were comfortable and no Geneva Conventions violations were reported during our stay (at least no non-consensual ones, anyway).

above: The paddywagon

During our extradition, a wet snow begins to fall. The bus, too large to navigate the back roads, gets stuck on some train tracks on an icy hill and we all evacuate. A while (but not long enough!) after the bus moves to safer grounds, a train comes barreling through.

Indoctrination begins in the meditation room. We receive artist feedback here by staring into the electric crystal.

On the second evening at sundown, a bizarre candle-lighting ritual ensues as we are relieved of our duties. (Note the gangly state of the male detainees.)

Avishai snuck in some delicious Ethiopian challah bread made of teff and flour. A carton of cigarettes procures us enough wine for kiddush.

A rumored hunger strike never materializes.

We bundle up for a very moving movie, presented by Tamar Rogoff. Our spirit has been softened.

In the morning, I bribe some of my cohort to do yoga for me, and for the rest of the day I feel much more relaxed.

“Achota” Rebecca Guber leads us on a hike. (Those who have recently given birth to adorable Jewish babies are allowed to walk ahead.)

As our shadows grow long, our map leads us through an open field of rifle-bearing meat enthusiasts with little Jewish sense of humor, so we turn back.

C.C. for havdalah will be just fine, actually, thanks.

Everyone’s favorite female sage

The grounds of Mount Eden have many charming details.

Cookie monster, somewhat faded

Why the Shondes played

above: Ian Brannigan

Last Friday’s Shondes (pronounced Shonduhz because it comes from the Yiddish for shame, disgrace, outrage) show met and exceeded expectations. Which I expected. What I hadn’t realized (shamefully, or disgracefully, perhaps) was their high level of musicianship as they rendered their newer material live. Louisa Solomon, an activist with the International Solidarity Movement and Jews Against the Occupation, delivers vocals with an astonishingly resolute quality, clearly well-studied in the likes of God is my Co-Pilot, Team Dresch, et al. Temim Fruchter’s drumming was superb; I also really liked the songs on which Temim sang lead vocals. And Elijah Oberman has that rare mastery of post-punk violin playing that only seems to come along once in a generation, reminiscent of early Raincoats.

Your Monster

The Shondes were followed by perennial favorites the Hungry March Band, who similarly rocked, except with tubas, trombones, bass drums, saxophones and euphonia.

There were about 20 Hungry March Band folks on stage Friday.

Village Voice article on the Shondes

Because the Shondes are having a record release
January 11, 2008, 1:57 pm
Filed under: indie, jewish, music, shows

Funny weather out here in Brooklyn– tropical thunderstorms and lightning in January. Will winter be this politically correct from now onwards (seriously folks, my windows just rattled)?

A while back, Jack had alerted me to the fact of the Shondes having their record release at Luna Lounge in Williamsburg tonight. But I forgot. Then my cousin Erica Cohen-Taub, who’s the general manager at WXBC and in the city for the next little while, happened to have an advance copy of their new CD, Red Sea, in a recent stack of promo mailings. Which is awesome. So I’ll be going to the show if I am not struck by lightning beforehand.

As Jack points out in the link above, the Shondes are part of an interesting (though not necessarily new) opening for bands that identify themselves in one way or another as Jewish without necessarily buying into the hegemony of a monolithic idea about what being Jewish might mean. (I call it “jewish with a small ‘j.'”) I’m excited for the show and plan to report back.

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”


Non-sequitur news flash: The next Coen brothers movie will be about Hebrew school, “in a big way.”

The pork, the park, the South (of Brooklyn)

Some images* and thoughts from the first weekend in 2008, which was a mild and beautiful one here in NYC.

First, I run into Yasmine Alwan in Park Slope. It’s been too long and it’s nice to see her.

Jill and I go to Two Boots in Brooklyn. I never realized until recently what Two Boots meant (the “boots” of Italy and Louisiana) though it’s apparent now in much of their imagery. Back in the day, I used to play here with Mike Mermin. Many happy memories. We eat oyster po’boys and steaks and share a pizza. We meet Tali Shmulovich and her 17-year-old brother John to see John’s guitar teacher’s band, a New Orleans-style mix of Dr. John-tinged blues and R&B.

Excellent musicianship abounds.

We dance.

The next morning (well, afternoon since it starts to get dark), Jill and I meet Yasmine in Prospect Heights for brunch. The area’s residents are infuriated by the large-scale ugly land development occurring here.

Jill helps me demo a new Hebrew School song which uses certain familiar liturgical lyrics (hint– the words can be sung to the tune of La Marseillaise or “I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys, though we won’t, and we’re not).

We take a walk in Sunset Park (i.e., the park which is the neighborhood’s namesake). It continually acquires more and more beauty for me.

Directly above: Is this fountain a reified imaginary personification of the park?

…or is this?

The weekend is finished appropriately with pork ribs.

Is the park pork, or is the pork the punctum of the park?

* I found my camera, thus keeping my word about the new year.

Another post about Sunset Park.