Hebrew School


The Pork, the Yard, the Canal

Friday, October 10, the day following Yom Kippur, a Jew’s last chance to repent for the previous year’s vice. With the final blasts of the ram’s horn fading into whispery memory, all is somehow forgiven. But with these last moments of ritual comes a hunger– not just that feeling in your stomach from an all-day fast, if indeed your observance compelled you. It’s your soul’s momentary redemption, and with a clean slate and a fresh start, you begin to hunger anew for sin. Which is to say, you begin to hunger anew for swine.

Your despicable impulses take you to the banks of the most fetid body of water on the Eastern seaboard.

Can you smell that smell? The Gowanus Canal. (photos: Jill)

In the yard, a menacing beer line forms…

$1 Six Point Hop Obamas from 6-7pm. Election season has never tasted so delicious.

Bel Air strikes up a delightfully thunderous twang in celebration of Ear Farm‘s third birthday.

A 200-pound, organic, grass-fed heritage hog from upstate’s Fleisher’s gets its final flavor seal.

Marlow and Sons’ Tom Mylan slices pig, distributes cracklins. Holy Moses, indeed.

It is laid on a table for serving… (click for larger version)

Tacos de carnitas.

Apple crisp. This has no pork in it.

Darkness plunges the canal into a murky glow of streetlight, ignominy hidden.

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“So like, how’s your project going?”

There it is, that pervasive question the past year and a half. Jack wants to know, as does bubbe, an R train rider, the Jews, Obama pollwatchers, Sixpoint Hop Obama drinkers, Six Points fellow fellows, and an assorted cadre of friends of friends, enemies of enemies, would-be impresarios and so forth.

Because the fellowship has presented me with such a great opportunity to push my art into such an exciting new direction, with new territory and parameters, the project’s been like a bond of pregnancy for me (as close as I’ll ever know, anyway). When someone is pregnant, I don’t ask them, “So, how do you think you’ll be able to carry this baby to term?” or, “So, is this baby going to be a successful orthodontist when it grows up?” Rather, I say, mazel tov, or even better yet, besha’ah tovah, meaning “in good time.” To be honest, I’d rather let the thing come to fruition before removing its foreskin.

Which isn’t to say that I haven’t appreciated your questions. Very much so, in their sincerity, I have. And it isn’t to say, perhaps unlike traditional Jewish pregnancy, that some celebrating isn’t in order, and hence I will give you some details from the ultrasound:

Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, and Hebrew School has evolved into what could be described as my Trout Fishing in America. This is to say that Hebrew School might itself be a questioning individual, a dusty place with shafts of sunlight coming in, a paradoxical outlook, a brisket recipe, a living ideal (real or imagined), a past abutted against the present. The songs play out these conflicting scenarios as if they were generated from a computer by chance, meaning that, depending on who you are, some songs may be heartwarming, others reprehensible.

Hebrew School goes into the recording studio in November. I’m happy to say that we’ll be recording in my own neighborhood of South Brooklyn, and that I’ll be joined by members of Golem, Lucinda Black Bear, and other surprise special guests. The record’s release will occur early this spring, with an accompanying show. Keep checking this site for more details as they develop!