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Metropolitan Klezmer, film, NYC, Jun 6

Tuesday, June 6
8:00 PM
The JCC of Manhattan presents:

"The Celluloid Closet of Yiddish Film: Gay + Lesbian Subtext from a Cinema of Diaspora"
A film clips-lecture by Eve Sicular, with Metropolitan Klezmer full octet live!
For more information, or to register, please call 646-505-5708
This program is the finale of the JCC's Faigele Film Festival

$12.00 - Member
$15.00 - Non-Member

Location: The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. at 76th St. (Program room assignments will be available at the JCC Customer Service Desk, in the lobby of the Samuel Priest Rose Building.)

An exploration of lesbian and gay subtext in Yiddish cinema during its heyday—from the 1920’s to the outbreak of World War II—re”reveals distinctly Jewish concerns of the time, intertwined with a striking array of allusions to this highly charged subject. From musical comedies to classic dramas, queerness emerged with themes of conflicted identity, passing, and same-sex attachments. Discussion of gems of the Yiddish screen, as well as some American classics, will be accompanied by clips from selected films and period home movies. With Eve Sicular curating, and the award-winning Metropolitan Klezmer accompanying with updated classics and classic soundtrack interpretations.

A note from Eve: I have been creating and touring this lecture internationally since 1994, shortly after my first research article on this topic was published in Jewish Folklore & Ethnology Review, edited by Jeffrey Shandler. I am greatly indebted to the late great film historian and gay rights activist Vito Russo, whose "Celluloid Closet" project -- dealing mainly with Hollywood pictures -- was a tremendous inspiration both through his live presentations and his insightful book of the same name, later the basis for an HBO documentary released five years after his death. My initial impression that similar subtexts could be found in Yiddish films was purely unexpected and serendipitous. Over subsequent years of reviewing Yiddish films for cinematic projects, I also made fortuitous musical discoveries which found their way into my bands' repertoire; in one case, previously unnoticed queer subtext could be substantiated even in the lyrical content of a song from within a vintage Yiddish movie. This is our third time since early 2005 making a joint performance to include Metropolitan Klezmer live with our own arrangements of soundtrack material in conjunction with the filmic original versions and my remarks contextualizing the excerpts being viewed. And the range of Yiddish cinema covered here is panoramic.

If you've been meaning to see this show but didn't make it to Galapagos or Makor last year, next week would be an excellent opportunity to check out this extravaganza! We don't have many opportunities to give audiences this full spectacle of archival edutainment, and the well-apppointed JCC space is likely to be our best dual-purpose venue yet.

So hope to see you Tuesday 6/06/06 ~ for Yiddish cinema as you may never have seen it before, plus all eight of our Metropolitan Klezmer bandmates with these lush and loving renditions of music from this particular silver screen (including clips from assorted feature films plus rare newsreels featuring early Soviet Yiddish Theater, as well as period Catskills footage ... and much more).

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