Never let down your guard Jews. That’s the real message behind this clip from the Family Guy’s season premiere (I have a kid and a major new “project” - I’m WAY behind on my shows). It may be the prettiest animation Family Guy has ever churned out, but lurking juuuust behind the beauty is…something…terrible.
The Chabad Telethon in Los Angeles raises millions each year, in large part by playing up their role as the “authentic” heirs of Judaism (ie they are the “real jews” who LOOK Jewish and ACT Jewish, hence the “world famous dancing rabbis”) - that and their drug rehab and anti-poverty efforts. Not their most familiar work (that would be “spreading yiddishkayt” and sharing kosher food and orthodox holiday observance with Jews in far flung locales across the world) but hey, power to them. For a sect that generally disavows television, celebrity, and any pleasures unassociated with praising Hashem, they will go to any and all lengths to raise money for their cause. Apparently the ends justify the means - you cannot deny their success as badass fundraisers.
This year, Conan associate Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was roped in. He managed to keep it clean and was actually pretty funny. For his show, Conan edited down this clip to capture Triumph’s highlights. Catch a glimpse of Jewlicious Festival’s (and now Jconnect LA’s) Yonah Bookstein near the end (missed you at Hidden Melodies dude!).
Last Thursday night, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, The Sway Machinery rang in 5770 one night early with the wildest and most exuberant experience a Los Angeles Temple (and crowd) has ever experienced. Over a year in the making, Hidden Melodies Revealed was unlike any Jewish or cultural event ever held in the City of Angeles - from the diversity of the crowd, which included septuagenarians with walkers, tattooed hipsters, Israelis, and Adam Levine of Maroon 5 - to the location - the Historic Piness Auditorium at Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s Eastside campus, soon to undergo mass renovations including takeover of the full city block, to the music - a reimagining of the Jewish New Year with afrobeat, blues, and stories of frightened cantors hiding in cellars. We had plenty of adventure behind the scenes as well, with last minute beer runs to BevMo and Trader Joe’s (Thanks @bruin!), abuse of our secret service ear pieces, and sushi runs in Little Tokyo followed by poser time on the roof of The Standard. All in all a good time.
Between the event here and 2 nights later in San Francisco, both of which required JDub to bring in sound, lights, generators, caterers, and huge security guards, on top of our normal team of event producers, publicists, marketers, and sponsors - this was one of our largest productions to date. With 1,000 moving pieces, I have to give huge props to JDub’s own MC Tater Tot for holding it down and leading the team, and JCUB for having his back at all times. And of course to our funder, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles and our sponsors, Myspace Music, Reboot/10Q (jump on that!), Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, Tablet Mag, and The Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists. Click the pics for the full set.
Sophomore year at NYU, I regularly went to sleep to the sounds of Indian classical music. Ben found it soothing; at first I found it grating. But as I learned how to listen to the tablas, the sitar, and the singers and my appreciation for this music grew steadily.
When we started JDub (7 years ago this December!), we hypothesized that if a handful of college kids at NYU were experimenting with Jewish music, they could not be alone in their interest to explore and expand the rather stagnate cannon. It took us some time to uncover the rich diversity we assumed (and hoped) was out there, but particularly in the last 2 years, we’ve been exposed to incredible new Jewish sounds. Today, I discovered one more which brought me right back to those nights with Zakir Hussein.
Shye Ben Tzur is an Israeli composer and singer who has lived in India for the last decade. Today, Outlook India profiles Shye and his Hebrew qawwalis, inspired by the 700 year old devotional Sufi musical tradition. Where many “fusion” projects are little more than naive appropriation or shtick, Shye has successfully and authentically brought his own creativity - and language - into this exclusive Indian tradition. How? By spending a decade in India learning with musical gurus and dedicating himself wholly to this musical pursuit.
You can hear 3 tracks from Shye’s debut CD, released in 2003, on his myspace page. He’s just recorded a new album, Shoshan, for the Indian Earthsync label, but its unclear when this new music will pop up online.
Outlook India’s article doesn’t shy away from exploring questions of religious appropriation or Israeli identity:
Despite his close association with Sufism, Ben Tzur has not changed his religion. And he has an explanation for it. “Sufism is a mystical path,” he says. “And mystics are very different people from what I am. Let’s say that I am one who knocks on the door of the saints, and I thank them if they answer me.”
But there are some who wonder why he doesn’t take inspiration from his own deeply mystical Jewish tradition, I tell him. “I read the Jewish holy texts, the words of the Jewish mystics, and I feel deeply connected to them. But really, the name of the specific path to the divine—Sufi, Hindu, Jewish—doesn’t matter to me,” is his response.
I’ve been DJing since ‘98, although the past year or so I must admit to having ignored the ‘tables and focused on my terrible guitar playing. Still, I have a thing for turntablism. If you like DJs and/or ridiculously crazy video editing tricks, you must must must watch this video. DJs are the Scratch Perverts. Among other thing, this video introduced me to Shlomo, an English beatboxer (and Jew, I stereotypically assume) who has performed with Damon Albern, Rachid Taha, and Vieux Farka Touré. Watch them Rock the Casbah after the jump
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I like food. A lot. Since Thriller’s initial appearance, Amanda has been watching an intense amount of Food Network (great to watch in short bursts, when you don’t have the time or energy for a full show commitment) so I’ve been exposed to Chopped, Paula Dean, Ace of Cakes, UnWrapped, and The Next Food Network Star. It’s taken quite awhile for me to appreciate watching food as much as I enjoy eating it, but thanks to Top Chef Masters, I think I am finally there.
The fitting label for these shows is Food Porn. For me, though, its not just Porn; it’s Food Voyeurism. As a keeper of kashrut pretty much my whole life, I have never tasted a scallop or a lobster tail. I can only imagine a cheeseburger, let alone one with bacon, fried in chorizo fat. And i find it hard even to fathom the consistency or taste of sea urchin. And yet I am captivated by these shows and the food in large part because of how they peak my imagination (and test my OCD-like commitment) for hitherto unknown flavors.
This week’s Top Chef Masters finale was a celebration of food and the chef’s preparing it. No nasty curveballs, nothing tricky, simply a chance for the 3 finalists to showcase their skills, passion, and food. It was exciting and moreso than when watching past shows, I found myself wondering: what does that taste like? Read More »
This. Just. Looks. Awesome.
Thanks @snerko @todaysbigthing!
About 3 weeks ago, this video began to make the rounds on the interweb.
With 17 million views to date, it’s quite a sensation. What interests me, however, is not how this is being used to rehabilitate Chris Brown’s image/brand (it’s his song they’re dancing to), but rather the fact that it appears his record company (or their affiliates), may have been behind the video’s success. Today, digital marketer Augustine Frou laid out this compelling case. Amongst his less technical, more interesting facts: most videos take 4-6 months to achieve the number of views this video recieved in DAYS, and the wedding party was booked to perform their dance on the Today Show only 6 days after they posted it to Youtube. (Morning TV is not easily or quickly booked, especially when the dance was done to an UNCLEARED use of a major label recording). Anna Maria Virzi, at Clikz, got Frou to summarize his case in layman’s/lazyman’s terms:
“This is one of the rare, if not the only, examples of a viral video that actually drove a measurable increase in sales. Unless someone from Sony or one of their PR agencies steps up to ‘claim credit’ for doing such an awesome job of not only driving sales but also polishing Chris Brown’s image at the same time, we may never truly know if they did this. But if they did, this would go down as a text-book case of viral video marketing done right.”
Understatement of the year. If this is actually how it went down, it takes viral marketing to an entirely new level, negotiating not just the flow of the message (interns posting on message boards, tweeting, submitting it to blogs0, but huge technical, legal, and bureaucratic hurdles. In the olden days of 2008, its probably more likely SONY would have had the video taken off of Youtube because the song use wasn’t cleared. Instead, they recognized a huge opportunity for a downtrodden artist and made a mountain out of a molehill.
So sorry Rihanna, it seems funny dancing is way more compelling to America than not supporting celebrities who beat the crap out of their girlfriends. (I lied when I said I wasn’t interested in WHY Sony might be so invested in tying the (apologetic) abuser to a most joyous, happy, nonviolent moment in a young couples lives.)
Almost 3 years, ago, the week my block came in at #21 in Time Out New York’s Most Desirable Blocks, my car was stolen from from said block. We loved it very much. Amanda went through the 12 Stages of Grieving.
It was a white Honda Accord and as NY’s most stolen car brand, we had no hope of seeing it again. But today, on Tisha B’Av, theoretically the “saddest day of the Jewish year,” word comes from the NYPD that they have found our car, not only in one piece, but in better condition than we last saw it. The cops described it as a “racecar.” Thus redeeming our faith in New York’s Finest, challenging our relationship with Zipcar, and perhaps validating Conservative Judaism’s notion that the second half of Tisha B’Av is a time for rebuilding (and eating).