Ronit Muszkatblit is the co-artistic director of LABA, a secular Jewish house of study and culture laboratory at the 14th Street Y. Today she is talking to us about LABAlive’s upcoming event, “Drunk” which will take place Thursday, March 14 in the Theater at the 14th Street Y.
So explain to us a little about “Drunk.” I presume there is more to it than just drinking.
Ronit: Yes! The evening will be an exploration into what ancient Jewish texts, like the Torah and Talmud, say about the state of being wasted. Our wonderful LABA teachers, Ruby Namdar and Basmat Hazan, will be talking about how Noah became the world’s first drunk, why sometimes wine drives you to heaven and sometimes it drives you to hell, and what happens to Talmudic rabbis when they drink too much.
And people will be just drinking while they talk?
Yes, but more. We have hired a professional sommelier to actually pair each of the texts being taught with a specific wine. Some call for something bubbly, and some are smokey and oaky and call for a deep red. Before we look at the texts, the sommelier will be telling us a little something about the wines he chose and why he chose them.
Your program is for culture-makers. Will they be doing anything on the subject of intoxication?
For sure. Current and past LABA artist fellows — these are the people we choose to join us in our house of study each year — will be performing and presenting works tied to ups and downs of getting wasted. We have award-winning playwrights Karen Hartman and Misha Schulman performing short theater pieces, and a short film by Zvi Sahar. Also, we will project art by Sam Holleran, Manju Shandler and Anita Glesta on the walls as we study. Oh, and Erin Patinkin, founder and owner of Brooklyn’s popular Ovenly will be creating a boozy baked good for the night.
Why did LABA decide to produce this evening?
We are very excited about the juxtaposition of culture and ancient Jewish texts in a totally open-minded and free setting and we are constantly looking for ways to bring what we do in our house of study to the public. Previously, we only had a year-end festival, but now we are expanding and doing events throughout the year.
LABA is a laboratory for Jewish culture in which we use classic Jewish texts to inspire the creation of new art. Developed by the 14th Street Y in 2007, LABA programming includes a secular house of study, artist fellowship program and LABALive, a series of performances, public events, and gallery shows for children and adults.
http://14streety.interticket.com or call 646-395-4322