Meet the 2015-2016 LABA Fellows

 Every year, a new crop of LABA Fellows gathers at the 14th Street Y over noshes and wine to discuss classic Jewish texts and create artwork inspired by our dialogue. After waiting all summer, we are very excited for next week’s launch of the 2015-2016 Fellowship! Our theme is BEAUTY.
Meet our fellows (drumroll, please…)

Gal Beckerman, an author and journalist, was the opinion editor at The Forward. He was also a longtime editor and staff writer at the Columbia Journalism Review and has written for the New York TimesBoston Globe, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. He was a Fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Berlin and the recipient of a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. His first book, When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in September 2010. It was named was one of the best books of the year by The New Yorker and the Washington Post, and received both the 2010 National Jewish Book Award and the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.

Gon Ben Ari is a critically acclaimed writer in Israel, known for two novels (Sequoia Children is being translated into English) and for his magazine writing at major Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot. He is currently located in Brooklyn, NY, where he writes fiction (Ben Ari was titled a MacDowell Fellow for 2014), film, and journalism (Forward, New York and Yedioth Ahronot, Israel).

Artist Lital Dotan dedicated most of the past decade to creating utopian environments for performance in the domestic sphere. Her Brooklyn-based Glasshouse ArtLifeLab, co-founded with Eyal Perry, is nourishing artists and audiences across generations and disciplines. She is the founder of Que sal mah, the newly launched concept boutique that merges performance, art and fashion. An immersive integration of installation, documentation and life, her performance narratives are designed to challenge structures and mechanisms across art and society, dissolving and re-imagining through harsh intimacy notions of space, audience, art, value and success.

Exploring the personal and the idiosyncratic aspects of music-making, Brooklyn composer Lainie Fefferman’s most recent commissions have been from ETHEL, Kathleen Supové, TILT Brass, James Moore, Eleonore Oppenheim, JACK Quartet, and Dither. Her recent evening length piece Here I Am for Newspeak and Va Vocals, the culmination of her residency at Roulette through the Jerome Foundation for the 2013-2014 season, was warmly received by a sold out audience. Starting in April 2015, she began her time at HERE Arts Center as a resident fellow, where she will create a multimedia opera based on ancient mathematical texts for sopranos Mellissa Hughes, Caroline Shaw, and Martha Cluver, with Mantra Percussion and lighting designer Eric Southern. Fefferman is the founder and co-director of Exapno, a New Music Community Center in Downtown Brooklyn, lead-organizes the New Music Bake Sale, and is co-founder of the New Music Gathering, a national new music event. She received her doctorate in composition from Princeton and continues to be a performing member of Princeton-based laptop ensemble Sideband.

Joshua Max Feldman is a writer of fiction and plays. His debut novel, The Book of Jonah, a modern retelling of the Biblical Book of Jonah set in contemporary New York City, was published in the U.S. in February, 2014, by Henry Holt. Amazon named The Book of Jonah the Debut Novel of the Month, and the New York Times praised it for “storytelling infused with energy” and declared it “worth applauding.” The Book of Jonah has been translated into nine languages, published in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Israel, and more. Joshua’s New York theater career began when his play HeartBreakWordMusic was produced at the Under St. Mark’s Theatre. Joshua’s theatrical works have also been featured as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and have been produced in New York at the 78th Street Theatre Lab, the HERE Arts Center, the Flea Theater, and more.

Jessica Gross writes fiction, essays, and criticism. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review Daily, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Longreads, New York Magazine’s Vulture, Kirkus Reviews, and more. In 2014, she did a test run of a writer’s residency on an Amtrak train from New York to Chicago and back. The response to her Paris Review Daily essay about the experience—which was covered by The New Yorker online, The New York Times, The Atlantic Wire, WNYC, and others—helped spur Amtrak to launch a formal program. Jessica has conducted interviews with novelists, actors, psychoanalysts, chefs, musicians, academics, film directors, cartoonists, a professional live storyteller, and a former spy. She teaches creative nonfiction at the Sackett Street Writers Workshop, and received her Master’s in cultural reporting and criticism from NYU and her Bachelor’s in anthropology from Princeton University.

Shanti Grumbine received her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a visual artist who transforms appropriated print media through paper cutting, drawing, collage, printmaking, sculpture and performance. By removing, fracturing and recombining text and image from journalistic sources and advertising, she makes space for what has been censored as well as what has been lost in the translation of experience into words. Select exhibition venues include A.I.R. Gallery, Muroff Kotler Visual Art Gallery at SUNY Ulster, CCA Sante Fe, Mandeville Gallery at Union College, The Dorsky Museum, The Bronx Museum, Magnan-Metz Gallery, Planthouse Gallery and IPCNY. Residencies include Vermont Studio Center, Millay Colony, Ucross, Yaddo, Wave Hill Winter Workspace Residency, Lower East Side Printshop Keyholder Residency, A.I.R Gallery Fellowship, 2014 Ota Artist in Residence, Tokyo, Japan, Artist in the Marketplace (AIM), Women’s Studio Workshop and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art. She lives and works in New Paltz, NY and New York City.

Rebecca Margolick and Maxx Berkowitz are a Brooklyn based integrative and experimental performance collaborative.

Rebecca Margolick was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. She graduated with an honors BFA in Dance from NYU – Tisch School of the Arts and received the J.S. Seidman Award for Excellence in Dance. Primarily based in NYC, Rebecca is a company member with Sidra Bell Dance New York. She currently works with Shay Kuebler Radical System Arts in Vancouver, Chuck Wilte’s UNA Projects in NYC and with Derrick Belcham and Emily Terndrup. She has received grants from the Canada Council and BC Arts Council to attend workshops around the world. Rebecca has taught at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Rutgers University, Simon Fraser University, Tanz Farm in Atlanta and will be co-directing a class at University of the Arts in Philadelphia this fall semester.

Maxx Berkowitz is an interactive art director / designer, as well as a guitarist in the band Twin Wave. He has a wide creative skill set including video, photography, animation and development. After graduating from Syracuse University with a dual major in Graphic Design and Information Management and Technology, Maxx worked as a designer at Showtime Premium Television Networks and the digital agency Bajibot. Since beginning freelancing in August 2013, Maxx has worked on projects from the award-winning 2013 interactive Macy’s holiday windows to websites for Mercedes, Time Inc. and Starbucks and for many top advertising agencies including Razorfish, JWT and Wunderman.

Kendell Pinkney is a Texas-born, Brooklyn-based theatre writer. A graduate of Oberlin College and New York University’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, his collaborative works and songs have been performed and/or developed at venues such as 54 Below, Two Rivers Theatre Company, Goodspeed Opera House, Musical Theatre Factory, The 52nd Street Project, and Joe’s Pub, to name a few. Additionally, he was commissioned by Pursuit Productions to pen a new play based on the Lilith myth, which will premiere in Chicago in late 2016/early 2017. More recently, his broader interests in identity, race, and Jewishness led him to team up with renowned spoken-word artist Vanessa Hidary (aka, the Hebrew Mamita) to produce Kaleidoscope, a multi-media project and monologue showcase highlighting Jews of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. When not writing for the stage, Kendell is extensively involved in Jewish life and education in Brooklyn, and can often be found at a local cafe buried in the footnotes of a new book on Hebrew Bible or Second Temple Literature.

VISITING FELLOWS:

Hanan Elstein is an Israeli editor and translator, living in Brooklyn since 2013. Hanan studied philosophy, history, literature, cultural studies and law at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany. He has been working as an editor of Hebrew and translated world literature, both fiction and non-fiction, since 2001. He has edited renowned Israeli authors such as Assaf Gavron, Liat Kaplan and Yossi Suckari. He translated over 15 titles from German to Hebrew, including works by Walter Benjamin, Immanuel Kant, Jean Améry, Joachim Fest, Heinrich von Kleist, Irmgard Keun, Elfriede Jelinek, Werner Bräunig and Christian Kracht. In the past few years he has been collaborating on international theater projects, mostly co-productions of German and Israeli theaters. These productions are usually multilingual (Arabic, German and Hebrew) works evolving through an extensive process of intellectual research and creative endeavor between directors, actresses, play writers and translators. For these projects he has translated various texts of Heinrich Heine, Klaus Mann, Leni Riefenstahl and Gustaf Gründgens, as well as a variety of documentary materials. Hanan has written several essays for literary supplements in Israeli newspapers, as well as many theater reviews.

Lior Zalmanson is a writer, new media artist, curator and researcher, whose works mostly focus on the digital culture and the information society. His first play, Yingale, has won the Haifa Fringe festival in 2009 and received a local production in Belgrade by the former Serbian minister of culture, Bratislav Petković. His latest works were portrayed in the Israel Museum, Tzavta Theater, Hansen house and the Jerusalem Film Festival. In 2011, Lior founded Print Screen Festival, Israel’s digital arts festival, which connects thousands of artists, researchers and technologists and explores themes of digital culture in cinema and the audio-visual arts. Lior is a Fulbright visiting scholar to NYU, researching engagement and knowledge sharing dynamics in online and offline environments.

Stay tuned for more information on upcoming year of BEAUTY here on the LABA Journal, on Twitter, and on Facebook. Read more about LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture here.
Learn more about our previous fellows:
2014-2015
2013-2014
2012-2013
2011-2012

Combining Joy and Sorrow: Klezmer Music with Elad Kabilio

Cellist Elad Kabilio
Cellist Elad Kabilio

On Saturday October 3rd, award-winning cellist Elad Kabilio of 12th Night Klezmer and MusicTalks will present a concert of Klezmer music for Sukkot at The Theater at the 14th Street Y – MusicTalks: Klezmer Celebration. We sat down with Elad to talk all things Klezmer and bringing classical music to modern audiences.

Tell us a little about your experience with Klezmer and Gypsy music.
12th Night Klezmer‘s musicians are coming from all sorts of musical backgrounds – Classical, Jazz, Pop, World Music – but none of us had actually dealt with Klemzer. Moreover, in Israel where all of our musicians are originally from, Klezmer music has a hassidic-only connotation and is not that popular at all. We were curious to explore this genre of music which is the closest to us by identity as Jewish/Israeli artists. We have had such a great ride with exploring the roots of Klezmer music, understanding it, and finding our own expression in it.
What is the history of MusicTalks and 12th Night Klezmer?
MusicTalks was founded five years ago with the mission to bring more people into the world of Classical music. We all know nowadays that the world of Classical music is shrinking and we are losing lots of people. Instead of blaming the audience for not being interested in Classical music, we tried to understand what might draw people back. Our concerts are very intimate and personal. Each piece of music gets an introduction so you (the audience) can understand it better and our artists always share anecdotes about their personal reactions to the music. The reaction to MusicTalks was so great that we decided to do the same with other music styles. We recognize that people don’t know much about Jazz, Klezmer, and many other styles and would love to be exposed to exciting music.
What are you hoping audiences will take away from the concert?
The fantastic story of Klezmer music its essence combining joy and sorrow – which is so Jewish. We would love for the audience to get to know our musicians and maybe get inspired by this incredible music just like we did when we embarked on this journey.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I was interviewed by the Jewish Week in 2014 abut 12th Night Klezmer – check it our here!
MusicTalks: Klezmer Celebration
Saturday October 3rd at 7:30pm at The Theater at the 14th Street Y.
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Purchase tickets here.

 

Actor Spotlight: David Stallings

11695961_1022580334443246_8670602777644192661_n%5b2%5d
David Stallings & Antonio Miniño

We sat down with David Stallings, Production & Events Coordinator here at the 14th Street Y, who will be taking the stage in Fab Marquee’s production of Macbeth (Of The Oppressed) this fall in our Theater.

Tell us about what makes this production of Macbeth unique.

David: This is not your classic or traditional Shakespeare production.  Macbeth has always been one of my favorite plays.  It certainly is one of the most quoted texts in the English Language.  But to me, it always smacked of sexism and there are only so many all white productions my palate can handle these days.  It’s just not representative of our world.  So when the idea began, to swap the sexes of several major characters and change only simple pronouns, our team got very excited.  Suddenly the qualities ideal in a man are also ideal in a woman, and the bad choices made in the play are not grounded in gender.  You’ll find women fighting men while wielding battle axes; not doing the laundry.  Also, the chance to create an ethnically diverse world is exciting.

 

What about playing Husband Macbeth is most exciting to you and what is most challenging?

David: I am excited about the “love story” aspect of the play.  To play Husband Macbeth opposite my real life husband truly grounds me in the fact that everything I say must come from a place of truth and love.  Also, as a gay man, I am often asked to put on a masculinity I find false–especially when doing Shakespeare.  But with all gender roles basically thrown out the window, I get to be myself and find the honesty of every moment.  What is most challenging is the amount of energy this play demands.

 

As a playwright yourself, what do modern audiences have to learn from Shakespeare’s plays?

David: Shakespeare’s stories are timeless.  I think modern audiences often disconnect from them because they are treated with an almost biblical reverence.  In truth, Shakespeare was anything but reverent.  He challenged authority, rewrote history, invented words, and completely influenced the world.  I think audiences can still find the poetic truths of Shakespeare if they are presented as irreverently as he intended them to be.

 

Is there anything else you want us to know?

We love the 14th Street Y!  And for Y Members, we are offering our lowest price: $10!  Just write in the discount code “YMember” in the unlock code box.  I hope to see you there!

 

David HeadshotDavid Stallings has been involved with New York theater for ten years as an actor and playwright.  Acting Credits include: New York Theater: Sweet Sweet Spirit (MTWorks), Farewell to Sanity (Planet Connections Festival, Winner Best Actor in a Leading Role), Somdomite: The Loves of Oscar Wilde (Nominated Best Actor by Thespis Theater Festival), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Played Lord Henry, Directed by Glory Kadigan), A Home Across The Ocean (Theatre Row), Folie A Deux (MTWorks), Big Love (Theater for a New City), Book of the Dun Cow (Prospect Theater Co.), Merry Wives of Windsor (Prospect Theater Co.), Romeo and Juliet (Wooden O Productions), The Maids (The Independent Theater), Love and Garbage (Blue Heron Theater), and many more.  Favorite Regional Roles include: Tuzenback (Three Sisters), Jack (Into the Woods), and Joshua/Gerry (Cloud Nine).  David also performed in The Santa Fe Opera’s production of The Beggar’s Opera, as Jimmy Twitcher.  The author of 15 full length plays and numerous shorts, David’s plays have reached audiences across the US.  Most recently his play about the Louisiana oil spill told from the perspective of the animals, Dark Water, premiered at the 14th Street Y and won the 2014 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Best Full Length Script

“He’s (David Stallings) a powerful actor, slight in build, but riveting in his intensity. His humanity shines like a diamond” NY Theater Now on Sweet Sweet Spirit

“Lord Henry (David Stallings), is a joy to watch and listen to; his comments are skillfully filled with the sarcasm and unrelenting wit you would expect from the character. He influences Dorian in a masterful way, presenting a lifestyle which mostly values beauty and the gratification of the senses.” -Theatre Is Easy on The Picture of Dorian Gray

 

Macbeth (of the Oppressed)  October 8th -24th at the 14th Street Y

Get tickets here.

 

 

Arts & Culture Season Announcement

2015-2015 Season Launch of Arts & Culture events at the 14th Street Y

This season, the 14th Street Y is proud to present a wide variety of arts and cultural events for audiences of all ages. From dance, to wine tasting, to film, to musicals, to visual art and Shabbat experiences for the whole family, there is something for everyone this year at the 14th Street Y!

Dance Series

Our Dance Series brings diverse styles of dance including Flamenco, Ballet, Modern, Immersive, Tap and Contemporary to the downtown community.  Tickets are available at 14streety.org/dance.

Sonia Olla Flamenco Dance Company Sept. 9-13 — Zullo/Raw Movement Oct. 28-Nov. 1

Bare Dance Company Dec. 4-6 — of bones || hollye bynum Dec. 17-19

Joffrey Ballet School Feb. 17-21 — Sokolow Dance/Theatre Ensemble Mar. 10

From the Horse’s Mouth Apr. 1-3 —  American Tap Dance Foundation Apr. 13-17

Theater

This fall the 14th Street Y Theater will welcome two innovative productions from our resident companies, Red Fern Theater and Afterwork Theater.

Red Fern Theatre Company (readings) Sept. 14-20 — Macbeth (of the Oppressed) Oct. 8-24

Afterwork Theater Presents Urinetown Nov. 13-22

Other Israel Film Festival Nov. 5-8

The 14th Street Y is participating in the 9th annual Other Israel Film Festival. Award-winning films and engaging conversations focusing on the lives and diverse stories of Arab citizens of Israel and minority populations. Visit www.otherisrael.org for updates.

Pause/Play Nov. 14, Dec. 12, Jan. 9, Feb. 6, Mar. 12

Pause/Play is an innovative Saturday afternoon of Shabbat programming, once monthly at the 14th Street Y.  Activities will include New Country in the City camp programming for kids; toddler sing-a-longs; adult conversations and learning; LABA/rts sessions; meditation; music; family and adult fitness and aquatics for all ages. Free for Y members.

LABALive DRUNK Jan. 21

You’ve seen wine paired with food, but how about wine paired with texts? Join LABA fellows, ancient text scholars and a sommelier as they explore the relationship between wine and time through teachings, tastings and performances. A sensual mash-up indeed. Ticketed event.

LABALive Feb. 25, Mar. 17, Apr. 7, Jun. 2

Join us for a presentation of new works in progress by the LABA Fellows and teachings surrounding this year’s theme of Beauty. LABALive events will include dance, theater, visual art, literature and immersive performances. Ticketed event.

Tikkun Jun. 11

Into the Night a contemporary spin on Tikkun Leil Shavuout presented by Downtown Jews at the 14th Street Y. Join us for a nocturnal journey through culture, conversation, ritual and cheesecakes featuring LABA Fellows, artists, teachers, musicians, and rabbis. Free.

5 New Workouts to Try This Fall!

Your membership at the 14th Street Y gives you options. A lot of them. And while all the options may have been appealing when you first joined, sometimes the challenge of trying something new can intimidate us into sticking with what we know. If you’re tired of the treadmill but need new ideas, try one of these.  Or all five!

people-who-take-the-stairs-are-fitter-and-more-productive

  1.  The Stairs:  You have noticed, of course, that our elevator is getting a modernized make-over. Let this be your inspiration to take a ‘stair challenge’, not just when you’re at the Y but everywhere you go! In our vertical city, the opportunity burn some calories (and your glutes) comes up several times a day. Make it your mission that you’ll climb up to any floor 5 flights or lower.

JR_GroupRuns

2.  JackRabbit Running Programs: Our friends at JackRabbit are offering multiple FREE group runs every week, leaving  from great places like Union Square, upper east side, and central park. Check them out at http://www.jackrabbitsports.com

wa2_grande

3.   Aqua Aerobics drop-ins: New this fall at the 14th Street Y, you can drop in for Aqua Boot Camp and Aqua Fitness, 6:00PM Monday and Wednesday nights, (space permitting), for $25 bucks a pop. If you’ve ever wanted to try it but not commit to the whole semester, this is for you!

inversion

4.  Yoga Inversions. The world looks different upside down, and feels different too! Deepen your Yoga practice with this 3 week series on Saturdays at 12:30PM, designed to help reverse the aging process and regulate many of the body’s internal systems. Email Julie at Jgayerkris@14StreetY.org for information. $30 gets you the whole 3 week series!

anne and Maia curls

5. Thursday Evening POP UPS. Every month, Thursday at 7:30PM brings a new class experience. Try Masala Bhangra in September, Belly Dance and Abs in October, Ashtanga Yoga in November, and Center Ring Box and Tone in December. That’s enough variety to take you into the new year with your resolutions already met.

“All Instruments Are Welcome” Jewish Music with Uri Sharlin

Uri Sharlin
Instructor Uri Sharlin

We sat down with Uri Sharlin, the instructor of the Intro Jewish Music for Non-Professional Musicians class, beginning on Wednesday, September 30th. Uri is a Brooklyn-based composer, accordionist player, and arranger. He has worked with prominent musicians Antony and the Johnsons, Natalie Merchant, Avi Avital and Frank London. Uri was also featured as a pianist and composer in the acclaimed HBO series Flight of the Conchords. He is currently leading several groups including the Cardamon Quartet and the DogCat Ensemble and is the creator of Play Me a Story, a musical storytelling performance program for children.

What excites you most about teaching Intro to Jewish Music?

Uri: It is always exciting for me to teach music, and to teach a hands-on class is what I enjoy the most. I am looking forward to have a group of people who have never played together before, and some of whom haven’t touched their instrument for a while, and help them sound good! I will teach various styles and genres within Jewish music and focus on building practical performance skills the students can continue developing and using beyond the class. This program is geared toward performance, and we will have a few of my colleagues join us and enrich our perspective on performance throughout the semester.

Tell us about your experience with Jewish music. 

Uri: I have been involved in the Jewish music world in New York for many years. This summer only I was in Mexico playing Moroccan Jewish music with the master Emil Zerihan, and the following week, teaching up at KlezKanada. I went from a van in the Mexican desert where everybody but me spoke Moroccan to a camp where pretty much everybody is interested in Yiddish…

How did this idea come about?

Uri: For the past few years I have been running the Tikun Leil Shavuot jam session at the 14th Street Y. It is one of my favorite nights here in the city, where musicians meet and create a new piece of music together, in the middle of the night, with the support of amazing crowds of all backgrounds. More than once I had people approach me and say something like – ‘I used to play the accordion, but never like that…how do you guys do it?’ Well, this class is all about that. Ronit (Ronit Muszkatblit, Artistic Director of LABA) was always very supportive of my music and so the class was a natural collaboration for us.

What do you hope to accomplish with the class?

The main goal is to get students of all levels who are playing an instrument, even if not professionally, to gain deeper insight into Jewish music and ensemble playing. We will explore a different genre every week or two. The level of the class, the chosen repertoire, and the demands from the students will be based on the level of the student and their participation. We will do everything possible to accommodate students of all levels and instruments.

Register online today!

Wednesdays, September 30th – December 9th from 7:00 – 8:30pm at the 14th Street Y
For more information, email URI at usharlin@gmail.com