Let’s start 2022 with some good cultural news: Most of the venues that were closed around this time last year are now open, and big shows and shows are coming back to town. The bad news, as we all know, is that omicron is spreading among the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, leading to lower ticket sales and possible cancellations.
At the time of going to press, the following performances by Jewish artists were still on the program. Hope they stay there.
‘The Band’s Visit’, an award-winning musical set in Israel
For more than a dozen years, Ava Brand has bought and resold BroadwaySF theatrical tickets as a fundraiser for the youth programs of Congregation Adath Israel, an Orthodox synagogue in San Francisco. (She claims she gets the best seats after the BroadwaySF season subscribers.)
The program has been on hiatus since early 2020 due to the pandemic, and Brand has said she looks forward to a triumphant return this month when “The Band’s Visit,” a musical in Israel, arrives at Golden Gate. Theater from January 11. “People were saying they couldn’t wait to get back to the theater, and now this,” she said, referring to the spread of omicron. “It’s very uncertain.”
Based on a 2007 Israeli film, “The Band’s Visit” won 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Book. (The book was written by playwright Itamar Moses, who was born and raised in Berkeley.) In the upcoming national tour to Golden Gate, Israeli actor Sasson Gabai is reprising the role he played in the film. As Tewfiq, he conducts an Egyptian police orchestra that traveled to Israel to perform at an Arab cultural center in Petah Tikvah. Due to a communication problem, the orchestra gets lost in the Negev desert and has to depend on the assistance and hospitality of local Israeli Jews, including cafe owner Dina (Janet Dacal in the role created by Ronit Elkabetz).
Of the 20 or so people who have booked tickets through Brand, San Francisco resident Seth Skootsky will be in the audience on opening night – until the show is canceled. He told J. he had seen both the movie and the original Broadway show, which starred Tony Shalhoub (“Monk” and “The Wonderful Mrs. Maisel”).
“It’s great music,” Skootsky said, “and I love that the musicians are actually in costume and on stage.” Of the story, he noted, “It doesn’t get political. It kind of takes for granted the idea that people should treat each other like human beings.
Anyone interested in joining Brand’s theaters list can email them at [email protected]. Donations made to Adath Israel through the purchase of tickets are tax deductible.
“The group’s visit.” From January 11 to February 6 at the Golden Gate Theater, 1 Taylor St., SF $ 56 and up. No children under 5 allowed. Proof of vaccination and mandatory masks.
Jewish hip hop yin and yang in concert in SF
After collaborating on a remix of Adam Sandler’s song Hanukkah in late 2021, Jewish rappers Nissim Black and Kosha Dillz are now performing together across the country. Their “Brights Lights” tour will stop at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco on January 23.
The two are yin and yang Jewish hip hop and form a striking double bill. Noir is an African-American Orthodox Jew from Seattle who now lives in Israel. He dresses in traditional Hasidic costume, with a black shtreimel or fedora, and raps about his identity and spirituality in elegantly produced songs such as “Mothaland rebound” and “Best friend.”
Kosha Dillz is a bald, not-so-religious white American Israeli from New Jersey. His aesthetic is more playful than that of Black; he often performs in brightly colored costumes and is best known for his conscientious current freestyle rap. On TikTok, he recently posted a video of himself rhyming about Jews and Chinese food… inside a Chinese restaurant in New York City.
Rappers have known each other for years and share some commonalities. In addition to their love of Judaism and hip hop, they both fell with Covid – once for Black, twice for Kosha Dillz. (Those are the dangers of being artists who depend on income from their public performances.) But they’re both healthy and have drawn diverse crowds to their shows, according to Kosha Dillz. “I toured with Wu Tang [Clan], so touring with Nissim is a bit of a twist, “he told J.” There are people who come from all walks of life, from Orthodox Jews to Swedes who heard us on the radio, to the Trans Jews, teens, the elderly and hip hop heads.
He added, “We are real rappers. We don’t just rely on being Jewish. This is just one of the communities in which we operate.
Nissim Black: The Bright Lights Tour with Kosha Dillz. 8:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall, 1710 Mission St., SF $ 36 general, $ 108 VIP. Proof of vaccination and mandatory masks.
Fran Lebowitz brings his unique brand of storytelling to Berkeley
Professional kvetcher Fran Lebowitz is so closely associated with New York City – her home for over 50 years and her timeless muse – that this Californian has never paid her much attention. But then I watched the 2021 Netflix docuseries “Pretend It’s a City” and gained an appreciation for its unique brand of storytelling: social commentary mixed with nostalgia for the “simpler” times, spiced up with literary allusions. , celebrity names and cutting edge humor.
In the seven-episode series, which was directed by Martin Scorsese, a close friend of Lebowitz, she touches on a range of topics, from her experience working as one of the very few female cab drivers in New York City in the 1970s to the “racketeering” of the world of modern art to the joys of reading. It is also taking a few weak hits in California, including among the wealthy “technologists” of Silicon Valley who have adopted wellness practices such as meditation and special diets in order to live longer. “To me wellness is greed,” she said, her Jewishness bubbling to the surface. “It’s not enough for me that I’m not sick. I must be Good. “
Even though she finds California lower than New York, Lebowitz, 71, will appear at the Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theater for six 90-minute in-person conversations from January 21-26. San Francisco filmmaker Peter Stein will lead the final conversation. January 26. Stein, who recently appeared on “Jeopardy!” and whose latest documentary is “Moving to San Francisco”, compared Lebowitz to early 20th century comedian Will Rogers “if Will Rogers were a dyspeptic New York Jewish woman, chain smoker, with an attitude.” He continued in an email to J.: “I love the way she can, with complete confidence, utter a big condemnation of an appalling aspect of American politics or culture and then tie it up with it. a verbal spirit ribbon so festive that, for a moment, you forget how disturbing our world is.
Fran Lebowitz. January 21-26, on multiple occasions, at the Roda Theater, 2015 Addison St., Berkeley. $ 37 to $ 80. Proof of vaccination and mandatory masks.