More and more, our dialogues are taking us beyond the stage, just as our mission compels us, and we’re talking about our art in public as never before, with a wide range of people, engaging with an increasingly diverse array of artists. Sometimes (to use a sports analogy) we may go may to the left, sometimes we go to the right, sometimes we drive straight up the middle, and other times we just stay in the pocket and let the community come to us.
On Yom Kippur, we were at Washington Hebrew Congregation talking about Tough Jews Seeking Retribution and Tough Sensitive Israelis Seeking Therapy and bringing that penchant for self-analysis to our shores in the form cultural products like B’Tipul (forerunner to HBO’s “In Treatment”) or Ari Folman and David Polonsky’s “Waltz With Bashir.” Earlier in the month, we had our three town hall meetings to explore where we were going, where we’ve been, and who we are in the hearts and minds of audience. We’ve been talking and we’ve been listening at other area synagogues like Bnai Israel in Rockville and Tifereth Israel in the District, and soon we’ll be at two conferences. Let’s start with the second first:
On Monday, November 9, we’re working with event organizers for the United Jewish Communities (UJC) and their General Assembly (GA) to present “Strolling Characters from Modern Israeli History” as part of the evening festivities. We’re supplying the text for “living wax museum figures” like Theodor Herzl, David Ben Gurion, Avital Sharanksky, Gold Meir, Hannah Senesh and more modern archetypal figures as well. We’re happy to have been approached by important folks at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and we’re collaborating with great event planners to make our part in the overall evening a success. We hope it’ll be good fun. For more information on registering, click here.
Two weeks earlier, we’ll be involved in the first J Street Conference where we’ll be co-sponsoring the cultural programming track including film and television screenings, spoken work and story performances, and a music and dance party.
Here’s a bit more information about our participation in the J Street Conference which is entitled “Driving Change, Securing Peace.”
Theater J and J Street Present
“Culture as a Tool for Change” at the J Street Conference
Change can happen when we see things in new ways. Film and television provide a window into people, places, and situations we might never have encountered. Storytelling weaves together disparate narratives. Theater instills awareness, emotional identification, and can inspire us to action.
This October, join hundreds of activists, artists, and political and community leaders committed to peace and security for Israel and the Middle East at J Street’s First National Conference. In addition to talks and panel discussions, the conference offers a full palate of cultural expression on the theme of Driving Change, Securing Peace. (October 25 – 28, 2009)
· Pre-Conference Event – Arts and Activism in Troubled Times (Sun., October 25, approx. 5:15 pm)
A panel made up of artists active in Middle East issues, as well as artists involved in social causes on a local, national, and international stage. Presented by Theater J following the 3 pm matinee of Lost in Yonkers. Visit http://www.theaterj.org. At Theater J, 1529 16th Street NW.
· Music – Rocking the Status Quo Party with JDub’s Soulico (Mon., October 26, 8 pm)
Soulico, a DJ crew from Tel Aviv, is literally one of the biggest names there. The music is a unique mix of hip-hop, Middle Eastern melodies, dancehall, and electro, in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. Their debut album Exotic on the Speaker, is being released in October. This event is open to the public. Tickets are available for $10 at http://www.jstreet.org/rockingthestatusquo or at the door. At the Grand Hyatt, 1000 H Street NW.
· Television – John Marks and Search for Common Ground
Search for Common Ground’s founder John Marks discusses the groundbreaking soap operas that promote tolerance and reconciliation among Israelis and Palestinians. The innovative peacebuilding organization is second only to BBC as the largest producer of soap operas in the world.
· Storytelling – Noa Baum’s A Land Twice Promised
Storyteller Noa Baum, an Israeli who began a heartfelt dialogue with a Palestinian woman while living in the U.S., weaves together their memories and their mothers’ stories. She creates a moving testimony illuminating the complex and contradictory history that surround Jerusalem for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
· Short Film – Other Israel Film Festival presents 6.5 Minutes in Tel Aviv, Shnaim, and Roads
Founded in 2007, the Other Israel Film Festival fosters awareness and understanding of Israel’s Arab citizens. Two short films from the festival explore the complex and unexpected connections between Israelis and Palestinians. Join Festival Director Isaac Zablocki for a conversation about the films and the festival.
· Documentary Film – Just Vision previews Budrus Has a Hammer (working title)
In this upcoming documentary, a Palestinian community organizer unites political factions in a Gandhian struggle to save his village. Just Vision staff Ronit Avni, Julia Bacha, and Irene Nasser present selected scenes from this timely, powerful documentary and lead a discussion with the audience.