Jewish artists get Grammy nods
Jewish artists are in the running for the 2007 Grammy Awards. Jewtastic.com has reported that last week's nominees included folk singer Bob Dylan; Israeli producer and engineer Tal Herzberg; pop star Pink; pop singer Bette Midler; producer Rick Rubin; Hassidic reggae artist Matisyahu; rocker Mark Knofler; movie star Mel Brooks; songwriter Randy Newman; and comedian Lewis Black.
The Grammy ceremony is scheduled for February 7 in Los Angeles. - JTA
Rita releases 'One' DVD
Pop star Rita has released a DVD featuring footage from 'One,' the heavily publicized concert series that proved a summer success despite unusually high production costs and Israel's unexpected war with Hizbullah.
Some 90,000 Israelis traveled to Tel Aviv, most of them during the fighting, to see One, a month-long concert series starring the pop singer in big-budget production numbers billed as the first of their kind in Israel. A special stage at the Tel Aviv fairgrounds was built for the show, which kicked off two weeks before the cross-border raid that ignited the war between the IDF and Hizbullah. The platinum-selling pop star considered canceling the lavish concert series but ultimately stuck to the show's original schedule, offering free tickets to off-duty soldiers and displaced residents of northern Israel.
The Iranian-born singer shared traditional sayings in Farsi with well-wishers at a DVD launch party last week in Tel Aviv. Roughly 100 minutes in length, the DVD features highlights from the show, which showcased hits including "Bo" and a massive cast of back-up dancers and acrobats. - Nathan Burstein
L.A. opera honors Jewish composers
The Los Angeles Opera has received a $4 million grant to highlight the work of Jewish artists whose work was affected by the Nazis. Opera board member Marilyn Ziering, whose late husband was a Holocaust survivor, donated more than $3 million to the "Recovered Voices" project, and raised the remainder from private donors. Music director James Conlon is to conduct concerts for the project, which will include the work of composers such as Alexander Zemlinsky, Kurt Weill, Erwin Schulhoff and Viktor Ullman.
"The Third Reich silenced two generations of composers, the greatest single rupture in what had been a centuries-long stream of German classical music," Conlon said in a statement quoted by Playbillarts.com. "We can take an important step toward reviving the music of those whose lives were affected by the Holocaust or whose work was otherwise deemed 'offensive' by that authoritarian regime."
The series will begin in March. - JTA
NY critics pick 'United 93' as best film
United 93, which unflinchingly depicts the hijacked 9/11 flight that crashed into a Pennsylvania field, was chosen Monday as best picture of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle.
Written and directed by Paul Greengrass and featuring a cast of unknowns to give it an authentic, documentary-style feel, the film painstakingly recreates the events of that morning. It culminates with passengers bursting into the cockpit and wrestling their attackers for control of the jet, which ultimately plummets nose-first into the ground.
Marshall Fine, the group's chairman, said it was a tough vote for best picture, with critics slugging it out over United 93, The Queen and The Departed.
"I think everybody agrees it was an amazing film in terms of telling the story without pushing a political point of view," said Fine, film and TV critic. "It puts you right in the middle of the scene without telling you what to think or what to feel. It was really one of the most harrowing films of the year." - AP
Polanski wins achievement award
Roman Polanski, who was forced into the Krakow ghetto by the Nazis, was honored with a lifetime achievement award in the country of his childhood last week at the 19th annual European Film Awards. "It's a moving moment for me, of course, to receive this award, and particularly to receive it in Warsaw," the 73-year-old filmmaker said.
Polanski was given the award for creating what the academy said "were some of the most unforgettable moments in cinema" with films such as Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist. He won a best director Oscar for 2002's Holocaust-themed The Pianist.- AP