Arts in Brief: January 11

Genre-bending indie pop band Of Montreal has signed on to make their Israel debut on May 7 at The Barby Club.

The new Habimah foyer 311 (photo credit: Courtesy of Habimah)
The new Habimah foyer 311
(photo credit: Courtesy of Habimah)
Of Montreal brings Athens, Georgia to TA
Genre-bending indie pop band Of Montreal has signed on to make their Israel debut on May 7 at The Barby Club.
Born out of the Elephant 6 musical collective that spawned many notable independent bands in the 1990s, Of Montreal is the brainchild of Kevin Barnes, who founded the group in Athens, Georgia in 1997.
Quirky, unpredictable and always entertaining, the band’s dozen albums, including their upcoming Paralytic Stalks, can sway from psychedelic Flaming Lips-style pop to electronica, funk and straight-ahead rock. In a sign of their surreal way of thinking, the band’s song “Every Day is Like Sunday” has been used in advertisements for NASDAQ.
David Brinn
New plays at Gesher
Moshe Ivgi directs Mary Chase’s Harvey, the story of mild-mannered Elwood Down who has a friend called Harvey.
The point is that Harvey is a rabbit, a six-foot rabbit that only Elwood can see. When his alarmed sister tries to get Elwooded committed, she’s the one that ends up in the mental hospital. Of course it all comes right in the end with everybody agreeing that Harvey’s just fine. This is a play about the social codes we live by, about what’s “normal” and what isn’t. Opens January 12 at the theater.
The second play is Austrian playwright George Tabori’s Mein Kampf, a very black comedy that premiered at last year’s Acre Festival. It’s set in a Vienna flophouse where a young Jew named Herzl meets and befriends the young Adolf Hitler, who’s hoping to be accepted at the Art Academy, and where Herzl inadvertently influences Hitler’s murderous destiny. The director is Gil Alon. Opens at the Gesher Hangar, 11 Eilat Street, Tel Aviv, also on January 12.
Jerusalem Post Staff
Habimah at the Globe
The Habimah National Theater will represent Israel at the Globe to Globe Theater Festival in the UK with a production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice starring Ya’akov Cohen in the title role, and directed by Habimah artistic director Ilan Ronen.
The six-week Globe to Globe Festival begins April 21 at the Globe Theater in London with theater companies from 37 nations presenting all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 37 languages. Our Hebrew-language Merchant is a brand new translation by Dori Parnes.
Among the plays and languages are Merry Wives in Swahili, Coriolanus in Japanese and a hip-hop Othello.
Our Merchant will play at the Globe May 28 and 29 and the Festival itself is part of the 2012 Olympic Games celebration.
Helen Kaye
Pianist Alexis Weissenberg dies
Bulgarian-born pianist Alexis Weissenberg, whose musical talent as a youngster probably prevented his life, and his mother’s, from ending in a World War II concentration camp, died Sunday at age 82.
Weissenberg was born in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, in 1929, and began piano lessons at age three. As a 10-yearold, he gave his first recital.
It was in 1941 during the war, as he recalls on his web site, that he and his mother landed in “an improvised concentration camp” in Bulgaria for people crossing the border illegally.
They arrived with few belongings other than a small bag, a large cardboard box, a few sandwiches and an old accordion given him as a birthday gift by a wealthy aunt. And they were lucky: After three months in the unspecified camp, a German guard who enjoyed listening to him play Schubert on the accordion helped them escape by train.
They wound up in Israel where he performed Beethoven with the Israel Philharmonic led by Leonard Bernstein. After the war, he moved to New York to study at the Juilliard School of Music.
Weissenberg’s career swayed high and low. At its peak, he made recordings with Bernstein and Herbert Von Karajan and was hailed as a distinctive virtuoso. At rock bottom, Weissenberg, weary from too much fame too fast, took a 10-year break, reemerging with a Paris recital in 1966 and successful performances of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Karajan.
• Jerusalem Post Staff