The Arty Semite

Hanukkah, Festival of Black Lights

By Margaret Eby

  • Print
  • Share Share
Courtesy of Cheryl

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined Hanukkah with an electroclash dance party? The Brooklyn art collective CHERYL have, and this year, they’re holding their own version of the festival of lights complete with fake blood, glitter, and, of course, jelly doughnuts. Their part-disco part-performance art project, “CHERYL does CHANUKAH,” will be held at The Jewish Museum tonight, bringing footloose costumed mayhem to New York’s Upper East Side.

At first glance, CHERYL seems like an odd match for a solemn Museum Mile institution. The four member group, comprised of Nick Schiairizzi, Stina Puotinen, Destiny Pierce, and Sarah Van Buren, is best known for their Lady Gaga-level costumes and antic, raging bacchanals, usually held in galleries and warehouses tucked deep in the wilds of North Brooklyn. Their appearance at The Jewish Museum is part of an ongoing series of after hours events called The Wind-Up, aimed at bringing the museum’s collection to a wider, more diverse audience.

“We thought it would be a great way to put a Jewish spin on what CHERYL does already,” explained The Jewish Museum’s Director of Education Nelly Benedek. “They’re fun, they’re unpredictable, and they bring in a younger crowd to the museum.”

This isn’t the first time that CHERYL has thrashed their way into the hearts of The Jewish Museum’s patrons. Earlier this year the group threw a Purim party for The Wind-Up, incorporating traditions like noise-making and dressing up into the collective’s frenetic aesthetic. But CHERYL also added their own interpretation of the holiday to the party. “One of us was dressed as a new Purim character we had invented, Tish Purim, who had hip holsters with bottles of Manischewitz wine and a sort of bandolier holster with shot glasses,” said CHERYL’s Stina Puotinen. “He ran around with a small hamantaschen on his head and poured shots for people.”

The Hanukkah party will involve similar shenanigans, including what Puotinen describes as a “participatory human dreidel game.” CHERYL, which has a penchant for wearing cat masks at shows, is also advertising a “cat menorah” component to their visual installation. “We love cats; we want them everywhere,” Puotinen said. “We also discovered in our research that there are so many pictures of cats and menorahs and cats in yarmulkes on the Internet. Apparently it’s a thing.”

As for what, exactly, that will look like, CHERYL isn’t saying just yet. But they’re hoping to preserve some of the spirit of the holiday, even as they inspire a dancing frenzy. “We want to capture what’s nostalgic and fun about the holiday,” said Puotinen. “We’ve got snacks, an open bar, and techno dreidels. What says holiday party more than that?”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: The Jewish Museum, Margaret Eby, Hanukkah, CHERYL

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.