The Arty Semite

Phil Spector, By Way of Al Pacino and David Mamet

By Jill Serjeant (Reuters)

Phil Spector’s life could be summed up in four words — musical genius, eccentric and murderer.

Courtesy of HBO

Playwright David Mamet’s HBO film “Phil Spector,” which airs March 24, makes the most of all of them but his take on the 2007 murder trial of the record producer has split opinion as much as the crime itself.

Al Pacino plays the bombastic, multi-wigged, gun-obsessed creator of the 1960s “Wall of Sound” recording technique in the weeks before his first trial in Los Angeles for the 2003 shooting death of struggling actress Lana Clarkson.

The first trial ended in a deadlocked jury. Spector, who pleaded not guilty and never took the witness stand, was convicted of second-degree murder after a second trial in 2009.

The 73-year-old is serving 19 years to life in prison and did not collaborate on the project.

Neither documentary nor pure fiction, Mamet’s film begins with a puzzling disclaimer saying that it is “a work of fiction … not based on a ‘true story.’”

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Television, Phil Spector, HBO, Film, David Mamet, Al Pacino

Al Pacino With Phil Spector's Hair

By Forward Staff

HBO has released a trailer for its upcoming Phil Spector biopic, about the legendary record producer and convicted murderer. The film, written and directed by David Mamet, stars Al Pacino as Spector and Helen Mirren as his defense attorney. Based on the trailer, though, the main attraction seems to be the many phases of Spector’s hair. Take a look:

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Helen Mirren, HBO, Film, Documentaries, Al Pacino, Phil Spector

Out and About: Golden Globe Winners; Captain Beefheart's Jewish Sideman

By Ezra Glinter

Getty Images
  • At the Golden Globe awards last night, winners included “Boardwalk Empire” for best TV drama (discussed in the Forward here and here); Al Pacino for his turn as Jack Kevorkian in HBO’s “You Don’t Know Jack” (discussed in the Forward here); Paul Giamatti as best actor in “Barney’s Version” (here and here); Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” (here); and David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin for best director and best screenplay, respectively, for “The Social Network,” which also took home the prize for best drama.

  • Speaking of Hollywood, will “war and terrorism insurance” help lure American production companies to Israel?

  • Greet “Kehilah,” a new online magazine for Jews of color.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: You Don't Know Jack, Vivian Maier, The Social Network, Paul Giamatti, Kehilah, Natalie Portman, Jews of Color, HBO, Golden Globes, Gary Lucas, Certified Copy, David Fincher, Don Van Vliet, Captain Beefheart, Boardwalk Empire, Barney's Version, Black Swan, Abbas Kiarostami, Al Pacino, Aaron Sorkin

Forward Fives: 2010 in Performance

By Forward Staff

In this, the second annual Forward Fives selection, we celebrate the year’s cultural output with a series of deliberately eclectic choices in film, music, theater, exhibitions and books. Here we present five of the most important Jewish performances of 2010. Feel free to argue with and add to our selections in the comments.

Hapless Hooligan in ‘Still Moving’

What happens when you put a prominent modern dance company in a room with one of the great innovators of the graphic novel? The answer in this case was “Hapless Hooligan,” a collaboration between Pilobolus Dance Theater and Art Spiegelman, creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus” series. Premiering this past July at the Joyce Theater, the vaudeville-esque piece included an animated sequence based on Spiegelman’s drawings, which was projected onto a backdrop for the dancers to interact with. Though somewhat unorthodox, “Hapless Hooligan” was a creative gamble that paid off.

Read the Forward’s review of ‘Hapless Hooligan in Still Moving’ here.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Theater J, Theater, Sid Silver, Shakespeare in the Park, Public Theater, Pilobolus, Performances, Nick Cave, Next Wave, Meyer Levin, Metamorphosis, Maus, Merchant of Venice, Mandy Patinkin, Kafka, Imagining Madoff, Hapless Hooligan, Gregor Samsa, Forward Fives 2010, Forward Fives, Deborah Margolin, Bernard Madoff, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dance, Compulsion, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Art Spiegelman, Anne Frank, Al Pacino, Yale Repertory Theater

Out and About: Jason Schwartzman on 'Bored to Death'; Al Pacino on Broadway

By Ezra Glinter

Joan Marcus

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Theodore Sorensen, The Yacoubian Building, The Merchant of Venice, The Instructions, The Larry Sanders Show, Stuyvesant High School, Shylock, Out and About, Michal Rovner, John F. Kennedy, Jason Schwartzman, Harry Mulisch, Garry Shandling, Gary Shteyngart, French Order of Arts and Letters, Ezra Glinter, Etgar Keret, Ehud Netzer, Bored to Death, Alaa Al Aswany, Al Pacino, Adam Levin




Find us on Facebook!
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • 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.