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.’”

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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:

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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.

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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.

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

By Ezra Glinter

Joan Marcus

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