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Posted on on February 22nd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (


this information says:

On March 5, 2013 the Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN will host a special event in the UN General Assembly hall – a concert by the Israeli-Iranian singer Rita. Among the attendees will be Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, ambassadors, celebrities, and Jewish and Iranian community leaders.

Rita will sing some of her greatest hits in Persian, Hebrew and English, and songs from her childhood in Tehran. Her Persian album, My Joys, was an international smash hit, and created a large fan base for Rita in her native Iran.


Our comment: Please note that the concert happens at a time that Iran and Israel are in the news, US Secretary of State John Kerry and then US President Barack Obama go to the Middle East, an important attempt at finding a solution of conflict with Iran goes on in Kazakhstan, and elections for a new President of Iran are in the works as well. In Israel the time is running out for the formation of a new government. Rather then insults – what will be heard at the General Assembly Great Hall at the UN will be music of love at a time of spring and renewal.


OUR ORIGINAL POSTING OF FEBRUARY 4th READ: “RITA – the Iranian-Israeli cultural treasure to appear at the UN in the run-up to Nowruz 1392 (2013); if the UN is ready to gather courage this could melt Middle East ice. As the media gets these news – there will be many updates.”

Last November we wrote with enthusiasm about RITA’s performance at the New York City Town Hall. Now,  from Matthew Russell Lee at the UN we learned that in March she will appear at the UN – in the great Assembly Hall of the UN General Assembly. I can already see with the eyes of my mind how people will dance in their seats, and if possible all over the sides of the Hall.

‘Nowruz’, “New Day” in Persian, is the name of the Iranian New Year; it marks the beginning of the corresponding traditional celebrations in Iranian calendars. An Iranian Spring that this year will coincide with the start of the election process of a new Iranian President that will replace Mr. Ahmadi-Nejad.

A beginning of a new year,  marked by the first day of spring that comes with the equinox! It is celebrated by the different Iranian peoples and the related cultural continent. These celebrations have also spread to many other parts of the world, including parts of Central Asia, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea and some groups in the Balkans.

In 2009, Norwuz was registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity – here we start talking real politics wrapping up our best hopes. Also, important to remember that UNESCO has its Palestinian Statehood difficulties and here a chance to show a positive side.

Nowruz 2013 – Islamic year 1392 – this year’s celebration falls on Thursday, 21 March 2013 – or just 45 days from now. It seems that the Israelis and the UN will set March 5th as the date for RITA’s appearance at the UN – whatever – this will be clearly in the run-up to Nowruz.

Would it not be nice to see in this an Iranian Spring at the UN or if you wish an Iranian-Israeli love fest? My mind starts swirling like that of a Derwish. Will the UN for once step up to its goals?

Rita, who came with her parents from Tehran in Iran to Ashkelon in Israel – is bi-cultural and while an openly declared treasure in Israel – surely as well a hidden treasure in Iran. Will the UN have the courage needed to have her build bridges with her appearance on the UN stage?


Matthew writes:  Israel Plans UN Concert by Iranian-Born Singer Rita, March 5, 2013 Showdown

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 1, 2013 — With the UN on edge over Israel’s air strike on Syria and possible reactions not only from Damascus but Tehran, Inner City Press has learned of a planned Israeli-sponsored concert slated for March 5, by Iranian-born singer Rita Jahanforuz.

The concert, sources tell Inner City Press, has already occasioned controversy in the UN. The concerns only grew when the Viva Vox choir, invited to perform a concert at the UN by General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, ended with the controversial song “March on the Drina.”

Then, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky if the Secretariat had provided any financial support. The first day the answer was “no.” The next day at least $26,000 for “technical support” was disclosed (that is for the Serbian event I assume).

Sources tell Inner City Press that while the UN Department of Public Information will now assist with Israel’s Rita concert, initially it was suggested to the Israeli Mission that they try for sponsorship from UNESCO.

While some laughed at this — since Palestine was voted in as a member of UNESCO, the US cut its funding — others saw it as potentially savvy, a way for UNESCO to change its image.

Be that as it may, the concert is now slated with some DPI support for March 5; preparation and coordination meetings have begun.

It would be difficult to postpone it, as the General Assembly Hall where it is to be held will be closing down in April for renovation.

How will Iran, Syria and others react?


We think that bringing it closer to March 21st would have made the timing pinpointed, but having it ahead of the spring revival is just OK and the event will be a multi-level eye-opener nevertheless. Thank you Matthew for bringing this to our attention.

Please see our previous article about RITA:

Posted on on November 14th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (



Unlikely Coupling: Iranian-Israeli Rita to Perform at UN (VIDEO)

February 5, 2013 10:35 pm on
Rita performs in Jerusalem, 2009. Photo: Wikipedia.

Rita, the Israeli-Iranian singer who has been a cultural bridge between the otherwise diametrically opposed nations, will be appearing at the UN on March, 5. The show will be titled “Tunes for Peace” and seeks to “build bridges, foster inner-cultural dialogue, and connect people to people,” according to a flier for the event. The performance will take place in the General Assembly Hall.

In an interview published by The Algemeiner last year Rita explained what she sees as her role in being a cultural ambassador:

“I believe that it’s up to us, the simple folks, to do all we can to break through barriers. I know the people of Iran, I grew up there. They are the most human-loving people there are, so modest and family oriented. It makes me want to show the world the ‘other’ Iran – It’s there. The extreme regime is not the people at all. People kept asking what made me sing in the language of Ahmadinejad, and I answered that his role is so minimal in such an astonishing culture and rich history, he’s just passing through.”

Watch a video of Rita’s “Shah Doomad” at:…



Invitation to a concert at the General Assembly hall.

On March 5, 2013 the Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN will host a special event in the UN General Assembly hall – a concert by the Israeli-Iranian singer Rita. Among the attendees will be Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, ambassadors, celebrities, and Jewish and Iranian community leaders.

Rita will sing some of her greatest hits in Persian, Hebrew and English, and songs from her childhood in Tehran. Her Persian album, My Joys, was an international smash hit, and created a large fan base for Rita in her native Iran.

Please find attached a press release:


Rita, Cultural Ambassador, and Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Partner for “Tunes for Peace” Concert.

The Israeli Mission to the UN announces a first-of-its-kind event to be held in the UN General Assembly Hall: a concert by world-renowned Israeli musical artist Rita. The performance, titled “Tunes for Peace,” will take place on March 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM.  Among the attendees will be UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic, ambassadors, diplomats, and leaders of the Jewish and Iranian communities.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor: “In the General Assembly, the voices that we hear are usually those of condemnation and criticism towards Israel.

Rita’s concert will allow the world to hear different voices – those of peace, hope, and multiculturalism.

These are the true voices of Israel. Rita’s beautiful melodies will echo from the chambers of the UN General Assembly to the hearts and minds of Iranians and Israelis, fostering better understanding between our two peoples.”

Rita and her nine-piece band will perform her popular hits in both Hebrew and English, as well as songs in Persian from Rita’s latest album, My Joys. The album, which has received widespread international acclaim, interweaves the Iranian melodies of Rita’s childhood with the rich tapestry of contemporary Israeli music. My Joys achieved gold status within a month of its release and created a new legion of Rita fans in her native Iran.

Rita’s UN concert, “Tunes for Peace,” seeks to build bridges, foster inter-cultural dialogue, and connect people to people – the very foundations upon which the United Nations was established.

Rita: “Our country has a strained relationship with the Iranian leadership.  I stress the leadership – not the people. I was amazed at how enthusiastically the new album was embraced by the people of Iran. Its success drew the attention of the media, which began referring to the album as a symbol of hope and connection”.

Known to the world simply as “Rita,” Rita Yahan-Farouz, emigrated from Iran at the age of eight. Over the course of her 25-year career, Rita has sold over a million albums, and currently serves as Israel’s most prominent and prolific pop voice. She recently completed a concert tour in the United States.


from: Karean Peretz, Spokesperson
Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN



TO THE UNITED NATIONS ?? ????? ?????? ????????

Rita, Cultural Ambassador, and Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Partner for “Tunes for Peace” Concert

New York, NY: The Israeli Mission to the UN announces a first-of-its-kind event to be held in the UN General Assembly Hall: a concert by world-renowned Israeli musical artist Rita. The performance, titled “Tunes for Peace,” will take place on March 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM. Among the attendees will be UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic, ambassadors, diplomats, and leaders of the Jewish and Iranian communities.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor: “In the General Assembly, the voices that we hear are usually those of condemnation and criticism towards Israel. Rita’s concert will allow the world to hear different voices – those of peace, hope, and multiculturalism. These are the true voices of Israel. Rita’s beautiful melodies will echo from the chambers of the UN General Assembly to the hearts and minds of Iranians and Israelis, fostering better understanding between our two peoples.”
Rita and her nine-piece band will perform her popular hits in both Hebrew and English, as well as songs in Persian from Rita’s latest album, My Joys. The album, which has received widespread international acclaim, interweaves the Iranian melodies of Rita’s childhood with the rich tapestry of contemporary Israeli music. My Joys achieved gold status within a month of its release and created a new legion of Rita fans in her native Iran.
Rita’s UN concert, “Tunes for Peace,” seeks to build bridges, foster inter-cultural dialogue, and connect people to people – the very foundations upon which the United Nations was established.
Rita: “Our country has a strained relationship with the Iranian leadership. I stress the leadership – not the people. I was amazed at how enthusiastically the new album was embraced by the people of Iran. Its success drew the attention of the media, which began referring to the album as a symbol of hope and connection”.
Known to the world simply as “Rita,” Rita Yahan-Farouz, emigrated from Iran at the age of eight. Over the course of her 25-year career, Rita has sold over a million albums, and currently serves as Israel’s most prominent and prolific pop voice. She recently completed a concert tour in the United States.


Posted on on February 20th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Now at  At TRIBECA Performing Arts Center

199 Chambers Street, New York

New York’s Longest Running Jazz Concert Series

Jay Leonhart singing and playing the basse with Ken Peplowski serenading Jack Kleinsinger on 2/14/2013

All Photo Credits –  Jim Eigo
Publicist for Highlights In Jazz

Thursday, February 14th, 2013 – 8pm

Highlights In Jazz 40th Anniversary Gala

Barbara Carroll with Jay Leonhart

Bria Skonberg, Ken Peplowski

Harlem Blues and Jazz Band

Joey Morant, Fred Staton, Art Baron, Zeke Mullins, Jackie Williams, Bill Wurtzel, and  Michael Max Fleming

Barbara Carroll with Jay Leonhart

Barbara Carroll is an elegant pianist, composer and vocalist long recognized as one of the premier players of swinging jazz piano and expressive vocals.  Her inventive piano playing and totally unique vocal sound leads her into transforming any composition into her own art with her trade-mark emotional directness and respect for the tune, its lyrics and it’s many possibilities.

Barbara will be accompanied by the witty and superior jazz bassist Jay Leonhart who has been called the Fred Astaire of Jazz by LA Times jazz critic Don Heckman.

Barbara Carroll with Jay Leonhart and Ken Peplowski


Bria SkonbergKen Peplowski

Originally from Western Canada, Bria Skonberg is a trumpeter, vocalist, songwriter and bandleader taking New York by storm with her “red-hot” trumpet playing and “soul sultry and innocent sweet” voice.

Writing in the The Wall Street Journal author and jazz critic Will Friedwald had this to say  “…Bria Skonberg looks like a Scandinavian angel…plays trumpet like a red hot devil and sings like a dream…”

Ken Peplowski’s virtuosity – not only is he an outstanding clarinetist and saxophone player, but he’s also a charismatic entertainer who has been delighting audiences for over 30 years with his warmth, wit, and musicianship.  The late Mel Torme´said, “Since the advent of Benny Goodman,there have been too few clarinetists to fill the void that Goodman left.


Harlem Blues and Jazz Band featuring

Joey Morant-Trumpet, Fred Staton-Tenor Saxophone, Art Baron-Trombone, Zeke Mullins-Piano, Jackie Williams-Drums,
Wurtzel-Guitar, and Michael Max Fleming-Bass

Actually playing – Joey Morant, Art Baron, Zeke Mullins,  Jackie Williams, Bill Wurtzel, David Lee Jones and Michael Max Fleming

The Harlem Blues & Jazz Band Founded in 1973 by King Oliver’s trombonist/blues singer Clyde Berhardt and jazz aficionado Al Vollmer, the Harlem Blues & Jazz Band has as its main concept to keep significant side-men of the Classic Jazz Period working and not forgotten. The continued quality of this group has caused the band to be declared a  National Treasure and one of the most authentic Swing Bands playing today. A very special highlight for the 40th anniversary was announced  the saxophonist Fred Staton (the brother of Dakota Staton) will celebrate his 98th birthday but he did not appear.

A great feature of the concert were the young performers – the follow up generation:

Young sax player = Seven Frieder

The terrific Gal trumpet player  and singer = Bria Skonberg from Vancouver

The veteran trumpet player in the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band = Joey Morant

at the Piano = Zeke Mullins

Unanounced Special Guests:  Ehud Asherie on the piano,  Steven Frieder,  Marion Felder


the Grand Finale Jam – with everybody on stage was “Take The A Train”


Future performances:

Thursday, March 14th, 2013 – 8pm

Swing Memories Highlights Show

Artie Shaw with Strings feat


The Anderson Twins with 25 piece orchestra

Benny Goodman Combos feat Warren VacheHoward Alden, Wycliffe Gordon,
Ehud AsheriePeter AndersonWill Anderson


Thursday, May 9th, 2013 – 8pm

Salute to George Wein

Ron CarterAnat CohenWycliffe GordonJay Leonhart, Lewis NashLew Tabackin
Guest of Honor:   –  George Wein


By car take FDR Drive south to end, through underpass onto West Street, north to Chambers.
By Subway take 1, 2, 3, 9, A, C, E, J or M train to Chambers or N, R to City Hall stop. Walk west on Chambers.

For information call the box office at:
(212) 220-1460


Posted on on February 20th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Though in favor of the Sunday Washington rally and demonstration to show support for a Presidential Clean Energy policy, it is a letter from Dr. James E. Hansen that helps us formulate what we instinctively found structurally wrong in the way the issue was presented at the rally.

It seemed to us that the rally – booked as a CLIMATE PRESIDENTIAL event – was effectively just an anti Keystone Pipeline and anti Fracking event – thus putting in front, in the eyes of many in the crowd,  the main issues of the day. But the deep issues are CLIMATE CHANGE, AIR POLLUTION, WATER POLLUTION, LAND DEGRADATION, and the hold the fossil fuels industries have on our government.

What should have been stressed was rather those issues, and the need of the Administration to address those issues, and saying that the two operative technologies that the business as usual crowd want to use, and that we abhor, are like going the wrong way at a moment that we have reached A FORK IN THE ROAD – the image used by Jim Hansen (Dr. James E. Hansen.  ( )

The speeches at the Rally should have thus started by stressing that FORK IN THE ROAD – The one that has positives for the economy, and that we want the President to take, and the other that continues us on the road to doomsday. We do not want those two technologies mentioned above because they take us down the wrong path, but we want the President to lead the country out of the economy debacle by using the right way out of the fork  in the road – and he has our backing if he leads in the right way. The truth is that the main media – the TV channels – did not cover the event because it presented mainly the negatives – the “anti” action, and it did not show the positives – the suggested technologies AND TAXES TO HELP – that could put us on the right path from this moment’s FORK IN THE ROAD.

We continue here by posting excerpts from the content of Dr. Hansen’s e-mail – in a reorganized way to help us make above point. And please – let us remember – we are the FOSSIL FUEL FOOLS – if we do not advocate the carbon tax to help us get out from the fake illusion that extending the carbon-age with new carbon technologies does anything but accelerate our voyage to a doomsday destiny. (by the way – that is why I wore that yellow fools’ nose at the Washington rally as mentioned in our reporting.)

The economics is crystal clear. We are all better off if fossil fuels are made to pay their honest costs to society. We must collect a gradually rising fee from fossil fuel companies at the source, the domestic mine or port of entry, distributing the funds to the public on a per capita basis. This approach will provide the business community and entrepreneurs the incentives to develop clean energy and energy-efficient products, and the public will have the resources to make changes.

This approach is transparent, built on conservative principles. Not one dime to the government.
The alternative is to slake fossil fuel addiction, forcing the public to continue to subsidize fossil fuels. And hammer the public with more pollution. The public must pay the medical costs for all pollution effects. The public will pay costs caused by climate change. Fossil fuel moguls get richer, we get poorer. Our children are screwed. Our well-oiled coal-fired government pretends to not understand.

We stand at a fork in the road.

Conventional oil and gas supplies are limited. We can move down the path of dirtier more carbon-intensive unconventional fossil-fuels, digging up the dirtiest tar sands and tar shales, hydrofracking for gas, continued mountain-top removal and mechanized destructive long-wall coal mining. Or we can choose the alternative path of clean energies and energy efficiency.

Transition to a post-fossil fuel world of clean energies will not occur as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy.

Fossil fuels are cheap only because they are subsidized and do not pay their costs to society. Air and water pollution from fossil fuel extraction and use have high costs in human health, food production, and natural ecosystems, with costs borne by the public. Costs of climate change and ocean acidification also are borne by the public, especially young people and future generations.

Thus the essential underlying policy, albeit not sufficient, is for emissions of CO2 to come with a price that allows these costs to be internalized within the economics of energy use. Because so much energy is used through expensive capital stock, the price should rise in a predictable way to enable people and businesses to efficiently adjust lifestyles and investments to minimize costs.

An economic analysis indicates that a tax beginning at $15/tCO2 and rising $10/tCO2 each year would reduce emissions in the U.S. by 30% within 10 years. Such a reduction is more than 10 times as great as the carbon content of tar sands oil carried by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline (830,000 barrels/day). Reduced oil demand would be nearly six times the pipeline capacity, thus rendering it superfluous.

If a rising price is placed on carbon, the tar sands will be left in the ground where they belong. And the remarkable life and landscape of the original North American people will be preserved.

The climate science is crystal clear. We cannot go down the path of the dirty fuels without guaranteeing that the climate system passes tipping points, leaving our children and grandchildren a situation out of their control, a situation of our making. Unstable ice sheets will lead to continually rising seas and devastation of coastal cities worldwide. A large fraction of Earth’s species will be driven to extinction by the combination of shifting climate zones and other stresses. Summer heat waves, scorching droughts, and intense wildfires will become more frequent and extreme. At other times and places, the warmer water bodies and increased evaporation will power stronger storms, heavier rains, greater floods.


Posted on on February 18th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

This was the biggest climate change rally in US history. By the organizers’ count, 50,000 people gathered by the Washington Monument and then marched past the White House.

Leaders of the rally said they wanted to press Obama to follow up on the strong rhetoric in his inaugural address about the need to slow climate change. The official posters at the rally borrowed Obama’s campaign slogan “forward.” Some read: “Mr. President, Forward — on Climate.” The organizers were from a close relative of

The temperature in Washington was well below freezing – nevertheless busloads of people arrived from all over the country. There was a mix of young and old – all people with an image of a carbon poor world. I arrived from Manhattan with Bus West-Side #2 and upon arrival picked a sign that said – “CLIMATE ACTION: IT’S OUR OBLIGATION” –
on the other side it said: “IT’S TIME TO CUT CARBON.” Many of the participants were more creative and brought their home made posters with them.

If you wish – it was a festival with a cause. People came because they were enchanted with President Obama having uttered in his State of the Union speech the magic words – EXECUTIVE ORDER and wanted to show him and Congress that the 99% are behind him and want to lead him in leading the Nation.

THE GENERAL IDEA IS THUS ACTIONS NEEDED BECAUSE OF CLIMATE CHANGE and one must stop doing business as usual – inventing new ways to supply fossil carbon fuels – that is the way FOSSIL FUEL FOOLS think. The positive way is to bring in the wind and the sun and whatever means can be found to create a non-carbon society,

For practical reasons, to achieve the above, it is imperative therefore to STOP TAR OIL and SHALE GAS. This because these are methods that continue business as usual and postpone the needed real change.

The problem with this rally has become thus that a large part of the rally was highjacked by the groups that came to fight the Keystone “KXL Pipeline” and the Shale-Fracking activities. CLIMATE was thus forgotten in the process and looking at the written media on-line I realized that all what they saw in it was just the opposition to these two technologies and did not cover the much larger aspect of the rally. I just cannot cope with the lack of mentioning all those wind-mills that were spinning on the Mall next to the Washington Monument.

All right – WE CAME OUT FOR MOTHER EARTH and were against the Mother-frackers as one home made poster declared. We were there against the 1% that makes money out of creating misery for the 100%. Posters kept saying that we were the 99% and a New York contingent of Occupy Wall Street folks called for Occupy the Pipelines. By God – they were right demanding that President Obama block the Keystone XL pipeline and move forward toward climate action! They marched behind a long banner that read, “Occupy Wall Street, Stop Keystone.” Some dressed as grim reapers, including one carrying a paper scythe with the words “tar sands.

The claim that natural gas is helping to cut back on US greenhouse gas emissions is questioned by some environmentalists. Greenpeace says no proper analysis has been done on gas leakage from fracking sites. In particular, there is a fear that methane – which is a far more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide – may be escaping from wells and adding to the warming of the atmosphere. Campaigners claim that there have been more than 1,000 cases of groundwater contamination in the US because of fracking and have urged a moratorium on underground drilling. Signs were telling Governor Cuomo that it will be remembered at re-election time in 2015 if he allows fracking in new York State.

It was a great idea to have the rally on a day that Washington was closed because of the Presidential Weekend and the President himself, and his family, enjoying good weather in Florida. After all – it was better to avoid any unneeded confrontation that some hot-head could have provoked. The rally at the Washington Monument and the walk in front of the White House were only for the media and future pressure on Congress thanks to this show of numbers.

Was it a success in these terms? I do not know – the TV channels did not show the activity and the on-line media focused only on the pipeline and the fracking topics. So far I did not see the Climate Change issue, the Security issue, or the clear call for Cutting Carbon Emissions in these media avenues.


Forward on Climate, February 17, 2013

And here is a link to an album of pictures Owen Crowley, bus captain of New York WS#2 took today. (for disclosure – I am one of the fools with a yellow nose in those pictures.)

There were many high points: Van Jones declaring that Keystone is the only presidential decision anyone will care about in 20 years; billionaire investment fund manager in California Tom Steyer,  a major fundraiser for Obama, laying out why it’s a bad investment; Chief Jackie Thomas explaining the toll that the tar sands are taking on her neighbors, and promising that they would never allow a tar sands pipeline west to the Pacific. Speakers against the Keystone pipeline included further Bill McKibben, a Middlebury College professor who has led the fight to stop the pipeline; two leaders of First Nation tribes in Canada. “If this pipeline goes through, your government will help in the raping and pillaging of the land of my ancestors,” said Chrystal Lameman, a member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in Canada. “Then [the companies] promise to give back what was never theirs in the first place.”

“Mr. President, we have heard what you’ve said on climate; we have loved a lot of what you’ve said on climate,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “Our question is: What will you do?”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told members of the crowd that they could help encourage Obama. “We are going to have the president’s back and he is going to have our back,” Whitehouse said, adding that “We are going to look at our grandchildren and say ‘Yes, we did.’ ”

The Washington Post reported:

The group rallied on a slice of the Mall just north of the Washington Monument before heading down Constitution Avenue, up 17th Street and past the White House chanting slogans such as “We are unstoppable, another world is possible” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Keystone pipeline’s got to go.”

Said Steyer: “I get the argument for the Keystone. The argument is that it is business as usual because we use fossil fuels. But the time for business as usual has passed.”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said that “if the president and Secretary Kerry choose to approve the pipeline and proceed, there will be a massive credibility gap between that and what he said in the inauguration, especially if this is the first deed out of the box. That will be a problem for him.”

The president wasn’t home, however. He was in Florida playing golf with Tiger Woods and Jim Crane, a Houston businessman who owns the Houston Astros as well as the residential compound where Obama is spending the holiday weekend.

But the demonstrators tried to send him a message nonetheless, carrying signs opposing not only the proposed pipeline from Canada to Texas, but also opposing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and coal plants. “Windmills, not oil spills,” one placard said. Another said, “Fossil fuels? Fossil fools.” And another: “Read my lips: no new carbons.”


People were distributing leaflets. The Sierra Club for instance wants to prepare a letter to President Obama as per www.sierraclub,org/climatelegacy


President Obama, now is your time to lead in the fight agaubst climate disruption. The science is real, the damage to our planet and our economy is real, and – particularly after a year of extreme weather including droughts, wildfires and Hurricane sAndy – the effects on American families and their pocketbooks are very, very real. WE can turn the corner on climatedisruption, but only if America acts now. We call on you to use the Office of the Presodent to:

– Make climate disruption a key pillar of your second Administration, take bold action and stand up for climate science.

– Connect the dots so Americans understand how carbon emissions have led to a climate on steroids, which can trigger more climate related disasters.  disruption.

– Speak often about the issue to the American people and the world and encourage all lawmakers – from Heads of State, to Congress, to local cities and towns – to support meaningful administrative action on climate disruption.


Another leaflet looks at the Trans-Pacific Partnership TPP and sees in it Polluters’ Powergrab – because under free trade agreements you can not pursue polluters from outside the country under the country law. The Pollution creator will be able to sue non compliance and loss of business if certain imports are forbidden. That clearly reminded us of our experience with a US company acting out of Canada ibn an effort to force the US to pay compensation for laws that demanded un-leaded gasoline.


Another,  from an alumnus of MIT, talks about the Gandean example of suffering, jail, and non-violent resistance for a cause – and expected effects from Climate Change can be such a cause.


Another passed around the link to www.FrackingExposed,com



Posted on on February 2nd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

I received information about Something that caught our attention as it involved the arctic – and it was going to be held at NEW MUSEUM that has its illuminated upper part looking like an iceberg floating above the Bowery – in what was  just recently museum nowhere. After an exchange of e-mails that is mentioned bellow, I knew that my target event was going to be held Saturday February 2nd at 7 PM – and the Museum knew that I intend to review the Museum as well.

So, Saturday I took on Second Avenue the #15 Select – direction downtown. You know this is the former “flashing blue” express that makes only SELECT stops – supposedly about every 10 city blocks. I say former – this because after all that excitement – the Bloomberg – Lahota transportation team of the City of New York forgot to ask the City Police Commissioner who was slowly simmering, until he boiled over these flashing blue lights, as he thought they were police monopoly – so now the Mayor’s beauty was chastised – no more blue lights. Further – when I arrived at 14th street – the driver decreed – next stop Allen Street, which makes it 20 blocks to next stop or some 5 blocks bellow what I was expecting – a stop somewhere between 1st and 4-th Streets.

When we reached Houston, the traffic was very slow – lots of taxi-cabs. The building across the entrance to East Houston where the bus turns to the left – there is a whole block new Whole Foods store, and above it “Smorgesburg” Scandinavian restaurant, and the East corner has the new boutique Gem Hotel. The area is culturally mixed and is in throes of transition thanks to real-estate maneuvers of gentrification – something like South Miami Beach was years ago, and European tourists enjoying elephant hunting while staying in the new hotels.

The Bowery once hub to theaters and culture, then home for the homeless, drunks, clubs, now gets restaurants, galleries, and right next to the Bowery Mission, and a good looking bar where the waitresses did not know anything about the Museum, the neighborhood got this NEW MUSEUM and its activities. But horror, when I got to the museum – doors closed, lights were going out, and the lonely person sitting at a desk inside had to be convinced by my hammering on the glass window to come to the door and tell me that there is nothing and nobody tonight.

It Was freezing cold, flakes of snow in the air, some slush on the ground – the Arctic express – so, I turned around heading to the uptown #15 Select that runs on First Avenue and in this direction does stop as expected at 1st Street.


from:   New 235 Bowery New York NY 10002 USA Museum

The information:

WHAT: Performance: The Fortunetellers

SPONSOR: New Museum

WHEN: Saturday, February 2; 7 pm

WHERE: New Museum, 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

PRESS RSVP: Gabriel Einsohn,, 212-219-1222 x209

SPEAKER: Artist Ellie Ga combines narrative genres such as the memoir and travelogue; her projects explore the limits of photographic documentation and span a variety of media, culminating in performances and installations. Ga’s projects are research-intensive and often center on the artist’s role as interpreter within historical and scientific frameworks. She received her MFA from Hunter College and is a cofounder of Ugly Duckling Presse. Ga was recently a Mejan Resident at the Royal College of Art in Stockholm and a researcher at the Centre for Maritime Archaeology in Alexandria, Egypt.

BACKGROUND: The Fortunetellers is an autobiographical narrative lecture based on the five months that artist Ellie Ga spent aboard Tara, a research sailboat frozen into the ice near the North Pole. The Fortunetellers incorporates a vast array of documents (photographs, videos, annotated sketches, maps, travel log, etc.) and superimposes live storytelling and recorded sound to conjure up the terms and rituals of daily life in the Arctic night.

We contacted Gabriel Einsohn then were asked by Hyatt Mannix from the New Museum for information about myself, then I went to the New Museum at the above date – and the place was closed and lights in the process of being closed – the watchman knew nothing – there was nobody else in the building. The bar next door knew nothing – nothing – absolutely nothing.

So I left and on the way back to the uptown #15 Selective bus on First Avenue stopped at Old Timers’ world famous Yonnah Schimmel Knishery at 137 East Houston Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues) and loaded up on those fabulous potato knishes – Jalapeno, Garlic, Kashe, Red cabbage, Cheese & chocolate – a steady pillar in the changing neighbourhood.

Then, I walked from 2nd Avenue to 1-st Avenue on East 1st street – that has a Cozy Cafe, shoes left on the sidewalk for the shoeless, and Adir Realty. It took me right to the bus-stop I was aiming at.


Back home, picked at the internet, and discovered for Elie Ga:

January 15, 2013

February 1, 2013


THE FORTUNETELLERS: engagements, episodes, punctuations.

The Fortunetellers began in 2008 when I was the artist-in-residence for a scientific expedition near the North Pole. For five months I was on board Tara, a sailboat that was drifting in the frozen pack ice of the Arctic Ocean.

The Fortunetellers is a collection of performative lectures, installations, videos and texts organized into three categories: ENGAGEMENTS, EPISODES and PUNCTUATIONS. The project is a meditation upon the nature of prediction as it was manifested during the expedition including ancient forms of fortunetelling, weather forecasting, oceanographic research, and the day-to-day routines of 10 people drifting in the Arctic with no control over there immediate future: where there will be next, when they will return home.

Like the drift of Tara through the ice pack, The Fortunetellers is a meandering path of research and recollections, etymologies and metaphors that chart a journey where the rhythm of human time is altered by extreme weather conditions, isolation and darkness. The project is built upon superimpositions: images are layered onto each other in the videos and performances, and the past, present and future tenses are interchangeable in the written accounts.

Obvious – there was content to the event if it was held a day earlier – we believe so – and my instinct wanting to be there was right – I think so.
I wish the Public Relations office of the museum had known to present the correct information in case the event actually took place a day earlier
then  advertised and had the will to make the information known. The Bowery Mission are just neighbors, but how is it that the bar next door
does not know about the Museum either?

So, what are the Fortunetellers? What does Elie Ga think of the Arctic environment and its people. Did she notice any Climate Change effects?
Does the New Museum follow such topics or it looks only at colors and light effects? Is there an educational angle to the Museum? Does it interact
with its neighborhood or it is just another real estate outpost in the gentrification process?
Will the Museum coexist with the Bowery Mission or the Mission will be sent to the Arctic?


Posted on on January 7th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

On Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 we had the good fortune to sit in at the Jack Kleinsinger managed Early Jazz concert  – part of his Highlights In Jazz,
New York’s Longest Running Jazz Concert Series.

The program included:

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks

Ms. Vinnie Knight

Jonathan Batiste and his New Orleans Stay Human Band.

This was an outstanding program and the big Nighthawks  band is giving some Mid-Manhattan encores at At Sofia’s Restaurant, 221 W. 46th Street (between Broadway & 8th Ave).

Jack Kleisinger’s events continue later with a 40 years  anniversary gala on February 14, 2013.

We learned about these further events coming up for Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks Orchestra in January and February – two evenings in particular: a Vaudeville night with “Three For A Song” on Jan 14, 2013  and Mardi Gras NY on Feb 12, 2013.

“THREE FOR A SONG” Join Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks, Monday, January 14, 2012

On the evening of Monday, January 14, 2012, Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks will be present a very special second set.  Starting at 9 p.m., they will share the bandstand with the Washington, D.C.-based musical trio“Three For A Song”.

Comprised of pianist Alex Hassan, tenor Doug Bowles and soprano Karin Paludan, “Three For A Song” will present “The Greatest Songs You’ve Never Heard” — a revue of quite unknown melodies of 1930s Hollywood and Broadway, including some songs that were written for films that never actually got filmed.  Michael Feinstein calls the revue “One of the freshest and most stimulating shows for lovers of vintage popular music performed by an outstandingly talented trio.”

“The Greatest Songs You’ve Never Heard” has received standing ovations at venues such as the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage Jazz Club, the Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress, the Jonathan Club of Los Angeles, and The Arts Club of Washington, among others.

At Sofia’s Restaurant, 221 W. 46th Street (between Broadway & 8th Ave), 3 Sets: 8:00pm to 11:00pm (Doors open at 7:00pm; Three For A Song’s set starts at 9:00 pm)?$15 cash cover charge at the door covers all three sets + $15 food/drink minimum. For reservations: 212.719.5799


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks: an Evening of Duke Ellington Favorites

For a special evening for dance fans and devotees of the Duke, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks will present the Duke Ellington canon from the period of the 20’s and 30’s, such as “East St. Louis Toodle-oo” and “Black and Tan Fantasy”.  At Sofia’s Restaurant, 221 W. 46th Street (between Broadway & 8th Ave), 3 Sets: 8:00pm to 11:00pm (Doors open at 7:00pm)?$15 cash cover charge at the door covers all three sets + $15 food/drink minimum. For reservations: 212.719.5799

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks Celebrate the Birthday of Walter Donaldson

From “My Blue Heaven” to “My Baby Just Cares for Me”, Walter Donaldson wrote many of the most well-known jazz standards in the American songbook, and yet today, his name isn’t known like Irving Berlin’s or Cole Porter’s. Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks celebrate the life and work of one of America’s most prolific songwriters with an evening of Walter Donaldson’s music near the 120thanniversary of his birthday. .  At Sofia’s Restaurant, 221 W. 46th Street (between Broadway & 8th Ave), 3 Sets: 8:00pm to 11:00pm (Doors open at 7:00pm)?$15 cash cover charge at the door covers all three sets + $15 food/drink minimum. For reservations: 212.719.5799


Fat Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras in New York City with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks

Join Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks Orchestra for a special evening of traditional New Orleans favorites from the 11-piece Nighthawks and for New Orleans-style jams from the “Dixie-Hawks” on Fat Tuesday at Sofia’s Downstairs.

At Sofia’s Restaurant, 221 W. 46th Street (between Broadway & 8th Ave), 3 Sets: 8:00pm to 11:00pm (Doors open at 7:00pm)?$15 cash cover charge at the door covers all three sets + $15 food/drink minimum. For reservations: 212.719.5799

For more information on Vince Giordano’s appearances, visit:

#   #   #

source of information – John Bianchi



Thursday, February 14th, 2013 – 8pm

Highlights In Jazz 40th Anniversary Gala

Barbara Carroll with Jay Leonhart

Bria SkonbergKen Peplowski

Harlem Blues and Jazz Band

Joey MorantFred StatonArt Baron, Zeke Mullins,
Jackie Williams, Bill Wurtzel, and  Michael Max Fleming

at – TRIBECA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER – 199 Chambers Street, New York (See Map).
By car take FDR Drive south to end, through underpass onto West Street, north to Chambers.
By Subway take 1, 2, 3, 9, A, C, E, J or M train to Chambers or N, R to City Hall stop. Walk west on Chambers.

For information call the box office at: (212) 220-1460


Posted on on December 27th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Starbucks’ company’s chief executive officer Howard Schultz, has asked his  baristas who work in Washington-area Starbucks, to scrawl “COME TOGETHER” on coffee cups for the rest of the week, to generate enthusiasm for a Congressional compromise on avoiding falling of the cliff or defaulting on paying the Nation’s creditors.

Finally someone is ready to scrawl a solution. Good he suggested using the Coffee cups and not the Tea cups. This is probably the deepest meaning of his suggestion at a time Senator McConnell has not yet promised to check in at the Senate’s door his filibuster fully automatic rifle.


Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog
23 December 2012


Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog
26 December 2012
Robert Reich writes: Every year about now I watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” again to remind myself what Frank Capra understood about America — its essential decency and common sense.In many ways the nation is better than it was in 1946 when the movie first appeared. Women have gained economic power and reproductive rights; we enacted Civil Rights and Voting Rights and, through Medicare and Medicaid, dramatically reduced poverty among the elderly; we began to tackle environmental devastation; we stopped treating gays as criminals and have even started to recognize equal marriage rights. We elected and then re-elected the first black president of the United States. We have enacted the bare beginnings of universal healthcare.

But we are still in danger of the “Pottersville” Capra saw as the consequence of what happens when Americans fail to join together and forget the meaning of the public good.

If Lionel Barrymore’s “Mr. Potter” were alive today he’d call himself a “job creator” and condemn George Bailey as a socialist. He’d be financing a fleet of lobbyists to get lower taxes on multi-millionaires like himself, overturn environmental laws, trample on workers’ rights, and shred social safety nets. He’d fight any form of gun control. He’d want the citizens of Pottersville to be economically insecure – living paycheck to paycheck and worried about losing their jobs – so they’d be dependent on his good graces.

The Mr. Potters are still alive and well in America, threatening our democracy with their money and our common morality with their greed.

resident Obama is cutting his Christmas holiday short, returning to Washington for a last attempt at avoiding the fiscal cliff.

In a game of highway chicken, for example, the driver that can’t swerve because he’s tied his hands to the steering wheel and chained his foot to the accelerator forces the other to swerve in order to avoid crashing.

The trick is for the first driver to convince the second that he’s crazy enough to have committed himself to instant death if the second doesn’t act rationally.

So, why would a sane driver agree to play the game in the first place?

Boehner can now credibly claim he has no choice in the matter -Republican fanatics in the House have tied his hands and manacled his feet — so the only way to avoid going over the cliff is for Obama and the Democrats to make more concessions. The Republicans love to keep Boehner in his seat and the talk of bringing in Paul Ryan right now is nonsense.

The White House’s hope of getting the Senate to pass legislation that raises taxes on the wealthy in order to pressure Boehner won’t work because the legislation can’t possibly get through the House. That’s the point: Boehner has demonstrated he has no choice; the fanatics are in charge there.

Obama could decide going over the cliff isn’t so bad after all -as long as he and congressional Democrats introduce legislation early in the 2013 that gives a tax cut to the middle class retroactively to January 1st (extending the Bush tax cut to the first $250,000 of income) and restores most spending — and Republicans feel compelled to go along.

But with Boehner’s hands tied and the fanatics in charge, this gambit becomes far riskier. What if we go over the cliff and House Republicans continue to hold out against any tax increases on the rich while demanding major cuts in Medicare and Social Security?

The path of least resistance is for Obama and the Democrats to offer to keep everything as is, through 2013 -extend all the Bush tax cuts and continue all current spending (lifting the debt limit along the way) -unless or until a “grand bargain” on the budget is agreed to before the end of next year.

This is likely to satisfy enough Republican fanatics to gain a majority in the House. And it would avoid the fiscal cliff, kicking the can down the road and giving everyone more time.

Deficit hawks in both parties won’t like it, but that’s okay. Unemployment is still way too high and growth too meager to justify trimming the deficit any time soon.

The real problem with this gambit is it doesn’t change the game. Even down the road, Boehner’s hands will still be tied and the fanatics will remain in charge — which will give Republicans the stronger position in negotiations leading to a “grand bargain.” Compromise would have to be almost entirely on the Democrats’ side.

That’s why I’d recommend going over the cliff and forcing the Republicans’ hand. It’s a risky strategy but it would at least expose the Republican tactic and put public pressure squarely on rank-and-file Republicans, where it belongs.

The fanatics in the GOP have to be held accountable or they’ll continue to hold the nation hostage to their extremism. Even if it takes until the 2014 midterms to loosen their hold, the cost is worth it.

So, why bother faking it by keeping up 2012 meetings with the Republicans? We would rather spend the time resting and looking at other issues. Enter the new Congress, and with a new Administration team in place, it will be more favorable  playing a different game – call it Expose the Opponent to the Blame of the People and Wait for the People to hold the Opponent Responsible.

The opponent just has the money that flows to lubricate the  elections, but it is the People that have the numbers that Vote.

If the people will feel the hurt, they are bound to wake up to facts of life – their being held hostage to the industrial profiteers.

The Obama II years may then look like – two years of set-up-the-stage – so the remaining two years make history.
President Obama has the mandate to bring about change and the world watches to see his courage to carry out the substance of this mandate.
Not bad if you know what you are after!


Posted on on December 21st, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Lesson – You must be on the point and go out to demonstrate it: Just talking about it does not do it.


The Atlantic Wins Magazine Cover of The Year.

By Chris O’Shea on December 20, 2012 11:47 AM…

The voting is over, and the winner of the first FishbowlNY Magazine Cover of The Year is The Atlantic. It was a virtual tie between New York (who we thought would win) and its cover of a post-Sandy Manhattan and The Atlantic right up until the end. However, The Atlantic ended up with 41 percent of the vote, while New York grabbed 34 percent. Those two covers pretty much blew away the competition, as the next closest was ESPN The Magazine, with 9.9 percent of the vote.

Congrats to the Atlantic, and to Darhil Crooks, the magazine’s creative director. The winning cover was the first Atlantic issue with Crooks’ imprint, and it obviously made an impact on readers.


The Runner Up:

New York Magazine Captures Hurricane Sandy with Brilliant Cover.

By Chris O’Shea on November 5, 2012 9:53 AM…

We were going to include the latest New York cover in our weekly Cover Battle on Thursday, but that wouldn’t have been fair, because this cover is just too good.

This picture was snapped by architecture photographer Iwan Baan, while he was sitting in a helicopter 5,000 feet about the city. He told Poynter, “It was the only way to show that New York was two cities, almost.”


With the Editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal sold to the American extreme right the paper tries to put on a new face by changing its Page One leadership.  At least for us – it will not work.

Rupert Murdoch Calls for Gun Control, While Fox News is Told to Stay Silent.

Is this incongruous to you? To us it is!

Alex Martin Named WSJ Page One Editor

Alex Martin has been named page one editor of The Wall Street Journal. Martin was most recently national editor and deputy managing editor – the latter role he will maintain. Additionally, according to a memo from Gerard Baker, Mike Allen has been named global enterprise editor and Jason Anders deputy editor of page one. The full memo from Baker is below. I’m pleased to announce that Alex Martin is appointed Page One Editor. Alex’s… read more>>


Bernstein writes: “So now we have it: what appears to be hard, irrefutable evidence of Rupert Murdoch’s ultimate and most audacious attempt – thwarted, thankfully, by circumstance – to hijack America’s democratic institutions.” He writes this for The Guardian – but The Washington Post put it only in the Style Section and not on PAGE ONE where it belonged – it is assumed that because of fear of Mr. Murdoch. IS IT NOT SHORT OF AMAZING?

Rupert Murdoch's ultimate and most audacious attempt - thwarted. (photo: Reuters)
Rupert Murdoch’s ultimate and most audacious attempt – thwarted. (photo: Reuters)

go to original article

Murdoch’s Bid to Hijack the US Presidency

By Carl Bernstein, Guardian UK

21 December 12

Did the Washington Post and others underplay the story through fear of the News Corp chairman, or simply tin-eared judgment?

o now we have it: what appears to be hard, irrefutable evidence of Rupert Murdoch’s ultimate and most audacious attempt – thwarted, thankfully, by circumstance – to hijack America’s democratic institutions on a scale equal to his success in kidnapping and corrupting the essential democratic institutions of Great Britain through money, influence and wholesale abuse of the privileges of a free press.

In the American instance, Murdoch’s goal seems to have been nothing less than using his media empire – notably Fox News – to stealthily recruit, bankroll and support the presidential candidacy of General David Petraeus in the 2012 election.

Thus in the spring of 2011 – less than 10 weeks before Murdoch’s centrality to the hacking and politician-buying scandal enveloping his British newspapers was definitively revealed – Fox News’ inventor and president, Roger Ailes, dispatched an emissary to Afghanistan to urge Petraeus to turn down President Obama’s expected offer to become CIA director and, instead, run for the Republican nomination for president, with promises of being bankrolled by Murdoch. Ailes himself would resign as president of Fox News and run the campaign, according to the conversation between Petraeus and the emissary, K T McFarland, a Fox News on-air defense “analyst” and former spear carrier for national security principals in three Republican administrations.

All this was revealed in a tape recording of Petraeus’s meeting with McFarland obtained by Bob Woodward, whose account of their discussion, accompanied online by audio of the tape, was published in the Washington Post – distressingly, in its style section, and not on page one, where it belonged – and, under the style logo, online on December 3.

Indeed, almost as dismaying as Ailes’ and Murdoch’s disdain for an independent and truly free and honest press, and as remarkable as the obsequious eagerness of their messenger to convey their extraordinary presidential draft and promise of on-air Fox support to Petraeus, has been the ho-hum response to the story by the American press and the country’s political establishment, whether out of fear of Murdoch, Ailes and Fox – or, perhaps, lack of surprise at Murdoch’s, Ailes’ and Fox’s contempt for decent journalistic values or a transparent electoral process.

The tone of the media’s reaction was set from the beginning by the Post’s own tin-eared treatment of this huge story: relegating it, like any other juicy tidbit of inside-the-beltway media gossip, to the section of the newspaper and its website that focuses on entertainment, gossip, cultural and personality-driven news, instead of the front page.

“Bob had a great scoop, a buzzy media story that made it perfect for Style. It didn’t have the broader import that would justify A1,” Liz Spayd, the Post’s managing editor, told Politico when asked why the story appeared in the style section.

Buzzy media story? Lacking the “broader import” of a front-page story? One cannot imagine such a failure of news judgment among any of Spayd’s modern predecessors as managing editors of the Post, especially in the clear light of the next day and with a tape recording – of the highest audio quality – in hand.

“Tell [Ailes] if I ever ran,” Petraeus announces on the crystal-clear digital recording and then laughs, “but I won’t … but if I ever ran, I’d take him up on his offer. … He said he would quit Fox … and bankroll it.”

McFarland clarified the terms: “The big boss is bankrolling it. Roger’s going to run it. And the rest of us are going to be your in-house” – thereby confirming what Fox New critics have consistently maintained about the network’s faux-news agenda and its built-in ideological bias.

And here let us posit the following: were an emissary of the president of NBC News, or of the editor of the New York Times or the Washington Post ever caught on tape promising what Ailes and Murdoch had apparently suggested and offered here, the hue and cry, especially from Fox News and Republican/Tea Party America, from the Congress to the US Chamber of Commerce to the Heritage Foundation, would be deafening and not be subdued until there was a congressional investigation, and the resignations were in hand of the editor and publisher of the network or newspaper. Or until there had been plausible and convincing evidence that the most important elements of the story were false. And, of course, the story would continue day after day on page one and remain near the top of the evening news for weeks, until every ounce of (justifiable) piety about freedom of the press and unfettered presidential elections had been exhausted.

The tape of Petraeus and McFarland’s conversation is an amazing document, a testament to the willingness of Murdoch and the wily genius he hired to create Fox News to run roughshod over the American civic and political landscape without regard to even the traditional niceties or pretenses of journalistic independence and honesty. Like the revelations of the hacking scandal, which established beyond any doubt Murdoch’s ability to capture and corrupt the three essential elements of the British civic compact – the press, politicians and police – the Ailes/Petraeus tape makes clear that Murdoch’s goals in America have always been just as ambitious, insidious and nefarious.

The digital recording, and the dead-serious conspiratorial conversation it captures so chillingly in tone and substance (“I’m only reporting this back to Roger. And that’s our deal,” McFarland assured Petraeus as she unfolded the offer) utterly refutes Ailes’ disingenuous dismissal of what he and Murdoch were actually attempting: the buying of the presidency.

“It was more of a joke, a wiseass way I have,” Ailes would later claim while nonetheless confirming its meaning. “I thought the Republican field [in the primaries] needed to be shaken up and Petraeus might be a good candidate.”

The recording deserves to be heard by any open-minded person trying to fathom its meaning to the fullest.

Murdoch and Ailes have erected an incredibly influential media empire that has unrivaled power in British and American culture: rather than judiciously exercising that power or improving reportorial and journalistic standards with their huge resources, they have, more often than not, recklessly pursued an agenda of sensationalism, manufactured controversy, ideological messianism, and political influence-buying while masquerading as exemplars of a free and responsible press. The tape is powerful evidence of their methodology and reach.

The Murdoch story – his corruption of essential democratic institutions on both sides of the Atlantic – is one of the most important and far-reaching political/cultural stories of the past 30 years, an ongoing tale without equal. Like Richard Nixon and his tapes, much attention has been focused on the necessity of finding the smoking gun to confirm what other evidence had already established beyond a doubt: that the elemental instruments of democracy, ie the presidency in Nixon’s case, and the privileges of free press in Murdoch’s, were grievously misused and abused for their own ends by those entrusted to use great power for the common good.

In Nixon’s case, the system worked. His actions were investigated by Congress, the judicial system held that even the president of the United States was not above the law, and he was forced to resign or face certain impeachment and conviction. American and British democracy has not been so fortunate with Murdoch, whose power and corruption went unchecked for a third of a century.

The most important thing we journalists do is make judgments about what is news. Perhaps no story has eluded us on a daily basis (for lack of trying) for so many years as the story of Murdoch’s destructive march across our democratic landscape. Only the Guardian vigorously pursued the leads of the hacking story and methodically stuck with it for months and years, never ignoring the underlying context of how Rupert Murdoch conducted his take-no-prisoners business and journalism without regard for the most elemental standards of fairness, accuracy or balance, or even lawful conduct.

When the Guardian’s hacking coverage reached critical mass last year, I quoted a former top Murdoch deputy as follows: “This scandal and all its implications could not have happened anywhere else. Only in Murdoch’s orbit. The hacking at News of the World was done on an industrial scale. More than anyone, Murdoch invented and established this culture in the newsroom, where you do whatever it takes to get the story, take no prisoners, destroy the competition, and the end will justify the means.”

The tape that Bob Woodward obtained, and which the Washington Post ran in the style section, should be the denouement of the Murdoch story on both sides of the Atlantic, making clear that no institution, not even the presidency of the United States, was beyond the object of his subversion. If Murdoch had bankrolled a successful Petraeus presidential campaign and – as his emissary McFarland promised – “the rest of us [at Fox] are going to be your in-house” – Murdoch arguably might have sewn up the institutions of American democracy even more securely than his British tailoring.

Happily, Petraeus was not hungering for the presidency at the moment of the messenger’s arrival: the general was contented at the idea of being CIA director, which Ailes was urging him to forgo.

“We’re all set,” said the emissary, referring to Ailes, Murdoch and Fox. “It’s never going to happen,” Petraeus said. “You know it’s never going to happen. It really isn’t. … My wife would divorce me.”


Posted on on December 16th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies

A series of billboards, posters and banners by Oliver Ressler

The central idea behind the billboard series “Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies” is to present different suggestions, which might be of interest when considering the principles on which an alternative to the existing capitalist system could be based. Such a society should in my opinion be less hierarchical, based on ideas of direct democracy and involve as many people as possible in decision-making processes. In the field of economy this would lead towards a variety of different models of workers self-management.

The billboard series, which has been carried out in public inner-city spaces in Europe and South America so far, might provide some ideas for people who are interested in thinking about a future society. The billboards can work as food for thought, as the basis for discussions, which are so necessary today when strategies for alternatives are not clear. But it also has to be clear that a desirable society should be realized and created by the people who live in it. A model, which prescribes and determines every aspect of this future society, cannot lead towards an ideal society.

The poster and billboard texts, with their large and highly visible fonts, are in the form of appeals, questioning existing dominant power relationships and indicating alternatives that share the rejection of the capitalist system of rule. Some of the ideas presented in this project have been elaborated upon in concepts such as “Participatory Economy” by Michael Albert, “Inclusive Democracy” by Takis Fotopoulos, are suggestions for an anarchist consensual democracy by Ralf Burnicki, or are based on considerations by the theorist John Holloway, especially in his book “Change the World Without Taking Power”. This project uses the format of posters and billboards as arenas for the imagination. “Imagination is a very powerful liberating tool. If you cannot imagine something different you cannot work towards it”, explains Marge Piercy in a video interview conducted for the ongoing exhibition project “Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies” by Oliver Ressler, to which this project is related.

The first presentation of this poster series took place in the framework of the project “Quicksand in De Pijp” by SKOR and Combiwel, curated by Amiel Grumberg, which was a program of artistic interventions taking place in the De Pijp neighborhood of Amsterdam in 2004. Since then, the posters, billboards or banners have been displayed in several cities, invited and funded by art institutions, and always carried out in the local language. Sometimes the presentations in public inner-city spaces were linked with the ongoing exhibitions project “”, which was the case with the poster presentations in Rijeka, Karlsruhe and Lima. Sometimes the billboards were realized on their own (as in Bratislava and Copenhagen). While in Amsterdam around 2000 posters were placarded more or less illegal throughout several months, in Bratislava the large-scale billboards were displayed on city-owned commercial billboard sites, which were left for free to the Billboartgallery Europe, which makes them available for artists. In several of the other presentations, the house facades of art institutions, which invited me to realize works, were used for the public interventions.

  • Image 1: Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, 2005
  • The poster texts reads: Imagine and create revolutionary processes which are not intended to take over state power but to dissolve power relations
  • Image 2: Billboartgallery Europe, Bratislava, 2004
  • The poster texts read: Imagine a society in which people have a say in decisions in proportion to the degree that they are affected
  • Image 3: “Quicksand in De Pijp”, org. by SKOR, urban space in Amsterdam, 2004
  • The poster text reads: Imagine being remunerated for effort and sacrifice, not for property or power


Posted on on December 11th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

December 11, 2012

To: Listings/Critics/Features
From: Jazz Promo Services
Press Contact: Jim Eigo,

Jack Kleinsinger’s
Highlights In Jazz
New York’s Longest Running Jazz Concert Series
2013 Season Line Up

All Shows At TRIBECA Performing Arts Center

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 – 8pm

Early Jazz

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks

Ms. Vinnie Knight

Jonathan Batiste and his New Orleans Stay Human Band

Thursday, February 14th, 2013 – 8pm

Highlights In Jazz 40th Anniversary Gala

Barbara Carroll with Jay Leonhart

Bria SkonbergKen Peplowski

Harlem Blues and Jazz Band

Joey MorantFred StatonArt Baron, Zeke Mullins,
Jackie Williams, Bill Wurtzel, and  Michael Max Fleming

Thursday, March 14th, 2013 – 8pm

Swing Memories

Artie Shaw with Strings

The Anderson Twins with 25 piece orchestra

Benny Goodman Combos

Warren VacheHoward AldenKenny WashingtonEhud AsheriePeter AndersonWill Anderson

Thursday, May 9th, 2013 – 8pm

Salute to George Wein

Ron CarterAnat CohenWycliffe GordonJay Leonhart, Lewis NashLew Tabackin

Guest of Honor: George Wein

Ticket Prices
$37.50 (student rate with valid ID)
Tickets can be purchased in advance at the box office or by mail order.
Please send a check made payable to: Highlights In Jazz
For information about tickets click here.

Please mail orders to:
Highlights In Jazz
7 Peter Cooper Road, Apt. 11E
New York NY 10010

(Please enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope)
All Concerts at:  TRIBECA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER – 199 Chambers Street, New York (See Map).
By car take FDR Drive south to end, through underpass onto West Street, north to Chambers.
By Subway take 1, 2, 3, 9, A, C, E, J or M train to Chambers or N, R to City Hall stop. Walk west on Chambers.

For information call the box office at:
(212) 220-1460


Posted on on December 6th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Oscar Niemeyer – the architect who signed off the UN Headquarter building that is now in the process of its first renovation – died in Rio de Janeiro December 5, 2012 at 10 days short of 105 years of age.

He gave Brasílian Architecture Its Flair – tall buildings and curves. Earlier this year, Niemeyer supervised the renovation of the iconic Sambadrome, the “temple of Samba” which he designed 30 years ago, and where the raucous parades of Rio’s Carnival are held each year. He also had worked on building Brasilia – the capital of Brazil while standing up for the communist party of Brazil.

The Brazilian Congress in Brasilia, designed by Oscar Niemeyer (AFP/File, Evaristo Sa)

Major news today – in all media – is the passing away of Master Builder Niemeyer of Brazil. It first came to my attention in a great  article in the New York Times written by a past architectural critic of his.

Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho –  known as Oscar Niemeyer – lived in his beloved Rio de Janeiro  (December 15, 1907 – December 5, 2012)  was one of six children of a typographer and his wife.  His father owned a graphic arts business, and a grandfather was a judge on the country’s supreme court.  A precocious talent, Mr. Niemeyer was trained at the National School of Fine Arts, where he soon drew the attention of its dean, Lucio Costa. Costa was at the center of a small group of architects working to bring the message of Modernist architecture to Brazil.

The timing was ideal. Costa was then designing the Ministry of Education and Health’s headquarters in Rio, and he invited Mr. Niemeyer to join his firm as a draftsman. In 1936, the ministry hired the Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier to contribute ideas for the design. Le Corbusier was already a legend in architecture, and the building would become the first major public project by a Modernist architect in Latin America.

Mr. Niemeyer, one of several draftsmen assigned to the project, absorbed Le Corbusier’s vision of a modern world shaped by the myth of the machine, and drew on the master’s belief in an architecture of abstract forms enlivened by a sensitive use of light and air.

But Mr. Niemeyer was also a self-confident apprentice with a vision of his own; under Costa’s supervision, he made significant changes to Le Corbusier’s scheme. The columns supporting the building’s main office block were more than doubled in height, giving the structure a more slender profile. An auditorium that Le Corbusier had envisioned as a separate structure was tucked under the office block, creating a more compact urban composition.

Shielded from the sun behind rows of elegant baffles, the building had a clean, stripped-down style that made it a sparkling example of classical Modernism while heralding Brazil’s emergence as a vibrant center of experimentation.

Mr. Niemeyer’s name soon became synonymous with the new Brazilian architecture. In 1939, he collaborated with Costa on the Brazilian Pavilion for the New York World’s Fair. Three years later, he completed his first house, a simple modern box resting on slender columns on a mountainside overlooking the magnificent Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon. In these and other early projects, Mr. Niemeyer was beginning to develop a distinctive architecture of flowing lines, structural lightness and an open relationship to natural surroundings.

At the same time, he was becoming politically outspoken. Reared in a quiet upper-middle-class Rio neighborhood by his maternal grandparents, Mr. Niemeyer joined the Communist Party.

When the Brazilian government released hundreds of political prisoners, including Communists, as a gesture of good will in the 1940s, Mr. Niemeyer turned over the first floor of his Rio office to the party for use as a headquarters. To him, architecture’s social impact had its limits. “Architecture will always express the technical and social progress of the country in which it is carried out,” he once said. “If we wish to give it the human content that it lacks, we must participate in the political struggle.”

Yet the project that established him as a major architectural force was essentially a playground for the nouveaux riches in a wealthy suburb on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte, an industrial city. Commissioned in 1940 by a local mayor, Juscelino Kubitschek, who later, as president of Brazil, would hire Mr. Niemeyer to design Brasília’s major buildings, the project included a casino, a yacht club, a dance hall and a church arrayed around an artificial lake.

The casino was particularly striking. A concrete-and-glass shell, it was conceived as part of an architectural promenade that fused the complex with the natural landscape. The dance hall was distinguished by its free-form canopy made of cast concrete, its contours meant to suggest the flowing movements of the samba.

That project never functioned as planned. The casino was transformed into an art museum soon after gambling was outlawed by the Brazilian government in 1946. And the Roman Catholic authorities were offended by the church’s unusual curved concrete form and refused to consecrate it until 1959.

The complex’s bold, sweeping lines and snaking walkways, gently echoing the surrounding hills, suggested a subliminal hedonism that was at odds with the public’s image of mainstream Modernism as determinedly functional and emotionally cool. The design also heralded Mr. Niemeyer’s war against the straight line, whose rigidity he saw as a kind of authoritarian constraint.



Mr. Niemeyer’s international status was confirmed by the Brazil Builds exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1943, a show that also introduced his work to an American audience. Four years later, he joined Le Corbusier again, this time as an equal, when the two were selected to take part in designing the United Nations complex in Manhattan.

Supervised by Wallace K. Harrison, the United Nations design was a collaboration that also included international luminaries like the Soviet architect Nikolai D. Bassov and Max Abramovitz of New York. The final design was a compromise of sorts between Mr. Niemeyer’s concepts and those of his aging idol Le Corbusier and its final signature was by Oscar Niemeyer.

Set amid gardens and plazas, the slim, glass-clad Secretariat tower and the sculptural concrete General Assembly building remain testaments to the belief in rationalism as a means to resolve international disputes and disparities.

The United Nations Headquarters complex was constructed in New York City in 1949–1950 beside the East River, on 17 acres (69,000 m2) of land purchased from the foremost New York real estate developer of the time, William ZeckendorfNelson Rockefeller arranged this purchase, after an initial offer to locate it on the Rockefeller family estate of Kykuit was rejected as being too isolated from Manhattan. The US$8.5 million purchase was then funded by his father,  John D. Rockefeller, Jr.,  who donated it to the city. The lead architect for the building was the real estate firm of Wallace Harrison, the personal architectural adviser for the Rockefeller family.
and a board of design consultants was nominated by member governments. The board consisted of N. D. Bassov of the Soviet UnionGaston Brunfaut (Belgium),  Ernest Cormier (Canada),  Le Corbusier (France),  Liang Seu-cheng (China),  Sven Markelius (Sweden),  Oscar Niemeyer (Brazil),  Howard Robertson (United Kingdom),  G. A. Soilleux (Australia),  and Julio Vilamajó (Uruguay). Le Corbusier and Niemeyer together submitted the scheme which was built and is what can be seen brfore the remodeling that goes on now. The building was occupied in 1952.

The – History of the Le Corbusier – Niemeyer cooperation:  Right after his arrival in New York, Niemeyer met Corbusier on his demands. He requested Niemeyer not to submit a scheme, but rather to collaborate with him on a project, on the basis that he could ‘create a commotion’. It was Wallace Harrison who tried to convince Niemeyer to move on his own.

50 designs were evaluated by the team, and Niemeyer’s project 32 was finally chosen. As opposed to Corbusier’s project 23, which consisted of one building containing both the Assembly Hall and the councils in the centre of the site (as it was hierarchically the most important building), Niemeyer’s plan split the councils from the Assembly Hall, locating the first alongside the river, and the second on the right side of the secretariat. This would not split the site, but on the contrary, would create a large civic square. George Dudley latter stated:

It literally took our breath away to see the simple plane of the site kept open from First Avenue to the River, only three structures on it, standing free, a fourth lying low behind them along the river’s edge. …He [Niemeyer] also said, ‘beauty will come from the buildings being in the right space!’. The comparison between Le Corbusier’s heavy block and Niemeyer’s startling, elegantly articulated composition seem to me to be in everyone’s mind…

Latter on the day, Corbusier came once again to Niemeyer, and asked him to reposition the Assembly Hall back to the centre of the site. Such modification would destroy Niemeyer’s plans for a large civic square. However, he finally decided to accept the modification:

I felt he [Corbusier] would like to do his project, and he was the master. I do not regret my decision.

Together, they submitted the scheme 23–32, which was built and is what can be seen today.

Oscar Niemeyer in the 1950s

UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld in front of the General Assembly building (1950s)



In his designs for Brasília, the capital city built in the vast undeveloped lands of the Brazil’s central region, Mr. Niemeyer got the opportunity to create his own poetic vision of the future on a monumental scale.

The city’s cross-shaped master plan, with repetitive rows of housing set around a formal administrative center, was designed by Costa, Mr. Niemeyer’s old mentor. But it was Mr. Niemeyer who gave Brasília its sculptural identity.

Slide Show – A Legendary Modernist

The speed with which the city was created, between 1956 and 1960, reinforced its image as a utopian dream that had sprouted magically out of a primitive landscape. Its crisp, abstract forms seemed to sum up the aspirations of much of the developing world: the belief that modern architecture and the faith in technological progress that it embodied could help create a more egalitarian society.

Arranged along a vast, grassy esplanade, Mr. Niemeyer’s buildings acquire a certain grandeur in their isolation. The most spectacular is the Metropolitan Cathedral, a circular, crownlike structure that splays open at the top to let light spill into the main sanctuary.

Yet much of Brasília’s beauty lay in an architectural balancing act. The simple twin towers of its secretariat, for example, play off the geometric bowl-like forms of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. The entire complex suggests a world in perfect harmony, even if the politicians and bureaucrats who work there are not. The languorous sensuality of Mr. Niemeyer’s designs are underscored in early sketches for Brasília. They often depict naked young women sunbathing on a vast empty plaza as his buildings recede in the background. It’s an image of romantic alienation that has more in common with the films of Michelangelo Antonioni than with the utopian aspirations of early Modernism.

“For me,” Mr. Niemeyer said years later, “beauty is valued more than anything — the beauty that is manifest in a curved line or in an act of creativity.”

Brasília was considered his greatest triumph, but he had little time to glory in it. In 1964, after a coup put the country in the hands of a military dictatorship, he was repeatedly questioned by the military police about his Communist associations. Although he was never imprisoned, commissions dried up.



With the generals in charge of Brazil and the anti-communism rampant in the US, he could work by proxy or limit himself to communism in Western Europe. He was chosen to design a business center on Claughton Island near Miami. But the United States, still in the grip of the cold war, denied him a visa. (Around the same time, he also designed a house in Santa Monica, Calif., one he never saw.)

Unable to find work in Brazil, Mr. Niemeyer fled to Europe, where he received commissions to design the Communist Party headquarters in Paris, completed in 1980, and the House of Culture in Le Havre, France (1982), with its low conical dome and a spectacular concrete ramp corkscrewing into the earth.

Modernism was by then falling out of favor with the architectural establishment. Brasília soon became a symbol of Modernism’s failure to deliver on its utopian promises. The vast empty plazas seemed to sum up the social alienation of modern society; surrounded by slums, the monumental government buildings of its center exemplified Brazil’s deeply rooted social inequalities.

Mr. Niemeyer addressed the criticism in a profile by the critic Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times Magazine in 2005. “You may not like Brasília,” he told Mr. Kimmelman, “but you can’t say you have seen anything like it — you maybe saw something better, but not the same. I prefer Rio, even with the robberies. What can you do?” He added: “But people who live in Brasília, to my surprise, don’t want to leave it. Brasília works. There are problems. But it works. And from my perspective, the ultimate task of the architect is to dream. Otherwise nothing happens.”

In 1965 Niemeyer  traveled to France for an exhibition in the Louvre museum.In 1966, at 59, he moved to Paris – he travelled to the city of Tripoli, Lebanon, to design the International Permanent Exhibition Centre. Despite completing construction, the start of the civil war in Lebanon prevented it from achieving its utility.

He opened an office on the Champs-Élysées, and had customers in diverse countries, especially in Algeria where he designed the University of Science and Technology-Houari Boumediene. In Paris he created the headquarters of the French Communist Party, Place du Colonel Fabien, and in Italy that of the Mondadori publishing company.
In Funchal on Madeira, a 19th-century hotel was removed to build a casino by Niemeyer.

The Brazilian dictatorship lasted until 1985. Under João Figueiredo‘s rule it softened and gradually turned into a democracy.  At this time Niemeyer decided to return to his country. During that decade he made the Memorial Juscelino Kubitschek (1980), the Pantheon (Panteão da Pátria e da Liberdade Tancredo Neves Pantheon of the Fatherland and Freedom, 1985) and the Latin America Memorial (1987) (dubbed by The Independent of London to be “…an incoherent and vulgar construction”). The memorial sculpture represents the wounded hand of Jesus, whose wound bleeds in the shape of Central and South America.

In 1988, at 81, Niemeyer was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious award in architecture. From 1992 to 1996, Niemeyer was the president of the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB). As a lifelong activist, Niemeyer was chosen as a powerful public figure that could be linked to the party at a time when it appeared to be in its death throes after the demise of the USSR. Although not active as a political leader, his image helped the party to survive through its crisis, after the 1992 split and to remain as a political force in the national scene, which eventually led to its reconstruction. He was replaced by Zuleide Faria de Mello in 1996.



In 1964 – thus before he settled in Paris – Niemeyer spent six months in Israel where he was brought by developer Yekutiel Federman and as per HAARETZ of today –… – he  left behind at least two executed projects – the Kikar Hamedina  – the large round-about in what was then North-Tel Aviv, and  and the Haifa University, but the most interesting proposal was the planned city that was never built.

Niemeyer, who as a declared communist, was excited about the socialist settlements in Israel, and described the Negev city of his planning, undoubtedly with a certain amount of naivete, as “a new type of metropolitan kibbutz that grew, became broader and more up-to-date, without losing its human values – enthusiasm, solidarity and idealism.”

Niemeyer’s work in Israel is the subject of historical research conducted by the architect Zvi Elhayani for his master’s degree in architecture at the Technion. Among the central issues in the study, which Elhayani concluded last year, is an analysis of Niemeyer’s critical assessment of planning concepts in Israel. In Niemeyer’s proposal for the Negev city, Elhayani sees a clear expression of this critical outlook. According to the study, Niemeyer already identified the low and sparse construction in new cities, and multitude of small communities, as a mistake that Israel would pay for in the future with a loss of open spaces.

During his stay in Israel, which is described in detail in Elhayani’s study, Niemeyer toured the newly constructed cities in the Negev: Yeruham, Dimona, Kiryat Gat, Eilat and the new neighborhoods of Be’er Sheva. According to Elhayani, Niemeyer was impressed by the desert vistas and construction boom, but expressed his disappointment “from the spatial spread and wastefulness that characterized the new cities, and he began to formulate a completely different urban concept.”

The sketches for the new Negev city, as presented in Elhayani’s study, show that the city was planned as a compact and crowded community, where the residents could take a short walk of no more than 500 meters to get from their homes to their jobs, schools and places of entertainment. Covered and shaded walkways were planned along the roadways, with pedestrian traffic separated from vehicular traffic. Niemeyer declared that he was seeking “to create optimal conditions for people to communicate and appropriate environments for work, culture and recreation, with the help of technological advances.”

From the outset, Niemeyer was aware of the radical nature of his concept of the Negev city and the controversy it would stir in Israel. Still, he hoped that his plan would not be summarily rejected, “but rather would be stored for a time on the shelf and reexamined after a number of years … then I’m sure that the reasons we cite today will be accepted and it will be proven that this city is the inevitable result of progress, of technology and of the life force itself.”

Niemeyer’s plan envisioned a new city somewhere in the heart of the Negev, but no specific site was selected. A model of the plan, as presented at the time, was photographed on the Tel Aviv beach opposite the Dan Hotel, where Niemeyer stayed. Like most of his work in Israel, the Negev city was never built. Elhayani believes that its construction was unfeasible at the time for technological, cultural, social and economic reasons, and that even today it can only serve as an idea for critical review.

Nonetheless, Elhayani writes, the issues Niemeyer raised nearly 40 years ago are at the center of the debate on national planning in Israel today. The question of whether the Negev missed out on – or was saved from – Niemeyer’s ideas remains open.

The proposal by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in the 1960s to build a Negev city with 40 skyscrapers of 30 to 40 stories for tens of thousands of residents is the complete opposite of the settlement project for the Halutza dunes. While Nitzanit, Shlomit and other Halutza communities are planned to be built close to the ground, with low density and spread over a relatively large area per number of residents, Niemeyer’s utopian city was to be vertical, tall, crowded and succinct.

File:PikiWiki Israel 10862 Cities in Israel.jpg Haifa University

aerial view of kikar hamedina, tel aviv Kikar Hamedina, Tel Aviv



Mr. Niemeyer is survived by his wife, Vera Lúcia Cabreira, whom he married in 2006; four grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and six great-great-grandchildren, according to the newspaper O Globo. A daughter, Anna Maria, died this year at age 82, and his first wife, Annita Baldo, died in 2004, after 76 years of marriage.

Mr. Niemeyer lived long enough to see his international reputation recover and flourish.

After his return to Brazil in the early 1980s, his office was soon overflowing with new commissions.

At 89, his Museum of Contemporary Art in Niterói, near Rio, which opened in 1996, was celebrated for its bold saucer-shaped form. The building is cantilevered out from sheer rock hovered on a cliffside overlooking Guanabara Bay and the city of Rio de Janeiro.

A decade later, on his 99th birthday, he celebrated the opening of his National Museum and National Library along the Monumental Axis in Brasília, near his cathedral.

In his last years he e designed at least two more buildings in Brasilia, the Memorial dos Povos Indigenas (“Memorial for the Indigenous People”) and the Catedral Militar, Igreja de N.S. da Paz.

A growing number of people had begun to re-examine the legacy of postwar Modernism and appreciate his purist vision as a throwback to a more optimistic time.

In celebrating both the formal elements and social aims of architecture, his work became a symbolic reminder that the body and the mind, the sensual and the rational, are not necessarily in opposition. Yet he also saw sensuality and the brightness of dreams against a darker backdrop. “Humanity needs dreams to be able to survive the miseries of daily existence,” he once said, “even if only for an instant.”

MASTER BUILDER Mr. Niemeyer was among the last of Modernist true believers. More Photos »

Oscar Niemeyer in seinem Büro an der Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro. Bauten des Architekten in einer Ansichtssache gibt es hier zu sehen. foto: reuters/moraes

A recent photo of Niemeyer looking out from a window in his office in Rio.

“Brazil lost today one of its geniuses,” Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president, said in a statement issued Wednesday night.
“Few dreamed so intensely, and accomplished so much, as he did.”

Allied with the far left for most of his life, he suffered career setbacks during the rule of Brazil’s right-wing military dictatorships of the 1960s and ’70s, and he was barred from working in the United States during much of the cold war. As Modernism later came under attack for its sometimes dogmatic approach to history, his works were marginalized.

Still, Mr. Niemeyer never stopped working; he churned out major new projects through his 80s and 90s. And as the cold-war divide and architecture’s old ideological battles faded from memory in recent years, a younger generation began embracing his work, intrigued by the consistency of his vision and his ability to achieve voluptuous effects on a heroic scale.


Niemeyer was a close friend of Fidel Castro, who often visited his apartment and studio whilst in Brazil. Castro was once quoted as saying “Niemeyer and I are the last communists on this planet.” Niemeyer was also regularly visited by Hugo Chavez.  Niemeyer was an  atheist  throughout his life, basing his beliefs both on the “injustices of this world” and on cosmological principles: “It’s a fantastic Universe which humiliates us, and we can’t make any use of it. But we are amazed by the power of the human mind … in the end, that’s it—you are born, you die, that’s it!”. Such views never stopped him from designing religious buildings, which span from small Catholic chapels, through to huge Orthodox churches and large mosques. He also catered to the spiritual beliefs of the public who facilitated his religious buildings. In the Cathedral of Brasília, he intended for the large glass windows “To connect the people to the sky, where their Lord’s paradise is.”

21st century and death

Oscar Niemeyer, December 2010

Oscar Niemeyer Museum (NovoMuseu), Curitiba, Brazil

Brazilian National Museum, Brasilia, D.F.

Municipal Library in city center Rio de Janeiro –  Duque de Caxias, RJ, Brasil

Niemeyer maintained his studio in Rio de Janeiro well into the 21st century. In 2002, the Oscar Niemeyer Museum complex was inaugurated in the city of Curitiba, Paraná.

In 2003, at the age 96, Niemeyer was called to design the Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion in Hyde Park London, a gallery that each year invites a famous architect, who has never previously built in the UK, to design this temporary structure. He was still involved in diverse projects at the age of 100, mainly sculptures and readjustments of previous works.

On Niemeyer’s 100th birthday, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin awarded him the Order of Friendship. Grateful for the Prince of Asturias Award of Arts received in 1989, he collaborated on the 25th anniversary of these awards with the donation to Asturias of the design of a cultural centre. The Óscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre (also known in Spain as Centro Niemeyer), is located in Avilés and was inaugurated in 2011.

In January 2010, the Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer Ravello was officially opened in Ravello, Italy, on the Amalfi Coast. The Auditorium’s concept design, drawings, model, sketches and text were made by Niemeyer in 2000 and completed under the guidance of his friend, Italian sociologist Domenico de Masi. The project was delayed for several years due to objections arising from its design, siting and clear difference from the local architecture; since its inauguration the project has experienced problems and, after one year was still closed.

After reaching the age of 100, Niemeyer spent several periods of time in hospital. In 2009, after a four-week period of hospitalisation for the treatment of gallstones and an intestinal tumour, he was quoted as saying that hospitalization is a “very lonely thing; I needed to keep busy, keep in touch with friends, maintain my rhythm of life.”
His daughter and only child, Ana Maria, died of emphysema in June 2012, aged 82.

Niemeyer died of cardiorespiratory arrest on December 5, 2012 at the Hospital Samaritano in Rio de Janeiro, ten days before his 105th birthday. He had been hospitalised with a respiratory infection prior to his death. The BBC‘s obituary of Niemeyer noted that he “built some of the world’s most striking buildings – monumental, curving concrete and glass structures which almost defy description”, also acclaiming him as “one of the most innovative and daring architects of the last 60 years”.
The Washington Post described him as “widely regarded as the foremost Latin American architect of the last century”.


Posted on on December 3rd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Internet says about Russ and Daughters:

Mark Russ Federman is third generation – counting from grandfather Joel who located in the Lower East Side, Manhattan Island in 1907.

On March 5, 2013, the Publishers Schocken Books, a Division of Random House, Inc. will release the volume by Mark titled: “Russ & Daughters – Reflections and Recipes From The House That Herring Built.” We wonder if the cover page will carry the picture of the front of the store at 179 East Houston Street, New York, NY 10002, or the picture of a Bagel with Salmon-Lux and Cream Cheese with onion. The latter is depicted on the publication-date advertisement, and it would be a pity to have there the Royal Lux rather then the more plebeian Herring.

Then – please remember – 2014 will be the centennial year to the fabled Herring store.


These last few weeks, many things sort off created a nostalgic atmosphere that came together in the Yiddish term – A GOLDENE MEDINE or the GOLDEN LAND and I was left wondering which land was this indeed? And here came to my attention that THE NATIONAL YIDDISH THEATER – the New York Folksbiene – will present the end of the run of THE GOLDEN LAND – A musical in English and Yiddish – Created by Zalmen Mlotek & Moishe Rosenfeld – Directed by the famed Bryna Wasserman of the Montreal Theater family.

The added attraction for the 2 PM show on Sunday December 2nd, 2012, was a COFFEE & CONVERSATION with Mark Russ Federman of the famed – nearly one hundred years old – Russ & Daughters Herring Mecca in the heart of the Manhattan Lower East Side – a store that has survived the changes in its neighborhood like the anchor of the ship that transported close to two million European Jews to their first Golden shores.

Talking about Russ & Daughters will embrace 100 years of development of the Jewish Community in America, and as the geopolitics have proven lately as well – steps that led to the other ongoing Golden Land of the 19th to 21st centuries in Jewish history – the strengthening of the Community in Israel.


A Concise Russ Family History:

1985 – Joel Russ is born in Strzyzow (Strizev in Yiddish) – a rural town (Stetl) in Austro-Hungary’s Galizia. After WWI the place became part of Southern Poland.

1907 – Joe, at twelve, gets to America following an older sister – the usual story – first Ellis Island then Lower East Side (LES). He starts out by selling strings of polish mushrooms that he carries on his shoulders. He saves money to purchase a push cart and then a horse and wagon. He marries another immigrant from Galizia in 1908 at 13. They have three daughters – Hattie, Anne, and Ida. Hattie, the oldest, is born in 1913.

1914 Joel Ross opens up his first store on Orchard Street, just bellow East Huston and includes in his wares salt cured Herring and Salmon. The daughters start working in the store when they reach 11 years of age.

1920 – Joel Russ moves his store around the corner to 179 East Houston Street and renames it – perhaps with some Chutzpah – “J. Russ National Appetizing Store.”

1932 – the start of the Depression and Joel Russ sells the home they bought in Brooklyn and they return to live in cramped quarters on East 4th Street in Manhattan – but hangs on to the store.

1933 – He renames the company to Russ and Daughters, and it is believed to be the first American business to have the word DAUGHTERS in its name.

The sons-in-law work in the family business, and Mark Russ Federman (a third generation Russ) returns to the business with his wife, after 9 years of practicing law.

In 1976 and 1980, two recent young immigrants from the Dominican republic – Jose Reyes and Herman Vargas, join as employees. They learn Yiddish from the clients  and eventually Herman ends up managing the store. Mark does not speak Yiddish, though in grandfather Joel’s home only Yiddish was spoken.

2000 – The Smithsonian Institute designates Russ & Daughters “a part of New York’s Cultural Heritage.” The former tenement building where it’s housed, which in the meantime was bought by the Russ family from Mrs. Franks, the original German lady that owned it, is placed onto the National Register for Historic Places.

2002 – Fourth generation Russ, Joshua Russ Tupper, leaves his career as a chemical engineer and enters the family business, joined in 2006 by Mark’s daughter – Niki Russ Federman.


The National Yiddish Theater is located in the building of the William and Anita Newman Vertical Campus at the Baruch College (that is the City University College located on Bernard Baruch Way on East 25th Street in Manhattan between Lexington and Park Avenues). Mr. Newman, his brother, both his parents, and many of his eventual partners graduated from this college that allowed them to develop great careers having immigrated to America from East Europe and landed in the Lower East Side (LES) with nothing else then the will to succeed.The Newmans back New York City University so next waves of immigrants can progress as well.


The ship arrives – the passengers are enchanted – “Here she is – how beautiful! a Golden Home!”

Oh Ellis Island! The interrogations and a new name some pick for themselves. The old joke – the newcomer trains himself to say Izzie Jacobs0n but mumbles “Shoin Vergesen” and ends up getting registered as Sean Ferguson.

Life’s a Pretzel – Gold is in the Street – it’s fool’s gold.

“A Brievele der Mamen” – a letter to mother – but what should I write?

March 25, 1911 – a day of horror in Washington Square – a fire in a sweatshop – so many innocent working girls burned – trapped to die in the Triangle Company fire. In the follow up the red flag is unfurled with a cry for justice. The trumpets and saxophones from the orchestra march on stage – the conscience of the new America is awakened. The Jewish immigrants fight for the better America.


Surkie becomes Sadie – a regular Yankie – American citizen. {will something like this happen to the Hispanic immigrants of today?} The former Izzie Jacobson becomes now – “they call me C.D. Allen” – that is he lived on Allen Street corner of Delancey and he remembers this for its positives.

The social element sings – Fifty-Fifty as the Astors will have to learn to share their wealth. New wealth appears – Louis B. Mayer in Holywood and radio WEVD provides lessons on the air.

The Depression – President Hoover says don’t panic – they tell us it will be well but do not say when. Not just we – it is half the Nation that is asking for an explanation. Brother can you spare a dime? We lost our store but the faith in God we have not lost. We will survive.

Yesterday I had a dream for you and me. I dreamed about life for you and me and children – yes – children! A beautiful dream, and education, as we did not have. As long as you have me and I have you.

Clouds appear in Europe – My Little Town Belz, and the Germans crossed the Polish border. It should not happen to our dogs what happened to me.

The Bnei Brith ask for 20,000 visas for the US and are told that it will be taken into consideration.

Dozens of Jews have disappeared in Bucarest – Rumania, Rumania – a Pastramale, a Carnatzale ….

We have no contact with our families – Save European Jews! Please Help! Warshaw – Kiew – Kishinew …

We liberated Camp Dachau – it is hard to put this in words.


America Hurra!

Due to demand – the show will continue for another two more weeks.


Above is in narrative the sequence of well known songs strung out so they tell a complete story.

Did it mean that we moved from one Golden Land to see the creation of an additional one?


Back to Mr. Mark Russ Federman son of Ida Russ and third generation of American Russ proprietors of the American Herring National treasure.

In his presentation before The Golden Land performance:

Jews love their food – that he learned in his interaction with the clients – Mazaleh, Pastramaleh, Mamaliga – it is all in the songs. The monuments still left in the LES area – the Schimmel Knishery, Katz Delicatessen, and Russ & Daughters – all on East Houston Street.

Joel Russ worked in his store seven days a week – no closed Saturdays or Holidays. They spoke only Yiddish at home but kept no religious laws – it was not a Kosher-abiding place and the sturgeon is not a Kosher fish. Joel Russ left the religion on Ellis Island. By 1940 their business was known as the best place for fish in New York. Mark said about himself that he feels best with a knife in his hand behind the counter. He put on a white gown he used in the store.

He regards his heritage as high pedigree – “Jiches” of his business of fish – Smoked, Pickled or Cured. The customers those days knew to shop and demanded quality. On his part – he learned to sell. He instituted numbers on index cards in order to know whom to serve and found it hard to give a number to an old customer. He described the shopping experience as something between making love and war. He had a story about a Mrs. Manny that had to pick her herrings directly from the barrels in the back-room. Zero – that is the actor Zero Mostel used to come to the store. Once Ronald Lauder came with the chauffeured limousine to get the treats. Now the customers are international – even Chinese and Japanese. The Jiches of Russ is like that of Top Rabbis or Doctors.

Some of the fish are different. The butter-fish is no more – it became too high priced because of the Chinese and Japanese buying it up. The sable fish is also not sold by their store anymore – it belongs to the Japanese. At one time or another 1.5 million Jewish immigrants passed through LES. Now sometimes young descendants make a point of moving into 5-6 floor walk-up apartments there. Many new and expensive buildings with concierge have popped up – clubs and hotels. The linen shops of Grant Street are replaced by Chinese shops and fish shops.

The parents always worked hard and wanted their children to work less hard – that is how Mark studied law and Joshua chemical engineering – but low and behold – they ended up coming back to the fish store. The book will be a story about “Parnusa” – that is about making a living in the Golden Land.

After the show I walked up a couple of blocs on Lexington Avenue to the row of South-Indian Kosher vegetarian restaurants, and ate at Madras Mahal.


Posted on on November 18th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

On Saturday I was looking for THE BROWNSVILLE HERITAGE HOUSE – address given was 581 Stone Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11212. I got this by e-mail  from our friend Jim Eigo, a public relations professional for Jazz. The train ride to the Junius Street subway station of the #3 line took an hour and I found that the bloc I was looking for was renamed to Mother Rosetta Gaston. I stopped first at the Brownsville Community Center were people inside were waiting to get free Thanksgiving turkeys, and asked them for the address I was looking for. No problem, they knew where I was going, and told me it was across the street – on the second floor of the library building.  A very nice library and kids using it.

A room fully decorated with artifacts and lined with vitrinas with more artifacts of black America and Nations of Color. Chairs in rows the center of the room. A kind lady received me at the front desk.

At the left side as you come in, in between the vitrinas at the wall, a walkway, and  the seating area – there is a long table on which, in the middle, there is a poster of Harriet Tubman and hanging down from the table a T-shirt saying: “I Freed A Thousand Slaves. Could Have Freed Thousand More, If Only They Knew They Were Slaves.”

To the left of this, closer to the door – a poster about The Triangular Trade – Slaving, Slave Laws, and Punishment. Then Horrors of the Middle Passage boats – “each slave had less room then a man in a coffin.”  Reference – from Capitalism & Slavery,  and from the “Black Holocaust for Beginners”  by S.F. Anderson – “We must remind ourselves of the obvious: Africans were not born to be slaves. They were sold into it.” At the other end of the table – the word FREEDOM and articles about Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama.

In front a five men band playing the best Jazz music you find anywhere. The audience, all black, looking as having come to a social event – clearly a Middle Class  afternoon.

Most people in the 50-60 age range I thought. At the right end of the stage set-up there hangs a black T-shirt with the face of President Obama and a Large cut out of the First Lady in a green dress. On the table next to her a poster saying Four More Years – VICTORY – in big letters next to a bigger poster frame – “Black Declaration of Independence.” Behind this a person-size cut-out of the President.

Dizzy Gillespie music – great performance with the sax and French Horn in front. Ladies came by and handed us tangerines, apples, grapes, packaged sweets, potato chips. The musicians are introduced and more music.

Behind the pianist there are two posters about Mother Rosetta Gaston (1885-1981) on whose name that bloc of Stone Avenue is named Mother Gaston Boulevard and the official address puts the building at Corner of Dumont Avenue – Upstairs in the Stone Library.

Mother Gaston was a devoted leader of black people and her dream for the Brownsville community, where she lived in her old age, was to create an educational and cultural center for old and young which would spur individual and community achievement by focusing on common heritage. Brownsville Heritage House (BHH) was opened March 31, 1981 – a month after Mother Gaston passed away at 96. The Board of Directors is responsible for the house activities and it is headed now by Miss Patricia Deans who started out as a volunteer 20 years ago. Now she describes herself curator of the collection. The activities are funded by the community. The library/multicultural center with its collection of African-American artifacts provides also music education to children from the community.

Ms Deans expanded the collection of artifacts to include the Caribbean, South and Central America, besides the US and Africa, under the concept that there is a past connection and thus there must be a common vision of the future.

On the right side of the piano there is another set of memorial plaques behind a teddy bear XOXO and memorial candles  – these for Wade Barnes – the founder of the Wade Barnes Jazz Band where he played Piano and drums. This band used to appear at BHH and he also helped young musicians in fact and by inspiration. The event I came to attend was now with The Wade Barnes Tribute Band where Roy Meriweather sits at the piano and Dave Gibson is the newly added drummer that replaces Wade Barnes. The other participants, all original members, are Bill Saxton (Saophone), Vincent Chancey (French Horn) and Robert Cunningham (bass).

Mr. Barnes was a well known drummer, composer, producer, bandleader, arranger, educator and executive, he was the director, principal composer and arranger, of The Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble, a 17 member ensemble. In addition, he led smaller ensembles. Two of his other regular working bands were: Wade Barnes and The Bottom Line (a ten member ensemble); and Wade Barnes and Unit Structures. Barnes was founder of the Brooklyn Four Plus One, Inc., a nonprofit whose stated mission, according to the organization’s website, is “to bring the highest quality of America’s classical music [jazz] to all ages, races, ethnic groups and socioeconomic levels.” BHH and Barnes were a match made in heaven.

Barnes died at 57 on March 3, 2012. Now his Wade Barnes Band has morphed to become the Wade Barnes Tribute Band. Their next performance at the BHH will be on December 15, 2012 trying since July to have one performance per month at this location.

Looking further to my left side – the wall was covered with vitrinas stuffed with artifacts from the Caribbean – straw huts that could have been as well from Africa, the Chicken rules, and figures we think of as part of Voodoo culture.

The place fills up, more chairs are brought in. A mother with a young daughter sits next to me, then sees free space in the first row and they move.
Bill Sexton greets the girl and another woman arrives and sits next to that first pair in front row – it seems like a three generations group.

The French Horn leads in a clear dancing mood aided at times by the piano and the drums. That was a cha cha cha. I get some crunchies.

A piano solo as opener for next piece. My mind wonders. What is the contribution of these musicians to the American GDP?

Is it not true that the most American contribution to the world was the invention of Jazz? What would the South be without the blues? In Louisiana jazz music dates much earlier then oil. Tourism did not come because people wanted to watch cotton picking! What was the part of the masters in either of these two very American industries? Mr. Romney would you argue this point please? After all you had experience with Olympics’ tourism.
When the Gershwins popularized this culture by enlarging on American Musicals they were no Mormons either.

An older woman leaning on a stick is lead in and served bottled water. We were told about food and a blessing was offered. There are CDs one can buy and ruffles as well.

I get up to look closer to the right side of the room. Next to the two Obama cut-outs there is a poster of Nelson Mandela and an old library globe of the earth. Then a whole Mandela table and a King & Mandela photo. Further to the right 9 Hispanic-American Leaders.

A closer look at “The Black Declaration of Independence” reveals it is a full page advertisement of Friday, July 3, 1970, by the National Committee of Black Churches, Inc. 110 E. 125th Street, N.Y., N.Y. 10036

In that corner, in wall-vitrinas, wood carvings, shell work, glassware, copper artifacts, straw works, and cereal grains and plant part artifacts.

Looking closer at the collections in the vitrinas on the wall to the left, I find a jar with cotton and cotton seeds. Also the ten commandments in Hebrew behind a display that holds a cross. A plate with the map of Panama, some artifacts that carry flags of Honduras, Puerto Rico, Barbados.

Then two vitrinas holding American Indian artifacts, another two for Egypt, and one for the Far East – mainly China,

By that time I was ready to join the line for a Thanksgiving Turkey-dinner and to chat with some of the attendees and Bill Saxton who gave me his card for Bill’s place at 148 West 133rd Street (between Lenox and 7th Ave.) – Harlem’s Little Speakeasy that does not serve liquor. He plays there every Friday – Harlem’s King of Jazz – Bill Saxton & the All-Star Quartet. I trust the truth that it is indeed “Best Jazz Buy in Town.”

After the food – another hour of good Jazz, and before I left I was made to take along Sweet Jams and  Macaroni-Cheese leftover.
I bought a 1991 Bill “The Master” Saxton CD recorded live at the Henkelman Jazz Club Vol 1.

To me this was an eye opening American experience. Upon leaving I saw good looking cars waiting for some of the people – so it was indeed more then just a neighborhood thing.


Posted on on November 14th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

RITA is her stage name. The real name is – Rita Yahan-Farouz (English: Jahanforuz).  She was born March 24, 1962 in Tehran and though living in Israel since she was 8 years old, now at 50, over the internet, she is the hottest thing in Iran. She loves both her countries that formed her culturally.

Last night Rita told us that her talent to sing she got from her mother who back home would sit on the floor with her feet stretched out in front of her and put little Rita on a pillow and rock her and sing lullabies, while at the same time using her hands to clean peas or whatever chores she had to do. Mother had a nice voice but could not sing in public because those days women could not sing in public, and to the sound of a general chuckle from the audience Rita joked saying – now it is different in Iran. Mother would sing nevertheless at events of their extended family.

Rita began her career in 1980 as part of a musical troupe during her service in the Israeli Army. Then in 1982, she attended the “Beit Zvi” school of acting. Her first exposure to the general public in Israel was at the 1986 Pre-Eurovision Song Contest which decided who would represent Israel in the upcoming European song contest. Rita did not win, but her song,”Shvil habricha” (the Escape Path), along with her provocative performance, garnered much interest. That same year, Rita starred in an adaptation of My Fair Lady and released her self-titled debut album, Rita, which went triple platinum, selling over 120,000 copies. In 1987, she released the English language album Breaking Those Walls under the name of Rita Farouz. That album contained a couple English versions of her Hebrew songs from the first album as well as original material. Despite going gold (20 000 copies) in Israel, that album was not an international success.

In 1988, Rita released her second album, Yemei Ha’Tom (Days of Innocence), which was produced by her husband, Rami Kleinstein,  and which included a song by noted Israeli playwright Hanoch Levin.  In 1988 and 1989 she was chosen as Singer of the Year by Israel’s national radio station and her name skyrocketed.

Rita did not put out many records. She turned to other activities as well. Such as In 2006, Rita put on a show called One (in English) which ran for a month at the Israel Trade Fair – it was a lavish affair including lasers, flamethrowers, 3-D images, smoke machines and forty dancers, acrobats, and actors. Over 100,000 tickets were sold.

In spite of this she is the best selling Israeli artist of all times – with 37 of her songs having entered the national charts – more then any other Israeli singer. She was named “top female singer in the past 60 years” during a special countdown for Israel’s 60th anniversary in 2008. Besides many Best Song of the Year and Best Israeli Singer of the Year prizes, Rita also got the 1994 MTV award for best video for “Zippor Zara” (which I have difficulty translating as it could mean Foreign Bird or Strange Bird). She is indisputable Queen of Live Performance in Israel and embarks on long tours filling venues to their capacity. So it was last night.

June 22, 2011 Rita released her first single in her childhood Farsi (Persian) language – “Shane” – the success was phenomenal. The song is based on traditional Persian folk music, but modernized with a more pop and techno dance beat. Iranians of all ages have responded “overwhelmingly,” including sending her positive emails and writing on her Facebook page. She started a two years project to create a full album with songs of her childhood in Persia. The result is titled “MY JOYS”- a modernized version of her family songs from her own childhood.

Most Westernized popular music, including hers, is banned in Iran, which filters the Internet. However fans have been downloading or buying bootleg copies of her albums. Iranians living outside Iran have “flooded” her recording studio with messages of admiration, especially after the release of the new 2012 album, “All My Joys,” also in Persian, likewise popular among Israelis which caused it to go “gold” in Israel within three weeks of its release.

Rita writes: “This album is my own private vision – as a girl, born in Iran, who grew up in Israel and is now singing in the language of the country considered to be one of our greatest enemies.”

“In the light of the many touching emails I’ve been receiving from all over the world – especially those from Iran, I truly believe that it’s us – the little people – those who can break down the walls that are built by extreme regimes – with small gestures of love.”

When I was a child growing up in Iran, Israeli singers would come to perform in the country. My family and I never had enough money to go and see these shows, but I’d see them on TV, and my dream today is that one day I can go and perform in the country of my birth.”

” I want to introduce the world to the real and immensely rich Iranian culture. Extreme regimes are so temporary compared to the eternity and endless richness found within the Iranian culture. The Iranian people are family-oriented – pleasant, modest and very courteous. In my personal musical way, I want to introduce the world to the Iranian’s real face, as much as I can – “love” being the only logical solution.”

“RITA – MY JOYS” – the Farsi language recording includes:

SHANE (Comb) – My heart built a nest in your hair and please do not use a comb that hurts my heart.

GOLE SANGAM (My Flower of Stone) – If you do not send rays like the sun, I will freeze and turn into dust, if you do not reach out to me like rain, I will wilt.

SHAH DOOMAD (The Bridegroom the king) – The presents to the bride and her agreement. The bridegroom is a flower and his character good and warm.

DAR IN DONYA (In This World) – Love made me act crazy but I know her sweetness.

GOLE MARYAM (Flower that Exalts) – A feast to the heart.

SHANEHAYAT (Your Shoulders) – Your shoulders that allow me to cry give me the courage to wait.

KABUTARE SEFID (White Dove) – My White Dove for whom did you leave me – even when you are not before my eyes you are in my heart – if you do not know how I feel you probably never loved.

OSTA KARIM (God Have Pity) – I do not allow myself even to breeze without him, I wish I were among those that ask – what is love?

BEEGHARAR (Lack of Peace) – I have no peace until I return to your door – I want you to know that I am dying for you.

MREYTE YA MREYTE (It is not in me) – There is nothing left in me – it is finished. The quiet night the cold moon.

MOBARAK BAAD (Good Luck) – This night of lights and blessings – the bride and bridegrooms fresh from the Hamam. Do not touch the bride’s hair – it has expensive pearls – a wedding of kings.


Rita, the most viewed Israeli Singer/Performer of the last two decades, and the best selling Israeli Artist of all times – now she is taking over also the peoples’ choice in the Muslim world – she is effectively becoming an underground peace emissary in that complicated part of the world – this because she simply sings and talks of real people’s feelings.

But more then that – she is a bridge between the country from which her family had to get out and the country that received them – with the daughter growing up while absorbing both cultures. That is the model of an immigrant enriching the country that absorbed her, while retaining the culture of the country she left. Without any doubt – she is now completely Israeli, but she also helps decrease the demonization of the two cultures in each others eyes. More then that, also in the Arab countries Rita is appreciated because she mastered the beat of the whole region, and helps bring the region in contact with western music innovation as well.

At The Town Hall in the Broadway Theater Section of Manhattan, the place was filled not only by Israelis, but present was a mixed audience that included Arabs and Iranians. Next to me was sitting an Arab-Israeli woman – I know because she was speaking Hebrew – and she was accompanied by seemingly an outside Arab. At the reception I saw an older couple that I do not know their origin – perhaps Turkey or Lebanon. You just do not ask an inappropriate question that could expose people in today’s climate.

So far as Israel is concerned, Rita’s family arrived in 1970 – at the start of the rise in Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini, and before the Iranian Islamic Revolution 1978-79. They were refugees from an Islamic country in a process that started 1948 when Israel declared its Statehood, followed by an unofficial exchange of population that caused about equal numbers of Jews from Islamic countries to leave in response to the conditions that caused Arabs to leave Israeli territory. Iran, a non-Arab Muslim country, was slower in this process – but nevertheless was part of this process as well. The situation is similar to what happened also in 1948 – the break-up of the Indian subcontinent into Pakistan and India.

While all other refugees got absorbed into their new host countries by their ethnically related groups, it was only the Palestinian Arabs that remained homeless because there was no will to absorb them. Israel never understood that this process – the refusal of the Arab States to absorb the refugees that came from Palestine – something that the UN willingly supports now for 64 years – had to be stressed as a balance to its own absorption of the Jewish refugees that found their haven in  Israel. Rita comes now and reminds us of this a-symmetry, and what amazes us is that the country of her origin, though an enemy of Israel, is populated with a new generation ready to recognize true value, and their own, when it comes their way.

To get further views about Rita, we include the Wall Street Journal cross-blog that includes material from Beirut, that tells about Rita – as she is viewed from across the border fence:


Iran and Israel Can Agree on This: Rita Jahanforuz Totally Rocks

Jewish Star Remakes Persian Oldies in Tel Aviv and Her Fans in Tehran Can’t Get Enough.

The Wall Street Journal blog from Beirut- June 3, 2012.


[RITA] Joshua Mitnick / The Wall Street JournalRita performed Persian songs at a packed concert in Ashkelon, Israel, in May.

Music-loving Iranians craving nostalgic Persian songs of a bygone era, or the upbeat dance music that is banned in their Islamic state, have new darling: Rita, the Israeli singing sensation.

Rita Jahanforuz, 50 years old, is Israel’s most famous female singer—and suddenly she’s big in Iran. Iranian-born and fluent in Persian, Rita, as she is universally known, moved to Israel as a child and has lived there ever since. Her latest album, “All My Joys,” revives old-time Persian hits, giving them an upbeat Mediterranean flavor that caters to the Israeli ear.

Israeli’s singing sensation, Rita, has won an underground Iranian fan base after releasing an album in Persian. In an exclusive interview, WSJ’s Joshua Mitnick talks with the star about how she’s become a goodwill ambassador for two countries that are sworn enemies.

The album went gold in Israel in just three weeks, despite being sung entirely in Persian. It also propelled Rita onto the music scene in Iran, where she was all but unknown outside of Iran’s small Jewish population.

Now, from nightclubs in Tel Aviv to secret underground parties in Tehran, Israelis and Iranians alike go wild when the DJ plays her hit “Beegharar,” or “Restless.”

Rita’s fans within Iran, where the government heavily filters the Internet, use tricky software to furtively download her songs online. Bootleg CD sellers in the back alley of Tehran’s old bazaar wrap her albums in unmarked packages and hush any inquiries when asked if they sell her music.

Rita Jahanforuz’s Music

“Shhh…don’t mention Israel. Just say music by ‘Rita Khanum,’ ” which means “Ms. Rita,” said a young man named Reza selling bootleg music CDs and DVDs of Hollywood movies.

The governments of Iran and Israel are each other’s sworn enemies, and within Iran it is considered a taboo to publicly endorse anything that has to do with Israel. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has said Israel should be wiped off the map. Israel has said it would consider pre-emptively bombing Iran to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon.

Rita, however, with her striking beauty and bubbly demeanor, has emerged as an unexpected bond between ordinary Iranians and Israelis—part cultural ambassador, part antiwar spokeswoman. A picture of Rita with the banner, “Iranians we will never bomb your country,” is posted on her Facebook page.

[RITA-Ahed]Rita Jahanforuz

“These days, people only know the language of war and violence and hatred,” said Rita, referring to Israelis’ view of the Persian language, during a recent interview in Tel Aviv. After she started receiving emails from Iranian fans, she realized music can “puncture the wall” of tension.

Rita’s family immigrated to Israel in 1970. She grew up in a suburb near Tel Aviv listening to her mother sing melodies from their homeland as she cooked in the kitchen.

Her singing career kicked off when Rita joined a band in the Israeli army in the 1980s. She rose to stardom quickly, singing solo and mostly in Hebrew or English, packing concert halls and performing for Israeli officials and foreign delegates.

A year ago, she decided to revisit what she tells audiences is the “soundtrack of my childhood” by adapting Persian classics that most Iranians know by heart. Her 2011 single “Shaneh” is based on a traditional song that Iranian grandmothers are known to whisper to their grandchildren as they comb their hair. An homage to a lover, it includes lines such as, “Oh, love, don’t comb your hair because my heart rests in its waves.” Rita reworked the song, staying true to the lyrics but giving it a more modern sound, somewhere between pop and Jewish gypsy music.

Iranian fans responded overwhelmingly, bombarding her with emails and messages online. “Rita, I want one of these concerts in Iran. You have an amazing voice and you are another pride for Iran,” wrote an Iranian fan on one of her videos on YouTube.

In September, when Rita visited Radio Ran, a Persian-language Internet radio station based in a Tel Aviv suburb, the studio was flooded with calls from Iranians around the world.

In an Israeli television interview, speaking of her Iranian fans, she joked that if she ever traveled to Iran, she would like to sing a duet with Mr. Ahmadinejad, “Maybe I can soften him with my feminine charm,” she said.

Iran’s government has taken notice. Fars News Agency, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards Corps, wrote last July that Rita is Israel’s “latest plot in a soft war” to gain access to the hearts and minds of Iranians.

Iranian hard-line websites and blogs expressed particular displeasure at Rita for sending a message to Iranians this past March for the Norouz New Year, via a video posted on the Persian website of Israel’s Foreign Ministry. Norouz messages are considered highly political and usually a tactic used by politicians like President Barack Obama and Iran’s opposition leaders.

“I hope that we all live alongside each other by dancing and singing because this is what will last,” Rita said in her Norouz message.

In May, Rita performed a sold-out concert in the city of Ashkelon, on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, singing mostly Persian songs. Fans crowded the stage and danced the aisles.

After the show, concert goers said they were swept away. “Listen, I’m not Persian,” said Meir Kanto, a 72-year-old farmer. “But the culture is so colorful and so beautiful, from my perspective, let them conquer us. It wouldn’t hurt.”

In Tehran, guests at a recent engagement party jumped to their feet shimmying their hips and shoulders when Rita’s voice echoed from the speakers, mixing the rhythms of an old and uniquely southern Iranian song to techno dance beats. Even middle-age couples joined in.

“She is singing from her heart. So what if she is from Israel?” said Manijeh, a 43-year-old relative of the bride who asked that her surname not be published. “We love her.”


NOWRUZ IS THE PERSIAN NEW YEAR – the Persian day of rebirth in spring. Today, the festival of Nowruz is celebrated in many countries including Israel.

Nowruz with different spelling shows up in official calendars in 11 countries –  Iran,  Azerbaijan, Tajikistan,  Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Autonomous Region of Kurdistan (part of Iraq), Albania, and Georgia.

There are more than 187 million people celeberating Nowruz nationally (total population of the eleven countries). Today, more people celebrate outside than inside Iran – a country of 75 Million people.

Further – while not a national holiday, there are many more countries or regions that celebrate Persian New Year, such as Crimea, India, France, Republic of Tatarstan (part of Russian federation), United States,  United Kingdom, Canada, Netherlands, Israel, Germany,  Lebanon, China, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Pakistan, Sweden…


UN Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Nowruz – 21 March 2012:

For three thousand years of world history and for three hundred million people today, Nowruz unites regions and nationalities, religions and languages to share in the renewal of life on the first day of Spring.

Nowruz is a day for family and friends, for festive meals, for dancing and singing. It is a day to celebrate the value of mutual respect and the aspiration for harmony held by all societies. It is a moment for cleansing and rebirth, an opportunity to renew wishes of peace and goodwill.

Each Nowruz showcases the world’s diversity and offers an opportunity for deepening the ties that bind us all together. This is why Nowruz was recently added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The shared effort behind that step also led the United Nations General Assembly to declare 21 March as the International Day of Nowruz.

At a time of global change and uncertainty, including in many regions where Nowruz is celebrated, the message of peace that lies at the core of this observance is especially important. My thoughts are with those communities observing Nowruz under difficult circumstances. This holiday is a reminder that we share a common fate and must work for a better future for all.

Let us join forces to celebrate the rebirth of life and express our commitment to building a safer, more peaceful and just global community. This is the promise of Nowruz — and our task together throughout the year.

Ban Ki-moon


Posted on on October 29th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Background of the Founding of the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra: The Orchestra is part of the The New York based Shen Yun Performing Arts established in 2006 following the 2001 founded NTD – New Tang Dynasty TV project. These are projects in which the Vhinese -American Communittee reaserts itself.   Shen Yun started as a display of traditional Chinese dance accompanied by Chinese music. Out Of the music groups of the Shen Yun now grew the full fledged Symphony Orchestra.

ABOUT NTD AS TOLD BY NTD: Headquartered in New York City, New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television serves more than 100 million potential viewers globally. NTD’s flagship news lineup strives to provide insightful coverage of China with the highest ethical standards of Western journalism.

NTD broadcasts directly into parts of Mainland China, in Chinese, via satellite, providing truthful information about China and the world – an uncensored alternative to China’s state-run, and state-slanted, media.

NTD’s cultural programs and Global Competition Series also aim to revive traditional culture undermined by communist rule.  Through web, iNTD mobile application, satellite, cable channels and anti-censorship iPPOTV, NTD deliveries diversified content  anywhere around the world.

I was told further  that NTD was established in 2001 following the reality that in China there was a good feeling about the 9/11 attack – this because it was viewed as an effort to show that the US is not omnipotent. It was a group of Chinese-Americans with means, Falun Gong practitioners, that sponsored the establishing of this TV Channel in order to create a focal source to tell the people of China world realities.

Since its founding, NTD has expanded to include English, Spanish, Japanese, French, and a few other language editions. Its content offerings include news and analysis, arts and culture, travel, entertainment news, health and lifestyle, and children’ programming.

The station’s critical reporting on the Communist Party of China has prompted censorship by China and alleged interference with its reporting and business operations by the Chinese Government.

NTD began broadcasting via satellite in North America in February 2002, and expanded its audience into mainland China in April 2004. At present, the station’s satellite coverage reaches Asia and Europe. It used to operate also via Australia but this has been stopped. The name is after the Tang Dynasty (June 18, 618 – October 8, 690 and March 3, 705 – June 1, 907).

EPOCH TIMES is the print and internet media connected to NTD TV. Their website says: Having witnessed events like Tiananmen Square and the persecution of the spiritual group Falun Gong, and at a great risk to themselves and their loved ones, a group of Chinese-Americans started publishing The Epoch Times in the Chinese language in the U.S. Some reporters in China were jailed, and some suffered severe torture.

Integrity and truthfulness in reporting, together with the stories that really matter, are cornerstones to The Epoch Times.

The first newspaper was published in New York in May 2000, with the web launch in August 2000. Local editions published by regional bureaus soon followed, making it the largest of any Chinese-language newspaper outside of Mainland China and Taiwan. Thus the Chinese original paper pre-dates the establishing of the NTD TV, but the English version was started at the same time as NTD TV.

The first English edition launched online in 2003 followed by the first print edition in 2004. The Epoch Times staff has an unwavering commitment to objective reporting and socially responsible business practices, as well as respect for human rights and freedom. From our own website and media experience, we noted Epoch Times as it started out in New York because it had an excellent Environmental page. Later we learned that Epoch Times could not get a UN Media accreditation because of China objection.

Today, The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languagesin 35 countries across five continents. These include print and web editions in Chinese, English, German, French, Spanish, Hebrew, Russian, Japanese, Korean and Indonesian, as well as web versions in Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Vietnamese, Swedish, Turkish, and Portuguese.

The Tang Dynasty, with its capital at Chang’an (present-day Xi’an), which at the time was the most populous city in the world, is generally regarded as a high point in Chinese civilization—equal to, or surpassing that of, the earlier Han Dynasty—a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. Its territory, acquired through the military campaigns of its early rulers, rivalled that of the Han Dynasty. In two censuses of the 7th and 8th centuries, the Tang records estimated the population by number of registered households at about 50 million people.
Under the Tangs China was multi-religious – with Religions – Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion.
China under the Tang Dynasty (teal) circa 700 AD, Tibet was not part of Tang China!

Falun Gong or Falun Dafa (literally means “Dharma Wheel Practice“) is a spiritual discipline first introduced in China in 1992 through public lectures by its founder, Li Hongzhi. It combines the practice of meditation and slow-moving qigong exercises with a moral philosophy. Falun Gong emphasizes morality and the cultivation of virtue in its central tenets of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, and identifies as a qigong practice of the Buddhist school, though its teachings also incorporate elements drawn from Taoist traditions. Through moral rectitude and the practice of meditation, practitioners of Falun Gong aspire to better health and, ultimately, spiritual enlightenment.

Falun Gong emerged at the end of China’s “qigong boom”—a period which saw the proliferation of similar practices of meditation, slow-moving exercises and regulated breathing. It differs from other qigong schools in its absence of fees or formal membership, lack of daily rituals of worship, its greater emphasis on morality, and the theological nature of its teachings. Western academics have described Falun Gong as a qigong discipline, a “spiritual movement” based on the teachings of its founder, a “cultivation system” in the tradition of Chinese antiquity, and sometimes a religion or new religious movement.

Although the practice initially enjoyed considerable support from Chinese officialdom, by the mid- to late-1990s, the Communist Party and public security organs increasingly viewed Falun Gong as a potential threat due to its size, independence from the state, and spiritual teachings. By 1999, some estimates placed the number of Falun Gong adherents in the tens of millions.

On 20 July 1999, after three years of mounting tensions between the Falun Gong group in China and the Chinese government, the Communist Party leadership initiated a nationwide crackdown and multifaceted propaganda campaign intended to eradicate the practice. In October 1999 it declared Falun Gong a “heretical organization” and blocked Internet access to websites that mention Falun Gong. Human rights groups report that Falun Gong practitioners in China are subject to a wide range of human rights abuses; hundreds of thousands are believed to have been imprisoned extrajudicially, and practitioners in detention are subject to forced labor, psychiatric abuse, torture, and other coercive methods of thought reform at the hands of Chinese authorities. In the years since the suppression campaign began, Falun Gong adherents have emerged as a prominent voice in the Chinese dissident community, advocating for greater human rights and an end to Communist Party rule.

Li Hongzhi has lived in the United States since 1996, and Falun Gong has a sizable global constituency; inside China, some sources estimate that millions may continue to practice Falun Gong in spite of suppression. Hundreds of thousands are believed to practice Falun Gong outside China across some 70 countries worldwide.

I was told that in a short way – the concept at the base of these organizations is – GIVE A VOICE TO THE VOICELESS. So, clearly, this is very political.


The above introduction comes to explain that there is a link between the cultural aspects of SHEN YUN and a religious-political movement that the leaders of communist China saw as potential competition for the minds of the people. Many of the persecuted Falun Gong practitioners fled and appreciate the freedom they enjoy in new lands, but immersed in an attempt to hold on to the original, pre-communist  culture of China, they came up with the cultural institutions we mentioned here.

Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts was established in 2006 with the specific mission of reviving 5,000 years of as stated – “divinely inspired” Chinese culture.

SHEN YUN is translated as “the beauty of the divine” and the idea is that this dance and music aspire to achieve an experience so profound, beautiful and joyful that it evokes a sense of the heavens.

After more than 60 years of Communist rule in China, and especially after the Cultural Revolution, Chinese traditional culture has been all but completely demolished. However, the deeper spiritual core of the ancient culture, with its values of benevolence, honor, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity, as well as a reverence for the gods and the heavens, cannot be destroyed.

In order to restore and revive Chinese traditional culture, a group of overseas Chinese artists established Shen Yun in New York in 2006. About 90 artists embarked on Shen Yun’s tour in 2007, in the first year, including a dance troupe, an orchestra, solo singers and musicians, emcees, and production staff. By 2009, Shen Yun had already grown to three performance troupes and orchestras of comparable size. Today, Shen Yun counts many winners of international dance and vocal competitions among its artists, and the orchestras include many musicians from world-renowned symphonies and conservatories.

Shen Yun Performing Arts’ rapid growth has enabled it to reach all corners of the globe. The group will only continue to expand, and in the not-too-distant future, Shen Yun will have many companies touring around the world simultaneously. Shen Yun has become thus a diaspora based Chinese old culture Ambassador to the World – to be in this position until complete freedom will be allowed in China; on the other hand, enjoying the freedoms in their new lands makes Shen Yun also into a tool of their new hosts, like America, as they enrich the stew of these host countries as well.



This is a full size symphonic orchestra that presented regular classic music as well as the chinese music they want to preserve – doing this they will find a way to the normal orchestra circuit and not be dependent only on pure Chinese audiences – then, clearly, Chinese audiences want to hear also this other repertoir.

The concert was opened by the orchestra playing The Star-Spangled Banner that was not followed by the Chinese anthem – clearly a sign that this was an AMERICAN ORCHESTRA or if you wish a Chinese-American started orchestra – not of Chinese government inspiration.

There were three co-conductors – but it was clear that the main conductor was the  Soviet educated Bulgarian-American Milen Nachev. In addition there were Keng-Wei Kuo who hails from Taiwan, and Dr. Antonia Joy Wilson who is an established conductor of her own, but also the wife of Mr. Nachev.

The repertoir included Vivaldi,  Rimsky Korsakov, and Beethoven and 13 Chinese compositions but what I looked for was who conducts what and was very pleased to see that Mr. Kuo did not get all the Chinese music.

So it Mr. Nachev who conducted “What is the Meaning of Life?,” “”Honor Your vow,” “Hope of Returning Home,” “The Purpose of Life,” “The Song in my Heart,” and “Divine Compassion” who was a World Premiere and is by Junyi Tan and Y. Deng.

Dr. Wilson conducted “No Regret.” This left only six compositions for Mr. Kuo.

Five of the pieces that Mr. Nachev conducted are based on old texts and are presented in the program also in English translation.

The remaining two compositions not conducted by Mr. Kuo are defined as Pieces with Modern Themes and are only instrumental music.

Thus “No regret” begins with a cheerful folk melody representing life in a village. Then the police arrives to make an arrest on the basis of beliefs. They catch the fugitive and beat him to death. Then divine fairies come to take him to heaven.

“Divine Compassion” is even more pointed as is about the Falun Dafa as power of good in fight with evil in order to transform the world. The forces of good triumph at the end and a new era and blessing and prosperity begins for humankind.

Another instrumental piece that attracted my attention was by Yuan Gao and was described as Tibetan-Inspired Music. It is called “Khata for the Gods.” Khata is the white scarf that is presented in a gesture of respect. This Khata is offered to Buddha. This is a song of hope for the harvest next year. Was there also a political meaning? Perhaps.

In the vocal parts – the two sopranos and the three tenors were all Chinese and had very good voices.

The only other stand-outs were the two excellent trumpets in the Vivaldi piece and I was surprised to see that they returned to the orchestra and were not outsiders. One of them is Alexander Wilson and I wonder if he is not related to the the pair of conductors. The other is Kaspar Maertig from Germany. Both of them are members of Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra.


Posted on on October 27th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Art That Irked Energy Executives Is Gone, but Wyoming Dispute Whirls On

Chris Drury

The University of Wyoming removed “Carbon Sink,” by Chris Drury, after receiving complaints.

Published by The New York Times October 26, 2012

LARAMIE, Wyo. — The idea behind the sculpture that appeared on the University of Wyoming campus about 16 months ago was simple but provocative: a swirl of dead wood and lumps of coal, intended to show the link between global warming and the pine beetle infestation that has ravaged forests across the Rockies.

But in a place like Wyoming, where the oil, gas and mining industries are the soul of the economy, some view such symbolism as a declaration of war.

And ever since the British artist Chris Drury installed the 36-foot-diameter sculpture, called “Carbon Sink,” the university has been embroiled in a bitter controversy, which eventually led to the quiet removal of the artwork last spring after energy officials and their political allies complained to administrators.

The dispute over the sculpture — part of a series of campus installations commissioned by the university’s art museum — has continued to dog the university after it released e-mails discussing the artwork.

The e-mails, first obtained by Wyoming Public Radio, showed that the university’s president, Tom Buchanan, privately asked that the sculpture be dismantled a year ahead of schedule because of the uproar surrounding it.

In a note on April 13 to the director of the university’s art museum, Dr. Buchanan wrote that it would be best to remove the sculpture, “given the controversy that it has generated.”

His note followed objections raised by local lawmakers and officials in Wyoming’s energy industry, which helps support the university through state taxes and felt betrayed.

What is this? Marion Loomis, the executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association, said to a university official in an e-mail, using a mild profanity for emphasis. “I am all for freedom of expression, but putting a permanent piece blasting the coal industry while taking millions in royalties, A.M.L. fees and severance taxes strikes me as a stab in the back.” A.M.L., short for abandoned mine lands, refers to a reclamation fee.

In another e-mail, to Dr. Buchanan, State Representative Thomas E. Lubnau II threatened to introduce legislation that would ensure that “no fossil-fuel-derived tax dollars find their way in the University of Wyoming funding stream.”

Mr. Lubnau, a Republican from energy-rich Campbell County, said he subsequently told the university that he was not serious about cutting financing, and emphasized that he never called for the sculpture’s removal.

“I don’t think the university planned for the consequences of its actions very well,” he said. “But I have never commented publicly on the artist or the merit of the art. I’ve always maintained that tensions in ideas make us stronger.”

Mr. Lubnau added, “I’m not afraid of any idea.”

Mr. Loomis, of the mining association, said that the group was not trying to tell the university what art to display, but that it had a right to complain about something it deemed offensive.

“We felt like it was a slap,” he said. “So we reacted. We may have overreacted. We’re over it.”

But if the controversy is finished for the energy industry, it is not for the university.

E-mails show that one university official told an alumnus that the sculpture was removed early from its perch on an expanse of grass because of water damage — an irrigation line had broken in the area.

An editorial on Monday in The Casper Star-Tribune criticized the university for misleading the public over the reason the artwork was taken down.

Dr. Buchanan declined to comment on the matter. Chris Boswell, a vice president at the university, said that the explanation given to the alumnus was a mistake, and that no official reason had ever been released.

Mr. Boswell also pointed out that the sculpture remained intact for nearly a year — evidence, he said, that the university had not acquiesced to pressure.

“There are scholarly efforts, research efforts that occur on campus which I’m sure industry is not thrilled about, but occur on a daily basis,” he said. “At the same time, the university is very well dialed into the industries of this state.”

“Any institution is smart to be mindful of controversy,” Mr. Boswell added. “Does that translate into the muddling of opinions? No, I don’t believe so.”

Amid the fallout from the controversy, lawmakers passed a measure that requires artwork for a newly renovated campus recreation center to reflect Wyoming’s history of transportation, agriculture and minerals.

The measure also gives Gov. Matt Mead, along with the university’s Energy Resources Council — composed primarily of energy industry representatives — final say on the art selected.

Mr. Mead, a Republican, said at a recent news conference that he did not feel it was appropriate for him to review the art.

Jeff Lockwood, a professor of natural sciences and humanities who has been outspoken in his frustration over the university’s handling of the sculpture, said outrage had grown among students and faculty members.

“I’m disappointed that the university caved in to that sort of extortion and that sort of implied threat,” Dr. Lockwood said. “And I’m angry that this sort of behavior on the part of private industry, as well as their effectiveness in lobbying our elected officials, would lead to an act of artistic censorship on a university campus.”

A version of this article appeared in print on October 27, 2012, on page A15 of the New York edition with the headline: Art That Irked Energy Executives Is Gone, but Wyoming Dispute Whirls On.


Posted on on October 26th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Czech House – New York University
Sponsored by NYU Russian and Slavic Studies in cooperation with The Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences NY and Feminist Press CUNY


Three women in three centuries
Published by Feminist Press CUNY in 2012

Meet the Czech writer and translator Monika Zgustová
Reading and discussion moderated
by Kate?ina Lišková, PhD
Visiting Scholar at Columbia University (2012/13) and professor of Gender Studies at Masaryk University, Czech Republic.

Learn about three extraordinary women: the Duchess of Alba, known as Goya’s muse, in times of Inquisition,

the Czech writer Božena N?mcová, member of the national Enlightenment movement in Austro-Hungary,

and the Russian writer Nina Berberova who escaped persecution during the Russian Revolution.

“… a unique voice that owes as much to Kundera as to Flaubert, to Hašek as to Tolstoy. Monika Zgustová is a perfect example of a writer without borders, whose literary creations include the cultures and languages that she has accumulated throughout her lifetime.”   —- Juan Goytisolo

“Monika Zgustová’s concerns are close to my own: the fate of the individual in the hands of totalitarianism. She is an outstanding writer, whose fiction invokes the politics and culture of people throughout history.”  — Václav Havel

Fri, November 2 at 6pm
19 University Place, Great room

________________________________Open to the public_______________________________

Based in Barcelona, Zgustová has published seven books, including novels, short stories, a play and a biography. Her novel Silent Woman was nominated for the National Award for the Novel, given by the Spanish Ministry of Culture. Her play just opened in Barcelona.
She has translated more than fifty books of Russian and Czech fiction and poetry into both Spanish and Catalan (incl.Dostoevsky, Babel, Akhmatova and Tsvetaeva). Her translations from the Czech, which include ten works by Bohumil Hrabal and Václav Havel, Jaroslav Hašek and Milan Kundera, have made her a key figure in the introduction of major Czech 20th century fiction into Spain.
 czech-house-group at


Posted on on October 10th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Jazz For Obama 2012 Fundraiser

On Tuesday October 9th, Symphony Space hosted an All-Star Jazz Concert to benefit the Obama-Biden 2012 Presidential Campaign. Jazz For Obama 2012 featured artists like Ron Carter, Roy Haynes, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ravi Coltrane, Geri Allen, and many more legendary musicians taking the stage in support of Obama. The Symphony Space management is careful to say that they do not pick sides in the election – but know what good music is.

Tickets were:
$250 – VIP – will include reserved seating and access to the reception with the musicians, following the concert.
$50 – SENIOR (AGE 55+) AND STUDENT TICKETS – please bring appropriate ID to the box office.

Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Venue: Symphony Space (2537 Broadway, New York, NY 10025)
Doors/Show: 6:45pm/7:30pm

Email  jazzforobama2012 at for more information or visit their website here.


The program was:


Ron Carter/Jimmy Heath/Kenny Barron/Greg Hutchinson:

1)There Will Never Be Another You

2)Autumn In New York

Ron Carter/Jim Hall:

3)All The Things You Are

4)Bag’s Groove (Milt Jackson)

Ron/Kenny B:

5)Like Someone In Love

Ravi Coltrane/Geri/Christian/Ralph:

6)Wise One (Coltrane)


7)Walk Spirit Talk Spirit (Tyner)

8)Search For Peace (Tyner)

Dee Dee Bridgewater (voice)/Christian McBride (bass):

9)It’s Your Thing (Isley Bros)


Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens – two young new performers and composers who are already established in the Jazz circles.

105 (Becca Stevens/Jane Tyson Clement)  “just to be clear” music by Becca which she wrote for poetry by jane tyson clement

Magnus (Gretchen Parlato/Magnus Thompson Marcelin)

Brad Mehldau on the piano and Christian McBride joined halfway by Jeff “Tain” Watts:

3) Think of One (Monk)

Arturo O’Farrill and sons Zack and Adam/Claudia Acuna/Alex Hernandez/Craig Haynes:

4) Moondance (Van Morrison) arranged by Arturo

Henry Grimes/Geri/Tain:

5) Freedom Jazz Dance (Eddie Harris)


6) Epistrophy (Monk)


The event was organized by Aaron Goldberg who also performed on the piano at the opening of the second half. He was assisted by Dee Dee Bridgewater who was the conferencier. She later performed (voice) with Christian McBride.

To my surprise, looking up Andy Goldberg background, I found that besides having been a child prodigy Jazz Pianist, he has also a degree in Jazz music from Harvard and a Master’s degree in Analytic Philosophy having studied with Daniel Clement Dennett at Tufts University.  Dennett is an American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. He is currently the Co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies, the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and a University Professor at Tufts University. Dennett is a firm atheist and secularist, a member of the Secular Coalition for America advisory board,[4] as well as an outspoken supporter of the Brights movement. Dennett is referred to as one of the “Four Horsemen of New Atheism“, along with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens. Having read this I started to understand how Aaron Godberg feels compelled to help make sure that Mitt Romney does not become the new face of America.

Aaron introduced Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker who was the featured speaker – a 7 minutes spirit enhancer.

He is best known for fathering the Borowitz Report, a satirical news column that has been read by millions around the world and for which he won the first-ever National Press Club award for humor. He has published two best-selling books in the past year: “The 50 Funniest American Writers,” which became the first title in the history of the Library of America to make the Times best-seller list; and his memoir, “An Unexpected Twist,” which Amazon named the Best Kindle Single of 2012. His Twitter feed, @BorowitzReport, has more than two hundred and seventy thousand followers and was voted the best Twitter feed of 2011 in a poll by Time. As a comedian, he performs to sold-out theatres across the country and has made countless television and radio appearances, including on National Public Radio, VH1, and Comedy Central. He has been called a “Swiftian satirist” (the Wall Street Journal), “America’s satire king” (the Daily Beast), “the funniest human on Twitter” (the Times), and “one of the funniest people in America” (CBS News’ “Sunday Morning”).

Dee Dee Bridgewater is a star as well. Born in Memphis Tennessee into a family of musician, raised in Michigan, married to a musician, she had a great singing career in New York and overseas. She has three daughters accomplished musicians as well. Bridgewater is the first American to be inducted in Paris to the Haut Conseil de la Francophonie. She has received the Award of Arts and Letters in France. She also won the 1975 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in The Whiz. She is also a rowing Ambassador for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.

No mistake – this was a get-together of great musicians that enjoyed each other’s company and the lively audience, but this was also as stated  a political event. America’s Jazz, led by today’s most prominent intellectual and professional figures, is solidly behind Obama and if nothing else – they made it clear that they want you to go out and vote and take your neighbors along as well.

Jazz musicians are not complacent people – rather a liberal creative humorous bunch – so there was no inhibition when criticism is the outlet for honesty, and I heard here for the first time that the US Presidential elections, already for many years, are about electing a President for Ohio and Florida. Nevertheless they want you to go out and vote so you show that as the New York Upper West Side goes, so should America go! But they do not let you go with this alone – they want you to go and canvas in Ohio – to help the locals sway the vote right there where it counts.

The income from the event was all to the campaign. Looking up the web I found that the financial goal was to raise $50,000 from this event and in effect from 304 contributions, till now, they netted $37,840


Posted on on September 16th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (


Shock Me if You Can


A hundred years after “Rite of Spring” sparked an uproar in Paris, shock has grown mainstream, raising a question: Can art still shock today?

Shocker Cools Into a ‘Rite’ of Passage


“The Rite of Spring,” Igor Stravinsky’s ballet that celebrates human sacrifice, is widely praised today but was a flop when it was first produced, in Paris in 1913.

Balanchine’s Enduring Pact With Stravinsky


New York City Ballet is opening its fall season with two weeks of ballets choreographed to the music of Igor Stravinsky.



U.S. Is Preparing for a Long Siege of Arab Unrest


The White House is girding itself for an extended period of turmoil that will test the security of American diplomatic missions and President Obama’s ability to shape the forces of change in the Arab world.

Op-Ed Columnist

It’s Not About the Video


The unrest in the Islamic world is more about power politics than blasphemy.

A U.S. Envoy Who Plunged Into Arab Life


J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed at a diplomatic mission in Libya, had an affection for Arab culture and street life that made him many friends and contacts.


Google Has No Plans to Rethink Video Status


Google said it would not comply with a White House request to reconsider the anti-Islam video that has set off violent protests, saying it did not violate its terms of service regarding hate speech.



Posted on on September 16th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

spelled glASS.

The Jewish Museum
Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, New York City.

September 14 – November 11, 2012.

A work of art, an environment, a happening, an installation, an interpretation of history, an explanation of things to come, thoughts beyond objects.

The invitation to the September 11, 2012 – the 9/11 – press date to see the exhibit said:

BACKGROUND: The Jewish Museum will present Izhar Patkin: The Messiah’s glAss, a new exhibition by New York-based, Israeli born artist, Izhar Patkin. The exhibition consists of two major works. The first is You Tell Us What To Do Act III, a painting for four walls on pleated illusion (tulle) veils that envelop the entire perimeter of the ornate Offit Gallery like a continuous mural. The other is a 12-foot tall clear glass sculpture titled The Messiah’s glAss, a figurative tour de force produced at the Centre International de Recherche Sur le Verre et les Arts Plastiques (CIRVA), Marseille, over a five year period from 2003 to 2007.

The curator, of the exhibit, Mr. Norman L. Kleeblatt, told me that the background of tulle veiled four walls with the appropriate cut-outs for windows and doors was done specifically for this room at this museum. The Press contacts at the museum Ms. Anne Scher and Mr. Alex Wittenberg where helpful as well, nevertheless, what I saw in this exhibit was a little different from the factual notes. As I came here to get my own impression, I will stick to my interpretation based on my own experience without bothering if my own viewing the installation differs from what the artist said, and then was related to me via several layers of intermediaries – be that orally or in writing.

My description of the viewing experience that regards the supposedly two separate parts of the exhibit as one, and from notes taken right there as first impressions, and thoughts they caused me right there, which I related also to the museum people congratulating them for a very successful show, go as follows:

















Natan Dvir for The New York Times

Izhar Patkin at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan, where his exhibition “The Messiah’s glAss” includes a glass palanquin with a donkey’s head and testicles, and painted tulle veils on the walls.

Patkin was born in Israel in 1955 and came to the US in 1977. He made an impact in the mid-1980s with The Black Paintings – white ink on black rubber curtains – a visual  adaptation of Jean Gene’s play The Black’s: a Clown Show. His work was being marketed by the gallery owner – Holly Solomon, Later he worked with the Kasmiri poet – Agha Shalid Ali. Both these people and four other close friends died in 2001 and this led to 10 years of Mr. Patkin being away from the New York art scene. This show is sort of a come-back for him.

On the nature of the installation – Patkin said to the curator that for him “Cinema and Duchamp changed everything in painting. When I was a student, Super-8 films., performance art, and documentation of performance were the door out of the canvas ghetto. That door was very seductive. Yodat it is video, but I’m still in love with the promise of painting, and its object. For me, the curtain is a canvas. It’s not meant to be a curtain over a window. It’s meant to occupy the space of painting.”

Natan Dvir for The New York Times

A detail of the painted tulle veils on the walls from Izhar Patkin’s exhibition “The Messiah’s glAss.”