Arts features

Mike Leigh's wrong about Israel boycott

By Stephen Applebaum, November 25, 2010

The acclaimed New York artist Julian Schnabel never intended to make movies. But when concerns over the way a biopic about his late painter friend, Jean-Michel Basquiat, was going compelled him to take over and direct it himself, he became an accidental filmmaker. "I did it as a rescue mission," he says, "and had no intention of making another film. But it was just something that came very naturally to me."

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Interview: Nikolaj Znaider

By Jessica Duchen, November 23, 2010

Some musicians are content to tour the globe repeatedly performing the same handful of concertos. And then there is Nikolaj Znaider.

The 35-year-old, Danish-born violinist has everything a top international soloist could desire - phenomenal technique, fine-honed musicality, good looks, charisma and a Guarneri del Gesù violin that once belonged to the great Fritz Kreisler..

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Interview: Jenny Lewis

By Elisa Bray, November 18, 2010

Jenny Lewis has had a few incarnations. Starting off as a child actress, she appeared in dozens of teen movies. She moved onto music and earned the title "princess" of indie-rock as frontwoman of the critically acclaimed band Rilo Kiley, before becoming a solo musician. Now, she has teamed up with her boyfriend, the singer-songwriter Johnathan Rice, to release a record under the does-what-it-says-on-tin name of Jenny and Johnny. Not that she had planned any of it.

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Take That's image man has China in his sights

By Julia Weiner, November 15, 2010

David Cameron spent last week in China trying to stake Britain's claim to a piece of the Chinese ecomonic boom. One man who knows all about China's rapid industrial growth is the acclaimed Israel-born, UK-based photographer, Nadav Kander.

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Interview: Mike Leigh

By Stephen Applebaum, November 4, 2010

So much dust was kicked up by Mike Leigh's recent decision to cancel a cultural visit to Jerusalem and the West Bank that it almost obscured the fact that the outspoken veteran of stage and cinema has a new film out this week - and arguably one of his best, at that.

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The directors putting UK Jews on the big screen

By Jennifer Lipman, November 4, 2010

It was earlier this year, on his own wedding day, that film director Sam Leifer came up with an idea for his next project. In keeping with tradition, straight after the ceremony he and his new wife went to the yichud room for their first secluded moment together as man and wife.

“After 10 years together, it seemed slightly unnatural to be in that situation,” says Leifer. “It was almost a question of, what do we talk about?”

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Interview: Evgeny Kissin

By Stephen Pollard, November 1, 2010

For Evgeny Kissin, the piano is no longer the only means of communication. Renowned worldwide since performing both Chopin concertos as a 12 year old, Kissin has always avoided politics and controversy. Unlike musicians such as Daniel Barenboim, Kissin has stuck to his artistry.

But he has decided that "as a Jew" he must now change that. "After all this time of anti-Israel hysteria, I felt that I had to raise my voice." He dipped his toe in the water earlier this year with an open letter to the BBC about its coverage.

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Interview: Martin Sherman

By John Nathan, October 14, 2010

'I have an attraction to monsters," declares Martin Sherman. The 71-year-old playwright says this partly by way of playful confession.

Can he reveal which monsters?

"I can't," he responds with a wry smile, as if naming names would disclose too much about himself.

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A Jew and a Muslim walk into a bar...

By Jessica Elgot, October 14, 2010

Josh Howie jokes about circumcision, the Holocaust and Jewish attitudes to money. Shazia Mirza makes fun of suicide bombers, imams and Islamophobia.

For both comedians, the prime aim is to make audiences laugh. But they are aware that by being funny about such sensitive subjects, they can demonstrate humour's capacity to break down religious and racial barriers .

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He was our Bernie, and he liked it hot

By Michael Freedland, October 7, 2010

Tony Curtis was more than an idol, if Jews were allowed to have such things. He was that from his hair to his shiny pointed shoes. And then some.

Jews loved him because in an age when it was fashionable for actors to cover up their Jewish heritage along with their original names, Curtis did none of that. He helped Jewish causes, he gave money to communities wracked with problems when the red flags came down in Eastern Europe - particularly those in Hungary where his parents were born - but above all, everyone knew he was really Bernie Schwartz from the Bronx.

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