Arts features

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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Interview: Sid Caesar

By Barbra Paskin, October 7, 2010

It is early afternoon in a hot and steamy Beverly Hills. Sid Caesar's sprawling hilltop house perches on top of a lush canyon that overlooks the bustle of the city. Up here the air is clear and tranquil, punctuated with the sweet-smelling fragrance of jasmine and gardenia. It has been the Caesars' home for more than 40 years.

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Rahm Emanuel launches Chicago bid

By Jennifer Lipman, October 4, 2010

Rahm Emanuel has launched his campaign to become mayor of Chicago.

The Jewish politician announced on Friday that he was stepping down from his position as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff.

Mr Emanuel, a former Illinois congressman, also served as a political aide to President Bill Clinton.

In a video statement, Mr Emanuel spoke of his father, who fought for the Irgun in the run-up to Israel’s independence.

He said: “My father came to Chicago as an immigrant from Israel. I was born here – and my wife Amy and I raised our three children here.”

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Interview: Adam Feinstein

By John Nathan, September 21, 2010

It was on an aeroplane that Adam Feinstein first heard that his son Johnny, the youngest of his three children, was autistic. In the way that it is often easier to open up to someone you have never met and will probably never see again, Feinstein found himself telling the man next to him about something that was giving him great cause for concern.

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