Arts interviews

The Schmooze Brothers: ‘We’re the ideal men. Straight women love us’

By Rachel Fletcher, July 18, 2008

All-women drag act The Schmooze Brothers explain how they seeking to attract a more kosher audience.

It is straight women who stare at them the most, apparently. Avivit Katzil is adamant: “We were in a club the other day, and the people who were looking at us more than anyone were straight women. It’s because we are the men they want to have.”

“We’re much cuter,” Su Rath Knan adds. “We’re the ideal men, and they’re in love. We’re soft but cheeky and sexy. We’re male, but not really. They don’t care what’s underneath.”


Iris Bahr: 'I morph, therefore I am'

By Alex Kasriel, July 11, 2008

Iris Bahr is a comedian who writes in intimate detail about her sex life, and plays 10 characters in her London stage show. Maybe she just wants to be accepted

She may have appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm as the Orthodox Jewish daughter of a doctor, and spent her childhood in a religious New York primary school, but Iris Bahr is no prude.


Chantal Akerman: My family and other dark materials

By Julia Weiner, July 11, 2008

Top avant-garde director Chantal Akerman explores her pressured past in a film being shown in London

Chantal Akerman once described her concerns as follows: “Language, documentary, fiction, Jews and the Second Commandment.” Many critics would add feminism to the list. However, Akerman, whose first solo exhibition in this country opens today at the Camden Arts Centre in North-West London, resists the idea of being categorised. 


Adam Levy: ‘I fight, but people pay me not to sing’

By John Nathan, July 11, 2008

Adam Levy’s role as the villain in a new West End show about the legendary masked avenger Zorro is to carry a sword rather than a tune. Just as well, he tells us

Swashbuckling Zorro is coming to town. The legendary masked hero arrives in the West End this month in the form of a new musical featuring — so the publicity goes — “an incredible new score” from the band who turned their Latin music into a string of chart hits, the Gypsy Kings.


Joan Rivers: 'Of course I can swear'

By Alex Kasriel, July 4, 2008

Joan Rivers is back in the UK with a new show. She tells us about comedy, suicide... and getting thrown off British TV

Joan Rivers is talking about chocolate-covered matzah houses. “I was on Martha Stewart’s programme for Passover and we made a gingerbread matzah house,” she says in her distinctively husky New York accent. “It was so fabulous I got more calls on that programme than I ever got in my life. It had chocolate and nuts and dried fruit. I always use it as a centrepiece [for my Seder]. Your readers should go on her website and get the recipe.”


Akiva Goldsman: The script superhero

By Stephen Applebaum, July 4, 2008

Akiva Goldsman was raised among autistic children and spent ten years trying and failing to make it as a writer. Now, he has a screenplay Oscar under his belt


Rona Kenan: Tel Aviv’s lyrical dissenter

By David Lasserson, July 4, 2008

Big in Tel Aviv but not the rest of Israel, Rona Kenan, here on Sunday, sings dark tales of desire and displacement.

One of Tel Aviv’s finest chanteuses, Rona Kenan, is coming to London for one performance only. She will be singing on a boat on the Thames, in a re-enactment of a sea voyage from Britain to Haifa circa 1946, with Jewish partisans hiding in steerage ready to take on the forces of the British Mandate on their arrival in the Holy Land. 


Oreet Ashery: 'The fishy case of Whitstable’s cross-dressing false messiah'

By Julia Weiner, June 27, 2008

Oreet Ashery’s performance art involves her playing a strictly Orthodox man and a fish-touting charlatan of yore.

For the past two weeks, Oreet Ashery has been living in a derelict fisherman’s hut without running water and electricity. Such is the price of success.The Jerusalem-born performance artist won the Whitstable Biennale 2008 open submission prize, giving her the chance to create a new work for this popular contemporary visual-arts festival in the old Kent harbour town. 


Miri Ben-Ari: The hip hop violinist set to salute Israel

By Paul Lester, June 27, 2008

Miri Ben-Ari plays classical and contemporary, parties with Kanye West and supports Holocaust education. We talk to her ahead of her London gig


Steve Toltz: A joker who bites back at hacks

By Francesca Segal, June 20, 2008

We meet Steve Toltz, an Australian novelist set to make a huge impact