Arts interviews

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. 


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


Julian Velard: Sad, lonely… and loved by housewives

By Paul Lester, June 20, 2008

Julian Velard is the biggest news in music since Duffy. He is courted by top record labels and daytime TV hosts. So why does he look so miserable?

If you were impressed by the vocal gymnastics of Jamie Cullum and Michael Buble, but would rather they sang their own songs; if you enjoy Amy Winehouse’s music but are disturbed by how, well, disturbed she is; if you like Billy Joel or Elton John but wish they were not so uncool... try Julian Velard.


Michael Sophocles: 'Of course I know kosher'

By Craig Silver, June 20, 2008

The failed Apprentice candidate, who embarrassed himself on national TV with his lack of kashrut knowledge, sees his next task as learning to become more Jewish


Being uncle Topol

By John Nathan, June 20, 2008

The iconic Israeli actor is to take on a caddish father-figure role in London. So what happens to that inner Fiddler that has defined his career?

Chaim Topol is singing. To make a point about a lyric, he wants to get to a particular line in a particular song which, when he sings it on stage this summer, will induce sighs of fond recognition in some, and stony disapproval in others. “Thank heaven for little girls…” He is singing sotto voce so as not to attract attention in the Maida Vale café, not far from his West London apartment.