Our ciudad, our shtetl

Do you like Latina/o culture? Do you like Yiddish culture? Do you like Los Angeles events that fuse Latina/o and Yiddish culture? Well, then why the hell aren’t you going to the iViva Yiddish! Project in Downtown L.A. on September 20th? Oh my gosh, you can’t even answer that question.

The ¡Viva Yiddish! Project


Experience the world premiere concert of The ¡Viva Yiddish! Project, a debut band celebrating the rich interplay of contemporary Yiddish and Latin American music. Don’t miss this tradition-fusing, dynamic and ecstatic concert after sundown. Pack your dancing shoes, brush up on your Spanish and Yiddish, and groove the night away.


The ¡Viva Yiddish! Project is the new sound of Yiddish-Latino music, a celebration of our ciudad, our shtetl. Los Angeles is a cultural capital of Latin America. But is L.A. also a capital of Yiddish culture? Certainly there was a time when you could read the paper, discuss politics, and buy a knish – all in Yiddish. In neighborhoods like Boyle Heights, Jewish and Latino worlds met and cultures converged: imagine standing between Jewish and Latino nightclubs, hearing the souls of Yiddish and Latino music mix together.


The ¡Viva Yiddish! Project will present ear-blowing fusions of klezmer, pachuco, 1950s mambo, banda and more, played by a world-class collective of up to two dozen musicians. The all-star creative team includes Frank London (Klezmatics, Hasidic New Wave, Klezmer Brass Allstars), Josh Kun (LA-based writer, critic, professor at USC), Michael Alpert (Brave Old World, Yiddish music scholar), and famous surprise musicians. Special guest appearance by Mike Burstyn.

Did you hear that? EAR-BLOWING.

And while you’re in the Southland, why not come have a beer with me* at the Heeb Jewish Storytelling Night on the 23rd? Yeah, the magazine’s stupid, but I got to hear the story of Aimee Bender’s ill-fated wedding at the last Storytelling Night I attended. She and her fiance wanted to have a kite-making table at the reception, and couldn’t figure out why the restaurant owner looked so perturbed. Finally they figured out the problem: “I just don’t understand,” he said, “why you’d want to have a kike-making table.” The audience laughed. But anti-Semitism reared its head in her fiance’s family, and the wedding was eventually called off. Even now, she explained, she can’t shake the image of a kike floating over their relationship.

Of course, I didn’t recognize any of the names on the current lineup before a Google search, so it may suck. And also I have work the next day. But I’ll probably try to make it.

*Note: this is not an invitation to stalk, proposition, harass, flirt with, leer at, or grope me. If I were a man I wouldn’t have to explain this.


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