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The Friend Center Announces 2008/09 Programming

The FriendCenter at the The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (JCCSF) today announced details of its comprehensive Performing Arts programming for 2008/09.The eclectic array of performances in intimate Kanbar Hall will include solo performances by luminaries such as Bebe Neuwirth, Phoebe Snow and Arlo Guthrie, and five fascinating thematic series: Abracadabra: an exploration of the conjuring arts and Jewish tradition; a salute to American icon Leonard Bernstein; an Italian Jewish film series; Let the Games Begin, a series of sports related programming; and Evolve, part of a city-wide celebration of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday.


Abracadabra

This explosive new series is designed to expose the origins of Jewish Magic, mysticism and the paranormal, and includes several lectures and presentations.

The first in the series is the Bay Area exclusive of An Evening with Ricky Jay on Saturday, November 1 at 8 p.m.The world renowned sleight-of-hand master and magician, and source on the subject for the Encyclopedia Britannica is also known for his stage and screen work with David Mamet and his acting roles in hits like HBO's Deadwood.Recommended for mature audiences only.

Abracadabra: Jews and Magic, presented by magician and historian, Manny Sperling pays homage to legendary Jewish magicians from Houdini to Copperfield.Not recommended for children, the event is presented on Sunday, December 7 at 2 p.m.

Master Magician Jay Alexander appears in Kanbar Hall with a family program on Sun., Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. (See family section)

 

Celebrating Leonard Bernstein

The JCCSF salutes the American icon and musical genius whose Jewish voice reverberated throughout every piece he wrote, conducted or taught.

Events in this series include Reaching for the Note, the acclaimed PBS documentary documenting Bernstein's musical and personal life be screened on Thursday, November 20th at 7 p.m.Admission is free, but reservations are required.On Thursday, December 4 at 8 p.m. pianist Jeffrey Siegel offers The Anniversaire Pieces, Bernstein's musical tributes written for friends, family and fellow composers, as well as Meditation on a Wedding, and El Salon Mexico.Cantor Roslyn Barak presents Lenny's Voice: Bernstein's Humor and Jewish Spirit on Sunday, December 14 at 7 p.m.

Also in the series is the JCCSF's benefit event: 100% Michael Feinstein – Bernstein & Friends on Sunday, November 23 with cocktails at 5 p.m., and performance at 7 p.m. when Michael Feinstein reprises his memorable Carnegie Hall tribute to his friend and mentor.

 

The Italian Jews During Fascism

In collaboration with the Museo Italo Americano's exhibition "Il Ghetto: Forging Italian Jewish Identity," and curated and co-presented by the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, The Italian Jews during Fascism series includes three films:

The Truce (La Tregua) based on Italian writer Primo Levi's The Reawakening, directed by award-winner Francesco Rosi, and starring John Turturro. The Truce will be screened on Wednesday, October 15 at 7 p.m.

The definitive documentary Memoria by Ruggero Gabbai will be screened on Wednesday, November 5 at 7 p.m. These compelling interviews of 90 Italian Jewish survivors of Auschwitz examine the rise of fascism in Italy and the Italian experience in the camps.

Unfair Competition (Concrrenza Sleale), a bittersweet comedy by Oscar-nominated director Ettore Scola, will be presented on Wednesday, December 17 at 7 p.m.Set in Rome, home to an ancient Jewish Community, the film deals with the friendship of neighbors.

 

Evolve

Evolve is a San Francisco citywide celebration in which more than 20 local institutions are hosting performances, lectures and activities in celebration of the sesquicentennial of the publishing of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species.

The JCCSFFriendCenter and L.A. Theatre Works present The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial by Peter Goodchild on Thursday, January 22 at 8 p.m.Based on original transcripts from the 1925 "Monkey Trial, this staged radio play's subject remains relevant and controversial today.

On Thursday, March 26 ay 8 p.m., noted anthropologist at the American Museum of Natural History, Richard Milner offers his one-man musical Charles Darwin: Live and in Concert, a witty blend of song, history and science.

 

Let The Games Begin

The JCCSF is proud to be hosting the 2009 JCC Maccabi Games in August next year, and in conjunction with the games, is offering a series of sports-related programming: The Bay Area Premiere of the documentary, The First Basket, David Vyorst's fascinating look at the impact of basketball on modern Jewish history (Monday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.) and Orthodox Stance, about prizefighter Dmitriy Salita, also a fervently Orthodox Jew living in Brooklyn. (Monday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.)

 

Great American Songbook

Kicking off the season at Kanbar Hall on Sunday, October 5 at 7 p.m. is the Emmy and Tony Award winning singing actress Bebe Neuwirth (Sweet Charity, 1986 and Chicago, 1996). Television audiences know her best as Frasier's long-suffering wife, Lileth.She was last seen in San Francisco three years ago in Here Lies Jenny and returns in concert with An Evening of Kurt Weill and Kander & Ebb.

On Saturday, October 25 at 8 p.m., singer/songwriter Phoebe Snow makes a long-awaited return to the concert stage.A vocal phenomenon who has been entertaining audiences since the 1970s, Snow has performed with the Who's Who of prolific artists including Lou Rawls, Jackson Brown, Paul Simon, Dave Mason, Thelma Houston, and a host of others.

The Great Broadway Sing-Along, produced by Ellie Mednick, makes its annual holiday appearance in Kanbar Hall on Thursday, December 11 at 8 p.m. This popular evening of song by such luminaries as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin and others, will also include "Bernstein on Broadway," A special tribute to Leonard Bernstein's unforgettable Broadway scores.

 

Jewish and World Music

Affectionately known as the "Jewish Pavarotti" Greek-born tenor Alberto Mizrahi has appeared worldwide in recitals, symphony concerts and operas.He appears at the JCCSF in concert on Sunday, November 16 at 7 p.m. with his unique repertoire that spans nine languages and confirms his status as one of the world's leading interpreters of Jewish music.

The Ninth Annual San Francisco World Music Festival will be presented on Friday, November 21 with a discussion at 7 p.m., followed by a performance at 8 p.m.Featuring the sonic riches of the world's reed instruments in the premiere of "The Reeds Give Way to the Wind," the evening focuses on performers from places as diverse as Azerbaijan, China, Italy and Turkey.

The Klezmer Conservatory Band, led by the legendary Hankus Netsky, offers its distinctive foot-stomping mix of Yiddish music on Saturday, December 6 at 8 p.m.Since its formation in 1980 the KCB has performed from coast to coast. In 1990, the Klezmer Conservatory Band made its debut abroad, with concerts in Germany and a remarkable performance at the first-ever International Yiddish Festival in Krakow, Poland. The band has toured Europe regularly, and has also appeared at Australia's Adelaide Festival, New Zealand's International Festival of the Arts, and Womad.

The Sisters of Sheynville, Canada's premier all-female swing-klezmer sextet makes its West Coast debut on Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 p.m. Inspired by the Barry Sisters of the 1930s and 1940s, this vintage band takes Yiddish swing to new heights with airtight three- and four-part harmonies.The group is presented in association with the 24th Annual Jewish Music Festival.

 

ROOTS

An Acoustic Evening with John Sebastian and David Grisman A rare, intimate performance by two legendary performers on Saturday, November 15 at 8 p.m. will feature traditional folk tunes, blues, instrumentals and classic favorites. John Sebastian and David Grisman's musical history dates back to the 1960s when their Even Dozen Jug was part of the Greenwich Village folk revival.Sebastian went on to perform with The Lovin' Spoonful, while Grisman spearheaded an acoustic music revolution with "Dawg music."

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