Isle of Klezbos

Yiddish Projects: Yinglish Mikado photo from Tamiment Institute Library

Harvard-educated scholar Eve Sicular's curatorial experiences at YIVO Institute Film & Photo Archives and MoMA's landmark Yiddish movie retrospective helped shape her Yiddish Celluloid Closet lecture/publications (inspired by Vito Russo z"l) as well as recent research on Yiddish /noir director Edgar Ulmer's Canon of Cinema Contagion. As bandleader, producer and show creator, she has also led both Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos from her drumkit for decades, releasing seven albums, Music in Yiddish Cinema performances, and the Off-Off Broadway hit J.Edgar Klezmer: Songs from My Grandmother's FBI Files.

EDGAR ULMER's CANON of CINEMA CONTAGION

Ulmer's Yiddish Films

NEW MUSIC BOX


THE YINGLISH MIKADO: TAMIMENT TO HOLLYWOOD

YINGLISH MIKADO Camp Taminent 1939The Summer of 1939 brought an unprecedented Saturday night entertainment to Camp Tamiment, the cosmopolitan Jewish socialist singles resort in bucolic Pennsylvania. Famous for its high quality original live shows and parodies, Tamiment featured a talent pool of rising stars that year including both Danny Kaye [ne David Daniel Kaminski] and Jerome [Rabinowitz] Robbins, both of whom crafted their showbiz names during their stints in the mountains where they polished material that also largely left their ethnic roots behind. Their seemingly unlikely hit emerged in response to recent feuding African-American-cast productions of The Swing Mikado and The Hot Mikado on Broadway, as well as The Red Mikado staged across their shared Poconos lake by earnest International Ladies Garment Workers theatricals. Nu? The culturally assimilated Tamiment satirists took Gilbert & Sullivan into a highly topical realm of fluent, politically charged and hilarious mameloshn. Just a few years later, this legendary “too Jewish” take-off was reprised in semi-private performance with all-new Yiddish in-jokes for a wartime after-hours audience sprinkled with screenwriters and movie moguls.

The Yinglish Mikado, from the Poconos to MGM was presented by Eve Sicular at the Yiddish New York Festival (Dec 2021). Her updated program was hosted online for the Ner Shalom Yiddish Tish, from New York to California (Feb 2/2/2022).

Der Richtiga Mikado — Eve Sicular presents ongoing research in a zoom program also featuring cameos by luminary Yiddish Tish participants, from Congregation Ner Shalom - Sonoma.

An upcoming publication is in the works for In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies

BRUSSELS TRANSIT aka DAKH BRISEL / דאַך בריסעל

Brussels-Transit, 1980 by Samy-Szlingerbaum In December 2021 for Yiddish New York Film Festival, Eve Sicular curated the screening and moderated the panel discussion of Brussels Transit aka Bruxelles-transit; aka Dakh Brisel / דאַך בריסעל This 1980 Belgian Yiddish film was the only full-length feature by director Samy Szlingerbaum (who died of AIDS in 1986), and is the story of his Polish Jewish parents coming to Brussels in 1947. The word "transit" in the title refers to this trip which brought them to a new land yet seemingly never to a new home. Szlingerbaum was close personally and artistically to avant garde feminist filmmaker Chantal Akerman, whose Paradise Films co-produced this work.

The movie had been a passion of Eve's since she viewed it while working on the landmark 1991-92 MoMA Yiddish cinema retrospective, Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds. Following Akerman's death in 2015, Eve championed Brussels Transit for inclusion at the New York Jewish Film Festival, where J. Hoberman declared at the 2019 screening that henceforth this 'orphan' film should be considered part of the Akerman cinema canon. For Yiddish New York 2021, Eve organized an online talk-back panel featuring Boris Lehman (the film's lead actor) as well as cineastes Amy Taubin and Lynne Tillman.

A planned publication on the use of Yiddish language in Szlingerbaum's work is forthcoming by Eve for In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies.

FILMS

THE JEWISH SOUL: Ten Classics of Yiddish Cinema Blue-ray Set Cover THE JEWISH SOUL: Ten Classics of Yiddish Cinema is available in a 5 blu-ray set. It includes Dybbuk, Overture To Glory and American Matchmaker with audio commentary by Eve Sicular. Read this LA Times article for a an extended review of this box set of restored Yiddish films.

MUSIC

In addition to her work as a film historian, Ms Sicular is drummer/leader of both the all-female Isle of Klezbos sextet and Metropolitan Klezmer, and has produced their award-winning CDs.

The bands have appeared on television from HBO Max's And Just Like That… (Seeing the Light); HBO's Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags; Showtime's The L Word; CBS Sunday Morning; CNN Worldbeat; PBS In The Life, and the German network ARD’s Rhythms of New York, as well as on radio stations worldwide and at concert halls, nightclubs, college campuses and music festivals since 1994.

PHOTO CREDITS top to bottom: still from Yinglish Mikado, Danny Kaye and Jerome Robbins, 1940 photo Lewis Goren published by Tamiment Institute Library, NYU, Tamiment Playhouse Archives;