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LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture kicks off season with DRUNK

LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture kicks off season with DRUNK


LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture


14th Street Y
New York, NY


Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 7:30pm



LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture

LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture at the 14th Street Y
Announces 2017-2018 Fellows,
Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Fellowship


LABA: Laboratory for Jewish Culture announces the 2017-2018 Fellows: a group of ten culture-makers, a mix of visual artists, writers, musicians, playwrights and directors who are brought together to study classic Jewish texts in a non-religious, open-minded setting centered on a chosen theme; this year's theme is WAR + PEACE.
The 2017-2018 Fellows are Tal Beery, Tal Gur, Amy Handelsman, Jess Honovich, Ishai Shapira Kalter, Zohar Tirosh-Polk, Jacob Siegel, Yael Sloma, Jon Adam Ross, and Brandon Woolf. 
This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the ground-breaking series by LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture, which pushes the boundaries of what Jewish art can be and what Jewish texts can teach.
Liel Leibovitz will replace Ruby Namdar as the lead LABA teacher this year. Leibovitz is a senior writer for Tablet Magazine, and one of the hosts of Unorthodox, the magazine's popular podcast.  He is the author of several books, including, most recently, A Broken Hallelujah: Rock n' Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen. LABA staff includes Ronit Muszkatblit, Artistic Director; Liel Leibovitz, Lead Teacher; Ruby Namdar, Resident Scholar; and Hanan Elstein, Editorial Director.   
"As so many of us feel such a profound sense of unease with the state of our nation and the world, there are few wiser courses of action than to return to the ancient texts and ponder what they have to teach us," said Leibovitz. "The issues facing us today -- of violence and peace, of hate and of lust, of despair and of reconciliation -- are all there in the sacred books, waiting for us to open them up and again ask the timely and timeless questions that forever haunt us."
"In our 10th year, this theme seemed to be the perfect combination of times and themes aligning," said Ronit Muszkatblit, Artistic Director of Arts + Culture, the 14th Street Y. "After ten years of study, we are mature enough in our process to handle a gravitas topic and depth of investigation. Our track record shows that we can push boundaries and our community responds.  It is exciting that the 14th Street Y and Educational Alliance have been supporting this experiment and giving it the time to thrive.  It is inspiring to see what happens when we put artists at the core of a community center."
Highlights for this season's LABAlive events include:

  • Amy Handelsman's memoir, LOVE BY TKO:  Life Lessons from the Ring, is about her obsession with boxing, as both a participant and observer, and her simultaneous return to my Jewish spiritual roots, as ignited by her trainers, the women competing for the New York Golden Gloves, her colleagues from the Mark Taper Forum and a (failed) romance with an unlikely contender.
  • Playwright Zohar Tirosh-Polk will explore perpetual cultural/national and individual trauma at the heart of many conflicts, and specifically PTSD in the struggle to lead to healing and peace.
  • Artist Tal Beery will produce a series of prints and performative responses to a manuscript hand-written in Hebrew, Polish and Yiddish by his grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, before her death.
  • Yael Sloma creates a video installation Cardinal Directions that observes Israeli settlements in Palestinian Territories through the myth of the American Old West. The video combines documentation of the current day-to-day occurrences in settlements in the West Bank with the contemporary incarnations of the Old-West myth.
  • Writer Jess Honovich's piece will investigate the intersections of play, commercialized war and inherent values of good and evil through discussions with three year olds, specifically considering superheroes and how the archetypes of war are internalized through play.
  • Israeli-American composer, multi-instrumentalist and music therapist Tal Gur will work to complete a piece called Mind Crossing, a multi-disciplinary performance fusing music, dance, video, and documentary based on a collection of letters written by his grandfather after World War II.

Each year, The Theater at the 14th Street Y presents the residency program of LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture. The goal is to provide a big picture narrative focused on social awareness and changethat transcends cultures and borders. The Theater supports the creation of new art and culture by providing the space, time, and resources needed to create new work. Inspired by the 14 study sessions of the fellowship, the Fellows will share their new works with the public in the LABAlive Series at the 14
th Street Y.

DRUNK / LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture
November 18, 2017
The 2017-18 LABA Fellows kick off the season with DRUNK.  This evening includes a five course wine tasting led by renowned sommeliers. The evening will be imbued with revelry and new work inspired by ancient Jewish text in a cabaret setting.
LABAlive Series
January 18, 2018; March 22, 2018; May 31, 2018
Every LABAlive event will present three new works in process reflecting on the theme WAR + PEACE.
Each artist's unique contemplation presented on stage weaves into a multidisciplinary evening shared with the public.  LABA encourages artists to test boundaries, take risks, and discover ways in which Classical Jewish text can inspire new, deep and meaningful works, which are then coupled with a theatrical teaching of text to enhance and widen the context of each piece. At each LABAlive, Fellows intrigue and inspire, leaving audiences with a curiosity to see more. Many of the Fellow's works go on to second stage productions, with many premiering at the 14th Street Y the following year. 
For tickets, visit www.14streety.org/tickets or call 646-395-4310.  For details, visit www.labajournal.com.

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