Agenda is Tablet Magazine’s weekly listing of upcoming cultural events.
New York: The eighth annual Festival of New Literature From Europe spans five days beginning Tuesday, features a new film component, and explores the theme “Crime Scene: Europe” at venues across town. Polish writer Zygmunt Miloszewski and other novelists in the thriller genre read (Nov. 15, 7 p.m., free). Fresh off its run at New York’s documentary film festival, Peter Rosen’s 2010 film about enigmatic violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz, God’s Fiddler, opens today at Quad Cinema. See it if you want to learn more about the musician the Muppets twice referenced (through Nov. 18, $11). Postwar bass-baritone powerhouse George London also gets his documentary due: George London: Between Gods and Demons, the 2011 Arthaus Musik film, screens Sunday at the Morgan Library as part of a larger recital series honoring the singer (Nov. 13, 3 p.m., $20).
In a feat of great musical timing, Juilliard Opera hosts the U.S. premiere of Kommilitonen!–Peter Maxwell Davies’ student-centric exploration of activism from the University of Munich to the University of Mississippi. To sustain the attention of today’s students, he uses puppets (Nov. 16, 8 p.m., Nov. 18, 8 p.m., Nov. 20, 2 p.m., $30). The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theater brings Golem to the East Village on Thursday, with Vit Horejs’ take on the old ghoulish savior tale set to music by Frank London and performed by life-sized marionettes (through Dec. 4, showtimes, $25). Czech beer and a chance to meet the cast are part of a benefit performance Friday (Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m., from $50).
Odd couple Michael Moore and Wallace Shawn meet again Tuesday, improbably, to discuss Moore’s new book Here Comes Trouble and hopefully also Shawn’s mid-1990s stint as a curmudgeonly high-school teacher in Clueless (Nov. 15, 8 p.m., $29). Michael Showalter leads his three-person debate team Monday in a face-off of epically cute proportions—the question of dogs versus cats—to inaugurate Symphony Space’s kind of brilliant new series (Nov. 14, 8 p.m., $12). Sarah Silverman and Kathy Griffin, both routinely offensive in funny ways, also go up against each other Saturday night when they perform at two different venues as part of the New York Comedy Festival: Griffin at Carnegie Hall (Nov. 12, 8 p.m., from $44), Silverman at Brooklyn Academy of Music (Nov. 12, 8 p.m., from $36). Curb Your Enthusiasm’s resident potty mouth, Susie Essman, brings her no-nonsense shtick to Caroline’s on Broadway, where she will inevitably curse you out (Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m., $38.25). Happy 125th birthday to the Museum at Eldridge Street—you sure don’t look your age. If you did, Susie would have probably already told you.
Elsewhere, U.S.: Josh Groban alert: 22-year-old jazz phenom and NYU grad Joe Alterman, who has Groban’s schlubby looks, returns home to Atlanta this week, where he’ll take the stage at the indispensable High Museum of Art for a Friday night jazz session. Don’t miss the chance to pinch his cheeks and tell him you remember when he was a little piano-playing boychik (Nov. 18, 5 p.m., $18). The museum also hosts Def Jam co-founders Bill Adler and Cey Adams Wednesday for a discussion about their iconic record label, which they both founded (in 1984) and wrote the book on (Nov. 16, 7 p.m., free). Shulie, Elisabeth Subrin’s 1997 shot-by-shot remake of the 1967 documentary of nice-Jewish-girl-turned-radical-feminist Shulamith Firestone, screens daily (and hourly) at Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center as part of this month’s film exhibition on feminist cinema (through Nov. 30, $8). You go, girl. On Thursday, San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum opens the totally rad exhibit “California Dreaming,” which traces the evolution of Jewish life in the Bay Area since the Gold Rush and brings some attention to our pioneering, laid-back West Coast brethren (through Oct. 16, 2012, $12).
Abroad: The Oslo International Film Festival kicks off Wednesday with a screening of the psycho-thriller A Dangerous Method, about the high-stakes, tumultuous friendship between Sigmund Freud and his apostle, Carl Jung, and the disturbed woman who came between them (Nov. 16, 9 p.m., $18). Israeli choreographer Hagit Yakira presents her newest work, “Sunday Morning”—an examination of family and identity through dance—this Thursday in London (Nov. 17, 8 p.m., $18). If you want to kick it way, way old school, head to the 12th annual Jerusalem International Oud Festival for some eclectic, traditional musical stylings from various cultures. Please don’t call it a lute (through Nov. 19, prices vary).