Agenda is Tablet Magazine’s weekly listing of upcoming cultural events.
New York: Starting off the year of the dragon is the New York Jewish Film Festival, which starts Wednesday, screening a wide range of international films throughout the month. Opening day features the world premiere of 400 Miles to Freedom, the untold story of the 1984 exodus of co-director Avishai Mekonen and his secluded Jewish community from the mountains of Northern Ethiopia (Jan. 11, 3:45 p.m., $13). Get pumped up for the festival on Sunday at the Lincoln Center Film Society’s not-to-miss event “An Evening With Albert Brooks.” Yes, Drive will be screened; no, Ryan Gosling won’t be there (Jan. 7, 7 p.m., standby). Four hours by road north of that festival, Museum of Fine Arts Boston is showing klezmer documentary The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground, co-presented by the Boston Jewish Film Festival, which seems to run year round (Jan. 11-13, check listings, $11).
Susan Sontag gets the experimental-theater treatment in Sontag: Reborn, a one-performer show based heavily on the content of Sontag’s journals, part of the highly touted Under the Radar festival (through Jan. 15, showtimes, $20). Warm up your jazz hands for the endless stream of dance performances this week, many by Israeli choreographers. Saturday, 92Y features the work of New York-based Israeli choreographers Michal Samama, Lior Shneior, and Netta Yerushalmy as part of the “Out of Israel” series (Jan. 7, 3 p.m., free). Also this weekend, Dance Gotham takes over NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, with Gallim Dance performing Wonderland, Andrea Miller’s androgynous show-within-a-show, Saturday (Jan. 7, 8 p.m., $10). Wrapping up a theatrical weekend, Yemen Blues takes the stage at Webster Hall Sunday as part of GlobalFest 2012, where lead singer Ravid Kalahani will no doubt rock out (or, more likely, chant) in Yemenite Arabic, Hebrew, and even Haitian Creole (Jan. 8, 6 p.m., $16).
Joseph Roth is the topic of conversation at the Leo Baeck Institute Tuesday, as Fran Leibovitz, Willing Davidson, and Anthony Heilbut discuss the newly published book Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters (Jan. 10, 6:30 p.m., $15). Donna Karan joins Fern Mallis at 92Y for a coffee klatch Thursday, where the two fashion industry powerhouses will talk shop–and, of course, shopping (Jan. 12, 8 p.m., $29 and up). On Sunday, the Museum of Jewish Heritage discusses “Jews in Emma Lazarus’ New York,” in conjunction with their New York Times-approved exhibit on the monumental poet (Jan. 8, 2:30 p.m., $10). Uptown at the Jewish Museum, the unexpectedly scandalous exhibit Composed: Identity, Politics, Sex is on view, featuring Israeli artist Adi Nes’ print of a hunky Israeli soldier flexing. Topless. On a beach (through June 30).
Elsewhere: Shalom Auslander heads to Boston, hitting the Brookline Booksmith Thursday for a reading of his debut novel, Hope: A Tragedy (Jan. 12, 7 p.m., free). The Israel Museum unveils Rubens, Venus, and Adonis: Anatomy of a Tragedy Monday, a new exhibit analyzing the work of Flemish baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, whose work The Death of Adonis–around which much of the exhibit revolves–was given to the museum in 2000 (through May 6).