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Agenda: An I.B. Singer story set to klezmer, Lou Reed reads in Brooklyn, the Steins in Paris, Chagall in Ontario, and more

Stephanie Butnick
December 09, 2011

Agenda is Tablet Magazine’s weekly listing of upcoming cultural events.

New York: Comedian Jackie Hoffman takes on all that is sacred this time of year with her new holiday show, Jackie Hoffman’s A Chanukah Charol. Spoiler alert: She gets visited by the Ghosts of Chanukah Past, Present, and Future (Dec. 11, Dec. 18, Jan. 2, 7:30 p.m., from $35). Shlemiel the First, a klezmer musical set in Chelm, the village of fools imagined by Isaac Bashevis Singer in his stories, opens Tuesday at New York University’s Skirball Center, with regular performances through the end of the month (through Dec. 31, showtimes, from $30). On Tuesday night, Lower East Side gallery and bar CultureFix hosts the Chrismukkah edition of Acoustic Nights, featuring young performers doing their best to celebrate the mash-up holiday made famous by nebbishy The O.C. character Seth Cohen (Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m., free). On Monday night, Lou Reed reads from—and signs copies of—his book, The Raven, based on his 2003 Edgar Allan Poe-themed record of the same name, at Brooklyn’s BookCourt (Dec. 12, 7 p.m., free).

“Die, Nazi Scum!” is a real exhibit, featuring Soviet TASS propaganda posters created from 1941 to 1945, currently on display at the Andrew Edlin Gallery (through Jan. 7). Taking the comical-turned-serious cue from Yeshiva University’s current exhibition about comics by female Jewish artists, today the Rubin Museum unveils “Hero, Villain, Yeti: Tibet in Comics,” an extensive exhibit about the various ways Tibet has been depicted in comics since the 1940s (through June 11, $10).

French director Jean-Luc Godard gets his due at the French Institute Alliance Française Tuesday, with three films—Charlotte and Her Boyfriend, All the Boys Are Called Patrick, and Jean-Luc Godard par Claude Venturascreening throughout the day (Dec. 13, 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 7:30 p.m., $10). I Miss You, the 2010 film about two brothers from a Jewish family in 1970s Argentina, the younger of whom is sent to live in Mexico after the older brother, an antigovernment activist, disappears, screens Sunday and Wednesday as part of Iberoamérican Images at the Museum of Modern Art (Dec. 11 5 p.m., Dec. 14, 4 p.m., $12). Joseph Brody’s biography was the starting point for director Andrey Khrzhanovsky’s at-times fantastical film Room and a Half, a semi-fictional account of the writer’s life; it screens Tuesday at the JCC Manhattan (Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m., $11)

Elsewhere: It’s the battle royale—at least for four Massachusetts-based klezmer groups—as they face off Sunday for “Klezmer Conquest: A Battle of the Bands” at Temple Aliyah in Needham. We’re rooting for the Shpilkes Klezmer Band (Dec. 11, 7 p.m., $5). In Philadelphia, learn more about the late writer and activist Grace Paley when Lilly Rivlin’s documentary, Grace Paley: Collected Shorts, screens at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Rivlin will stick around for a discussion afterward (Dec. 13, 7 p.m., $12). The Washington Jewish Film Festival ends Sunday, but there’s still time to catch a Saturday-night screening of Love During Wartimeor a Sunday matinee of sports documentary The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (Dec. 10, 9:15 p.m., $11; Dec. 11, 2:30, $11). The Oklahoma City Museum of Art continues screening Lars Von Trier’s actually very Jewish film,Melancholia, this weekend, with five chances to see Kirsten Dunst’s mesmerizing performance and encounter Alexander Skarsgård as something other than a vampire (Dec. 9-11, $8).

The Art Gallery of Ontario hosts a celebration of Marc Chagall on Wednesday—an evening of performances by local musicians and performers in conjunction with the ongoing exhibit “Chagall and the Russian Avant Garde,” which closes next month (Dec. 14, 8 p.m., $22.50). In Chicago, do as Mayor Rahm Emanuel does with a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where composer Andrew Bird and sculptor Ian Schneller have installed horned speakers made, ever so industriously, from recycled newsprint and dryer lint (through Dec. 31, $12).

Abroad: Following the final concert of his European tour in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, Leonard Cohen’s son, Adam, makes no bones about the enormity of his father’s legacy with a midnight discussion titled, “In The Shadow of My Father Leonard” (Dec. 13, 9 p.m. concert, $48; Dec. 14, 12 a.m. discussion, free with registration). Also detailing the challenges of defying norms from within, the traveling exhibit “Transcending Tradition: Jewish Mathematicians in German-Speaking Academic Culture,” currently on display at Beit Hatfutsot through Wednesday, opens in Haifa the following Saturday.

Sharon Lockhart takes on the work of Israeli choreographer Noa Eshkol with a film installation opening Tuesday at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (through Apr. 30, admission $13). A must-see exhibit at Paris’ Grand Palais National Gallery tells the story of the Steins—Gertrude, Leo, and Michael, that is—the American family whose patronage of Picasso, Matisse, and Cézanne helped solidify a new era of modern art (through Jan. 16).

Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.