ELLIE SKROW, special events curator of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival (TJFF) has a real knack for coming up with a creative, plausible theme that then gives her an excuse to pull together a program of events containing an astonishingly diverse and seemingly unconnected array of material.
Last year’s theme was “People of the Comics” – based on the observation that a disproportionate number of the people involved in the emergence of the comic book as a significant cultural object were Jewish. It made for a really entertaining perspective, overall much more rewarding than just trotting off to disconnected show after show, which is what some film festivals (or music festivals for that matter) can be.
So what do you do for an encore after a brainwave like that? Well if you’re Skrow, you notice that three well-known people in the arts, who interest you for very different reasons, not only all happen to be Jewish but also share the same first name. Just like that, “The Three Lennys” – this year’s TJFF Skrow special – is born.
Unlike last year’s theme which would have been of particular interest only to readers of The WholeNote who were also movie or comic book fans, this year’s event directly ties in with what we are all about. Lenny Bruce is maybe the least obvious musical tie-in. But if you think about it, he sure knew how to scat, in a manner of speaking, and it was in the very clubs in which the “devil’s music” found its home that he found his. As for Bernstein and Cohen, what better time to view them through the same lens, especially in the year that the Glenn Gould Foundation, formerly a bastion of classical taste, has broadened its criteria to honour Cohen as its laureate?
In any case, we thought it worthwhile to bring the event to your attention. As you know from a well-programmed concert, sometimes it is from the seeming incongruity of the programmed pieces that the most interesting perspectives arise.
MIND YOU, YOU COULD SAY the same about the range of content in the section of our listings that we call “The ETCeteras.”
Just looking at the headings gives a clue to the variety: Galas and Fundraisers; Competitions and Scholarships; Screenings; Lectures/Symposia; Masterclasses; Workshops; Announcements … etcetera!
As diverse as the headings themselves are, the range of activities and opportunities captured under each heading is even more astonishing: Annual Booksale Fundraiser; The 2011 MARTY Awards; a Pulmonary Fibrosis Research Fundraiser; Choral Composition Competition; … The Lives and Loves of King Edward VII. You get my point.
What they all have in common, despite their diversity (or perhaps because of it), is that they afford wonderful opportunities, beyond going to concerts, to live an even better-rounded musical life.
We urge you to explore and sample the range of material covered here. And we invite you, having done so, to bring to our attention (by e-mail to email@example.com) future events and opportunities of similar musical significance.
Taste and enjoy.