The Secret Jewish History Of Procol Harum

Posted on May 14th, 2017
Seth Rogovoy for The Forward

Fifty years ago this spring, a then unknown British rock group called Procol Harum released its very first single, “A Whiter Shade Of Pale.” The distinctive recording went to No. 1 in the United Kingdom and hit the top 10 in the United States, casting the mold somewhat for “progressive rock” on its way to becoming one of the enduring classics of the 1960s and of the entire rock era — the most-played song ever in public in the U.K.; a staple of classic-rock radio, and one of only a few dozen singles to sell over 10 million copies worldwide. 

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Why This Writer Doesn’t Regret His Failed Hitler Sitcom

Posted on May 7th, 2017
By Thea Glassman for The Forward

What happens when you write a zany sitcom about Adolf Hitler, his wife and their Jewish next door neighbors? Well, not a whole lot.

“Heil Honey, I’m Home,” a British comedy show produced in 1990, only made it one episode in before it was promptly pulled off the air.

The show’s creator Geoff Atkinson spoke to Entertainment Weekly last week about his ill-fated sitcom, and explained that the aim was to “laugh at bullies.”

“It seems like the right thing to do; as we speak, somebody’s probably writing a Trump sitcom,” Atkinson said. “I would love to write a Trump sitcom.”
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DNA and Jess Robinson wow judges in BGT auditions

Posted on April 30th, 2017

While one Jewish act left the Britain’s Got Talent judges in stitches, another had them completely mystified.

Impressionist Jess Robinson and mind-reading duo DNA both flew through their auditions, broadcast on Saturday night, and are now hoping to secure a place in the live semi-finals of the popular ITV talent show.

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Jewish Philanthropist Establishes Kansas City As Cultural Mecca

Posted on April 23rd, 2017
Menachem Wecker for The Forward

When he would go to New York on art-buying excursions with his late wife, Marion, Henry Bloch would balk at the price tags. “It was very expensive,” the 94-year-old H&R Block founder and philanthropist said. “They talked me into it.”

Asked what he meant by “very expensive,” Bloch repeated, “Very expensive.”
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You Don’t Have To Be Jewish

Posted on April 16th, 2017
BY GABE FRIEDMAN for The Jewish Week

Yiddish playwright Sholom Asch is riding an improbable cultural wave — his scandalous, century-old “God of Vengeance” just wrapped up a sold-out Off-Broadway run, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel’s play about the making of “Vengeance” opens this week on Broadway. But there’s a rich irony lurking on the Yiddish stage: two of its main practitioners are not to the shtetl born, so to speak.

Veteran actor Shane Baker has performed in three productions of “God of Vengeance,” Asch’s classic about a brothel-owning family and their daughter’s lesbian relationship. The play, which was first staged in 1906, still resonates today as a treatise on morality, religion and sexuality.

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