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The Besht’s Magical Journey

The Besht’s Magical Journey

The Besht’s Magical Journey

INTERACTIVE MUSICAL  SHOW

Zshuk Art Initiative, announces the First Interactive Show
for the entire family in Russian,

LAST SHOW

Sunday May 29, 4pm

at

Shorefront Y, 3300 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11235

To be a part of the interactive circle please register

Past shows: Kings Bay Y, May 15, 1pm, May 8th, 11am, JCH of Besonhurst
April 17, 11am, JCC of Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10023

pictures from the show on May 15

pictures from the show on May 8th

 


 

 

 

 

“Играют Все!” an article from The “Reporter” Newspaper. click to read.

 

“The Besht’s Magical Journey” is an educational and entertaining show for the entire family. This Russian language experimental theater performance depicts the adventures– as well as the good deeds — of the 17th century Jewish mystical rabbi, the Baal Shem Tov (“The BESHT”), during the Turkish occupation of Ukraine. Created and produced by Zshuk Art Initiative in under 30 days, it is scheduled to be performed in five Jewish Community Centers around the New York area.

Zshuk artists and educators have adopted this story from the legendary book “Jewish Folk Tales”, written by Efim Rayze and published posthumously in 1999 after the author’s imprisonment by the Soviets. Zhuk artists and educators, Zhenay Plechkina and Misha Sklar, will direct a cast that includes Yelena Shmulenson (“A Serious Man, “Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish”), and Genadiy Vysotsky (San Francisco Lyrical Opera). Michael Evans (whose past collaborations include Evan Parker, Alexander Hacke Einsturzende Neubauten), is the show’s composer and musical director.

Participant space is limited (please RSVP). Preference is given to families with children. If you would like to be a part of interactive circle during the show please write to zhenya.plechkina@gmail.com.


Yelena Shmulenson emigrated to the U.S. from the Ukraine in 1993. Her TV and film credits include the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man, Robert DeNiro’s The Good Shepherd, Life on Mars (ABC), American Experience: Fire At The Triangle (PBS), and Romeo & Juliet in Yiddish. Stage: 4 seasons Off-Broadway with the Folksbiene, 2 seasons at the Ellis Island Theatre, Enemies: A Love Story in Russian, Frank (‘Klezmatics’) London’s musical of A Night In the Old Marketplace, the tours of Lady of Copper: The Statue of Liberty Musical and The Essence: A Yiddish Theater Dim Sum, etc.  She has also recorded several audio books, winning the Earphones Award for her recordings of Train to Trieste and Cynthia Ozick’s The Shawl and Rosa. She can be heard in the radio drama The Witches of Lublin, currently playing on various radio stations across the country. She is fluent in four languages.

 

Michael Evans – is an improvising drummer/percussionist/ thereminist/composer whose work investigates and embraces the collision of sound and theatrics. As well as being a drum set player, his work with unusual sound sources includes found objects, homemade instruments, the theremin and various digital and homemade analog electronics.  He has worked with a wide variety of artists including Samm Bennett, Jac Berrocal, EasSide Percussion, Fast Forward(Gobo), God is my Co-Pilot,  Alexander Hacke (Einsturzende Neubauten), Susan Hefner, Skip LaPlante’s Music for Homemade Instruments, Karen Mantler’s Pet  Project, Sean G. Meehan, Gordon Monahan, Joe Morris, Evan Parker, William Parker, LaDonna Smith, Toronto Dance Theatre and Peter Zummo.


Genady Vysotskywas born in Odessa, Ukraine. Gennady graduated from the Odessa School of Music. He became interested in acting at an early age, and began to explore that interest by participating in numerous musical theater performances, as well as appearing in several major motion pictures. After emigrating to the United States, Gennady graduated from the University of California at Davis, earning a double degree in Economics and Mathematics. At the same time Gennady continued his musical education. In the last few years Gennady has participated in the productions of the Magic Flute and Macbeth in the San Francisco Lyric Opera. Gennady has recently moved to New York to further pursue his musical career.


Anton Rayn - Originally studied all aspects of Puppet Theater and Performance in Kiev, Ukraine, and continued his education in the US, graduating from Brandeis University. He spent the better part of his childhood as a child performer and continues to be actively involved in children’s theater as an adult (with and without puppets): Les Misérables (JCHS), You Can’t Take It With You (JCHS), Joe and Mary’s Irish/Italian Wedding (NY Dinner Theater), Sleeping Beauty (Growing Stage), New York Renaissance Faire.

 

Baal Shem Tov or Besht - Rabbi Yisroel (Israel) ben Eliezer (רבי ישראל בן אליעזר August 27, 1698 (18 Elul) – May 22, 1760), was a Jewish mystical rabbi. He is considered to be the founder of Hasidic Judaism . The Besht was born to Eliezer and Sara in Okopy (Ukrainian: Окопи) a small village that over the centuries has been part of Poland, Russia, and is now part of Ukraine, (located in the Borschiv Raion (district) of the Ternopil Oblast).  Better known to many religious Jews as “the holy Baal Shem”, or most commonly, the Baal Shem Tov (בעל שם טוב). The title Baal Shem Tov is usually translated into English as “Master of the Good Name”. The name Besht (בעש”ט) — the acronym from the words comprising that name, bet ayin shin tes—is typically used in print rather than speech. The little biographical information that is known about Besht is so interwoven with legends of miracles that in many cases it is hard to arrive at the historical facts. From the numerous legends connected with his birth it appears that his parents were poor, upright, and pious. When he was orphaned, his community cared for him. At school, he distinguished himself only by his frequent disappearances, being always found in the lonely woods surrounding the place, rapturously enjoying the beauties of nature. Chapin and Weinstock contend that the Besht was essentially the right person, in the right place, at the right time. Eighteenth century Podolia was an ideal place to foster a sea-change in Jewish thinking. A Turkish occupation of Podolia occurred within the Besht’s lifetime. Once the Polish Magnates regained control from the Turks, Podolia essentially went through an economic boom. The Magnates were benevolent to the economic benefits the Jews provided and encouraged Jewish resettlement to help protect the frontier from future invasions. Thus, the Jewish community itself was essentially starting over. Within this context, the Jews of Podolia were open to new ideas. The Besht’s refreshing new approaches to Judaism were welcome, expanding with little resistance in a community hungry for change.


Efim Rayze -  collected “Jewish Folk Tales” from FSU. This collection is vibrant and reach with moral and funny stories and mystical tales. The book published posthumously in 1999.  These stories represent a slice of Jewish history and identity that has long been neglected and even forbidden in the Former Soviet Union.

 

Leon Theremin - Lev Sergeyevich Termen, Russian: Лев Сергеевич Термен) (27 August 1896, Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire) was a Russian and Soviet inventor. He is most famous for his invention of the theremin, one of the first electronic musical instruments. He is also the inventor of interlace, a technique of improving the picture quality of a video signal, widely used in video and television technology. His invention of “The Thing”, an espionage tool, is considered a predecessor of RFID technology. http://www.thereminworld.com/

 

 

This program has been created by Zshuk Art Initiative, sponsored by CWW project of COJECO, funded by the UJA Federation of New York and Genesis Philanthropy Group and Joshua Venture Group

 

 


Yemin Orde Mural Painting

Yemin Orde Mural Painting

Zshuk Art Initiative along with Blueprint(CWW COJECO) had volunteered to create a mural for the Yemin Orde Youth Village in Israel.  Through creative process and discussion we had arrived at the idea of using art as a healing experience(Tikun Olam) and creating a mural using the shapes of rocks and remains from recent fire that swept through Carmel mountains and hit the village in December 2010. Each artist had created their own “rock” shape to construct an abstract painting.

Artists had worked in collaboration with Russian-speaking teens at the village.

Special thanks to Anna Vainer for the amazing opportunity and one of a kind experience of Israel.

more images here

Purim Mask Making Project

Purim Mask Making Project

Russian Shabbat Club

We had created masks using pre-cut shapes and collage techniques

Shorefront Y

Lesson 1:

Collage, Drawing with scissors

 

Lesson 2:

3-D Collage

What we did:

Lesson 3:

What we did:

  • We looked at  Syrian sculpture and used it as reference
  • used recycled materials to create a mask sculpture
  • used paper mache technique to cover the surface of the mask sculpture

Lesson 4:

What we did:

  • We used primary colors to create secondary and tertiary colors
  • used various marks to create features of the mask

 

Gesher Jewish Educators Workshop

 

Solomon’s Chair at Hannah Senesh Community School

Solomon’s Chair at Hannah Senesh Community School


Life streaming from the event

Video streaming by Ustream

February 6

1-4 pm

Interactive Installation accompanied by printmaking workshops.

previous event at JCC in Manhattan

Hannah Senesh Community Day School

map

Exploration in Collage and 3D Construction

Exploration in Collage and 3D Construction

Explorations in Collage and 3-D Construction is a sequence of 5 lessons in sculpture and construction and is a part of a larger Family Program Initiative titled Art Explorations.

This unit introduces young learners to concepts of 3 dimensionality. The whole sequence is developed based on the artistic uses of 3-dimensional forms, experimentation, and encourages students to come up with innovative uses in constructing their own structures. Each lesson is self contained and reinforces prior knowledge as well as points out new directions for exploration. Students learn by making, observing and listening to each other as well as reflecting on the art made by famous artists. The goal of the sequence is not just to teach about art but to help students develop important habits of mind such as :

  • Persisting
  • Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision
  • Managing Impulsivity
  • Gathering Data Through all Senses
  • Listening with Understanding and Empathy
  • Creating, imagining and Innovation
  • Thinking Flexibly
  • Responding with Wonderment and Awe
  • Thinking about Thinking (Metacognition)
  • Taking Responsible Risks
  • Striving for Accuracy
  • Finding Humor
  • Questioning and Posing Problems
  • Thinking Interdependently
  • Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
  • Remaining Open to Continuous Learning

We find that kids love to build and this particular class develops fine motor skills as well as spacial thinking.
I personally had not had many opportunities when I was little to explore sculpture, construction because in FSU these were not the most popular mediums that had been taught to kids. Even when I had gone to art school I still did not have appropriate sculpture experiences. In my adult life, while in Pratt Institute I had problems understanding important and original concepts in Sculpture.

Learning about 3-d concepts teaches children that the world is not flat and gives them a unique perspective on to things around them which building toys don’t.  Sculpture can be suspended in space, balance on a single point, pile up on the side.  It develops imagination in a special way.

More →

studio 1.4

studio 1.4

February 6

Alter Ego

Inspiration:

Leading up to the celebration of Purim we find the following text:

from myjewishlearning.com

…People are invited to relinquish normal modes of behavior for one day, embracing behavior otherwise viewed with suspicion. Controlled and institutionalized chaos affirms the greater structure of Jewish custom and law by forming an outlet for a healthy questioning and challenge from within. At the same time, consequences of losing control are further balanced by traditions of giving extra tzedakah(charity) and special gifts to friends and neighbors (mishloch manot) on Purim. Even in its antinomianism (breaking the rules), the tradition has one eye focused on communal balance.

It is taught that in messianic times, only the festival of Purim will continue to be celebrated. Despite efforts to untangle its rich weave of paradoxes, no simple analysis suffices to explain this most unusual and dynamic of the Jewish holidays.

Guest artist

Erika Devries

What we will do:

Using props, sets, makeup and clothing create an image of your alter ego or a false identity. It can be someone you imagine yourself being or your anti pod or an opposite. We will created animated GIF image.

click on image to see animation


Important Habits of mind:

  • Creating, imagining and Innovation
  • Thinking Flexibly
  • Thinking about Thinking (Metacognition)
  • Taking Responsible Risks
  • Striving for Accuracy
  • Finding Humor
  • Questioning and Posing Problems
  • Thinking Interdependently
  • Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
Solomon’s Chair

Solomon’s Chair

This big scale Installation containing 42 separate pieces will invite audiences of all ages to actively participate. The audience will be able to rearrange the pieces and construct their own Solomon’s Chair, an amassing artifact that originally emerged as a result of genius engineering and magic. As artists we are inspired by the idea of opening space for people to actively engage with the art and offer everyone a chance to participate in the making off the project. Similarly to how The original Solomon’s Chair changed based on who had approached it, our installation will change as more and more people pass through it.

If viewed from a distance or by taking a picture with a camera the image of Solomon (fragment of the painting by Nicolas Poussin 1649) can be seen(if it is hard to see squint your eyes or move away from the screen).

The Installation is accompanied by artist talk and printmaking workshops. Participants create a print inspired by the artist process using intaglio method of printing.

Hannah Senesh

JCC of Manhattan

Solomon’s Chair is supported by Cojeco Center Without Walls and Genesis Philanthropy Group

studio1.3

studio1.3

January 23

Activity for next week:

Questions for drawing an identity sketch:

  • What is my gender?
  • What is my position in my family/community?
  • What languages do I speak?
  • How do I spend my free time?
  • What do I do well( don’t do well)?
  • What do people say about me?
  • What inspires me?
  • How do I feel?

Zhenya’s identity sketch:

I am:

  • artist
  • woman
  • mother
  • wife
  • daughter
  • Jewish
  • friend
  • teacher
  • busy
  • student
  • Russian speaking
  • in love
  • tired
  • caregiver
  • energetic
  • good drawer
  • passionate
  • philosopher
  • conceptual
  • performer
  • knitter

Flickr discussion

Activity:

  1. create your own Multi-Perspective Shooting Machine
  2. Shoot pictures at the chosen location(people on the street, street traffic, stores, subway, rush-hour, e.t.c.)

Inspiration:

______________________________________

Susan Sontag

“On Photography”(excerpt PDF)

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________———————————————————-

___________________________________________

Eleanor Antin

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Watch the full episode. See more ART:21.

Important habits of mind:

  • Thinking Interdependently.
  • Creating, imagining and Innovation
  • Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations


studio1.2

studio1.2

January 16, 2011

Inspiration:

Eadweard Muybridge

Blow-Up (1966)

111 min  -  Drama | Mystery | Thriller -  18 December 1966 (USA)

A mod London photographer believes that he has photographed a murder.

Director:Michelangelo Antonioni

Writers:Michelangelo Antonioni (story), Julio Cortázar (short story “Las babas del diablo”), and 3 more credits »

Stars:David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave and Sarah Miles

Activity:

  1. Invent a simple story and perform it.
  2. Take a sequence of images/photos of the performance
  3. Create a simple still image animation using Quick Time


Ayn Studio on Flickr

Stop motion animation by Eley and Dimitri

Important habits of mind:

  • Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision
  • Creating, imagining and Innovation
  • Striving for Accuracy
  • Finding Humor
  • Questioning and Posing Problems
  • Thinking Interdependently
  • Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations

Tot Тусовка

Tot Тусовка

more photos here…

Stamp printmaking project with parents and children under 3 years old at the kick off event for Tot Tusovka.

In this exploration project we used the stamps with various shapes and paint as well as some found objects like top part of the “matreshka” nesting doll and a large lego piece to make shapes of various size circles and squares. Similarly to our Sukkot Printmaking Project various shapes can be used along with partially cut fruits and vegitables.