Saturday, September 20, 2014 Elul 25, 5774
On tragedy and triumph in Theresienstadt
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SPEAKING VOLUMES Theresienstadt -- the concentration camp due north of Prague, Czechoslovakia -- came to be known as "the model ghetto," used to demonstrate to visiting Red Cross officials how well the Jews were being treated, and especially, how much freedom they had to express themselves creatively. All of this effort was meant to put to rest once and for...
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For a time, a great collaboration lit up the musical stage
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SPEAKING VOLUMES I wonder whether the great mass of people who have seen one version or another of Fiddler on the Roof since it premiered on Broadway in 1964 would know, if asked, who wrote the work. Fiddler was and continues to be one of the most popular shows in theater history, and is performed every season -- if not...
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George Gershwin was a natural wonder whose talent was turning out masterpiece after masterpiece
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I remember once sitting at the bar of a trendy Center City restaurant some time in the late-'80s and overhearing the couple next to me talking about the music being quietly piped into the place. At one point, the woman asked her companion if he knew the name of the song that was playing; he shrugged his shoulders and said...
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SPEAKIING VOLUMES I can pinpoint with great accuracy the moment I fell in love with the photography of André Kertész, and that's because it was predicated on a misunderstanding. It happened in the Eighth Street Bookshop, one of Manhattan's legendary locales. It's long-gone now, its passing much lamented by those of us lucky enough to have lived in Greenwich Village...
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A critic argues that Prague has been "rewritten" through the ages
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SPEAKING VOLUMES Scholar Alfred Thomas is very clear about his intentions in his new book Prague Palimpsest: Writing, Memory, and the City , recently published by Chicago University Press; and these intentions have much to do with some of the more trendy currents in academic literary criticism. He tells us in his introductory remarks that he did not want to...
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