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Sunday, December 28, 2014

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60th anniversary celebration planned for Miles Nadal JCC

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Active Seniors and Boomers is planning a Miles Nadal Jewish Community Center 60th Anniversary Celebration Brunch, featuring a musical program of the most popular hit songs of the 1950s and 1960s, as performed by the exquisitely talented Jordan Klapman and The Jordanaires Trio.

 Musical selections with songs by Simon and Garfunkel, the Platters, Bobby Darin, Chubby Checker, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Burt Bacharach, Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka, the Beatles and Peter, Paul and Mary.

A time capsule is being prepared and will be presented to the Ontario Jewish Archives during the event. Miles Nadal JCC, Sunday Oct. 6, 12:15 p.m. Cost for catered brunch plus entertainment is $10. Advance registration only, begins Aug. 14. 416-924-6211, ext 155.

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Summerworks: The Summerworks Performance Festival still has a few more days to run before concluding on Aug. 18. Works of special interest to the Jewish community include How to Disappear Completely, a piece based in Jerusalem by theatrical lighting designer Itai Erdal who brings the full potency of stage lighting into the drama; The Art of Building a Bunker (Etc) by playwrights Adam Lazarus and Guillermo Verdecchia, a tragicomic tale about an Everyman named Elvis; and Life of Jude, a Christian parable by Jewish playwright Alex Poch-Goldin, described as a “devastating and hilarious parable of a boy who believes he is chosen by God and how his blind faith destroys the world around him.” www.summerworks.ca

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Free Concert: Active 55 Plus Outwardly Active Event invites you to attend a free concert at Toronto Music Garden with Swamperella. The band, consisting of twin fiddles, button accordion, contra bass, guitar and percussion, performs a gumbo of traditional and original tunes with singing in Cajun French and English. Assemble at the Miles Nadal JCC on Sunday Aug. 18, 3 p.m., for a 4 p.m. program start. 416-924-6211, ext. 526; colinb@mnjcc.org 

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Names in the News: Lauren Sklaroff, a cultural historian at the University of South Carolina, has spent the past year immersed in a collection of more than 300 oversized scrapbooks kept by the late great American Jewish singer-performer Sophie Tucker (1887-1966) over her long and distinguished career.

Known as “the last of the Red Hot Mamas,” Tucker began keeping the scrapbooks in her late teens. Each book bursts with photos, news, ad clippings, photographs and other memorabilia. “She started keeping the scrapbooks when she was nobody,”said Sklaroff. “She thought she was going to be a star, and she was right. There is so much in these books. The sheer volume of them is daunting.” Tucker gave the collection to the New York Public Library in 1948. 

 Sklaroff, a native Philadelphian, has been working on a biography that will tell “the story of how a progressive woman constructs her own personal narrative of struggle, overcoming adversity and breaking boundaries in gender, race and religion at a time of great cultural and technological change.” She’s presently negotiating a publishing deal for the book, which may appear with the title “Sophie Tucker and the Art of Invention.”

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Names in the News II: Is slinging a yo-yo an art? To watch 13-year-old Kohel Mintz do it, you will quickly conclude that the answer is yes. He seems to make yo-yos dance as they spin and gyrate on their strings, apparently in defiance of the known laws of physics. Watch for him among the street performers at the Scotiabank Buskerfest, Aug. 22 to 25 in the downtown Yonge Street neighbourhood.

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At the Galleries

• Weight of Memory is an exhibition of visual art in mixed formats by David Brock, Mahla Shapiro, Jessica Thalmann, Yael Brotman, and Shlomi Amiga. “Weight of Memory attempts to answer the constant question of what we owe to history and how past events that rocked us as a people can be digested and reformed into new artistic narratives.” Miles Nadal JCC Gallery, thru Aug. 28. 

 • Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who has been heralded as the “the most powerful figure in contemporary art today” by ArtReview, makes his Toronto exhibition debut this week at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The exhibition Ai Weiwei: According to What?, which consists of more than 40 large scale works of art including sculptures, photographs and video and audio installations, blends the artist’s activism with traditional Chinese materials and symbols to present a compelling vision of his everyday world and his ongoing fight for freedom of expression in the face of Chinese government censorship. Opens Aug. 17. www.ago.net

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