Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight is coming to town to help with the launch of the United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto’s Campaign 2013.
Voight’s performances in the films Midnight Cowboy (1969), Deliverance (1972) and Coming Home (1978) make him an integral part of postwar American cinema. His outspoken support of Israel should also make him a hero to those who love the one democratic nation in the Middle East.
Three years ago, when some 50 movie celebrities – including Voight’s Coming Home co-star Jane Fonda – signed a petition protesting the Toronto International Film Festival’s inaugural “City To City” spotlight on Tel Aviv, Voight issued a public letter in protest. Fonda and the others accused TIFF of facilitating a propaganda campaign for the Israeli government while ignoring the suffering of the Palestinian people, specifically in Gaza.
“Jane Fonda’s whole idea of the ‘poor Palestinians’ and ‘look how many Palestinians the Israelis killed in Gaza,’ is misconstrued,” Voigt wrote. “Does she not remember what actually took place in Gaza? Did Israel not give the Palestinians of Gaza the hope that there could be peace? In response, did Hamas not launch rockets from Gaza into Israel, killing many innocent people?
“I was in Israel. I saw the rockets coming down on Sderot and visited many families who lost their loved ones. How long can a democratic country keep from defending itself? Time and again, [Israel] offered the Palestinians land. They always refused. They don’t want a piece of the pie, they want the whole pie. They will not be happy until they see Israel in the sea.”
The UJA 2013 Campaign Launch also features 21-year-old singer Hagit Yasso from Sderot, the winner of Kochav Nolad, Israel’s version of TV’s American Idol. Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Tuesday Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m. Includes kosher dessert reception. 416-631-5705.
* * *
Jewish Television Show: The Canadian Jewish Edition with host Gloria Valentine is a show on Rogers Cable 10 that features interviews with Jewish personalities such as Nat Garnick (Aug. 9), Elly Gotz (Aug. 19, 22, 23) and mezzo-soprano Renee Barda (Sept. 2, 4, 6). Viewing times are Sundays at 8 a.m., Wednesdays at 3 a.m. and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. Gerda Frieberg and Adam Furstenberg are among the guests scheduled for the fall.
* * *
Names in the News: Actor Jesse Eisenberg, whose film credits include The Social Network and To Rome With Love, has written The Revisionist, a Holocaust-themed play that is scheduled to open at an off-Broadway theatre in 2013, according to the Times of Israel.
The play focuses on a science-fiction writer who meets with a relative in Poland, a Holocaust survivor who has a secret. Eisenberg has not indicated whether he will appear in the play. He appeared in his play Asuncion, which also ran off-Broadway last year.
* * *
Names in the News II: The Nutty Professor, a new stage production based on Jerry Lewis’s 1963 film of the same name, opened recently in Nashville, Tenn., before an anticipated run in New York. A musical, the production features a score by Marvin Hamlisch and is being directed by Lewis himself, who is 86 years old. The idea came from actor Michael Andrew, who plays the title role, a Jekyll-Hyde character who is both the nebbishy Julius Kelp and his assured alter ego, Buddy Love.
Andrew told the New York Times, he first came to Lewis with the idea for the play about eight years ago. “I said, ‘Look, we’re really just looking for your blessing to do this,’” Andrew reportedly said to Lewis – who replied: “Blessing? I’m going to direct it, and you’re going to play those two characters.”
* * *
Arts in Brief
• Keith Friedlander talks on People of the Comic Book: Jews and the Graphic Novel, in which he explores the Jewish relationship to the graphic novel, focusing on Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat. Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, Aug. 9, 6:30 to 8 p.m. $12 drop-in, students $6. Information firstname.lastname@example.org; registration 416-924-6211, ext. 0.
• Active Seniors features a beautifully illustrated presentation about Picasso, his life and art. Miles Nadal JCC, Thursday, Aug. 9, 1:30 p.m. 416-924-6211, ext. 155.
• The Crucible, Arthur Miller’s account of the Salem witch trials made a sensation with its obvious parallels to the Communist scares of the 1950s. Previews began at Soulpepper Theatre July 25; the play opens Aug. 9 and runs to Sept. 22. Also at Soulpepper, David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow with Ari Cohen and Jordan Pettle, and Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys with Kenneth Welsh and Eric Peterson. www.soulpepper.ca
• The Stratford Shakespeare Festival has announced that it will present Fiddler On The Roof as part of its 2013 season, with Donna Feore as director and choreographer. A new production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, featuring Brian Bedford as Shylock, is also planned.
* * *
At the Galleries: Driftwood artist Jerry Friedman shows his work at his studio on the Artists of the Limberlost studio tour, Aug. 18 and 19. The tour includes 20 artists in seven studios along historic Limberlost Road, 12 kilometres east of Huntsville, Ont. www.artistsofthelimberlost.ca