Actor and activist Peter Kastner, who is best remembered for his starring role in the 1964 film Nobody Waved Goodbye, is going to be given a final wave goodbye this week in the form of a tribute concert by David Rovics in his memory.
Kastner, who died in 2008 just short of his 65th birthday, returned to Toronto in the last decade of his life after his career in movies went into decline. A songwriter and musician, he performed a one-man show at Free Times Cafe, Yuk Yuks and other venues here. In the show he “not only milked the irony of his own career crash but attacked his mother, the late Rose Kastner, resulting in a bitter estrangement from his three siblings and other members of the family,” Martin Knelman noted in an obituary in the Toronto Star.
In Toronto Kastner became involved with various leftist Jewish organizations: the Winchevsky Centre, United Jewish People’s Order, the Morris Winchevsky School and the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir, as well as the Baycrest Centre. Thus it seems appropriate that activist-singer-songwriter Rovics will perform the tribute concert to raise funds for a monument at Kastner’s gravesite.
Rovics, a darling of the discontented left and the Occupy Movement, plays at pubs, universities, churches, union halls and protest rallies, and his music has been featured on the BBC and Al-Jazeera. He performs the Kastner Tribute as part of a continuing North American and European tour. Sharon & Bram are MCs for the evening.
Winchevsky Centre, 585 Cranbrooke Ave. Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m. Tickets $18, $20; includes refreshments. Reservations, 416-789-5502 or info@ winchevskycentre.org
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Golden Age of Yiddish Radio: Singer, actor and comedian Max Mandel (1908-1953) was one of the stars of Yiddish radio in its heyday from the late 1930s to the early 1950s, when many of Toronto’s Jews were Yiddish-speaking immigrants and their children.
In a program titled The Golden Age of Yiddish Radio and Max Mandel’s The Jewish Hour, his son, Michael Mandel, a law professor at Osgoode Hall, tells the story of Yiddish radio, its performers and personalities, and what it meant for the community to hear the music of performers, newspaper commentators and critics in Yiddish.
His presentation includes selections from Yiddish phonograph records that were made for the show. Miles Nadal JCC, Active Seniors & Boomers, Thursday Nov. 8, 1:30 p.m. $3, includes refreshments. 416-924-6211, ext. 155.
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Arts in Brief
• Let There Be Light is a “lively, informative show based on the Jewish calendar and the Jewish holidays,” presented by New Voices For Yiddish and directed by Nathan Garnick. City Playhouse Theatre, 1000 New Westminster Dr., Thornhill. Oct. 14, 2 p.m. $12. 905-882-7469.
• Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center presents War Redefined, a segment of the PBS documentary Women, War & Peace, which focuses on “how women are emerging as necessary partners in brokering lasting peace and as leaders in forging new international laws governing conflict.” 5075 Yonge St., Suite 902, Oct. 16, 7 to 9 p.m. $5. Limited seating only, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-864-9735, ext. 22.
• Toronto Jewish Film Festival presents The Rabbi’s Cat, a subtitled French animated film by Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux, about a rabbi in prewar Algiers who goes with a Russian painter, an Arab sheikh and a mischievous pet on a quest into unknown Africa. Cineplex Odeon Sheppard Cinemas, 4861 Yonge St. at Sheppard. Oct. 21, tea at 4 p.m., film at 5. $15. www.tjff.com, 416-324-9121.
• Singer-songwriter Donna Greenberg celebrates the release of her third CD, Song In The Wind. Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave. Oct. 21, 8 to 11 p.m.
• Shlomo Schwartzberg continues his Monday evening series on “The Social Cinema of Sidney Lumet” with a discussion of Dog Day Afternoon, 12 Angry Men and Prince of the City on Oct. 15, 7 to 9 p.m. The following week (Oct. 22) it’s The Fugitive Kind, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Equus and Deathtrap. Series continues to Dec. 3. Miles Nadal JCC. $12, $6 for students. Series, $90. 416-924-6211, ext. 606.
• Individual tickets are available for Iain Scott’s popular series Operas of the Met Live presented by Active Seniors and Boomers on Tuesday afternoons at 1:30. It’s La Clemenza Di Titio on Oct. 23, Verdi’s Masked Ball on Nov. 6, Verdi’s Aida on Nov. 13. Miles Nadal JCC, $16 at the door. 416-924-6211, ext. 155.
• Jaffa Road performs a CD release concert for its latest album, Where The Light Gets In. Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W. Sunday Oct. 28, 8:30 p.m. $20 advance, $22.50 at the door. www.hughsroom.com, 416-531-6604.
• Toronto Jewish Film Society’s 35th season includes eight films on the big screen of the Al Green Theatre, Miles Nadal JCC, from January to December 2013. All movies are discussed and introduced by noted writers, critics or filmmakers. Subscription, $100. email@example.com, www.mnjcc.org