EVOCATIVE PAINTINGS RECALL JEWISH LIFE IN POLAND
One painting shows an open suitcase with the town neatly spread inside, conveying a sense that the artist carries the vision of Wierzbnik wherever he goes and that his memories of the place are so vivid and full that they cannot be contained.
The artist, Maciej Frankiewicz, was born in 1968 in Starachowice, Poland, the city previously known to its once-sizable Jewish population as Wierzbnik. Frankiewicz, who is not Jewish, has devoted much of his adult life to preserving the memory of the town’s Jewish community, a world and a people he never knew.
He has produced hundreds of paintings focusing on Jewish life in Wierzbnik, works that are “by turns surreal, provocative and romantic, inhabiting an amorphous realm somewhere between slice-of-life documentary and nostalgic fantasy.”
That quote comes from the publicity announcement of the Polish-Jewish Heritage Foundation of Canada and the Wierzbniker Society, which held a private reception this week to launch I Am From Here: The Paintings of Maciej Frankiewicz in Toronto.
Hosted by Ashkenaz Festival and the Al Green Gallery, the exhibition officially opens with a public reception on June 24, 6 to 8 p.m. Al Green Gallery, 64 Merton St. Continues until July 8. 416-440-3084, www.thealgreengallery. com
Casting Call: Teatron Toronto Jewish Theatre recently announced the three plays that will make up its new season. They are Kosher Lutherans, a comedy by William Missouri Downs; Hard Love, a romantic drama by Motti Lerner; and A Hamburger in A Pita, a comedy by Nina Shenhav. Non-union actors are required for all three plays. First auditions are July 6 and 13. Please contact artistic director Ari Weisberg, 416-781-5527.
Israel Dance Festival 2010: Choreographers Dudu Barzilay, Rafi Ziv, Ofer Alfasi, Victor Gabbay and Carina Saslavsky put your Israeli folkdancing talents to work over a three-day intensive workshop. Includes a Friday night Shabbat dinner, performances and more. Miles Nadal JCC, July 2, 3 and 4. www.israelidancetoronto.com; [email protected]
Names in the News: Poet Merle Nudelman recently launched The He We Knew, a new collection of poems that explore the emotional upheavals caused by the estrangement of a son. Weaving together complex layers of personal history, the poems capture the poet’s personal journey in trying to understand how these things happen in families and the process that leads to reconciliation. Published by Guernica Editions. www.guernicaeditions.com
Names in the News II: Briane Nasimok, director of the upcoming play Factcheck by Michael Posner, has had an eclectic career. He was founder and artistic director of Halifax’s Grafton Street Dinner Theatre for which he wrote and directed more than 20 original shows. He has performed hundreds of times on stage, done improv comedy on A&E, and had feature roles in several Canadian films. Factcheck runs as part of the Fringe Festival, $10. St. Vladimir’s Theatre, 620 Spadina Ave., June 30 to July 11. factchecktheplay.com
Arts in Brief
• Soup Can Theatre presents Love Is A Poverty You Can Sell, an evening of song that pays tribute to the music and musical influence of Jewish composer Kurt Weill and the bold theatrical style he pioneered with writer-director Bertolt Brecht. Presented as part of the Fringe Festival, $10. Bread & Circus, 299 Augusta Ave. June 30 to July 11. 416-966-1062, www.fringetoronto.com
• TD Toronto Jazz Festival presents visiting and local artists performing in multiple concerts around the city, June 25 to July 4. www.torontojazz.com
• Pride @ the J presents I Don’t Know From Funny: Tears and Laughter in Queer and Jewish Cultures. The program consists of a screening of the charming short film Sidney Turtlebaum plus a lively panel discussion featuring Ronna Bloom, Aviva Goldberg, Scott Rayter and Oscar Wolfman. Admission free, everyone welcome. Miles Nadal JCC, Al Green Theatre, Wednesday, June 30, 7:30 p.m. 416-924-6211, ext. 606.
At the Galleries
• Midrash, a solo exhibition of photographs by the above-mentioned Oscar Wolfman, utilizes a midrashic technique to “fill in the missing sections of the narratives, resolve contradictions and imagine creative reconfigurations of biblical texts… incorporates queer sensibilities and a modern urban perspective.” Queen Gallery, 382 Queen St. E. July 2 to 13. queengallery.ca
• Some 400 artists – working in painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, drawing, fibre, glass, jewelry, metal and other media – exhibit their work at the 49th annual Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. Nathan Phillips Square, July 9, 10 and 11.