A gala evening of music and American Jewish history with renowned musicologist and recording artist Ben Sidran at the Jewish Federation in Arcadia, 550 S. Second Ave., will kick off the 14th annual Jewish Book Festival on Saturday, Nov. 3.
Sidran has recorded with artists from the Rolling Stones and Diana Ross to Van Morrison and Steve Miller. He has hosted jazz and pop series for NPR and VH-1, and composed the music for the Academy Award-winning Hoop Dreams. His new book, There Was A Fire: Jews, Music and the American Dream, spans the range from ragtime to hip-hop as he looks at some of the surprising influences Jews have had on the American music scene.
Tickets, including a dessert reception, are $15/$18. For information or ticket reservations, call the Jewish Federation at 626-445-0810 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sidran is one of ten acclaimed authors and entertainers coming to the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys for the Festival, which starts October 28 and runs through December 1 at area synagogues from Glendale to Ontario. All author events are open to the general public, most are free of charge, and ticketed special evening events cost no more than a pair of movie tickets.
The full calendar of events can be found and downloaded at www.jewishsgpv.org.
Book Festival-goers will get to meet a fascinating mix of authors and top-line names in entertainment this year.
Caltech physicist Leonard Mlodinow, who has written for Stephen Hawking and Star Trek: The Next Generation, will present Subliminal, his latest book, and discuss new research findings for how our minds really work in situations from asking for a date to getting on the school basketball team.
For The Secret Lives of Wives, journalist Iris Krasnow interviewed more than 200 long-married women to discover what they do to keep their marriages going for the long haul. Fresh, honest and uncensored, their answers are sure to provoke discussion on modern relationships.
Stanley Ginsberg, a baker’s son, knows more about Jewish bakeries than the Seinfeld scriptwriters. Part history, part cookbook, Inside the Jewish Bakery will give readers a taste of the specialties, traditions and trade secrets of a unique Jewish institution.
International human rights lawyer Anna Funder, whose first book examined the East German Stasi, has written a prize-winning debut novel, All That I Am, about anti-Hitler activists who tried to warn the Allies before he became an open threat.
Journalist Eyal Press will discuss the quiet courage and surprising psychological profiles of whistleblowers, conscientious objectors, and people who “do the right thing” in the face of government opposition in his book, Beautiful Souls. At the other end of the scale, Rich Cohen, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, will present his new biography The Fish that Ate the Whale, the little-known story of a Citizen Kane-like antihero who started as a lowly fruit peddler but went on to make a fortune as a banana importer in Central America and a man who determined the fortunes of entire nations.
A trio of noted world folk musicians Leo Chelyapv, Nyofu Tyson and Jamie Papish, will perform following veteran travel expert Ben G. Frank’s presentation on remote Jewish enclaves from Cuba to Tahiti in The Scattered Tribe.
And returning to the Book Festival this year is Maggie Anton, whose latest series of popular historical novels, Rav Hisda’s Daughter, took its inspiration from real-life women mentioned in the Talmud, which Anton has been studying for 20 years.
The Jewish Book Festival will wrap up on Saturday, Dec. 1 with a special evening performance from actor and comic storyteller Stephen Tobolowsky at Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center. Tobolowsky, a renowned character actor, has appeared in more than 100 movies and 200 television shows, from Groundhog Day and Seinfeld to Mississippi Burning and Glee. He’ll tell stories from his new book, The Dangerous Animals Club, which draws from his one-man documentary and his wildly successful podcast The Tobolowsky Files.
“We see the Jewish Book Festival as a way of building community,” explains Janet Kadin, one of the Festival co-chairs. “We hope as many people as possible are able to attend events that interest them. Our aim is to inspire, educate and entertain our audiences.” Books will be available at the events for purchase and signing.