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Friday, April 18, 2014

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Video performances at Koffler Gallery

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Moving to Stand Still, a solo retrospective exhibition by Israeli artist ­Sigalit Landau, is the second exhibition in the Koffler Gallery’s new downtown home.

Curated by gallery director Mona Filip, the exhibition brings together six video performance works, shown for the first time in Canada, offering a poetic investigation with global resonance of the political and environmental realities of Israel.

 In Barbed Hula (2000), the artist spins a barbed wire hoop around her bare waist, while DeadSee (2005) confronts the ecological consequences of massive agricultural exploitation. The video Azkelon (2011) highlights a children’s game of borders on the beach between Palestinian children of Gaza and Jewish children of Ashkelon, while Laces (also 2011) focuses on a young girl playing beneath a negotiation table while adults discuss potentially serious implications above.

The Koffler presentation of Moving to Stand Still is its only North American stop on an international tour that also includes Moscow, Johannesburg, Be’er Sheva, Rome, Gdansk and Tromso. Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw St., Feb. 6 to April 6. Opens with a free public reception, Feb. 6, 6 to 9 p.m. kofflerarts.org

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Lichtenberg Joins the Fray: Singer Lenka Lichtenberg and her band Fray perform a multimedia concert at an “Eccodek Peripheral Vision Remix & Video Launch Party.” The concert will feature a full set by Fray,and the unveiling of a new video, Open My Eyes.

Lichtenberg sings in six languages –  Yiddish, English, Czech, French, Russian and Hebrew – and her repertoire has branched out considerably from her roots in Jewish liturgy and Yiddish poetry. Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. W. Jan. 28, doors open 8 p.m. $12, eventbrite.ca or 416-588-0307 for dinner reservations; $15 at the door. www.lenkalichtenberg.com

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Chai Tea & A Movie: Toronto Jewish Film Festival presents Igor & the Cranes’ Journey, an Israeli-Polish-German film (2012, subtitled) about an 11-year-old Russian boy of divorced parents who adjusts to life in Israel by tracking the migration of a flock of cranes from eastern Europe to Africa. “In this feature debut, young Israeli-Russian filmmaker Evegeny Ruman proves himself dexterous at mixing light humour with a truly heartwarming story.” $15. City Playhouse Theatre, 1000 New Westminster Dr., Vaughan. Sunday, Feb. 9, tea at 4 p.m., film at 5 p.m. tjff.com

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Theatre Improv: Golden Ages – The Completely Improvised Musical is a two-act musical with a twist: it’s largely improvisational, based on audience suggestion. The period can be any decade from the 1930s to the present (it changes each time), the seven-piece orchestra improvises the music and the four main actors improvise their characters’ backstories. Produced by Alan Kliffer. Annex Theatre, 730 Bathurst St., every third Monday of the month (8 p.m.) $10

Another Kliffer-produced improvised show, Mixed Company, features actors who find out their stage partners and scenes when they arrive at the theatre; then they pick out their costumes, props and minimal set pieces. Comedy Bar, 945 Bloor St. W. Runs the last Monday of each month beginning Jan. 27, 8 p.m. $12

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Jewish Book Awards: Like Dreamers: The Story of The Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation, by Yossi Klein Halevi was named Jewish Book of the Year by the American 2013 National Jewish Book Awards committee. (Reviewed in last week’s CJN.) Other award-winners include FDR and the Jews (Breitman/ Lichtman), 1929: Mapping the Jewish World (Diner/Estraikh, eds.), An American Bride in Kabul: A Memoir (Chesler), and the Amos Oz novel Between Friends (translated by Sondra Silverston). South African-Canadian Kenneth Bonert won in the outstanding fiction debut for his novel The Lion Seeker (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). For the full list, please visit www.jewishbookcouncil.org

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Arts in Brief

 • If you missed Alan Zweig’s insightful, award-winning documentary When Jews Were Funny the first time around, it’s returning this week for a few screenings at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W. at Bathurst, Jan. 23, 26 and 28. bloorcinema.com

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• The Swiss-based vocal ensemble Profeti della Quinta performs a concert showcasing the music of the “revolutionary” 17th-century Jewish-Italian composer Salomone Rossi; the evening also features a screening of Hebreo, a short documentary about Rossi. Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, Jan. 28, 8 p.m. www.hrcentre.ca, 905-787-8811. Tickets $20 with promo code ROSSI.

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