Unterzakhn intriguingly captures a fictional 20th century world mediated through multiple lenses — the reformer’s camera, the historian’s archive, and ultimately Corman’s imagination and pen. This isn’t quite history documented, or even historical fiction; it is more an alternate reality, a totally accurate other New York.
Tune in to Ekh Lyuli Lyuli TODAY at 6pm EST on cfrc.ca (or 101.9fm if you happen to be in Kingston, ON) to hear Jenna and I review Corman’s Unterzakhn and chat about Yiddishkeit, how to read graphic novels responsibly, Jewish family history, and the work of Alison Bechdel and Lynda Barry.
CFRC 101.9fm, the radio station that broadcasts Ekh Lyuli Lyuli, is having its annual funding drive to help with operating costs. You can call 613-533-CFRC to make a pledge (or donate online) — no amount is too small. Anything over $25 gets you some pretty sweet gifts (including dollar-for-dollar gift certificates! if you’re in/around Kingston) or a tax receipt. And you’d be supporting a station that makes shows like mine possible. Support community radio!
On today’s Ekh Lyuli Lyuli, I’ll be exploring Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated; contemporary shtetl-fantasy; the appropriation, romanticization, and fetishization of Russian-Jewish stories and experiences; and satirical responses from real Russian Jews (like author Anya Ulinich)! Tune in to CFRC 101.9fm (streaming live on the web!) at 6pm EST.
Writing Russian Roots Acclaimed authors David Bezmozgis (Natasha and Other Stories, The Free World) and Gary Shteyngart (The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, Super Sad True Love Story) both born in the former Soviet Union in the 70s, both moved to Toronto and New York respectively as children, and both mine their Russian-Jewish immigrant experiences in their writing. Conversation moderated by journalist Gal Beckerman, author of the definitive book on Soviet Jewry. Presented as part of kofflerkultura.
When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone At the end of World War II, three million Jews were trapped inside the Soviet Union. They lived a paradox—unwanted by a repressive Stalinist state, yet forbidden to leave. The award-winning first book by Gal Beckerman, When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone is the astonishing, inspiring story of the rescue of Soviet Jewry. He will be joined in conversation by author David Bezmozgis (whose latest novel tells the story of a Jewish family escaping the Iron Curtain) and the Honourable Irwin Cotler, Member of Parliament, former Minister of Justice of Canada and prominent international human rights attorney. Cotler defended formerly imprisoned dissidents Nelson Mandela and Natan Sharansky, jailed in a Soviet gulag for Jewish activism. Moderated by the Koffler’s Executive Director, Lori Starr.
Ekh Lyuli Lyuli #5: Catching Up Air date: August 30, 2011 - 4pm EST
A show catching up on a bunch of different things: reflecting on a couple summer Russian-Jewish weddings; ranting about feeling insecure and inauthentic about language in Russian circles; and kvetching about how often Russian-Jewish projects and initiatives, particularly for youth, are reduced to Israel advocacy. Oh, and an introduction to RussianGirlProblems (check out their facebook page, too!).
Those in/around Toronto, check out The Koffler @ IFOA (International Festival of Authors) on October 23, 2011, exploring Russian-Jewish narratives and featuring events with Gal Beckerman, David Bezmozgis, Gary Shteyngart, and others.
Title: Ekh Lyuli Lyuli #4: The Night of the Murdered Poets10 plays
Ekh Lyuli Lyuli #4: The Night of the Murdered Poets Air date: August 16, 2011 - 4pm EST
I weep for you with all the letters of the alphabet that made your hopeful songs. — from Chaim Grade’s “Elegy for the Soviet Yiddish Writers”
59 years ago on August 12, 1952, Stalin ordered the execution of 13 Soviet Jews, many of them Yiddish writers, poets, critics, and thinkers, on false charges of treason and espionage. The event is referred to as The Night of the Murdered Poets and regarded by some as the successful destruction of post-war Yiddish literature and culture in the Soviet Union. This episode of Ekh Lyuli Lyuli commemorates the event with history on the trial and defendants, as well as audio from Eli Wallach narrates August 12, 1952: The Night of the Murdered Poets, featuring the poetry and writings of the murdered Soviet Jews and music composed by Morris Moshe Cotel.
Title: Ekh Lyuli Lyuli #3: Assimilation & Authenticity0 plays
Ekh Lyuli Lyuli #3: Assimilation & Authenticity Air date: July 19, 2011 - 4pm EST
"In Russia,” Sirotin says sadly, “I was told I cannot be Russian because I have a Jewish face. Here, the Jews say, ‘Can these be Jews? They’re so Russian!’ What does it mean to be a Jew without feeling for the religion that is a whole national-spiritual-ethical way of living? I can’t explain it.
Selections from Annelise Orleck’s book The Soviet Jewish Americans, interspersed with some great music. Readings touch on the history of Soviet-Jewish immigration to the United States; questions of Jewish identity, authenticity, and memory; and the ways in which generational differences have affected and influenced experiences of immigration and assimilation in North America.
*Note: The first few seconds in the above recording are from the show just before.