Where Has Jeff Performed?
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Planning a Jewish community program?
Tired of the same old “blah blah blah?”
You need some adventure.
ADVENTURES IN JEWISH POP CULTURE
a series of entertaining multi-media presentations by Cantor Jeff Klepper
Dim the lights, have another piece of cake, and get ready to laugh out loud as Cantor Jeff Klepper takes you on a journey through the Jewish-American cultural landscape of the past century. Remember when high-minded folks said television was the ‘idiot box,’ Borsht Belt humor was ‘low-brow' and nightclub singers were just ‘boozers’? Jeff does, and in his two original (and funny) programs on Jewish humor he makes the case that buried among such cultural ruins are the keys to our American Jewish identity.
Songs You Never Learned in Shul features exclusively musical humor from Fanny Brice to Allan Sherman to Kinky Friedman, while The Jewish Comic Mind highlights great stand-up comedians such as Lenny Bruce, Rodney Dangerfield and Sarah Silverman.
Three additional programs on Jewish music round out the ‘Jewish Pop Culture’ series. (See below for a description of each one.) Adventures In Jewish Pop Culture is the perfect program for adult study classes and lectures, Sunday brunch events, and synagogue retreats. All five programs are recommended for ages high school and above. (Please consult with Jeff directly if you have questions about the suitability of any of the programs for your audience.)
Each presentation is 90 minutes (or more) including time for comments and questions. A DVD projector (or large screen TV) a semi-dark room, and a wireless microphone are the only technical requirements.
1) SONGS YOU NEVER LEARNED IN SHUL
Music occupies an exalted place in Jewish life, so what better way to poke fun at ourselves than through song? The hilarious parodies and satires of giants like Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, Mickey Katz, Allan Sherman, Tom Lehrer, Shel Silverstein, and Kinky Friedman reveal much about the Jewish search for cultural identity in America. Cantor Jeff Klepper has been collecting these Jewish ‘novelty songs’ for years and sharing them with audiences across the country. You will laugh out loud to Jeff’s rare video clips of some very strange and silly singing Jews. See if you can guess the voices of celebrities trying their best to sing in Hebrew and Yiddish. Then, cast your vote for the worst “Hava Nagila” of all time.
2) THE JEWISH COMIC MIND
Want to know what Jews are really thinking? Forget the books, articles, sermons and all that boring stuff. Just listen to Jewish stand-up comedians. In this crazy world, it’s laughter we need, more than even chicken soup. No matter what the problem, humor helps us cope with the absurdities of life. So who better than us? Jewish comedians practically invented American comedy. From the Bible to the Purim shpiel, satire is in our DNA. Through rare video clips, behold the lunacy – and wisdom – of Woody Allen, Nichols & May, Lenny Bruce, Joan Rivers and other great Jewish geniuses of wit. Sharp as deli mustard or gentle as a mother’s love, the Jewish comic mind reveals the truth about who we are, what we want, and what really drives us nuts! (Note: inappropriate lanuage has been edited out.)
3) GREAT JEWISH STORIES OF ROCK & ROLL
It’s the 21st century and Hasidic reggae singer Matisyahu is a superstar. The Klezmatics have a Grammy and there’s an indie band called “Silver Jews”. Even Madonna studies Kabbala and sports a Hebrew tattoo. It’s almost hard to imagine rock music without a Jewish presence. But it wasn’t always that way. Until the late ‘60s, “Jewish rockers” was an oxymoron. Or was it? With a love of pop music dating back before the Beatles, Cantor Jeff Klepper has a unique perspective on the role of Jews in rock. Using rare video footage, Jeff scratches beneath the surface in search of the Great Jewish Stories of Rock & Roll. For baby-boomers it’s a nostalgia-fest. For college kids and teens it’s an education, a veritable "Shul of Rock".
4) JEWISH MUSIC ON THE EDGE
Jews “In” Rock is one thing, but “Jewish Rock” is another universe altogether. Rock bands on the bima were a rare (and controversial) curiosity in 1968; today they hardly raise an eyebrow. So, where is the edge, the energy, in today’s Jewish music? For some, it’s the classic rock of singer-songwriters like Rick Recht, or the energetic Kosher Gospel of Joshua Nelson. For others it’s the spirited Yiddish music of the Klezmatics, or the Middle-eastern jam band sound of Pharoah’s Daughter. (Did we mention Jewish Hip-hop? Jewish Heavy Metal?) Whether in English, Hebrew, Yiddish or Ladino, new Jewish music, the edgier the better, has emerged as a barometer of Jewish cultural identity for today’s generation. Using recordings and rare video clips, Jeff Klepper (one of the creators of the contemporary Jewish music scene) introduces you to these cutting edge Jewish artists and their sounds of past, present, and future.
5) JEWS’ BLUES
The history of American popular song, from Gershwin and Ellington to Dylan, can be seen as a creative synthesis of African American and East European Jewish music. The story of how two immigrant groups, one oppressed, the other marginalized, developed an appreciation for the other's music (leading to the creation of some of the greatest music of all time) is one of the least understood threads of 20th century popular culture. Using rare video and audio clips, Cantor Jeff Klepper tells the story through a series of vignettes touching on the life and art of such giants as Al Jolson, Cab Calloway, Sophie Tucker, Sammy Davis Jr., Lena Horne and others.
ADVENTURES IN JEWISH POP CULTURE
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