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September 15, 1995 - Image 103

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-09-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Alan Light
On Jews And Rock

Bob Dylan. His Judaism and
spiritual life has been an impor-
tant and recurring theme. I hold
Dylan at the absolute pinnacle of
rock.

Is there room for Brian Epstein, a Jew-
ish boy with an eye and ear for talent,
who once auditioned four mop-topped
lads from Liverpool?
Yes. Without him, the Beatles
might never have been more than
a bar band wearing leather.

Is there anything to be made of the
fact that Jewish producers and record
company executives had such an
affinity in the 1950s for African-Amer-
ican rhythm and blues and, in the
1960s, for soul music? Was it a nat-
ural coming together of two groups
that had experienced suffering and
oppression?
Yes and no. Too much has
been made of the Jewish notion
to blacks of "We feel your pain,
too." It is insulting to black artists
and it is overstated. But, there
-- Some say the idea of a Rock and has been an undeniable level of
Roll Hall of Fame is antithetical to the acceptance and empathy between
rebellious nature of rock. Others are Jews and blacks that has helped
fine with the idea, believing that rock forge the history of popular
has always been a fusion of art and music. 0
– Michael Davis
commerce. Where are you on the de-
bate?
Mr. Light — My training at Yale
was in American Studies, so I am,
therefore, delighted by the
archival treasures now available
in Cleveland to students. To that
end, rm very much in favor of the Playwright Tony Kushner's
museum. But part of me is con- Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award
cerned that too much attention play Angels In America opens a
in the Hall of Fame has been limited engagement at the Fish-
placed on the big, established er Theatre Oct. 31 - Nov. 5. The
stars. It's a music of rebellion, so two plays, Part 1: Millennium
Fm a bit offended by the hold the Approaches and Part 2: Pere-
establishment plays on the pro- stroika, are presented on a ro-
ject. The Hall of Fame does retell tating repertory schedule by the
a history, but not necessarily the same cast at different times, so
way it actually occurred. The audiences can see Angels either
truth is, rock is a music that in its entirety or as two inde-
moves forward by weird events pendent plays.
Tickets are on sale at the
and odd movements. Little
things, and often lesser-known Fisher Theatre box office and all
TicketMaster outlets. To order by
artists helped shape it.
phone call (810)645-6666. For in-
— So, considering that, who then formation, call (313) 872-1000,
would you induct into the Hall, if the ext. 0.
choice were yours alone?
George Clinton, a music giant
who brought funk and rock to-
gether. And [New York art rock
icon] Lou Reed, who I think even-
tually will get into the Hall.
"The Birthday of the World" will
Who would be in the Jewish wing?
air Wednesday, Sept. 20, 8 p.m.
[Producer] Jerry Wexler, who on listener-supported public ra-
has been inducted into the Hall dio station of University of Michi-
of Fame, was a giant in develop- gan WUOM, 91.7 FM, Ann
ing the sound of the `60s. He had Arbor.
a significant impact. Paul Simon
Actor Leonard Nimoy and the
is clearly a contributor with a vocal ensemble known as the
lasting legacy. But I also think of Western Skolnick, will combine
[producer] Phil Spector and [disc for a special program for Rosh
jockey] Alan Fried. And of course, Hashanah.

`Angels' Plays
Fisher Theatre

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SE PTEMBER

Over the Labor Day weekend,
Cleveland became the epicenter
of the rockin' universe with the
opening of the I.M. Pei-designed
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and
Museum. A spectacular seven-
hour concert Saturday night
brought together some of the leg-
ends of popular music, including
Bruce Springsteen (not Jewish,
but his name suggests he might),
Bob Dylan (is Jewish, but has oc-
casionally sampled other faiths,
only to return to Judaism) and
the Rev. Al Green (not Jewish,
but so righteous he ought to be).
To mark the occasion, Alan Light,
the 29-year-old editor-in-chief of
Vibe, the hot magazine of music,
fashion and lifestyles for the hip-
hop generation, shared his views
on the Jewish influences on the
history of rock, a topic he has giv-
en considerable thought; his se-
nior-year thesis at Yale was on
the rapping Jews known as the
Beastie Boys.

87

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