"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Jew-Punk

If Tuesday’s post about 10 Jewish punk bands and my follow-up featuring Di Nigunim’s Forest Borie tickled your fancy, feast your eyes on these updates about the thriving subculture of Jewish punk.

In August—at the same time Di Nigunim will be taking the West Coast by stormCAN CAN will be playing shows in Louisville, Chicago, Indianapolis, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Providence, Long Island, New York City, and North Carolina. Check CAN CAN’s MySpace page for details. CAN CAN has a new album called Monsters & Healers in the works, and frontman Patrick A. continues to do great things with Punk Torah.

Moshiach Oi! Album
Better Get Ready, the debut album from Torah hardcore band Moshiach Oi!, will officially be released on August 25 as part of Shemspeed’s Summer Music Festival in New York. If you want Moshiach Oi! now and you don’t want to wait, you can download songs or the entire album from Rhapsody or Amazon. Click here to watch a one-minute promo video featuring the song “Moshiach Oi.”

Jewish Punk and Taqwacore Unite
Matthue Roth and Michael Muhammad Knight will appear at a book reading at 92Y Tribeca in New York on Wednesday. Roth is the author of Never Mind the Goldbergs, a book that professes to be about “your average teenage punk-rock Orthodox Jewish girl from New York.” Knight wrote The Taqwacores, the book that inspired the real-life Muslim punk scene. According to a press release, “This event, the first of its kind, will feature both authors … talking about what it means to be religious, and what it means to be punk.” I won’t be able to attend, but I did see Knight read from his new book, Osama Van Halen, on Thursday.

New Illustrated Novel
An illustrated novel called So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) went on sale this past Wednesday. Written by Micol Ostow and illustrated by David Ostow, it tells the story of Ari Samuel Abramson, a Jewish teen who starts a band called the Tribe. The book’s promo site explains that “after a one-song gig at a friend's Bar Mitzvah -- a ska cover of Hava Nagila -- the Tribe's popularity erupts overnight. … So Punk Rock is the VH1 Behind the Music story of an epic Jewish band that never was. If it got any more kosher, it'd be totally traif.” (Hat Tip: Punk Torah)

Sacha Baron Cohen’s Other Movie
There’s a lot of hype for the new Sacha Baron Cohen movie Bruno, which comes out this Friday. As I noted in 2007, Cohen is also working on Curly Oxide and Vic Thrill, which is scheduled for a 2011 release. As recently as December, IMDB offered the following description: “Curly Oxide was the stage name of the young Hasidic Jew who wandered into a Brooklyn bar where Vic Thrill and The Rev. Vince Anderson played their barbaric folk and gospel music. … [Curly and Thrill] began sharing their cultures and writing and performing music together that yielded a strange and novel mishmash of punk-rock, liturgical Jewish music, and all things on MTV with off-the-wall, heartfelt lyrics inspired by Curly's exciting new experience of pop culture and the struggle with his old world identity.” The film is based on a true story, which was recounted in a 2004 episode of This American Life. (I don’t think the word “punk” was used in the entire episode. The music seems to be more indie rock than anything else.) According to Variety, Tina Fey wrote the screenplay and Lorne Michaels is a co-producer.

A Museum’s Take on Punk Judaism
On June 18, the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s blog featured a post titled “Punk Judaism.” It quoted CAN CAN’s Patrick A., gave a shout-out to yours truly, and included a link to heebnvegan.

Punk, Klezmer, and Rap
On June 23, a music video was shot for Jewish rapper Eprhyme’s song “Punklezmerap.” “Before hip-hop, I was into punk rock,” raps Eprhyme in the song, which can be heard on his MySpace page. “Punklezmerap” features klezmer clarinet parts and, as Eprhyme’s record label’s Web site put it, moves “through hip-hop, punk rock and jazz.” I don’t hear any punk rock in the music.

The Shondes Played Locally
Last month, I finally got to see the Shondes in concert. The all-vegetarian Jewish punk/indie band put on a fun show at a festival only three blocks away from my apartment. It was the first time that they played the new song “Miami” live. The band’s merch table featured scraps of paper for fans to write down tips for getting over a breakup; the plan is to include some of them in the Shondes’ next album.

Jewish Punk Pioneers at YIVO
On June 11 at New York’s YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Tommy Ramone (of the Ramones), Handsome Dick Manitoba (of the Dictators), Chris Stein (of Blondie), and Lenny Kaye (of the Patti Smith Group) appeared on a panel about Jews in punk rock. The Jerusalem Post reported that after Kaye said that “Ma Nishtana is a really great hit,” Ramone hummed part of the song and Manitoba broke into a rock ‘n’ roll version of it. “Who knew? Punk is Jewish,” opened a review of the event in The New York Times. An article in The New York Jewish Week said, “The panel’s star though was unquestionably Manitoba, the most outspoken about his Jewish sense of self. He talked about his famous Jew-fro (which, if still it exists, lies buried beneath a black bandana), vacations in the Catskills, Russ & Daughters pickles and his love of baseball, ‘the most Jewish thing about me.’”


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