Suburban Slut Stories LINK
I've spent my whole adult life running from that label, the one bequeathed me in adolescence just because I wore designer jeans and hung out with very rich girls, had strong opinions and voiced them, was overeducated and well-traveled. And just because I was all those things and I was Jewish. To this day, I'd rather be called any number of four-letter words than "JAP," that biting, sarcastic, pejorative acronym for "Jewish American Princess." It took me years to shake it off, years to sever its insidious hold, years of arguing with people that it was a dirty, misguided, anti-feminist moniker that was applied too freely and, in my case, I insisted, inappropriately. A Zionist-feminist friend of mine used to scold those who used the term in casual conversation, saying, "If you want to get across the idea that someone is spoiled, then call them an AP," she seethed. "Don't make their religion part of it." Her polemic got her nowhere; most people laughed it off, told her she was too sensitive and then started right in again tossing the term back and forth as an all-inclusive description for suburban Jewish girls like me.
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Any woman who grew up Jewish and has had the term "JAP" hurled at her recognizes the stereotype in what we know about Lewinsky. The term "Jewish American Princess" is being bandied about, alongside "slut," "nut" and "bitch," when our conversation turns (and when doesn't it?) to Monica. Taken together, the external, superficial signs of her princessdom -- she is affluent, well-coiffed, zaftig and spends a lot of time on the phone -- and her cunning, manipulative streak, documented in the Starr report and the Tripp tapes, may well tarnish the image of Jewish women everywhere.
Join the Jewish Women's Archive for four days of intensive professional development designed to enrich your teaching with the compelling stories of American Jewish lives, past and present. The 2010 Institute will focus on the role of Jews in the Civil Rights Movement in America.
A quick shout out to JWA heroine Joyce Antler -- scholar extraordinaire, chair of our Academic Advisory Council, founding board member, and last but certainly not least, mother to our resident comedian, Lauren. Joyce recently wrote a blog series at Jewcy, in which she elegantly spans the worlds of politics, pop culture, feminism, and humor. Check it out, and share your own Jewish mother funny stories with us in her honor.
Theatre Review by Matthew MurrayFor those put off by the more overtly obvious low comedy offerings that havebecome so common on New York stages recently, The Thing About Men couldquite possibly be just what you've been waiting for. Yes, the new show atthe Promenade Theatre is a serious musical comedy, aimed squarely at adults,and brimming with the wry sophistication of a show that knows it can succeedwhile taking the high road.You'll find no puppets at this show. Nor will you find any of thewinking at the audience, clever asides, or other forms of ironic detachmentthat place unnecessary barriers between shows and audiences. Of recentmusical comedies, only Slut at the Fringe Festival embraced similartheatrical values, but The Thing About Men has little else in common withit, or many other shows; it thrives quite nicely on being its own creation - though it is based on the mid-1980s German film Männer.Much of the book (by Joe DiPietro, also the show's lyricist) is highlyfarcical, packed with complicated plotting in telling the story oftwo-timing advertising executive Tom (Marc Kudisch) who leaves his wife Lucy(Leah Hocking) and becomes the roommate of the down-on-his-luck artist,Sebastian (Ron Bohmer), she's having an affair with. Tom's attempts tomanage his two identities and drive a wedge between his wife and her loveropen the doors to plenty of comic possibilities.But while embracing the comedy as often as it can, it keeps a few other keypoints in focus: Relationships take constant work and trust to holdtogether, youth and irresponsibility can't continue on forever, and no onecan have everything they want whenever they want it. While The Thing AboutMen is often quite funny (usually when at its most complicated), it's theemotional sweep of the show's romance and the questions it raises, more thanthe jokes, that stick with you. How much are any of us willing to give up,or take on, for those we love? Yet the show never preaches or gets weighed down, thanks in no small part tothe crack five-person ensemble, bursting with musical and comedic gifts.Kudisch's heavyweight voice and bravado make him a natural for his uptight,self-assured role. He and the more youthful masculine Bohmer play well offof each other, and give the songs stronger renditions than most could hopefor. Hocking, the "straight woman" of the show, is left mostly in themiddle while events move around her, though she projects enough sexyvulnerability to suggest why two men are fighting over her. Daniel Reichardand Jennifer Simard round out the cast, playing a Greek-style chorus thatcomments on the action and a number of broadly specified ensemble roles thatsuggest they're two of the finest young comic actors on the New York musicalstage.Mark Clements's direction is swift and thoughtful, emphasizing the whimsicalundercurrents of the story. Hoover's fine unit set incorporates a sharp setof projections from Elaine J. McCarthy, which, with Ken Billington's lights,lithely captures a wealth of locations and emotions on the Promenade Stage.Gregory Gale's costumes are ideally contemporary, whether shabby or chic,with just a dash of fairy tale spice (primarily for Reichard and Simard).Topping it all off, and tying it all together, is the score. DiPietro andcomposer Jimmy Roberts have provided songs that veer between themetropolitan and suburban sounds of today; with Bruce Coughlin's fineorchestrations, the songs often sound modern with a twist, a mixture of SideShow and Merrily We Roll Along. Kudisch and Bohmer generally get the bestmusic, whether in a moving duet about their burgeoning friendship, or ahilarious production number in an exclusive French restaurant (Simard andReichard also figuring in prominently). The first act finale, "DowntownBohemian Slum," in which all the story's pieces finally begin to cometogether, is musically and dramatically invigorating and exciting.Only a few flaws mar the proceedings - the show's madcap pace flags duringsome scene breaks, and the script's references to Tom and Lucy's childrenfall flat; it's clear from the show's first scenes that they have no realroom in their life for children, making their exclusion a sad reminder ofparents who, too often, just have better things to do. This is one bit ofreality the show might do better without.Otherwise, The Thing About Men is robust enough musically, comedically, anddramatically to take the sting out of the late summer malaise, and keep yougrinning straight into the fall. It's a cheerful but sobering reminder notonly of life, love, and friendship but what can - and must - be done tomaintain them and keep them all in top working order._____________________________The Thing About MenRunning Time: 2 hours 20 minutes with one 15-minute intermissionPromenade Theatre, 2162 Broadway at 76th StreetTickets online and current Performance Schedule: Telecharge Share:
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