Monday, August 25, 2003

Howl and the Jewish Museum

On Saturday I spent the day in Tomkin Square park watching the Howl Festival. It was a tribute to Allen Ginsburg who's famous poem "Howl" made him the spokesman for the beat generation. (Like everyone else, my personal favorites are "Kaddish" and "Howl". Much of his other stuff is real junk.) The festival was odd. There were tons of drag queens and people of various sexual persuasions all just hanging out. Some of the people on stage were amusing, as was some of the music. As can be expected, much of the art was political, and much of it was pretty bad. There were a few pieces which displayed a bit of talent. There were your usual share of lunatics and Hare Krishnas there as well. I got to do a bit of reading on the grass, so the afternoon was not a total waste.

Sunday I went to the Jewish museum. It was OK. It basically had a bit of everything you would expect in a Jewish museum. Some historical stuff, and some stuff about Jewish rituals. There was also a good exhibit about Jews on stage. Mostly some old Yiddish movies and some tributes to people like Barbra Strisand and Jerry Sinefeld. It was mostly uninteresting, though I did learn some interesting stuff. For example I did not know that Betty Boop was created as a Jewish character who originally was created to represent the daughter of an immigrant attempting to assimilate in to the American world of early 20th century flapperdom. (I really schepped some good Yiddishe nachas there.)