What is it about Purim that makes everyone want to go out and get down?
Yes, I know — it probably has a little to do with dressing up, and a little to do with the drinking. And maybe it’s that connection that has always seemed to exist between alcohol and artists, but Purim has always seemed to seize Jewish musicians and artists and shake the creativity straight out of them, onto whatever stage or bimah or platform they happen to inhabit at that moment.
With that in mind, here are a few of my favorite inspirers, and what they’re doing either leading up to Purim or for the holiday itself:
Manhattan #1: Jeremiah Lockwood and The Sway Machinery are playing JDub’s Third Purim Mash at the gorgeous old Sixth Street Shul in New York. $15 ($10 in advance or with costume) and there’s an open bar.
Baltimore: J.T. Waldman is hosting his first major art show at the Jewish Museum with work from his ghastly brilliant graphic version of Megillat Esther — which you should buy RIGHT NOW to follow along with at your megillah reading, if you don’t own it already.
Manhattan #2: Soulfarm is playing a show at B.B. King’s in midtown Manhattan. If you want the Purim equivalent of New Year’s Eve, this is where you’ll be — The Bridge is opening, and everyone’s favorite Yemenite DJ Diwon will be spinning music all night. $15 advance or student, $20 day of show. Plus, Noah and C. Lanzbom from Soulfarm asked us to send out this special message — which is kind of like insider trading, but hey, we’re all related to Bernie Madoff if you go back far enough:
“Hey fans! For those of you that requested to join Soulfarm and friends for our personal private reading of the Megillah, it will start promptly at 6:30 pm. Our Megillah reading is laid back, as if you were invited into our living room. You must have pre-purchased your tickets 24-hours in advance of the concert to be on the Megillah RSVP list. See you all at Purim! Peace and Love, Soulfarm”
Brooklyn – women only: On March 8, erev Purim, Maidelle is hosting a pre-Purim party for the ladies at the Jewish Music Cafe in Park Slope. The party features — oh, hell, you NEED to hear this — the German Jewish electropop band Jewdyssee. It’s like a klezmer version of that ’80s nihilist band from The Big Lebowski.
I’ll try to keep updating this list. If anyone else has a radical party that we should know about, hit me up in the comments section…
Pronounced: BEE-muh, Origin: Hebrew, literally “stage,” this is the raised platform in a synagogue from which services are led and the the Torah is read.
Pronounced: EH-ruv, Origin: Hebrew, evening, eve, usually used to denote the first night of a Jewish holiday, such as Erev Yom Kippur (Jewish days begin at sundown).
Pronounced: muh-GILL-uh, Origin: Hebrew, meaning “scroll,” it is usually used to refer to the scroll of Esther (Megillat Esther, also known as the Book of Esther), a book of the Bible traditionally read twice during the holiday of Purim. Slang: a long and tedious story or explanation.
Pronounced: PUR-im, the Feast of Lots, Origin: Hebrew, a joyous holiday that recounts the saving of the Jews from a threatened massacre during the Persian period.