Who, What & Where: Jubilee concert, Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Bradley Cooper

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Who, What & Where: Jubilee concert, Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Bradley Cooper

Our weekly roundup of what's hot in the arts and entertainment

Maz Murray at the Pageant
Maz Murray at the Pageant

Music: Schlepping Star Naches

The Platinum Jubilee concert and pageant made us all feel proud, warm and fuzzy, but imagine what it did for the parents of Jewish performers Adam Lambert and Maz Murray. Adam opened the concert as the frontman for Queen and Maz closed the pageant in front of the palace as Mama Mia’s leading lady. Both their families posted with pride on social media, but sadly there was nothing from The Browns about Paddington. Bless that little bear.


Disney+: Malcom’s Majesty

After a glorious weekend of Platinum jubilations, no-one wants to be reminded of the Sex Pistols’ version of God Save the Queen released during the 1977 Silver Jubilee. But the anarchist’s anthem that was banned by the BBC and commercial radio stations has been re-released this month. Pistol, Danny Boyle’s drama series about the band. is on Disney +. Many (mostly older) people despised the Pistols for their aggressive, spitting songs, but they changed popular culture due to the efforts of the grandson of a Jewish diamond dealer. Raised by his independently wealthy bubbe Rose Corré Isaacs, the late Malcolm McLaren (played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster) built the Sex Pistols’ success around his own anti-establishment beliefs and created a movement held together by safety pins and the desire for political turmoil. Malcolm’s Svengali influence over a generation of punk rockers is a key element in the series and responsibility for his bad behaviour is down to Rose, who told little Malcolm: “To be bad is good, because to be good is simply boring.”

Television: Moshav Midge

There was only one way it could end. After three seasons of being stacked with more Jewish ingredients than a Rubens sandwich, Marvelous Mrs Maisel is heading to Israel for the final series. Well, almost heading – the Holy Land will be recreated in the Big Apple for purposes unknown, but a casting callout for ‘Jewish-type agrarian workers’ suggests sassy Upper West Side stand-up Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) is going to be a kibbutznik. Set in 1960, which was the year American Jews started volunteering before college, Midge will no doubt spend season five wearing chi chi shorts and a matching headscarf for her orange-picking spree. Renowned for her brisket, Midge may even settle down with a noshy Israeli, which would please her armchair socialist father Abe Weissman, who could be tempted to make Aliyah. If her edgy barbs appeal, a moshav may be the promised land for Mrs Maisel and if the production team can make Long Island look like Kibbutz Kfar Hanasi – Gesundheit!

All seasons of Marvelous Mrs Maisel are on Amazon Prime.


Bradley Cooper and Carrie Mulligan

Movies: Who Jew Do?

This week Terence Davies’ film Benediction opens and the bio-pic about British anti-war poet Siegfried Sassoon (Jack Lowden) entirely ignores his Jewish heritage. Granted the poet ignored it too, while trying to ingratiate himself with the British upper classes. But his family fortune (which he was embarrassed by) was built on trading in opium, oil, gold and silver, which lead to the Sassoons being known (mostly to antisemites) as ‘the Rothschilds of the East’. Siegfried eventually converted to Catholicism, so his roots clearly didn’t count. And though it was but a few weeks ago that Dame Mo Lipman and others were appalled by the casting of Dame Helen Mirren playing Golda Meir, not a peep about like-for-like casting when Sir Anthony Hopkins was picked to play Sir Nicholas Winton. Granted Winton was baptised, but he was Jewish when it mattered while saving hundreds of children from the Nazis. At that point in the film Winton will be played by Johnny Flynn, who also isn’t Jewish, which doesn’t matter, but we’ve been told that it does. At least for other minorities. Accordingly like-for-like casting is the new black, but actor Bradley Cooper didn’t get the memo as he is playing composer Leonard Bernstein in the Netflix film Maestro, which he is also directing. It stars Carrie Mulligan (NJ) as Bernstein’s Jewish Chilean wife. New Yorkers can cope with the absence of Jesps (Jewish thesps) but Cooper donning a large prosthetic nose, not so much. Strangely, Sarah Silverman, who shouted Jew Face when Kathryn Hahn was cast (then ditched) as Joan Rivers and about Mirren being Golda, but has not said a word about Brad as Bernstein because she is playing his sister. If Jews do count a bit in the age of colour-blind casting Gal Gadot’s Cleopatra will premiere in 2023 without a pelting and Scarlet Johansson has a shot at playing activist Rosa Parks in the bio-pic. Keep watching.

Book: Tuchus Tale

Funny fiction author Sam Copeland, who wrote Charlie Changes into a Chicken and went to King David Junior School in Manchester, has teamed up with Jenny Pearson (The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates) to create a hilarious tale about a Jewish detective called Lenny Tuchus. The first in a super new mystery series from this great author partnership, Tuchus & Topps: The Underpants of Chaos, is suitable for children aged eight and up and is brilliantly illustrated throughout. Detective duo Agatha and Lenny unwillingly team up to investigate the strange happenings unfolding across their town. Copeland, who is a literary agent as well as a children’s author, likes to represent the Jewish community in his writing.

Tuchus and Topps: The Underpants of Chaos is published by penguin on 9 June RRP £7.99

This month in Jewish history: By Jewish News historian Derek Taylor

The Magna Carta was signed on June 15th 1215. It had 62 clauses and those affecting Jews were considered so important, that they were clauses 10 and 11. Clause 10 ruled that if a father died, his debt to the Jews should not carry interest by his heir as long as the boy was underage. Clause 11 ruled that the wife didn’t have to pay interest out of her dowry. It was also ruled that any residual debt had to be paid in cash, not by land. The King had been taking the land the barons had used to pay off the debt. The Jews were protected by the King but they were described as his chattels. The total subservience of the Jews to the Crown was spelt out by John’s son, Henry III: “No Jew remain in England unless he do the king’s service, and that from the hour of birth every Jew, whether male or female, serve Us in some way”.

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