Israeli, Arab musiciansperform to SRO crowd
RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Conductor Daniel Barenboim brought together Israeli and Arab musicians for a concert that was as much about communication as it was about Beethoven and Mozart. Though Barenboim has often appeared in Ramallah, this was the first time that his orchestra, whose 100 musicians come from Israel, Palestinian territories, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, has performed here. The 700-seat Ramallah concert hall was standing room only and a spillover crowd watched on closed-circuit television in a nearby hall. The concert was in memory of the Palestinian-American intellectual Edward Said, who died in 2003. Said and Barenboim, born in Argentina and raised in Israel, founded the West-Eastern Divan Workshop and Orchestra in 1999. Symbolically, the orchestra is based in Seville, capital of Spain's southern region of Andalusia, where Muslims, Christians and Jews created a flourishing culture during the Middle Ages. At a news conference, Barenboim repeated his theme that peace must prevail. "There are two peoples who have a very deep attachment to this part of the world, and either we all kill each other or we learn to live with the fact that we have to share this land in equality and dignity," he said.
To do Fagin, Kingsleycalled upon his past
NEW YORK -- Ben Kingsley prepped for the part of the villain Fagin in Roman Polanski's upcoming "Oliver Twist" -- but not by poring over the director's collection of Jewish cockney tape recordings. "I never listened to them," Kingsley told the New York Times for its Sunday editions. "I grow from the inside out. I said to Roman, "I met this man, I met him when I was Oliver's age.'" Kingsley's man was the owner of a junk shop in a neighborhood called Shambles in Manchester, England. "I used to stare at this man who had teeth like a horse, a very, very grimy face, and he wore an old coat, on top of an old coat, on top of heaven knows what, and it was tied 'round the waist with rope." When Kingsley's little brother asked the man for a rare Penny Black stamp, the shopkeeper -- in a voice that sounded like Fagin's -- said: "Ohhh, yer askin' for the moooon! Yer askin' for the moon!" In the 1968 film version of the musical, Fagin was played by Alec Guinness. That interpretation has been criticized by Polanski and his screenwriter, Ronald Harwood, as a Jewish stereotype. Kingsley said he hadn't seen Guinness' Fagin since he was a boy and didn't know about the criticism of the portrayal. Generally speaking, however, Kingsley told the newspaper: "I think we have to destroy the stereotypes and replace them with archetypes." "Oliver Twist" is set for release next month.
Young debuts new work
Neil Young premiered his album "Prairie Wind" last week with two concerts at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville that were shot by director Jonathan Demme for a feature film. The 59-year-old Canadian rocker wore a cowboy suit and played a guitar once owned by Hank Williams, as he was accompanied by wife Pegi, Emmylou Harris, Spooner Oldham and the Fisk University Jubilee Singers, among others, on a selection of greatest hits and songs from "Prairie Wind," whose country-style approach harks back to such benchmark Young albums as "Harvest" (1972) and "Harvest Moon" (1992). Luminaries gathered at the Ryman, the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, included director P.T. Anderson and his wife, "Saturday Night Live" actress Maya Rudolph, Meryl Streep and Southern rockers the Drive-By Truckers. "Prairie Wind" is due Sept. 27, with Demme's performance film due in December or early next year.
Movie director Robert Mulligan is 80. Actress Vera Miles is 75. Political satirist Mark Russell is 73. Actress Barbara Eden is 71. Actor Richard Sanders is 65. Ballet dancer Patricia McBride is 63. Former Surgeon General Antonia Novello is 61. Country singer Rex Allen Jr. is 58. Singer Linda Thompson is 58. Actress Shelley Long is 56. Actor-singer Rick Springfield is 56. Country singer-musician Woody Paul (Riders in the Sky) is 56. Queen Noor of Jordan is 54. Actor-producer Mark Hudson is 54. Rock musician Dean DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots) is 44. Country musician Ira Dean (Trick Pony) is 36. Actor Jay Mohr is 35. Rock singer Julian Casablancas (The Strokes) is 27.