Dan Friedman

Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Sderot: Israel in (Rocking) Microcosm

In Culture, Films, Interviews, Politics on February 20, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Everyone should be able to agree on Sderot. Leftists, rightists, Jews, non-Jews. A small settlement of folks — unwanted by the countries they’d lived in for centuries, and thrown together in an inhospitable land within internationally accepted boundaries by the will of the central government — have combined to make a vibrant community whose musical output has transformed the region’s culture.


All the Yiddish That’s Fit To Print, in Northampton, Mass.

In Culture, Interviews, Visual Media on February 20, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Who knew that we loved to listen to the air? Until the death of analogue music we never realized we craved the warmth of vinyl’s atmospheric cracklings, but in 2014 record sales spiked 49%.

And so it is with printing. Once we no longer rely for our news on swathes of newsprint hurtling through factories of machines in Chicago, New Jersey or California, we grow nostalgic. We sit at our silent, infinitely changing computer screens and yearn for the comforting splash of print on plush paper: the reassuring finality of the linotype and its products.

Taking Ai Weiwei to Sundance

In Culture, Exhibitions, Films, Interviews on January 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Alison Klayman’s debut feature, “Never Sorry” premiered at Sundance on January 22 to a standing ovation. In it she documents the recent life of Ai Weiwei, the West’s favourite Chinese artist and activist champion of political transparency. I talked to her about her film, the artist and growing up Jewish in Philadelphia.

Umberto Eco on Conspiracies and Novels

In Books, Culture, Interviews, Visual Media on November 24, 2011 at 3:52 am

I couldn’t get that unlit cigar out of my mind. I was in congenial conversation with someone I deeply admired but all I could think of was that mysterious cylinder of tobacco. As he spoke, it was all I could do to concentrate, but unraveling the plot depended upon it; demystifying “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” depended upon it.

Umberto Eco’s latest novel, “The Prague Cemetery,” is a historical novel about a fictitious Captain Simonini who, in recounting his bizarre life, explains how he came to write what we now know as “The Protocols.” Populated by historical characters including, in passing, a M. Froïde from Vienna during his Paris sojourn, the novel covers the expanse of fin-de-siecle Europe. It was a time when, as Eco commented in the elevator to his hotel room, everything that we use now was invented, with the exception of the airplane which had to wait another two years.

I sat down with Eco and a video camera the day before his book was released to try to look past the cigar and find out why he wrote this novel — why now — and whether there was any link between Simonini’s virulent anti-Semitism and his oft-detailed gustatory delight.

Roseanne Barr Aims to Bring Justice to Women and Palestinians

In Comedy, Culture, Interviews on September 14, 2011 at 3:40 am

Roseanne Barr is on a mission. For anyone who has watched her on television over the past few decades it won’t come as a surprise that her mission involves empowering women, but it might be more surprising that twin prongs of strategy involve teaching Jewish women to meditate and running simultaneously for President of the United States and Prime Minister of Israel, on a two-for-one campaign. As a tangential part of that campaign, she and her sister Geraldine will be at the Isabella Freedman Jewish retreat center for a Jewish Women’s Weekend from September 23 to 25, running some programs during the introspective month of Elul. The Forward’s Dan Friedman spoke to Roseanne about kabbalah, politics and the soul of the Jewish people.

Read more: Fast Forward

Daniel Libeskind Plans With Acute Sense of History at Ground Zero

In Architecture, history, Interviews on September 8, 2011 at 3:38 am

Perhaps it’s for the best that an itinerant Yiddish storyteller did not design the new buildings on the World Trade Center site. But the grandson of one, Daniel Libeskind, is strongly channeling his grandfather as he oversees the implementation of his master plan for the site.