Arts and Culture

Netflix film ‘The Angel’ spotlights Egyptian spy who helped Israel

Marwan Kenzari, left, and Hannah Ware in "The Angel." Kenzari plays Egyptian spy Ashraf Marwan. (Nick Briggs/Netflix)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — In 1993, filmmaker Ariel Vromen was part of an Israeli air force rescue unit sent in to Lebanon to evacuate both Jewish and Arab soldiers wounded during a battle. During the fighting, two of Vromen’s closest friends died in front of his eyes. For several months… Read more »

Babka French Toast recipe

Babka French Toast (Kate Sears)

(The Nosher via JTA) — This is one of those recipes that sounds super complicated but is actually so simple. Using store-bought babka will make this Babka French Toast Loaf as easy as 1-2-3, but if you happen to bake your own babka, definitely use it! Instead of serving… Read more »

In 21st century, could Tevye change his tune?

In 1966, when I was just 13 years old, my parents surprised me by taking me to New York City to see Zero Mostel star as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” I was enchanted by Shalom Aleichem’s inspiration, “Tevye the Dairyman,” which was written in Yiddish in 1894.… Read more »

Shining Stars: Robert Lopez-Hanshaw

Robert Lopez-Hanshaw, left, conducts members of the Temple Emanu-El Teen Choir. (Courtesy Temple Emanu-El)

Robert Lopez-Hanshaw’s passion is writing music. He has been involved with music in one way or another since childhood. Along with being a composer and conductor, he is the choir director for Temple Emanu-El, and a sound designer for Winding Road Theater Company. He has had choral and instrumental… Read more »

Shining Stars: Danielle Faitelson

Two things that ground Danielle Faitelson are her love for theater and her connection to her Jewish heritage. “It’s part of some bigger purpose,” she says of her Jewish roots. “It feels like a responsibility for generations past, not just two generations ago. I’d be ungrateful to drop Judaism,… Read more »

Shining Stars: Michael Martinez

(Courtesy Michael Martinez)

Michael Martinez describes his young self as a “strange kid. I had trouble finding my place in this world.” That suddenly changed at Saguaro High School when he walked into drama class. When he found the stage, he finally felt at home, “a home where I could be myself… Read more »

Shining Stars: Russell Wiener

(Courtesy Russell Wiener)

Musician, performer, producer, engineer, director, band member, recording artist … Russell Wiener wears a lot of hats, on stage and behind the scenes, but he seems to like it that way. With 20 years in the Los Angeles music industry under his belt, he’s got a lot to show… Read more »

Shining Stars: Rhonda Karson

Rhonda Karson ended up in Hollywood because she thought she wanted to work in film. But she always had a calling for the stage, and that’s where she has found her muse. Born and raised in Tucson, Karson, the 27-year-old daughter of Cathy and Mitch Karson, got her first… Read more »

Shining Stars: Suki-Rose Simakis

(Courtesy Suki-Rose Simakis)

A winding road led Suki-Rose Simakis to the place she is meant to be and it is literally a world of horror — cinematic horror, that is. She says she has always been a film person, spending lots of time at The Loft Cinema and Catalina Theatre growing up in… Read more »

Shining Stars: Alex Caine

Directly out of college, Alex Caine had a great public relations job that he wound up hating. “I realized I missed performing,” he says. He took a risk, quit that job and headed to Los Angeles three years ago to make a name for himself in comedy. While most… Read more »

Shining Stars: Rachel Saul

(Roy Nuesca)

Some of violinist Rachel Saul’s best memories are of playing classical music at Tucson’s 4th Avenue Street Fair when she was in high school or home visiting from college, with her younger sister, Rebecca, accompanying her on viola. “What a great time that was, just performing together on the… Read more »

Shining Stars: Michael Cooper

(Courtesy Michael Cooper)

Michael Cooper describes Nogales, Arizona, as a small, multicultural melting pot. Nevertheless, he felt like an outsider growing up there. He carries that with him every day as he approaches life in the world’s largest melting pot, New York City. He says the border town lessons about inclusion vs.… Read more »

IT to start season with ‘Absolute Brightness’

David Alexander Johnston in a scene from Invisible Theatre’s production of ‘The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey.’ (Creatista Films, Video and Photography)

David Alexander Johnston plays nine characters in “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey” by LGBT activist and Academy Award-winning author, James Lecesne, playing at the Invisible Theatre Sept. 4-16. “Absolute Brightness” tells the story of the effect a gay teen’s disappearance has on his community. These are the voices… Read more »

On summer travels in Israel, Tucsonans delight in people, places, studies

(L-R): Garrett Fenton, Matt Landau, Sophia Yatsenko, Monica Montes, and Linnea Dawson in the Old City of Jerusalem at the Western Wall

This summer season marked the 18th anniversary of Birthright Israel, the program that brings Diaspora Jews, ages 18-26, on a free trip to Israel. From May 24-June 4, Bus #1545 carried University of Arizona students along with participants from the University of Southern California, Arizona State University, and San… Read more »