Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Luncheon at the University Club

I was out of town in early December and missed the annual Holiday Luncheon, so we have Louise de Tonnancour to thank (once again) for these lovely photos of the festivities at the University Club on Mansfield Street.
Best wishes to all for a happy holiday time and for the New Year. See you in 2010!

Musical performance by Carol Brodkin who sang Gilbert and Sullivan

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cultural Outing: Opera de Montréal

Our second cultural outing, beautifully organized by Louise de Tonnancour, was a backstage tour of the Opera de Montreal. General and Production Director Pierre Dufour led our visiting group through the labyrinth workshops, sets, and costume racks behind the scenes.

Thanks to Louise for the wonderful photos, captions...and of course the memories.

General Director Pierre Dufour begins the tour

The costume workshop, a real Alibaba's cavern

A smiling Pierre Dufour has plenty of reasons to be proud.
"Producing an opera is a very long procedure. It can take up to five years."

Sometimes, new fabrics get to be aged, in this little corner
Costumes everywhere!
Props. It takes what it takes!
Isles and isles like this one..each well identified. Rest assured we did not loose anyone.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mark Abley

Mark Abley gave an absolutely terrific talk on November 17th...which I unfortunately missed out on, but I have heard rave reviews from everyone who was in attendance. He spoke about his travels and all the interesting encounters he has had with English around the world.

Much thanks to Lily Goldman who took these photos for our blog.

Mark Abley and Hans Möller, who organized the literary talk
Louise de Tonnancour introducing Mr. Abley
Mark Abley
Hans Möller and Frances Balogh in the audience
Hans thanking Mark Abley
A lovely photo of our president, Leslie Cohen

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Mandolinata's program was quite eclectic, ranging from the lovely Partita Antiqua to ragtime to Vivaldi as well as Japanese and Italian melodies. Musical director Johanna Hebing first started playing in her native Holland and has continued performing and teaching here in the Montreal area.
Pre-concert bustle in the auditorium
Johanna Hebing and Adele Lafrance preparing
WASM member Carol Thom plays the Mando Cello with Mandolinata
1st Mandolin: Johanna Hebing
2nd Mandolin: Adele Lafrance
Mandola: George Evers
Mando Cello: Carol Thom
Guitar: Pierre d'Etcheverry
Mando Bass: Ernest Zuidinga

Johanna Hebing introducing a piece

Carol Thom, Ernest Zuidinga, Pierre d'Etcheverry
Adele Lafrance
An Italian mandolin
Ann Chippendale thanks Mandolinata for their performance

I had a second concert riding home on the Metro!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rita Briansky -- "What is Jewish Art?"

Sometimes there are traffic jams in our lives, and so I am playing catch-up with WASM blog postings. A cancellation for November 10th lecture had a very happy outcome when Annette Wolfstein-Joseph, on short notice, managed to get Montreal painter Rita Briansky to deliver a talk on Jewish art.

In one short hour, Rita covered the history of Jewish art from Biblical times up to the present time. Early Jewish culture was dominated by religious tradition, with its prohibition in the visual arts of what would qualify as graven images. In the ghettos of Europe it was even illegal for Jews to create art, and Jewish artists were relatively rare until they lived in assimilated European communities beginning in the late 18th century. And yet, Jewish artworks are rich and varied; creative expressions of Jewish life are found in mosaics, murals, manuscripts, illustrated Haggadahs, micrography, papercuts, graphic arts and paintings. Contemporary Jewish art is vital, and perhaps, the most prolific in all of Jewish history.

Annette Wolfstein-Joseph presenting speaker, Rita Briansky

Rita Briansky

Jewish artists of the Modernist period incorporated current visual language (cubism) into traditional subjects

During the early 20th century Jews figured particularly prominently in the Montparnasse movement, including Marc Chagall.

and Amedeo Modigliani

Felix Nussbaum's famous Self Portrait with Jewish Identity Card (1943). He perished in the Holocaust.

Ben Shahn, a painter of the Diaspora, was known for his involvement in

social causes. Below is his painting Sacco and Vanzetti.

Ben Shahn, synagogue

R.B. Kitaj, If Not

R.B. KItaj, Jewish Rider

Larry Rivers, Portrait of Primo Levi

Post-war American artist Barnett Newman, Black Fire

Rita tied Newman's abstraction to medieval illuminations like the Sarajevo Bible.

Mark Rothko, another of the great post-war abstractionists.

Jewish art comes full circle, one could say

Rita presented slides of many of the renowned Montreal painters of her generation.

Below, a scene by Jack Beder

Louis Muhlstock, rue Ste. Famille

Sam Borenstein, Winter Scene

Sam Borenstein, Summer

Rita Briansky, from her Kaddish series

Rita Briansky, Prayer Shawl, from her Kaddish series

Rita Briansky and Annette Wolfstein-Joseph after the lecture