December 19, 2012
twitter.com/tentsiteContact: Corinne Fay
The Lisa Ekus Group
The first in a series of innovative week-long workshops for Jewish twentysomethings
Who wouldn’t want a week of free workshops, free tickets to shows, and smart, funny, meaningful discussions with brilliant teachers and a group of like-minded peers?
Tent: Comedy will take place in Los Angeles, CA – Jews and comedy have been synonymous in modern America for more than a century. How Americans laugh owes much to Jewish performers and writers. What’s the connection between Jews and comedy? Where does the Jewish drive for laughter come from? Is there such a thing as “Jewish humor?” And how did it shape American humor? These are the questions that Tent: Comedy seeks to explore.
Tent: Comedy is a week-long workshop in the theory and practice of comedy through a Jewish lens in Los Angeles, CA, March 17–24, 2013. Participants will explore stand-up, improv, and sketch forms with the country’s leading comedy troupes. Morning sessions led by Tony Michels (Univ. of Wisconsin) will explore theories of Jewish comedy from Sigmund Freud to Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, with screenings of classic performances from the dialect comedians of Vaudeville to the legendary performers of the Borsht Belt, and contemporary Jewish comedians on radio, television, and the internet. Participants will have the chance to talk shop with Jill Soloway and others in the field. Evenings will be spent attending comedy shows at premier venues such as Largo, Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater, and The Improv.
Tent: Comedy offers a chance for Jewish twentysomethings who are interested in comedy to discuss their ideas, to network with professionals in the field, and to gain a better understanding of the history of Jews and comedy. Tent, a program of the Yiddish Book Center, is offered free to accepted participants; the only cost is travel. Applications and information are available at tentsite.org. Applications for Tent: Comedy, the first program, are due January 7, 2013 and can be submitted online here. Tent is funded through the generous support of Judy and Michael Steinhardt.
What is Tent? Tent offers twentysomethings a chance to explore their area of interest through the lens of Jewish culture. Tent is an immersive, intense, series of week-long workshops for young Jewish adults focusing on comedy (Los Angeles in March), creative writing (Amherst, MA in June), and theater (New York City in August). Accepted applicants will have the chance to spend a week with an incredible scholar, in an amazing place, going to Broadway shows, LA comedy clubs, or sitting in an apple orchard writing short stories. Each workshop is offered free to the twenty accepted participants—tuition, lodging, and food are all covered.
An appreciation of Jewish culture can be a portal into deeper and more informed Jewish self-awareness. Tent aims to offer young North American Jews a new way of seeing their Jewishness: as something deep, rich, alive, and inseparable from cultural forms to which they are already committed. As Josh Lambert, Tent‘s Program Director, explains “Modern culture can inspire us to think imaginatively about what Jewishness means. And vice versa. Many of the young Jews I know feel more connected to Jewish culture than to religion or politics. Tent will be about exploring how these cultural enthusiasms–for comedy, cooking, law, and so many other fields–can become a bigger part of a broader discussion of what it means to be Jewish.”
According to Lambert, “The paucity of substantive Jewish cultural education for twentysomethings is emphatically not the result of apathy. When it comes to cultural expression, Jews in their twenties are anything but apathetic. Go to a stand-up comedy show, an indie rock concert, or an Off-Off-Broadway performance and you’ll find throngs of effusive young Jews. Glance through the stacks of applications to MFA programs and you’ll discover hundreds of Jewish young people competing for the opportunity to discuss literature or art. Speak to law students about tort reform, or to young foodies about local produce: the passion is already there.”
Tent is offering two other programs in 2013:
Tent: Creative Writing, which is modeled on the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, will be geared toward aspiring and practicing writers and will take place at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, June 2-9, 2013. Have your fiction workshopped by your peers and critically acclaimed visiting writers, talk about why Jews are such a bookish people and why they’ve done so much writing, meet a New York-based literary agent and the NEA’s literature director Ira Silverberg, and more.
Tent: Theater is a week-long seminar about Jews and performance in New York City, August 4-11, 2013. Participants will meet actors, playwrights, and directors, will participate in a Q&A with playwright Tony Kushner, and will attend several current theatrical productions, Off-Broadway and elsewhere.
Josh Lambert, Tent‘s program director, and Aaron Lansky, founder of the Yiddish Book Center, are available for interview or comment. Please contact The Lisa Ekus Group for more information firstname.lastname@example.org or 413.247.9325
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