Roger L. Simon

Getting Down at the Yiddish Festival

On weekends, Sheryl and I seem to end up in LA’s Little Tokyo more often than not – and not just because of Madeleine’s precocious love of sushi. There often seems to be something interesting happening there and this Sunday it was, of all things, the Yiddishkayt Festival. Well, that’s my culture and I’m always up for a little klezmer music, so we headed down. But we weren’t prepared for the group below led by Josh “Socalled” Dolgin on the accordion. His band played a mixture of gospel, hiphop and klezmer – and it worked! But there’s no surprise, really. Blacks and Jews have been piggy-backing off each others’ music since the beginning of the last century – although I have to admit we got more from them than vice-versa. Still, Gershwin didn’t do so bad with it. I wonder what he would have made of the Socalled Band. I bet he would have dug them. I sure did.

mad.jpgWhen the music wound down, we found more to do at the Festival, discovering this fascinating expostion of how some Jewish-American authors worked in Los Angeles thirty or forty years back… You know, back during the Vietnam Era. Here’s Madeleine demonstrating how to write a National Guard memo on an original Olympic Typewriter.