Metropolitan Klezmer

Contact Us

Eve Sicular
sicular(at)gmail.com

(212) 475-4544 (p)
(347) 804-4439 (m)

Rhythm Media Records
151 First Ave #145
NY NY 10003

2017–18 Shows

Brief News

"Music from Yiddish Cinema" performance for an overflow audience at The Bruno Walter Auditorium of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

Falcon Ridge Folk Festival debut — for the 1st time in the beloved Festival's 28 years that Yiddish music has been featured! We performed on both the main stage and (w/ dance leader Avia Moore) the dance stage Sun. afternoon, Aug. 7.

[More News]

The Yiddish Celluloid Closet

The Celluloid Closet of Yiddish film began as a Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review research article by Eve Sicular back in 1994. She first presented this material as a video-clips lecture for Frameline Festival in June of that year. Eve has since brought this program to over 50 screens from universities to synagogues to media and community centers as well as dozens of film festivals. See the full list of venues and publications

Despite the taboo surrounding homosexuality, the topic was too intriguing to be left entirely out of the Yiddish picture. An exploration of lesbian and gay subtext in Yiddish cinema during its heyday, from the 1920's to the outbreak of World War II, reveals distinctly Jewish concerns of the time intertwined with a striking array of allusions to this highly-charged subject. From musical comedies such as YIDL MITN FIDL (Yidl With His Fiddle) and AMERIKANER SHADKHN (American Matchmaker) to classic dramas DER DIBUK (The Dybbuk) and DER VILNER SHTOT-KHAZN (Overture To Glory), queerness reached the screen in various guises, emerging as an alternate take on themes of conflicted identity, passing and same-sex attachments. Discussion of these and other gems of the Yiddish screen, as well as such features as RADIO DAYS, COLONEL REDL, CROSSFIRE, and GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT, will be accompanied by clips from selected films and period home movies.



The Metropolitan Klezmer video of Muzikalisher Tango, intercutting live concert performance with pivotal revelatory moments in the nightclub scene of Yiddish screwball comedy AMERIKANER SHADKHN, (American Matchmaker, 1940) was selected by British online magazine New Music Express for a Best of YouTube reposting.

Film archivist/historian Eve Sicular has lectured throughout North America & Europe on Yiddish and Soviet cinema. A former curator of Film and Photography Archives at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, she has also worked for the Department of Film at MoMA on the series Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds. She received a magna cum laude from Harvard-Radcliffe College for her thesis on the compilation film work of early Soviet documentary pioneer Esther Shub.

Eve has published numerous articles and anthology essays on the subject of queer subtext in Yiddish cinema, as well as lecturing on this topic at film festivals, scholarly conferences, media centers and universities across North America and Europe. Her 1994 study A YINGL MIT A YINGL HOT EPES A TAM: The Celluloid Closet of Yiddish Film published in The Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review, applies The Celluloid Closet author Vito Russo's research on homosexuality in the movies to examples found in Yiddish culture.

Yiddish Film PosterIn Gender Rebellion in Yiddish Film for Lilith magazine (1995), she examines the crossdressing careers of Molly Picon and other performers. In 1996, her Outing the Archives piece appeared in Davka magazine's special sexuality issue while Found Footage, Hidden Meanings: On Queer Subtext, Yiddish Films and Subcultural Recycling was published in Toronto's Mix arts journal. Revised versions of these articles have appeared as two essays in the British anthology When Joseph Met Molly: A Reader on Yiddish Film (1999, Five Leaves Publications, Nottingham). She has also contributed a new essay to the Lambda Literary Award-nominated Queer Jews anthology (Routledge Press, 2002) describing her experiences spanning Jewish and queer cultural worlds as both a film scholar and klezmer bandleader.

The Yiddish Celluloid Closet is also Eve Sicular's serendipitous Ashkenazic homage to the work of film maven, cultural and political activist Vito Russo (1946–1990), author and presenter of the original CELLULOID CLOSET and later co-founder of ACT UP. Vito's book, first published in 1981, was a tremendous inspiration to Eve, who read it in 1984 and first saw Vito present his Celluloid Closet clips lecture at the University of Oregon in 1986. She brought Vito back to the Pacific Northwest for his Seattle debut in June 1989 at the Museum of History and Industry, forming Popcorn Sister Productions to make this show possible.

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