I'm finally catching up on the ShaBlog after a week of Jewish music events here in Manhattan, organized by Oyhoo in the New York Jewish Music and Heritage Festival. On Monday, September 11, I attended the Jewish Music Awards at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. I was also a member of the board of journalists who nominated and voted for the finalists in each category.
The show was hosted by actress and comedienne, Jackie Hoffman, whose musical interludes, such as "You're Not Buddhist, You're Jewish!", kept the audience entertained after somewhat awkward moments in the show.
Admittedly, while the venue was fantastic, and the live performances were superb, the event was poorly attended, which often resulted in embarrassingly weak audience reaction and applause. This reserved audience phenomenon became apparent when the talented DJ rap artist BennyBwoy and his highly energized crew of Jamaican jammers put their groove on the stage, only to be met with befuddlement from the audience, who were not hip enough to translate the Jamaican dialectic requests to join in with clapping or echoing "ho, ho!" I'm not sure why so few people attended the show ... It could have been the price, or a lack of promotion, or not enough interest being generated in these upcoming Jewish artists. But for some reason I was reminded of a scene from This Is Spinal Tap, when their band manager lamented, "I’ve told them a hundred times: put ‘Spinal Tap’ first and ‘Puppet Show’ last!"
After the show, I took a moment to walk by the September 11 light memorial nearby. As I gazed skyward, my eyes following the vertical path of these beams of light, I could see highly luminescent objects fluttering about. They looked like spirits trapped in an ethereal cage. I'm not sure what I was seeing, but I suspect it was moths, attracted by the light. It reminded me of all the office papers that blew around in the sky after the towers fell five years ago.
Friend and fellow blogger Esther Kustanowitz was there, too. She writes,
We have had our pillars of smoke and fire, which led us into chaos and despair; now we have our pillars of light, our luminescent hope that extends forever into the heavens, melting together at the top and seeming to form rungs. We climb, unsure of where we'll end up, but we use the ladder because it is our legacy.