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The Aftselokhes Spectacle Committee, Jews For Racial and Economic Justice, and The Midtown Workmen's Circle School* Present:


A dazzling Purim Shpil and Masquerade Ball in support of Communities United for Police Reform

On Saturday Feb 23, and Sunday Feb 24, 2013 the Aftselokhes Spectacle Committee and a coterie of celebrity brass bands, rock stars, Yiddishy supernovas, activists, children and jesters of all stripes will present a very ancient, yet totally contemporary Purim masquerade Ball.


Saturday Feb 23 2013  8pm til late
220 36th St, Industry City, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Bands,  Show, Dancing with DjaRARA, Yiddish Princess, The Rude Mechanical Orchestra, and  DJ Ripley!

$12-25 sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of cash or costume

Sunday Feb 24,  3pm
220 36th St, Industry City, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
A quieter sober afternoon performance for kids, families and other lovers of the daylight with Yiddish Princess and Aidge from the Aesthetics Crew
Adults $12-25  Kids $ 5-10 sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of cash or costume, Includes mask and gragger making by Kolot Chayenu / Voices of Our Lives 

Click here for descriptions, photos, articles and audio shows of past JFREJ Purims!

The Purim Ball I SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING: PURIM, PUPPETS, POLITSEY! is an original work of art grounded in the traditional pan-Jewish practice of  dressing up and staging transgressive folk plays in the coldest days of winter.   The plays or “shpiln,” often re-enact the scroll of Esther but remix the ancient plot and characters to deliver a slightly drunken but profound  contemporary critique of  power.  At the heart of the The Aftselokhes Spectacle Committee event is an original handmade Purim Shpil created by a community of 100 participants.  

This year masqueraders can expect mixed media magnificence in the form of  puppets and masks, portable architecture, opulent scenic design, and entertainingly excessive costumes.  There will be fringe elements.  The age spectrum of performers will range from 5-120, if you count. Songs will be performed by soloists and untamed human choruses, and sung in many Jewish languages and styles, including Slavic Yiddish, Judeo-Iranian, Hungarian and Polish Hasidic Hebrew, and English.

The party is created by a collaborative group of artists called The Aftselokhes Spectacle Committee who work with dozens of  activists, artists, educaters, queers, kids, and community volunteers to create A Purim Shpil in an open carnival style mass camp workshop.   “The Spectacle Committee,” originally gathered under the tutelage of visionary Yiddish scholar and beloved Diva Adrienne Cooper (z’l) has been working together for over a decade, in collaboration with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (www.jfrej.org), Great Small Works (www.greatsmallworks.org), Domestic Worker’s United (www.domesticworkersunited.org), and The Workmen’s Circle
( www.circle.org )

In the words of nightlife performer  Ariel Speedwagon,
“There was the year we told the story backwards and talked about immigration. The year we turned the theater into a giant nursery and told the story of the domestic workers propping up the Purim plot, getting the whole audience to write letters to their representatives in support of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. The year the condo zombies took over. The intense commitment to making our own Jewish rituals. The intense commitment to political integrity. The intense commitment to making something awesome for our whole community. It's even been featured in the New York Times as an example of political art done right.”

This year’s Purim Shpil was created in support of Communities United For Police Reform (www.changethenypd.org). The process began with a “Farbrengen,” a joyful gathering where 50 New Yorkers of all stripes came together to eat, sing, and educate themselves on issues of policing in NYC, from stop & frisk to Islamophobic surveillance; to harassment of non gender conforming people,  to immigrants,  sex workers, and anyone participating in political activism more generally including the Occupy Movement.  Speakers from the Justice Committee, the New York Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and Milk Not Jails provided content, and singers from diverse Jewish communities taught songs.

The Aftselokhes Spectacle Committee and their partners Jews for Racial And Economic Justice, The Midtown Workmen’s Circle School, Great Small Works, Domestic Workers United Culture Committee, Kolot Chayenu/Voices of Our Lives, and a crew of flamboyant citizen artists pulled the imagery and style of the Purim shpil from this community conversation.  Each puppet comes from an idea, ten people worked on each puppet and viola!  In 30 days A Purim Puppet Police Procedural emerged with multiple cliffhangers and analysis designed to create the political will to transform biased policing in NYC

Purim is the Jewish festival of spring fever, of masquerade and parodies of all sacred things. It centers on the Scroll of Esther, the Megillah, a burlesque of a story that wears the mask of being a factual history. For centuries Jews have made homemade pageants like ours to tell this story and to talk about overreach—about how the powerful turn abysmally stupid and bring about their own destruction. But Purim also has a mystical side, and we learn from the Purim rabbis that this holiday is a campy stare at what scares us the most, in ourselves and in the world. It must be taken seriously. There are many paths to holy disorder, many routes to the place of perfect misunderstanding. The more we move towards what scares us, explore and embody it, the more we are entering into the practice of Purim and the more deeply we will be renewed.  So set your watch to the wrong time, dress up topsy-turvy, and meet us between 8 and late at 220 36th street in Industry City, Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

The Aftselokhes Spectacle Committee is Avi Fox-Rosen, Anna Jacobs, Daniel Rosza Lang/Levitsky, Dr. Rachel Mattson, Abigail Miller, Jenny Romaine, Alma Sheppard-Matsuo, Aleza Summit, Hannah Temple, and Zachary Wager Scholl. 

220 36th St, Industry City, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
D/N/R to 36th St
Food by Domestic Workers United, and Tacos De Don Goyo
Information: www.jfrej.org , fb JFREJ Purimshpiel - Aftselokhis Spectacle Committee, or www.spectaclecommittee.org
Press Contact:

Marjorie Dove Kent
marjorie [at] jfrej [dot] org
(347) 977 7011

Avi Fox-Rosen
frosenox [at] gmail [dot] com

The project was made possible by the generous support of the New York State Council on the Arts.

*The Midtown Workmen’s Circle School is a member of the Workmen’s Circle / Arbeter Ring network of Signature Schools. www.circle.org