created at: 2011-01-18

Last week, some 150 Jewish cultural organizations, artists, musicians, dancers and agents got together for the 5th Annual ShmoozeFest. With folks there from the JCC, the New Center from Arts and Culture, and the Jewish Music Festival, Boston was well represented. The key point of this event is to share ideas and see some artist showcases.  Here’s what struck me.

Both The Sway Machinery and The Kohane of Newark are groups that deserve wider attention. Yet few people know their work. Check them out, and maybe we’ll get them to Boston next year. And Frank London, who will be coming to BJMF in March, is simply an amazing trumpet player and seeker of Jewish music.


When it comes to innovative programming, BJMF and the Chutzpah Festival in Vancouver are leading the field and have so much in common. We are already talking about being bookends for a tour for Koby Oz’s Psalms for the Perplexed project in 2012. There was also talk about having a BJMF Klezmer Idol for local amateur klezmer bands with the winner getting a slot to perform at the International Jewish Music Festival in Amsterdam — of course, I am available to chaperone!

Also, with, Boston is absurdly ahead of other Jewish communities for social media.

And last but not least, I found an AMAZING little french bistro called Rouge et Blanc on McDougall Street. It just opened in November and the owner/wineguy grew up in Rhode Island. The food is fabulous and reasonable. But most of all, it is just a pleasure to talk to someone who is SOOOO enjoying what he is doing with his life.  I know the feeling.

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