From Nov ’09 Spotlight: “Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht.” warns the old Yiddish proverb (“Man plans, God laughs.”). But the Chicago Humanities Festival is daring to call His bluff anyway, organizing an entire month of programs on the subject of laughter. And yes, of course, Jews are everywhere on the schedule, serving as both practitioners of comedy and scholars thereof.
CONCERT: TRIBUTE TO MICKEY KATZ (on Sat 11/14)
Mickey Katz was one of the great musical comics of the 1950s, combining Yiddish lyrics and popular songs in giddy cultural mash-ups like “Duvid Crockett” (“Duvid, Duvid Crockett, King of Delancy Street!”), “Old Black Smidgick” (“That same old chaserei when your eyes meet mine!”), and my personal favorite “Barber of Schlemiel” (“I schnip off de payos!”).
In 1993, African-American jazz musician Don Byron rediscovered Katz, and brought his “Greatest Shticks” back to life with a new group of klezmer virtuosos.
AND MORE: The 2009 Chicago Humanities Festival opened on Oct 17 and will run through November 15. For more information, call (312) 661-1028. To purchase tickets online, visit: www.chicagohumanities.org.