Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-01-17
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Restored film provides 'Yellow Ticket' to confront discrimination
PERFORMANCE
by Gretchen Rachel Blickensderfer
2013-10-23

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


In the 1918 Victor Jansen silent film The Yellow Ticket, a spirited, intelligent young Jewish girl from Warsaw learns that her father is gravely ill. She tries to take matters into her own hands by attending medical school in tsarist-controlled St. Petersburg. However, in Russia, Jewish women are only permitted to work in the sex trade. Anything else means jail or worse. Lea compromises everything she believes and obtains the yellow passport needed to identify her as a prostitute.

The Foundation for Jewish Culture noted the film as "the first to explore Jewish discrimination in tsarist Russia. Remarkably progressive for its time." It was a natural fit for Alicia Svigals, called the foremost klezmer fiddler in the world, to compose a brand new score for a restored print of the film and perform it live with renowned Canadian jazz pianist Marilyn Lerner. In the film's story, both women saw parallels to their own lives, not as only as female musicians in a male-dominated art form, but as lesbians in a world that still struggles to overcome deep seated prejudice against their lifestyles.

Svigals said that coming out was easy for her, even in the 1980s. "I've always enjoyed being on the margin and it was very helpful to coming out," she said with a laugh. "To be Jewish, gay and a musician, I mean it was the whole package and I was proud of it." Despite believing that the United States is the upward swing of acceptance, she wondered what it would be like go to Russia to perform her music. "I would feel like the protagonist in The Yellow Ticket," she said. "I'd be terrified of the police! It sounds like you can go to jail there for spreading [LGBT] propaganda and my entire being is that propaganda."

For Lerner, who is also training as a psychoanalyst, it's always been about the music, her culture and improvisation, not only on the piano, but in combining known elements in life and taking it in a new direction. "You make a decision to do the best you can for the music." She said. "You don't necessarily get support from society. As a woman, I've had to make a choice not to let bitterness impede my creative energies."

In becoming involved with The Yellow Ticket, Svigals recalled that the film found her: "I'm sure I watched it over 100 times. I thought it was incredible!" With a grant from the Foundation for Jewish Culture ( FJC ), Svigals set about writing a score for the film but soon discovered that this was only the beginning of a painstaking task to present the film as it was meant to be seen. The original German title cards were considered unsuitable for minors by the censors of the day and heavily edited.

After FJC Director Andrew Ingall discovered the full text of the title cards in a German archive, Svigal got to work on a faithful and literal translation. The DVD copy that Sviglas was originally given played at the wrong speed. There were only two 35-millimeter prints left in the world, so Svigals secured one from Germany and helped fund a new digital restoration that ran at the proper speed, making the film 50-percent longer and the only version in existence that is accurate in both speed and translation. "I'd never done anything like this before," Svigals said, "so I became a self-made expert on [film] restoration."

Svigals and Lerner met through Lerner's late partner, Adrienne Cooper, who was recognized as one of this generation's most influential singers and teachers of Yiddish music. "Alicia and I had an instant chemistry." Lerner said. "We were very compatible, both musically and as friends." As she started scoring The Yellow Ticket, Svigals knew that Lerner was a perfect partner for the project because of their mutual and limitless imaginations, combined with Lerner's unique talents as an improviser. "I knew she could take whatever I wrote and expand on it and make it different every time."

Screenings of the film, alongside their performance of the score, have already played to sold out audiences at New York's Lincoln Center.

Now, Svigals and Lerner are bringing it to Chicago for one night only Oct. 26 at the University of Chicago's Logan Center for the Arts.

Lerner said she hopes Chicago audiences will watch the film and wonder if times have changed so much. "Maybe people will look at the film and think that it's not like that anymore," she said. "But, there are a few things in that film that really ring true today. In some ways the prejudice is underground and that's even more dangerous."

Tickets to the screening are free. For more information and to reserve tickets, visit filmstudiescenter.uchicago.edu/events/2013/yellow-ticket.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

2018 MFA Lab theater tackles race, culture, sexuality Wirtz Center 2018-01-22 - EVANSTON, Ill. —- The next generation of American theater directors and designers team up for the 2018 MFA Lab series Feb. 9 through ...


Gay News

Contemporary takes on legendary playwright William Inge coming to Eclipse Theatre 2018-01-22 - Chicago's Eclipse Theatre Company, the only theatre company in the Midwest to focus on a single playwright each season, has announced that they ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Traitor 2018-01-22 - Playwright: Brett Neveu At: A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. Tickets: $30-$35. Runs through: Feb. 25 ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Pioneering gay comic Bob Smith dies 2018-01-21 - Bob Smith—the first openly gay comedian to appear on the Tonight Show—has died after a long struggle with ALS, according to Deadline.com. He ...


Gay News

'Insurrection' echoes Nat Turner's life through present day 2018-01-17 - Try to define playwright Robert O'Hara's Insurrection: Holding History would likely result in confusion. "I've been describing it, like, the playwright ...


Gay News

Julia Sweeney show through March 18 2018-01-17 - Saturday Night Live veteran, author, actor and TED- talk veteran Julia Sweeney will make her stand-up debut this January in a new workshop ...


Gay News

Charles Busch at Pride Arts Jan. 21-22 2018-01-17 - Tony Award nominee, Drama Desk Lifetime Achievement honoree and two-time MAC Award winner, Charles Busch, who performed two sold-out shows at Pride Arts ...


Gay News

WINTER THEATER SPECIAL World-premiere plays start bright and early 2018-01-17 - It might have been the mild snows in the last few years that finally persuaded theater companies to acknowledge winter as a time ...


Gay News

WINTER THEATER SPECIAL Winter classics "true and reimagined 2018-01-17 - The classics—usually meaning plays by dead playwrights which have withstood the test of time—sometimes can be "reimagined" ( to use an au courant ...


Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT My Kinda '60s 2018-01-17 - Playwright, performer and drag legend Charles Busch ( Psycho Beach Party, Die Mommy Die ) returns to Chicago to perform My Kinda '60s. ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.