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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Jews Who Rock

Visual meets sonic at Jewish Museum of Milwaukee

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The Jewish Museum of Milwaukee celebrates 60 years of Jews in popular music with an exhibit that features hometown hero, the late Howie Epstein, bassist with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, alongside legends like Bob Dylan and Bill Graham as well as current hit makers Drake and Pink.

Begging the musical question “What makes someone Jewish?,” the exhibit features archival materials, photographs, albums and musical instruments. A section on New York and punk rock recognizes influential artists Lou Reed, The Ramones (Joey Ramone aka Jeffrey Hyman), Blondie (Chris Stein) and the Patti Smith Group (Lenny Kaye).

According to curator Molly Dubin, the exhibit explores folks behind the scenes like Milwaukee DJ Lee Rothman, songwriter Carole King and synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog as well as current artists like Drake who recreated his bar mitzvah in a video.

Students from 53rd Street School offered artwork reflecting their perceptions of current Jewish artists while panoramic photographs of Summerfest and Alpine Valley concerts bring it all back home. The mystique of the cantor, from ancient times to the first talking movie The Jazz Singer, reflects a broad historical view, said JMM Education Director Ellie Gettinger, citing Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” and its riff on Isaiah, Chapter 21.

“Jews Who Rock” will be on display through Aug. 10 at the Jewish Museum of Milwaukee, 1360 N. Prospect Ave.