Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Mike Myers Introduces New Generation to Shep Gordon

A FEW MONTHS AGO I GOT a voicemail from a publicist in Los Angeles. She told me that she stumbled upon my PopJewish.com blog on the web, read some of my posts, and thought I'd enjoy watching a movie she was promoting. I returned the call and we talked a little about Hollywood icon Shep Gordon and the film about him that Mike Myers directed.

I quickly agreed to screen an advance of the movie and within a week I received a copy of "Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon". I put the film on one of my monitors and continued to do some work on the other. Well that lasted for about 30 seconds until my full attention was directed to the very Jewish looking guy on the screen who sounded a little like Larry David with a nasal infection.

I was hooked. The film has interviews from some of Hollywood's biggest celebrities talking about why Shep Gordon is such a great guy (read: mensch). This biography documentary could easily have felt like a bar mitzvah tribute video, albeit to a seventy-year-old Hollywood agent, but Myers succeeded in making this a truly touching film that shows the best parts of Hollywood.

For several decades Shep Gordon was a Hollywood agent to the likes of Alice Cooper, Anne Murray, Groucho Marx, Luther Vandross, Blondie, Raquel Welch and even Pink Floyd (for only 9 days).

Shep Gordon

Later in his career he developed the concept of the "Celebrity Chef" with his client Emeril Lagasse. But more than a name-dropping history lesson in how a trumpanick of a kid becomes a successful agent in Hollywood, this film is a warm, touching story of a guy who really was a mensch.

Throughout his diverse career Shep Gordon gave out "coupons" to help people out. These were favors or loans that he'd float to help out his friends in difficult times. When the great Groucho Marx was struggling after his career was over, Shep cashed in some of these coupons to help out the legendary comedian.

Continue reading on Blog.RabbiJason.com


Rabbi Jason Miller, a co-founder of PopJewish.com, is an educator, entrepreneur and blogger. He also writes the Jewish Techs blog. He is president of Access Computer Technology. Follow him on Twitter at @RabbiJason.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Mick Jagger Knows Some Hebrew (Apparently)

MICK JAGGER, KEITH RICHARDS AND THE REST of the Rolling Stones gave Israelis a real treat the other night in Tel Aviv when they performed a sold out concert at Hayarkon Park.

David Horovitz of the Times of Israel put together a list of Mick Jagger's Hebrew expressions throughout the night. (To be fair, some of the words are Arabic.) Based on what most attendees have told me, his pronunciation was near perfect revealing that he must have had some good coaching and practiced the phrases before taking the stage right after the conclusion of the Shavuot holiday.

Here's Horovitz's list (in order of appearance):

1. Erev Tov Tel Aviv (Good evening Tel Aviv). A modest opening foray, delivered two songs in. Quickly followed by…

2. Chag Shavuot Sameach, Yisrael (Happy Shavuot, Israel). Already impressive. A festive greeting. A mention of Israel. And those awkward guttural sounds mastered on CHag and SameaCH.

3. Anachnu HaAvanim Hamitgalgalot (Literally: We are the Rolling Stones). Yup, we knew that. We just didn’t know he knew how to say it in our language.

4. Todah. Shukran (Thank you, in Hebrew and Arabic). Delivered after an aching “Angie.” We were the thankful ones.
Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones perform in Tel Aviv [Photo: EPA]

5. Hakol Sababa? (All good?). Excellent Arabic slang, invoked anxiously after “Paint It Black.” Reassured by a huge cheer that everything was indeed sababa, Jagger gave us a rich cockney “ohhhh kayy!”

The Rolling Stones guitarist, Ronnie Wood, during the band's concert in Tel Aviv, Israel, on June 4, 2014. (Photo credit: Flash 90)
The Rolling Stones guitarist, Ronnie Wood, during the band’s concert in Tel Aviv, Israel, on June 4, 2014. (Photo credit: Flash 90)

6. Kanita Na’alayim Bashuk? (Did you buy shoes in the market?) The evening’s undoubted Hebrew highlight, asked of a presumably uncomprehending Ronnie Wood, who was wearing nifty orange sneakers. There was no audible reply, in Hebrew or any other language.

7. Lisa Fischer maksima (The lovely Lisa Fischer). Backing vocalist extraordinaire. One of only two musicians to merit a Jagger Hebrew introduction, the other being…

8. Al Hatupim (On the drums) Charlie Watts. Special treatment because, two days earlier, Jagger told us, it had been Charlie’s…

9. Yom Huledet (Birthday)! The audience responded with a raucous Hebrew rendition of “Happy Birthday” and the usually inscrutable drummer smiled, very broadly, like a bashful school kid. He’s 73, by the way.

10. Atem Nehenim? (Are you having a good time?) After a rousing “Gimme Shelter,” you betcha!

11. Atem Kahal Meturaf (You’re a Crazy Audience). A compliment as we neared the end, between “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Brown Sugar.”

12. Layla Tov, Ve’Shalom Tel Aviv (Goodnight and goodbye Tel Aviv). Mick’s final Hebrew utterances as the band disappeared. They reappeared for two encore songs, but the Jagger Hebrew vocabulary had been exhausted, leaving only the eternal question, Did Ronnie Wood buy his sneakers in the market?

David Horovitz is the founding editor of The Times of Israel. He previously edited The Jerusalem Post (2004-2011) and The Jerusalem Report (1998-2004). He is the author of "Still Life with Bombers" (2004) and "A Little Too Close to God" (2000), and co-author of "Shalom Friend: The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin (1996).