“White Christmases and Hanukkah Mambos.”

  • Year: 2013
  • Location: Autry National Center, UC Press
  • Collaborators: Autry National Center

Essay and listening stations dedicated to Jewish cross-cultural musical production in Los Angeles.

Because it lacked New York’s established traditions of Yiddish theater and Tin Pan Alley, Los Angeles was something of an open road for American Jews, an urban frontier less shouldered by the weight of Jewish immigrant pasts and full of the possibilities of new beginnings, new communities, and new sounds. In Los Angeles, the greatest musical contribution of American Jews has not been extending or reverting back to a fixed (and fictive) purist notion of “Jewish music,” but in expanding its boundaries by diving head first into the cross-pollinated and inter-ethnic waters of urban popular culture. If New York was where Jews became free of Europe, then L.A. was where they became free of New York.