Ann Katz Festival of Books 

Ann Katz Festival of Books
Jewish Community Center
Oct. 25-Nov. 16

Heavy weight boxing champion Joe Louis, “The Bunny Hop” and pink packet Sweet and Low; stand-up comedy, locker room workouts, compassionate community credos; lessons from paper clips, stories in stone. Topics at the Ann Katz Festival of Books cover a wide spectrum through lectures, films and exhibitions during this month-long free offering of literary and cultural events mainly at the Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center, 6701 Hoover Road. Books are for sale at the JCC.

Free public programs
• “In Yankee Stadium, nearly 70,000 fans [leaned] forward on their seats … In Indianapolis, bar owners along Indiana Avenue moved their radios out to the sidewalk. Throughout the rest of the world, a hundred million people or more … [gathered] around their radios … Everything else suddenly [ceased] to matter” on June 22, 1938. at 10 p.m. but Joe Louis, U.S., vs. Max Schmeling, Germany, for the world heavy weight boxing championship.

Beyond Glory delivers a walloping story of the event, what led up to it and its aftermath. It’s as fast-paced as the Louis knockout. Author David Margolick says it’s a book about the world at the brink of two revolutions — WWII and the Civil Rights Movement. He wants to jolt us out of a “kind of historical amnesia” about an era, an event and a personality. Margolick describes his seven-year research journey on Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m. at the JCC.

• Post WWII Philadelphia was a sizzling hotbed of popular music and Bob Horn’s radio show, Bandstand, was fanning the flames. Expansion onto fledgling television offered teen Harvey Sheldon an opportunity to dance live with a core of kids from all sections of the city. One day, Sheldon and his partner, Dimples, were asked to create a dance to a new Ray Anthony song, “The Bunny Hop.” What they choreographed in 1952 hasn’t stopped. Catch Sheldon’s larger-than-life-personality at the JCC Nov. 9 at 1 p.m.

• “Everyone in my family tells this story, but everyone starts it in a different way.” Rich Cohen rips open the petite pink-packet and lets the saccharine and dextrose powder slip out. It’s an un-pretty saga about a 1950s short-order cook and his extended family caught in a politics of criminal behavior at the cusp of obesity and diet crazes. Cohen, a contributing editor to Rolling Stone, places Sweet and Low: A Family Story in the context of social history on Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the JCC.

• “I wish my thighs were smaller.” The American woman’s hate-relationship with her body is brazenly exposed by fitness-crazed Leslie Goldman in a slender volume destined to make everyone ashamed of fixations on self when the world is in dire need of a cadre of people working to diminish widespread disease, hunger, poverty. The prevalence of obesity along with eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia when millions elsewhere are starving and thousands right here in the U.S. go hungry is a sad commentary. Goldman opens the conversation on Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the JCC with Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth about Women, Body Image and Re-imagining the “Perfect” Body.

• The Compassionate Community: Ten Values to Unite America presents a workable antidote to fixation on self. “Today’s values debate has strayed far from the spiritually significant values of love and compassion for others. Indeed, the human emotions most associated with the values debate are just the opposite: anger and fear,” observes Jonathan Miller. “Sex and its consequences” take precedence over Jesus’ affirmation “that we can tell the righteous from the damned by whether they had fed the hungry, given the thirsty something to drink, clothed the naked, visited the prisoner and welcomed the stranger.” Miller, Kentucky state treasurer, speaks Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m.

• Other authors programs include:
Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m., JCC, Michael Wex, author of Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods
Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m., JCC, Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein, Gonzo Judaism: A Bold Path for Renewing an Ancient Faith
Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m., JCC, Ruth Andrew Ellenson (editor), The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt
Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m., JCC, Kati Marton, The Great Escape: Nine Hungarians Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World

• Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m., JCC, Live and Become tells the dramatic 1985 “Operation Moses” story of airlifting Ethiopian Jewish refugees to Israel.
• Nov. 5, 9:45 a.m., JCC, The Lessons of Paper Clips describes how students in a Tennessee rural community “open their eyes to the diversity of the world beyond their insulated valley.”
• Nov. 5, 7:30 p.m., JCC, three short films: Advice and Dissent is about a husband’s family frustrations; West Bank Story is a love story; Bubbeh Lee & Me shows a grandson-grandmother bonding.

• Oct. 28, 1:30 p.m., JCC, Remembrance, Faith and Fancy: Outdoor Public Sculpture in Indiana by Glory-June Greiff

• Oct. 29, 7 p.m., JCC, “Writing for Publication” with Indy Men’s Magazine editor Lou Harry
• Nov. 12, 11 a.m., JCC, brunch with Marilynn and Sheila Brass includes a cooking demonstration. Bring your antique cookbooks and utensils for free appraisals. Brunch is $5.
• Nov. 14, 6:15 p.m., Bureau of Jewish Education, 6711 Hoover Road, program by author Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and illustrator Joani Keller Rothenberg of Butterflies Under Our Hats, for ages 4-8 with parents. $5 adults, $3 children, register by Nov. 8 at 317-251-9467, ext. 227 or

A Voice Silenced is a stark accounting of renowned opera singer Leonore Schwarz Neumaier and her surviving son and his family, in dual exhibitions at the Indianapolis Art Center and the Jewish Community Center, through Nov. 16. Photographer Diane Neumaier shares her “deeply personal experience of exploring and honoring the life of her grandmother” who perished in the Nazi Majdanek death camp in 1942. The two-part installation includes photographs of Leonore in famous contralto roles, including Carmen, Prince Orlovsky and Queen Amnerus, and posters, reviews and printed programs along with personal memorabilia. It seems like any ordinary testament to a great artist except that having any of the artifacts to show is a miracle. Why Leonora was denied a U.S. visa despite her fame, and how her trunks got to the U.S. when she couldn’t, is a heartrending reflection on U.S. attitudes that are the same now as they were 70 years ago.

A public lecture, “The Making of A Voice Silenced,” by Diane Neumaier will be presented at the IAC Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.; 317-255-2464,

A public lecture, “One Voice, Many Voices: The Holocaust and Remembrance of My Mother and My German-Jewish Childhood,” by Dr. John Neumaier will be presented at the JCC Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.; 317-251-9467,

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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