NEW YORK (6NoBacon) — Jay-Z lit up the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn not only with his performance but a menorah. The rapper, a part owner of the arena and its main tenants, the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, put in a special request for his debut performance, wanting to light a candle for each of the eight nights he performed there (even with Chanukah nearly two months away). Who provided the menorah? That would be Brooklynite Amit Wehle, whose brother-in-law is the concert producer. Before the first show, Jay-Z stopped by Wehle’s apartment to thank him and offer two VIP tickets to his performance the next night. Also noteworthy at the new arena: two homecoming concerts by Barbra Streisand, a native of the borough’s Flatbush section.
Mila Kunis, Sexiest Woman Alive
Mila Kunis, tapped by Esquire as the “Sexiest Woman Alive,” in an interview with the magazine said she is fed up with talking about her personal story emigrating from Ukraine with her Jewish family at age 8. The fashion, television and movie star acknowledges that her story of escaping anti-Semitism and post-Soviet chaos is interesting, but says it’s not unique. “I find it incredibly interesting, but I want you to go walk down Fairfax" Avenue in Los Angeles. "And every. Single. One. Of those people has a similar story," she said. "My immigration story is being made into something bigger than it needs to be.” Anyway, Kunis said, she is too young to discuss the matter. “I feel awful talking about it because my parents should sit down and talk about it. They’re the ones who went through hell and back, who gave everything up. I didn’t do anything," she said. "I was eight years old, and I tagged along. And my parents made me feel safe. I didn’t make those decisions. So I can’t take responsibility for it.”
New baby tapir in Israel
Yet another adorable baby animal was born at the Ramat Gan Safari near Tel Aviv. This time its a South American tapir, a large browsing mammal similar in shape to a pig, with a short, prehensile snout. Pinhas, born earlier this week, weighed about 9 pounds when his mother, Passiflora (Hebrew for passion fruit) gave birth to him; his father, Meir, had to be removed to ensure the newborn’s safety. Last year, Passiflora gave birth to Pinhas’ older sister, Papaya. (It’s a tradition at the venue to give a newborn a name that starts with the first letter of the mother’s name.) The South American tapirs are considered an endangered species.
Jerry Stiller’s high school Hitler
In an interview with the New York Post, comedian Jerry Stiller (Frank Costanza of “Seinfeld” fame) talked about growing up as a Jewish kid in the 1930s on New York’s Lower East Side. During high school, Stiller revealed, he played a role that affected his career choice. “I was a very staid guy. My luck of the draw was that I had an English teacher named Mrs. Stiller. She was my father’s aunt, and she cast me in a play called ‘Hitler Goes to Heaven’ in which I played Adolf Hitler," he said. "It got a huge response from everybody in the school. We had to do it twice. My God! It made me aware of the audience.”
‘The Dictator’ playing Queen’s lead man
Sacha Baron Cohen is about to take a step back from the crazy movie roles for which he is known to portray legendary rocker Freddie Mercury in an upcoming film. While rumors about Cohen’s role as the late lead singer of Queen started spreading two years ago, confirmation finally came last week. The band’s legendary curly-haired guitarist Brian May assured fans that the film will be released in 2014. There is no word yet if Sacha will shave his trademark bushy moustache for the role.
Shaffer leaving Letterman?
Paul Shaffer has been working for three decades as the musical director for late night host David Letterman, but in a recent interview he revealed that the special relationship may end soon. Shaffer, the zany band leader for Letterman since 1982, told TV Guide Canada, “We’ve been on 30 years, so now we’ve got another two years … I’m going to be certainly ready to lie down after that, take a nap. However, the decision is not close to being final, Life is nutty, anything can happen.” Shaffer added, “I’ve been so lucky and blessed to be working this long in show business. And whatever happens now is just gravy to me.”
Lena Dunham’s crazy book deal
Lena Dunham has become one of comedy’s biggest stars, something only reaffirmed by her recent $3.7 million book deal. The Jewish actor and writer signed the mega-deal with Random House Publishing last week for for her upcoming book, "Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned." Some critics are saying the deal is over the top; the expectations that come with it might fit that category, too. Random House must sell 1 million copies to break even. However, similar book deals have been issued to big Hollywood characters such as Tina Fey, whose "Bossy Pants" sold more than 2 million copies, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Dunham’s fat package comes with the expectation that she will, and must, become the new Fey.
Rick Ross love the Jews
American rapper Rick "Rozay" Ross made a nod to Judaism by releasing his highly anticipated and semi-controversial mixtape, "The Black Bar Mitzvah." The album cover features a photo of Rozay embedded in a Star of David, as well as collaborations with other hip-hop artists such as Drake, Pharrell and Diddy. Drake, who is Jewish, is partially responsible for making the bar mitzvah a rap thing with his award-winning music video “HYFR,” in which he recelebrated his own bar mitzvah.
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