Ariel Luckey will perform his klezmer hip-hop in "Cabaret by the Bay" at JCC East Bay, Nov. 5.
Ariel Luckey will perform his klezmer hip-hop in "Cabaret by the Bay" at JCC East Bay, Nov. 5.

Yiddish culture, including Klezmer hip-hop, celebrated at ‘Cabaret by the Bay’

Los Gatos residents can start shining their dance shoes for “Cabaret by the Bay,” which will bring Yiddish music, dance, comedy and culture to the Addison-Penzak JCC for a day of celebration on Sunday, Oct. 22. It’s the first time the event is being held in the South Bay city.

A second cabaret — with a slightly different lineup — will be held Nov. 5 at the JCC of the East Bay in Berkeley.

The events are produced by KlezCalifornia, an organization founded in 2003 with a mission of connecting people to Yiddish culture. The cabaret, now in its fourth year, is an offshoot of KlezCalifornia’s popular Yiddish Culture Festival.

Judy Kunofsky, the organization’s executive director, said the idea is to evoke the exciting ambiance of a 1920s or ’30s cabaret in Berlin — including some boundary-pushing acts but minus the haze of cigarette smoke. “We’re trying to get that [old-timey] atmosphere,” she said.

Kunofsky said both shows will be appropriate for children.

The events will be emceed by Andy Muchin and feature a range of Yiddish-based entertainment from around the Bay Area. In Los Gatos, classically trained soprano Heather Klein will sing Yiddish songs, and comic performer and juggler Sara Felder will offer her take on the vaudeville tradition.

To satisfy hunger pangs, knishes and egg creams will be sold onsite by House of Bagels.

Berkeley will hear the klezmer hip-hop of Ariel Luckey, who has a new CD out, as well as the folk fiddle of Joshua Laurenzi and the comedy of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy MC Lisa Geduldig.

Both cabarets will end with dancing led by longtime Bay Area dance teacher Bruce Bierman, an audience participation event that brings things to a close on a high note, Kunofsky said.

“Cabaret by the Bay,” 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22 at Addison-Penzak JCC, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos. $18-$25. Also 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5 at JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. $10-$25. klezcalifornia.org

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.