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Cross-Cultural Agenda

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Nov. 3, 2008
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What do you get when you cross a cook, a comedian and a children's book illustrator? The answer is the eighth annual Jewish Book and Culture Fair, which runs Nov. 6 through Nov. 20 at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) and features all of the above and much more.

For two weeks the JCC will host artistic and literary events aimed at all ages and backgrounds, including a demonstration on Nov. 13 by Robin Preiss Glasser-illustrator of the best-selling Fancy Nancy children's book series; a discussion and cooking demonstration by culinary sisters Marilynn and Sheila Brass on Nov. 20 and a presentation on Nov. 10 by Evan Handler of "Sex and the City," who authored It's Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive.

The latter highlights the fair's cross-cultural agenda. "What we always try and do is create a program that includes something for everyone's taste, whether it's histrionics, entertainment or the practicalities of every day-like cooking-to Judaica," says Molly Dubin, JCC cultural arts director. "[Handler] is contemplating how one can live happily in the knowledge that time is limited, which of course is a universal concept."

Event headliner Martin Fletcher should certainly appeal to anyone interested in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the genocide in Rwanda, the U.S. war with Afghanistan or the invasion of the latter by the Soviet army in the early '80s. These are just a few of the humanitarian and natural crises the NBC News Tel Aviv bureau chief has witnessed over the course of his three-decade career. Fletcher will be speaking about his experiences and his new book, Breaking News, on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m.

For the second year running, the book fair will also coincide with the JCC's Fall Art Expo, showcasing artwork by Israeli, Midwestern and Milwaukee artists. The Expo runs from Nov. 8 to 10 and kicks off with a concert by the Afro-Semitic Experience at 8 p.m. on Saturday. For ticket prices and detailed schedule information, go to www.jccmilwaukee.org.

If you've been waiting for an excuse to browse through the Third Ward's Design Within Reach (167 N. Broadway) but have been frightened off by their furniture's ultra-chic gloss and brow-raising price tags, here's your chance to make a reasonable purchase. On Saturday, Nov. 8, they'll be hosting a book fair featuring art and design books from the Milwaukee Art Museum, Broad Vocabulary, Paper Boat Boutique and other local establishments.

"We'd kind of go to all of these different stores for gift shopping and browsing and we wished Milwaukee had somewhere you could see all of this stuff in one spot, so we thought we'd incorporate that idea for this one-day event," says studio proprietor Carlos Lopez.

Art and design junkies and book enthusiasts are encouraged to stop by the store between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.


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