Hot fusion

A couple of months ago, This American Life on NPR featured the extraordinary profile of Chaim, a young Hasidic Jew who redubbed himself “Curly Oxide” and became something of a Williamsburg punk-rock star before marrying and returning to the life of Hasidim. Along similar lines, sans reversion, an emerging Hasidic reggae star of dubious talent but well-pitched niche named Matisyahu has hit the scene, performing at Joe’s Pub last week and scoring an interview on WNYC. Still more press has been accorded to 50 Shekel and his Jew-Unit, named one of the “Nine Most Remarkable Things in Culture This Month” by the December 2003 issue of Esquire Magazine. I must say that “In Da Shul” — his rewriting of the 50 Cent song — is pretty darn endearing; read the lyrics here.

Among ethnically inflected renditions of “In Da Club,” my personal favorite remains Tigerstyle‘s bhangra mix — a mainstay on BBC One’s Bobby Friction & Nihal and Punjabi Hit Squad’s Desi Beats shows. Speaking of bhangra (as I always seem to be), this recent Washington Post article takes a fresh approach, emphasizing the dance-form and actually encouraging readers to attend bhangra classes and club-nights, much as one would go salsa-dancing. Balle balle!

As Bollywood buzzes about the possibility of Hrithik Roshan starring in a remake of Superman (Dharmendra starred in the Hindi para-original), Gotham Comics and Marvel team up to bring us Spider-Man India. In addition to Spider-ji, of course, the world is also big enough for Spider-san, a (theoretical) Spider-jew, and a (newly imagined) Soviet Superman. For those curious about further case studies in the globalization of the comic-book, this site inventorying major superheroes around the world is a good place to start.

In more crossover news, The Pet Shop Boys have composed a new score for Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, which the Dresdner Sinfoniker will be performing at Trafalgar Square September 12. Neil Tennant writes about the project in The Guardian. Letters to the editor clarifying the history of the film’s scorings are also worth a read.

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