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Announcing the WHITECHAPEL NOISE North America Book Tour!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

VIvi Lachs, author of Whitechapel Noise: Jewish immigrant life in Yiddish song and verse, London 1884-1914, will be touring North America this fall! All talks are in English unless stated that they are in Yiddish. 


Title of talk: Whitechapel Noise: Jewish immigrant life in Yiddish song and verse, London 1884-1914

Description: An examination of Yiddish song and verse by Jewish immigrant songwriters and poets in prefirst world war London. Protest hymns, music-hall songs and satirical verse expand and nuance our knowledge of immigrant history, telling of an immigrant culture in flux, anglicising to local British norms yet containing echoes of a transnational Yiddish-speaking world. Socialist poetry was used to disseminate revolutionary ideas. Music-hall songs tell of the changing form of sexual relationships, marital disharmony and abuse. Satirical verse exposes community controversies. This talk will expand key ideas with poetic and musical examples.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018 @ 7pm – Columbia University | Deutsches Haus, 420 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10027 (bet. Amsterdam and Morningside Dr.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 @ noon – Library of Congress | Jefferson Building (African and Middle Eastern Division Reading Room – second floor, room LJ-220), 10 First Street SE, Washington, DC 20540 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 @ 4pm – University of Michigan | Frankel Centre, 2111 South Thayer Building, 202 South Thayer Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1608

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 @ 4pm – McGill University | 688 Sherbrooke Street, Room 1825, Montreal, QB H3A 0G4



Title of talk: Whitechapel Noise: Sex, politics and religion on the streets of London’s East End 1884-1914

Description: The kupletn (couplets) of pre-first world war London were penned by the famous and the unknown, and tell tales of an immigrant culture in flux. Morris Winchevsky’s poetry pushes revolutionary ideas and union activism. Music-hall songs display the changing nature of sexual relationships, marital disharmony, and abuse. Satirical verse pinpoints how immigrants grappled with modernising religious practice. And the texts tell these stories with humour, intensity, and passion.


Saturday, October 13, 2018 @ 7.30pm – Toronto Workmen's Circle | 471 Lawrence Ave W, Toronto, ON M5M 1C6 (in Yiddish with English visuals)

Sunday, October 21, 2018 @ 4pm – Boston Workmen's Circle | 1762 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA 02445

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 @ 7:30pm – Haverford Yiddish Cultural Festival | 780 College Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

Thursday, October 25, 2018 @ noon – Gratz College | 7605 Old York Road I Melrose Park, PA 19027

Sunday, October 28, 2018 @ 4pm – Yiddish Book Centre | 1021 West Street, Amherst, MA 01002

Sunday, November 4, 2018 @ 1:30pm – Sholem Aleichem Centre | 3301 Bainbridge Avenue, Bronx, NY 10467 (in Yiddish)


Title of talk: Nudge, Wink in Whitechapel: Secret histories from the lyrics of the Cockney-Yiddish Music hall at the turn of the Twentieth Century

Description: From the late 1890s a vibrant Yiddish music hall developed in the East-End of London. Immigrant writers and performers wrote heartfelt, moving, and humorous songs about their experiences of changing times, and in true music hall style, with cheeky innuendo alluding to sexual contact. This talk will analyze and perform songs which engage with the changing roles of men and women, sex in and out of marriage, and the community's 'dirty linen', sexual abuse and prostitution.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018 @ 3pm – YIVO | 15 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011


Title of talk: Biting Yiddish satire from Winchevsky to Avreml - nuancing histories of immigrant politics and religion, London 1884-1914

Description: Historical satire from the Yiddish press, rarely read today in Yiddish courses, is a treasure trove. It uncovers crevices of history, giving us particular insight into the detail of issues discussed in immigrant society. This talk will strip away the layers of a variety of funny and edgy poems and songs to uncover the detail of vital and angry debate in London's East End. Debates concerning wider-than-local issues of power in the community, shund and the Yiddish theatre, and increasing secularization. You'll never sing Ale Brider the same way again.


Thursday, October 18, 2018 @ 7pm – New York Workmen's Circle/Yiddish Congress | 247 West 37th Street, #5, New York, NY 10018