Mizel Center's 2020 JAAMM Fest is going virtual and tackling social justice

This year’s 13th annual celebration of Jewish culture at the JCC Mizel Arts & Culture Center (otherwise known as JAAMM Fest) again features the art, authors, movies and music from which the event takes its name.

But as with most other cultural events since mid-March, it’s entirely virtual. That will allow organizers to spread programming across several months instead of packing events into a few weeks.

“This year, JAAMM Festival has a social justice focus,” Amy Weiner Weiss, director of festivals at the JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center, said in a press statement. “Many of our events will touch on topical issues to help facilitate important dialogues that we, as a community, should be having.”

If you go

12th annual JAAMM Fest. Jewish cultural celebration presented by the JCC Mizel Arts & Culture Center. Monthly virtual events through June 2021. Headline events are $18 per household. All others are $12. To view the full lineup and purchase tickets, visit jccdenver.org/jaamm.

The diverse lineup, which debuted Sunday with a pre-election roundtable moderated by Emily Bazelon of The New York Times Magazine, includes quarterly “headline events,” such as Canadian sketch comedy duo Yid Life Crisis’ “Virtually Jewish” show at 7 p.m. on Jan. 9, 2021, and African-American Jewish food historian — and James Beard award-winning author — Michael Twitty at 7 p.m. on March 24, 2021.

The latter will coincide with Passover and offer an interactive talk about the shared narratives of diaspora and exodus between African-American and Jewish communities, organizers said.

Just after Passover, which ends on April 4, 2021, JAAMM Fest will present a “community cook-along” where viewers can prepare a “springtime three-course meal” with Israeli chef and cookbook author Einat Admony (April 7, 2021).

“We’ve curated an entire season of programming with thematic threads of content that connect various events with each other,” Weiner Weiss said. “This connection is meant to help engage people year-round, through both our JAAMM Festival and our annual Denver Jewish Film Festival that will be held in February.”

JAAMM Fest will also present virtual author talks at 7 p.m. on Thursdays through June 2021, including:

  • Jessica Yellin, former CNN chief White House correspondent and author of “Savage News” (Nov. 19)
  • Boulder-based author R.L. Maizes, whose debut novel is called “Other People’s Pets” (Dec. 17)
  • London-based author Ariana Neumann, who wrote the second-generation Holocaust book “When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father’s War and What Remains” (Jan. 21, 2021)
  • Talia Carner, author of “The Third Daughter,” a book about the sex trafficking of young Jewish women from Russia to South America in the 19th century (March 18, 2021)
  • Sue Eisenfeld, author of the memoir/travelogue “Wandering Dixie: Dispatches from the Lost Jewish South” (April 18, 2021)
  • Amy Fish, author of “I Wanted Fries With That: How to Ask For What You Want and Get What You Need” (May 20, 2021)
  • Jo Ivester, author of “Once a Girl, Always a Boy,” a family memoir about her transgender son (June 17, 2021)

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