A Whole New Megillah is an annual party series by interdisciplinary artist Ali Shrago-Spechler that occupies the Jewish holiday of Purim. This year’s event, Semitic AF, is co-curated by composer and musician Julie Hill, features musicians Utsav Lal on piano, Eli Cohen on drums, and Devon Hurt on bass, and taking place at Space Heater Gallery in Bushwick.
AWNM: Semitic AF co-opts the story and rituals of Purim with American secular practices and politics to highlight power structures that continue to repeat themselves throughout religious and non-religious histories. Since biblical times, leaders have often exploited people’s fear of the unfamiliar to categorize, dehumanize, and unify one group against another.
Semitic AF flips that division on its head by replacing the victimized Jews of Persia accounted in the Purim story, with the persecuted Muslims living in today’s highly xenophobic America and Europe. Set in this apocalyptic year of 2017, Shrago-Spechler reinterprets and expands the tropes and conventions of Purim by telling the story through music, performance, an illustrated Megillah leaflet, and interactive installations.
Guests can wear costumes and masks, dance, play games and hear a Megillah spiel. “Swag Bags” will be available for purchase, each bag filled with hand-made products including “semitic af” gear, and a 5% Nation noisemaker.
An open bar and treats are customary on Purim. Feel free to wear a costume, or have one provided for you at the event.
A Whole New Megillah, Semitic AF is a one night only event taking place on Saturday, March 11th from 6 – 9 PM with performances occurring throughout the night.
Space Heater Gallery | 1283 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn, NY