January streamed events
plow into February

Shows worth catching during the last days of the month and the beginning of the next

By Byron Toben

January 27, 2022

The snowy month of January ends with a snowballing number of events as time unveils the (probably) equally snowy month of February. Here they are by the numbers:

January 22

The 15th Annual Festival of Israeli and Jewish Films led off with a France/Switzerland co-production of Neighbors.

Set in a tiny village in Syria on its border with Turkey in the 1980s, its Kurdish population is separated from family and friends by a barbed-wire fence. Told through the eyes of a young Kurdish child, whose main goal in life is to secure a television set to watch cartoons, it depicts his mother being accidentally shot dead by callous Turkish border guards and his own difficulty with the new teacher in their one-room school who insists on forcing the Arabic language on them as well as inciting them against Jews, who he instructs the youngsters, must be decapitated for their treatment of Palestinians.

frame from the film Neighbors

Frame from the film Neighbors

Despite these and other serious plaints, there is also some whimsical humour in some episodes. At last, the remaining family is able to secure a television set but, alas, the programs are dominated by broadcasts of soldiers marching and fighting.

The festival continues on January 29 with an Israeli film called Forgiveness and on the next three successive Saturday evenings throughout February.

January 27 to 31

YidLife Crisis

Jaimie Elman and Eli Batalion in YidLife Crisis: Pandemish

The Segal Centre streams YidLife Crisis: Pandemish from its main stage at 7:30 pm on January 27 and may be viewed from your home at any time or several times until January 31 at 11:59 pm. Comedy, music and video with this worldwide popular series created and performed by Montrealers Jaimie Elman and Eli Batalion.

Tickets for this madcap Yiddish and English take on a serious subject are $18 or $36 for a household with several devices.

In Manhattan, the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene, in conjunction with the New York Metropolitan Opera, is slated to present live a new opera based on the 1972 Academy Award-winning Italian film, The Garden of The Finzi-Continis, directed by Vittorio de Sica.

For viewers not already in New York, I highly recommend that movie, which is available free on the internet. The Finzi Continis were a wealthy aristocratic family with an estate complete with a tennis court on the outskirts of Florence who felt that they were immune from the rising fascism of the late 1930s until it was too late.

January 30 to February 1

The Irish Benevolent Society of Vancouver streams a three-day Irish-themed Brigid Festival Vancouver. This festival was inaugurated live at Simon Fraser University in 2020. It switched to streaming due to the pandemic in 2021 and continues streaming in its now third year. (February 1 is the traditional Saint Brigid’s feast day.)

Bad Brigid: Histories and Stories of Criminal and Deviant Irish Women in North America (1838-1918)

Frame from Bad Brigid: Histories and Stories of Criminal and Deviant Irish Women in North America (1838-1918)

Brigid (in various spellings) is a common Irish name, especially of women in the wave of immigration in the 19th century. I always get a kick out of that in a play I once saw wherein the haughty Bostonian employer castigates her new maid, saying “Brigid, see here, I can write my name in the dust on this table”, to which Brigid replies tactfully “Ah sure, mum, ’tis indeed a wondrous ’ting to be literate”.

Here is the hopefully wondrous program:
(I have converted the published Pacific time zones into Eastern Time)

January 30
At 2 pm, 5 pm and 10 pm ET – Brigid: A Return to Divine Femininity
At 5 pm ET – Brigid Cross Weaving

January 31
At 3 pm, 6 pm and 11 pm ET – Bad Brigid: Histories and Stories of Criminal and Deviant Irish Women in North America (1838-1918)
At 8 pm ET – The Brigid Coll Story

February 1
At 2 pm, 5 pm and 10 pm ET – Records and Redress: A Dialogue – On Irish Mother and Baby Institutions and Canadian Residential Schools
At 6 pm ET – Performance Reading Women of the Diaspora 

Feature image: The Garden of The Finzi-Continis – Steven PisanoBouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre –

More articles from Byron Toben

Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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