More artists. More wines. More texts. One night only.

On Saturday, November 18th, at 7:30 PM at the 14th Street Y, LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture will kick off its 10th season with DRUNK, an intoxicating evening of art, performance and Jewish texts.

Below, LABA fellows Yael Sloma, Tal Gur and Zohar Tirosh-Polk reveal their drinking habits (or lack thereof) and serve up an artistic aperitif.  

Red Sea // Yael Sloma

How I Drink: One for dinner, one for dessert, one for smiles and one to go to sleep.

The unknown, unexplored, unreachable vast spaces of water have fascinated humans since the very beginning of mankind. Pirates, mermaids, Atlantis, and Nessie are all situated in the depth of the seas.

These vast spaces of waters, however, are reluctant to serve human beings. It seems that they made themselves salty in order to prohibit their usefulness to human beings. Their storms and waves declare themselves as zones of danger and unexpectedness.

Humankind has always tried to overcome the seas; to conquer the oceans, to pass through danger to land, where it is possible to find the sweetest kind of water.

Yael Sloma // Red Sea

It is the Biblical water, grapes water, red water — these sweet waters surely have never been useful, but have kept humankind content.

A Sketchy Bottle // Tal Gur

How I Drink: Maybe the nicest thing about drinking is that when I take a sip of it, it’s like turning the lights on in the room of my heart.

The advantage of drinking and thinking is that loose way of being, but still engaging with the process of getting somewhere else with your brain. You may be more honest, you might say foolish things that you’ll regret, you’ll wobble between emotional poles.

That altered state of mind is one that lets you experience relationships between the Godly soul and the Animal soul as in Likkutei Amarim 9. It happens in our body, which this text describes as a city, in which these two entities declare war on each other.

These metaphorical descriptions are vivid, and wine invites you to be that body, that city, that animal and maybe a bit of a god.

In my piece for DRUNK, a theater scene followed by a musical performance, I will play a homeless person that meets God in the image of an empty bottle.  I’m hoping to use love and humor to examine my questions about faith, father-son dynamics and moral responsibility.  I will connect that to a poem by Avraham Halfi, another city wanderer — this one, Tel Aviv. Many of his poems speak about drinking, the streets, the absence and presence of God, and the love of humankind.   

Here is another poem by Avraham Halfi which I set to music (with English subtitles).

Musings on DRUNK // Zohar Tirosh-Polk

How I Drink: I’m a much better chocolate-eater than I am a drinker. I got drunk once in my life. It was in Jerusalem, where else? I was sixteen.

Two of the DRUNK texts speak about our relationships with our parents; one mentions death and the other, God. These and more are reasons we reach for the bottle.

But why do we really drink? What is it that we are truly thirsty for?

Musings on DRUNK is a collaboration with choreographer Katherine Maxwell, a piece that combines spoken word, dance, music, and projections. It’s a revelation, a confession, and an exploration of both the forces that drive us to drink and the intoxication we’re truly yearning for.

Musings on DRUNK