19th Annual Ann Katz Festival of Books & Arts

The JCC’s 19th annual Ann Katz Festival of Books & Arts is a three-week festival featuring local, national and international authors, films and filmmakers, performing artists and fine artists. The highlight of this year’s festival is an appearance by Chuck Todd, NBC News political director, moderator and managing editor of Meet the Press, the flagship Sunday morning public affairs program and the longest-running broadcast in television history. Tickets to A Conversation with Chuck Todd on Wednesday, Oct. 25, are $25 per person for general admission. Most events are $10 per person unless noted otherwise.


  • Oct. 23, 7 pm - Stephen Tobolowsky, author of My Adventures with God
    Quintessential character actor, Stephen Tobolowsky has appeared in more than 100 movies and 200 television shows including unforgettable roles in Silicon Valley, Mississippi Burning, Glee and Groundhog Day (Ned Ryerson). He is also a consummate storyteller – warm, funny and profound.
  • Oct. 25, 7 pm - A Conversation with Chuck Todd
    Chuck Todd is NBC News political director, moderator and managing editor of Meet the Press, the flagship Sunday morning public affairs program and the longest-running broadcast in television history. Todd was chief White House correspondent for NBC, becoming political director in March 2007. A self-described political junkie, he has earned a reputation as one of the most passionate journalists and sharpest analysts in America, named the “Most Powerful Journalist in Washington” (GQ magazine, 2012).
  • Oct. 26, 7 pm - Mickey’s Corner with Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett
    The Indianapolis Business Journal’s Mickey Maurer reprises the Emmy Award-winning Mickey’s Corner with special guest, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. Sponsored by Congregation Beth-El Zedeck.
  • Oct. 28, 8 pm - FILM: “Presenting Princess Shaw”
    The true story of Samantha Montgomery who cares for the elderly in one of New Orleans’ toughest neighborhoods by day and writes and sings songs as Princess Shaw on YouTube by night. She is discovered on the other side of the world by Ophir Kutiel, a composer, musician and pioneering video artist known as Kutiman who creates video mash ups of amateur YouTube performers. Two strangers, almost 7,000 miles apart, begin to build a song that becomes a viral sensation of generosity, compassion and the fight of a talented singer never to give up on her dreams. A Unity Project event. The mission of The Unity Project is to build respect and understanding between various communities, especially the black and Jewish communities, through dialogue and the arts. Partners include the JCC, The Indianapolis Urban League, the Efroymson Family Fund, the Jewish Community Relations Council and Starfish Initiative.
  • Oct. 29, 2-4 pm - Super Hero Palooza
    A family celebration for adults and kids of all ages. Create your own super-powers, come in costume, enjoy our superhero photo booth, read super hero books and so much more. This event is in partnership with Barnes & Noble.
  • Nov. 1, 7 pm - Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life
    The definitive biography of an American icon, from a New York Times best-selling author with unique access to Ali’s inner circle. Described by Ken Burns as a “one of America’s master storyteller,” Eig presents a story about race, about a brutal sport, and about a fascinating man who went from one of the most despised men in America to one of the most beloved.
  • Nov. 2, 5:30-7 pm - Art Gallery Opening Reception featuring work by Cindy Wingo
    Wingo is creating new artwork inspired by the content from this year’s Ann Katz Festival of Books & Arts. “I paint what I feel not what I see, using acrylics due to their quick drying time which allows me to layer my images. I mix gallons of black and white exterior house paints with my acrylics to erase and build color. I have always believed that natural shapes are perfect even with their sometimes imperfect appearance. I use them as a resource for my work.”
  • Nov. 4, 8 pm - The Juniper Tree
    This one-woman play performed by Susan Bennett and written by Timothy Taylor is a moving and compelling story delving into the secret pain that is often just under the surface of family relationships. The story is set in Indianapolis, 1968. Three generations of women in a Jewish-American family look back on the first decades of the twentieth century, and struggle with the signs and ghosts of the past. Racism, prejudice, anger and fear have threatened to destroy them, but bonds can never be broken. The Juniper Tree premiered at IndyFringe Festival 2016.
  • Nov. 5, 2 pm - What If? The Power of Imagination
    A Spirit and Place event in partnership with the JCC, Dance Kaleidoscope, Indiana Writers Center, Indiana Historical Society and Jewish Family Services. An afternoon of dance, drama, writing and creativity based on the huge question: “What IF?” Sponsored by the Penrod Society.
  • Nov. 7, 7:30 pm - Belly Laughs - A Cooking Demonstration/Tasting and Comedy Event
    Einat Admony, a Tel Aviv native, James Beard finalist and the owner of several highly regarded restaurants in New York City will be cooking items on stage, joined by her sister’s husband, comedian Joel Chasnoff. Their comic/chef collaboration began with Balaboosta, a cookbook featuring 140 of Admony’s recipes infused with Chasnoff’s comedic touches. Comedian and Chicago native Joel Chasnoff has performed on stage and screen in nine countries, including two off-Broadway shows. Chef Einat is a two-time winner of popular cooking competition show Chopped, and beat celebrity chef Bobby Flay on his own show, Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Presented by The Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis.
  • Nov. 8, 7 pm - Anna Solomon, author of Leaving Lucy Pear - A Community Reads event
    Heading the list of “six new paperbacks to read,” Leaving Lucy Pear is a moving novel about 18-year-old, unmarried, Radcliffe-bound Beatrice who leaves her newborn daughter in her uncle’s pear grove, hoping that the thieves who often steal fruit will take the child, too. Years later, in Massachusetts in the throes of Prohibition, Beatrice is restless, stalled and grieving, when the woman who adopted the baby begins working for Beatrice’s uncle, and the families’ fates are entwined yet again. Community Reads offers special pricing for book clubs to encourage them to read the book prior to the author’s appearance for a deeper discussion of the book and its themes.
  • Nov. 9, 7 pm - FILM: They Played for Their Lives
    A film on the anniversary of Kristallnacht. An inspiring film about the life-affirming power of music in the worst of conditions – the concentration camps and ghettos under Nazi Germany. Local Indianapolis resident, Frank Grunwald, is one of the subjects of the film and will entertain the audience with his accordion music after the film. He will be joined by the director and project producer (Dr. Nurit Jugend). Kristallnacht is translated as the Night of Broken Glass and commemorates the violence against the Jews in Nazi Germany when Nazis torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses, killed close to 100 Jews and arrested and sent tens of thousands to concentration camps. Sponsored by Gadi Boukai, Talk to Tucker broker and Susie Jacobs.
  • Nov. 11, 8 pm - Heartland Film Award Winning Shorts
    A selection of award winning shorts from the 2017 Heartland Film Festival.
  • Nov. 13, 7 pm - Peter Hayes, author of Why: Explaining the Holocaust
    Peter Hayes (Ph.D., Yale, 1982) specializes in the histories of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, in particular, the conduct of the nation’s largest corporations during the Third Reich. His acclaimed study of IG Farben, Industry and Ideology, received the Biennial Book Prize from the Conference Group for Central European History of the American Historical Association. He currently serves as the chair of the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He taught at Northwestern University more than 30 years (1980 to 2016) and is a recipient of the Weinberg College Distinguished Teaching Award, the Northwestern Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Charles Deering McCormick Professorship of Teaching Excellence, the University’s highest honor for teaching. Prof. Hayes will discuss his latest book, Why: Explaining the Holocaust and examine what lessons can be learned that are relevant to our current political situation. Sponsored by Gadi Boukai, Talk to Tucker broker.

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