Friday, December 9, 2016 Kislev 9, 5777

Michael Elkin

Israeli group shakes up the notion of what a band can accomplish
Is the Shuk -- with its mantra of "Preserve, Perpetuate and Innovate" -- Israel's sand-dune version of "Survivor"? This Jewish tribe has spoken; more importantly, it's sung. And in the marketplace -- shuk's meaning in Hebrew -- of ideas, this one thrives on sound advice. As leaders of the band, Brooklyn-born Yoni Avital and Cherry Hill's Ami Yares are actually...
Beating a special path to the heart
At an age when I decidedly know better, I decided not to run away with the circus. I became one instead. Father's daze: Keeping up with a 2-year-old is a three-ring juggling act all its own that requires the dexterity of an acrobat with the acumen of a mind-reader. It is also the greatest show on earth. For someone who...
Jennifer Hirsh, you've just won a golden ticket and you're going to ... West Philadelphia? Well, it's 3,000 miles from West Hollywood but it's all in the right direction for the 2009 "American Idol" season wannabe. Hirsh was booted from the Hollywood segment of the TV titan of a reality show two seasons back after winning her "golden ticket" but...
Cameras! Lights! Jerusalem? Yes, Jerusalem: The holy city is reeling with movie action, awaiting the 28th annual Jerusalem Film Festival next month. Set to unspool for a 10-day run beginning on July 7, the festival may be 7,000 miles from Hollywood but close to the hearts of cineastes for its taste of the world's best. Late Philadelphian Jack Wolgin gave...
Philly Film Society exec brings some Hollywood to the home crowd
The man who helped land "Black Swan" for its Philadelphia premiere last year is dancing as fast as he can, putting the city on its cinematic feet. An upcoming movie festival, a just-announced filmmaker's contest, seminars, sneak screenings -- all quite a fete for J. Andrew Greenblatt, who, in the three years since assuming the role of executive director of...


Michael Elkin worked for the Jewish Exponent for over 40 years.

He has won some 40 national and regional writing awards over his career as well as three fellowships in playwriting and screenwriting from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

His arts articles — including working as a jazz critic for the Evening and Sunday Bulletin; book reviewer for the Philadelphia Inquirer; and rock reviewer/TV writer for the Camden Courier-Post  — and op-eds have appeared throughout North America; his plays have been staged internationally, including runs in Romania — one play running for  five years —  Israel, Germany, Los Angeles and, locally, the Walnut Street Theatre and People's Light and Theatre Company. He is a  Tony Award voter and is a member of a national new play selection committee handing out an annual award to an  up-and-coming playwright.

He worked as a mentor with the Philadelphia Young Playwrights' outreach program to area high schools and at one point headed up the playwriting program at the Walnut Street Theatre School.  His play "Cries in the Night" was cited in the book "The Best Plays of 1992-93," in the "New Plays From Around the Country" category. His travel articles have appeared nationally and he has worked as a travel editor for Fodor's Travel Guides.

As a screenwriter, he  was asked by filmmaker John Frankenheimer ("Birdman of Alcatraz," "The Manchurian Candidate"), with whom he then worked,  to write a script for Frankenheimer to direct.

He has moderated and taken part in national conferences both here and in New York on topics ranging from hip-hop/rap to theater to comedy and has served as a board member of film and theater arts groups.

Elkin has appeared on area TV and radio shows and served as arts critic for the cable program "Our Town." He has been cited in reference books for his investigative work on TV as an influential social medium. For his expertise in film and theater, Elkin was asked to — and did — serve as on-screen interviewer of actor Richard Dreyfuss in a documentary about the American Music Theater Festival, with which Dreyfuss was involved.

A graduate of Temple University — he also studied screenwriting at New York University and attended the University of Houston Bates School of Law — Elkin was honored to be Temple's commencement speaker in the mid-90s. He also taught journalism at Temple as well as screenwriting at La Salle University.

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