Film: The Donald Ephraim Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival concludes this Sunday evening with an exceedingly clever documentary about the many Jewish composers and lyricists who wrote our most popular, secular Christmas carols. You know about Irving Berlin penning “White Christmas,” but what about Mel Tormé’s “Christmas Song” – a string of winter images including chestnuts roasting on an open fire – or the writers of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “The Little Drummer Boy” or “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, originally written as a prayer of peace during the Cuban missile crisis. The doc, Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas, directed by Larry Weinstein – another nice Jewish boy – is set, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, in a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day, where the Asian waiters regularly break into song. It is all lightweight fun, but occasionally quite thought-provoking. At AMC CityPlace 20, Sunday at 7 p.m.
Theater: The Maltz Jupiter Theatre often features detective mysteries, but few are as cerebral and psychological as J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls, the saga of a wealthy British family visited by a police inspector after a young woman commits suicide. They each claim no knowledge of her, but gradually they are each implicated in her death. Written in 1945, just after the end of World War II, the play is steeped in the class system as well as British politics, buut ultimately, it is about our interconnections in society. J. Barry Lewis directs a cast that includes Angie Radosh, Cliff Burgess and Beth Dimon – all part of Lewis’s informal rep company – and James Andreassi as the title character, tenacious police Inspector Goole. The brief run is sold out, but call the box office at 561-575-2223 to beg, borrow or offer your first-born for a ticket.
Art: There are some kinds of artistic expression that are remarkable for the way in which tremendous amounts of labor are brought to bear in their creation; one thinks of the ivory book covers of Tuotilo, the sand painting of Andrew Clemens, the Thorne Rooms at Chicago’s Art Institute. Now comes fashion by way of candy bar wrappers, in the Society of the Four Arts’s remarkable exhibit of paper dresses by the Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave. The artist uses only paper to recreate five centuries of fashion from Medici gowns to ballet costumes by Picasso, and in the text accompanying this small but colorful exhibit, downplays her achievement by emphasizing its trompe l’oiel trickery. But you won’t be the only one looking at the Rubens portrait of the Princess of Condé and then to the de Borchgrave recreation next to it and marveling at how masterfully the gown has been brought to life from no fabric at all. Fashioning Art from Paper runs through April 15 at the Four Arts; at $5 a ticket, it’s more than worth your time. Call 655-7226 or visit fourarts.org.
Music: Speaking of the Four Arts, this Sunday afternoon will feature a recital by the French-Canadian pianist Alain Lefèvre, a performer who deserves to be much better-known on this side of the border. He’ll play the complete 24 Préludes of Chopin, Ravel’s La Valse, Rachmaninov’s Second Sonata, and two pieces of his own. And on Wednesday at the same venue, you can hear Boston string orchestra A Far Cry with the great American pianist Simone Dinnerstein in a new concerto by Philip Glass as well as one of the Bach keyboard concerti.
That same afternoon, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra comes to the Kravis for a two-concert stop (they’ve just been announced for the 2018-19 season, too) featuring another new work by a major American composer: The Concerto for Low Brass by Jennifer Higdon, written for the CSO low brass players, and premiered only days ago. On Thursday night, the French mezzo Clémentine Margaine guests with Riccardo Muti and the orchestra in the lovely but underperformed Poem of Love and the Sea, by the French impressionist composer Ernest Chausson. For the Four Arts concerts (Sunday’s is $20, Wednesday night’s is $40-$45), visit fourarts.org or call 655-2776; for the two Kravis concerts, visit www.kravis.org or call 832-7469.