In just one month, JCC Denver and MACC will be hosting the 10th Annual Neustadt JAAMM Festival. In case you’re unfamiliar with the festival or just need a refresher, we have compiled 8 things that you should know about the upcoming event.
1. What is the JAAMM Festival?
Unlike many festivals, JAAMM doesn’t stick to just one category. JAAMM stands for Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies, and Music. We host events of all kinds at the festival including author talks and lectures, movies and documentaries, music and dance performances and even interactive theater. There is something for everyone here at JAAMM!
2. How it got started.
JAAMM Fest sprang from the Leah Cohen Jewish Book Fair, an annual book fair bringing many hundreds of Jewish books to our community, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016. From there, JAAMM originated as the Leah Cohen Festival of Books and Authors but grew to include artists of all kinds in 2008.
3. There’s a reason JAAMM happens in the fall.
It’s not just because we love the weather. The Leah Cohen Jewish Book Fair took place during Jewish Book Month which is the month preceding Hanukkah. So in following tradition, JAAMM takes place during the same time which is why it always takes place in mid-late fall.
4. Parking is free and available!
During last year’s festival, our parking lot was in the midst of being completely revamped, making the parking situation a bit of a nightmare. Thankfully, this year there is no need to worry about that! Our lot is now completely finished. We added 100 new spaces and the spots themselves are wider making it easy to get in and out for busy event nights. And the best part, parking is FREE.
5. How acts are chosen.
Unlike the Denver Jewish Film Festival, where acts are chosen via a submission process, acts for JAAMM are typically hand-selected by our programming staff members. Amy Weiner, Director of Festivals, stated that “This year, there were dozens of performances under consideration for our concerts and over 250 Jewish Book Council titles for us to consider both for our author events and bookstore.” In the end, Amy and the rest of the team narrowed down their selection to the top 26 events.
6. What is Pre-JAAMM?
Pre-JAAMM is a means for us to host collaborative community events outside of the festival dates. We typically host two annual events – the annual Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado seminar, and the annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture. This year, Theatre Or’s one-man show Buyer & Cellar is also under the Pre-JAAMM umbrella, since the show opens prior to our festival dates.
7. JAAMM gets our community involved.
Our community partners are really important because they help us bring our relevant Jewish programming to each organization’s unique network! There are certain partners we work with every year, such as the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado, and the University of Denver’s Center for Judaic Studies and Holocaust Awareness Institute for the Marcus Lecture. We’re really excited to be working with a few additional community partners specific to this year’s programming. For our Morris Dees centerpiece lecture, we are working with the Anti-Defamation League to moderate the Q&A after Dees’s lecture in the form of a panel of local social justice organizations. For our Ron Suskind centerpiece lecture, we are working with Firefly Autism, an organization providing ABA therapy services to children on the autism spectrum, to help moderate the Q&A after Suskind’s lecture about his memoir about his son with autism, Life, Animated, which is this year’s Denver Jewish Community Read. We’re also working with other local organizations to help promote JAAMM events relevant to those organizations’ members – Mizel Museum and the Metropolitan Klezmer concert; Lighthouse Writers Workshop and the One Community, Many Stories event.
8. The JAAMM Festival has a new look.
Celebrating its 10th year, we felt it was appropriate to take some time to look back at how JAAMM Fest has grown over the years. In doing so, we determined it was necessary to create a more modern look that not only reflected the tone of this years festival, but a look that also allows JAAMM Fest to continue to grow as the festival evolves. We are thrilled to be celebrating 10 years of JAAMM and look forward to the next 10 years!