Jewish Actors in Star Wars

I’ve been extremely excited about the new Star Wars movie that came out this December. The Star Wars franchise was a big deal to me as a child, and all the more so because of the ethnically and religiously Jewish actors involved in the series. Although the characters they portray are not Jewish - and really can not be considering none of the cultures in Star Wars are meant to be real Earth ones - it was and still is important Jewish representation.

Frank Oz - Yoda

Frank Oz was born Frank Richard Oznowicz in Hereford, England. “His parents moved to England after fighting the Nazis with the Dutch Brigades. Oz’s Dutch/Polish father was Jewish and his Flemish mother was a lapsed Roman Catholic.” [x] Oz is a filmmaker, actor, and puppeteer known for creating and playing Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear in The Muppet Show as well as Cookie Monster, Bert, and Grover in Sesame Street. He also directed Little Shop of Horrors and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. In Star Wars, Oz was both the puppeteer and voice actor for Yoda.

Natalie Portman - Padmé Amidala

Natalie Portman was born Neta-Lee Hershlag (נטע-לי הרשלג) in Jerusalem, Israel. Her father was an Israeli and her mother was American giving Portman dual citizenship between the countries. She and her family are Jewish and her paternal great-grandparents died in Aushwitz during the Holocaust. “Portman’s parents met at a Jewish student center at Ohio State University, where her mother was selling tickets. They corresponded after her father returned to Israel and were married when her mother visited a few years later. In 1984, when Portman was three years old, the family moved to the United States, where her father received his medical training.” [x] She has had an exceedingly successful acting career, including her role as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequels. She portrayed the character in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace while still in high school.

Harrison Ford - Han Solo

Harrison Ford is an American actor and film producer. His paternal grandparents were of Irish Catholic and German descent and his maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Minsk, Belarus. “When asked in which religion he and his brother were raised, Ford has jokingly responded, ‘Democrat,’ ‘to be liberals of every stripe.’ In a television interview shown in August 2000, when asked about what influence his Irish Catholic and Russian Jewish ancestry may have had on his life as a person and as an artist, Ford humorously stated, ‘As a man I’ve always felt Irish, as an actor I’ve always felt Jewish.’” [x] Harrison Ford has had a long and successful film career, including his role as Han Solo in the Star Wars franchise.

Carrie Fisher - Leia Organa

Carrie Fisher is an American actress and writer, the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. “Her father was Jewish, the son of immigrants from Russia, and her mother was raised a Nazarene, and is of Scots-Irish and English ancestry… Fisher has described herself as an ‘enthusiastic agnostic who would be happy to be shown that there is a God.’ She was raised Protestant, but often attends Jewish services, the faith of her father, with Orthodox friends… Fisher has publicly discussed her problems with drugs, her struggle with bipolar disorder, and her overcoming an addiction to prescription medication” [x] She has become a role model for many women and others dealing with addiction and mental illness. In film, she is best known for her role as Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars.

Black T-Shirt. Always a must.


The Bumpy Ride
This is one of the 3 pictures I drew for @Cherryviolets‘ GF artbook. I had this as a sketch since before the finale. I just needed a happy ending for them to make this idea work. Otherwise it would’ve been a big picture with stangst and nothing but stangst. But now it’s only like 90% stangst :)

June 3 is National Egg Day.

To celebrate, we’re highlighting this painting of a fried egg! The artist, Victor Hugo, presented it to Betty Ford at a party hosted by fashion designer Halston on June 19, 1975. Sheila Weidenfeld, Mrs. Ford’s press secretary, later recalled how Hugo showed her a storage area that contained what she described as “a breakfast addict’s delight” – about 100 of his drawings of eggs, from fried to scrambled to poached.

Image: Painting of a fried egg given to Betty Ford by artist Victor Hugo, 1975.


The Great Stink - Victorian Plague

By the mid-1800s, the River Thames had been used as a dumping ground for human excrement for centuries. 

The crisis came to a peak in the ‘Great Stink’ of London in 1858. Such was the overpowering smell from the Thames, that the curtains of the Commons were soaked in chloride of lime. For centuries, the “royal river” of pomp and pageantry, the city’s main thoroughfare, had doubled as a dumping ground for human, animal and industrial waste. As London’s population grew – and it more than doubled between 1800 and 1850, making it by far the largest in the world – the build-up of waste itself became a spectacle no one wanted to see, or smell.

The apparent progress of flushing toilets (marketed to the masses at the Great Exhibition in 1851) only made things worse, overwhelming old cesspools and forcing ever more effluent into the river, which belched it back into the city at each high water. The result was successive waves of waterborne diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and, most feared of all by mid-century, cholera. For this “Victorian plague” there was no known cure. 

London had lacked a unified authority with the money required to address such an extensive problem of sanitation on an effective scale. Now the recently formed Metropolitan Board of Works was empowered to raise £3m and instructed to start work without further delay. The board’s chief engineer, Joseph Bazalgette, who had already spent several exasperating years drawing up plans for an ambitious new sanitation system, only for each one to be swiftly shelved, at last got the go-ahead to begin construction. 

“What was extraordinary about Bazalgette’s scheme was both its simplicity and level of foresight,” writes Paul Dobraszczyk in London’s Sewers. A classic piece of Victorian over-engineering, the infrastructure was planned to accommodate a population growth of 50%, from 3 million to 4.5 million. Within 30 years of its completion, the city’s population had in fact doubled again, reaching 6 million. It is testament to the quality of design and construction that, with improvements and additions, the 19th-century system remains the backbone of London’s sewers in the 21st century.

painting above: The hard work of thousands of labourers overseen by Bazalgette inspired the artist Ford Madox Brown as he painted Work, a large canvas completed in 1865, the same year that the main drainage works were opened at Crossness by the Prince of Wales 

Today marks the end of one of Marvel Comics’ most interesting titles, one that had everything going against it yet continuously rewarded its small audience with incredible character-driven stories: Silk.

Let’s get something out of the way right off the bat: Cindy “Silk” Moon was introduced as a character that nobody had any reason to care about. Originally a Dan Slott character specifically created to lead up to Spider-Verse, Cindy Moon was a girl in Peter’s class who JUST SO HAPPENED to get bitten by the exact same radioactive spider that granted Spider-Man his powers. Instead of donning a costume and learning important lessons about power and responsibility, however, Cindy was locked away in a bunker for a decade to protect herself and the world from a race of spider-eating vampire aliens. Her costume consisted of her own webbing covering her otherwise-naked body, and whenever she was even close to Peter, their “spider pheromones” jumped into overdrive, throwing them both into lustful fits of primal horniness.

So not exactly the most graceful way to introduce a new female character into your canon.

Still, there was a lot of potential for the character, potential that Slott obviously had no interest in. The second Spider-Verse was all wrapped up, Cindy had no place left in Spider-Man’s new world. Fortunately, screenwriter Robbie Thompson was able to mine the character of Silk to her core. Over a span of 26 issues (as well as an incredible miniseries that saw her teamed up with OG Spider-Woman Jessica Drew and fan-favorite Spider-Gwen), Thompson used Silk to tell intimate stories of family, mental health, PTSD, anger, trust issues, and learning from your own stupid mistakes. Indeed, the Cindy Moon you’ll be reading about today at your local comic book shop is a far cry from the Cindy Moon we met in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #4 back in 2014, in the best ways possible.

She’s an Asian-American who is no longer sexualized (Thompson touches on the “spider pheromone” plot device once or twice before happily dropping it), but instead forced to reconcile with her own frustration and guilt after being left alone for ten years. She even sees a “superhero therapist” to help harness and accept her anger. She begins working for Jolly Jonah Jameson, and their relationship was actually remarkably charming. But the best part of the book? She fucks up. She fucks up a lot, and she needs to learn to live with herself. Silk contained some of the best “classic Spidey” stories in recent years, and Spider-Man himself only ever made brief cameos within the covers.

What frustrates me is that so many of her issues needed to be connected to Marvel’s infamous company-wise events. If Marvel had given them the freedom to do so, Thompson and series artist Tana Ford could’ve continued to dish out their own brand of personal tales for Silk (for example, teaming her up with Black Cat resulted in some of the most entertaining stories I’ve read in years). Instead, Cindy’s quest to find her brother was unceremoniously cut short by Secret Wars, and her strained relationship  with her family was awkwardly interrupted by The Clone Conspiracy. While the team did what they could to make Cindy feel at home in this ridiculous crossovers, I can’t help but feel that

Considering how new to the game she is, it’s remarkable how much of a following she now has, especially considering how many Spider-copies we’ve had to deal with in the past. If it weren’t for Robbie giving her a brave, vulnerable, imperfect, and relatable voice, she could’ve been remembered as nothing more than a weird black mark on Spidey’s history. Instead, she’s become a beloved fan favorite.

I have no clue what kind of plans Marvel has for Cindy “Silk” Moon, but I’m just thankful that we’ll always have about 30 incredible issues chronicling her life. What an incredible turn-around for a comic book character.


THIS IS SO CHEESY I AM SO SORRY OH BOY. Slowly getting through my requests! This one was from @kerbabbles who had the epic idea of Ford singing a power ballad and the first thing that came to my mind was Defying Gravity from Wicked. I like to think Mabel sat him down and showed him all the musicals he missed over 30 years and that one stuck with him because of reasons….  AGAIN SO SORRY FOR THE CHEESE I COULDNT HELP IT

Good Things about 2016:

- The Last Shadow Puppets
- Miles Kane
- Alex Turner
- Miles Kane & Alex Turner
- Miles Kane and Alex Turner of The Last Shadow Puppets
- The Last Shadow Puppets, an English supergroup consisting of Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys, solo artist), Miles Kane (The Rascals, solo artist), James Ford (Simian, Simian Mobile Disco, producer), and Zach Dawes (Mini Mansions, session musician)

Bad Things about 2016:

everything else

Rupert Giles, Blinkous Galadrigal, and Stanford Pines: 3 surprisingly similar, (and equally wonderful), fictional gentlemen.