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Barbie's Complex History

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"In New York, everyone seems Jewish. while in California, no one does."

Tomorrow night (Thursday) at the Egyptian Theater's Alternative Screen at 8:00 p.m., running late will do you no good. The Tribe: An Unorthodox, Unauthorized History of the Jewish People and the Barbie Doll ... in About Fifteen Minutes, which was an official selection at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, only runs... about 15 minutes. But in 15 minutes you can learn a lot of history (and retain it), maybe even more than you will with this Saturday's premiere of Assume the Position with Mr. Wuhl on HBO.

"The fact that Ruth Handel, an American Jew, created the Barbie, is one of the great ironies of pop culture. By tracing Barbie's fascinating history, we hope to shed light on what it means to be an American Jew today," says director Tiffany Shlain, who will be appearing for a discussion after the screening (Shlain is also the founder of the Webby Awards)

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The genius of this movie is that 15 minutes is not all you get. As most DVDs come with extras such as deleted scenes, bios, and those nerdy waste-of-your-time easter eggs, The Tribe gets more organic and social with "The Unorthodox Discussion Toolkit" that includes flash cards and the "Guide from the Perplexed." This extremely resourceful guide is invaluable with a shelf life of forever and the cards are perfect for a Friday night after Kiddush and Challah with friends and family.

And just in case you were wondering, as far as we can tell, Barbie and Ken are still broken up, but remain friends. Sure...."friends."

Photo, entitled "Assimilation," art directed by Gil Gershoni for The Tribe