Schmekel in Tales of the City

“I’m telling you,” said Jake. “You should start selling your weed to the clubs. That shit is kick-ass. Amos and I got so fucked up at the Schmekel concert.”
“Okay…I give up…Schmekel?”
“All transman, all-Jewish band. Sort of punk, folky, satricial – you know.”
“Sounds fun.”
“Yeah, except that Amos is a Jew, and loves all that cultural Let My People Go shit almost as much as he loves transmen.”
“So…there’s a hot guy in the band…he’s got this Jason Biggsy nerdy horn-rimmed thing going on, and Amos is, like, practically coming on his pecs — like he can’t wait to take him home to Mama and eat shiksa balls at Passover.”
Michael smiled. “Matzoh.”
The Days of Anna Madrigal: A Novel (Tales of the City) by Armistead Maupin —
January 2014

Schmekel in the New York Times

“The wry and slightly naughty name is part of the band’s hallmark style, which is earnest without being innocent, and funny without being ironic. Their influences include Frank Zappa and Mel Brooks, and their lyrics — about subjects ranging from Dumpster-diving to Jewish religious ceremonies — are personal, political and pointed. The music itself merges traditional klezmer scales and rhythms with the aggressive energy of early gay punk bands like Pansy Division. If the musical satirist Tom Lehrer were to write a hard-core anthem about sex reassignment surgery, with a driving guitar lick, a “Hava Nagila” breakdown and a keyboard line lifted from Super Mario Brothers, it might approximate the Schmekel sound. …In the end, it may be their respect for and knowledge of their history that makes the band groundbreaking.”
The New York Times
Article and Interview
November 2011

Schmekel in the Jewish Daily Forward

“Bands like Schmekel, which uses Yiddish as an alternative culture…are part of a phenomenon dubbed ‘Queer Yiddishkeit’…in which queerness is juxtaposed with elements of Yiddish in order to upend the status quo. While the state of the Jewish status quo is always in some sort of hysterical flux, evidence would seem to indicate that it’s come a long way, baby, when transgender masters of folk-punk-snark, Schmekel, play a show at an American Jewish community center…[A] great deal of Schmekel’s lyrics address the anguish and difficulties of being transgender — albeit in an ironic and hilarious way, and accompanied by a kind of raw polka beat. And while some Jewish precincts might not be so accepting of [1930s transgender man from Krivozer, Ukraine] Berel-Beyle and Schmekel, the JCC has a fine historical precedent in the simple shtetl Jews of Krivozer.”
The Jewish Daily Forward
October, 2011

“The group’s debut album has the energy of early queercore-punk bands like Pansy Division and Tribe 8…Schmekel is Yiddish for small penis; the little in-joke says a bit about how smart and sexy these guys are.”
The Advocate
News Bite
May-June 2012

Schmekel in Die Zeit, with English translation
May 2013

Original Plumbing Magazine
Interview and Semi-Nude Photo Spread With Matzoh
March, 2012

Schmekel in Gayletter


“…polka-punk band Schmekel, who got the crowd to sing along with their new [sic] song “Trannychaser”. (Chorus: “Tranny-chaser, why are you so easy?/Tranny-chaser, tranny-chaser, please don’t be so sleazy!”)”
Next Magazine
In a Review of Mr. Transman Competition 2011
September, 2011

Schmekel TimeOutNY
TimeOut New York (above)
August 18-24, 2011
Critics’ Pick

Schmekel New York Mag
New York Magazine (above)
“Greenpoint Gets Ritually Drunk For Purim”
March 2011

Schmekel in Jewcy

“The originality…drips from this band. [Schmekel’s] Polka Punk sound in and of itself is incomparable, but coupled with their trans-aesthetic and queer-themed, humorous lyrics, they’re like a cross between Weird Al, Pansy Division and The World Inferno…Schmekel lays the humor on thick, while at the same time visiting some rarely touched upon issues, particularly in the Jewish community.”
Review and Interview
October, 2010

Schmekel in the Shtetl

Shtetl: Your Alternative Jewish Magazine
January 2012

Schmekel in Yedioth Ahronoth

Yedioth Ahronoth (above)
January 20, 2012