Bring your appetite, good cheer, candor and friendship to this Levantine Cultural Center (LCC) program as we celebrate the coming of spring, or Nowruz, new Persian year with special guests and activities, including artist-curator Marjan Vayghan on contemporary Iranian art and Persian poetry. The Members Exclusive Salon is a monthly networking event organized in appreciation of our members and supporters to allow them to learn about the different cultures of the MENA, connect with each other, and create a space for exchange and peace. Our last salon explored Morocco and this one is dedicated to Iran. RSVPs strongly advised to ensure sufficient bounties of food, 323.413.2001. or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the names of those attending and your phone number please. (Members and donors may attend with one or two guests.)
The salon is entitled "A la Mode de Chez Nous" because every month it is organized in the customs and traditions of the community represented. It is a unique chance to learn about other cultures, and we invite our members to meet these cultures with an open mind and an open heart. Every A la Mode de Chez Nous, we all gather under a particular theme to enjoy the individual stories, the creative melodies, the innovative works or the revolutionary words of one of our communities. Still, we first and foremost gather to meet each other by completely merging into each other's stories, and by experiencing each other's traditions.
On Saturday, April 12th, we invite you to participate in an exclusive evening with Lebanese novelist Rabih Alameddine. The program features a delicious dinner and a book reading and conversation. From the author of the international bestseller The Hakawati (The Storyteller) comes an enchanting story of a book-loving, obsessive, seventy-two-year-old "unnecessary" woman with a past shaped by the Lebanese Civil War. Writes the New York Times, "An Unnecessary Woman is a meditation on, among other things, aging, politics, literature, loneliness, grief and resilience. If there are flaws to this beautiful and absorbing novel, they are not readily apparent." Michele Leber in Booklist notes, "Studded with quotations and succinct observations, this remarkable novel by Alameddine is a paean to fiction, poetry, and female friendship. Dip into it, make a reading list from it, or simply bask in its sharp, smart prose."
One of Arab literature's most celebrated voices, Rabih Alameddine follows his bestseller, The Hakawati, and his previous novels I, the Divine and Koolaids with a novel that celebrates the singular life of an obsessive introvert, revealing Beirut's beauties and horrors along the way. Notes National Public Radio, "I can't remember the last time I was so gripped simply by a novel's voice. Alameddine makes it clear that a sheltered life is not necessarily a shuttered one. Aaliya is thoughtful, she's complex, she's humorous and critical."
General seating for this dinner event is $25 ($20 LCC members), or $50 with a signed copy of An Unnecessary Woman. Dinner includes mezze, main course and soft drink/water, coffee or tea. Seating is limited and advance reservations are strongly advised. Call 323.413.2001 or book online.
The Library Foundation of Los Angeles' ALOUD series with support from the Levantine Cultural Center presents an evening of stories and conversation bridging Iran and America. In her new collection of selected stories, Goli Taraghi, who is one of Iran's best-known and most critically acclaimed authors, draws on her childhood experiences in Tehran, adult exile in Paris, and subsequent returns to post-revolution Tehran.
Taraghi's stories are, as Azar Nafisi writes, "filled with passion, curiosity, empathy, as well as mischief-definitely mischief." Listen in as Taraghi shares from The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons, made fully accessible to the English-speaking audience for the first time. A discussion ensues moderated by Reza Aslan, author most recently of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Reserve here.
Live in Los Angeles from Taroudant, Morocco is poet-translator El Habib Louai, accompanied by authentic gnawa musician/singer Youssef Iferd, presenting a fresh evening of spoken word and music in English and Arabic. El Habib Louai is a poet and translator from Taroudant currently traveling across the U.S. who recently translated some of the 15 Moroccan poets included in the Big Bridge anthology. Youssef Iferd has been performing a fusion of Moroccan and western music with the bands Radio Essaouira, Kif Samba and Moor Rockin' Time. Enjoy organic Moroccan mint tea and cookies with this evening devoted to the spirit of poetry.
Can you believe it?!
We are just starting our 12th year serving greater Los Angeles. Don Heckman wrote the first LA Times article about us, positively reviewing our first public program, in a Calendar review published June 25, 2001. (We received another thumbs-up review in December 2001 by theatre critic Don Shirley and many more LA Times articles since.)
Come to the Levantine café on a Saturday night and enjoy a lively evening of live music,storytelling and passionate conversation, when six writers from diverse Iranian/Iranian American backgrounds come together in the spirit of entente. A new anthology represents an important step in the evolution of Iranian American writing, and offers a bridge between two countries whose governments are engaged in a cold war. Following the popular film Argo which has had an injurious affect on US-Iranian relations (as if they weren't bad enough already), the Levantine Cultural Center will present authors Gina Nahai, Ari Siletz, Zohreh Ghahremani, Shideh Etaat and the two editors of Tremors, Anita Amirrezvani and Persis Karim, reading from the anthology. Enjoy a concert of live Iranian music with multiinstrumentalist Nima Janmohammadi and percussion master Rowan Storm. This program presented by the Levantine Cultural Center and the Friends of the West Hollywood Library. Listen to a KQED podcast.
"A Grand Souk Festival" will feature activities for adults and children on Sunday, May 19th at El Rancho Cordillera del Norte in Northridge from 11:30 am until 5:00 pm. This open air bazaar of arts and culture is a culminating celebration of the Big Read Program through the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. This Valley celebration is sponsored by The Museum of the San Fernando Valley, a participant in this year's Big Read Program, along with the Levantine Cultural Center.
On March 5, 2007 a massive car bomb was detonated on Baghdad's al-Mutanabbi Street—for centuries the heart of Baghdad's intellectual and literary community—killing 30 and injuring 100. On Tuesday, March 5, New Roads School will host a poetry reading, involving both professional poets and New Roads High School students, to mark the sixth anniversary of the bombing that decimated "the street of booksellers" and its bookstores, outdoor book stalls, small print shops, and cafes. Poets participating in the reading include Tania Baban, Jordan Elgrably, Majid Naficy, Jim Natal, and Janet Sternburg—all contributors to Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, a new anthology of poetry written in response to the attack.
A selection of letterpress broadsides from the internationally-touring show, Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here will be displayed in conjunction with the New Roads reading. The full show consists of 130 broadsides—one for each victim of the—all of which were created as collaborations among artists, poets, and writers responding to an international call put out by San Francisco bookseller Beau Beausoleil, the project's founder and guiding force.
In addition to the reading at New Roads School, al-Mutanabbi Street reading events are being held in Washington D.C., Boston, San Francisco, and in the U.K to commemorate the anniversary.
On Thursday, July 19, the Goethe-Institut and Levantine Cultural Center present an evening of readings with Tunisian novelist Hassouna Mosbahi. Selections from Mosbahi's most recent novels, The Orphan of Time and A Tunisian Tale (available in English from the American University of Cairo Press) will be read by Mosbahi along with actors Jihad Abdo and Patrick Faucette reading from his work in Arabic and English. A public discussion will ensue, moderated by Fareed Majari, director of the Goethe-Institut in Los Angeles following his posting in Beirut, Lebanon. The program is free to the public, and is cosponsored by the Villa Aurora, where Hassouna Mosbahi is a Feuchtwanger Fellow until the end of the year.
LOS ANGELES WILL BE HOME TO FIRST MULTIDISCIPLINARY ARTS CENTER
FOR THE MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA, OPENING JAN 2013
After over a decade of presenting arts and education programs in Southern California, the Levantine Cultural Center (LCC)—a 501c3 nonprofit organization that champions diverse cultures from Morocco to Afghanistan—has embarked on a 6-month campaign to raise $2 million. The Center will re-open in a new 10,000 square foot multidisciplinary space in January 2013. The LCC presents arts that promote inter-cultural dialogue and friendship, including film, theatre, music, art exhibits, author talks, classes and workshops.