Sheana Ochoa, author of the first biography of theatre and acting legend Stella Adler (Stella! Mother of Modern Acting, with a foreword by Mark Ruffalo), will moderate a discussion about the changing craft of acting. The panel features two contemporary young actors of Middle Eastern heritage, influenced by Stella Adler's teachings, Mojean Aria and Thom Bishops; an acting coach who studied extensively with Stella, Marjorie Ballentine; and a casting director formed by the New York theatre world, April Webster. The program will be a dialogue among the panelists about the evolution of acting from the early 20th century until today, and a look at how actors of Middle Eastern heritage are fitting in, despite potential barriers in the business.
Tickets are $15, or $28 with a copy of the hardback biography, Stella! Mother Modern Acting (no one turned away for lack of funds). The café is open as of 6 pm serving delicious authentic Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine.
On Saturday, December 6th, 2014, the Levantine Cultural Center will hold its East-West Awards Gala, once again at the Beverly Hill's Women's Club. The East-West Awards recognize the sustained efforts of outstanding individuals working in the United States to bridge political and religious divides that may exist between Americans and the Middle East/North Africa, whether through media, peace activism or interfaith unity.
The full program includes a red-carpet reception and silent auction, live music, comedy, dinner and the awards ceremony. Distinguished honorees will be honored for significant contributions in cultural diplomacy, relationship-building, interfaith alliances, and peace activism. Previous honorees include Ms. Zainab Al-Suweij, Dr. Reza Aslan, Rabbi Leonard Beerman, Ms. Bana Hilal, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Ms. Jodie Evans and Ms. Roxana Saberi.
All proceeds will benefit the Levantine Cultural Center, a 501(c)3 founded 13 years ago as a grassroots nonprofit organization that champions a greater understanding of the Middle East/North Africa and our communities in diaspora.
Or How a British Pakistani Upstart Turned Herself Inside Out
By Sheana Ochoa
If you're like me, you're fascinated by actors who can transform themselves on stage and play multiple characters convincingly in a sitting. That's acting. The inimitable Marlon Brando, who died ten years ago, said that acting is not an art, it is a business, but anyone watching his oeuvre of films would disagree. Let's agree that acting is a craft, like any art, that must be practiced and honed. Happily, once in a while a new talent comes to us with such presence and authenticity, the artistic merit of the work cannot be denied. Nadia P. Manzoor's one-woman autobiographical play Burq Off! — which breezed into Los Angeles for a mere three-day run on its way to San Francisco-is one such ennobling and humanizing tour de force.
It's also hysterically funny.
Limited seating for this long-running and inspired comedy show-come enjoy a healthy dose of comic relief, laugh about life and the Middle East with one of L.A's hottest comedy troupes, the Sultans
Deep Soul is an intimate evening of soulful Kurdish and Mizrahi music with Kurdish master musician Delil Dilanar (Voice, Duduk, Tambour) in a rare Los Angeles appearance with Yuval Ron (Oud, Saz and vocals) and Jamie Papish on percussion. This concert in a poetic spirit includes lyrics in Kurdish, Hebrew and Arabic and is dedicated to a more pacific Middle East.
Presented by the Levantine Cultural Center, with media support from KPFK Pacifica radio, 90.7 FM, and Niroj Levantine Cuisine, Deep Soul takes place at the Westwood Hills Congregational Church, 1989 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90025. Free lot and street parking. Tickets $20 General Admission, $30 Preferred Reserved seating, $25 day-of/at the door.
Seating is limited, advance purchase advised, call 323.413.2001.
On Saturday, June 21st, the Levantine Cultural Center will officially celebrate the 13th anniversary of our founding (first public program presented at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on June 23, 2001) with a diverse evening of music, comedy, poetry and more. Performers include the popular group Bedouin X (Arabic and North African music) along with musicians Rowan Storm, Jim Grippo, Dann Torres, Kutsal and Yuval Ron. Comedians Omar Elba and Omid Singh will also perform. A delicious meal of Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine will be served.
Minimum per person donation of $50/up includes dinner, one drink and performances, or attend after 9 pm, no dinner, with minimum $25 donation. With a donation of $100/up per person, the evening includes performances, dinner, reserved seating, open bar, and a special gift.
Seating is limited, reservations, info: 323.413.2001.
Make a contribution toward our mural project 99 Heroes of the Middle East Mural or to create a new Fellowship or Internship on behalf of a needy undergrad or grad student. Contribute to keep the Levantine Cultural Center strong.
The Levantine Cultural Center was founded in June 2001, with a simple mission: to unite the diverse Arab/Middle Eastern populations in Los Angeles - whether they be Moroccan, Iranian, Syrian, Yemeni, or anything in between. In our unity, we would have a place to raise our voices, share our culture (and food!) and come together as a single community. On September 11, 2001, that need became even starker and clearer. We have served the diverse people - Arab and non - of Los Angeles for almost thirteen years, promoting understanding and tolerance through art, music, political forums, and film. We have done a great deal to be proud of, and on an exceedingly modest budget.
While we are celebrating our 13th anniversary, the Levantine Cultural Center has so much more to accomplish, so much more good to do. We are only at the beginning of our work. That's why we ask for your ongoing support.
Give us a chance to continue the work. And enjoy some of our favorite performers and oldest supporters.
Other June events include the wrap-up of our critically-acclaimed exhibit, The Map is Not the Territory, and the opening of Local Not Local—a exhibition of Arabic and Persian typography, and a new Sultans of Satire show on June 27—because we're big believers in the power of laughter and stories.
We are pleased to present two amazing African maestros, each with their own ensembles, from Zimbabwe and Senegal respectively, mbira master Musekiwa Chingodza and kora master Amadou Fall, who performs with his band, Seneafrica, in a rare African world music concert at the Levantine Cultural Center. Enjoy powerful, intimate performances in a warm, atmosphere surrounded by art, books and colors of the Middle East and North Africa. Tickets for this exclusive presentation are $20. Seating is limited and advance reservations are strongly suggested. Moroccan and Syrian cuisine is available.
Musekiwa Chingodza was born into a family of great mbira players in Mwangara village, Murewa, Zimbabwe. He says, "Our music is both medicine and food, as mbira has the power to heal and to provide for people."
"Synergy! Amadou Fall mesmerizes playing the African Kora."
A beautiful night of inspired music awaits you when the Levantine Cultural Center presents the fourth edition of Café Arabesque with Al-Fareed of Radio Al-Fareed and his band Bedouin-X.
Come participate in a dynamic Middle East rhythm and drum circle, facilitated by percussion expert Rowan Storm, Saturday from 1:30 -3:30 pm, April 12, 2014 (and second Saturdays in May and June). Beginners welcome. For all ages. Family friendly. Various hand drums and percussion provided, or bring your own. Info/reservations 323.413.2001 or just show up. Grab a drum or bring your own and join the fun! Visit carpetconcert.com or rowanstorm.com.
Suggested contribution for two hours is $20.
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 email@example.com 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.