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Recent Programs

"War and People" Exhibition in the LA Islam Art Initiative

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Nov 21 2014 7:00pm - Dec 31 2014 10:00pm
Price: 
Free to the public (charitable contributions welcome)
Donate Here
Where: 
Inside/Outside Gallery
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
Street parking
Subtitle: 
a new group exhibit explores the affects of war and exile in diaspora

The Levantine Cultural Center (LCC) showcases a new exhibition, War and People: Art, Exile and the Middle East, focused on contemporary art and artifacts gathered from artists, war refugees and their children. The exhibit focuses on the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), the Israel-Palestine Wars of 1948 and 1967, the Lebanon Civil War (1975-1990), and the Syrian War (2011-2014), and also includes a spoken word evening, "Poets on War and People" on Dec. 4, 2014. More here. Artists include Melissa Chimera, Fadia Afashe, John Halaka, Kinda Hibrawi, Khalid Hussein and Kaveh Keshmiri.

Featuring a mix of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish artists and contributors, the exhibition and its related events present an intriguing dialogue between art, artists and their audiences, providing a forum for contrasting perspectives, such as how Iraqi and Iranian artists remember the 1980-1988 war.

Originally scheduled to open November 1, 2014, the exhibition opens with a reception for the artists on November 21, and runs through December 31, 2014. War and People is a featured exhibition in the LA Islam Arts Initiative

A related program, "Poets on War and People" takes place Dec. 4, 2014. More info here

Curator Jordan Elgrably is a writer/editor and producer, who has presented dozens of art exhibitions, concerts, literary programs, and theatre, film, and public conversations on the cultures of the Middle East and North Africa. 

Extended Exhibit and Closing, Mohamed Khedr, Out of Egypt

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Nov 16 2014 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Price: 
Free to the public
Where: 
Inside/Outside Gallery, Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
first American solo exhibition of Cairo's master painter

The Inside/Outside Gallery is pleased to present the first American solo show for Egyptian master painter Mohamed Khedr, featuring 40 works on canvas and paper, Oct 4-Oct.26, 2014, with an extended closing reception on Sunday, Nov. 16, 5-7 pm, at 5998 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90035. 

Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday 10 am-6 pm, and Sat/Sun by appointment only, 310.657.5511. The work is also on view evenings during scheduled events, on Nov. 5 and 6.

In this series, Mohamed Khedr marries impressionism techniques with his expressionist interpretations to capture emotion, sound, and scents in a way that other artists have rarely attempted. When you look at the paintings, you don't just see a magnificent use of color and talent, you are also transported into the scene where you can feel the wind, hear the commotion, smell the environment.

Mosque by Mohamed KhedrMosque by Mohamed Khedr 

Salon With Karima Bennoune, When Muslims Fight Fundamentalism

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Nov 15 2014 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Price: 
$60 (salon, signed book, reception)
Seating strictly limited
RSVP to 323.413.2001 or rsvp@levantinecenter.org
This salon benefits the new Levantine Cultural Center
coming in 2015
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
Private home in Laguna Hills, address provided upon RSVP

Critics of Islam ask why Muslims themselves don't speak out often enough against extremism. The Levantine Cultural Center and Bana Hilal invite you to a salon, "When People of Muslim Heritage Challenge Fundamentalism," the subject of law professor Karima Bennoune's prize-winning book, and her Ted talk (March 2014). Of course, many Muslims like the young Malala Yousafzai and countless others around the world oppose Islamic fundamentalism, but they rarely make the news. Karima Bennoune, a native of Algeria, is a human rights lawyer and UC Davis law professor. Her book Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism, just won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for 2014. It was named one of the top ten books of the year on religion and spirituality by Booklist, the magazine of the American Library Association. Read an excerpt on how Muslim artists battle fundamentalism

Watch Karima Bennoune's Ted talk. 

"Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here should be required reading, not only for those of us who are professionally involved with Muslim-majority societies, but also for anyone who mistakenly believes that Muslims are doing nothing to end fundamentalist violence." —Rachel Newcomb, The Washington Post

Sacred Spaces in Syria: Stories, Music and Discussion

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Nov 10 2014 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested contribution $10/$5 students/seniors
café open 6:00-9:30 pm for dinner/snacks
Donate Here
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
a night of Syrian music, stories, and discussion

Jason Hamacher, widely traveled in Syria and other regions of the Middle East, will talk about his experiences, play selections from his "Sacred Voices of Syria" series, and show photos f

"Rock the Casbah" in the Arab Film Festival

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Nov 7 2014 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Price: 
$12 general admission
Where: 
Harmony Gold Theatre
7655 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90046
Corner of Stanley
Free parking underground and behind bldg
Subtitle: 
a new comedy from Morocco with an international cast

Directed by Laila Marrakchi (Morocco 2013, 100 minutes) with a powerhouse Arab cast that includes Hiam Abbass, Lubna Azabal, Nadine Labaki and Marjana Alaoui, ROCK THE CASBAH is a family drama set one summer in Tangiers. A family comes together for three days, following the death of the family patriarch. Swapping their swimsuits for djellabias, emotions run particularly high, when the youngest daughter Sofia, arrives from New York. Sofia, an actress in the United States, has settled into a new life, away from her family. As the order once maintained by the deceased father breaks down and unravels, the women of the family are forced to face certain harsh truths. Buy tickets.

This is the 8th annual Arab Film Festival in Los Angeles and the 18th since the festival launched in the San Francisco Bay area. See arabfilmfestival.org.

Founded in 1996, the Arab Film Festival is the largest independent annual showcase of Arab films and filmmakers in the country. The festival has an international standing and is considered one of the most important Arab film festivals outside the Arab world. It strives to present the best contemporary films that provide insight into the beauty, complexity and diversity of the Arab world alongside realistic perspectives on Arab people, culture, art, history and politics. 

Rock the Casbah is copresented by the Women's Film Institute and the Levantine Cultural Center. 

Gaza and the Arab Jewish Divide in Israel With Professor Smadar Lavie

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Nov 6 2014 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested donation for the lecture $10.
Copies of "Wrapped in the Flag of Israel" available
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035-2657
Between La Cienega and Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
Gaza 2014 and the Mizrahi Predicament, Right-Wing Politics and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

One of the biggest uncovered stories in the Middle East is the chasm between Israel's Euro-American Jewish population (Ashkenazim), and the Jews from the Arab/Muslim world, the Mizrahim. Deep-rooted racism continues to play a role in Israeli society between Ashkenazim and Mizrahim (sometimes called Sephardic Jews). Indeed, often there is a direct relationship between how Israel treats the Palestinians and the way Israeli society stratifies its own Jewish population, with Ashkenazim occupying more seats in the Knesset and more overall government control now than at any time since 1977, according to anthropologist and Professor Smadar Lavie.

Smadar Lavie suggests that there is a direct correlation between social protest movements in Israel, Ashkenazi-Mizrahi relations, and attacks on Gaza. Her talk will address Gaza 2014 and the Mizrahi predicament, right-wing politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Author most recently of Wrapped in the Flag of Israel, Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture, Smadar Lavie is a Scholar in Residence at the Beatrice Bain Research Center, UC Berkeley's feminists of color think tank, and at the Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century, University College Cork (Ireland). Her book looks at the role of gender in the Mizrahi-Ashkenazi divide with particular emphasis on how Mizrahi women (whose roots are in Arab countries, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East) navigate right-wing politics in Israel, noting that many Mizrahim vote for right-wing parties.

Professor Lavie will give a rare talk in Los Angeles on the relationship between the Mizrahi-Ashkenazi divide and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, on Thursday, Nov. 6, 7 pm. Book signing and reception to follow.

Lia Tarachansky presents On the Side of the Road

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Nov 5 2014 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested donation $10
Levantine café open 6 pm
Limited seating, call 323.413.2001 to RSVP
or send an email to rsvp@levantinecenter.org
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
a former settler makes a documentary about Israelis and the Nakba

On the Side of the Road is an Israeli documentary film written and directed by Lia Tarachansky that focuses on Israeli collective denial of the events of 1948 that led to the country's independence and the Palestinian refugee problem. It follows war veterans Tikva Honig-Parnass and Amnon Noiman as they tackle their denial of their actions in the war. The film also tells the story of the director, an Israeli who grew up in the Ariel settlement in the West Bank, but as an adult began to realize the problems of the Israeli Occupation for the Palestinians. The film was shot over the course of five years and premiered at the First International Independent Film Festival in Tel Aviv. 

Lia Tarachansky follows the transformation of Israeli veterans trying to uncover their denial of the war that changed the region forever. She then turns the camera on herself and travels back to her settlement where that historical erasure gave birth to a new generation, blind and isolated from its surroundings. Attempting to shed a light on the country's biggest taboo, she is met with outrage and violence. 

The filmmaker will introduce the film amd do a Q & A after the screening. This special director's screening with Tarachansky presented by LA Jews for Peace and the Levantine Cultural Center, with support from JVP-LA. New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema with support from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

POSTPONED Iraq and the Middle East Diaspora

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Nov 4 2014 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested contribution $10/$6 members/students/seniors
café open 6:30-9:30 pm for dinner/snacks
Donate Here
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
Ella Habiba Shohat and Deborah Al-Najjar on the politics of Middle Eastern diaspora

We regret that this program has been postponed until further notice. 

In some ways it can be said that there are two Middle Easts—the first geographic, political and the subject of international attention; and the second, far less apparent is the Middle East in diaspora—Arab/Middle Eastern populations living around the world, often with refugee status. Recent conflicts including the Gulf War, the second Gulf War, the Syrian civil war and now the Islamic State have destabilized the region and created millions of refugees.

In Iraq and the Middle East Diaspora, Professor Ella Habiba Shohat, author Deborah Al-Najjar and special guests will converse on the disintegration of Iraq and Syria, as well as the politics of identity, culture and diaspora. Shohat is co-editor most recently of Between the Middle East and the Americas, The Cultural Politics of Diaspora (with Evelyn Alsultany). Deborah Al-Najjar is co-editor of We Are Iraqis, Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War (in which Shohat is interviewed about "Arab Jews, Diaspora and Multicultural Feminism").

Read an interview with Shohat and Alsultany in Jadaliyya.

Dear Armen, a bold theatre experience

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Oct 27 2014 7:30pm
Price: 
$15 general admission
$10 students

Seating limited, RSVPs strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Subtitle: 
The story of a genderqueer writer and student, Garo, as they study the life and work of Armen Ohanian, an enigmatic Armenian performer and survivor of the early 20th-century anti-Armenian pogroms in Baku.

Join the Levantine Cultural Center for a West Coast production of Dear Armen, an audience-interactive theatre experience inspired by the life of Armen Ohanian, an enigmatic Armenian performe

Omar Faruk and Friends in Concert

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Oct 25 2014 8:00pm
Price: 
$30 general admission
$40 Patron of the Arts seating (limited front rows)
Seating limited, RSVPs strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
Westwood Hills Congregational Church
1989 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90025
Between Santa Monica & Olympic Blvds. at La Grange
free lot & street parking
Right across the street from Byblos and Zumba restaurants
Subtitle: 
with Hamid Saeidi, Chris Wabich and Daniel Mandelman

The Levantine Cultural Center is pleased to present live in concert Omar Faruk Tekbilek & Friends. Omar Faruk Tekbilek is a Turkish virtuoso in the Sufi tradition, musician and composer of many albums, performing on ney, baglama, zurna, percussion and vocals. He will give two concerts only, in Los Angeles and Orange County, on Saturday/Sunday, Oct. 25/26, featuring the talented Hamid Saeidi on santour, the eclectic Chris Wabich on drums and percussion, and the versatile Daniel Mandelman on keyboards. The concert benefits the Levantine Cultural Center, a nonprofit organization opening a new multidiscplinary space to explore the cultures of the Middle East/North Africa in 2015. Watch/listen!

Seating for the Los Angeles concert is limited, we advise reserving your seats early to guarantee attendance: 323.413.2001. $30 general admission, $25 members, students, seniors (if purchased by Oct. 15 only).

SNACK & BEVERAGE MENU: Moroccan bastilla (homemade pies), cheese fatayer, spinach fatayer and sandwiches, everything served with a little side of salad. Soft drinks and hot maté tea! 

For those closer to Orange County, the concert will take place in a more intimate, 80-seat venue, so reservations are strongly advised: Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 7pm, Hoson House, 1961 Irvine Blvd, Tustin, CA 92780. Buy tickets for Oct. 26 show here.

Omar Faruk and Friends in ConcertOmar Faruk and Friends in Concert