Access and post more content, build your own profile page -

Recent Programs

Meditations on the Oud with Dimitris Mahlis

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Aug 6 2015 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Price: 
$12 general admission, $10 members/students
reservations strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
The Markaz
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035-2657
Between La Cienega and Fairfax
street parking and in the CVS underground lot
Subtitle: 
a Levantine banquet of Greek, Turkish and Sephardic compositions

The Markaz, Arts Center for the Greater Middle East presents a special house concert, Meditations on the Oud, performed by oud musician and composer Dimitris Mahlis, who has created a unique evening of live performance and musical history that connects the rich past of the Middle East/Levant with the broader Middle East region of today.

On August 6th he will present the works of Greek, Armenian and Jewish composers of Ottoman classical music. In the rich mosaic that is this tradition, minorities of the empire played a substantial role both in the composition of Ottoman classical music as well as in the making of the instruments on which it was played. Composers such as Kemenceci Nikolaki, Kemani Tatyos, and Tanburi Isak are well known in the musical circles of Turkey and the Middle East, yet largely unknown in their "own" lands. It is in the spirit of coexistence and collaboration that this music will be presented along with the poetry of one of the most famous Greek poets of the Greek diaspora, Constantine Cavafy of Alexandria, Egypt.

Oudist, guitarist and composer Dimitris "Jimmy" Mahlis has become known in musical circles as an eclectic interpreter of many musical traditions. Having a thorough knowledge of both eastern and western musical theory, he has developed a playing style on several instruments which is both earthy yet intricate. As a composer, his pieces have set a standard in cross cultural pollination. He will perform a "Levantine" repertoire sure to be a feast for the ears. Listen to the artist

Bruce Hoffman on How Terrorism In the Middle East Started With the Jews

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Jul 29 2015 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested contribution $10/$5 students/seniors
café open 7:00-9:00 pm for dinner/snacks
Donate Here
Where: 
The Markaz
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
Street parking
Subtitle: 
The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947

Terrorism in the Middle East—who started it? Notes critic Adam Kirsch, "Today, the phrase 'Palestinian terrorism' immediately conjures up Arab violence against Jews-suicide bombings in buses or restaurants, Hamas rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. Seventy years ago, however, a reader who encountered those words in a headline would have thought of terrorism not against Jews but by them."

The Kirkus Reviews calls Bruce Hoffman's Anonymous Soldiers, The Struggle for Israel 1917-1947, "An authoritative, sweeping, important history that shows how terrorism 'is neither irrational nor desperate but instead entirely rational and often carefully calculated and choreographed.' 

Tablet headlined the book, "Israel, the Original Terrorist State."

BRUCE HOFFMAN is the director of the Center for Security Studies and director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and a Senior Fellow at the U.S. Military Academy's Combating Terrorism Center. His previous books include Inside Terrorism (1998), and The Failure of British Military Strategy within Palestine, 1939-1947 (1983). 

Khaliji and Middle Eastern Jazz Concert

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Jul 25 2015 7:30pm - 10:30pm
Price: 
$25 general, $35 preferred reserved seating, $75 VIP front section & gift bag
Seating limited RSVPs strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to buy tickets
Where: 
Pico Union Project
1153 Valencia St
Los Angeles CA 90015
near downtown Los angeles
Subtitle: 
Naser Musa and Souren Baronian ensembles raise funds for the new Markaz

"Like two chemicals that flare upon touching, [Baronian's] music is a remarkable hybrid of two cultures."
—Boston Herald American 

"From the first rich resonant tones of Naser Musa's oud it is rare to find such an exotic variety of rhythms and songs together...capturing the heart and soul of its cultural source. The [songs] all feature Naser Musa's smooth talent on vocals and each is uniquely different, with many subtleties and changes that make listening a satisfying pleasure." —Mesmera


A beautiful concert for dancers and music lovers...Leave your worldly cares at the door, join us for a magical journey that weaves traditional Middle Eastern melodies and song with contemporary fusion compositions from Souren Baronian. Then travel along the Silk Road to the Gulf and listen to the desert music of the Bedouins known as khaliji, passionate songs of the Gulf Arabs, performed by oud master and vocalist Naser Musa and his ensemble. Naser Musa, Souren Baronian and friends perform to help raise funds for the new arts center for the greater Middle East, The Markaz (the center). One night only! Tickets just $25 General Admission/$35 Preferred, or $75 VIP front row seating plus a gift bag.

This is a benefit concert to support the new Arts Center for the Greater Middle East, The Markaz. Come enjoy the best of the best in Los Angeles and contribute to a worthy cause, The Markaz, fighting bias and intolerance, building a stronger Arab, Iranian, Middle Eastern community center.

NASER MUSA is recognized by critics of Middle Eastern music as a talented singer, a gifted songwriter, an oud virtuoso, an award winning composer, and a versatile studio musician. He has composed, arranged, and recorded numerous projects in the Middle East and in the United States. His recordings include the Arabia sound track; Khaliji, a collection of folk songs from the Arabian Gulf region; and Christmas and Beyond, a collection of Western Christmas carols and Arabic church hymns. Naser Musa appears on dozens of albums, including contributions on projects for Hollywood with John Debney and John Cameron among others. He has recorded with pop stars Shakira, Beyonce and Michael Sembello, and has shared the stage with Lebanese vocalists, Sabah and Ragheb Alame, and Egyptian vocalists, Hani Shaker and Hakim. Naser's oud was heard on the soundtrack of the film The Passion of the Christ by director Mel Gibson. 

SOUREN BARONIAN grew up in Spanish Harlem riding two powerful currents of his creativity: his ethnic Armenian heritage, and jazz. His own music is an authentic organic hybrid of those two idioms. The sound of his band is truly unique, applying a jazz vocabulary and the bebop sensibility of Charlie Parker and Lester Young to Middle Eastern rhythms on traditional instruments such as the oud, qanun, G-clarinet and percussions. 

The Untold Story of Iran: Nina Ansary, Cyrus Copeland & Sussan Deyhim

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Jul 10 2015 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Free to the public
Where: 
The Last Bookstore
453 S Spring St – Ground Floor
Los Angeles CA 90013
213.488.0599
Subtitle: 
an evening of literature and music helps us explore Iran

The Markaz, Arts Center for the Greater Middle East (formerly the Levantine Cultural Center) is pleased to cosponsor The Untold Story of Iran at the Last Bookstore. If you'd like an alternative to the Fox News version of what Iran is all about, this is where you want to be on the 10th of July. The evening features Dr. Nina Ansary (Jewels of Allah: The Untold Story of Women in Iran), Cyrus M. Copeland (Off the Radar: A Father's Secret, a Mother's Heroism, and a Son's Quest) and international vocalist Sussan Deyhim (as special musical guest) in a conversation about "The Untold Story of Iran." Guests will engage the audience in a humanist perspective on Iran—through personal experience, scholarly expertise, and musical expression—and a discussion aimed at shattering long encrusted stereotypes, taking us from the ancient Iran that issued the first charter of human rights to the patriarchal society of the present.

Max Blumenthal on Gaza and Israel's Rightward Drift

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Jul 8 2015 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested contribution $10/$5 students/seniors
Donate Here
Where: 
The Markaz at CB1 Gallery
1923 S. Santa Fe Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90021
Street and lot parking
Subtitle: 
In Conversation with Hamid Khan on Racism, Policing and Militarism in America and Israel

The Kirkus Reviews call Max Blumenthal's new book, "An alarming report on Israel's devastating 2014 attack on Gaza...Explosive, pull-no-punches reporting that is certain to stir controversy." As Rod Such writes in his review for the Electronic Intifada, "Max Blumenthal's The 51-Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza will not be well received by the US corporate media. The reasons are apparent in the very title. It's a 51-day war, not a 50-day war as The New York Times and other corporate media repeatedly say. For the Times, 50 days means the war started on 8 July, when Hamas' military wing fired rockets into southern Israel, not on 7 July, when Israel, as even some Israeli media acknowledge, broke its ceasefire agreement with Hamas by killing seven of its members in an air strike. The difference of a day is the difference between portraying Hamas as the aggressor and Israel as acting in self-defense or acknowledging that Israel was the aggressor and Hamas acted in self-defense."

Max Blumenthal will talk about his new book and Israel's continuing rightward drift, and will discuss racism, policing and militarism in America and Israel with Hamid Khan. There will be a book signing at the conclusion of the discussion. 

Blumenthal last appeared at the center when he presented his book Goliath, Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (2013). Hamid Khan is the campaign coordinator of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition. This program is made possible with support from Anonymous, Mary Ellen Bennett, Anthony Saidy, Hassan Sughayer, LA Jews for Peace and Jewish Voice for Peace-LA.

1913 Seeds of Conflict

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Jun 17 2015 7:30pm - 10:00pm
Price: 
$12 general, $10 members, seniors & students with ID
reservations strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center/The Markaz
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
a director's screening with Ben Loeterman

Join us June 17th for a special screening of 1913: Seeds of Conflict at the Levantine Cultural Center/The Markaz. As the blog Palestine Square asks, when did this conflict really begin? "What year marked a turning point in the century-long conflict between Palestinians and Israelis? The 1917 passage of the Balfour Declaration by the UK House of Commons proclaiming the British government's support for a 'Jewish homeland' in Palestine? The Arab-Israeli War of 1948? Israel's conquest of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, the Sinai, and the Golan Heights in 1967? Or the failure of the Oslo Accords and the subsequent outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000? Every date foreshadows a further deterioration of the relationship between Arabs and Jews.

"A new documentary sets the date at 1913. Seeds of Conflict, directed by filmmaker Ben Loeterman, examines the peaceful coexistence of Jews, Christians and Muslims as Ottoman subjects and traces the worsening communal divisions to the arrival of European Zionists in the late 19th-early 20th centuries."

This program is cosponsored in part with the support of Ibrahim Alhusseini and Jewish Voice for Peace-LA. 

"Women Bought and Sold" Short Film Salon Weekend

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Jun 7 2015 6:00pm - 10:00pm
Price: 
$15 general, $12 students with I.D. (light dinner/soft drinks included)
Reservations strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve seats for June 6
Click here to reserve seats for June 7
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega and Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
film, food, conversation and activism with Women's Voices Now at the Levantine!

Women Bought and Sold: Voices United Against Violence—a weekend film salon showcasing short films by women of the Arab/Muslim world—aims to portray a deeper understanding of the worldwide issue of sexualized violence against women. Subjects broached in this film salon weekend include trafficking, slavery, domestic, servitude, forced marriages, sexual harassment, sexuality, and sexual freedom. Join us in viewing and discussing these films in the fight against these obstacles to peace, prosperity, and the dignity of women. 

On the menu and included in the price of the ticket area choice of feta cheese and spinach fatayer, cheese fatayer, beef fatayer, bastilla, grape leaves, falafel, hummus and salmon mousse on cucumber. Catering by Bouchra Azizy.

Women Bought and Sold Short Film Salon WeekendWomen Bought and Sold Short Film Salon Weekend 
Women's Voices Now seeks to empower all women living in Muslim-majority societies by promoting their free expression, thereby giving voice to the struggles for civil, economic, political, and gender rights. Learn more at Women's Voices Now

Your film ticket includes a delicious homestyle meal catered by Bouchra Azizy featuring cheese and spinach fatayer, ground beef and veggie rolls, hummus, falafel, salmon mousse on cucumber a bastilla, a delicious Moroccan speciality, plus for dessert, fruit or baklava. See below for each evening's full schedule.  

Saturday, June 6

Theme: States of Violence

Chronicle of Tahrir Square by Nour Zaki
Final Moments by Shadi Amin
Mohtarama by Malek Shafi'i and Diana Saqeb
Take Care by Afrooz Nasersharif
 

Theme: Conditions of Culture

Breaking the Silence by Rajae Hammadi and Global Girl Media
Vomit II - Celia Elslamieh Shomal
Swap - Sayed Masoud Islami

Shadow of the Stone by Fatemeh Keihani 

Guest speakers: Nausheen Sheikh (UCLA), Zeena Aljawad (Arab Youth Collective), and Sabreen Shalabi (activist / aid worker)

Sunday, June 7

Theme: Body Talk

Blobfish by Urgur Ferhat Korkmuz and Atilla Borutcu
In the Name of Tradition by May El Hossamy
The Reflex by Ali and Hussein Mousavi
Get Along by Parya Vatankhah

Theme: Women without Men

Aabida by Maaria Syed
The Virginity Minarets by Farhad Rezaee
Behind the Wheel by Elise Laker

Guest speakers: M. Shadee Malaklou (PhD Candidate, UC Irvine) and Umayyah Cable (PhD Candidate, USC)  

Gil Hochberg on Visual Occupations in Israel/Palestine

Event Details
Date/Time: 
May 27 2015 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Price: 
Free to the public (charitable contributions welcome)
reservations suggested, seating limited: 323.413.2001
discounted books available for purchase/signing
Donate Here
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone

An academic and innovator, UCLA comp lit prof Gil Hochberg has written a terrific new book, according to Ella Shohat, Ted Swedenberg and others.

Reza Aslan on "The Power of the Arts" with the Naser Musa Trio

Event Details
Date/Time: 
May 26 2015 7:00pm - 9:30pm
Price: 
A charitable contribution is requested. RSVPs required, address in Bel Air provided upon registration.
Reservations requested before May 21st: 323.413.2001
Donate Here
Where: 
Private address in Bel Air.
Subtitle: 
dinner, a talk, live music in an exclusive benefit event, select guest list only

Mark Amin & Reza Amin cordially invite you to a Levantine Cultural Center fundraiser and introduction to The Markaz* with special guest speaker Reza Aslan on The Power of the Arts, featuring the Naser Musa Trio. A dinner, talk and live music in an exclusive benefit event, select guest list only.

Reza Aslan, host of CNN's forthcoming new religion series Believer, is the cofounder of BoomGen Studios, producing the upcoming ABC show Kings and Prophets which has a diverse cast (Israeli, Palestinian, Lebanese, Indian) and the feature film 1001, just sold to Lionsgate based on the classic tale One Thousand and One Nights.

Nowruz Lost and Found, Director's Screening

Event Details
Date/Time: 
May 21 2015 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
$12 general, $10 members, $7 students ($20 at the door!)
Seating limited! Reservations strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
or how a first-generation American rediscovered his Persian family's ancient New Year's custom

A movie, comedy and identity!...How many of us in the United States grow up knowing little about our own cultural heritage? In the drive to come to America and integrate, parents often urge their children to assimilate, and as a result, sometimes native languages and traditions fly out the window.

Until recently, this was the case for comedian Kayvon Moezzi, best known by his stage name, K-von, whose Iranian father taught him little about his unique heritage. All that changed not long ago, when K-von discovered the truth about...NOWRUZ. Join K-von at the Levantine Cultural Center for a special screening event, as he ditches the comforts of Hollywood to discover the meaning and traditions behind Nowruz (Persian New Year). Performing stand-up comedy at each stop along the way and with the help of some recognizable celebrities, scholars, and friends, the ancient holiday that K-von almost lost has now been found.

Enjoy film, live comedy and lively discussion with director K-von Moezzi and friends—this film is 100% in English, featuring actor/comedian Maz Jobrani, international vocal sensation Andy, the comedian Iron Sheikh, actor/comedian Ahmed Ahmed, novelist Firouzeh Dumas and others.