Ms. Fara Salamat and the Levantine Cultural Center present a special benefit presentation of world-renowned comedian and actor Maz Jobrani, who explains what it's like to be an Iranian American in Hollywood in his new bestselling book, I'm Not a Terrorist, But I've Played One on TV, a hilarious and moving memoir of growing up Iranian in America, and the quest to make it in Hollywood without having to wear a turban, tote a bomb, or get kicked in the face by Chuck Norris. Following the book release, Jobrani has set out on a comedy tour to explain how he overcame Hollywood stereotypes and forged a path to stardom in an industry that only saw him as the perfect TV terrorist. Jobrani is a Levantine cultural ambassador. Read about the book from Maz Jobrani's POV here.
Included in the price of the ticket are a signed copy of the book, mezze (major hors d'oeuvres) and refreshments. Hosted in a private resident in Laguna Niguel (south Orange County). Advance RSVPs required here, or call 323.413.2001.
World-renowned comedian and actor Maz Jobrani, explains what it's like to be an Iranian American in Hollywood in his new bestselling book, I'm Not a Terrorist, But I've Played One on TV, a hilarious and moving memoir of growing up Iranian in America, and the quest to make it in Hollywood without having to wear a turban, tote a bomb, or get kicked in the face by Chuck Norris. Following the book release, Jobrani set out on a comedy tour explaining how he overcame Hollywood stereotypes and forged a path to stardom in an industry that only saw him as the perfect TV terrorist. Jobrani is a Levantine cultural ambassador.
Read about the book from Maz Jobrani's POV here.
Traditionally in Morocco the Jewish Moroccans would celebrate Pesach or Passover culiminating in Mimouna, which is like the Rite of Spring (in Iran it's called Nowruz or new year). Prior to the last day of Pesach and the Mimouna celebration, they observe the holiday for a week, and do not eat bread or anything with yeast (thus, no cake, beer etc). At the end of the Passover holiday, everybody gets together to celebrate. Moroccan Muslim neighbors come over with flour, sugar and other ingredients, to make mofletas (large homemade donuts). There is a celebratory table—quite similar to the Iranian Zoroastrian Nowruz table setting, or Haftsin—with items representing the Spring and abundance, like pomegranates, a whole fish, chocolate coins, sweets, fruit and more. Read more about the traditional Mimouna.
Traditional attire welcome (optional), also a full selection of Hamsa (Hand of Fatima) and other evil eye jewelry from Gulnur. Moroccan catering by Bouchra Azizy.
Mimouna: Moroccan Festival is an occasion for us all to be Moroccans, for Arabs, Arab Jews, Jews and their friends to celebrate together. Enjoy the beautiful dance of the striking Rosa Rojas and her group Guedra, with the authentic gnawa music of Youssef Iferd and guest performer Fella Oudane. Everything is included in the price of the ticket: live music, dance, Mimouna table, mofletas, sweets, Moroccan tea and good fortune for the year!
American broadcast and print journalist Maurice Jacobsen constructs a video portrait of life in Gaza after a series of devastating bombardments by Israel. His work attempts to build bridges of understanding between the Arab and Jewish and American communities.
The evening begins with a history of the Gaza Strip and video preview screening of footage he made between Israel's recent military campaigns against this small Palestinian territory. The video, WE ALL LIVE IN GAZA, is based on footage he recorded during his stay and highlights stories of ordinary citizens coping with the siege and blockade, the longest in contemporary history.
The video accompanies a series of Gazan photographic portraits that are uniquely printed on cloth fabric.
Maurice Jacobsen is a Nazareth-based photojournalist. He spent 16 months in the Gaza Strip. Jacobsen will be available to answer any and all questions concerning life in Gaza and the production of the documentary. Read his bio.
Presented by LA Jews for Peace and the Levantine Cultural Center.
Sharia, a new film from Algerian American director Anouar Smaine, presents the story of a couple in the United States that is grappling with American perceptions of Islam and the Quran, and a Muslim immigrant's attempt to distance himself from his religious heritage. In Sharia, three worlds collide—American, Arab and Muslim—and no one is ever quite the same. Smaine's film was screened in the Borrego Film Festival and has been accepted into the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Meet the director, discuss the film with cast/crew including Said Faraj, Lauren Byrnes and Mike Batayeh. RSVPs 323.413.2001.
In Sharia, Heather and Sofiane are a "mixed" couple—Heather is American, Sofiane is from the Middle East. She sees in him the spiritual change she'd been trying to make in her life for years, just as he sees in her the freedom he'd been longing for since he immigrated to America. But as their journey together begins, their vision diverges and it won't be long before Heather and Sofiane discover that what they've gotten themselves into isn't exactly what they had envisioned, but rather what they'd been trying to get away from.
The world is indeed a global village where what happens in the Middle East becomes our living room fodder, and where news coverage of ISIS and other violent extremists bleeds over into how American
Expect a rich and evocative evening of poetry and music from two Lebanese American artists at the top of their form, when poet/performance artist/playwright Elmaz Abinader makes her debut at the Levantine Center. She will be joined by returning musician-vocalist Tony Khalife and master percussionist Alex Spurkel. Elmaz Abinader's new collection of poetry, This House, My Bones, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. "Elmaz Abinader is a poet fiercely committed to the world's beauty, to history, to lost voices and the people she loves." —David Mura
Says Patricia Smith (winner of the 2013 Lenore Marshal Poetry Prize) "This House, My Bones is a gorgeously scripted chronicle that probes the collective heart and the countries we inhabit when we dare to speak out loud. There's an insistent rhythm in these stanzas, a lyricism of light and lineage stamped with the undeniable signature of a poet at the height of her craft. Savor these poems, and be lifted by their music." More about This House, My Bones. Listen to the poet. Listen to the music. More tunes.
Tickets $18 general, $15 members, $12 students. Seating limited, RSVPs strongly advised, call 323.413.2001.
Talk about peace and free speech! These American Arab, Iranian and Jewish stand-up comedians are very funny and very free. Here they share their ingenious universal humor on identity politics, Washington, sex, love and more on March 27th, in another edition of the Sultans of Satire: Middle East Comic Relief, the national comedy-satire show launched 10 years ago by the Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Featuring special guest Sunda Croonquist and with Sherwin Arae, Omar Elba, Sheno Khal, Maria Shehata and Melissa Shoshahi.
The Levantine Cultural Center has served the greater Los Angeles area for over 13 years by presenting arts and education programs on the Middle East and North Africa. Welcoming people of all nations and religions, the Center fosters friendship and open dialogue, fights ignorance and intolerance, and forges a stronger, more diverse American society through programs and services that that bridge political, cultural and religious divides. But don't be fooled: this comedy show is as funny as it gets.
For tickets and information, contact 323.413.2001 or go online, levantinecenter.org.
Electronic Intifada editor and author Nora Barrows-Friedman leads a public forum with special guest Ronnie Barkan, cofounder of Boycott From Within, on "U.S. Students and the Palestinian Solidarity Movement," with particular emphasis on Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) and attempts to stifle or silence Students for Justice in Palestine. This is an open forum, all are welcome.
According to Samantha Brotman writing in Mondoweiss, "Nora Barrows-Friedman's In Our Power: U.S. Students Organize for Justice in Palestine, published by Just World Books, is a timely and powerful read, detailing the scope and substance of the Palestine solidarity movement in the United States. Barrows-Friedman situates the movement across both time and space, providing historical and contemporary context to the individual activists whose voices make up the book's primary content. As a result, In Our Power is at once practical and inspiring for anyone involved in Palestine solidarity or interested in becoming involved."
Detractors of student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine, chapters of which are now found at hundreds of college campuses across the U.S., suggest that SJP is "anti-Semitic" or that they "invite speakers linked with terrorist groups." These two contentions are demonstrably false and are in fact desperate attempts to stifle critical thinking and public debate about Israel and the Palestinians. See related Mondoweiss article.
Partake in an evening of organic Afro-Arab trance with Bedouin X—soulful music from North Africa, West Africa and Nubia underlying Bedouin poetry, driven by polyrhythms and hypnotic grooves. Led by Alfred Madain, Bedouin X features artists Clarissa Bitar on oud, Ava Nahas on percussion and Dave Markowitz on the saz. The repertoire was created to revive and bring to the fore socially and politically conscientious music that sprang up in the African parts of the Arab world. Other performers include David Martinelli on percussion and Mike Gadsby on bass. This highly danceable music is known to induce a state of trance.
Opening for Bedouin X is Mahadev, a world music ensemble that plays an exciting and eclectic blend of Indian, Gypsy, African, Middle Eastern and American music mixed with original compositions that bridge the gap between these worlds of music. With Dave Cipriani on Indian slide guitar & voice, Chris Payne on cajon & frame drum and Neelamjit Dhillon on saxophone & tabla. Listen here.
Two great bands for the price of one ($20 in advance; $25 at the door). Seating is limited, however, and advance reservations are strongly suggested: 323.413.2001.