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.
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.
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
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In conjunction with the new exhibition War and People: Art, Exile and the Middle East, four Southern California-based poets read from two recent collections of poetry, Dear Darwish and With Our Eyes Wide Open, that explore the effects of war and exile on people in South Asia, the Middle East and the Americas.
With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century, focuses on the impact of recent wars on populations around the world specially the U.S. wars in Southeast Asia (Vietnam etc.), Central America, and the Middle East. This international anthology of poetry explores the impact of the United States in wars as well as upon the "nobodies"-outcasts, immigrants, the working class: "They [the poets]...represent an emerging poetic consciousness which is helping todefine and shape the imagination and language of the 21st Century." Using a call-and-response pattern, the poems look at the impact of the United States' wars in Korea, Vietnam, Central American, and Iraq on lives. Vietnamese-American poet Teresa Mei Chuc, and Julia Stein read from their own poems. Dima Hilal, a Lebanese American will read her work. We will also read some of the Middle Eastern poets in the anthology from Turkey, Oman, Egyptian-American, Morocco, Iraq, and Chechnya.
Read reviews of With Eyes Wide Open here and in Counterpunch here.
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
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
Friends of the Levantine Cultural Center present a rare evening with celebrated author and blogger Juan Cole (The New Arabs; Engaging the Muslim World), introduced by historian Mark LeVine (Why They Don't Hate Us; One Land, Two States). A delicious sit-down dinner and dessert will be followed by conversation with Professors Cole and LeVine on "the New Arabs," the thesis of Cole's latest book, in relation to the Israel/Palestine question, and the future of the Middle East/North Africa, notably the debate about the supposed demise of Arab civilization, debated recently by Hisham Melham in Politico and Juan Cole with respect to the rise of the Islamic State.
The conversation, followed by a public dialogue engaging the audience, will conclude with a concert of Arab/Egyptian music performed live on kanun by Jim Grippo and on 'oud by Ziyad Marcus. Dinner tickets are $75 per person Patron of the Arts ($40 is tax-deductible) benefitting the new Levantine Cultural Center. Seating is limited to just 40 persons, so advance reservations are strongly advised. Seats are not guaranteed without RSVPs. Call 323.413.2001 or reserve here online.
Sheana Ochoa, author of the first biography of theatre and acting legend Stella Adler entitled STELLA! Mother of Modern Acting, with a foreword by Mark Ruffalo, will moderate a discussion about the changing craft of acting. Stella Adler taught Brando, DeNiro, Ruffalo, Benicio Del Toro and many others. This panel features two contemporary young actors of Middle Eastern heritage, influenced by Stella Adler's teachings, Mojean Aria and Thom Bishops; an acting coach and casting director who studied extensively with Stella, Deborah Aquila; 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 $25 includes a signed copy of the new hardback biography, STELLA! Mother Modern Acting. The café is open as of 6:30 pm serving delicious authentic Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine. Reservations are strongly suggested as space is limited: call 323.413.2001.
On Saturday, December 13th, 2014, the Levantine Cultural Center will hold its year-end comedy benefit show with the New Sultans of Satire at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, in Long Beach. With a special tribute to Robin Williams, this evening brings together the top young Middle Eastern comedians at work together, including Aron Kader (Comedy Central's "Axis of Evil"), Tehran, Sammy Obeid, Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Sherwin Arae and Melissa Shoshahi. The Levantine Cultural will donate a portion of the proceeds to Kinder USA (Kids in Need of Development, Education, and Relief) to help deserving children in Gaza with medical needs following the summer war. The Levantine Cultural Center works to bridge political and religious divides that may exist between Americans and the Middle East/North Africa, by presenting arts and education programs in the spirit of exploration, discovery and unity.
Proceeds 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.