Come to the Levantine café on a Saturday night and enjoy a lively evening of storytelling and passionate conversation, when six writers from diverse Iranian/Iranian American backgrounds come together in the spirit of entente. A new anthology represents an important step in the evolution of Iranian American writing, and offers a bridge between two countries whose governments are engaged in a cold war. Following the popular film Argo which has had an injurious affect on US-Iranian relations (as if they weren't bad enough already), the Levantine Cultural Center will present authors Gina Nahai, Ari Siletz, Zohreh Ghahremani, Shideh Etaat and the two editors of Tremors, Anita Amirrezvani and Persis Karim, reading from the anthology. This program presented by the Levantine Cultural Center and the Friends of the West Hollywood Library. Listen to a KQED podcast.
The Levantine Cultural Center presents a rare live performance lecture on the aesthetics of Arabic music.
Join us in the Levantine café for a film salon. This probing, definitive documentary about American academic Norman Finkelstein reveals a devoted son of Holocaust survivors who is an ardent critic of Israel and US Middle East policy. The author of several provocative books, including The Holocaust Industry and most recently Knowing Too Much, Why the American Jewish Romance With Israel is Coming to an End, Finkelstein has been at the center of many intractable controversies. This screening is cosponsored by The Friends of Film, a Year-Round Festival. Norman Finkelstein will be speaking in Orange County on April 23 and in Los Angeles on April 25, 2013.
GlobalGirl Media and the Levantine Cultural Center present "Morocco Unveiled: Women, Art and Activism in the New Morocco" with Majdouline Lyazidi. A 22-year-old feminist and human rights activist, Majdouline Lyazidi has been a member of Amnesty International Morocco since 2008, volunteered at the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) Youth Club and in 2011—inspired by the SlutWalk movement—and founded Woman Choufouch, the first movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault in Morocco.
This show is seriously funny. If you love to laugh, if you need to laugh, you'll dig the Sultans of Satire with its satirical insights and fresh perspectives on American and Middle Eastern life. The revolving cast features Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Omar Elba, Nöel Elgrably, Amir K., Sheno Khal and Mona Shaikh. The Sultans of Satire is the longest-running Middle Eastern stand-up comedy show in the U.S. Features some of the best young stand-up comedians today who just happen to be of Arab, Lebanese, Palestinian, Egyptian, Iranian and Moroccan heritage from diverse faiths. Tickets/info 323.413.2001. Watch video clips at sultansofsatire.com.
Join International Dance Artist Aubre Hill for lessons in Arab Folk Dance and Bellydance on Mondays at the LCC. Drop-in for one class, or buy a discounted 4-pack of classes and develop your dancing skills while having fun. Classes run in 4-week sequences. This series runs March 4th-March 25th.
Arabic Folkdance, Mondays 6:00-7:00pm
Learn the diverse & colorful folk dances from around the Arab World, while enjoying regional music & movement variations. For the month of March, Aubre will focus on folkdances from Egypt especially Saidi including assaya (stick) dancing. Giving historical & cultural context while having fun, join Aubre every Monday 6:00-7:00pm. All ages and levels welcome.
To celebrate the month of March and the advent of the Persian New Year or Nowruz, the Levantine Cultural Center presents two feature-length documetaries from 2012 that celebrate the Iranian people. The Green Wave, directed by Ali Samadi Ahadi and distributed in the U.S. by Red Flag Releasing, is a powerful political film that reveals what happened during the 2009 election protests, when millions of people took to the streets. The Iran Job, directed by Till Schauder, is a great basketball movie about an American from the Caribbean who leads an Iranian team in Shiraz. In both films the people of Iran are the heroes. The Green Wave (80 ms) screens at 6:30 pm; The Iran Job (93 ms.) screens at 8 pm.
Pakistan and the Girnari Jogi Groove is an evening of art, music & film devoted to Pakistani and Central Asian cultures with a live musical performance by Tablapusher, plus a special screening of music performances by the Girnari Jogi Group and a film screening of the inventive animated short film Gul by Adnan Hussain. The Girnari Jogi group is a small ensemble of 7th and 8th generation musicians based out of Sindh, Pakistan. Jogis (not to be confused with yogis) are traditionally snake charmers who use the enchanting sounds of the murli to entrance snakes, humans and jinns.
February's selection for the Levantine Bookgroup is an excellent memoir revealing the life story of Taha Muhammad Ali, poet and author of So What: New & Selected Poems, 1971-2005, translated by Peter Cole. The Levantine BookGroup meets every last Wednesday of each month, and explores literature and non-fiction by writers from the Middle East/North Africa or about the region or its diaspora. The group is open to everyone.
"Adina Hoffman's biography of the Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali...is a rich tapestry of the personal, the literary and the political, skilfully woven by a sympathetic writer." —Ian Black, the Guardian
"Adina Hoffman has been relentless in her efforts to research the life of Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali, and she possesses a natural gift for storytelling. Her book describes the creation of a literary culture under the harshest circumstances. It is about the triumph of art and decency and memory against tremendous odds, and it breaks open a world about which I knew almost nothing. It's a terrific book, and readers will be drawn to its account of the triumph of the human spirit." —Karl Pohrt, Shaman Drum Bookshop, Ann Arbor, MI
Taha Muhammad Ai was little known until recently—certainly compared to giants such as Mahmoud Darwish or the novelist Emile Habiby. But his life, spanning his people's tragedy (and century, as in the book's subtitle), is captured in this beautiful memoir and brings him vividly to life, even as it illuminates the birth of Israel and its effect on the native Arab population. Read more about Taha Muhammad Aii.
This special edition features headliner Aron Kader in his first Sultans appearance after touring with the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour. If you love to laugh, you'll dig this show with its satirical insights on the Middle East and fresh perspectives on American and Middle Eastern life. The revolving cast features Aron Kader, Fahim Anwar, Maria Shehata, Nasry Malak, Ara Basil and Mike Batayeh. The Sultans of Satire is the longest-running Middle Eastern stand-up comedy show in the U.S. Features some of the best young stand-up comedians today who just happen to be of Arab, Lebanese, Palestinian, Egyptian, Iranian and Afghan heritage from diverse faiths. Tickets/info 323.413.2001. Watch video clips at sultansofsatire.com.