Or How a British Pakistani Upstart Turned Herself Inside Out
By Sheana Ochoa
If you're like me, you're fascinated by actors who can transform themselves on stage and play multiple characters convincingly in a sitting. That's acting. The inimitable Marlon Brando, who died ten years ago, said that acting is not an art, it is a business, but anyone watching his oeuvre of films would disagree. Let's agree that acting is a craft, like any art, that must be practiced and honed. Happily, once in a while a new talent comes to us with such presence and authenticity, the artistic merit of the work cannot be denied. Nadia P. Manzoor's one-woman autobiographical play Burq Off! — which breezed into Los Angeles for a mere three-day run on its way to San Francisco-is one such ennobling and humanizing tour de force.
It's also hysterically funny.
Sohail Daulatzai, in a forum moderated by Asli U. Bâli, will discuss how the fears around "extremism" have impacted diverse Muslim communities (Black, Asian, Arab, etc.), and how this fear has reinvigorated the deeper criminalization of non-Muslim Black and Latino communities in the United States. He will explore the legacy of Malcolm X—the history of blackness and Islam together, the fear of what Malcolm X ushered in, and the politics he tried to put forward. He will ask what role Muslims should/could play in American politics, and the role does race plays in understanding government surveillance.
This public forum on Islamophobia examines widespread racism and American policing and government spying. Racial and religious profiling remains a key concern in the Arab/Muslim community, while "stop and frisk" policing around the country still primary persecutes Black and Latino communities. Recent revelations of the massive surveillance apparatus of the NSA and other branches of the U.S. government have raised tremendous debate and concern around privacy and security, reinvigorating long-standing liberal notions about violations to civil liberties.
While mainstream America is concerned at the extent of government surveillance, there is very little alarm and in fact a great deal of public support for the continued surveillance of Muslim communities as a potential fifth column of "radicalization" and subversion in a post-9/11 climate. This forum is organized by LA Jews for Peace, hosted by the Levantine Cultural Center, and cosponsored by the United Methodist Holy Land Task Force and Council on American Islamic Relations-LA. Read a column by Sohail Daulatzai in The Nation.
Limited seating for this long-running and inspired comedy show—come enjoy a healthy dose of comic relief, laugh about life and the Middle East with one of L.A's hottest comedy troupes, the Sultans of Satire. Hosted by Feraz Ozel (Afghanistan/Iran), this show features several of the funniest young comedians on the circuit today. Headliner K-Von, with Mona Shaikh, Noël Elgrably, Sherwin Arae and Aron Kader (Comedy Central's Axis ofEvil)! Come early, have dinner in the café, spend a warm evening with us...
An evening at the Levantine Cultural Center explores Pakistan and Pakistani-American identity, with special guest Shahan Mufti, author of the new book The Faithful Scribe: A Story of Islam, Pakistan, Family, and War. Joining Shahan Mufti in conversation are two other American artists born in Pakistan, actor/writer and comedienne Mona Shaikh and painter/animator and writer Adnan Hussain. After Shahan Mufti presents his book on Pakistan, the three young Pakistani Americans will engage in a free-ranging conversation on politics, immigration, identity and the arts. Everyone is welcome and a Q & A with the audience will ensue.
About The Faithful Scribe former US Ambassador to Pakistan Ryan Crocker has written, "If you want to understand Pakistan and the Pakistani-American relationship, read this book." Lesley Hazleton, author of The First Muslim and After The Prophet, writes, "After reading Shahan Mufti, a political junkie like me feels as though she's begun to understand Pakistan for the first time. Movingly and compellingly written, The Faithful Scribe is invaluable reading for anyone who's ever asked 'What's really happening there?'" The New Yorker notes that Mufti's "talent for explaining the political through the personal—particularly the 'tormented embrace' between his home countries—benefits from the uncanny convergence of his family's milestones with Pakistan's."
What shaped the C.I.A., and how does the agency play a role in our foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa? The Levantine Cultural Center presents a public forum and book signing with intelligence historian Hugh Wilford and former C.I.A. case officer Robert Baer, in conversation about the history of the agency's Arabists and the direction of U.S. Middle East foreign policy, particularly with respect to Israel, Iran and Syria. The discussion will be moderated by journalist and political commentator Robert Scheer. The program is made possible in part by Truthdig and LA Jews for Peace. KPFK Pacifica Radio 90.7 FM is a media sponsor.
Hugh Wilford's new book is America's Great Game, The CIA's Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East. Robert Baer is a former CIA case officer who served everywhere from Iraq to the former Soviet Union. (The 2005 film Syriana, starring George Clooney, was an adaptation of several of his books about the intelligence world.) Baer is the author of See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism; Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude; and The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower. Robert Scheer is the editor-in-chief of the online news magazine Truthdig and a regular commentator on KCRW's Left, Right and Center.
Limited seating for this long-running and inspired comedy show-come enjoy a healthy dose of comic relief, laugh about life and the Middle East with one of L.A's hottest comedy troupes, the Sultans
Critics of Islam ask why Muslims themselves don't speak out often enough against extremism. The Levantine Cultural Center and Muslims for Progressive Values invite you to a public forum on Muslims like the young Malala Yousefzai and countless others around the world who oppose Islamic fundamentalism. Featured guest speaker is human rights lawyer and UC Davis law professor Karima Bennoune, whose book Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism, 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. Cosponsored by Muslims for Progressive Values. Moderated by MPV cofounder Ani Zonneveld (bio follows).
"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
Limited seating for this long-running and inspired comedy show—come enjoy a healthy dose of comic relief, laugh about life and the Middle East with one of L.A's hottest comedy troupes, the Sultans of Satire. Hosted by Sheno Khal, this show features several of the funniest young comedians on the circuit today. Headliner MIKE BATAYEH, with K-Von, Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Omid Singh, Melissa Shoshahi and, joining the Sultans for the first time, DJ Sandhu! Come early, have dinner in the café, spend a warm evening with us...
The Sultans of Satire are seriously funny—if you need to laugh, you'll appreciate this show with its satirical insights and fresh perspectives on American and Middle Eastern life. The humor is universal; the comedans hail from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. Founded in 2005, The Sultans of Satire is the longest-running Middle Eastern stand-up comedy show in the U.S. with some of the best young stand-up comedians from diverse faiths. This show cosponsored by Freedom Theatre West. Show $15 general admission, $12 members, $18 at the door. Middle Eastern and North African dishes, signature drinks and more served by Café Rumi. Tickets/info 323.413.2001. Watch video clips at sultansofsatire.com.
Limited seating for this long-running and inspired comedy show-come enjoy a healthy dose of comic relief, laugh about life and the Middle East with one of L.A's hottest comedy troupes, the Sultans of Satire, in a special performance featuring headliner Mike Batayeh. Hosted by Sheno Khal, this show features Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Noël Elgrably, Mona Shaikh and Omid Singh.
Report-Back on Syria and Syrian Refugees
Who: Reem Sahali and Faisal Attrache
What: A civil rights lawyer and filmmaker talk about their trips to the region
When: August 22, 2013 7:30-9:30 pm
Where: Levantine Cultural Center 5998 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90035
Reservations: 323.413.2001, or online, levantinecenter.org
Attorney Reem Salahi and filmmaker Faisal Attrache join forces to talk about their recent trips to Syria, Jordan and Turkey where they visited with refugees from Syria's uprising. Reem Salahi will report back on her recent trip to northwestern Syria, where she visited camps for internally displaced Syrians, villages in "liberated" Syria including Kafranbel, Saraqeb and Ma'arat Numan (in Idlib province) and local organizations and activists. Faisal Attrache, who is shooting the documentary "Walk-Ins Welcome: Stories of Syrian Refugee Barbers," about Syrian refugees in the Zaatari camp in Jordan, will join the conversation with recent photos and video.