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Persian Gulf

Women's Short Film Weekend Showcases Issues, Talent from the Region

On June 6th and 7th of 2015, the Levantine Cultural Center/The Markaz hosted the Women's Voices Now Film Salon, celebrating the winning short films of the 2014 Women's Voices Now Short Film Festival. The event, co-organized by Women's Voices Now executive director Heidi Basch-Harod and Eszter Zimanyi, Markaz film committee chair, sought to create a dialogue about the numerous issues facing women in Muslim-majority societies by showcasing new films produced in the Southwest Asia-North Africa (SWANA) region. In addition, the Film Salon aimed to connect these issues to those that all women face across the globe.

The fifteen winning films were split into four core themes to encourage discussion and debate. These were "States of Violence," which contained films dealing primarily with state and governmental forms of gendered discrimination and violence; "Conditions of Culture," showcasing films that address oppressive cultural practices; "Body Talk," encompassing films dealing with sex and sexuality; and "Women Without Men," which offered films that hope to inspire a world without patriarchy.

Because the filmmakers are all scattered across various continents, they were not available to come to the Levantine Center/Markaz to discuss their work. Instead, Eszter invited guest speakers to serve on panels and facilitate group discussion after each themed section. These panelists, comprised of young academic scholars and aid workers who focus specifically on the SWANA region, helped to place the selected films within larger social, political, and historical contexts. The panelists included Umayyah Cable (doctoral candidate in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California), Shadee Malaklou (doctoral candidate in Culture and Theory at UC Irvine), Nausheen Sheikh (graduate student in the Asian American Studies department at UCLA), Zeena Aljawad and Sabreen Shalabi (both activists and aid workers who have collaborated with various organizations).

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.  

The Women's Voices Now Film Salon was an important milestone in terms of inter-organizational collaboration. Both Saturday and Sunday evenings were well attended, and resulted in fruitful and engaging conversations with audience members after the films. Topics such as sexual harassment, Islamic feminism, Orientalism, colonialism, and international solidarity politics were all critically and respectfully explored and discussed. It was collectively felt that the Women's Voices Now Film Salon offered a fantastic and valuable opportunity to challenge people's thinking and to bridge cultural divides between various religions and ethnicities. The response from audience members has been overwhelmingly positive, and the Levantine/Markaz looks forward to hosting more events that emphasize community discussion and women's rights.

—Staff Report 

"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)  

Fight the Good Fight

Subtitle: 
For Arts and Free Expression—as a Counterweight to Extremism, Islamophobia, Media Bias and Racism


By Jordan Elgrably

Charlie Hebdo, ISIS, Gaza, Ferguson, the Taliban, drone attacks killing families in Afghanistan and Pakistan...

An Evening With American Muslim Writers

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Sep 5 2014 7:30pm - 10:00pm
Price: 
Free to the public (charitable contributions welcome)
café open 7:00-11:00 pm for dinner/snacks
Donate Here
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
Romance, dating, sex and - Muslims?

Join us in the Levantine café for vibrant, laugh-out-loud readings and frank talk when we present two groundbreaking anthologies, written by American Muslims on the intersection of their identitie

"Local/Not Local" Reception for Arab/Iranian California Artists

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Jun 26 2014 6:00pm - 10:00pm
Price: 
Free to the public
Where: 
Inside/Outside Gallery, Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90035-2657
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
Maece Seirafi and Pouya Jahanshahi co-curate Arab/Iranian typography & design
From a design perspective, what do we really know about the Arab world or Iran?

"Local Not Local" Exhibits Arab & Iranian California Designers-Artists

LOCAL NOT LOCAL PRESENTS NEW WORK OF ARAB & IRANIAN ARTISTS AND
GRAPHIC DESIGNERS AT THE INSIDE/OUTSIDE GALLERY, JUNE 26-AUGUST 29, 2014


[LOS ANGELES-May 29, 2014] From a design perspective, what do we really know about the Arab world, or Iraq's neighbor, Iran? A window into these cultures, which use the Arabic script for writing and design, will open here in Los Angeles on June 26, 2014, when LOCAL NOT LOCAL, a modern collection of contemporary expression, brings Arabic and Iranian typography and calligraphy to the Inside/Outside Gallery at the Levantine Cultural Center. These days it seems like everyone's got a favorite font and a philosophy of typography. But it's not just our Roman alphabet that gets translated into different shapes - all over the world, designers pick and choose scripts to suit the occasion. In LOCAL NOT LOCAL, co-curators Maece Seirafi and Pouya Jahanshahi present a collection of award-winning Arab and Iranian designers who demonstrate the creative possibilities and expressions that lurk in their native alphabets.

Levantine Cultural Center Testimonials 2013-2014

Subtitle: 
what people have said about us

 

"The Levantine Cultural Center continues to generate respect for Middle Eastern arts and culture in the U.S., specifically focusing on the wealth of Middle Eastern cultural arts already present in California, with the twin goals of building solidarity among peoples of diverse Middle East origins in Southern California and beyond and promoting understanding between Middle East peoples (roughly Afghanistan in the East to Morocco in the West) and mainstream Americans." —Barbara Al-Bayati, co-founder, Orphan Whispers

"The Levantine Cultural Center plays an important role in countering media bias and stereotyping against the Arab and Muslim community both in the US and overseas. By exposing its predominantly western audience to well-curated performances and cultural events that showcase the beauty and diversity of the Muslim world, the center is effective at building local community as well as changing minds and perceptions." —Ibrahim Alhusseini, venture capitalist, husseini.com

"Over the years, the Levantine Cultural Center has been a consistent source of support and inspiration to the Arab/Muslim community in Southern California, and we here at CAIR Greater Los Angeles Area, wish to express our deep appreciation. The Center is an important resource that provides Americans with high-quality arts and educational programming that humanizes its participants, regardless of their background or heritage. From film, theatre, music, literary and arts programs to classes, workshops and public forums, the Center's programs create a safe space for exploration of potentially complex issues. We encourage everyone to plan a visit to the Levantine Cultural Center, and to lend it your support." —Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director, CAIR Greater Los Angeles 

Middle East Drum Circle with Rowan Storm

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Apr 12 2014 1:30pm - 3:30pm
Price: 
$20 for two-hour workshop
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles 90035
Between La Cienega and Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
play doumbek, daf, riqq live informally at the Levantine café

Come participate in a dynamic Middle East rhythm and drum circle, facilitated by percussion expert Rowan Storm, Saturday from 1:30 -3:30 pm, April 12, 2014 (and second Saturdays in May and June). Beginners welcome. For all ages. Family friendly. Various hand drums and percussion provided, or bring your own. Info/reservations 323.413.2001 or just show up. Grab a drum or bring your own and join the fun! Visit carpetconcert.com or rowanstorm.com.

Suggested contribution for two hours is $20.

Middle East Drum Circle with Rowan Storm

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Jan 18 2014 1:30pm - 3:30pm
Price: 
Suggested donation $10 for one circle, $15 for two
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
Street parking.
Subtitle: 
get into Middle Eastern percussion at the Levantine!

Come participate in a dynamic Middle East rhythm and drum circle, facilitated by Rowan Storm, Saturday from 1:30 -3:30 pm, Jan. 18, 2013 (repeats on Feb. 8 and March 15, 2014). Beginners welcome.

Sultans of Satire, headliner Omar Elba!

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Dec 20 2013 8:00pm - 10:30pm
Price: 
$15 advance ($12 members), $18 at the door
RSVPs strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to buy tickets
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center/Café Rumi
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
Street parking
Subtitle: 
Middle East Comic Relief!

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 OMAR ELBA, with Mona Shaikh, Eman Morgan, Zara Mizrahi and Feraz Orel.