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Levant

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 

Meditations on the Oud with Dimitris Mahlis

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Aug 6 2015 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Price: 
$12 general admission, $10 members/students
reservations strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
The Markaz
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035-2657
Between La Cienega and Fairfax
street parking and in the CVS underground lot
Subtitle: 
a Levantine banquet of Greek, Turkish and Sephardic compositions

The Markaz, Arts Center for the Greater Middle East presents a special house concert, Meditations on the Oud, performed by oud musician and composer Dimitris Mahlis, who has created a unique evening of live performance and musical history that connects the rich past of the Middle East/Levant with the broader Middle East region of today.

On August 6th he will present the works of Greek, Armenian and Jewish composers of Ottoman classical music. In the rich mosaic that is this tradition, minorities of the empire played a substantial role both in the composition of Ottoman classical music as well as in the making of the instruments on which it was played. Composers such as Kemenceci Nikolaki, Kemani Tatyos, and Tanburi Isak are well known in the musical circles of Turkey and the Middle East, yet largely unknown in their "own" lands. It is in the spirit of coexistence and collaboration that this music will be presented along with the poetry of one of the most famous Greek poets of the Greek diaspora, Constantine Cavafy of Alexandria, Egypt.

Oudist, guitarist and composer Dimitris "Jimmy" Mahlis has become known in musical circles as an eclectic interpreter of many musical traditions. Having a thorough knowledge of both eastern and western musical theory, he has developed a playing style on several instruments which is both earthy yet intricate. As a composer, his pieces have set a standard in cross cultural pollination. He will perform a "Levantine" repertoire sure to be a feast for the ears. Listen to the artist

"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...

Organic Arab Afro Trance Concert with Bedouin X and Mahadev

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Feb 28 2015 8:00pm - 11:00pm
Price: 
$20 in advance; $25 at the door
RSVP to 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
a night of world music

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. 

Middle East Comic Relief Benefit Performance at the Carpenter

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Dec 13 2014 8:00pm - 10:30pm
Price: 
$25 students, $35 general, $45 preferred, $100 VIPs
Assigned seating, reservations strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
Carpenter Performing Arts Center
6200 E Atherton St
Long Beach, CA 90815
Info 562. 985.7000
Lot parking on campus $5 per car
Snack bar, beer & wine available
Subtitle: 
the new Sultans of Satire will bring down the house at the Carpenter

[img_assist|nid=19120|title=12/13 comedy gala supports a culture of peace|desc=|link=url|url=Support a culture of peace, not the war industry. Help us keep the flame alive!

Omar Faruk and Friends in Concert

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Oct 25 2014 8:00pm
Price: 
$30 general admission
$40 Patron of the Arts seating (limited front rows)
Seating limited, RSVPs strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
Westwood Hills Congregational Church
1989 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90025
Between Santa Monica & Olympic Blvds. at La Grange
free lot & street parking
Right across the street from Byblos and Zumba restaurants
Subtitle: 
with Hamid Saeidi, Chris Wabich and Daniel Mandelman

The Levantine Cultural Center is pleased to present live in concert Omar Faruk Tekbilek & Friends. Omar Faruk Tekbilek is a Turkish virtuoso in the Sufi tradition, musician and composer of many albums, performing on ney, baglama, zurna, percussion and vocals. He will give two concerts only, in Los Angeles and Orange County, on Saturday/Sunday, Oct. 25/26, featuring the talented Hamid Saeidi on santour, the eclectic Chris Wabich on drums and percussion, and the versatile Daniel Mandelman on keyboards. The concert benefits the Levantine Cultural Center, a nonprofit organization opening a new multidiscplinary space to explore the cultures of the Middle East/North Africa in 2015. Watch/listen!

Seating for the Los Angeles concert is limited, we advise reserving your seats early to guarantee attendance: 323.413.2001. $30 general admission, $25 members, students, seniors (if purchased by Oct. 15 only).

SNACK & BEVERAGE MENU: Moroccan bastilla (homemade pies), cheese fatayer, spinach fatayer and sandwiches, everything served with a little side of salad. Soft drinks and hot maté tea! 

For those closer to Orange County, the concert will take place in a more intimate, 80-seat venue, so reservations are strongly advised: Sunday, Oct 26, 2014 at 7pm, Hoson House, 1961 Irvine Blvd, Tustin, CA 92780. Buy tickets for Oct. 26 show here.

Omar Faruk and Friends in ConcertOmar Faruk and Friends in Concert

 

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

The New Americans: Arabs in California

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Aug 10 2014 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Price: 
Free to the public, donations welcome.
Refreshments served.
RSVPs 323.413.2001
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega and Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
with Nahla Kayali, Bassam Marjiya, Anthony Saidy, Nagwa Ibrahim, Cheryl Faris & Don Bustany

With Nahla Kayali, Anthony Saidy, Nagwa Ibrahim, Cheryl Faris and Bassam Marjya, moderator Don Bustany. A panel on refugees, exiles and immigrants from the Arab world discusses integration and assimilation.

This two-part program features a discussion with an early generation of Arab Americans, Anthony Saidy and Cheryl Faris, talking about their parents and grandparents arrival in the United States, and the history of social and cultural contributions that Arab Americans have made, particularly in California (Cousins Club, ADC, KPFK, etc). The second half of the discussion will be with a newer generation of Arab immigrants to California. Nahla Kayali, Nagwa Ibrahim and others will talk about how they reinvented their lives in Southern California. This exploration of history, culture and identity intends to demystify Arab and Arab American society, defuse Islamophobia, and build new bridges among all our communities. The event is free and open to the public. Donations are welcome. Refreshments will be served.

RSVPs welcome, 323.413.2001. "The New Americans: Arabs in California," Levantine Cultural Center, 5998 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90035. 

Souren Baronian's Magic Carpet Ride

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Jul 26 2014 8:00pm - 10:30pm
Price: 
$25 General Admission/$20 members & students with id
Seating limited RSVPs strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to buy tickets
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega and Fairfax
Street parking
Subtitle: 
a carpet concert

"Like two chemicals that flare upon touching, the music is a remarkable hybrid of two cul