Mark Amin & Reza Amin cordially invite you to a Levantine Cultural Center fundraiser and introduction to The Markaz* with special guest speaker Reza Aslan on The Power of the Arts, featuring the Naser Musa Trio. A dinner, talk and live music in an exclusive benefit event, select guest list only.
Reza Aslan, host of CNN's forthcoming new religion series Believer, is the cofounder of BoomGen Studios, producing the upcoming ABC show Kings and Prophets which has a diverse cast (Israeli, Palestinian, Lebanese, Indian) and the feature film 1001, just sold to Lionsgate based on the classic tale One Thousand and One Nights.
"Bridging the Mideast divide with comedy." —New York Times
"Is Ghazi Albuliwi the Palestinian Woody Allen? —Haaretz
Director/star Ghazi Albuliwi joins us in person, along with cast/crew members to screen his "groundbreaking" (Huffington Post) comedy in person, followed by a Q & A. When a Palestinian in Brooklyn agrees to bargain his U.S. citizenship into a green-card marriage, he never expects to wed an Israeli, in Ghazi Albuliwi's edgy comedy Peace After Marriage. $12 movie event only/$25 with dinner reception. This evening is the culimination of the 2015 Celebrate Palestine week. The film screens at 8:30 pm, dinner is served at 7:30 pm.
Co-helmed with Bandar Albuliwi, the film has origins in Ghazi Albuliwi's standup roots. This "lighthearted Muslim-Jewish romantic comedy without a heavy political agenda" (Variety) won the audience award at Montpellier's Cinemed Fest.
Arafat (Ghazi Albuliwi), 30, is a struggling actor living with his parents and suffering from a major case of sexual frustration. With no pickup technique to speak of, he's stuck with porn and many lonely nights. Dad (Hany Kamal) keeps proposing arranged marriages in New York and Palestine, but the candidates never get his sense of humor, and he ends up fleeing. Mom (Hiam Abbass) is sympathetic, but the father is the king of the house, and surely a nice Muslim girl would be the answer to everyone's prayers.
Desperate for companionship, Arafat agrees to marry Michaela. The situation forces them to re-examine their respective cultural traditions, a satire in which both may transcend political, religious and familiar barriers. Read a Huffington Post interview with the director.
This program is one in the 2015 series, Celebrate Palestine, presented by the Levantine Cultural Center and the following underwriters and sponsors: Anonymous, Reza Amin, Jordan Elgrably, Elana Golden, Tarek Hoballah, Dr. Raymond Jallow, Jewish Voice for Peace-LA, LA Jews for Peace, Anthony Saidy MD, Dr. Diane Shammas, and with support from media sponsor KPFK 90.7 FM.
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.
Chapman University, Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dept. of Political Science, History and Peace Studies and the Levantine Cultural Center present present a rare evening with celebrated author and blogger Juan Cole (The New Arabs; Engaging the Muslim World), introduced by political science associate professor Nubar Hovsepian. The talk is on "How the Arab Millennial Generation is changing the Middle East." There will be Q & A and a book signing, along with a light reception. All welcome, free to the public. Copies of Juan Cole's books will be available for purchase and signing.
In line with the Levantine Cultural Center's exploration of American foreign policy, this forum asks, How does the C.I.A. play a role in the Middle East and North Africa? Was Robert Ames, the subject of Kai Bird's bestselling biography, The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames, actually an ambassador for peace, particularly with respect to the Israelis and Palestinians? The book offers a "compelling portrait of the remarkable life and death of one of the most important operatives in CIA history— a man who, had he lived, might have helped heal the rift between Arabs and the West." The forum includes a book signing with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Kai Bird and public Q & A. This forum picks up where our previous forum in March 2014, America's Great Game: The C.I.A. and U.S. Middle East Foreign Policy, left off.
Read a Washington Post review of The Good Spy.
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.
The Levantine Cultural Center and Cohen Media Group invite you to an exclusive preview of Cherien Dabis' new film May in the Summer, which follows sophisticated New Yorker and Arab American May Brennan to her childhood home of Amman, Jordan for her wedding. To all appearances, May (Cherien Dabis) has it all — she's intelligent, gorgeous, the recipient of raves for her recently published book and set to marry her loving fiancé Ziad (Alexander Siddig), a distinguished New York scholar. But immediately upon returning to her familial hometown for the wedding, the cracks in her seemingly perfect life begin to show. Star and writer/director Cherien Dabis will attend in person. A Q & A follows the screening (99ms). Seating limited, RSVPs required to 323.413.2001 or email your first/last name, phone and number of guests (up to 4) to email@example.com. We recommend you plan to arrive early to park and get into the theatre. Enter lot from Melrose, just east of San Vicente.
More About the Film
May's headstrong, born-again Christian mother Nadine (Hiam Abbass) disapproves of Ziad's Muslim faith and is firm in her decision to not attend the ceremony. Her sisters Dalia (Alia Shawkat) and Yasmine (Nadine Malouf) revert to behaving like rebellious teenagers as their estranged father Edward (Bill Pullman) awkwardly attempts to make amends. Confronted with the wounds of her parent's long-broken relationship, coupled with the unavoidable clash of old-world and modern values, May is lead to question the direction her life is taking. Her once carefully structured world appears to unravel as she grapples with her own truths in this fresh, exotic look at a woman caught in the crossroads between tradition and choice.
May in the Summer, written and directed by Cherien Dabis (Amreeka), stars Dabis, Alia Shawkat, Nadine Malouf, Ritu Singh Pande, Hiam Abbass and Bill Pullman. The film was produced by Dabis, Alix Madigan-Yorkin and Christopher Tricarico.
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 hotte
A beautiful night of inspired music awaits you when the Levantine Cultural Center presents the fourth edition of Café Arabesque with Al-Fareed of Radio Al-Fareed and his band Bedouin-X.
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? On Thursday, March 6, 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 90.7 FM Pacifica Radio is a media sponsor.