Access and post more content, build your own profile page -

Middle East Diasporic

Essay on "War and People: Art, Exile and the Middle East"

Subtitle: 
November 21-December 31, 2014
War and People: Art, Exile and the Middle East
November 21-December 31, 2014
Inside/Outside Gallery, Levantine Cultural Center


By Jordan Elgrably

Following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the end of the Second World War, the map of the Middle East and North Africa has been rewritten by colonialism, war and internecine conflict.

Whether the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the 1980-1988 war between Iraq and Iran, the first and second Gulf War in Iraq, the invasions of Afghanistan, or the Lebanese Civil War, millions of people have been displaced. Millions more have seen their lives changed forever with the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria that began in 2010.

In the 21st century, it is easy for us to forget that World War I was said to be "the war to end all wars." Here I am, writing on the 100th anniversary of that brutal conflagration that killed over 15 million combatants and civilians in Europe.

Comedy Gala for Peace on 12/13/14 Features Aron Kader

The Levantine Cultural Center presents its flagship comedy show, the Sultans of Satire: Middle East Comic Relief, to celebrate peace and benefit a new cultural arts center for the Middle East/North Africa, opening in 2015. Come enjoy this long-running and inspired comedy show for a healthy dose of satire and universal humor, laugh about life and the Middle East with one of L.A's hottest comedy troupes. Hosted by the outrageous Tehran (Iran/U.S.) and headlined by Palestinian American Aron Kader (Comedy Central's Axis of Evil), this show features six of the funniest young comedians on the circuit today. With Sammy Obeid, Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Melissa Shoshahi and Sherwin Arae.

Find out why the Sultans of Satire are a riot, relieve stress, celebrate peace with fans of the Levantine Cultural Center, presenting arts and education programs on the Middle East and North Africa across Southern California since 2001. Your ticket purchases and program ad support will help re-establish the Levantine Cultural Center in a new facility opening Summer 2015. Read our Capital Campaign plan here. Download the gift form here and become a Founder of the new Center.

For tickets to the 12/13/14 comedy show, go here. More info. 

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

The Levantine Cultural Center presents its flagship comedy show, the Sultans of Satire: Middle East Comic Relief, to celebrate peace and benefit a new cultural arts center for the Middle East/North Africa, opening in 2015. Come enjoy this long-running and inspired comedy show for a healthy dose of satire and universal humor, laugh about life and the Middle East with one of L.A's hottest comedy troupes. Hosted by the outrageous Tehran (Iran/U.S.) and headlined by Palestinian American Aron Kader (Comedy Central's Axis of Evil), this show features six of the funniest young comedians on the circuit today. With Sammy Obeid, Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Melissa Shoshahi and Sherwin Arae.

Media SponsorMedia SponsorHFPA: Film SponsorHFPA: Film Sponsor

Find out why the Sultans of Satire are a riot, relieve stress, celebrate peace with fans of the Levantine Cultural Center, presenting arts and education programs on the Middle East and North Africa across Southern California since 2001. Your ticket purchases and program ad support will help re-establish the Levantine Cultural Center in a new facility opening Summer 2015. Read our Capital Campaign plan here. Download the gift form here and become a Founder of the new Center.

Tickets/info: 323.413.2001. 

Poets on War and People, an Evening of Spoken Word

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Dec 4 2014 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested contribution $10/$5 students/seniors
café open 6:30-9:30 pm for dinner/snacks
Donate Here
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Pico
Street parking
Subtitle: 
poets Dima Hilal, Morani Kornberg-Weiss, Teresa Mei Chuc and Julia Stein explore war and people

In conjunction with the new exhibition War and People: Art, Exile and the Middle East, four Southern California-based poets read from two recent collections of poetry, Dear Darwish and With Our Eyes Wide Open, that explore the effects of war and exile on people in South Asia, the Middle East and the Americas.

With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century, focuses on the impact of recent wars on populations around the world specially the U.S. wars in Southeast Asia (Vietnam etc.), Central America, and the Middle East. This international anthology of poetry explores the impact of the United States in wars as well as upon the "nobodies"-outcasts, immigrants, the working class: "They [the poets]...represent an emerging poetic consciousness which is helping todefine and shape the imagination and language of the 21st Century." Using a call-and-response pattern, the poems look at the impact of the United States' wars in Korea, Vietnam, Central American, and Iraq on lives. Vietnamese-American poet Teresa Mei Chuc, and Julia Stein read from their own poems. Dima Hilal, a Lebanese American will read her work. We will also read some of the Middle Eastern poets in the anthology from Turkey, Oman, Egyptian-American, Morocco, Iraq, and Chechnya.

Read reviews of With Eyes Wide Open here and in Counterpunch here.

 

Ramy Essam, Egyptian Rocker and Human Rights Activist

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Nov 25 2014 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Price: 
$20 general admission
$10 members & students
Limited seating, 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 concert and public conversation about Egypt

Levantine Cultural Center presents for the first time in Los Angeles, Ramy Essam live in concert and a public conversation. Essam is the Egyptian revolutionary rocker whose song "Irhal" contributed to the uprising that drove Hosni Mubarak from power, and who is featured in Jehane Noujaim's acclaimed documentary, The Square. He's recognized as perhaps the single most important musical artist of the Arab Spring.

This month Essam will undertake his first North American tour, with stops in NYC, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver. His show at the Levantine Center will mark a landmark appearance at the Levantine Center. "I have known of the work of the Levantine Center even from Egypt, and I can't imagine any other place to make my first West Coast concert than with them," Essam declared when the concert was confirmed. This will truly be a special event and Essam will perform not only his revolutionary hits, but also newly written and recorded material dealing with the student protests and ongoing harassment, jailings and worse of revolutionary activists, including many of his friends. He will also talk about his experiences the last three years and what he sees as the best path forward for Egypt in this difficult period. Listen/watch Ramy Essam on YouTube.

"Rock the Casbah" in the Arab Film Festival

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Nov 7 2014 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Price: 
$12 general admission
Where: 
Harmony Gold Theatre
7655 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90046
Corner of Stanley
Free parking underground and behind bldg
Subtitle: 
a new comedy from Morocco with an international cast

Directed by Laila Marrakchi (Morocco 2013, 100 minutes) with a powerhouse Arab cast that includes Hiam Abbass, Lubna Azabal, Nadine Labaki and Marjana Alaoui, ROCK THE CASBAH is a family drama set one summer in Tangiers. A family comes together for three days, following the death of the family patriarch. Swapping their swimsuits for djellabias, emotions run particularly high, when the youngest daughter Sofia, arrives from New York. Sofia, an actress in the United States, has settled into a new life, away from her family. As the order once maintained by the deceased father breaks down and unravels, the women of the family are forced to face certain harsh truths. Buy tickets.

This is the 8th annual Arab Film Festival in Los Angeles and the 18th since the festival launched in the San Francisco Bay area. See arabfilmfestival.org.

Founded in 1996, the Arab Film Festival is the largest independent annual showcase of Arab films and filmmakers in the country. The festival has an international standing and is considered one of the most important Arab film festivals outside the Arab world. It strives to present the best contemporary films that provide insight into the beauty, complexity and diversity of the Arab world alongside realistic perspectives on Arab people, culture, art, history and politics. 

Rock the Casbah is copresented by the Women's Film Institute and the Levantine Cultural Center. 

Salon With Karima Bennoune, When Muslims Fight Fundamentalism

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Nov 15 2014 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Price: 
$60 (salon, signed book, reception)
Seating strictly limited
RSVP to 323.413.2001 or rsvp@levantinecenter.org
This salon benefits the new Levantine Cultural Center
coming in 2015
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
Private home in Laguna Hills, address provided upon RSVP

Critics of Islam ask why Muslims themselves don't speak out often enough against extremism. The Levantine Cultural Center and Bana Hilal invite you to a salon, "When People of Muslim Heritage Challenge Fundamentalism," the subject of law professor Karima Bennoune's prize-winning book, and her Ted talk (March 2014). Of course, many Muslims like the young Malala Yousafzai and countless others around the world oppose Islamic fundamentalism, but they rarely make the news. Karima Bennoune, a native of Algeria, is a human rights lawyer and UC Davis law professor. Her book Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism, just won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for 2014. It 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

Watch Karima Bennoune's Ted talk. 

"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

November 2014 at the Levantine Cultural Center

Subtitle: 
exploring the Middle East and North Africa

 

We are especially pleased to present our November 2014 line-up to you. As you know, we founded the Levantine Cultural Center during the summer of 2001, dedicating ourselves to a cultural and community center that champions a greater understanding of the Middle East and North Africa, from Afghanistan/Pakistan in the east to Morocco in the west. We are also dedicated to exploring our communities in diaspora. To rsvp for any of these programs, simply email rsvp@levantinecenter.org, or call 323.413.2001.

The Inside/Outside Gallery is pleased to present the first American solo show for Egyptian master painter Mohamed Khedr, featuring 40 works on canvas and paper, Oct 4-Oct.26, 2014, with an extended closing reception on Sunday, Nov. 16, 5-7 pm, at 5998 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90035.

Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday 10 am-6 pm, and Sat/Sun by appointment only, 310.657.5511. The work is also on view evenings during scheduled events, on Nov. 5 and 6.

Nov. 5: On the Side of the Road a new documentary presented by director Lia Tarachansky that examines the 1948 Nakba-the expulsion of Palestinians from the emerging state of Israel-from the perspective of Israelis. 

Smadar Lavie's latest book reveals Israel's social stratificationSmadar Lavie's latest book reveals Israel's social stratification

Nov. 6: Gaza and the Arab Jewish Divide, a talk by anthropologist-author and Professor Smadar Lavie, author of Wrapped In the Flag of Israel, who finds that there is a direct correlation between social protest movements in Israel, Ashkenazi-Mizrahi relations, and attacks on Gaza.

 

The AFF returns to HollywoodThe AFF returns to Hollywood

Nov. 7-9: The Arab Film Festival presents multiple features and documentaries at the Harmony Gold, with support from the Levantine Cultural Center.

Nov. 10: Sacred Spaces in Syria: Stories, Music and Discussion. Presented by Jason Hamacher, widely traveled in Syria and other regions of the Middle East, who discusses his experiences. Hamacher will play selections from his "Sacred Voices of Syria" series, and show photos from a forthcoming book. He is an internationally recognized musician, photographer, writer and public speaker (NPR, Aljazeera, Smithsonian). 

Nov. 15: Muslims Who Combat Fundamentalism Around the World, a talk by the Algerian American professor at Stanford, Karima Bennoune, author of Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here. (An afternoon salon in a private home in Orange County, by reservation only.)

nov-21-splash.jpgnov-21-splash.jpg

Nov. 21, War and People: Art, Exile and the Middle East, a new exhibition,focuses on contemporary art and artifacts gathered from artists, war refugees and their children. The exhibit focuses on the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), the Israel-Palestine Wars of 1948 and 1967, the Lebanon Civil War (1975-1990), and the Syrian War (2011-2014), and also includes two performance lectures. Artists include Melissa Chimera, Dorit Cypis, John Halaka, Kinda Hibrawi, Khalid Hussein and Kaveh Keshmiri. 

Egyptian rocker/revolutionary Ramy EssamEgyptian rocker/revolutionary Ramy Essam

Nov. 25: Ramy Essam Live in Los Angeles, concert & public conversation with the Egyptian revolutionary rocker whose song "Erhal" help drive Hosni Mubarak from power, and who is featured in Jehane Noujaim's acclaimed documentary, The Square.

Gaza and the Arab Jewish Divide in Israel With Professor Smadar Lavie

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Nov 6 2014 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested donation for the lecture $10.
Copies of "Wrapped in the Flag of Israel" available
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035-2657
Between La Cienega and Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
Gaza 2014 and the Mizrahi Predicament, Right-Wing Politics and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

One of the biggest uncovered stories in the Middle East is the chasm between Israel's Euro-American Jewish population (Ashkenazim), and the Jews from the Arab/Muslim world, the Mizrahim. Deep-rooted racism continues to play a role in Israeli society between Ashkenazim and Mizrahim (sometimes called Sephardic Jews). Indeed, often there is a direct relationship between how Israel treats the Palestinians and the way Israeli society stratifies its own Jewish population, with Ashkenazim occupying more seats in the Knesset and more overall government control now than at any time since 1977, according to anthropologist and Professor Smadar Lavie.

Smadar Lavie suggests that there is a direct correlation between social protest movements in Israel, Ashkenazi-Mizrahi relations, and attacks on Gaza. Her talk will address Gaza 2014 and the Mizrahi predicament, right-wing politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Author most recently of Wrapped in the Flag of Israel, Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture, Smadar Lavie is a Scholar in Residence at the Beatrice Bain Research Center, UC Berkeley's feminists of color think tank, and at the Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century, University College Cork (Ireland). Her book looks at the role of gender in the Mizrahi-Ashkenazi divide with particular emphasis on how Mizrahi women (whose roots are in Arab countries, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East) navigate right-wing politics in Israel, noting that many Mizrahim vote for right-wing parties.

Professor Lavie will give a rare talk in Los Angeles on the relationship between the Mizrahi-Ashkenazi divide and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, on Thursday, Nov. 6, 7 pm. Book signing and reception to follow.

How the Arab Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Oct 16 2014 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Free to the public, books $25 ea.
Where: 
Chapman University
Beckman 404
1 University Dr
Orange, CA 92866
Subtitle: 
Prof. Juan Cole with an introduction by Associate Prof. Nubar Hovsepian

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 ArabsEngaging 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.