Nov. 4: Iraq and the Iraqi Diaspora with Deborah Al-Najjar, Ella Habiba Shohat and friends, an evening of discussion and book signing.
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.
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.
Nov. 7: Sarah Shourd on A Sliver of Light, a book talk discussing Shourd's experience with Josh Fatal and Shane Bauer, the three American hikers who were picked up on the border with Iraq and held in Iran's notorious Evin prison for two years. (A lunchtime lecture.)
Nov. 7-9: The Arab Film Festival presents multiple features and documentaries at the Harmony Gold, with support from the Levantine Cultural Center.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Join the Levantine Cultural Center for a West Coast production of Dear Armen, an audience-interactive theatre experience inspired by the life of Armen Ohanian, an enigmatic Armenian performe
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).
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, 961 Irvine Blvd, Tustin, CA 92780. Buy tickets for Oct. 26 show here.
What do we understand about contemporary Egypt now after several years have passed since the Tahrir Square Revolution of 2011? With the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the election of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi, his ouster and the subsequent takeover of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), and the imposition of General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi as Egypt's new president, the landscape continues to rumble beneath Egyptian feet.
Egyptian-born French American novelist Juliana Maio has written a novel, City of the Sun, that connects many of the roots of today's turmoil to World War II, with the Axis-Allied struggle for control of the Suez Canal, and the early history of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Drawing from her Egyptian-Jewish heritage and personal experience as a refugee and immigrant, Maio's City of the Sun delivers a powerful story with a host of intriguing characters, from spies to scientists within Cairo's Jewish community. The novel follows Mickey Connolly, an American journalist who is in Cairo to report on the war in North Africa in 1941. Mixing true historical events with a fictional story of love and espionage, Maio creates a poignant tale, while painting an accurate portrait of a pivotal moment in history.
Ms. Maio will present her novel at the Levantine Cultural Center in conversation with Egyptian-born political science professor Nubar Hovsepian, on Thursday, Oct. 2, 7 pm. All welcome for what is sure to be a scintillating conversation linking Egypt's past and its relationships with the United States, Israel and the Palestinians with today's current events. Visit Juliana Maio's web site. Cover $10 or $15 with signed copy of the book. Café open for dinner as of 6 pm.
"Mars at Sunrise is a thoughtful and inventive look at a seemingly endless war." —Jeanette Catsoulis, The New York Times
New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema presents writer-director Jessica Habie's Mars At Sunrise (2013, 75 ms) is the story of a war waged on imagination. A painter's resistance, courage and spirit can never be imprisoned in this highly stylized story of the conflict of two frustrated artists on either side of Israel's militarized borders. Inspired by the creative journey of renowned Palestinian artist in exile Hani Zurob and on true stories and testimonies from the region, we witness expression, confinement, torture, jealousy, courage and freedom as both artists from each culture strive to paint a picture of life surrounded by conflict.
Mars at Sunrise stars Ali Suliman as Khaled, Golden Globe Winner for Best Foreign Film 2005, Paradise Now; Guy El Hanan as Eyal, an Israeli radio personality and an accomplished playwright; and Haale Gafori as Azzadeh, a singer based in Brooklyn and author of the film's original poetry. The soundtrack features six languages (English, Hebrew, Russian, Yiddish, Farsi and Arabic) and was produced by Tamir Muskat of the Balkan Beat Box, and featuring original music by Itamar Ziegler and Mohsen Subhi.
Jessica Habie will participate in a conversation immediately following the screening. This program sponsored in part by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (goldenglobes.org).
$10 general admission/$7 members and students. RSVPS strongly advised as seating is limited: 323.413.2001.
Sheana Ochoa, author of the first biography of theatre and acting legend Stella Adler entitled STELLA! Mother of Modern Acting, with a foreword by Mark Ruffalo, will moderate a discussion about the changing craft of acting. Stella Adler taught Brando, DeNiro, Ruffalo, Benicio Del Toro and many others. This panel features two contemporary young actors of Middle Eastern heritage, influenced by Stella Adler's teachings, Mojean Aria and Thom Bishops; an acting coach and casting director who studied extensively with Stella, Deborah Aquila; and a casting director formed by the New York theatre world, April Webster. The program will be a dialogue among the panelists about the evolution of acting from the early 20th century until today, and a look at how actors of Middle Eastern heritage are fitting in, despite potential barriers in the business.
Tickets are $15, or $25 includes a signed copy of the new hardback biography, STELLA! Mother Modern Acting. The café is open as of 6:30 pm serving delicious authentic Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine. Reservations are strongly suggested as space is limited: call 323.413.2001.
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.