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Middle East Diasporic

Iraq and the Middle East Diaspora

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Nov 4 2014 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested contribution $10/$6 members/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 & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
Ella Habiba Shohat and Deborah Al-Najjar on the politics of Middle Eastern diaspora

In some ways it can be said that there are two Middle Easts—the first geographic, political and the subject of international attention; and the second, far less apparent is the Middle East in diaspora—Arab/Middle Eastern populations living around the world, often with refugee status. Recent conflicts including the Gulf War, the second Gulf War, the Syrian civil war and now the Islamic State have destabilized the region and created millions of refugees.

In Iraq and the Middle East Diaspora, Professor Ella Habiba Shohat, author Deborah Al-Najjar and special guests will converse on the disintegration of Iraq and Syria, as well as the politics of identity, culture and diaspora. Shohat is co-editor most recently of Between the Middle East and the Americas, The Cultural Politics of Diaspora (with Evelyn Alsultany). Deborah Al-Najjar is co-editor of We Are Iraqis, Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War (in which Shohat is interviewed about "Arab Jews, Diaspora and Multicultural Feminism").

Read an interview with Shohat and Alsultany in Jadaliyya.

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.


We Are Iraqis & Between the Middle East and the AmericasWe Are Iraqis & Between the Middle East and the AmericasNov. 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.

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.

Sarah Shourd: on the three hikers imprisoned in IranSarah Shourd: on the three hikers imprisoned in Iran

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.)

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. 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.)

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.

Dear Armen, a bold theatre experience

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Oct 27 2014 7:30pm
Price: 
$15 general admission
$10 students

Seating limited, RSVPs strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Subtitle: 
The story of a genderqueer writer and student, Garo, as they study the life and work of Armen Ohanian, an enigmatic Armenian performer and survivor of the early 20th-century anti-Armenian pogroms in Baku.

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

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

 

Novelist Juliana Maio on Egypt, Then and Now

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Oct 2 2014 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
$10 general admission or $15 with a signed copy of the novel
Limited seating, RSVPs recommended: 323.413.2001
Café open for dinner as of 6 pm
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Subtitle: 
presented and moderated by Dr. Nubar Hovsepian

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 with Director Jessica Habie

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Sep 27 2014 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Price: 
$10/$7 members/students
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
a thoughtful and inventive look at a seemingly endless war

"Mars at Sunrise is a thoughtful and inventive look at a seemingly endless war." —Jeanette Catsoulis, The New York Times

Mars at SunriseMars at Sunrise

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. 

From New York to Hollywood, A Panel on Stella Adler and Acting

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Oct 22 2014 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Tickets are $15 or $25 includes copy of the hardback biography
"Stella! Mother Modern Acting"
(no one turned away for lack of funds)
café open for dinner/snacks from 6:00 pm
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
with Sheana Ochoa, Thom Bishops, Deborah Aquila, Mojean Aria, April Webster

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.