Can you believe it?!
We are just starting our 12th year serving greater Los Angeles. Don Heckman wrote the first LA Times article about us, positively reviewing our first public program, in a Calendar review published June 25, 2001. (We received another thumbs-up review in December 2001 by theatre critic Don Shirley and many more LA Times articles since.)
Do you agree that the greater Los Angeles region should have a Middle Eastern/North African cultural arts center? Are you supportive of our mission to bridge cultures and build peace?
The Levantine Cultural Center champions a greater understanding of the Middle East & North Africa, presenting arts and education programs that help bridge political and religious divides. We are an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit, serving the community since 2001. Our goal is to grow our active storefront into a multidisciplinary arts center that can better serve greater Los Angeles.
By Omid Arabian
Awards season is upon us again, and two of the most lauded films of the year deal with American involvement in the Middle East. At the top of seemingly everyone's list is Zero Dark Thirty—an account of the CIA's hunt for Osama Bin Laden, as told by director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal (Oscar winners for 2009's The Hurt Locker). The film has dusted up a sandstorm of controversy, with various politicians outraged by its suggestion that torturing prisoners was instrumental in the eventual discovery and capture of Bin Laden. On the critical front, however, the film is being almost unanimously praised for (among other things) its unflinching, objective, bias-free approach to historical events. As if such a thing were possible.
I started watching "Homeland" because I was bored. All of my favorite shows were coming to a (season's) end, and I needed something new to watch. I'm drawn to smart scripted dramas, but I was immediately suspicious of the show when I learned that its creators (Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa) were also the ones behind "24," the Fox drama that somehow became the chief piece of evidence for the effectiveness of torture and was a favorite of Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh. But I kept an open mind and was riveted by the first episode, which laid out the intriguing mystery: Is Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) the POW who's been turned against his country by al-Qaida and its leader, the nefarious Abu Nazir? Soon CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Clare Danes) is seen spying on Brody and family in scenes reminiscent of the Stasi's voyeurism in the Academy Award-winning film The Lives of Others.
By Diane Shammas, Ph.D.
Coinciding with its December exhibition, "A is for Arab: Stereotypes in U.S. Popular Culture," the Levantine Cultural Center and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee presented an evening with Dr. Jack Shaheen, professor emeritus of mass communication at Southern Illinois University. "A is for Arab," a traveling exhibition, consists of a series of eight panels featuring images from The Jack G. Shaheen Archive at New York University.
By its title alone, Ammiel Alcalay's groundbreaking 1993 book, announced a new Middle East: After Jews and Arabs, it declared, confidently pointing towards a future when the (false) opposition between those two essentialized groups would no longer dominate our imaginations. Remaking Levantine Culture, the subtitle continued, suggesting that we might work together to create that future by drawing on the past, turning to the Levantine culture that flourished long before the deadly divide that has devastated our times.
By Raya Meddine
We know the expression "never say never" all too well but take it for granted.
I've been traveling since the age of 7 months, lived in nine different countries and speak five languages. My thirst for exploring new worlds is unquenchable.