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Levantine Review


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    largest independent annual showcase of Arab films
    The 17th Annual Arab Film Festival (AFF) opens in Los Angeles on October 18, 2013 at the Harmony Gold Theatre. Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area, this is the 7th annual Los Angeles edition of the AFF and includes several Los Angeles premieres with the films' directors. Local organizations supporting the AFF include the Levantine Cultural Center, the Muslim Public Affairs Council Hollywood Bureau, and Women in Film.
  • Ben Affleck in "Argo"; an Arab terrorist in "Iron Man"
    It's time for a conversation in the film industry about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Every now and then a little sunshine breaks through, and Palestinians enjoy the light. Thanks to occasional complex portrayals in film, television and documentary reporting, they become real people with a cause we can all relate to, seeking justice and freedom. That was true of the Palestinian characters in Steven Spielberg's "Munich" (2005), who weren't cardboard villains, but human beings. It was even more apparent the same year in Hany Abu-Assad's "Paradise Now," which was the first Palestinian film to land an Oscar nomination and win a Golden Globe.
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    While two films on the Middle East and their directors get all the attention, "Cloud Atlas" and "This Is Not a Film" deserve praise.

Music & Dance

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    It's time for a new vision of Palestinian identity-one that celebrates the creativity and resourcefulness of its people. As well, let us agree that when Palestinians enjoy peace and justice under the law, Israelis and the international community will be liberated from the conflict that has caused so much destruction and heartache.
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    Akram Khan brings one of his latest creations to America
    Founded in August 2000 by Choreographer Akram Khan and Producer Farooq Chaudhry, the Akram Khan Company "journeys across boundaries to create uncompromising artistic narratives," according to the company's web site.

Op-Ed & Satire

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    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 to help deserving children in Gaza with medical needs following the summer war.
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    Every year, right before the Memorial Day weekend, I find myself in a quandary: Am I supposed to remember only the American fallen—the soldiers and officers killed in battle around the world? What of the millions of foreign civilians and soldiers our bombs and other munitions have killed since 1945? Is it right, on Memorial Day, to remember only our own?
  • partner with us
    what people have said about us
    "The Levantine Cultural Center continues to generate respect for Middle Eastern arts and culture in the U.S., specifically focusing on the wealth of Middle Eastern cultural arts already present in California, with the twin goals of building solidarity among peoples of diverse Middle East origins in Southern California and beyond and promoting understanding between Middle East peoples (roughly Afghanistan in the East to Morocco in the West) and mainstream Americans." —Barbara Al-Bayati, co-founder, Orphan Whispers
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    Aron Kader headlines, with Sammy Obeid, Fahim Anwar, Josh Nasar, Melissa Shoshahi & Omid Singh
    On Thursday, April 10th, see this exciting, very funny show, laugh with six Middle Eastern American stand-up comedians to humor that is satirical and universal. Browse a silent art auction of talented Arab American artists and get great deals; and see your support go to the Levantine Cultural Center-the only nonprofit organization in southern California that consistently presents voices of progress on the Middle East and North Africa.


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    Miko Peled sets the record straight on the dispossession of Palestine
    My review of "The General's Son," by Miko Peled, cannot be separated from what I've come to know about the author. After all, this book is about Peled's own life, and his journey to a new understanding of the conflict that has defined so many of our lives. It is a narrative of the author's transformation from an ardent Zionist, born into a revered military Israeli family, to a human rights activist and advocate of a single binational state. In addition to reading this book, I attended one of Peled's lectures and watched another online, and I've had a chance to speak with him in person and at some length. At each of these junctures, my reaction to his narrative changed to some degree.
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    This Angelic Land is a novel set in Los Angeles during the 1992 Rodney King riots— the largest, most destructive civil uprising in American history. Adam Derderian, the central protagonist, is a 27-year-old Lebanese Armenian bar owner. The narrative shifts back and forth from his perspective to that of his brother, a New York-based artist five years his senior. The backdrop is their youth during the Lebanese civil war in Beirut—the longest civil war in modern history.
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    a travel writer returns to Lebanon after a life in the United States
    The motif of home and more specifically "the Return" home (Al-Awda in Arabic) recurs throughout world literature. Home as a place (as opposed to a state of mind or of being) comprises the central conflict in Salma Abdelnour's memoir, "Jasmine and Fire." Abdelnour was born in the United States of Lebanese parents, but returned to Lebanon when she was two, the summer before the 15-year Lebanese civil war ignited. After six years of war, the family decided to move back to America. However, Abdelnour's conscious memories of childhood, her sense of home, remained in Beirut.
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    wanted: social impact investors to back the new Levantine Cultural Center coming in 2013
    Founded 11 years ago as a grassroots nonprofit organization that champions a greater understanding of the Middle East/North Africa and our communities in diaspora, we are building a new, more self-sustaining cultural arts center for the Middle East and North Africa in Los Angeles. Southern California is home to the largest community of people from the Middle East and North Africa in the United States. It is high time that we had a multidisciplinary arts center that will serve as a focal point and hub for our many cultures.