Directors' screening/Q & A with acclaimed comedians Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah, who in The Muslims Are Coming! documentary lead a group of Muslim-American standup comedians as they go on the road to counter Islamophobia using the only weapon they have—humor. The Muslims Are Coming! follows these comics as they visit big cities, rural villages, and everything in between to do shows, meet locals, and counter the haters. Commentary from pop culture icons like the Daily Show's host Jon Stewart and correspondent Aasif Mandvi, Rachel Maddow, Janeane Garofalo, CNN's Soledad O'Brien, David Cross, and Lewis Black pepper the film as the comedians travel through middle America. 10:30 pm Q & A moderated by Sultans of Satire producer Jordan Elgrably. Get tickets. The Muslims Are Coming! screens at the Downtown Independent, Sept. 13-19.
Join us when we present our Middle East book booth and welcome authors Shohreh Aghdashloo, Hussein Banai, Kitty Pilgrim and others at the West Hollywood Book Fair, celebrating its 12th edition on Sunday, September 29th. We will also feature a MIddle East drum circle with frame drums, led by Rowan Storm, along with artist Adnan Hussein. This year's festival will feature literature, art, music, performance and community in an eclectic presentation. The program will welcome treasured Southern California literary luminary, T.C. Boyle, who will present his brand-new collected stories. The ever-entertaining Boyle is sure to be a Book Fair highlight. Many other terrific writers will perform and discuss new and recently published works, including Debbie Reynolds, William Friedkin, Lynda Obst, Victoria Chang, Aaron Hartzler, D.H. Pelligro, Veronica Reyes, and many more to be announced.
Janet Sternburg and Steven Lavine host the Levantine Cultural Center's second exclusive new dinner salon series, "Iconoclasts and Visionaries," a private dinner and book signing with author Tamim Ansary. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the most expensive in U.S. history, costing an estimated $4-6 trillion over time. Was it worth it? What should we know about our involvement in Afghanistan? How can we avoid repeating the mistakes of the past? RSVP today and meet Tamim Ansary on the evening of Wed., Sept. 25th in a beautiful Encino hills home, near the intersection of the 405 and Ventura Blvd.
Writes Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan, "In Games Without Rules, Tamim Ansary has written the most engaging, accessible and insightful history of Afghanistan. With gifted prose and revealing details, Ansary gives us the oft-neglected Afghan perspective of the wars, foreign meddling and palace intrigue that has defined the past few centuries between the Indus and Oxus. This brilliant book should be required reading for anyone involved in the current war there—and anyone who wants to understand why Afghanistan will not be at peace anytime soon."
Join us to celebrate Tamim Ansary's Games Without Rules, The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan. You'll learn a great deal, enjoy a delicious dinner with a cosmopolitan crowd, and help support the Levantine Cultural Center—one of the most active and vital nonprofit organizations for Middle East arts and cultures in Southern California. Levantine Cultural Center is a non-profit organization and these fundraising dinners are an important part of underwriting public programs and services to the community. Read an NPR report on Tamim Ansary.
Afghan American author Tamim Ansary will speak in a public forum on the themes of his two most recent books, Destiny Disrupted and Games Without Rules, on Afghanistan, giving a perspective on Middle East and foreign affairs from an Islamic perspective. There will be a book signing afterward and light refreshments will be served. Of his book Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes, former Abu Dhabi Film Festival director Peter Scarlet says, "A magnificent, beautifully written work that helped change my way of looking at the world. I can't tell you how many people I've told about it or given copies as a gift."
Join a coalition of concerned Americans on the Middle East when Ziad Abu-Rish presents a talk on revolution in Egypt and Syria in the series "Progressive Conversations on Israel/Palestine and US Foreign Policy in the Middle East," Thursday, Sept. 19, 7 - 9 pm at the Levantine Cultural Center.
Abu-Rish's presentation will explore the different trajectories of the "uprising" in two countries, Egypt and Syria. How was it that Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 18 days of largely non-violent protests, while Bashar al-Asad continues to hold on to power despite over two years of protests turned armed insurgency? How do we make sense of the recent popularly-backed toppling of Egypt's first democratically elected president, and the confrontations that have ensured since? Is "international intervention" a solution to the dire crisis in Syria? These are some of the questions that will be explored in the hopes of better understanding the nature of authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Syria, the bottom-up movements that sought to dislodge them, and the complexities and transformations these movements have since encountered.
The Levantine Cultural Center presents WE ARE IRAQIS, a literary and music tribute for Iraqis and their friends devoted to the beauty of Iraq's culture, in memory of Sufi music maestro Saadoun Al-Bayati, who left earth on July 25, 2013. Authors/editors/contributors of three new or recent books will perform readings. Deborah Al-Najjar and a designated actor (TBA) will introduce us to the anthology We Are Iraqis, while poets Dima Hilal and Sholeh Wolpé will read from the anthology Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here; and novelist Leslie Cockburn will present her exciting new novel, Baghdad Solitaire. Refreshments will be provided and a live musical tribute to Saadoun Al-Bayati will follow the readings. All welcome, but space limited and reservations are strongly suggested, 323.413.2001. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
The Levantine Cultural Center would like to thank and acknowledge the support of Dr. Yasin Al-Khalesi, Barbara Al-Bayati, and Poets & Writers, without whom WE ARE IRAQIS would not be possible.
The Inside/Outside Gallery will show a touring Palestinian art exhibition of 16 new works from West Bank artists, with an opening reception Sept. 30, 7-9 pm. Entitled "We Are Palestine," the exhibtion includes paintings, photography and mixed media and will be on display through Nov 1, 2013. Originally titled "Room for Hope," the collection offers an eclectic selection of work by both Christian and Muslim artists from Bethlehem and the surrounding region.
History, poetry and tragedy collide when actor/playwright Roger Guenveur Smith tackles the thorny odyssey of Rodney King—deemed "the first reality TV star"—from the harsh initial glare of the national spotlight as the victim of police brutality in 1991 to his involuntary martyrdom that ignited the LA riots in 1992 to his lonely death at the bottom of a swimming pool in 2012. A talkback ensues after the play with Smith, poet/activist/playwright Michael Datcher, author of the New York Times bestseller, Raising Fences, and Freedom Theatre West cofounder Jordan Elgrably. This performance is cosponsored in part by Freedom Theatre West; Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace; the Levantine Cultural Center; and Muslims for Progressive Values.
Limited seating for this comedy cabaret that includes a healthy Lebanese dinner (vegetarians welcome, but let us know in advance). We invite you to enjoy a healthy dose of comic relief, come laugh about life and the Middle East with one of L.A's hottest comedy troupes, the Sultans of Satire, in a special performance featuring guest Aron Kader. The Sultans include Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Mike Batayeh, Nöel Elgrably, Sheno Khal, Mona Shaikh and Omid Singh.
Live in Los Angeles from Taroudant, Morocco is poet-translator El Habib Louai, accompanied by authentic gnawa musician/singer Youssef Iferd, presenting a fresh evening of spoken word and music in English and Arabic. El Habib Louai is a poet and translator from Taroudant currently traveling across the U.S. who recently translated some of the 15 Moroccan poets included in the Big Bridge anthology. Youssef Iferd has been performing a fusion of Moroccan and western music with the bands Radio Essaouira, Kif Samba and Moor Rockin' Time. Enjoy organic Moroccan mint tea and cookies with this evening devoted to the spirit of poetry.