Writers Bloc with support from the Levantine Cultural Center presents Egyptian author and TED fellow Shereen El Feki, in a public conversation about changing sexuality in the Arab world, moderated by Egyptian American comedian Omar Elba. "A comedian and a researcher on changing Arab sexual behavior walk into a room..." Cairo-based journalist Shereen El Feki explores the changing attitudes of sex and intimacy in the Arab world in her new book, Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World. As radical changes in political regimes occur, shifts in personal behavior occur at the same time. Ms. El Feki looks at the traditional marriage models in Islam, and how they are changing at a rapid rate. She looks at sex as a lens through which she studies social change,and its relationship to the political upheaval in the past few years.
Levantine presents the Abbas Premjee Project, a concert of progressive Pakistani jazz in conjunction with the Inside/Outside Gallery exhibition "The Art of Music" by Adnan Hussain. The exhibition of 19 paintings is inspired by travels through Central and South Asia, featuring watercolor, gouache and ink pieces of music from Kyrgyzstan, Uyghurs from China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia. Enjoy art and live performance in a unique atmosphere.
Freedom Theatre West, the Middle Eastern theatre company, presents Cynthia Sophiea's one-woman show, Everyone Has Tears (running time 70 minutes, no intermission) for two nights only at the Imagined Life Theater, March 29 and 30, 2013, at 8 pm. With a long career spanning the Broadway stage as well as screen and television, Cynthia Sophiea shines in this very personal performance, fresh from her dazzling success in a preview version in the 2013 Los Angeles Women's Theater Festival. Accompanied by Arabic music, this piece tells the story of a woman—American, Lebanese, Palestinian—afraid to be Arab in America. But she is silent no more, claiming her own voice and giving voice to others rarely heard.. Seating is limited, tickets are $30 for Preferred Seating, $20 General Admission, and there a limited number of member/student priced seats at just $15. Hurry, these shows will sell out quickly. Call 323.413.2001 to reserve by phone, or click above to reserve online.
ON the 10th anniversary of the death of International Solidarity Movement peace activist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an IDF bulldozer while attempting to defend a Palestinian home in Gaza, host Khadija Anderson and the Levantaine Cultural Center invite you to share in an evening of poetry and music on behalf of Palestine. Los Angeles poets Arminé Iknadossian, Arash Saedinia and Khadija Anderson will read from their own work, and from Palestinian poets at home and in the diaspora. Ambient Oud artist Dann Torres performs on oud and guitars. A short film will screen. Café-bar open. Work of poets to include Taha Muhammad Ali, Laila 'Allush, Donia El-Amal Ismail, Siham Da'oud, Mahmoud Darwish, Najwan Darwish, Nathalie Handal, Annemarie Jacir. Fady Joudah, Samih al-Qasim, Islam Samhan, Mai Sayigh, Naomi Shihab Nye, Fadwa Tuqan, Ghassan Zaqtan. This literary event is one in a series celebrating literacy and the Middle East under the aegis of the NEA's Big Read program, supported locally by the Los Angeles Dept. of Cultural Affairs.
To celebrate the month of March and the advent of the Persian New Year or Nowruz, the Levantine Cultural Center presents two feature-length documetaries from 2012 that celebrate the Iranian people. The Green Wave, directed by Ali Samadi Ahadi and distributed in the U.S. by Red Flag Releasing, is a powerful political film that reveals what happened during the 2009 election protests, when millions of people took to the streets. The Iran Job, directed by Till Schauder, is a great basketball movie about an American from the Caribbean who leads an Iranian team in Shiraz. In both films the people of Iran are the heroes. The Green Wave (80 ms) screens at 6:30 pm; The Iran Job (93 ms.) screens at 8 pm.
On March 5, 2007 a massive car bomb was detonated on Baghdad's al-Mutanabbi Street—for centuries the heart of Baghdad's intellectual and literary community—killing 30 and injuring 100. On Tuesday, March 5, New Roads School will host a poetry reading, involving both professional poets and New Roads High School students, to mark the sixth anniversary of the bombing that decimated "the street of booksellers" and its bookstores, outdoor book stalls, small print shops, and cafes. Poets participating in the reading include Tania Baban, Jordan Elgrably, Majid Naficy, Jim Natal, and Janet Sternburg—all contributors to Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, a new anthology of poetry written in response to the attack.
A selection of letterpress broadsides from the internationally-touring show, Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here will be displayed in conjunction with the New Roads reading. The full show consists of 130 broadsides—one for each victim of the—all of which were created as collaborations among artists, poets, and writers responding to an international call put out by San Francisco bookseller Beau Beausoleil, the project's founder and guiding force.
In addition to the reading at New Roads School, al-Mutanabbi Street reading events are being held in Washington D.C., Boston, San Francisco, and in the U.K to commemorate the anniversary.
Pakistan and the Girnari Jogi Groove is an evening of art, music & film devoted to Pakistani and Central Asian cultures with a live musical performance by Tablapusher, plus a special screening of music performances by the Girnari Jogi Group and a film screening of the inventive animated short film Gul by Adnan Hussain. The Girnari Jogi group is a small ensemble of 7th and 8th generation musicians based out of Sindh, Pakistan. Jogis (not to be confused with yogis) are traditionally snake charmers who use the enchanting sounds of the murli to entrance snakes, humans and jinns.
The Levantine Cultural Center will present the feature film The Other Son Wed., Feb. 20th, 7:30 pm at the Laemmle Music Hall, followed by a film panel. The Other Son is an unusually provocative "switched at birth" tale that captures the essence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. French director Lorraine Levy presides over an excellent international cast (the film is in Arabic, Hebrew, French and English with subtitles) that effectively conveys all the emotion wrought from the pain and joys of family drama. The screening will be followed by film conversation with UCLA professor Gabi Piterberg, former UN consultant and Egypt Today editor Lulwa Bordcosh, and LA Times critic Steven Zeitchik (moderator). This screening is consponsored in a part by the Council on American Islamic Relations of Greater Los Angeles and the Los Angeles chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.
February's selection for the Levantine Bookgroup is an excellent memoir revealing the life story of Taha Muhammad Ali, poet and author of So What: New & Selected Poems, 1971-2005, translated by Peter Cole. The Levantine BookGroup meets every last Wednesday of each month, and explores literature and non-fiction by writers from the Middle East/North Africa or about the region or its diaspora. The group is open to everyone.
"Adina Hoffman's biography of the Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali...is a rich tapestry of the personal, the literary and the political, skilfully woven by a sympathetic writer." —Ian Black, the Guardian
"Adina Hoffman has been relentless in her efforts to research the life of Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali, and she possesses a natural gift for storytelling. Her book describes the creation of a literary culture under the harshest circumstances. It is about the triumph of art and decency and memory against tremendous odds, and it breaks open a world about which I knew almost nothing. It's a terrific book, and readers will be drawn to its account of the triumph of the human spirit." —Karl Pohrt, Shaman Drum Bookshop, Ann Arbor, MI
Taha Muhammad Ai was little known until recently—certainly compared to giants such as Mahmoud Darwish or the novelist Emile Habiby. But his life, spanning his people's tragedy (and century, as in the book's subtitle), is captured in this beautiful memoir and brings him vividly to life, even as it illuminates the birth of Israel and its effect on the native Arab population. Read more about Taha Muhammad Aii.