Limited seating for this long-running and inspired comedy show-come enjoy a healthy dose of comic relief, 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 headliner Mike Batayeh. Hosted by Sheno Khal, this show features Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Noël Elgrably, Mona Shaikh and Omid Singh.
The AFI Fest 2013 presented by Audi and the Levantine Cultural Center offer two special screenings of Hany Abu-Abbad's latest feature, after The Courier and Paradise Now. (Sun., 4 pm, Nov. 10; Mon, 10 pm, Nov. 11 at the TCL Chinese Theatre.) Omar is not afraid to climb over the Israeli walls in Palestine using surreptitious rope ladders; having sniper fire whiz past his head is a part of daily life for Omar and his best friend, Tarek. Ironically, the most dangerous thing in Omar's life is the fact that he's in love with Nadia, Tarek's sister.
When military intelligence investigates the death of a checkpoint patrolman, they realize that Omar's relationship can be used to leverage information. From this tale of hidden love comes an intense portrait of life in the West Bank. Director Hany Abu-Assad throws these characters into a world of dangerous loyalties and betrayals where something as simple as young love can be exploited. OMAR is a drama that reveals Assad's compassionate view of life, empathizing deeply with human beings trapped in circumstances beyond their control.
Israeli American activist and author Miko Peled has toured widely presenting his book The General's Son: the Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. Dr. Laila Al-Marayati is a Palestinian American physician and activist with KinderUSA. They join in public conversation on the Israel-Palestine question at the Levantine Cultural Center on Thursday, Nov. 21, 7:00 pm. The program is cosponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace-LA. Everyone is invited to participate. Enjoy food/drink in our Café Rumi.
Writes Alice Walker in her foreword:
"There are few books on the Israel/Palestine issue that seem as hopeful as this one. First of all, we find ourselves in the hands of a formerly Zionist Iraeli who honors his people, loves his homeland, respects and cherishes his parents, other family members and friends, and is, to boot, the son of a famous general whose activities during Israel's wars against the Palestinian people helped cause much of their dislocation and suffering. Added to this, long after Miko Peled, the writer, has left the Special Forces of the Israeli army and moved to Southern California to teach karate, a beloved niece, Smadar, a young citizen of Jerusalem, is killed by Palestinians in a suicide bombing. Right away we think: Goodness. How is he ever going to get anywhere sane with this history? He does."
On Wed., Nov. 6, investigative journalist Max Blumenthal and activist Hamid Khan will discuss "LAPD Spying: Civil Liberties, Homeland Security, and the Israel Connection" in a public forum in the Progressive Conversations on Israel/Palestine and US Middle East Foreign Policy series. The program takes place at the Levantine Cultural Center.
As Dan Bluemel notes, "The federal government has been busy since the passing of the Patriot Act in 2001. Edward Snowden, an NSA whistle-blower, recently revealed that the NSA has been secretly storing vast amounts of digital information collected from millions of Americans' cell phone calls and Internet communications. Thanks to Snowden, citizens now have a much better idea of how busy their spy agencies have been, and who they have been targeting. However, one group, the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, is trying to alert people in Los Angeles to the fact that domestic spying doesn't just happen at NSA headquarters in Maryland. Spying is local too, they say, and we can look no further than the Los Angeles Police Department."
"A truly incredible story," says Ira Glass of This American Life. Kirk Johnson is the author of To Be a Friend Is Fatal: The Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind, a moving, hard-hitting book about the plight of Iraqis who worked—often as interpreters—with the US Army and its affiliates. A memoir and a call to action, the book details his work in Iraq and his struggle to rescue the Iraqis who risked their lives to help rebuild the country, only to be branded collaborators and marked for assassination after being abandoned by the US.
Writing in the Boston Globe, Rayyan Al-Shawaf notes, "Part memoir, part impassioned plea, Johnson's book traces his experiences in Iraq, his personal breakdown, and his struggle to rescue the legions of young, idealistic Iraqis left behind by US administrations plagued by post-9/11 paranoia and gridlock. Because militants continue to kill such people despite the US withdrawal, it is difficult to imagine a book more urgent than this."
Johnson will discuss his book and his organization, The List Project to resettle Iraqi allies. This event is a benefit for the Los Angeles Review of Books and the Levantine Cultural Center, two nonprofits that champion literacy. More.
The 17th Annual Arab Film Festival (AFF) opens in Los Angeles on October 18, 2013 at the Harmony Gold Theatre with When Monaliza Smiled as the spotlight film. The festival also features Detroit Unleaded, Casablana Mon Amour, Mars at Sunrise and They Were Promised the Sea, among ten additional titles.
The Arab Film Festival is the largest independent annual showcase of Arab films and filmmakers in the country. The festival has an international standing and is considered one of the most important Arab film festivals outside the Arab world. It strives to present the best contemporary films that provide insight into the beauty, complexity and diversity of the Arab world alongside realistic perspectives on Arab people, culture, art, history and politics.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrmination Committee presents a Southern California banquet in memory of Alex Odeh and to benefit the ADC's local chapters. The Memorial Banquet will be held Saturday, October 19 at the Newport Beach Marriott and features a keynote speech from Amy Goodman, the Host and Executive Producer of Democracy Now! For more information,
The Arab Film Festival presents a documentary that explores the stories of the Arab Jews of Morocco. With They Were Promised the Sea, filmmaker Kathy Wazana set out to discover why hundreds of thousands of Jews left Morocco in the 1960s, believing their Arab homeland had become enemy territory. What she found was a country still grieving the loss of its Jewish population. Her "enemy" welcomed her home and claimed her as one of their own.
They Were Promised the Sea is an intimate journey shot in Morocco, Israel-Palestine, and New York. Kathy's research into her family origins in Morocco unleashed a complex web of questions about dual identity, political opportunism, and the challenges faced by those torn between Homeland and Promised Land.
Musical artist Sahba Motallebi and poet Sholeh Wolpé, masters of their craft, create a collaborative program highlighting the beauty of Persian music and international poetry in English, including Wolpé's work, Tahirih, Forugh Farrokhzad and a performance of Walt Whitman's poetry in English and Persian. They will perform together Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 (date reset from 10/10/13) in an intimate evening with limited seating. If you love poetry and classical-traditional Persian music, you'll want to attend this performance.
Tickets $20, $15 students and members of the Levantine Cultural Center, $25 at the door. Advance reservations are strongly recommended. Coffees, teas and small plates available in Café Rumi. Open bar. This performance generously cosponsored by Anonymous donors. (To learn how you can underwrite Middle Eastern arts, contact us at 310.657.5511.)