Wednesday, February 27, 2013

6th Annual Bay Area Arab Women's Conference in SF on March 16

'What Do the Women Say' Event Showcases Middle Eastern Women on Stage (March 8)

"What Do the Women Say?" is a wonderful event celebrating International Women's Day and hosted by Golden Thread Productions, America's only theater company dedicated to staging plays from and about the Middle East. The event will showcase the work of Middle Eastern women artists on Friday, March 8 at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley, CA. Here is the line-up:

Layla Modirzadeh joins Minneapolis-based playwright, Kathryn Haddad and Bay Area hip hop artist, Tru Bloo in celebrating the poetry and performance of Middle Eastern women artists. Modirzadeh performs her solo-con-puppet comedy, "Lubbock or Leave It!: exploring themes of home and nationalism through satire. Haddad shares excerpts from her futuristic super hero play, "Zafira the Olive Oil Warrior." And commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Iraq Invasion, Tru Bloo performs poetry from the recently published anthology, "Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here," a tribute to Baghdad’s famous Bookseller’s Street.

This event is sponsored by WomenArts/Swan Day.

"Lubbock or Leave It!" is the story of Iranian New Yorker Leyla when she accepts a job teaching college in the most conservative town in the US: Lubbock, Texas! Set against a backdrop of American fundamentalism, Leyla and her canine cohort Daisy (played by a hand puppet) learn some hard lessons about xenophobia, nationalism, and dislocation.

"Zafira the Olive Oil Warrior" tells the futuristic story of a homeless Arab American schoolteacher turned superhero. She relives her experiences in an internment camp for Arabs and Muslims as she imagines herself victorious and powerful despite an increasingly hostile and ultra-nationalistic environment that has cast Arabs as enemies of the state.

Edited by San Franciso poet, Beau Beausoleil and Palestinian writer, Deema Shehabi, "Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts" Here is a collection of poetry and essays in response to the bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad. It features Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, Iraq’s preeminent modern poet, in addition to Mahmoud Darwish, Majid Naficy, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Natalie Handal. Local poets Julie Bruck, Dima Hilal, Elmaz Abinader and Deema Shehabi are also featured among others.

For tickets go to

Artists’ Biographies:

Kathryn Haddad is a Lebanese-American writer, teacher, and community organizer. She founded Mizna – one of the few Arab American Arts and literary organizations in the United States where she served as its Artistic and Executive Director for twelve years. Kathryn is a 2004 – 05 recipient of an Archibald Bush Leadership Fellowship for her work with the Arab American community. As a writer, she has received three Playwright’s Center Many Voices Fellowships, and has had several plays produced in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Area, including a staged reading of With Love from Gaza (1992), at Intermedia Arts, The Arab’s in my Head (1994) at Theater Mu’s New Eyes Festival, With Love from Ramallah (co-written with Juliana Pegues, produced by Mizna, and staged at Mixed Blood Theater) (2004), and Zafira the Olive Oil Warrior (2011) at Pangea World Theater. Kathryn has worked full time as a public school teacher since 1991.

Leyla Modirzadeh* is an Iranian-American writer, performer, and educator. She has acted in theatres across the country including Wisdom Bridge Theatre, (Chicago), A Contemporary Theatre, The Group Theatre, (Seattle), The Kennedy Center, (DC), and New York Theatre Workshop. Most recently, Lubbock or Leave It! performed in New York City at the Plus One Solo Festival, Dixon Place, and The Here Space. Over the last 17 years, she toured and collaborated with Obie Award winning theatre artist Ping Chong. Her animated and experimental films have been screened at national and international festivals ( She received her BA from UC Berkeley, MFA in Acting from University of Washington, MFA in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute, and trained at Second City in Chicago. Her most recent publication is a contributing chapter about documentary theatre in the book Arts Education for Social Justice: A Way Out of No Way published by Routledge Books. *Appears courtesy of Actors Equity

Tru Bloo is a Lebanese-Armenian hip hop-poetry fusion emcee, percussionist, composer, cultural and justice worker. A music prodigy, Tru studied classical guitar and music theory as a young adolescent and won her first poetry slam at age 15. As half of the hip hop duo, NaR (fire, in Arabic), Tru performed at national and international festivals. Experience Tru’s eclectic music and powerful poetry at her official website,

Started in 1909 in the U.S., International Women’s Day (8 March) is an occasion marked by women’s groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.

Founded in 1996, Golden Thread Productions is dedicated to exploring Middle Eastern cultures and identities as expressed around the globe. We present alternative perspectives of the Middle East by developing and producing theatrical work that is aesthetically varied and politically and viscerally engaging, while supporting countless Middle Eastern artists in all phases of their careers. Our mission is to make the Middle East a potent presence on the American stage and also to make theatre a treasured cultural experience within Middle Eastern communities. We build cultural bridges by engaging the community in an active dialogue and facilitating collaborations among artists of diverse backgrounds with the aim of creating a world where the common human experience supersedes cultural and political differences.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Emad Burnat's Oscar Nominated 'Five Broken Cameras' Does Not Win Academy Award

Emad Burnat attended the Oscars on Feb 24, 2013 with his family 

Many people were caught by surprise when Emad Burnat's documentary '5 Broken Cameras' was nominated for Best Documentary at tonight's Oscar Ceremony. Few, however, were surprised that it did not win--taking comfort instead in the fact that the film was nominated at all.

The first-ever Palestinian film to be nominated for best Documentary Feature, the critically-acclaimed 5 BROKEN CAMERAS is a deeply personal, first-hand account of life and non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village surrounded by Israeli settlements. Shot by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, Gibreel, the film was co-directed by Burnat and Guy Davidi, an Israeli filmmaker. Structured in chapters around the destruction of each one of Burnat’s cameras, the filmmakers’ collaboration follows one family’s evolution over five years of village upheaval. As the years pass in front of the camera, we witness Gibreel grow from a newborn baby into a young boy who observes the world unfolding around him with the astute powers of perception that only children possess. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify and lives are lost in this cinematic diary and unparalleled record of life in the West Bank. 5 BROKEN CAMERAS is a Palestinian-Israeli-French co-production. A Kino Lorber Release.

Director Emad Burnat is a Palestinian freelance cameraman and photographer with experience filming for Al-Jazeera and Palestinian Television. He has contributed to several documentaries, including Bil’in My Love, Palestine Kids, Open Close, and Interrupted Streams. 

Emad Burrnat at the Sundance Film Festival

Movie Poster
Here is the trailer for 5 Broken Cameras.  The complete documentary is available to view on YouTube for $3.99 (rental) or can be owned for $9.99.  See

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Learning Arabic is Problematic: A Humorous Look

The web site #arabic problems ( has taken a very creative approach to the difficulties that most American students face when learning Arabic. The web site states that "Learning Arabic is problematic, yo" and goes on to humorously demonstrate some of the resulting frustrations, word play, and more. The content is particularly funny for those students who studied using Al-Kitaab Fii Taallum Al-Arabiyya.

Check out the site at

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Feb 7 'Arabology' Podcast ft Interview with Tania Saleh + Message by Jameel Prize Winner Rachid Koraichi

The Feb 7, 2013 edition of 'Arabology' features a 3-part interview (in English) with Lebanese alternative singer Tania Saleh and a special message by artist Rachid Koraichi who received the Jameel Prize in 2011 for his works that were inspired by traditions of Islamic craft and design.  The show also features great alternative Arabic music (along with commentary in English) by Ahmed Rock (Revolution Records) , Ibn Thabit, Ramy Essam, Dal'ouna, Ramzi Aburedwan, May Matar.

OR Instantly Listen to Tania Saleh Segment Only at

At Stanford: The Noise of Cairo - A Documentary about Cairo, Art, and Revolution

The Noise of Cairo is a cinematic adventure, following the interplay between art and the revolution in Egypt. Protest of any kind was punished violently in pre-revolutionary Egypt and artistic expression was considered nothing but a threat to the status quo. But since the fall of Mubarak, the art scene in Cairo is flourishing once again.

How did the revolution of 2011 change Egyptian artists and their work?

Twelve influencers from Cairo's cultural scene lead us on a journey to understand the unique role artists played during the revolution in Cairo. This documentary bears witness to Cairo's vibrant artistic underbelly, as it raises its voice once again.

The artists of Cairo, who refused to quiet down, come together to be heard. These individuals create THE NOISE OF CAIRO."

Here is a trailer located at

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Aswat: Tribute Concert to Umm Kulthum & Fairuz

This Spring, Zawaya brings you Aswat, the Bay Area’s Premier Arab Music Ensemble, in a concert celebrating the first ladies of Arab music: Umm Kulthum of Egypt and Fairuz of Lebanon فيروزيات و كلثوميات

The concert will take place on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 3:00 PM at San Mateo College Theatre, located at 1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd. in San Mateo, CA 94402.

Ticket sales will commence mid-February on

Monday, February 4, 2013

'Arabology' Radio Program Examines Egyptian Revolution, 2 Years Later

'Arabology' Program Examines Egyptian Revolution, 2 Years Later
by Arabology on Monday, February 4, 2013 at 7:39pm ·

The most recent two episodes (Jan 24 & 31) of my weekly program 'Arabology' (which airs on KZSU 90.1 FM on Thursdays 3-5 pm PST) focused on marking the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution by featuring music from the Arab Spring plus exclusive interviews with Khaled Sayed (the Egyptian Director of the award winning documentary Egypt: The Story behind the Revolution) and Egyptian Fulbright scholar at Stanford Samar Ahmed who witnessed the revolution form the beginning while living in Cairo. Both podcasts are available for free downloading at the links below.

* The January 24, 31 Arabology was the first in a 2-part series dedicated to the second anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution, and included my interview with Egyptian documentary filmmaker Khaled Sayed. This episode also showcased songs by artists who provided the 'soundtrack' to the Arab Spring including Ramy Essam, Rim Banna, Donia Masoud, DAM, Emel Mathlouthi, El General and many more.

* The January 31, 2013 Arabology podcast continued to mark the second anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution by featuring my interview with Egyptian Fulbright scholar at Stanford Samar Ahmed + Music of the Arab Spring.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mike Massy in New York Concert on April 25, 2013

Mike Massy will perform in New York on April 25, 2013 (c) Mike Massy

Lebanese singer/songwriter/performance artist Mike Massy--whose album 'Ya Zaman' has received much critical acclaim--will be performing live at Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center in New York on Thursday April 25, 2013 at 8 pm.

See below to purchase tickets for this unique event.

John Paul II Mission Presents
MIKE MASSY accompanied by Pianist Marc Abou Naoum .
Date: Thursday April 25th 2013
Time: 8 p.m.
Location: Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center
129 W 67th St- NEW YORK- NY 1023
for reservation please call: 212 501 3330
or Online at
General admission: 25$ - 50$- 75$- 100$

Concert Facebook Page at

Arab American Stories: New Documentary Series on PBS

Arab American Stories: New PBS Series in the USA
ARAB AMERICAN STORIES is a 13-part series for Public Television that features stories of Arab Americans of all walks of life to put a human face on the Arab American experience. Hosted by NPR’s Neda Ulaby, each half hour episode centers on a particular theme and features three character-driven short documentaries which profile Arab Americans making an impact: in their community, their profession, their family or the world at large. 

Arab Americans have been immigrating to this country since the mid-19th century, they come from over 20 countries, practice many different faiths and live in all 50 States. While ARAB AMERICAN STORIES will not visit all 50 states, it will highlight the diversity of the Arab American experience in an attempt to educate, enlighten and entertain American audiences.

All the episodes can be watched online on YouTube at THIS LINK.  See below for the description of each episode and a link to view each episode.

PROMO (Full episodes below):

ALL EPISODES (Watch all episodes at THIS LINK):

Episode 1: Diane Rehm, Robby Ameen, Rabih Dow (Watch at

Episode 2: Omar Offendum, Frederique Boudouani, Aliya Suayah (

Episode 3: Fahid Daoud, Nawal Motawi, Moose Scheib (Watch at

Episode 4: Alicia Erian, Hugette Caland, Hassan Faraj (Watch at

Episode 5: Imad Mahawili, Amir Abo-Shaeer, Brian Leon Dewan (Watch

Episode 6: Abercias, Ali-El-Sayed, Kamal Al-Faqih (Watch at

Episode 7:  Judy Habib, Maha Freij, Father Shalhoub (Watch at

Episode 8: Shora Bros, Mahmoud Traina, Mike Abdeen/Sherif Morsi  (

Episode 9: Hanan Al-Attar, Najla Said, Adnan Charara (Watch at

Episode 10: Yemeni organizers family, Ferial Masry, Dean Obeidallah (

Episode 11: Rahim Al-Haj, Rami Kashou, Malika Zarra (Watch at

Episode 12: Linda Sarsour, Mother Mosque/Imam Taha Tawil, Zerhouni (

Episode 13 - Alia Shawkat, Mariem Masmoudi, Ace Montaser (Watch at


CD Review: Various Artists--Rough Guide to Arabic Revolution

Various Artists--Rough Guide to the Arabic Revolution (2013)
Label: World Music Network
CD will be released in March 2013

This double CD compilation showcases Arab singers and musicians whose songs have provided the ‘soundtrack’ to the Arab Spring. CD 1 mainly features Egyptian, Tunisian, Libyan and Palestinian singers while CD2 strictly showcases the music of Ramy Essam, a young Egyptian singer who is known for playing his guitar and singing against the Mubarak regime in the streets of Cairo, leading to his arrest and torture. His best known song (oddly not included in this compilation) is “Irhal” [Depart] in which Mubarak is urged to resign. That track is referred to as the anthem of the revolution.

--All Tracks are FCC CLEAN—

CD1 (Compilation; Artist/Song)

**1. Ramy Essam/ Taty Taty: Features Egyptian singer/activist Ramy Essam, accompanied by his guitar, sarcastically singing about democracy in Egypt. 

2. Emel Mathlouthi/ Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free): Tunisian songstress whose new album was fueled by the Tunisian revolution. 

3. El Tanbura/ Heela Heela: El Tanbura is a collective of veteran Egyptian master musicians, singers, fishermen and philosophers who have been custodians to some of Egypt’s oldest folk melodies at their home in Port Said. 

4. Dam Feat. Abeer Al Zinati/ Hon Enwaladet - Born Here (Arabic Version): Palestinian Hip Hop band living in Israel and singing here about being born there. Abeer is a female rapper who often sings with the group.

5. El General Feat. Mr Shooma/ State Of The Nation: El General is the Tunisian rapper whose song to the then President of Tunisia went viral on the net, igniting and contributing to the ensuing revolt. 

6. Cariokee/ Sout El Horeya: Canokee’s song about the “Sound of Freedom.” 

7. Sami Yusuf/ I'm Your Hope: Sami Yusuf sings this track in English and classical Arabic about cherishing the young men and women who rose up against their regimes. 

8. Ibn Thabit/ Calling The Libyan Youth: Libyan singer who dedicates his songs to the courage of Libyan women. 

**9. May Matar/ Metlak Mesh 3ayzin: May Matar is a Lebanese singer whose song(s) rebels against patriarchy, sexism, and the subjugation of women. 

10. The Palestine National Ensemble Of Arabic Music/ Kafkef Domouak: Palestinian Chorus performing a track about selling and buying one’s homeland. 

11. Ramzi Aburedwan/ Rahil: Moving instrumental by a Palestinian musician whose career began at age 8. 

12. Mustafa Said/ Ya Masr Hanet We Banet: Longest track on the CD (over 10 min long) by an Egyptian singer who plays the Oud and laments the loss of human life while proclaiming his love for Egypt. 

**13. Dal'ouna/ Et Nous, Nous Aimons La Vie: Slow, soothing tune with narration in French and vocal ensemble singing in Arabic about martyrs, mosques and loving life. 

**My picks: 1, 9, 13 (Ramzi Salti)

CD2 (Songs by Ramy Essam)

1. Etma3zam: Title means “Self Aggrandizement.” Guitar intro; reminiscent of American folk music. 

2. “Action” has guitar plus other instruments about massacres in Egypt.

3. 3ahd Mubark: Title means “The Age of Mubarak.” Track attacks Mubarak and his regime. 

4. 3oksha: Fast track with electric guitar, back vocals, very different from other songs on this CD. 

**5. Bata2ty: Title means “My ID Card” Faster beat; song about free Egypt. Sounds like 80s rock. 

6. Sabona W Khazoo2: Title means “Soap and Trouble.” Symbolic song about Tahrir Square 

7. Shay El-Thawra: Title means “Revolutionary Tea.” About people “boiling” from anger. 

8. 8 April: Short Track marking April 8, 2011, the day when 21 Egyptian military officers switched allegiances and decided to join the Revolution. 

9. Mal3oon: Title means “Rascal.” Ditty about Ahmad Shafiq who lost the elections to Morsi. 

10. El-Masala: Title means “The Matter at Hand.” About the media and dictators. Hard rock sound. 

11. Bta2ty Acoustic: This is the acoustic version of track 5 above. 

**12. Dabora W Short: Title refers to police/secret service uniforms. Song against the police 

**13. El-Ga7sh Wel 7omar: Title means “The Mule and the Donkey.” Song about politicians. 

14. Nafadt: Title is in colloquial Egyptian and refers to “forsaking” order, human rights, and the Egyptian Constitution. 

15. Tartoor: Title refers to a person who is easily manipulated to serve others. Demeaning term. Smooth sounding track.

**16. Al-Masry Al-Asly: Title means “The Real/Original Egyptian.” Just Ramy Essam and his guitar singing about being proud of being Egyptian. 

**My picks: 5, 12, 13, 16  (Ramzi Salti)

Ghayyer Lawn Ouyounak: Heartfelt New Video Clip by Mike Massy (with English Subtitles)

Here is a gorgeous brand new video clip titled "Ghayyer Lawn Ouyounak" [Change the Color of Your Eyes] by Lebanese singer/songwriter/musician/performance artist Mike Massy مايك ماسي.  This track is available on Mike Massy's CD 'Ya Zaman'--an album that can only be described as a true musical masterpiece.

Mike Massy - مايك ماسي "Ghayyer Lawn Ouyounak" - غير لون عيونك

For other video clips and performances by Mike Massy, check out the Falak Productions YouTube Channel at

Mike Massy's debut CD 'Ya Zaman'
For more on Mike Massy see my previous blog entry at THIS LINK.

Mike Massy's CD 'Ya Zaman' is available for sale on iTunes, CD Baby, and other online retailers.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Al-Fusha Mofida: Video by Middlebury Arabic School 2012

The following video titled 'Al-Fusha Mofida' [Classical Arabic Is Useful] was creatively and humorously made by students at the Middlebury Arabic School 2012.  Kudos to Jesse McConnell!

Jan 30 Arabology Podcast Ft Interview w/ Fulbright Scholar Samar Ahmed

Ramzi Salti (right) with Fulbrighter Samar Ahmed (Jan 31, 2013)

On this week's episode of 'Arabology'--a weekly radio show hosted by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Lecturer at Stanford University--we continue our commemoration of the 2nd anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution by featuring an exclusive interview with Egyptian Fulbright scholar to Stanford Samar Mostafa Ahmed who recounts her experiences during the initial uprising and beyond. This show also showcases Arabic songs that have fueled the Arab Spring, including tracks by Ramy Essam, Emel Mathlouthi, Rim Banna, Mustafa Said, Donia Masoud, El Tanbura and others.

Download and Save this Podcast at
Listen Instantly at

Playlist for Arabology Thurs 31 Jan 2013 3 - 5pm DJ: Ramzi S.
1. Maryam Saleh/ Islahat/ Beirut Hotel/ Lfp Les Films Pelléas
**2. Interview with Samar Ahmed/ Part 1/ Arabology/ KZSU
3. Mustafa Said/ Ya Masr Hanet We Banet/ Rough Guide to Arabic Revolution/ World Music Network
**4. Interview with Samar Ahmed/ Part 2/ Arabology/ KZSU
5. El Tanbura/ Heela Heela/ Rough Guide to Arabic Revolution/ World Music Network
6. Rim Banna/ Stranger In The Gulf/ Revelation Of Ecstasy And Rebellion/ Kirkelig Kulturverksted
**7. Interview with Samar Ahmed/ Part 3/ Arabology/ KZSU
8. Donia Masoud/ Hen Al Ola/ Mahatet Masr/ Donia Masoud
9. Mahmoud El Husseini/ Segara Bonny/ Beirut Hotel/ Lfp Les Films Pelléas
10. Ramy Essam/ Taty Taty/ Rough Guide to Arabic Revolution/ World Music Network
11. Emel Mathlouthi/ Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free)/ Kelmti Horra/ World Village
12. Rim Banna/ The Absent One/ Revelation Of Ecstasy And Rebellion/ Kirkelig Kulturverksted

To download this Podcast, go to this link then scroll down to the red arrow on the bottom right of this page then right-click to download/save to your computer.

Or listen instantly at

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lebanese Photographer Noel Nasr at Stanford University

Noel Nasr (Lecturer, Notre Dame University – Louaize, Lebanon) delivered a talk at Stanford on Feb 1, 2013 which he titled "Freedom Before Expression": The Political Limits on Creative Practice in Lebanon.

In this roundtable discussion, Noel Nasr, Lebanese photographer and lecturer at Notre Dame University-Louaize, Lebanon, reflected on the different ways in which freedom of expression through art is limited in Lebanon, with a focus on the structural as well as informal ways in which freedom of "creation"--creative practice itself--is constrained by politics. Drawing on his own experiences in working on diverse artistic projects in Lebanon--illustrated by a vivid slide show of photographic work--Nasr showed how censorship is only one of a myriad ways through which politics subjugates freedom of expression in Lebanon.


Photographer Noel Nasr at Stanford (Feb 1, 13)

Noel Nasr (3rd from left) with some of the attendees
To learn more about Noel Nasr and his work, visit his web site at

'Arab Women of Comedy' Show in Redwood City, CA (Feb 15, 2013)

Habibi's Entertainment presents:

Arab Women of Comedy
(Show in ENGLISH)

Maria Shehata - Egyptian American
Mona - Palestinian American
Marie-Therese Abou-Daoud - Lebanese American
Eman - Palestinian Canadian

Show Host:
Mike Batayeh - Jordanian American

To learn more about Comedians, click here for Press release

Friday, Feb 15th
Doors open at 7 PM
1st show: 8 PM
2nd show: 10 PM
Club Fox, 2223 Broadway Street, Redwood City, CA

$35 main floor $25 balcony

21 and over
Show in English
Facebook Event Page

Click here for 8 PM online tickets sales
or here for 10 PM online tickets sales

Or call: Samer Elbandak (415) 519-4460
Eyad Shqair: (415) 305-2165

Or you can buy directly from your community organization if they are part of the pay back to the community program.

10th Anniversary of Dr. Ramzi Salti's Arabology Program Features All Episodes on Soundcloud + YouTube (Click here)

All 13 seasons of Dr. Ramzi Salti's  Arabology  podcasts  are now available on Soundcloud, for a total of 101 episodes. Additionally, al...