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Archive for 'Arts'

Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal has camera screwed into his head

In New York, the Iraqi-born performance artist Wafaa Bilal has a 10 megapixel camera surgically attached to the back of his head.

The idea of the project he’s working on, also called “The Third Eye”, is to mount a camera on the back of his head which is connected to the internet and to the Doha Modern Art Arab Museum, and which takes images every one minute while broadcasting them on the internet.

He claims that by doing this he’s creating a platform for discussion.

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Watch the music video of Nations United first song “I Wish”

The music video of the first Nations United song, I wish, directed by Chaker Khazaal. I wish is performed by 11-year-old Jackie Vainberg and talented Corey Brouwer. The music video star the Strain twins & lyricist, Olie Vainberg.
More information on the Nations United campaign and film on www.nationsunited.org

Nations United release their first song “I Wish”

A vibrant young team filled the set while filming a fresh new music video produced by the Nations United group. The video titled, ‘I WISH’ is a feel-good anthem voiced by 11-year-old rising star, Jackie Vainberg, and directed by Nations United founder Chaker Khazaal. The lyrics to this incredibly catchy song were written by Olie Vainberg (Jackie’s mother) and edited by Christian Paré. The music’s lively tribal beats and rhythmic cords were composed by young new talent, Corey Brouwer and produced by Flavio Monopoli.

“Nations United has plans to produce a number of short videos before releasing Nations United, the movie next year. Our upcoming videos will feature women displaying positive and strong character traits, these qualities will play a major part in the leading role of NU,” says Mr Khazaal, who also co-produced the ‘I WISH’ video. The beautiful twin actors, Karissa and Katie Strain, shine as the female leads in I WISH, the first Nations United installment. I WISH, the song, was released exclusively on www.nationsunited.org on June 17, 2010, with the video released late in that month.

Entering its fourth month, the Nations United project has established connections and collaborations with people from over 50 countries in pre-production for the film, which is set to be released late 2011. The Nations United campaign is actively collecting short video submissions from individuals and groups worldwide. Select footage will appear in Nations United, the movie. The campaign and movie involves a series of events, film workshops, videos and songs that emphasize the importance of unity between nations and the power of positive national thought creating a positive reality.

To learn more, or become involved, please visit www.NationsUnited.org

"I Wish" song by Nations United

'I Wish' song by Nations United

Nations United gala “Art of Peace” in Toronto on June 17, 2010

I have already blogged about Chaker Khazaal and his brilliant project Nations United which unites the nations through a collaborative movie combining people from different parts of the planet. Now, the “Art of Peace” gala is being thrown in Toronto on June 17, 2010, where all the proceedings of the event will be donated to the Nations United campaign.

Again, I would like to congratulate Khazaal for his efforts in creating a positive environment for people of under-privileged areas.

For more information on this project, please check the flyer below or the event directly on Nations United website at www.NationsUnited.org .

Art of Peace gala by Nations United

Art of Peace gala by Nations United

Montreal’s Lebanese Film Festival 2010 on May 15-16 by Lebanus

Lebanus, the Lebanese organization behind the famous Lebanese Night in Montreal, is celebrating their 10th edition of the Lebanese Film Festival in Montreal on May 15th and 16th.

It is a great opportunity to discover and learn more about the many talented authors of short and feature-length films from Lebanon. All proceeds will be donated as scholarships for Lebanese students.

Showtime:
5 pm and 7h30 pm – Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th of May 2010

Address:
Cinémathèque de l’ONF
1564 Rue Saint Denis, Montreal, QC
H2X 3K3

For more information, you may check the event’s Facebook page here.

Lebanese Film Festival 2010 in Montreal by Lebanus

Lebanese Film Festival 2010 in Montreal by Lebanus

Chaker Khazaal: the Lebanese-Canadian behind Nations United

A 22-year-old Lebanese-Canadian man is seeking to unite the nations through a collaborative movie combining people from different parts of the planet.

People from every nation are invited to create a film, 3-5 minutes in length, displaying anything they wish to show the rest of the world. There are no restrictions to the footage they film or the message they wish to present. A selection of chosen footage will be edited into a pre-existing concept for a movie called Nations United or NU, written by Chaker Khazaal, the man behind the project.

Chaker Khazaal on the 17th of March 2010 became a Canadian Resident and his dream since childhood has always been to unite humanity and its people.

Born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, of Palestinian background, Chaker Khazaal moved to Toronto, Canada in 2005 as an international student at York University where he completed a BA degree in International Development Studies. He also took courses in the fields of film, languages and International Relations.

More information on the project Nations United can be found at www.nationsunited.org

Chaker Khazaal's Nations United Vision - www.nationsunited.org

Chaker Khazaal's Nations United Vision - www.nationsunited.org

The ‘rebirth’ of Lebanon’s fashion industry

One by one, Lebanese designers are conquering catwalks across Europe. While many designers in Europe have faced problems due to the economic downturn, Lebanon’s fashion designers have had no shortage of work. They are thriving as the country profits from a year of political stability.

BBC correspondent Natalie Antelava reports below from Beirut on Lebanon’s bid to become the capital of the Middle East fashion world:

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Sand painting to celebrate China’s 60 years of communism

Even though Ferenc Cakó is an avant-garde in sand animation, this is quite different. To celebrate 60 years of communism in China in the beginning of this month, two artists have created a picturesque sand painting. Yang Qi and Li Yin have spent two weeks grinding and dying the sand red to recreate key moments from the past 60 years.

Check it out in the video below:

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Beirut featured in Snoop Dogg’s “Thats Tha Homie” Official Music Video

“This is the party capital of the world”. That’s how Snoop Dogg described Beirut when he performed in the capital last August. He meant it when he said that, and the proof is that Beirut is featured in the official video clip of his new song That’s Tha Homie, which is from his new album Malice N Wonderland that is set to be released on December 8th, 2009.

Beirut and SkyBar got quite a bite of that video. Watch it below:

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“Beirut, I love you (I love you not)” movie by Orange Dog Productions

Beirut, I Love You (I Love You Not) is a short film by “An Orange Dog Productions” about (fleeting) love & the little pleasures in life, all set and in relation with the very inspiring city of Beirut. It is a Beirut-ish tribute to Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Amelie Poulain.

The movie was written, directed, and cast by Mounia Akl & Cyril Aris, both from Lebanese origin. In addition to Naim Jeanbart, from Syrian/Canadian origin, they formed the amateur film crew Orange Dog Productions. In addition to this one, their list of movies consists of Wife For Sale, I’ll Be Stalkin’ You, and Seducing Lola.

Check it out in the video below:

“Medical Myths That Can Kill You” by Nancy Snyderman

We sometimes throw advices here and there without really knowing if they are true or not. The reason for that is that those advices were fed to us by our parents or friends without us questioning their legitimacy. But now NBC News chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman wrote a book called “Medical Myths That Can Kill You” that busts a lot of those medical myths through medical proof and explanation.

After ruling out some myths, here are examples of correct statements:

  • you cannot get the H1N1 virus from the water in the water fountain,
  • the HPV vaccine is not only for girls,
  • reading in dim light does not ruin your eyesight,
  • energy drinks do not give you energy,
  • university grads live longer than those who stick only to high school.

An explanation is found in the video below by NBC Today Show:

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Watch online HOME, the 2009 movie by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

You can now watch the movie Home by Yann Arthus-Bertrand below. For those who don’t know about it, HOME is an ode to the planet’s beauty and its delicate harmony. Through the landscapes of 54 countries captured from above, Yann Arthus-Bertrand takes us on an unique journey all around the planet, to contemplate it and to understand it.

By bringing us unique footage from the Earth and sharing with us his wonder and his concern, Yann Arthus-Bertrand lays a foundation stone for the world that, together, we must rebuild. The film HOME intends to shift people’s perceptions, to make us aware of the tectonic movements at work and to incite us to act.

More than a movie, HOME will be a major event around the globe: for the first time ever, a film will be released on the same day in over 50 countries. June 5th 2009, World Environment Day has been chosen as the highly symbolic date for this simultaneous, and free of charge, release on every format: movie theatre, TV, DVD and Internet. The aim of director Yann Arthus-Bertrand is to reach the widest possible audience, and to convince us all of our individual and collective responsibility towards the planet.

Watch it below:

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Charlie Adams: the autism cause behind Yanni’s drummer

Earlier this month I attended Yanni’s concert here in Montreal, and got the opportunity to meet Yanni’s drummer Charlie Adams after the concert. As a drummer, I have always admired Adams since the days of ‘Yanni At The Acropolis’ when he used to - and still do - fascinate me with his drum solos. I had the honour to get his autograph (shown below), so I thought of introducing him here since apart of being an amazing drummer, he has a wonderful personality, and is an avid activist on the autism cause due to the sickness of his two sons.

Charlie Adams is an American drummer, percussionist, drum engineer, composer, music producer, and film producer. He has been Yanni’s drum lead for over 20 years and their CDs have gone platinum and double platinum. In Minnesota, Adams formed the rock band Chameleon and developed his own record label, Platinum Records. He met Yanni when the latter was hired on as Chameleon’s keyboardist. After some time Yanni headed to Los Angeles to pursue movie soundtrack work. Adams soon followed and collaborated with Yanni as movie consultant, writing the drum and percussion parts and doing all the research with his movie library, which consists of over 4,000 titles.

When not on tour with Yanni, Charlie lives in Nashville with his wife, Andrea and their four children. He owns a 24-track digital recording studio, Adams Apple Studio, where he records and teaches drum lessons. In 2004 he partnered with the Autism Society of America (ASA) to increase autism awareness, and produced an autobiographical video about his career and family, focusing on his two sons with autism. Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.

For more information on Charlie Adams, visit www.CharlieAdams.org .
For more information on the Autism Society of America (ASA), Click Here.

Charlie Adams (Yanni's Drummer) autograph

Charlie Adams (Yanni's Drummer) autograph

The nostalgic Bonjus bag by Lebanon’s Sarah’s Bag

Not a single Lebanese have not seen, heard of, or tasted the three-sided pyramid juice Bonjus. This exquisite beverage has become part of the Lebanese culture, and will likely to stay for the many generations to come. But guess what, now not only you can drink it, but also you can wear it! Sarah’s Bag has added a new nostalgic item to its astonishing and fabulous collection of bags: the Bonjus bag.

I have previously introduced Sarah’s Bag in my other post (Sarah’s Bag: Lebanon’s fashionable bags and accessories), but this post is dedicated specifically to this bag since I believe it is an impressive piece of work. Who could have imagined that one day girls would be wearing a Bonjus bag?! In an article published by the daily L’Orient-Le Jour, Sarah’s Bag affirmed that its bag does not contain any liquid, is not explosible, does not come with a straw, but on the other side, it can last for a period more than just a childhood.

If I were a girl, I would have definitely bought this bag.

Bonjus Bag by Sarah's Bag

Bonjus Bag by Sarah's Bag

Lebanese DJs Gunther & Stamina to play in Montreal club Karma on May 29th 2009

This post is an exclusive scoop.

If you’re Lebanese and a raver, then you have definitely heard of Gunther & Stamina. They are two brilliant Lebanese DJs who are famous for their long sets (sometimes up to eight hours) every Saturday at b018, Beirut, Lebanon where they hold a residency every week Thursday, Friday & Saturday as main act. And guess what? They are coming to Montreal on May 29th 2009 to play in club Karma!

Gunther teamed up with Stamina (Elias Merheb) in 2005, and since then they became well known in the Lebanese rave scene. Their long sets are blended with the latest underground music from ambient minimal to deep House, progressive, tribal, tech-house and techno. They hold as well a week-end star residency on MixFM, the official number one station in the middle-east, every Friday from 20:00 till 21:00 (Underground sessions is the name of the show).

Update (May 29th 2009): Quoting unconfirmed sources, the Canadian visa was given late to Gunther & Stamina and the show has been postponed to a later notice.

Contact Address of Karma Club:
4467 boulevard Saint-Laurent
Montréal, QC H2W 1Z8, Canada
(514) 658-5761

Gunther & Stamina - taken from their facebook page

Gunther & Stamina - taken from their facebook page

Sarah’s Bag: Lebanon’s fashionable bags and accessories

I first heard of this through Carla from Out of Lebanon blog, and thought that it would be interesting to introduce it to my entourage, even though I’m late on this and many of you must have already known about it. It is called Sarah’s Bag. It is distinctive, vivacious, and elegant with a touch of retro glamour and a street-wise sensibility. It is stylishly aware and socially responsible.

Sarah’s Bag is a Lebanese line of handcrafted, custom-made women’s fashion accessories. It started out in the year 2000 as a collection of handbags, but soon after it has expanded to include beach totes, evening bags, clutches, and satchels, along with shoes, scarves, sashes, belts, bangles, and beaded necklaces. What makes them unique is that they are made by female prisoners and former inmates, and each piece requires 10 to 15 days of meticulous embroidering, beading, crocheting, and hand-stitching to produce. Sarah’s Bag is fast becoming a worldwide brand after many celebrities embraced its line of work, among them are French actress Catherine Deneuve and Queen Rania of Jordan.

The story of Sarah’s Bag began when Sarah Beydoun, a Beirut-based Lebanese sociology student at the time, was writing her master’s thesis on female prostitution and women prisoners in Lebanon at the Université Saint Joseph (USJ). She realized she could combine her interest in improving underprivileged women’s lives with her love for fashion. Sarah decided to set up her company as part of a rehabilitation program, whereby women at risk from economic depravation or the stigma of having served time in prison would learn valuable skills in return for a reliable income and a stable source of pride, dignity, and empowerment. As the company expanded, Sarah teamed up with her friend Sarah Nahhouli.

Sarah’s Bag showroom is located in the neighborhood of Gemmayzeh, a five-minute walk from Downtown Beirut. Other selling points could be found worldwide such as in the Gulf, Africa, and USA. Even though there isn’t any selling point yet in Montreal, I believe this will happen soon due to the company’s fast worldwide takeoff.

For more information on Sarah’s Bag, its showroom and selling points addresses, collection, and press releases, you can visit its website at www.SarahsBag.com.
For pictures of its line of bags, you can visit its Official Facebook Page.

Sarah's Bag Lebanon showroom

Sarah's Bag Lebanon showroom - SarahsBag.com

Wood by the Global Drum Project

I have already introduced the Global Drum Project in my other post (The Global Drum Project by Mickey Hart), but in this one I show Mickey Hart and Zakir Hussain perform the song “Wood” on two giant tree roots, one a grapevine and the other a redwood.

Watch the transcendental drumming experience of the Global Drum Project in the video below by the National Geographic Geo Sessions:

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The Global Drum Project by Mickey Hart

For all you drummers and percussionists out there, you will love this. After the 1991 release of the Grammy Award winning album Planet Drum, the legendary drummer Mickey Hart (best known as one of the two drummers from the rock band the Grateful Dead) and his old crew is again in a reunion sparked by the 15th anniversary of the ground-breaking album Planet Drum. They have recently released a new album called the Global Drum Project, and took home the Best Contemporary World Music Album at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards on February 9th, 2009.

The group brings together Indian tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, Nigerian talking drum ace Sikiru Adepoju, and Puerto Rico’s master conguero Giovanni Hidalgo, among others. According to Hart, “This is a deep drumming groove. We’re taking the archaic rhythm worlds into outer space. The Global Drum Project explores rhythm and noise; it’s a sound yoga of processed acoustic percussion headed straight for the trance zone that becomes a dance of ancient and modern worlds. Deep drumming is a skeleton key into these realms.”

Watch the video below by the National Geographic Geo Sessions to get a taste of the Global Drum Project:

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Ferenc Cakó: the sand animation artist

Since I was first exposed to sand animation in 2004, I have admired Ferenc Cakó the most between all artists in this field. This post serves as an introduction to him, and shows a fascinating video of one of his performances.

Ferenc Cakó (born 1950) is a Hungarian artist, animator, painter, and film maker whose specialty is performing sand animation. He was awarded the Merited Artist and Outstanding Artist awards of the Hungarian People`s Republic in both 1989 and 1999 respectively. During his 30 years of film making, he has won all the main prizes of film festivals all over the world, from Cannes to San Francisco, and from Annecy to the Oscar nomination.

Apart from his film making skills, he is the avant-guarde of live sand animation. His individual and special sand animation show is very popular all over the world. It is usually performed in theaters, TV shows and at exclusive events. Sand animation is done on stage, where people can see Cakó actually doing the performance. He performs in total darkness, while the picture is projected into a high resolution video projector.

More information about him can be found on his website. The video below shows Cakó performing live at the Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival (SICAF) 2003 in Seoul, South Korea:

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Bian Lian: the mask changing art of China’s Sichuan Opera

Since many people used to ask me about the colored masks hung up in my apartment, I decided to give a quick explanation of their meaning. Bian Lian, in simplified Chinese 变脸, literally means Face Changing. It is an ancient Chinese art specific to the Sichuan Opera, in which performers wear bright colored costumes and masks, and quickly change their masks in a fraction of a second. It is incredibly fast to the extent that viewers cannot see how they do it. Some performers rapidly change their costumes as well. Surprisingly enough it’s not a one time act, but performers do it again and again and again.

According to Wikipedia, Bian Lian began 300 years ago, during the reign of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795). The masks colors reflect a character’s mood such as red representing anger and black extreme fury. Bian Lian was first used in a story about a hero who stole from the rich to help the poor. When he was caught by feudal officials, he changed his face to puzzle them and escaped as a result. Only a select number of masters know how to perform this art, and the secret is only passed down through families and from master to apprentice. Since its inception, the art was forbidden to women, but recently women had been allowed to learn the technique and perform them publicly.

The video below shows a performer frequently changing his mask:

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The Chopsticks Diet: lose weight by eating with chopsticks

The London-based Japanese writer Kimiko Barber has just introduced a new book entitled The Chopsticks Diet, in which she explains that eating with chopsticks will help you lose weight. According to Barber, “Eating with chopsticks slows you down, and so you eat less.”

Eating fast will make the person overeat because it takes 20 minutes for the brain to register what the stomach contains. It’s harder for Westerners to eat with chopsticks; Therefore, when eating with chopsticks, it means taking smaller mouthfuls, which tend to get chewed better, slowing down the meal, and making it easier to digest.

This brings up to my mind a brilliant money making idea! I should introduce to the Japanese a new book entitled “The Knife and Fork Diet”, claiming that eating with a knife and fork will help people lose weight.

The Chopsticks Diet by Kimiko Barber

The Chopsticks Diet by Kimiko Barber

A taste of the Montreal rave scene: Igloofest

When it comes to electronic music, every city has its own unique style, resident DJs, or clubs, but Montreal offers a different experience that transcends all this. Last weekend, I have assisted to Igloofest, a rave held in open air during the very peak of the Canadian Winter! With the temperature outside as low as -20 degrees Celsius, it cannot but be a lifetime experience.

Co-produced by Quais du Vieux-Port and Piknic Électronik (the organizers of the weekly Summer rave at Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal), comes the special event Igloofest. It spans over three weekends, where DJs from Canada and around the world such as James Holden come heat up the crowd during the coldest period of the year. The style of music ranges from Funk, Deep House, to Minimal.

Check out the exciting video below from the 2009 Igloofest:

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Waltz With Bashir - Watch it online for free!

Although not a supporter of this movie, I decided to share it with the Lebanese people for the only reason that it was banned in Lebanon. Due to copyright laws, I cannot publish it here, so I am linking to other websites which are providing it.

You can now watch it online at The Lebanese Inner Circle blog. The blog also provides information on how to download it.

Waltz With Bashir by Ari Folman

Waltz With Bashir by Ari Folman

Read online the upcoming book of Paulo Coelho: The Winner Stands Alone

As I have previously mentioned the willingness of Paulo Coelho to share his work over the internet, he backs up his openness approach by publishing online the chapters of his upcoming book The Winner Stands Alone. The book is scheduled to be released in Lebanon by March 2009, but Paulo started publishing it for free on the internet!

All the chapters are published online on his blog. This post links to all the chapters published so far, and will link to the new chapters as soon as they are out. So keep checking back for new chapters.

Read Chapter 1.
Read Chapter 2.
Read Chapter 3.
Read Chapter 4.
Read Chapter 5.
Read Chapter 6.
Read Chapter 7.
Read Chapter 8.
Read Chapter 9.
Read Chapter 10.
Read Chapter 11.
Read Chapter 12.

Don’t forget to support the author for his work!

The Winner Stands Alone cover

The Winner Stands Alone cover