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Latest in Culture


Israeli orchestra to play Wagner in Germany

An Israeli orchestra is set to perform a work by Adolf Hitler’s favorite composer, Richard Wagner, in a taboo-breaking concert in Germany. The Israel Chamber Orchestra’s concert in Wagner’s hometown alongside the annual Bayreuth opera festival on Tuesday will mark the first time an Israeli orchestra has played Wagner in Germany, Nicolaus Richter, the head …

DNE

Amy Winehouse among musical talents gone too soon

Amy Winehouse released only two albums in her life, one of which sold more than a million copies, won five Grammys and sparked a retro soul movement that hasn’t yet stopped. The small output, in inverse relation to her outsized talent, made her death Saturday in London all the more tragic. Fans will only be …

DNE

An Egyptian artist’s new dynamics

By Heba Elkayal Once a practicing dermatologist, Khaled Hafez is now primarily a painter, and informally, a sentinel of the Egyptian art scene. His artwork has garnered him much attention in international art biennales such as Singapore and Dakar, in prominent art fairs such as Art Dubai and in art festivals such as the recent Shubbak …

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Troubled diva Amy Winehouse dead at 27

Few artists summed up their own career in a single song — a single line — as well as Amy Winehouse. "They tried to make me go to rehab," she sang on her world-conquering 2006 single, "Rehab." ”I said ‘No, no no.’" Occasionally, she said yes, but to no avail: repeated stints in hospitals and …

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A platform emerges for British Muslim writers

LONDON: British Muslims are hungry for the opportunity to write and to be published. But do Muslims need nurturing to do so? Is there anything stopping Muslim writers from voicing their opinions and sharing their experiences? According to James Caan, a serial entrepreneur famed for his appearances on the UK television show “Dragon’s Den”, Muslims …

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Comic-Con kicks off with fans, flicks, costumes

Calling all superheroes, zombies, space aliens, comic-book lovers and kids of all ages: Comic-Con is here. The pop-culture convention, which annually draws thousands of costumed fans to San Diego, begins Thursday, but the die-hards (and those with weekend-long passes) were getting a peek at the colorful convention floor on Wednesday night The line for badges …

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‘No Country’ star calls for global actors rights

GENEVA: In the 2008-film "No Country for Old Men" Javier Bardem’s hitman character mercilessly collected unpaid debts with a deadly bolt gun. When it comes to movie pirates, the 42-year-old Academy Award winner is more understanding. "People don’t have money and movie tickets are sometimes too high," Bardem told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday. "I …

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Jan 25 Revolution takes center stage at Sawy’s documentary fest

Underground film took on a whole new meaning at Sawy Culture Wheel’s 7th annual Documentary Film Festival which concluded on Wednesday. In a shabby screening room under the 26th of July Bridge, Egypt’s film buffs gathered for three consecutive nights to watch the latest batch of locally produced documentaries that were, alas, underdeveloped to say …

DNE

African American Civil War Museum gets new home

With a fife and drum band playing Yankee Doodle and civil war re-enactors sweltering in the summer sun, a museum honoring the contribution of African Americans in the US Civil War moved into its new home in Washington this week. "It is finally finished, a great new 5,000 square foot (465 square meters) African American …

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‘Ghetto Hope’: music opens doors to gypsy children

Discordant brass notes escape from a rehearsal room in Sliven’s gypsy ghetto, as 15 local boys prepare for band practice and take a break from the poverty-stricken life of the slum outside. "Now boys — one, two, three…," band leader Angel Tichaliev calls out and the tunes merge into a bold, lively melody that resonates …

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Egyptian artist El-Mestikawy vies for Jameel Prize

Ten out of 200 artists, including from Egypt, Algerian and Iran, were chosen for this year’s Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition to compete for the £25, 000 biannual Jameel Prize for Islamic-inspired contemporary art. “The nominations were from a much wider span than those of the 2009 prize, stretching from North America to France, Algeria, …

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12 years for Algerian musician’s alleged killers

A judge on Monday handed 12-year jail terms to two men convicted of killing popular Algerian singer Lounes Matoub, an avid Berber campaigner. Matoub, who was known for promoting Berber culture and seeking official recognition for his people and their language, was gunned down aged 42 near the Kabylie region’s capital Tizi Ouzou, east of …

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Chaos threatens Philippines’ cultural treasures

Thieves and art dealers are the usual suspects, but mildew and flashbulbs are just as dangerous for some of the Philippines’ beleaguered cultural treasures. From a 30,000-year-old skull fragment of one of its first human inhabitants to imposing churches built during Spanish colonial rule, the Southeast Asian archipelago has a stunning display of artifacts showcasing …

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A new window to Arab arts

By John Radcliff “Art is the window to man’s soul. Without it, he would never be able to see beyond his immediate world; nor could the world see the man within,” said Claudia Johnson, professor of English Literature at Princeton. Such sentiment has been illustrated at Shubbak (Arabic for ‘window’), London’s first ever celebration of contemporary …

DNE

Maria’s for Mexican: Authentically stellar cuisine

I will feign deafness if I ever hear someone criticizing the concept of a fine dining Mexican restaurant in Egypt. Tex-Mex fried mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings from Chili’s is not really Mexican, and lord were we missing something on the city’s dining scene until Maria’s came along. I was a little surprised at first …

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Rabindranath Tagore immortalized in philatelics and embroidery

By Sankalita Shome Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian Nobel Laureate in Literature, is no stranger to Egypt; he was great friends with renowned Egyptian poet Ahmed Shawqi and the words that he penned for Egypt seem almost prophetic in the aftermath of the January 25 Revolution. He said of Egypt that it is “the land where the …

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After much hesitation, Wust El Balad performs in Ramallah

CAIRO: “Would they call us traitors? Would the government spy on us upon our return? Would the local press try to manipulate our actions to tarnish our image?” These were the types of questions the popular band Wust El Balad and their manager Rami Heikal wrestled with when deciding whether to travel to Ramallah and …

DNE

French choreographer Roland Petit dies at 87

Acclaimed choreographer Roland Petit, whose creations dazzled stages from Paris to Hollywood and inspired dancers, writers and designers has died. He was 87. The Paris National Opera said Petit’s wife, Zizi Jeanmaire, informed them that the choreographer died on Sunday in Geneva. No cause of death was given. Jeanmaire, ballerina turned music hall performer who …

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Tropfest provides creative platform for amateur filmmakers

Talk about great timing. Abu Dhabi-based Twofour54 couldn’t have picked a better moment to partner with international film festival concept Tropfest to create Tropfest Arabia 2011, a short film festival for aspiring filmmakers from the region. Twofour54 is a government initiative aimed at developing a sustainable Arabic media industry across all platforms. Founded by Australian …

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Hemingway leaves indelible mark on Pamplona

Room 217 in the Gran Hotel La Perla, swankiest hotel in northern Spain’s bull-running city Pamplona, has barely changed since Ernest Hemingway last slept here. There are a few alterations the American writer might have abhorred — a plasma television, air conditioning, and a price of up to €1,800 ($2,500) a night during the San …

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Folk singer Facundo Cabral killed in Guatemala

One of Latin America’s most admired folk singers, Facundo Cabral, was killed Saturday when three carloads of gunmen ambushed the vehicle in which he was riding, prompting expressions of anguish from across the region. Authorities said the performer’s concert promoter was apparently the target. Interior Minister Carlos Menocal said the Argentine singer and novelist was …

DNE

What’s in a name? That which we call Meetphool

By Maha ElNabawi What’s in a name? That which we call Meetphool.net – potentially the most revolutionary website to hit the performing arts sector in Egypt and likely the entire Mediterranean region. The website is suffused with the traditions of theatre. According to their website, Meetphool derives its catchy name from “the fool” – a theatre …

DNE

Team unearths first Roman-era basilica in Egypt

CAIRO: Egyptian officials say archaeologists have unearthed the first basilica erected in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria. Antiquities authorities say the basilica is dated to the Roman era and was built on the ruins of a temple from the Ptolemaic reign that ended with the death of Cleopatra. A statement Thursday says two parallel …

DNE

Laugh like an Egyptian

By Chitra Kalyani It’s astonishing that stand-up comedy did not gain stage-presence in Egypt up until a few years ago. Local talents at the “Freedom of Funny” show far outstripped the highlight of visiting artist Ronnie Khalil’s “Brezidential Brobosal” at Sawy Culture Wheel on Thursday. Musical duo High on Body Fat, composed of the portly …

DNE

Cy Twombly, post-war art giant, dead at 83

Influential US artist Cy Twombly, who died Tuesday aged 83, was a key figure in the post-war abstract art world with a career spanning six decades. Renowned for his vast canvasses adorned with scribblings, the artist let his creations speak for themselves, rarely giving interviews or appearing in public. The director of the Lambert collection …

DNE

Revolution-themed interpretation of Bejart’s ‘Pyramide’ ballet misses the mark

Ballet can now be counted amongst the artistic disciplines touched by Egypt’s recent revolution. The January 25 Revolution has prompted a wave of cultural production, much of it inspired by scenes and experiences from the lead up to Hosni Mubarak’s ouster on February 11. “The Pyramids and the Revolution,” a ballet adapted from famed French …

DNE

Super 8’ message: Technology not our friend

By Ted Anthony/ AP It’s convenient to assign J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8,” one of this summer’s biggest movies, an easy, modular genre: Intrepid small-town kids encounter the unknown, engage it, handle it far better than the adults and find that their emotionally sensitive behavior brings their community salvation. Call it the E.T. Effect. Look closer, …

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‘Elliot’ writer’s opera dropped over gay character

A community opera involving hundreds of children and written by the author of "Billy Elliot" has been canceled after the writer refused to remove lines spoken by a gay character in which he calls himself "queer." Education officials said the school removed 300 pupils due to appear in the production because of offensive and derogatory …

DNE

Bai Ling reveals dark memories of Chinese army

Actress Bai Ling said she is confronting a dark chapter from her past: sexual abuse she suffered as a teenager at the hands of Chinese army officers. Bai, 44, who was a soldier in a People’s Liberation Army performance troupe from age 14 to 17, told The Associated Press in a recent interview that she …

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Ibrahim El-Batout on ‘Hawi’, his upcoming movie and future of cinema

  F ive years ago, former war reporter and documentary filmmaker Ibrahim El-Batout was another aspiring filmmaker with an atypical vision deemed incongruous with the homogenous local film scene. A couple of years later, El-Batout became the most influential independent filmmaker in the country, turning the industry on its head and paving the way for independent …

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