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Latest in Culture


Regional festival season kicks off with Abu Dhabi

Amid the accustomed razzle-dazzle, the fifth edition of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival kicked off Thursday evening, commencing the official start of a regional festival season surly to be shaped by the Arab Spring. Devoid of politics, the sole controversial incident of the evening came prior to the start of the show when Egyptian film …

DNE

Oman opens first Gulf opera house

The Royal Opera House of Oman, the first of its kind in the Arabian Peninsula, was officially opened on Wednesday by the country’s ruler Sultan Qaboos, himself a music enthusiast. "The time has now come to cap that rich heritage (of Oman) by adopting concepts of international culture and contribute to its promotion," Qaboos said …

DNE

New label, album: Keeping it fresh, the Wilco way

A couple of decades ago, a young and tough Jeff Tweedy thought he was punk rock. That is nothing compared to how out there the 44-year-old Wilco frontman and father of two feels these days. "To be honest, at this age, I feel like what we’re doing now is more punk rock than anything I …

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Pakistan comics deflect Taliban with ridicule

Bombs and burqas may be no joke, but stand-up comics in Pakistan defy death threats to poke fun at Taliban militants with an irreverent humor popular among an increasingly frustrated middle class. With national newspapers and television screens daily swamped by stories and images of suicide bombings and assassinations, the country’s young breed of funny …

DNE

Calling for real women’s stories in Egyptian film

CAIRO: Egyptian film is the most widely viewed cinema in the Arab world, and Egypt is one of a few countries in the region that has maintained this industry since the 1930s, despite war and instability. Accordingly, Egyptian movies, which have long inspired people across the Arab world, have significant potential to positively affect women’s …

DNE

Book fair to tackle challenges of digital age storytelling

Authors once just had to deal with a publisher but are now being forced to embrace the digital age and negotiate the rights to their works for TV, films and e-books. Organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair, which opens on Wednesday, said the challenges thrown up by the upheaval in the book world would be …

DNE

Grand statements on politics and social networks at Darb

A new exhibit at Darb 1718, the Contemporary Art and Culture Center in Old Cairo, brings together Latin American artists to reflect on the relationship between “images, politics and social networks.” Funded by Artmedia and curated by Sayira Cerdas of Costa Rica, the exhibit’s goals, outlined in press releases, are bold and lofty. “The idea …

DNE

An evening of art and jazz at Mashrabia

On Saturday evening, a small crowd packed into the Mashrabia Gallery for the release of an art book by Jacinta Candinas, Manuel Vázquez and Andri Perl. Egyptian oud player Georges Kazazian’s Ensemble Sabil played a short set, marking the beginning of a run of shows around the city. The book, simply titled “Cairo-Lucerne-Coire,” is made …

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Bedouin girl inspires Egyptian theatre show in London

  The Arabian Dance Theater Company are launching a new show in October 2011 in London titled, “Under the Sun.” Based on a real character, “Under The Sun” is a modern story about a Bedouin girl who challenges her traditions and follows her dream to become a dancer in Cairo. It explores traditional and contemporary …

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Swedish poet Tomas Transtroemer wins Nobel Literature Prize

STOCKHOLM: Swedish poet Tomas Transtroemer, who sets moral goals with unexpected yet simple imagery, won the 2011 Nobel Literature Prize on Thursday. Transtroemer, 80, was honored "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality," the Swedish Academy’s jury said. His poetry is filled with imagination and emotion, but is also …

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Sri Lanka hopes movies are ticket to better times

Once a location of choice for directors shooting World War II classics and big 1980s adventure films, Sri Lanka is hoping to make a comeback on the movie trail as it emerges from civil war. Since the island’s bloody conflict ended in May 2009, the government has been trying to promote a new image focusing …

DNE

Baghdad film festival reopens after four years

Baghdad’s third international film festival, and first in four years, opened on Monday, with the aim of reviving an industry hammered by decades of violence and sanctions. More than 150 films from 32 countries will be aired in multiple locations across the Iraqi capital from October 3 to 10, festival director Taher Alwan told AFP. …

DNE

A sincere visual record of the revolution in ‘The Road to Tahrir’

Having heard of the latest book release by the American University in Cairo Press titled “The Road to Tahrir,” I was sceptical and already exhausted at what I was about to read. Bookstores have been filled to the brim with books about the revolution, most of which are empty pseudo-analytical chronicles by authors who are …

DNE

The final destination of ‘The Traveler’

  t has been dubbed the “Heaven’s Gate” of Egyptian cinema; the biggest commercial and critical flop in the modern history of local cinema. A bloated, self-conscious art-house wannabe muddled in vague philosophies and sluggish narrative.   Critics of the film were merciless. Headlines read: “Colossal failure,” “A scandal,” “An exercise in posturing.” Few other …

DNE

Nobel comes days too late for Canadian scientist

WASHINGTON: The ultimate lifetime achievement award came days too late for Canadian Ralph Steinman, who was honored Monday with the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his groundbreaking work on the immune system. The 68-year-old cell biologist’s own discoveries helped extend his life but he died Friday after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer, according to …

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Nobel Medicine Prize opens week of awards

STOCKHOLM: The 2011 Nobel season opens Monday with the announcement in Stockholm of the Medicine Prize, to be followed over the course of a week by the awards for physics, chemistry, literature, economics and peace. The Medicine Prize is scheduled to be announced at 11:30 am at the earliest. The winner of the Nobel Peace …

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Politics and promotion at all day hip-hop festival

By Maurice Chammah On Saturday at El Sawy Culture Wheel in Zamalek, a crowd of several hundred fans gathered to watch eight hours of continuous hip-hop. The festival, called “Hip-Hop Non-Stop 2501,” featured a diverse set of acts ranging from the obscure to the more well-known. Flashing lights and fake smoke enveloped the stage as one …

DNE

Maryam, Maryam, quite contrary

By Chitra Kalyani “I often ask myself if I believe what I’m doing. Do I believe that I sing? Am I really doing this?” Maryam Saleh says, explaining her puzzling concert title. “Ana mesh baghani” (I Don’t Sing) was also the opening song at Saleh’s act at Rawabet on Thursday night. The packed and dim-lit Townhouse …

DNE

Feeling the pressure? Not David Guetta

By Mesfin Fekadu / AP David Guetta wasn’t chasing a monster hit when he crafted songs like the Kelly Rowland-assisted “When Love Takes Over” and the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.” The French DJ-producer was relatively unknown to most Americans, and he didn’t feel much pressure to make the tracks Grammy-winning, international smashes — though …

DNE

50 years on, ‘Catch-22’ still resonates

Hyper-cynical anti-war novel "Catch-22" turns 50 next month, and Joseph Heller must be chortling in his grave over how apropos the phrase he coined remains today — from the US jobs crisis to a bottomless war in Afghanistan. In addition to a fresh edition of the novel, publishers have rolled out new books to coincide …

DNE

With new digs, NY Film Festival carefully expands

A sense of expansion presides over this year’s New York Film Festival, the 49th and first since Lincoln Center’s new $41 million film center was opened. But as with all things NYFF, any growth is measured and restrained. The annual movie event, which begins Friday and runs through Oct. 16, is the country’s most prestigious …

DNE

Writer, filmmaker and translator consolidate storytelling with Palestinian reality

Reality and its multiple truths are mirrored in “Bab Al-Shams” (Gate of the Sun) and its weaving of storytelling, translation and film adaption, argued the artists involved as they poetically reflected on the current state of affairs. On Monday evening, the American University of Cairo students and professors squeezed into the Oriental Hall at the …

DNE

Musical theater festival pushes boundaries in NYC

It’s the time of year in the city when the leaves fall, a chill settles over the streets and a crop of boundary-pushing musicals pop up. The New York Musical Theatre Festival kicked off this week, presenting 30 new works, including shows about Billy the Kid and a dancing King Tut. Jane Austen’s "Pride and …

DNE

Messages from the revolution

By Aida Nasr “I used to be afraid. Then I became Egyptian,” read a sign a man seen holding in Tahrir Square. “It completely took my breath away. What a powerful sign,” says Karima Khalil. “It was something very new to us, to take pride in our nationality as Egyptians.” It was Khalil’s first time in …

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Grohl, Novoselic reminisce about ‘Nevermind’

By Derrik J.Lang / AP It’s been 20 years since the release of Nirvana’s “Nevermind.” The album, which included cultural anthems like “Smells like Teen Spirit” and “Come As You Are,” marked the beginning of the alternative rock explosion of the 1990s and transformed drummer Dave Grohl, bassist Krist Novoselic and singer-guitarist Kurt Cobain into the …

DNE

Vincenzo Bugno talks co-productions and Arab Cinema

On Sunday evening at Downtown Cairo’s Goethe Institute, local film aficionados and filmmakers alike were privy to an informative panel discussion entitled “Cinema and Cooperation” about the future of the Arab film industry and the availability of cooperative aid in project development. The panel was moderated by Cairo based film analyst, Alaa Karkouti, and featured …

DNE

Tahrir Dialogues tackle Egyptian media after the revolution

  CAIRO: The state of the Egyptian media was the focus of the eleventh installment of Monday’s Tahrir Dialogues, a series of panel discussions hosted by the American University in Cairo (AUC).   The panel brought together Albert Shafik, managing director of ONTV; Mohammad Hany, head of CBC and Yasser Abdel Aziz, Al-Masry Al-Youm columnist …

DNE

Andy Warhol’s art takes stage on US National Mall

Andy Warhol is known for soup cans and celebrity images, not so much for painting headlines and abstract works. The late pop artist has left much to be discovered in two shows that opened Sunday on the National Mall. The National Gallery of Art is opening its first Warhol exhibit with "Warhol: Headlines," an examination …

DNE

‘Los pasos dobles’ named best film at San Sebastian festival

Spanish filmmaker Isaki Lacuesta’s "Los pasos dobles" beat the much-fancied Japanese film "Kiseki" to the top prize at the San Sebastian festival on Saturday. The jury, chaired by Oscar-winning American actress Frances McDormand ("Fargo"), named Greek-born Filippos Tsitos as best director for his thriller "Adikos kosmos" (Unfair World). The special jury prize went to French …

DNE

A snapshot of post-revolution Alexandria in ‘Standbild’

By Maha ElNabawi Does an individual reflect the image of a society? Or does the society dictate the image of a person? Does theater set the stage for a performance? Or do performers dictate the mood of the show? These are just a few of the questions that German production and directing duo Stefanie Lorey and …

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