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Latest in Culture


Paula Fox looks back on a wayward life

At age 88, author Paula Fox is the settled survivor of a disrupted life. She was abandoned as an infant, frequently moved through much of her childhood, a teen mother who gave up her daughter for adoption, a witness to the devastation of post-World War II Europe, and the public and private breakdowns of New …

DNE

Iraqi singer Kazim Al-Saher named UNICEF ambassador

BAGHDAD: Crooning of love, Iraq’s most famous singer returned to Baghdad on Monday after 14 years abroad to be named a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations children’s fund, UNICEF. Kazim Al-Saher said as a Goodwill Ambassador, he would inspect villages and schools. "I will visit villages to help the children who study in mud …

DNE

Egypt protest hero Wael Ghonim to write book

WASHINGTON: Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who became a hero of Egypt’s anti-government uprising, has signed a deal with a US publisher to write a book, "Revolution 2.0." Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said Monday that it has secured the rights to Ghonim’s book, which it said will tell the "inside story of the Egyptian revolution and …

DNE

Thoughts about the post-revolution culture

By Joseph Fahim One of the last performances I watched at the 14th European Theater Prize last month was a children’s play entitled “Happiness” by Russian director Andrey Moguchiy. Based on Maurice Maeterlinck’s classic tale “The Blue Bird,” “Happiness” was a feast of the eye, exploring children’s fears through a series of fantastical sequences realized via …

DNE

Stars come out to shine for Cannes film festival

With a well-received selection of films, Robert De Niro steering the jury and a galaxy of stars awaited on the Croisette, this year’s Cannes film festival is promising to be among the liveliest ever. The 64th edition of the world’s biggest film festival opens Wednesday on the French Riviera with the out-of-competition premiere of Woody …

DNE

Mashrou’ Leila wins over Cairo

By Chitra Kalyani Be warned — when you ask Mashrou’ Leila about their name, the Lebanese band will not give a straight answer. They’re a bit tricky, and might just spin you a yarn from A Thousand and One Nights. On their first night in Cairo, Al-Azhar Park’s Geneina Theater was packed in preparation, audiences clutching …

DNE

An untoward Michael Jackson tribute at Opera House

What should be said at the outset of this review is that it is a biased one. I am in fact a deep admirer of late American pop star Michael Jackson. I remember quite vividly my classmates in primary school in the 80s joining the craze that MJ had set upon the world with the …

DNE

Nigerian hip-hop, long a copy, grows into its own

Nigeria’s most talked-about hip-hop video exhibits all the excesses of its American counterparts — beautiful, scantily clad models, a mansion and a bathtub full of hundred-dollar bills. But the biggest surprise? America’s own Snoop Dogg playing back up to Nigerian star D’banj, embracing him as his nephew and taking a Nigerian passport before leaving the …

DNE

Novice filmmakers open window on Iraq

As Baghdad writhed with violence in 2006, Emad Ali set out to make a film about the iconic Shabandar Cafe. But he turned the camera on himself after the teahouse was bombed, a deadly mortar killed his wife and a gunman shot him three times. Despite the ordeals, he finished "A candle for the Shabandar …

DNE

Two very daring musicals lead the Tony Awards race

Who says Broadway won’t take a risk? "The Book of Mormon" and "The Scottsboro Boys" — two very different musicals with very different fates — have emerged with the most Tony Award nominations this season. "Mormon," which induces giggles with its diarrhea jokes and songs about body parts, and "Scottsboro," a searing look at a …

DNE

Qaddafi caricature flourishes in rebel capital Benghazi

Moammar Qaddafi pumping petrol into a winged camel, Qaddafi with the tail of a snake and a forked tongue, Qaddafi as Dracula. The flamboyant Libyan strongman is fuelling a flourishing cartoon caricature scene in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Those are just a few of the themes produced by a group of young artists who …

DNE

Egypt to demand Germany return Nefertiti

CAIRO: Egypt will make a formal request to Germany for the return of the 3,400 year-old bust of fabled Queen Nefertiti, the state minister for antiquities said on Tuesday. Zahi Hawass said a letter would be sent to Germany to demand the return of the Nefertiti bust, nearly a century after it was uncovered on …

DNE

Contemporary dance blooms in Beirut ‘Arab Spring’

Contemporary dancers are finding their feet in the Arab world, as the art form renowned for freedom of expression blossoms at a time of regional upheaval. "Over the past few years, Arab contemporary dance has been blossoming," said Omar Rajeh, organizer of the just-ended Beirut International Platform of Dance (BIPOD), which hosted over 20 choreographers …

DNE

‘Wanderings’ of Abir Nasraoui’s revolution

“I don’t pretend to have very strong political positions,” singer Emel Mathlouthi, the Tunisian element in Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy’s Ramadan nights last year, said. “But I try to talk about what I’m feeling: freedom.” This year another Tunisian, Abir Nasraoui, was invited to perform as part of the Spring Fest themed “Music, Freedom, and Social Justice.” …

DNE

‘Bombay Beach,’ ‘The Guard’ highlight Tribeca

A welcome sense of optimism pervaded the 10th annual Tribeca Film Festival. After several years of gloomy prospects for independent film, filmmakers and audiences seemed buoyed by the hope of new technologies leading viewers to worthy movies. "The field has been completely leveled," said writer-director Edward Burns at the closing night screening of his "The …

DNE

Stupendous Chekhov adaptation concludes Euro Theater Prize

Every once in a while, a work of art comes along that compels you to reassess your views about a given medium and the possibilities it offers. A prime example is Russian theater production “Three Sisters,” presented at the 14th European Theater Prize, which concluded its activities last week in St. Petersburg, Russia. Directed by …

DNE

Accentus of another time

By Chitra Kalyani To recall Spain is perhaps to use too modern a name; one must recall the Iberian peninsula, Andalusia and Aragon, to evoke the intermingling of traditions that brought forth the music revisited on Friday at Cairo Opera House’s Open Air Theater. Since its inception in 1992, the Accentus Austria Ensemble has studied and …

DNE

Cinema powerhouse Egypt to be Cannes’ first guest country

PARIS: Arab cinema powerhouse Egypt, which in January rose up in revolt to topple president Hosni Mubarak, will become the Cannes Film Festival’s first guest country at this year’s event. Festival organizers said on Thursday that they hoped to make the invitation of a guest country a tradition for future events after the 64th edition …

DNE

Atypical sequels abound at Tribeca Film Festival

Sequels are usually more easily found at summer multiplexes than prestigious film festivals, but this year’s Tribeca Film Festival abounds in unusual follow-ups and intriguing companion pieces. None of these films bears a Roman numeral or (for the most part) recurring punch lines. Instead, these atypical sequels offer different perspectives and left-turn digressions for familiar …

DNE

Revolution documentaries take top prizes at short film fest

On Wednesday evening, emerging filmmakers received long overdue recognition from Egypt’s Minister of Culture and leading figures in the industry for their work on short documentaries chronicling different aspects of the January 25 Revolution. Mona Iraqi took first prize for “Friday of Departure,” while “A Revolution Story” by Nagy Ismail took second place and Ahmed …

DNE

Mexico returns smuggled ancient Egypt artifact

MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s antiquities authority said Wednesday it had returned a 4,000-year-old statue to Egypt five years after it was first detected by customs agents. The National Institute of Archaeology and History (INAH) said the "invaluable" 15-centimeter (six-inch) statuette was carved in southern Egypt during the Middle Kingdom, which ruled the Nile from 2055 BC …

DNE

In the mood for revolution

By Chitra Kalyani Springtime wafts in heady with perfume and love, but this year belies a strong hint of Jasmine. Geneina Theater, nestled in a slope at the Azhar Park, prepared for a concert as the revolution that swept across the region is still brewing. Mawred El-Thaqafy’s Spring Festival opened on Friday with an overtly political …

DNE

Rap music inspires Libyan rebels to defeat Qaddafi

Libyan rebel fighter Jaad Jumaa Hashmi cranks up the volume on his pickup truck’s stereo when he heads into battle against Moammar Qaddafi’s forces. He looks for inspiration from a growing cadre of amateur rappers whose powerful songs have helped define the revolution. The music captures the anger and frustration young Libyans feel at decades …

DNE

500-year-old book surfaces in Utah

Book dealer Ken Sanders has seen a lot of nothing in his decades appraising "rare" finds pulled from attics and basements, storage sheds and closets. Sanders, who occasionally appraises items for PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, often employs the "fine art of letting people down gently." But on a recent Saturday while volunteering at a fundraiser for …

DNE

Russia’s Bolshoi to reopen after reconstruction

Russia’s venerable Bolshoi Theater — which survived fires, a Nazi bombing and Lenin’s order to close it down — is almost ready to reopen after years of reconstruction and will look just as it did during the czarist era. The theater will be finished in October in its original 19th-century design, with restored czarist insignia, …

DNE

S. African book draws from lives of abused kids

The psychologist’s schedule was already filled with shattered children when she sat down with the parents of an eight-year-old who had been sexually assaulted by a 12-year-old relative. She wouldn’t be able to see their son for another four days, but didn’t want to send the couple home to him empty-handed. So Marita Rademeyer gave …

DNE

Two exhibitions give diverse revolution perspectives

Egypt’s revolution was the catalyst for an outpouring of artistic inspiration by local and foreign artists alike. Two current exhibitions in Cairo capture the spirit of the post-revolutionary artistic scene. Egyptian artist Farid Fadel’s “Here is Cairo” and Spain-born painter Xavier Puigmarti’s “Wireless” explore themes from Egypt’s revolution in different, yet complementary ways. A long …

DNE

Booker Prize honors UK novelist Beryl Bainbridge

Organizers of the Booker Prize have recognized often-nominated Beryl Bainbridge with a posthumous "best of" award. The special prize, which pitted Bainbridge’s five Booker-nominated books against each other in a "Best of Beryl" competition, went to "Master Georgie," a 1998 novel set during the Crimean War. The prize’s literary director Ion Trewin called Bainbridge a …

DNE

Cotillard, Gordon-Levitt in ‘Batman’ finale

French actress Marion Cotillard will join Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the cast of "The Dark Knight Rises," the finale to the recent Batman film series, Warner Brothers said Tuesday. The film reunites the actors with Christopher Nolan, who recently directed them in the popular film "Inception." "When you collaborate with people as talented as Marion and …

DNE

Cannes Directors’ Fortnight to showcase young talent

Veteran French director Andre Techine will rub shoulders with young and unknown filmmakers at the Directors’ Fortnight during the Cannes film festival that opens May 11, organizers said on Tuesday. Artistic director Frederic Boyer has selected 25 films, of which eight are first offerings that could end up winning the coveted Camera d’Or for a …

DNE