Friday, 21 August 2009

Zeina Maasri "Off the Wall"

A book published in feb 2009 on posters during the WAR in Lebanon, researched and written by Zeina Maasri. The forward by Fawwaz Traboulsi is quite eloquent in the issues at stake:

" Question: Why should we remember a civil war? Answer: so as not to have it repeated (...) Forgetting is one thing, amnesia is another. Amnesia, both officialized and popular, has been rampant in post war Lebanon (...) Collective amnesia is pathological while it pretends to be curative. (...) it condemns the patient and re-enact the traumatic past as a permanent present. That is why the post war years have been lived as a 'cold civil war' awaiting for the 'return' of the hotter version.
With patience, perseverance and a lot of talent Maasri has managed to collect document and archive hundreds of posters produced by the different protagonists during the wars of Lebanon. (...) she has offered us another way of looking at posters: posters as weapons.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Fouad el Khoury

On War and Love.
Espace Kettaneh-Kunigk, Beirut, took down the traces of this photo/dairy/collage exhibition by Fouad el Khoury. Have you missed that event?
Anyhow, you needed time to explore it, and in Beirut, hardly anyone has the time for such a subtle, deep reflections on these explosive topics: WAR and LOVE
First, you have a general look and wonder to start, then realize there are dates on each photo. You search for a beginning then face the inevitable 13th July 2006. You read the caption closer: "flying to Athens the next day for the opening of my photo exhibition (...) title: 1982 named after the last invasion of Lebanon by Israel".
His daily life is displayed with photos and words to give his impression of the summer 2006, but they also mimic so many wars in Lebanon in the past 30 years. Such contrasts and aberrations simply put. He introduces his love life as a center anchor to a world disintegrating in a warfare. Unknown parameters and variables. Love becomes unknown and unstable.

Are you still in Love Fouad el Khoury or have you found peace?

His website:

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Baalbek Festival

Baalbeck Festival ended their season with Verdi's "La Traviata" performed by the "Choregraphies d'Orange" in partnership with their festival in Orange, France.
Pleasant and powerful execution: voices, music, costumes surrounded by enchanting columns and stones.

The classic drama of love and death is a recurrent subject to be tackled by many Lebanese during their recent history of wars, deaths, politics, religion and in contrast the invincible effect of love.
The Lebanese's love of exquisite and refined art struck once again.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


The wedding entrance by Jill and Kevin youtube video had 18,877,982 viewers and Press attention when even NBC tv has asked to perform again in the Today show. Analysis and questions on the matter: are they acting up for a video clip, are they promoting a song? or are they just a plain creative couple putting up their wedding entrance on youtube for family and friends? and why is there such a buzz? how did they make the buzz?
They have nothing to do with any promotion of songs. They are ordinary people ready to use the latest technology and promote themselves.
In the Arab world, there are many youtube videos on weddings, such as Chantal and Elie's dance in Lebanon. With it, comes overwhelming attempts to fit the social norm in an escalating business. The location, the bride's dress, the flowers, the zaffeh, the music, the food, the service, the lighting ... on and on and on...
What matters is: are they having fun?
In the Arab culture, improvisations in weddings has yet to emerge. Until then enjoy the party.

(NBC's Link)

Monday, 3 August 2009

Walter Moers

Does anyone know a good translator from German to Arabic? If you do, please give him this book "Die Stadt der Träumenden Bücher" by Walter Moers to savor words, images, plots, suspense, races, clashes in the world of books. Electrifying. Stunning. When he reads it, it might give him the urge to propagate that love of books to the young Arab readers, through Moers' eyes.
The writer is known in Germany for his comics and his books. It is usually given to young adults as dreaming is best done when still young...

Or is it already translated? That would be the jackpot!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Legal and illegal art

Street dance in Paris is not legal. Feisal, Ibrahim and friends, some from Tunisia, others from different part of the world, perform in the tourists' zones. Under thirty years, they decide to get together to earn a few coins in the summer, entertain the crowds, and sometimes they get police intervention on the spot.
What is the sanction in France to dance in the street? probably not as much as in other countries where public dancing is punished highly, music and singing must be state controlled.
Does it stop the dancing?

On the same note, Flash Mob dancing has become a fad in many countries. In an anonymous manner, a group of dancers get on the floor of high traffic area, usually a train station, a big mall etc.. and perform together during a song to give the impression of a random event. The use of a web camera, youtube, twitter, facebook etc.. promotes the success of the pre and post event. In the past month, around the world, spontaneous flash mob dances have been organized as a tribute to Micheal Jackson.
In Kuwait, it was reported by fellow bloggers that a silent non dancing tribute to Micheal Jackson on the beach ended up being dispersed by the police.
Does it stop listening to Jackson's words :
"We are the World, we are the children ... We'll make a better day, just you and me..."
and let's start dancing!

link to flash mob dance : Montreal

Saturday, 1 August 2009


The Disney, Pixar movie "UP" in 3 D is not a movie for kids... It must be for grandparents or adults who care for the younger ones, thinking that a movie will be quiet time without running, screaming or yelling...
It is a trap, beware...
The story is about an old man, with a foot in his grave, who is thrust to the ultimate: totally give up his dream or do something about it.
The trap is hidden, disguised, dangerous with extremely critical ideas in a unbelievable story. And the worst is to believe that the bad man is really a bad man... He is nothing else but the same as the hero turned sour, sad and aggressive.
Adults are surely more gullible than kids, accustomed and trained to accept that the "Peter Pan world" is not real
(For adults, it has to be written that coffee in paper cups is extremely hot, beware... cigarettes and smoking will kill etc... Otherwise they will not take the time to pause and think...)
In this movie, you cannot accomplish anything the old man is seen doing. There is no sign anywhere saying: " you should not try this with your own home..."