June 26, 2019

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  • Cala: Art space for young talent

    BY MARIAM HAMDY Cairo: Zamalek is soon to burst at the seams with new cafes, bakeries, restaurants and gallery spaces opening up. It’s a great feat, and one that lends itself to the dream that one day Zamalek will become a pedestrian island with no cars — only shuttles taking us back and forth. The latest opening on the list of art spaces is Cala Art Gallery, a slightly inconspicuously placed gallery at the very start of 26th of July Street. Its building has a private entrance that leads directly to what is essentially a small but spacious apartment. Like…

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    Reel Estate: An Indonesian trilogy

    BY JOSEPH FAHIM Cairo: One of the great joys of cinema is its ability to take the audience to far-flung places thousands of miles away from one’s home; to virgin lands unspoiled by the harassment of a world media operating in the cursory. Among the great cinematic expeditions of the new century is Dutch-Indonesian director Leonard Retel Helmrich’s Indonesian trilogy; a series of films chronicling the changes undergone by the largest Muslim nation on the planet after Suharto’s resignation in 1998 from the point of view of a Christian family. Spanning a dozen years, Helmrich’s tour de force examines the…

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    Cairokee matures with third album

    BY MOHAMMED YAHIA Cairo: Egyptian music outfit Cairokee has come a long way from their underground roots. What was once a young band playing out small gigs for a limited pool of fans at Sawy Culture Wheel can now fill big venues packed with thousands singing along to their music. The band’s third album, “Wana Ma’a Nafsy A’ed” (While I’m sitting Here By Myself), released last month, marks a growth in the band’s sound. Since their last record, the everyday life in Egypt has becoming far more complicated, with a lot of confusion and lack of clarity seeping across all…

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    Lincoln, Vampire Hunter misses the mark

    BY FIRAS AL-ATRAQCHI It shouldn’t have been very hard to promote “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” The title, after all, is perhaps the film’s strongest marketing tool. Attuned to the social manifestations gripping America today, the film (and its title) plays to both the need for strong leadership qualities in a president and contemporary pop culture’s baffling obsession with the vampire genre. What could be more titillating than having America’s iconic President Abraham Lincoln, the visionary emancipator of slaves and the great unifier of a nation nearly torn apart in 1861, taking to arms himself and doing battles with the ghouls…

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    ‘Hayy’ doubles Ramadan nights

    BY CHITRA KALYANI Cairo: Keeping in their own Ramadan tradition, Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy this year will feature alternative female voices from the region. And in keeping with tradition, Al-Mawred has some trump cards up their sleeve this year.The Ramadan “Hayy” program, which first began in 2004, will kick off this year with Lebanese artiste Oumeima El Khalilpresenting her music at the Azhar Park’s Geneina Theatre on the weekend of July 26 and 27. Unlike previous years, some artistes this season will give two performances. The culture center is “doubling some artists” this year, said Charles Akl from Al-Mawred, since it is…

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    Reel Estate: Probing Coptic faith

    BY JOSEPH FAHIM Cairo: When I was a kid, I caught a bad fever that almost ended my life. The doctors didn’t think I’d survive. My mother, the devout Christian she’s always been, prayed and prayed. She promised God that if He saves me, she’d make me dedicate my life to Him. I miraculously recovered, but I never became the “servant of God” my mother so wished me to be. I failed to become an altar boy, always felt alienated at Sunday school and never belonged to any church group. I discovered Sartre and Plato at 12, lost faith for…

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    Aflamnah: Crowd-funding creativity

    BY MAHA ELNABAWI Cairo: This time last year, the global media was in a frenzy with sensationalized catch phrases labeling the Arab revolutions as the “internet uprisings” and “Facebook revolutions.” While technology certainly contributed to their success, the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were not technological revolutions. Social media did not create these revolts, but it did keep the movements alive and connected. Technology allowed the world to watch and spread the onset of protest — it helped link activists, build political networks and galvanize a movement that led to the toppling of autocrats.  In a nutshell, technology opened…

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    Hirst and bad vs. poor taste

    BY MARIAM HAMDY Cairo: London’s Tate Modern museum is currently holding a retrospective exhibition of works by Damien Hirst, the notorious l’enfant terrible of the Young British Artist’s movement. As one of the most controversial artists today, Hirst has managed to attract as many devoted followers as ardent detractors. The retrospective ranges from the awe-inspiring to the downright pretentious, but it all revels in unadulterated bad taste. To discuss the works of Hirst is to see and read extensively about the artist, so mentioning just a few of his pieces will never fully express his strengths and weaknesses. Since however,…

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    A constituency of comedians

    By DALIA RABIE and AMIRA SALAH-AHMED Cairo: Al Hezb El Comedy is a movement that aims to nurture local talent, “insha’allah speaking” of course, as its founder Hashem El Garhy, a self-proclaimed creative solutionist, would say. But be careful, insha’allah speaking and creative solutionst are trademarks, both coined by El Garhy, who has a knack for quirky phrases. El Garhy, 25, has over the past year built a comedy brand with the motto: “search, nurture and grow.” Al Hezb is not “just about doing standup,” El Garhy explains, but about creating a community and connecting with an audience. For him,…

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    An underground music pioneer

    BY CHITRA KALYANI Cairo: As early as age 12, Lebanese musician Zeid Hamdan gave up the dream of being Jim Morrison and, instead, decided to be himself. His original compositions and collaborations rose to fame with SoapKills — a project with a friend who shares his last name, Yasmine Hamdan, now a solo sensation. For die-hard SoapKills fans, here is some good news early in the article: the Hamdan duo still produces music together. When SoapKills dissolved in 2006 after a decade-long partnership, Zeid Hamdan entered into musical conversation, as he calls it, with other bands and projects. Among these…

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