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Latest in Culture


Nigeria music icon making a comeback at 85

By Aderogba Obisesan / AFP An 85-year-old music legend in Nigeria, known for the “highlife” dance music that once dominated West Africa, Fatai Rolling Dollar has mounted a surprising comeback five decades after his heyday. The octogenarian, who saw his fame and money dwindle when highlife’s popularity faded, is again playing the upbeat sound on guitar …

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A moment of silence with Shawaraena

By Maha ElNabawi The cacophony of noise in Cairo is enough to drive a person mad. The sirens, ambiguous sounds of gunfire (or fireworks?), the out of tune Imams blaring sermons through distorted speakers, the bikya man’s piercing holler around every corner, the relentless horns incessantly beeping…let’s face it, Cairo needs a mute button. Or at …

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Pitt, Clooney, Sheen headline marriage rights play

By Sandy Cohen / AP Martin Sheen commanded the stage with his impassioned portrayal of an attorney arguing for gay-marriage rights; Jane Lynch inspired instant response as a vehement same-sex marriage opponent; Brad Pitt dazzled as a judge. It was all part of the star-studded West Coast premiere of “8,” a play about the 2010 federal …

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Egyptian women show off inspiring vocal skills

By Maha ElNabawi Over the past months, Egypt-US relations have been put on the line as a result of the arbitrary raid on pro-democracy NGOs, including mostly American-funded organizations. The clampdown has left a cloud of ambiguity over official bilateral relations. But meanwhile, in an effort to expand cross-cultural understanding between both nations while also empowering …

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Gilbert and George open dark new show in Hong Kong

By Stephen Coates / AFP British artists Gilbert and George have never shied away from looking the brutal truths of life directly in the eye, and their latest collection, which debuted in Hong Kong this week, is no different. “London Pictures” is a disturbing examination of sex, violence, power and death through the medium of Britain’s …

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Vatican archive treasures go on show for first time

By Dario Thuburn / AFP Vatican archives documenting centuries of European history including Galileo Galilei’s trial documents and Martin Luther’s excommunication went on public display for the first time Wednesday. The exhibit also includes a request to annul Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon and the ‘Dictatus Papae’ of Pope Gregory VII, an 11th-century script …

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Turkey: Epic movie highlights Ottoman conquest

By Christopher Torchia / AP Turkey is on a roll these days, uplifted by economic growth and regional diplomacy. Now comes a film to boost the feel-good mood, an epic about the 15th century fall of Constantinople that fuses national pride with Hollywood-style ambition. “Fetih 1453,” or “Conquest 1453,” casts good guys (read Muslim Ottomans) against …

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US singer Badu saddened by Malaysia concert ban

By AFP American singer Erykah Badu expressed sadness this week at Malaysia’s decision to ban her show after a photo of her with body art including the Arabic word for “Allah” caused anger. Authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia scrapped the concert Tuesday, a day before it was scheduled to take place in Kuala Lumpur after Badu’s …

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THE REEL ESTATE:The horse whisperer’s spiritual healing

  A strong vibe of comfort, of serenity and reassurance, radiates from its frames. The fascinating, elusive subject matter of the documentary, the vast picturesque green vistas of the southern grazing lands captured so lovingly, so reverently, by the poised, perceptive lens, and the patient narrative that is thoughtful and romantic in parts yet alarmingly …

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The will to power

By Myriam Ghattas “Chronicle” (2012) is the story of three high school students who stumble upon a mysterious alien-looking substance that, upon contact, endows them with the formidable super-power of telekinesis. As Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan), Matt Garetty (Alex Russell) and Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan) begin to explore their newfound powers, they graduate from silly …

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The time and place of Gazbia Sirry

By Mariam Hamdy Currently showing at the Zamalek Art Gallery is an exhibition that humbles even the most hard-working artist today, and dwarfs the efforts exerted in the local art scene. The pioneer of the Egyptian contemporary art movement, Gazbia Sirry is holding her 71st solo exhibition “Time and Place” at the gallery that has hosted …

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Everything old was new again at the Oscars

By Jocelyn Noveck / AP Justin Bieber wasn’t mincing words. “I’m here to bring you the 18 to 24-year-old demographic,” the teen pop star told Billy Crystal in the opening Oscar montage. “So, how long do you want me to stay here for?” The two were spoofing “Midnight in Paris,” a film about time travel, and …

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Simon Njami’s useful African dream

By Tom Dale Sometime around 1965, two glamorous Europeans paced through the airport of Niamey, capital of Niger. The man was laden with baggage, while the woman strode ahead toward the waiting photographer, Philipe Koudjina. Koudjina, then 25, would roam the streets and bars of the city taking portrait photographs and trying to sell them to …

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British couple caught smuggling artifacts in Egypt

By Agencies CAIRO: Egyptian police prevented a British man and his wife from smuggling 19 artifacts out of the country, an antiquities official told AFP on Sunday. The couple were stopped in the southern Luxor airport with an assortment of relics including figurines and pots dating back to several eras, said Hassan Rasmi, who monitors …

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Censors ban screening of ‘taboo’ interfaith love story

By AFP LUXOR: Egyptian filmmakers and critics denounced the authorities on Monday for blocking the screening of a “taboo” film about a love story between a Christian woman and a Muslim man. “We denounce the fact that censorship authorities have prevented the screening of Hesham Issawi’s ‘Cairo Exit’ at the Luxor African Film Festival,” dozens …

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‘The Artist’ earns best-picture, lead-actor Oscars

By David Germain / AP “The Artist” won five Academy Awards including best picture, becoming the first silent film to triumph at Hollywood’s highest honors since the original Oscar ceremony 83 years ago. Among other prizes Sunday for the black-and-white comic melodrama were best actor for Jean Dujardin and director for Michel Hazanavicius. In a night …

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‘Artist’ wins best-picture at indie Spirit Awards

By David Germain / AP “The Artist” won best picture and three other prizes Saturday at the Spirit Awards honoring independent film. The film also won for best director for Michel Hazanavicius and lead actor for Jean Dujardin as a silent-era star whose career crumbles as talking pictures take over in the 1920s. It earned the …

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Spirit Award nominees share low-budget secrets

By Christy Lemire / AP The Spirit Awards celebrate the best in low-budget filmmaking. But within those honors, the John Cassavetes Award goes to films with even lower budgets: those made for under $500,000. This year’s five nominees talked to The Associated Press about how they did it on the cheap. The winner will be announced …

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Gamal El Ghitani on preserving ‘Egyptian-ism’ (Part 2)

By Heba Elkayal Gamal El Ghitani’s writing on Egypt is first and foremost sensitive to and celebratory of the notion of the Egyptian identity vis-à-vis its history, starting with Ancient Egypt to the Mamluk era to modern day. On Feb. 29, the El Ghitani will give a reading of his novella, “Pyramid Texts,” at the “A …

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Gamal El Ghitani on preserving ‘Egyptian-ism’ (Part 1)

By Heba Elkayal Gamal El Ghitani’s writing on Egypt is first and foremost sensitive to and celebratory of the notion of the Egyptian identity vis-à-vis its history, starting with Ancient Egypt to the Mamluk era to modern day. In his works — which include modern classics such as “The Zafarani Files,” “Zayni Barakat” and “Rinn” among …

DNE

Where will the Oscar surprises come from?

By Steve Pond / TheWrap (Reuters) The Oscar races can’t be decided already. Yes, “The Artist” and Jean Dujardin and Viola Davis and Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer and Michel Hazanavicius seem to have every reason to polish those acceptance speeches. (Keep it under 45 seconds, folks, be emotional, don’t read lists!) But I’ve noticed a …

DNE

Synecdoche, Islamic art

By Marie-Jeanne Berger It is usually a bad omen to walk into a gallery and find out that the collection on display belongs to the ruler of the country that the gallery is named after. Luckily for the art-going public with access to the new American University in Cairo campus, Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohamed Al-Qasimi (member …

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Archaeologists begin restoring ancient boat near pyramids

CAIRO: Archaeologists on Monday began restoration on a 4,500-year-old wooden boat found next to the pyramids, one of Egypt’s main tourist attractions. The boat is one of two that were buried next to the Pharaoh Khufu, spokesmen for a joint Egyptian-Japanese team of archeologists said. The boats are believed to have been intended to carry …

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Critics lament conservative winner at edgy Berlin film fest

The Berlin film festival wrapped up Sunday after handing its Golden Bear top prize to Italian prison docu-drama "Caesar Must Die" in what commentators called a worthy but conservative choice. The picture shows real-life murderers and mafiosi from a high-security jail in Rome staging Shakespeare’s tragedy "Julius Caesar," with their own personal dramas giving resonance …

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British spies stumped by Charlie Chaplin mystery

By Jill Lawless / AP They foiled plots and cracked Nazi codes, but Britain’s spies were unable to solve the mystery of Charlie Chaplin’s birth. Although the entertainer is celebrated as one of London’s most famous sons, newly declassified files reveal that Britain’s MI5 domestic intelligence service found no records to back up Chaplin’s claim that …

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Italian prison docu-drama ‘Caesar Must Die’ wins Berlin fest

Italy’s veteran directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani won the Golden Bear at the Berlin film festival Saturday for "Caesar Must Die," a docu-drama about inmates at a high-security prison staging Shakespeare. Filmed in black-and-white and color, the picture shows murderers and mafiosi playing the parts of Shakespeare’s tragedy "Julius Caesar," with their own personal dramas …

DNE

Sawy short film fest held amid Egypt’s cultural turbulence

This time last year, Egypt was in a state of celebration. Seemingly free from the shackles of the Hosni Mubarak regime, Egyptians danced in the naivety of the reverberating chant, “the people and the army are one hand.” Shortly afterwards, Egypt witnessed an outpour of artistic energy and cultural activity manifested in an abysmal display …

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German film eyes the big prize at Berlin festival

German drama "Barbara" is the critics’ favorite to take away the Golden Bear for best picture at this year’s Berlin film festival, in what would be the first home win since 2004. The 10-day cinema showcase, which attracts thousands of journalists, critics and movie industry executives from around the world, ends Saturday with an awards …

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Houston legacy to continue in final film, song

For Bishop T.D. Jakes, watching Whitney Houston sing a classic gospel hymn two months ago made him sure the long-struggling singer was poised for a comeback. Instead, her soulful rendition of "His Eye is on the Sparrow" will be the last chance for audiences to see Houston perform new music. Her performance was filmed for …

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Indonesia TV drama challenges extremism in prisons, and living rooms

JAKARTA: Many people would argue that football is as much a spiritual experience as it is a physical activity. As the World Cup and other regional league and club games have shown, it has the ability to move people — both in positive and negative ways. It can be seen as positive in that it …

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