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Latest in Culture


I Fell in Love: When love takes you to the edge of death

By Sherif Azer In his latest novel, “Ana A’sheqt” or “I Fell in Love,” Muhammed El-Mansi Qandil is telling a love story that went beyond reality, and beyond love. It all started with the girl, Ward, who suffered from a rare medical illness close to stupor after she paid farewell to her lover, Hassan, at the …

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Sandler sets worst-movie record with Razzies sweep

By David Germain / AP Adam Sandler and friends have scored a new high — or low — among voters of the Razzies, an Academy Awards spoof that presents prizes for the year’s worst movies. Sandler’s “Jack and Jill” managed a Razzies first on Sunday, claiming 10 awards to sweep every single category. Along with the …

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Taylor Swift wins ACM entertainer of the year

By Chris Talbott / AP Taylor Swift won her second consecutive entertainer of the year award at the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday night, just 24 hours after she was saluted by first lady Michelle Obama for her charity work on The Kids’ Choice Awards. Even by Swift’s lofty standards, it was an outstanding …

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Exclusive Interview: Art Dubai’s Antonia Carver

By Heba Elkayal If there’s anything that could be said about Art Dubai this year is that it’s overwhelming in the most positive sense: not least for the hundreds of carefully selected pieces that were on sale by 75 different galleries, or by the commissioned pieces of artworks that were dispersed throughout the fair, nor because …

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Jordan play pokes fun at Arab despots

By Kamal Taha / AFP AMMAN: Week after week Jordanians pack the Concorde theater in Amman where they shed their usual reserve to laugh uproariously at the shortcomings of their government and regional politicians still resisting the Arab Spring. The two-hour play “Now I Understand You” was inspired by the infamous words of Tunisia’s ousted dictator …

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Julia Roberts reflects on evil in ‘Mirror Mirror’

By Romain Raynaldy/ AFP Julia Roberts has taken time off from Hollywood of late to focus on her three young children — but admits she enjoys being back on the big screen, as a fairytale villain in her latest movie. Playing the evil Queen in “Mirror Mirror,” a new version of Snow White, marks a departure …

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Harry Potter breaks e-book lockdown

By Peter Svensson / AP When the Harry Potter books finally went on sale in electronic form on Tuesday, it was as if Harry himself had cast the “Alohomora” spell on them — the one that unlocks doors. In a break with industry practices, the books aren’t locked down by encryption, which means consumers can move …

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D-CAF and the Downtown culture revival

By Maha ElNabawi Since the Jan. 25 uprising, Downtown Cairo has been the stage for some of the greatest acts of protest in modern Egyptian history. And while the once burgeoning opposition movement has been diminished to a near memory, the iconic neo-classical buildings and artistic aura continue to inspire Egyptian culture and forward thinking. Thursday …

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Cameron: Earth’s deepest spot desolate, foreboding

By Seth Borenstein / AP In James Cameron’s fantasy films, like “Avatar” and “The Abyss,” the unexplored is splashed in color and fraught with alien danger. But on his dive to the deepest place on Earth, reality proved far different: white, barren and bland. Yet otherworldly — and amazing. “I felt like I literally, in the …

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Louvre unveils Da Vinci’s ‘last masterpiece’

By Emma Charlton / AFP The Louvre this week unveiled a newly-restored Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece, the “Saint Anne,” hoping to lay to rest an art world row that saw the Paris museum accused of endangering the precious oil. “The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne,” which the Renaissance master left unfinished when he died in …

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Horror films rise from the dead in Malaysia

By Julia Zappei / AFP Haunted highways, an oil-smeared ghoul prowling villages for virgins, vampiress spirits thirsting for blood: Malaysia has an obsession with the supernatural rooted in age-old legends. Now that obsession is being increasingly projected upon the nation’s cinema screens, as horror movies have quickly emerged as a force in a booming domestic film …

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A wide assortment of cultural attractions in Abu Dhabi

By Joseph Fahim Of the various cultural festivals held in the Arab world, the Abu Dhabi Festival stands in a unique position. The vast majority of cultural events organized in the region emphasize the new; creating a platform for young talents to be discovered by different audiences. A few number of festivals, such as the Arabic …

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NY exhibit focuses on early career of Keith Haring

By Ula Ilnytzky / AP The bohemian atmosphere of downtown New York in the 1970s and 1980s had a huge impact on the art of Keith Haring, from his impromptu subway chalk drawings to his maze-like abstract paintings. In a new exhibition that focuses on the late artist’s early career, Haring’s creative energy is instantly felt …

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Art Dubai spotlights Arab talents

By Heba Elkayal With 20,000 visitors flocking to Art Dubai, the region’s largest art fair — now in its sixth year — was considered by organizers and participating galleries a success when it ended Saturday night. Dubai’s story with art is an interesting one. Though not a power player in the regional art scene when compared …

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Leaving the shadow of the man

By Tom Dale Commissioned by UN Women to make a film about women in Egypt, Hanan Abdalla felt the need to tell a story with “a sense of responsibility to two worlds.” It is most important that such a film would speak accurately to an Egyptian audience, but it must also make sense to a Western …

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Esperanza Spalding invites pop into her realm

By Nekesa Mumbi Moody / AP If you didn’t know much about Esperanza Spalding — and many people didn’t before her surprise Grammy win last year — you might be inclined to think that her latest album, “Radio Music Society,” is the jazz artist’s attempt to cross over into the mainstream music world. There certainly are …

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Call it a comeback: Boy bands back on music scene

By Mesfin Fekadu / AP It seems like we can never say goodbye, bye, bye to boy bands. A decade after ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys dominated the entertainment world, boy bands have returned and are making a comeback. One Direction, the British quintet that placed third on the UK’s “X Factor” in 2010, saw …

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THE REEL ESTATE: The colliding worlds of Downtown

By Joseph Fahim Apart from Heliopolis, my beloved district that has been the subject of various recent films, no other neighborhood in Cairo is as diverse, complex and utterly fascinating as Downtown. Once the most affluent, most beautiful locality in Egypt, the face of Downtown, like most of the country, has radically changed over time; reflecting …

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Teen saga ‘Hunger Games’ hits big screen

By Anne Chaon / AFP Post-apocalyptic teen movie “The Hunger Games,” adapted from a bestselling fight-to-the-death novel, hits screens worldwide this week in one of the most-anticipated box office releases of the year. The film is based on the thriller of the same name by the US novelist Suzanne Collins, part of a trilogy that has …

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Archival materials shed light on archaeology’s golden age

By Maurice Chammah In one of the photographs presented by Christopher Naunton in his lecture at the British Council on Monday evening, clouds of dust hang over dozens of Egyptian laborers, digging in the brutal heat to excavate artifacts left behind by their ancestors thousands of years before. Their bosses, of course, were not Egyptian, and …

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Let’s talk about sax, baby

By Chitra Kalyani It’s the perfect weather for hommos el-sham along the Nile. The Egyptian delicacy keeps you warm while music issuing from the Sawy Culture Wheel warms the heart. They say music knows no boundaries and, we add, jazz knows even fewer. Entire heritages and legacies of notes coalesced and musicians and audience too intermingled …

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Cairo Symphony Orchestra fails, and then succeeds

By Maurice Chammah On Saturday evening, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra began their regular season concert with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Overture to The Impresario. Conductor Andreas Spörri led the orchestra through a short, light overture in C Major, which Mozart originally wrote to introduce a comic opera. The symphony sounded crisp and conservative, holding fast to the …

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Reclaiming the identity of the Syrian

By Marie-Jeanne Berger Egyptian art lovers are being offered a rare glimpse at contemporary Syrian art in the exhibition currently showing at Mashrabia Gallery. With little sign of abating, clashes between Syrian forces and protestors in Homs, Deraa and other cities have left a high number of civilians stuck in a deadlock in their struggle for …

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Gonzo in Puerto Rico

By Myriam Ghattas Hunter S. Thompson was one of those larger than life personas who flickered into our consciousness just long enough to challenge widely accepted social beliefs and alter the cerebral path of future generations. The man led a life of excess and wrote about it in autobiographical novels, articles and essays that captured …

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A showcase of Middle Eastern art in the Gulf

By Heba Elkayal It’s never been a more important time for art. As the region undergoes political upheaval and changes, we can look to artists too for commentary, thoughts and reactions to weigh in on our political realities. The case was true of Egyptian artists in the wake of the revolution. At Art Dubai, the yearly …

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Horse racing drama ‘Luck’ proved too real for HBO

By Lynn Elber / AP Horse racing has long withstood the deaths of its skittish, injury-prone thoroughbreds. Hollywood proved it lacks the stomach for it. HBO abruptly canceled its racetrack drama series “Luck” this past week after three horses used in the production were injured and euthanized during 10 months of filming over the last two …

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Puremovement stops in Egypt for a week of hip hop mania

By Maha ElNabawi The worlds of hip hop music and dance merged into a melody of artistic expression last week when the internationally acclaimed Rennie Harris Puremovement Dance Company (RHPM) visited Egypt in a cross-cultural exchange program aimed at preserving and disseminating the hip hop culture globally. The program is a collaborative effort between the US …

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Music that survives: Cairo Jazz Fest in year four

By Chitra Kalyani Alive is how you feel at the Cairo Jazz Fest, with the music ringing loud and clear across the Nile that flows alongside Sawy Culture Wheel in Zamalek. Yet, the foreword on the festival brochure begins on a more somber note. Quoting German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous adage – “That which doesn’t kill …

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70s music revisited in varied SXSW documentaries

By Jake Coyle / AP Whether reggae, soft rock, hardcore punk or power pop, the music of the 70s is playing again at South By Southwest. Several of the many music documentaries at this year’s SXSW revisit acts from the decade, a time often skipped over in pop culture history. But for that same reason, the …

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Artists slam Cairo University ban of Iranian film

By AFP CAIRO: Egyptian artists have condemned a decision by Cairo University to ban the screening of an Oscar-winning Iranian film under pressure from Islamist students who said it propagates Shia ideas. The Front for Creativity, a coalition calling for freedom of expression in the arts, said the decision to ban “A Separation” was a …

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