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Latest in Culture


Cutting-edge ballet rocks Russia’s Bolshoi

A modern ballet with music by cult US rock band The White Stripes has wowed Bolshoi Theatre audiences, helping the company shake off a conservative image as it plans a return to its historic home. "Chroma," British choreographer Wayne McGregor’s 2006 exploration of the influence of psychology on movement, is a sharp contrast to the …

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Met Museum to send 19 artifacts to Egypt next week

CAIRO: Nineteen artifacts taken from the tomb of the famed boy-pharaoh Tutankhamun will be returned to Egypt next week after more than half a century at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Egypt’s antiquities authority said Saturday. The trove includes a miniature bronze dog and a sphinx-shaped bracelet ornament, the Supreme Council of …

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Germany returns ancient sphinx to Turkey

ANKARA: Germany has returned a 3,500-year-old sphinx to Turkey after a war of words and the treasured sculpture is set to be reinstated at its original location, media reports said Thursday. The sphinx will be erected at the entrance of a museum at Hattusha, the ancient Hittite capital, some 240 kilometers northeast of the capital …

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Amy Winehouse left trove of unreleased music

Amy Winehouse left a trove of unreleased music, but no decision has been made about whether it will be released, people close to the singer say. The soul diva, who had struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, was found dead of unknown causes at her London home on Saturday. She was 27. Spokesman Chris Goodman …

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Clooney, Madonna and Pacino to grace Venice film fest

George Clooney, David Cronenberg and Roman Polanski are vying for the top honor in this year’s Venice cinema festival, which will see stars from Madonna to Al Pacino on the red carpet, organizers said Thursday. Clooney’s fourth film, "The Ides of March," will open the 68th edition of the festival in a glittering premiere expected …

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Gaza film-makers decry Hamas censorship

GAZA: "Cinema in Gaza is like writing on rocks with your fingers," says Palestinian writer-director Sweilem Al-Absi. It’s not just the dearth of funds, equipment and studio facilities that prompts such laments from film-makers in the Gaza Strip. Four years into Islamist Hamas rule, cultural censors are fraying the already threadbare local movie industry. Locked …

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Documentary films find new home in Egypt

CAIRO: More often than not people equate the unprecedented with the improbable. Such an inclination was evident this spring as the unprecedented occurred allowing many throughout Egypt to consider what had once been rendered improbable. As quickly as this change has ensued so has the effort to document, educate and empower the public by raising …

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Britain’s Man Booker long list unveiled

By AP The longlist for Britain’s prestigious Man Booker Prize was announced Tuesday after being selected by a panel of judges headed by a former MI5 intelligence chief. The list of 13, picked from a total of 138 books, includes former winner Alan Hollinghurst, who won the Booker in 2004 with “The Line of Beauty,” …

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Ganzeer: The de facto cultural operator

By Heba Elkayal He is by nature endearing, a skinny lanky frame with a mop of black curls and a smile curled in constant, yet secretive, amusement. Ganzeer, an artist in his mid-twenties whose birth name is Mohamed Fahmy has become a de facto cultural operator. Just don’t call him a street artist. Ganzeer is his …

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We’ve been expecting you, Elisa Nocita

By Chitra Kalyani Jazz is one surprise after another; it is to be expected. Dressed in a black evening dress with detached sleeves, the star, featured by the recently-formed group the Amro Salah Trio, walks on stage with an unusual accessory: her eyeglasses. But when you welcome onstage the voice that is Elisa Nocita, for minutes …

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Ann Patchett gives hometown the gift of books

The best-selling author of "State of Wonder," ”Bel Canto" and other novels doesn’t tweet, and you won’t find her on Facebook. Her rarely powered-up flip phone is 8 years old. She has a television but doesn’t turn it on. And she’s never even Googled herself. Now, she’s decided to retreat even further in time: She’s …

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Israeli orchestra to play Wagner in Germany

An Israeli orchestra is set to perform a work by Adolf Hitler’s favorite composer, Richard Wagner, in a taboo-breaking concert in Germany. The Israel Chamber Orchestra’s concert in Wagner’s hometown alongside the annual Bayreuth opera festival on Tuesday will mark the first time an Israeli orchestra has played Wagner in Germany, Nicolaus Richter, the head …

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Amy Winehouse among musical talents gone too soon

Amy Winehouse released only two albums in her life, one of which sold more than a million copies, won five Grammys and sparked a retro soul movement that hasn’t yet stopped. The small output, in inverse relation to her outsized talent, made her death Saturday in London all the more tragic. Fans will only be …

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An Egyptian artist’s new dynamics

By Heba Elkayal Once a practicing dermatologist, Khaled Hafez is now primarily a painter, and informally, a sentinel of the Egyptian art scene. His artwork has garnered him much attention in international art biennales such as Singapore and Dakar, in prominent art fairs such as Art Dubai and in art festivals such as the recent Shubbak …

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Troubled diva Amy Winehouse dead at 27

Few artists summed up their own career in a single song — a single line — as well as Amy Winehouse. "They tried to make me go to rehab," she sang on her world-conquering 2006 single, "Rehab." ”I said ‘No, no no.’" Occasionally, she said yes, but to no avail: repeated stints in hospitals and …

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A platform emerges for British Muslim writers

LONDON: British Muslims are hungry for the opportunity to write and to be published. But do Muslims need nurturing to do so? Is there anything stopping Muslim writers from voicing their opinions and sharing their experiences? According to James Caan, a serial entrepreneur famed for his appearances on the UK television show “Dragon’s Den”, Muslims …

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Comic-Con kicks off with fans, flicks, costumes

Calling all superheroes, zombies, space aliens, comic-book lovers and kids of all ages: Comic-Con is here. The pop-culture convention, which annually draws thousands of costumed fans to San Diego, begins Thursday, but the die-hards (and those with weekend-long passes) were getting a peek at the colorful convention floor on Wednesday night The line for badges …

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‘No Country’ star calls for global actors rights

GENEVA: In the 2008-film "No Country for Old Men" Javier Bardem’s hitman character mercilessly collected unpaid debts with a deadly bolt gun. When it comes to movie pirates, the 42-year-old Academy Award winner is more understanding. "People don’t have money and movie tickets are sometimes too high," Bardem told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday. "I …

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Jan 25 Revolution takes center stage at Sawy’s documentary fest

Underground film took on a whole new meaning at Sawy Culture Wheel’s 7th annual Documentary Film Festival which concluded on Wednesday. In a shabby screening room under the 26th of July Bridge, Egypt’s film buffs gathered for three consecutive nights to watch the latest batch of locally produced documentaries that were, alas, underdeveloped to say …

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African American Civil War Museum gets new home

With a fife and drum band playing Yankee Doodle and civil war re-enactors sweltering in the summer sun, a museum honoring the contribution of African Americans in the US Civil War moved into its new home in Washington this week. "It is finally finished, a great new 5,000 square foot (465 square meters) African American …

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‘Ghetto Hope’: music opens doors to gypsy children

Discordant brass notes escape from a rehearsal room in Sliven’s gypsy ghetto, as 15 local boys prepare for band practice and take a break from the poverty-stricken life of the slum outside. "Now boys — one, two, three…," band leader Angel Tichaliev calls out and the tunes merge into a bold, lively melody that resonates …

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Egyptian artist El-Mestikawy vies for Jameel Prize

Ten out of 200 artists, including from Egypt, Algerian and Iran, were chosen for this year’s Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition to compete for the £25, 000 biannual Jameel Prize for Islamic-inspired contemporary art. “The nominations were from a much wider span than those of the 2009 prize, stretching from North America to France, Algeria, …

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12 years for Algerian musician’s alleged killers

A judge on Monday handed 12-year jail terms to two men convicted of killing popular Algerian singer Lounes Matoub, an avid Berber campaigner. Matoub, who was known for promoting Berber culture and seeking official recognition for his people and their language, was gunned down aged 42 near the Kabylie region’s capital Tizi Ouzou, east of …

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Chaos threatens Philippines’ cultural treasures

Thieves and art dealers are the usual suspects, but mildew and flashbulbs are just as dangerous for some of the Philippines’ beleaguered cultural treasures. From a 30,000-year-old skull fragment of one of its first human inhabitants to imposing churches built during Spanish colonial rule, the Southeast Asian archipelago has a stunning display of artifacts showcasing …

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A new window to Arab arts

By John Radcliff “Art is the window to man’s soul. Without it, he would never be able to see beyond his immediate world; nor could the world see the man within,” said Claudia Johnson, professor of English Literature at Princeton. Such sentiment has been illustrated at Shubbak (Arabic for ‘window’), London’s first ever celebration of contemporary …

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Maria’s for Mexican: Authentically stellar cuisine

I will feign deafness if I ever hear someone criticizing the concept of a fine dining Mexican restaurant in Egypt. Tex-Mex fried mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings from Chili’s is not really Mexican, and lord were we missing something on the city’s dining scene until Maria’s came along. I was a little surprised at first …

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Rabindranath Tagore immortalized in philatelics and embroidery

By Sankalita Shome Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian Nobel Laureate in Literature, is no stranger to Egypt; he was great friends with renowned Egyptian poet Ahmed Shawqi and the words that he penned for Egypt seem almost prophetic in the aftermath of the January 25 Revolution. He said of Egypt that it is “the land where the …

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After much hesitation, Wust El Balad performs in Ramallah

CAIRO: “Would they call us traitors? Would the government spy on us upon our return? Would the local press try to manipulate our actions to tarnish our image?” These were the types of questions the popular band Wust El Balad and their manager Rami Heikal wrestled with when deciding whether to travel to Ramallah and …

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French choreographer Roland Petit dies at 87

Acclaimed choreographer Roland Petit, whose creations dazzled stages from Paris to Hollywood and inspired dancers, writers and designers has died. He was 87. The Paris National Opera said Petit’s wife, Zizi Jeanmaire, informed them that the choreographer died on Sunday in Geneva. No cause of death was given. Jeanmaire, ballerina turned music hall performer who …

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Tropfest provides creative platform for amateur filmmakers

Talk about great timing. Abu Dhabi-based Twofour54 couldn’t have picked a better moment to partner with international film festival concept Tropfest to create Tropfest Arabia 2011, a short film festival for aspiring filmmakers from the region. Twofour54 is a government initiative aimed at developing a sustainable Arabic media industry across all platforms. Founded by Australian …

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