I couldn’t resist not taking a nap on these couches
I just got back from Empire Premiere‘s launch in Sodeco and I have to say it wasn’t at all what I expected. I thought it would be a new VIP theater with some additional features and a more expensive entrance but it turned out to be cheaper (20$ the ticket) than the so-called VIP theaters (30$ the ticket) we currently have and comfier. It doesn’t feel like the VIP theaters we currently have, but rather more like a refined place for people aged 35 or more to stay away from the crowded theaters and enjoy a calm and relaxing experience at the movies.
One of the things I loved most is that they joined every two or three seats together, unlike VIP theaters I visited where you are 1 meter apart from the person next to you.
Food-wise, you can either have Sushi with your wine glass from the awesome Le Sushi Bar or just popcorn and soft drinks. I was told they will have a new flavor for the popcorn every week. They were showing the new movie Hitchcock which I highly recommend that you watch.
All in all, Empire Premiere is targeting Lebanese who want to enjoy their movies, avoid crowded theaters and get a little pampered for an extra 10$. There’s nothing wrong with that if you can afford it.
After organizing a car-free day in Achrafieh, Rmeil and Geitawi, the people behind the Achrafieh2020 initiative are joining the global community in celebrating Earth Hour by voluntarily cutting the power off for an hour. The event will take place in Achrafieh on March 23rd at 8:30pm.
The electricity goes out involuntarily everyday. On Saturday 23rd March, make it a choice. Achrafieh goes dark for Earth Hour at 8:30 pm, switching off for an hour and turning up environmental awareness. Join us at ABC Achrafieh for a voluntary power cut, or join in wherever you are. Join the rest of the world to save our planet. Badna nitfeya. [Link]
I know that we technically “celebrate” Earth hours 6 to 12 hours a day in Lebanon, but this global event is to remind us all that we have to seriously start considering renewable energies as individuals and as a country. Companies and large corporations can start by spreading awareness inside their workplace and Lebanese can start by installing a solar panel at their apartment or house if they can afford it for example.
You can read more about the Achrafieh2020 [Here] and on their Facebook page [Here].
Protecting women from domestic violence is as important as any other issue in this country. Having said that, a hunger strike is an extreme and life-threatening measure but it might pressure the government to amend these archaic laws ASAP. This is the first time I hear about hunger strikes in Lebanon so let’s hope it will end well.
March 8,2013 was the International day for Women. After years of receiving nothing but deaf ears from the Lebanese parliamentary committee, a group of Lebanese women will be giving the Lebanese Parliament one more week to correct article 522 and serve justice to Lebanese women who still suffer from domestic violence. They plan to start a hunger strike and will need all the support possible, be it via social media or on the ground. [Link]
The documentary film telling us the amazing adventure of the the Lebanese Rocket Society will be out soon in theaters across Lebanon by end of this month. I will be attending a press screening next week and posting a quick review. You can read more about it [Here].
The adventure of the Lebanese Rocket Society began, in the early sixties, at Haigazian University, a young Armenian University in Beirut, where a group of students, led by a professor of mathematics, Manoug Manougian, set up the Lebanese Rocket Society to “create and launch rockets for space study and exploration.” They produced the first rocket of the Arab World. The project had no military character and was aimed at promoting science and research.
The adventure, which appears nowadays rather unbelievable and surrealistic, was nevertheless a serious one. Between 1960 and 1967 – at the time of the Space Race, revolutionary ideas, and Pan-Arabism – more than ten solid fuel Cedar rockets were launched. The launchings gave rise to national celebrations. To commemorate the 21st anniversary of Lebanon’s independence, a set of stamps representing the Cedar IV rocket was issued. The Arab defeat of 1967 put an end to the initiative and slowed down the thrive towards this aspect of technological modernity of this part of the world.
Nowadays, considering the world divisions and the bellicose attitudes, it would be unconceivable to allow a small team of dreamers to launch rockets into the skies of the Middle East.
The project enables us to consider the historic events of those years: pan-Arabism, the notion of a vast Arab nation and its decline after the Arab armies were defeated by Israel in 1967. A defeat which confused our societies, our parents’ generation, and which transformed deeply the Arab world and, first and foremost, our image of ourselves.
The documents, photos and mainly films relating to the space project have disappeared.
This unusual and heroic adventure, which had made the front pages of the press, is nowadays forgotten. It appears like an anecdote in the course of history, a story kept secret.
The project investigates the apparent absence of the Lebanese space program from our personal and collective memory, shedding light on our perceptions of the past and present – and our imagination of the future, exploring the notion of a collective dream. Documents and archives as well as reconstitutions and art installations attempt to question this story and the ideas of reenactment, reconstitution and restaged in the present time. [Website]
Phoenicia are celebrating this year’s International Women’s day by asking men to take part and have a say about it. These two posters are my contribution with a little help from my friend Maya Zankoul.
It took me some time to finish the second phrase (I am happy women now) because Lebanon is still very far behind in terms of equality and women rights. I hope we will soon have laws that protect women from domestic violence, allow them to give the nationality to their children, and encourage them to engage in the political life.
For those of you interested in joining the Bikeathon 2013, here’s the full day program as it was mentioned in the press conference:
Program for the 14th of April 2013:
Location: Beirut By Bike New Water-Front, Beirut Souks, Ein El Mreyse, Beirut.
7:00 Distribution of bicycles
8:30 National anthem followed by the event kick off
9:00 Start of the 10K fun ride
10:00 10K Results and Beirut Fun Ride Kick off
12:00 End of Beirut Fun Ride
14:00 Closing Ceremony
Cost is 10$ with a free bike for the first 1000 participants.
Bikeathon Association Lebanon and Baldati.com are organizing the Bike for Peace event on April 14, 2013 in an attempt to promote cycling in Lebanon, create awareness to alternative transportation methods that reduce traffic and demand a friendly-cycling road environment.
A Press Conference will be held on March 5 at ABC Achrafieh to discuss further details of the event.
I found out about this event by mistake on the Ministry of Tourism’s website and there was no mention on how to subscribe or where to check for further info. It wouldn’t hurt to promote such an event in a proper way and encourage Lebanese to join. It’s definitely better than throwing thousands of dollars on lousy promotional ads.
If tourists don’t want to visit Lebanon anymore, let’s encourage domestic tourism and organize events all across Lebanon that bring Lebanese together and benefit everyone.
Entrance fee for Bikeathon is 10$. You can check out more details [Here].
Miss BAB (Big Arabian Beauty) contest is happening tonight on Ahmar bel Khat el Arid. I tried googling “Big Arabian Beauty” and the finds on the first page were either irrelevant or highly inappropriate. Either way, that’s a pretty cool idea and Akhmar Bil Khat el Arid is a very interesting show but needs a different host.
Gloria Nasr was born in Beirut but has been living in France since 1995. She is planning a 5000km run for Peace from Paris all the way to Beirut. She will start her run on the 7th of April 2013 at the Champs Elysees in Paris and arrive to Beirut in August.
You can check out more about her run [Here] and help achieve her goal [Here].
I wonder if it will be safe to run across Syria when she gets there
I haven’t had the chance to attend any of the British Embassy’s events yet but I always follow up on Ambassador Tom Fletcher’s interviews, blog posts and articles as the man is more in touch with what’s happening in Lebanon and what Lebanon needs than our own officials. He’s very active on Twitter, posts on his blog regularly, and doesn’t miss a chance to meet and discuss all sorts of topics that are of interest to the Lebanese and specially its young and promising youth.
How do you skip a technology generation? Traffic lights, the internet and electricity are great British inventions. Put them in, and the rest will follow – HA Tom Fletcher
I think we should sign a petition to grant him the Lebanese citizenship and ask him to run for parliament.
Here’s a small excerpt from an interview he held with Journalist Patrick Galey back in 2011:
Q: What are your thoughts of the country so far?
A: The first thing is just how stunning the place is. Even though everyone had told me to expect that, I still find that overwhelming. When I drive up the mountain in the evening and look back at the sunset, it’s just extraordinary. But then also, as we discussed, the complexity of Lebanon, and the fact that on the surface so much is logical and yet beneath the surface it becomes much, much more complicated. So I’m very daunted by the scale of the challenge in trying to understand how politics and society works. I think, most of all, [I’m struck] by the energy and the dynamism of life here and of people here. You know, the talent of the people I am working with at the embassy, who actually are more talented I think than any group of staff I have worked with in much bigger embassies, but also then the talent of the people you meet around the circuit, it’s just overwhelming how many incredibly well-educated people you come across, who have a point of view on everything, very articulate, often in a third language. That is extraordinary. I think that encourages me that this is somewhere where, as an ambassador, you can actually have an impact because people want to talk and people are receptive and people are engaging. It’s not a country where an ambassador is just writing reports for his capital and going to diplomatic receptions. Here you are actually part of the game.
Beirut Open Stage is a walking platform that aims to showcase the best of Lebanon’s artistic talents through a series of open stage events/concerts across the country’s capital. If anyone is interesting in applying, you can visit the [Website].
The first event took place at Dictateur on February 8th with over 450 attendees. [Read More]
What’s pretty cool about this initiative is that it’s a non-profit project aimed at sharing art and music, getting people together and giving exposures to new artists.
[YouTube] The Family Guy creator singing “We saw your boobs” song, where he listed the actresses who had gone topless in films- including Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Anne Hathaway and Charlize Theron.
Some may find his jokes inappropriate and offensive but I thought MacFarlane was hilarious!
Speaking of the Oscars, here’s a list of winners:
Best Picture: Argo
Directing: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, Argo
Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Original Score: Life of Pi, Mychael Danna (a Canadian)
Original Song: Skyfall from Skyfall, Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Production Design: Lincoln
Film Editing: Argo
Foreign Language Film: Amour, Austria
Documentary (short subject): Inocente
Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugar Man
Live Action Short Film: Curfew
Makeup and Hairstyling: Les Miserables
Costume: Anna Karenina
Sound Editing: Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty (a tie)
Sound Mixing: Les Miserables
Visual Effects: Life of Pi
Cinematography: Life of Pi
Animated Short Film: Paperman
Animated Feature Film: Brave