Niederegger Marzipan Torte

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I was looking in one my bags today and found a Marzipan Torte that I brought back with me from Julius Meinl shop in Vienna. I love Marzipan and the stuff I found in that shop are so much better than the Marzipan (Marssaben) done here in Lebanon.

The one in the picture has Kirsch in it and is so freaking delicious it made me regret not getting a bitter portion back! I am very tempted to order it online but the shipping cost will be probably higher than the Torte’s price. Meinl sells it online as well as Niederegger.

I am going to check first at Stop & Shop, O&C and TSC Signature to see if they sell them.

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Beirut International Film Festival 2013

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The 13th edition of the Beirut International Film Festival is taking place between the 2nd and 10th of October at Planète Abraj in Furn El Shebbak, Beirut. The festival opened with Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity” and will close with “The Immigrant” by the American director James Gray.

Out of the 77 movies showing in this festival, there are 21 movies by Lebanese directors, most of which are short movies. Here are some of the Lebanese movies as mentioned in [Alyamiyya]’s comprehensive post on the BIFF.

Lebanese Corner
The Lebanese Corner has been dedicated to short films that are not taking part in the competition. It includes 10 movies by young Lebanese directors. “A Tempo: 3’D Act” by Maria Abdel Karim, “, “Conflict 1949-1979” by Joseph Khallouf, “Departures” by Wissam Tanios, “Zbelet el Hay” ( “Discarded memories”) by Cynthia Bou Zeid, “J’ai dix ans” by Hadi Moussalli, “Bantalon” (The Pants) produced by & starring Josiane Boulos and directed by the French Clément Vieu, “Memorial” by Clara Kosseifi, , “Mish Mhem” by Marwa Karouny, “Al Nas Yakhtafoun Toula El Waket” (People disappear all the time) by Cyril Nehme, “, “Oustourat Saleh Sharif” (The Myth of Saleh Sharif) by Zahi Farah.

Documentary
In the Middle Eastern Documentary competition, seven movies are competing. The Aleph award will be also granted to the best movie in this category, the best director and the special award of the jury.

These movies are “Mina al Atma” (“Out of Darkness”) by Sonia Habib, “Dakhalt Marra el Jneineh” ( “Once I Entered the Garden”) by the Lebanese Jean Hatem, “Sutra” by the French Stephane Allegret, Catherine Dirand and the French-Lebanese Maria Boulos, “Bedouin Woman” by the Kurdish Hashim Al-Ifari, “Broken Border” by the Kurdish director Keywan Karimi, “Feeding 500” by the Emirati Rafid Al Harthi, and “Crop” by the German Johanna Domke and the Egyptian Marouan Omara.

Short Films’ Competition
The movies listed in this category are: “Kaliloun Mina El Shay” ( “A little bit of Tea”) by the Lebanese Ali Shiran, “Etenité d’Amour” by the Lebanese Mike Malajalian, “Wahabtouka al Moutaa” (“I Offered You Pleasure”) by the Lebanese Farah Shaer, “Memex” by the Lebanese Gaelle Sassine, “Sanctity” by the Saudi Ahed Kamel, “Scrap” by the Saudi Bader El Hommoud, “Tlat Shamaat” (“3 Candles”)by the Egyptian Ahmed Fouad, “Sidhom” by the Egyptian Mina Nabil, “Sihr El Farasha” (“Butterfly Charm”) by the Egyptian Romany Saad, “Baghdad Messi” by the Iraqi director Sahim Omar Kalifa, “Bobby” by the Tunisian Mehdi El Barsaoui, “Deira” (“Circle”) by the Egyptian Kamal El Mallakh, “Khayal” (Silhouette) by the Iraqi- Kurdish Kamiran Betasi, “Samaka Barriya” (“Wild Fish”) by the Iraqi Oday Manea, “AL Rihla” (“The Journey”) by the Emirati Hana Makki, and “Patika” by the French-Turkish director Onur Yagiz.

You can check out the full schedule [Here].

Xriss Jor

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I don’t know if Xriss Jor is her real name because it doesn’t sound Lebanese at all

The first time I heard about Xriss Jor was after her live performance at the Angry Monkey in Gemmayze and her brilliant interpretation of Alicia Key’s Empire State of Mind (New York) song. She also performed live in other venues and took part as well in MTV’s Hek Menghanne show and The Voice. She’s a very talented singer and she was given the chance of a lifetime last Wednesday after she won the talent hunt at the Dubai Music Week.

In short, Xriss Jor will have the unique opportunity to work with Quincy Jones to produce a single and a video, so let’s hope she makes the best out of it and wish her the best of luck!

On another note, I noticed 2 other Lebanese among the five pre-screened performers, Dubai-based Lebanese band Jay Wud and Lebanese pop singer DD Fox. I’ve heard of Jay Wud before but had no clue who DD Fox was.

A 27-year-old Lebanese singer has been given the chance of a lifetime after she was picked as winner of a talent hunt by a star-studded panel on the second day of the Dubai Music Week late Wednesday night.

Singer Xriss Jor, who impressed judges will.i.am, Timbaland and Quincy Jones with her rendition of the Beyonce song, Listen, will get the opportunity to work with the legendary Jones to produce a single and a video.

“Thank you so much. It’s an honour,” said breathless Jor, who was chosen among five pre-screened performers at the Producers Panel on the second day of the Dubai Music Week. Her competitors were Emirati Soul singer Hamdan Al Abri, Dubai-based Lebanese band Jay Wud, Lebanese pop singer DD Fox and Sudanese R&B singer Nile. Jor who won fans with her covers of popular Western songs on the Arabic version of singing reality show The Voice last year, was picked on Wednesday for her voice and confidence, said the judges, who deliberated for five minutes before picking her.

“I liked how you drew people in as soon as you began singing,” producer and Timbaland told her. “will.i.am and I were impressed by the tone in your voice. You can also make a good rapper.” Jor, who counted Celine Dion, Alicia Keys and Pink as her inspirations, said she’s been wanting to work on her own original songs. “Well, your life is just about to begin,” Timbaland told her. [Source]

17 Lebanese drowned in Indonesian ferry accident

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Last picture taken from the boat via AlJadeed

A lot of Lebanese families have been risking their lives and paying thousands of dollars to get to Australia and leave Lebanon once and for all. Their argument is that they are forced to carry arms and die or seek asylum and try to start a new life outside the country.

Lebanonfiles posted the names of the Lebanese who died on that boat. Most of the families were from Qab3it village in Akkar. You can check it [Here].

It’s quite sad how everyone’s talking about Syrian Refugees in Lebanon these days while there are forgotten Lebanese fleeing the country looking for a better life. How about we try to help these families stay in Lebanon?

At least seventeen Lebanese including a number of children drowned on their way to Australia in a boat accident off the coast of Indonesia, a local official said Friday.

“I only have confirmation that 17 people have died on the boat,” Ali Hussein, mukhtar of the northern village of Qabeet, where the victims are from, told The Daily Star.

Lebanese officials in Jakarta said the boat carrying at least 80 people sunk earlier Friday, 12 hours by sea off the Indonesian coast on its way to Australia. The boat was said to be carrying migrants from different nationalities. [DailyStar]

Rush Showing Soon In Lebanon

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[YouTube]

I love Formula1 and I’ve been following it regularly since the early 90s. I even flew to Italy two years ago to watch the Monza GP, one of my favorite tracks (Spa Francorchamps being my all-time favorite).

F1 has changed drastically since the 90s and the new tires introduced three years ago have spoiled some of the fun for a lot of fans as drivers were more concerned with preserving their tires than racing. In fact, there are a lot of technicalities that the driver has to worry about, unlike the early days where it was all about racing and that’s what the movie Rush is all about.

I wasn’t born back in the 70s but I read a lot about F1 during this period, watch tons of documentaries and YouTube videos and was always amazed by the way races were organized and the risks undertaken by drivers back then. Of course it was a major improvement from the 1950s and 1960s where people would stand on the track to watch the race but you’d have to be extremely talent and very brave to race in F1 back then.

[YouTube] F1 in the 1970s: Where men, were men

One of the greatest rivalries in F1 history took places in the 1970s between James Hunt and Niki Lauda and luckily for us F1 fans, Rush is a biographical action film that tries to reproduce the 1976 Formula One season and the rivalry between these two. The Hunt-Lauda rivalry resembles a bit the Senna-Prost one as Lauda was a cool and technical genius while Hunt was a highly controversial driver and just crazy!

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For those of you who never heard about Hunt, this man had a ritual of throwing up before every race, most of the time due to the heavy drinking and partying the night before, he got drunk on his wedding, he was a sex addict as he’d have sex before climbing into the cockpit, he’d take his Oscar, his German Shepherd, on dinner dates in London etc …

Hunt was probably the most controversial figure F1 has ever witnessed and he reminds me a bit of Kimi Raikonnen, who funnily enough, entered and won a snowmobile race in his native Finland under the name James Hunt, and often checks into hotels and makes reservations using the alias. [Source]

[YouTube]

As you might have noticed, I have a lot to say when it comes to F1 but it’s just to show how excited I am about this new F1 movie and F1 in general. Speaking of F1 movies/documentaries, Senna is the best F1 documentary I’ve ever seen and I highly recommend it. I’ve watched it over 10 times so far.

Rush’s release date should be October 3 in Lebanese theaters.

Steven Sonneveld Still Searching For His Lebanese Roots

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[YouTube]

Steven was born in Achrafieh in 1974 but his parents gave him away to a Dutch family who adopted him and raised him in the Netherlands. I don’t know how it feels to be adopted and go look for your biological parents in a country you know nothing about and I hope he ends up knowing what happened, but all I could think of at the moment is that he doesn’t need a Schengen VISA to travel to Europe lol!