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Latest in Culture


(Art) star designer Mekhtigian unveils big name collaborations

Karim Mekhtigian is not new to the field of design in Egypt. On the contrary, he has for quite some time played a large role as one of the three partners of design firm Alchemy Design Studio. Alchemy has been responsible for some of the North Coast’s most novel beach homes, and in Cairo, designing …

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Gallery vows ongoing protest against Smithsonian

A Washington art gallery pledged a round-the-clock protest Thursday against what it calls censorship by the Smithsonian Institution for removing a video that shows ants crawling on a crucifix after the Catholic League and members of Congress complained it was sacrilegious. Transformer Gallery manager Barbara Escobar said the small, nonprofit gallery will show the video …

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‘New Wave’ film legend Godard turns 80

"New Wave" director Jean-Luc Godard, who turned European filmmaking upside-down in the 1960s and who counts the likes of Pedro Almodovar and Quentin Tarantino as his modern-day heirs, turns 80 on Friday. The French-Swiss director shot to fame in 1960 with "Breathless" in which Jean Seberg played a cropped-haired American in Paris, following up with …

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National Board of Review lauds ‘Social Network’

By Jake Coyle / AP The National Board of Review, widely considered a harbinger of the Academy Awards, has chosen “The Social Network” as the best film of the year. The NBR lavished a total of four awards on the film, naming David Fincher best director, Aaron Sorkin’s script best adapted screenplay and Jesse Eisenberg best …

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Shorouk-Penguin partnership to promote cultural exchange

In a much-anticipated event at Manial Palace, Penguin Chairman and Chief Executive John Makinson and Dar El Shorouk Chairman Ibrahim Moallem signed a joint publishing agreement on Nov. 24. The Shorouk-Penguin partnership will support the translation and distribution of 12 Penguin Classics titles into Arabic and eight works of Arabic literature into English each year. …

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Irish conductor Gleeson gets guest baton in Tehran

Irish composer Derek Gleeson, who has conducted orchestras throughout Europe, faced a bit of a learning curve in preparing to take the guest baton at the Tehran Symphony Orchestra this weekend. The 46-year-old music director of the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra says he had to get familiar with a traditional Persian stringed instrument known as the …

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Holbrook performs Twain on author’s 175th birthday

The crowd sang happy 175th birthday to Mark Twain before the lights went down at the Clemens Center, then laughed along with the nearest incarnation of the late author and humorist: Hal Holbrook. The 85-year-old actor once again put on his white suit and makeup and reminisced, wisecracked, smoked and scolded Tuesday night in the …

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Gere, Binoche honored at CIFF opening

By Elizabeth Vossen With cameras flashing and the media ambitiously vying for their attention, glamorous film and television stars as well as industry professionals swarmed the red carpet Tuesday evening at the 34th annual Cairo International Film Festival. While the festival strove gallantly to achieve international standards, it fell somewhat short due to what seemed to …

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Freedom to Create ends with celebration

After a week of events highlighting creativity in Cairo, Freedom to Create ended with an awards ceremony and concert celebration held at the Salah Eldin Citadel. The event was hosted by Egyptian actor Amr Waked, who is also the UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa region, and Femi Oke, former CNN …

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34th Cairo film fest opens with ‘Another Year’

Film aficionados are gearing up to indulge their love for the big screen with this year’s Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) selection, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 9. The opening film at the Cairo Opera House on November 30 was "Another Year" by acclaimed filmmaker Mike Leigh, a drama about an old married couple who …

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Chinese artist in London protest on Ai’s ‘Sunflower Seeds’

A man breached security Saturday at Britain’s international modern art gallery to stage a demonstration on fellow Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s "Sunflower Seeds" exhibition. In a one-man protest about the difficulty of working as an artist, Cai Yuan walked on Ai’s artwork of more than 100 million porcelain "seeds," which cover 1,000 square meters (10,760 …

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Bolshoi Ballet to beam live to world cinemas

Four performances of the Bolshoi Ballet are to be beamed live from Moscow to 300 cinema screens around the world as part of a tie-up with French movie house giant Gaumont-Pathe, the firm said on Friday. The shows will be broadcast over a six-month period starting December 19 on cinema screens in 12 countries including …

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Court battle looms as hundreds of Picassos turn up, says report

A 71-year-old retired electrician is at the center of a legal battle after coming forward with more than 200 hitherto unknown paintings by Pablo Picasso, a French newspaper reported Monday. Experts who have examined the collection have estimated it could be worth some €60 million ($80 million), Liberation reported. Pierre Le Guennec wrote to Claude …

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Review: ‘Love & Other Drugs’ sells same old potion

The studio bills Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway’s "Love & Other Drugs" as an unconventional love story. Maybe a bit, in its unusual setting, the world of prescription drug sales, and in its attempt to inject drama by arbitrarily giving an incurable disease to one of its romantic leads. Yet despite its dramatic pretenses and …

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Climate activists in Egypt use art to send message

More than 200 students and environmental activists gathered Friday in the desert outside Egypt’s capital to form an image of a giant scarab visible from space to raise climate change awareness. The image of the beetle holding a sun in its pinchers — a symbol of resurrection for the ancient Egyptians — was documented by …

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Gorillaz frontman talks music videos, dance music

Damon Albarn, the key creative force behind the Gorillaz, isn’t a big fan of the way record labels treated music videos in the past. "They never really got it together to commercialize video production in the way that they got it together with (songs and CDs)," Albarn said. "I think that was a bad precedent …

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Fans mark 40 years since Japanese author’s suicide

Fans of far-right Japanese author Yukio Mishima gathered in Tokyo on Thursday to mark the anniversary of his shocking samurai-style suicide after a failed coup attempt 40 years ago. Mishima, who was 45 and an international celebrity when he committed a ritual "seppuku" suicide by disemboweling himself with a sword, is considered one of the …

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Spanish novelist Ana Maria Matute wins Cervantes prize

Spanish novelist Ana Maria Matute was Wednesday awarded the Cervantes Prize, only the third woman to win the leading literary award for works in Spanish since it was first granted in 1976. "I am happy, enormously happy," the 85-year-old told a news conference in Barcelona after the culture ministry announced she had won the award, …

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British queen unveils museum project in Abu Dhabi

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is officially launching a British-designed project to build a new national museum in the United Arab Emirates. The ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Thursday comes near the end of her first visit in more than 30 years to the UAE, which was a British protectorate before achieving statehood in 1971. The …

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Saul Bellow letters show man behind novels

Like the first line of a novel, the idea for a letter could occur to Saul Bellow at any time. The words might have come on a daily walk or during a drive to the grocery store. Perhaps he had just finished a bath, a bubble bath, or awakened in the night. "That was thrilling …

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Here’s looking at you: NY prof embeds 3rd eye

By AFP This is a teacher who really keeps an eye on things — three eyes, actually. Wafaa Bilal, an assistant arts professor at New York University, said Tuesday that a small camera had been put into his head. The zany idea is part of an art project commissioned by the Mathaf, the Arab Museum …

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Many serious undercurrents in Rushdie’s new novel

"Luka and the Fire of Life" (Random House, $25), by Salman Rushdie: It is hard to overstate the lightheartedness and love with which Salman Rushdie conveys this brief tale of a boy on a quest. "Luka and the Fire of Life," Rushdie’s fable of an adored son returning his parents’ devotion and maturing a bit …

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Performance art about Islam in Austria’s capital

Performance art that reflects Austria’s tense relationship with Islam is raising eyebrows in downtown Vienna. The temporary walk-in installation, approved by authorities, is located on the city’s regal Ring boulevard. It includes performance artists posing as a dead male racist and his daughter who is in the process of converting to Islam. Organizers, a Berlin-based …

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British filmmaker makes women’s struggle feel good

British filmmaker Niger Cole doesn’t mince his words — his new movie "Made in Dagenham," he says, is decidedly British, taking a serious union struggle and turning it into gritty, feel-good cinema. "We are kind of embarrassed if it’s all too serious," he told AFP before the film hit US screens this weekend. "We like …

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Britain wins 5 International Emmys

Bob Hoskins and Helena Bonham Carter captured the top acting awards as British TV productions won five International Emmys on Monday, including two for the BBC drama, "The Street." A highlight of the 38th International Emmy Awards Gala at the Hilton New York Hotel came when News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch made a surprise unannounced …

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Auction marks coming of age of Africa’s photography

As shots of Marilyn Monroe by glam snapper Richard Avedon go on sale for tens of thousands of euros at Paris’ annual photo show, a collection of lesser cash but greater historical value goes under the hammer in Brussels. In what is billed as the first auction yet held of African photography, some 300 lots …

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Art on planetary scale shines spotlight on climate change

The first global art show on climate change kicked off this weekend, launching several symbolic performances seen from space that bring people and planet together to highlight the hazards of global warming. From the US southwest to spots in countries like China, Egypt, India and Spain, thousands of volunteers were coming together for the weeklong …

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Photography competition showcases celebrations in Egypt

CAIRO: The third annual national amateur photography competition held by the Delegation of the European Union to Egypt has finally chosen its winner: Ahmed Mostafa Abd El Atty. Abd El Atty, an accountant from Cairo, received a cash prize of €1,000 as well as his photo included in the EU Delegation’s highly prestigious wall calendar …

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‘Marie Antoinette’: a modern baroque ballet for Vienna

Baroque mixed with contemporary in German choreographer Patrick de Bana’s new ballet "Marie Antoinette," which premiered Saturday at Vienna’s Volksoper theater … and the result was electrifying. Specially created for the Vienna Ballet, this was a tortured "Marie Antoinette," retelling the tragic story of the Austrian-born queen who perished under the French Revolution’s guillotine. And …

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Britain leads International Emmys with 9 nominees

Simon Cowell’s kinder side will be spotlighted when the former "American Idol" judge is honored at the 38th Annual International Emmy Awards. Cowell, who left "Idol" earlier this year to launch an American version of his hit British singing competition "The X Factor" next year, will be presented the International Emmy Founders Award in recognition …

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