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Thursday, 31 December 2009

Where am I?

Sorry for the lack of blogging but the past week has been something of an adventure. I'm currently in Cairo where I've been since December 25th attempting to make my way into Gaza. We've been denied entry by the Egyptian government and have protested every day, in many different ways, since then. I've had a total of approximately 11 hours of sleep since taking off on Dec 24th, got pushed around by the secret service and military, elbowed in the mouth, met Yvonne Ridley, made the Canadians show a solid statement with a strong stance against a certain controversial proposal, had a sit in by closing down one of Cairo's main roads, celebrated New Year's surrounded by Egyptian military and the police, and many other things. I'm not in the mood to write, I've also received a terrible screen on my Macbook Pro called grey, blew a fuse, and I'm sure I forgot the USB key to upload videos from my camera in Toronto despite having checked it off my checklist.
What are we going to do tomorrow night man? Same thing we do every night, try and start a revolution.
I promise I'll add more, just technology isn't working right now, and time is scarce.
March against Netanyahu at the Syndicats des journalistes
Protesting at the UN
Yvonne Ridley
The bridge
The Nile

Thursday, 24 December 2009

C'est très difficile

While most bloggers are busy compiling lists featuring songs of the decade or songs of the year featuring the likes of Phoenix, Animal Collective, Bat for Lashes, The XX and a variety of overblogged artists regurgitated by the likes of boring old Pitchfork, I though it was better to compile a list of songs I had on repeat and were an accurate description of my feelings during every month in '09. Many of these songs were released prior to 2009, but this isn't a countdown is it? Happy holidays to all.

*Clicking on the link will either lead you to a direct download or to a posting where you can choose to download


January

- Sonic Youth - Kool Thing

- Charlie Smalls - Never felt like this before

- Lo-Fi-Fnk - Want U (Thompson edit)

February

- Junior Boys - Hazel

- Gentlemen Reg - How we exit

- Junior Boys - Sneak a picture

March

- LA Priest - Engine

- LaRoux - Bulletproof

- Breakbot - Dance on Glass Mix

April

- Stay Ali - Emotional Day (FutureFlashs remix)

- D. Gookin - Glad I met you

May

- Arthur Russell - Springfield (DFA remix)

- Arthur Russell - Get Around to it

June

- Arthur Russell - Loose Joints/Is it all over my face? (Larry Levan remix)

- Classixx featuring Jeppe - I'll get you

- Make the girl dance - Baby baby baby

July

- Aaliyah - If your girl only knew

- Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer

- Thieves Like Us - Really like to see you again

August

- Dent May & His Magnificient Ukulele - Oh Paris

- Gui Boratto - No Turning Back

September

- Emil & Friends - Downed Economy

- Yacht - Psychic City (Classixx remix)

October

- Mayer Hawthorne (Classixx Remix) - Green Eyed Love

- Arnaud-Fleurent Didier - France Culture

November

- Metronomy - The end of you too

- Madvillain - Fancy Clown

- Stereophonics - Dakota

December

- Gonzalez - Working Together (Boys Noize remix)

- Omar Offendum - Mountain

- Arthur Russell - Make 1, 2 (Pat Les Staches Extended edit)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Guide to being really Arab: Loving George Wassouf

Anyone who knows me well enough knows I love George Wassouf. Lak ya George, je t'aime. I don't care that you do lots of coke and stuff, I mean it's not like you're competing to be my role model or something. At one point in your life, you made amazing music. Everything went downhill when your voice did, even if your addiction began before. So haters, don't hate, I mean he is nicknamed the Sultan El-Tarab, which is a huge honour. Admit that George was awesome and disregard Tabeeb Gara7, that song and album was horrendous both lyrically and musically. This Homsi (yes he's not Lebanese, he's Syrian), will always have a special place in my heart. His music makes me both dance and sit down on my chair, put my legs up and want to smoke sheesha while I perform the table dance.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Guide to being really Arab: The Table Dance

There comes a moment in every Arab's life when they don't want to dance so one engages in the act of the infamous "table dance." Both men and women partake in this. Here's how you can join in too. This post is dedicated to all the Waterloo boys, you know who you are.
Name: The Snap
Action: Snap your fingers. Make sure to close your eyes and wave your head.
Performed when: Arabic pop songs come on and you should be crossing the dancefloor.
Name: The Khaliji Wave
Action: Shake your hand like you're having convulsions, mostly placed near your head.
Performed when: Khaliji songs come on. Substitutes you having to wave your hair from side to side. Also when there's a lot of drumming and some dabkeh songs.

Name: The Shamee Dabkeh Finger
Action: Wave your index finger. Again, near your head.
Performed when: Dabkeh songs come on. Instead of stomping your feet, you're showing solidarity by waving the index finger.
Name: The Clap
Action: This move is versatile. If you're a girl and you really like the song that's playing but no one wants to dance, stick to the table and do the clap. You'll be called a bad name if you get up and start dancing by yourself. For dudes, if you can't dance and really like the song, again, table. Merely clapping is evidence enough you want to be on the dance floor. The clap is also used when a woman is dancing and a group of men surround her by going down on their knees and clapping by placing their hands towards her. This can be performed at the table also, just make sure there's a girl doing "The Snap" across from you.
Performed when: Arabic pop songs, the really belly dance worthy ones. Shik. Shak. Shok.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Chez nous

"Excusez moi madame, votre carte étudiante SVP?"
I take it out from my wallet. The classic white student card with the old crest. None of the kids around here remember how things used to look, and I've only been out 1.5 years.
"Merci, mademoiselle."
"De rien."
I'm in. It's 12:15am, I'm coming back from the Guerilla Magazine party where I was mistaken for my sister a few times and asked if someone's ever told me I resembled Demi Moore. Yes actually, my mother. And thank you for the kindest of compliments.
I'm wearing lipstick and heels, but I'm going to see a friend at the library who is now in law school. I stare at the sign that reads "pas de nourriture chaude." I smile. It was my actions that got that sign up there to begin with. The infamous pizza order on the third floor during my fourth year, and maybe a variety of ethnic foods courtesy of U of O's ethnic population. Van Wilder? No. I graduated in four.
I take the elevator up. The jogging pants, UGG boots and girls that drink too much and take birth control stare at me. Once upstairs I get the looks from "studying" students, i.e. students awaiting the slightest distraction to look up. This is where I made most of my friends, looking for distractions in the library and not studying. I don't recognize one person. I used to be able to tell you who everyone was.
Near staircase B, we discuss his visit to Lebanon.
"Where'd you stay, Beirut?"
"No my family is in Saïda," he responds.
"Saïda, there's a hospital named after my uncle there. Where else did you go?" I ask.
"Everywhere. I even went to Baalbek. Man the meat pies there are amazing!"
"Oh man I want a meat pie so bad right now."
We chat about how everyone is so young and then we take out our ancient student cards. The first, second, third or fourth year students behind us are staring. The photos are fading. And it's not the unrecognizable faces that surround us that make us feel old, or how our faces have changed, but how the picture is fading, and how the cards are discoloured and how I feel I've been away for so long. Oh my, it feels good to be back, even if it's brief, because this is the place where most people will answer your text messages that contain sentences like "for a limited time only I'm in town. Meet me now!" And most of the time, they will meet you, wherever you may be and for however long you are staying.


Timothy's the Glebe is Timothy's the Leb. Only in Ottawa.

Speaking of Ottawa, my friend Lamb-Ice told me about this video below and asked me if I knew the guy that made it. I said no, but it turns out I do, he was in my program at Uni. Good job Abbas, it's quite the accurate portrayal of [almost] every Leb in Ottawa!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Asma

Recent work from friend and graphic design student Asma. I'm trying to encourage her to get her stuff up online sooner, so in the meantime, this is what I stole borrowed.
Mr. Jambalaya
Let's Play Ball
Just a little stressed, no big deal.
Baduizm
My friend Billy Bob

Friday, 11 December 2009

From my Google Reader: Links of the week

I wanted to stick with eight links for this week, but there was just too much to share.
  1. I don't have a picturesque view out of my giant window, but these people do
  2. Binoculars are awesome. These are more awesome.
  3. Still waiting for someone to buy me sunglasses from Ksubi
  4. Disney has always been racist. Here are the most racist Disney characters [via Angry Arab]
  5. Proving once again that "peace talks" is a louche term
  6. Paul Smith collaborated with Evian, but I'm much more interested in his collaboration with Rhodia
  7. Anyone interested in bidding for Iraq's oil?
  8. More proof about The Twelves being awesome
  9. Israeli settlement produce? or Occupied produce? UK food labels set to distinguish goods.
  10. The face every girl thinks is "sexy" is not. So stop.
  11. Happycentro creative design studio has awesome work
  12. To keep track of your enemies
  13. Remember music in the 90s?
  14. Remember Versace in the 90s?
  15. Speaking of the blogger who reminisces Versace in the 90s, she released a Paper Doll book featuring outfits from LGFW SS10
  16. This is cool packaging
  17. In social media news, Shimon Peres now has a YouTube channel. Don't worry, Dahlan is on Twitter.
  18. LOOT's latest mix (one half is BEAR)

Thursday, 10 December 2009

FenMag

"Sibiki min hal faan!" (forget about this art stuff)
Words that come out of my mom's mouth ever so often, regardless of the fact that her past was filled with faan, one that is now replaced with numbers.

I write for FenMag, an awesome online magazine that you should read. It's about time Arabs and all their quirkiness got a place to post their own faan right?

Staying true to the yuppie activist writing style, check me out homies.

Monday, 7 December 2009

House of Vintage opening

A vintage shop called House of Vintage opened in Parkdale (vous êtes surpris?) and I attended the opening party last Thursday. My photographer friend Christine Lim took some killer shots while I ate sushi (courtesy of Toshi Sushi), pineapples (courtesy of the earth) and browsed the collection (courtesy of my girl Esther who invited me and the owner who stocked the place).

The space is about 1700 square feet, so the smell of old stuff doesn't fill your nostrils, and if you're quick on your feet, you can get to those items the other hipster person has been eyeing faster without tripping on a rack. The pieces are carefully chosen by famed vintage dealer Dennis, so you're left with great looking clothes, unlike many other vintage stores who pile on the racks with items no one wore then and still wouldn't wear today. I also just realized that I was supposed to go back to the store on Saturday and pick up the rad leather jacket the owner left on hold for me and now it's probably gone. It's okay, I have an array of leather jackets to start my revolution.
House of Vintage is located at 1239 Queen Street West.
Disco, disco
Dennis, looking bad ass.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

From my ears to yours: Cassettat wa manakeer

When I was young, our home was filled with cassette tapes that had Arabic written on them in red nail polish. I was amazed by how well my maman could write with the nail polish and how much writing she could actually fit, alongside the "A" and "B" to represent the side, on the cassette. The other amazing aspect of these cassettes was the content. Inside was the best old Arabic pop music ever (not the classic Fairuz, Abdel Halim, Farid El-Atrach or Oum Khalthoum, those were in the tapes with the fuchsia nail polish) but Warda, Azar Habib, Ragheb Alameh, Samira Toufic and Majida Al Roumi, to name a few. A recent soirée at my place had me yearning to find some of the classics for my guests, the ones that used to make my mom's hips sway and give Fifi Abdou a run for her money (true story, she outdanced Fifi herself on stage discussed briefly in this post, another note, Nancy please see Fifi's real name for a laugh at what yours was going to be). I've already sent my cousins a message to pass onto my aunt (the dancing machine) to make me a CD of these incredibly difficult songs to come by, but I got a little impatient, and being skilled at finding anything (I wanted to be a secret agent when I was young), I did manage to get my hands on a ton of old hits including a 1978 version of "Linda Linda Ya Linda" sung at the Sheraton Hotel by a young George Wassouf, and "Aamelli Aantar" by Ferial Karim, which is an awesome song and the name of my pretend cat. Pretend because I'm allergic to cats, but c'mon, a cat named Aantar? GOLD.

Below is a link to download some hits I compiled for your listening pleasure, mostly old Lebanese songs (tracklist below). And since the Arab world doesn't believe in "copyright", you don't have to feel guilty about it. A-HHHH-AAAA (I'm brushing up on my Masri)!


Download "Al Nostalgia"


Tracklist:

Ragheb Alameh - Bint El sultan

Marwan Mahfoud - Tahet El Chebbak

George Wassouf - Linda Linda Ya Linda

Georgette Sayegh - Ya Nassini

Hekmat Wehby - Ah Ya Tamara

El Helwa De

Ferial Karim - Aamelli Aantar

Sami Clark - Oumi Ta Nor2oss

Edward Society - Linda Linda

George Wassouf - Terghalle Ya Terghalle

Georgette Sayegh - Dellouni Al Aynayn El Soud

Samira Toufic - Bassak Teje Haretna

Mohamad Hussein - Maryam Maryamti

Farid Saker - Ma Be2der Khabbi Aalayki

Ragheb Alameh - Hamdilla Al Salamah

Azar Habib - Kteer M7alaye

Azar Habib - Lawlaki Ya Malaki

Ali Hemida - Lolaky

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Guest Yuppie Post: Arty

I'm sure you're all familiar with my good friend Arty since I've mentioned him in a few blog posts. Arty has amazing taste for music, that's actually how we met, talking about music at the morgue (a.k.a. the gov). He sent me this the other day and it was too good not to post. If you're looking for ideas and your DJ friends are charging you by the hour, and your smooth friend is nowhere to be found, no fear, Arty is here with your guide to music you should play at your 2009 Christmas party.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes yes y’all, December is upon us and if the thoughts of the inevitable Christmas party have not entered your head yet, well they have now. If you are one of the few who made the mistake to take on the responsibility to host this years Christmas party for you and your friends and find yourself regretting it more and more by the day, don’t worry, I’m here to help...partially. Some of the essentials are easy to get; food, booze, plastic cups for said booze, make-out mistletoe, cheesy wool sweater, napkins, etc... But one essential that may make or break the party is not so easy to cover, music. Sure you can just lazily put on the out-dated Girl Talk album or some A-Trak mix, but damnit if you want to impress that girl/guy/hipster, you’re gonna have to try harder. And that’s where I come in, I’m here to show you the Christmas light, so that by the end of the night, it’s you drunkenly making out with her/him/it, not the uninspired American Apparel empty shell of a person. So put down that Phoenix album, and come with me!

Kitsuné Maison Compilation 8 – Various Artists

Is there anything cooler than Kitsuné? No, no there isn’t. This is the latest compilation from the French Electronic Label, it came out in November so the tracks are still fresh, which is key - lead, don’t follow! Numéro 8 features the usual suspects (Midnight Juggernauts, Heartsrevolution, Delphic, Beni) so that familiarity you desperately need is there but there are also some new acts to the scene making things intriguing.

Tidbits of info that might help you get laid: Kitsuné Music is a French electronic music record label created in 2002. It is part of the Kitsuné Fashion Label created by Gildas Loaëc (Roulé), Patrick Lacey, Masaya Kuroki, Benjamin Reichen, Kajsa Ståhl and Maki Suzuki. The name derives from the Japanese word "kitsune" (きつね, ), which literally means fox.

If they seem drunk enough, you should somehow find a way to through in a “Fantastic Mr. Kitsuné” ..but don’t come back to me it is followed by silenced and people furrowing their brows.

Blakroc – The Black Keys Collaboration

You know the blues rock band The Black Keys whose name you read on blogs from time to time? Well they have collaborated with several hip-hop and R&B artists to create a rap rock album called Blakroc. I know what you’re saying “yeah, on paper it may look good, but it’ll end up being crap (see The Spirit of Apollo - N.A.S.A.)” But don’t worry, this collab actually works and is pretty damn good. The likes of Ludacris and Jim Jones may make your friends scoff (pretentious assholes) but appearances by Mos Def, Raekwon, Q-Tip and the ghost of Ol’ Dirty Bastard should shut them the hell up. Of course this is not an album you dance to but it should make for good background music and should make you look cool in front your white friends like most “black” music does.

Tidbits of info you might need to get laid: For some inexplicable reason they have come out with a Blakroc Chevy Camaro...vroom, vroom. So yeah, if you really like the album you can buy the car...I would be weary to bring this up in conversation though, if you start talking about Camaros, spoiler, rims, etc .., he/she/it will more than likely say “That’s cool...I’m going over there now” and walk away...and make out with that v-neck wearing mother fuc... But if you desperately want to say something I would suggest looking up the history of this project on wikipedia.

Warp20 (Box Set) – Various Artists

Warp Records is an English independent music label responsible for releasing albums by such electronic legends as Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, and Squarepusher ...so basically they know their shit. They have recently started to sign indie acts as well such as Grizzly Bear, Gang Gang Dance, and Born Ruffians. To commemorate their 20th anniversary and or you to have something to spend those hard earned dollars on, Warp has released a deluxe special-edition of music and art, titled Warp20. The box set features five sections: Chosen, Recreated, Unheard, Elemental, and Infinite. More info can be found here. Not only are we talking about quality here, but also quantity. This box set will provide beats all night long, from the moment you unscrew the first bottle of wine to the inevitable pass out in the bathroom.

Tidbits of info you might help get you laid: I am not going to lie, I am pretty confused on how exactly you purchase the box set. From what I understand though, there are very limited copies of the actual vinyl box set and there was only one pressing, so if this is not in your hands by now it probably never will. If you know of a way to get the box set though, do it, it’s perrrrty. However, all is not lost; you can still buy individual sections of the box set I was talking about earlier on Amazon or even at your local independent music store. I know they are not as impressive as the box set, but hey, maybe you can talk about the box set and describe all its greatness to others, which may gain you their respect and idolisation.

Little Drummer Boy – Lindstrom

Every one’s favourite Norwegian has come up with his own rendition of the “Little Drummer Boy.” How long is it you ask? It is a whopping 40 minutes. If this does not make your Christmas party the coolest party of the season, I don’t know what will. But of course there’s always a catch, you cannot simply walk in to an HMV and purchase this recording, you have to get it from here, I’m warning you though, it is pricy. You can always hope it finds its way on the internet and *cough* download it illegally.

Tidbits of info that might help get you laid: An electronic version of Little Drummer Boy by the master Lindstrom? You don’t need to say anything, the music will radiate enough coolness on to you for you to swap fluids with anyone you please, you sleaze!

Warm Heart of Africa – The Very Best Of

Although not very Christmassy and not very fresh (you may not be the only one in the room who knows of their existence) this album will provide lots of warmth (as the name suggests) and works as background and dancing music. This African derived music will make you seem very open, non-conforming, hip and a handful of other things that people find attractive. Now aren’t you special.

Tidbits of info that might help get you laid: Whose high-pitched, wimpy voice is that on track 3? It is non-other than Ezra Koening from Vampire Weekend. And yup, you guessed correctly, it’s M.I.A. on track 10. The Very Best Of will also appear on the Crookers debut album, we are prostitutes...for information!

Fall Be Kind Ep - Animal Collective

For those wanting to ask me “But Arty, what if my infatuation does not like dancing and instead wants to smoke some illegal substance, find a quiet room and listen to some spacey music, what do I put on?” Well I have a solution for you. Everyone’s favourite indie psychedelic folk rockers have come out with a new EP, and like always it’s full of crazy ambient sounds and nonsensical lyrics that everyone finds so endearing.

Tidbits of info that might help get you laid: If she/he/it is actually an Animal Collective fan then ask them if they have heard “Walkabout” featuring Noah Lennox by Atlas Sound. If not, well then whip it out my friend and be prepared to hear the sounds of someone being impressed.

And there you go, if you follow my advice your Christmas party should be a smash and will make Jesus appreciate being born. If you do plan on drinking the blood of Christ this holiday, don’t be a cheap ass and buy Fuzion wine, show some class and pony up a few more dollars to buy something a little more respectable.

Friday, 27 November 2009

skip the bunnies, eid is for sheeps.


Eid Mubarak to everyone! It's Eid Al-Adha, I find myself celebrating only with friends, away from my family due to time and distance and although I spoke to my parents this morning wishing them a happy Eid, I would've liked to celebrate with them.
Some ads:
Via: http://adsoftheworld.com/forum/43273

Although relevant to Ramadan, this one is too good not to post:
Some gift ideas:
Make sure to keep the evil eye away (from Etsy)
And eat the proper portions (from Etsy)

Sites to check out for some great stuff:

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Jetpack, or how I figured out how to get across checkpoints

Last night, a brilliant idea came to me. I merged my love of Boba Fett, human rights and innovation and created this:

"JETpack: for wherever the IDF decides to take you"
click image to view larger
Thank me when you get through Kalandia in under five.
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelimage/504743509/

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Conversations with my mother

"I've been published mom, in print!" I tell her, happily.
"Send me the link honey!"
"Print mom, print!" I say.
"There's no link?" She asks.
"Paper."

"Your grandfather wants me to tell you to stay away from politics. He says live life and forget about this nonsense."
"Life would cease to have meaning," I respond.

"You know your dad's second cousin's wife's dad? And your late grandfather's brother's wife?"
"Yeah what about them?" I reply.
"Well they got married. She's 68, he's 80."
"Woah," I respond.
"I know, your father and I spent the entire day laughing, I almost left work!"

"Your grandfather also told me about his new venture. Hooking up widows his age."

"I came back and the house was a mess so I spent the entire day cleaning. I mean you know how your sister is, if death came knocking on her door she wouldn't get up for him."
- her love of directly translating sayings from various languages to English.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Why one state is the only solution


Huwaida is a Palestinian-Arab, Adam is Jewish, they are married. Who said we can't get along? Their union gives everyone more hope that the one state solution is the most viable one. I never liked the two-state idea, ever, and it's great to see more discussion around one state.
Ryerson is hosting this event on Monday, November 23rd at 7pm (LIB 72 - 350 Victoria Street). It's a fundraiser for the Free Gaza Movement. Make an effort and be there, cause I will.