Who’s who at this year’s Comic Con in Abu Dhabi

Who’s who at this year’s Comic Con in Abu Dhabi
Charlie Cox played the lead role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Netflix series “Daredevil.” (Supplied)
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Updated 04 March 2022

Who’s who at this year’s Comic Con in Abu Dhabi

Who’s who at this year’s Comic Con in Abu Dhabi
  • The lowdown on the big names at this weekend’s Middle East Film & Comic Con

Charlie Cox

Who: English actor who played the lead role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Netflix series “Daredevil” — lawyer Matt Murdock by day and titular masked vigilante at night… who also happens to be blind. That series was cancelled in November 2018, despite a passionate — if not huge — audience, who will have been relieved to have seen Cox’s brief cameo appearance as Murdock in last year’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which suggests that Cox (as Daredevil) is likely to feature heavily in MCU projects over the next few years.

Where else you might have seen him: Cox first came to international attention in the 2007 fantasy film “Stardust,” opposite Claire Danes. He had a recurring role in season two of “Boardwalk Empire,” and played Jonathan Hellyer Jones in 2014’s Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything.”

In his own words: “People always think I know more than I do. That’s funny to me, because the people who make these decisions — who know how secretive they need to be — the worst thing they could do is tell actors.”

Jon Bernthal

Who: Bernthal qualifies as an international Comic Con veteran these days, 11 years on from his debut as Shane Walsh in “The Walking Dead.” That character alone was probably enough to keep him on the circuit for the rest of his life, but he then went on to star in Marvel’s “The Punisher,” (a spin-off from Charlie Cox’s “Daredevil” show) as the titular antihero of a dark, gritty show that was cancelled after its second season in 2019. But Bernthal did make a recent cameo appearance as The Punisher in the MCU’s “Hawkeye” mini-series, so perhaps Bernthal will be reunited with his good friend Cox in an upcoming Marvel feature.

Where else you might have seen him: Bernthal has stayed busy ever since his rise to fame in “The Walking Dead.” Some of his movie credits since include “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Baby Driver,” “Ford v Ferrari,” and last year’s “King Richard” with Will Smith and “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark.”

In his own words: “The criteria in which I decide what I'm doing next is: ‘Does the script move me?’ ‘Who am I working with?’ ‘Who is the filmmaker?’ and ‘Is that somebody I'm dying to work with?’ I never really look at this stuff in terms of career trajectory, it's all about who I’m working with and how good the material is. 

Michael Rooker

Who: One of the finest screen ‘tough guys’ currently working, Rooker is also a “Walking Dead” alumnus, playing Merle Dixon (Daryl’s brother) — a misogynistic, murderous redneck — in early seasons of the AMC show. Comic Con fans will also know him from his portrayal of Ravager leader Yondu Udonta in the MCU’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Though he might look like a caricature baddy, Rooker has a gift for adding ambiguity and humanity to his roles, and can generally be relied on to improve any scene he’s in.

Where else you might have seen him: Rooker made his film debut in 1986’s “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,” playing Henry Lee Lucas, a role for which he was widely praised. You might also have heard him in the “Call of Duty” video game franchise, in which he has played himself and the character Mike Harper. In the movies, he’s most commonly seen in action films or thrillers — in 2021 he starred in “The Suicide Squad” as Savant and also joined the “Fast and Furious” franchise in “F9.”

In his own words: “When people leave a movie, if they have more questions than answers, then I’ve done my job. That’s my forte and I like it a lot and I love leaving the audience wanting more and knowing there is more, which is really cool.”

Nathalie Emmanuel

Who: She might not be the biggest name on the MEFCC roster this year, but the English actress was an important part of what was arguably the biggest TV show of all time: “Game of Thrones.” As a former slave turned advisor to Daenerys Targaryen, Emmanuel’s Missandei was an often-isolated voice of wisdom and calm amid the madness of the fight for the Seven Kingdoms. She even made it all the way to the final season, although not the finale, sadly.

Where else you might have seen her: Unless you’re a fan of the UK soap opera “Hollyoaks,” which — let’s face it — is unlikely, then chances are you’ve only seen Emmanuel’s post-“GoT” work, the most prominent roles of which are her appearances in the “Maze Runner” franchise and in the last three “Fast & Furious” films. If you’re more into rom-coms, you might have caught her in the US miniseries “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

In her own words: “Missandei stayed kind and graceful and dignified despite unimaginable pain and suffering. Trauma can make people really unhappy and really angry. And she just wasn’t. But she had a fierceness, a quiet confidence and a quiet strength.”

Ming-Na Wen

Who: The Chinese-American actress and model is an official Disney Legend thanks to her voicing of the lead role in 1998’s “Mulan” and its 2004 sequel — a role she has reprised in a TV show (“Sofia the First”), a movie (2018’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet”) and a video game (2005’s “Kingdom Hearts II”).

Where else you might have seen her: Wen is also a regular in “Star Wars”-related shows, including “The Bad Batch” and “The Mandalorian,” in which she stars as Fennec Shand. Further performances of interest to Comic Con fans include starring roles in 1994’s “Street Fighter” movie, animated TV show “The Batman,” “Stargate Universe,” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” in which she plays Melinda May/The Cavalry.

In her own words: “The kinds of characters that have always attracted me are like role models for me — they make me realize what I'm capable of doing if I set my mind to it. And I guess that gets translated when it reaches the audience, who in turn get influenced by it.”

Barry Keoghan

Who: The Irish actor joined the MCU last year, playing the mind-controlling superhuman Druig in “Eternals.” He also has a minor role in this year’s “The Batman,” and played a scavenger in last year’s medieval fantasy “The Green Knight.”

Where else you might have seen him: Although he’s recently been seen in several pop-culture hits, Keoghan is an acclaimed dramatic actor — he was nominated for BAFTA Rising Star award in 2019 — with a string of impressive performances behind him, including roles in “Dunkirk,” “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” and mini-series “Chernobyl.”

In his own words: “I’d mitch off school and go to watch all of these films. I was learning my craft by watching these old movies. I was getting educated and I didn’t even know it.”


Two Dubai eateries make World’s 50 Best Restaurants ‘extended’ list

Orfali Bros made the list at number 87. (Instagram)
Orfali Bros made the list at number 87. (Instagram)
Updated 05 July 2022

Two Dubai eateries make World’s 50 Best Restaurants ‘extended’ list

Orfali Bros made the list at number 87. (Instagram)

DUBAI: It seems that UAE restaurants are having a moment this summer. Mere weeks after the Michelin Guide launched in the country, two Dubai restaurants — Tresind Studio and Orfali Bros — have been added to an extended list by the World's 50 Best Restaurants list ahead of the unveiling of this year's awards on July 18 in London.

In the run-up to the main announcement, the extended 51 to 100 list is traditionally announced as a precursor, which “shines a spotlight” on restaurants to watch.

Tresind Studio came in at number 57 while Orfali Bros made the list at number 87. It’s the first time either restaurant has made it to the extended global listing. 

While Tresind Studio, which offers set tasting menus featuring fusion Indian food, received its first Michelin star this year, Orfali Bros also made it to the Michelin guide’s Bib Gourmand category. Founded by brothers Mohammad, Wasim and Omar, Orfali Bros feature dishes with a “certain nostalgia and whimsy.”

In addition to the two Dubai restaurants, Istanbul-based restaurant Mikla also made the list at No. 86. Showcasing picturesque views of Istanbul, the restaurant is the brainchild of Turkish-Scandinavian chef Mehmet Gurs. 


Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presents Fall 2023 collection in Paris

Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presented his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. (Getty Images)
Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presented his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. (Getty Images)
Updated 05 July 2022

Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presents Fall 2023 collection in Paris

Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presented his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. (Getty Images)

DUBAI: Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika returned to the runway this week as he unveiled his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. 

This is Hobeika’s first show with his son Jad Hobeika, who was recently named the co-creative director of the celebrity-loved brand.

During the label’s first physical show since the pandemic, Hobeika wanted to pay tribute to our planet through couture. The collection’s title, “Eternal Gifts,” reflects the presents that Earth gives to us, according to the show notes. 

His designs were inspired by waterfalls and waves, with gowns in Mediterranean blues along with sunset hues. 

German influencer Leonie Hanne opened the show wearing a mini dress with metallic feathers and crystal embroidery.

“Pinch me!!! Your girl opening the haute couture show for @georgeshobeika in Paris. So much love for Georges and Jad Hobeika,” wrote the runway star to her 4.3 million Instagram followers.

Hanne is one of Hobeika’s loyal clients and has previously been spotted wearing Hobeika’s glamorous creations during fashion weeks and film festivals. 

The father-and-son duo’s newest release featured glamorous gowns with metallic feathers, ornate embroidery, dynamic cuts and daring silhouettes. 

Unexpected cut outs marked the collection, with the models’ midriffs and hips on full display in some of the eye-catching gowns.  

They also showcased a few menswear designs, including blazers, luxurious coats and tailored pants in earthy tones, complete with Hobeika’s signature embellishments and pattern work.

Hobeika is not the only Arab designer on the Haute Couture calendar, however. 

Designers Zuhair Murad and Elie Saab will present their latest collections on Wednesday, while Lebanese fashion house Maison Rabih Kayrouz presented its couture and ready-to-wear lines on Monday.

“I think about the woman, I like to dress her for her real life,” Kayrouz explained to Vogue US. “For me design isn’t a mood, but a thought, a consideration,” he added.

His most recent collections built upon the designer’s famed reputation as a master of refined, understated style.

Taffeta and recycled polyester jostled for attention as fashion lovers took in an offering that was marked by voluminous trapeze-shaped sweeping evening gowns and billowing shirts.

Diaphanous fabrics worked to make the collection seem airy, while expert tailoring ensured it remained faithful to the house’s distinctive style.


Scottish star Lewis Capaldi heads back to the UAE for first Dubai concert

The musician first found fame in 2019 when his single “Someone You Loved” charted in more than 29 countries. (AFP)
The musician first found fame in 2019 when his single “Someone You Loved” charted in more than 29 countries. (AFP)
Updated 05 July 2022

Scottish star Lewis Capaldi heads back to the UAE for first Dubai concert

The musician first found fame in 2019 when his single “Someone You Loved” charted in more than 29 countries. (AFP)

DUBAI: After sold out shows in the cities of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi is set to return to the UAE for his first concert in Dubai. The 25-year-old balladeer, famous for his powerful tunes, will take the stage on Nov. 24, 2022, at Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena, which most recently hosted One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson. 

Capaldi last performed in the country at Abu Dhabi’s F1 after-race concert in 2021.

The musician first found fame in 2019 when his single “Someone You Loved” charted in more than 29 countries and spent seven weeks at the No. 1 spot in the UK. His first album, “Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent,” was the biggest selling album of the year and was also certified platinum.

Fans attending his concert can look forward to hearing tracks like “Bruises,” “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and “Before You Go.”


Celebs remember late Tunisian designer at Alaia show in Paris

Model Karlie Kloss attended the show. (Instagram)
Model Karlie Kloss attended the show. (Instagram)
Updated 04 July 2022

Celebs remember late Tunisian designer at Alaia show in Paris

Model Karlie Kloss attended the show. (Instagram)

DUBAI: The who’s who of the fashion industry, including French model Tina Kunakey and Jordanian Romanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi, attended a runway presentation by Alaia on Sunday.

The label, founded by late Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaïa, released a statement ahead of the ready-to-wear Spring 2023 show that explained why the latest offering is being marketed with the slogan “Rough and Real.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ALAÏA (@maisonalaia)

“Real – as creation should remain far from the likes, far from the screen. These clothes are meant to be worn, meant to be touched and felt. Raw and imperfect, to effect and affect,” a statement signed by creative director Pieter Mulier read.

Shown on the eve of couture week in Paris, Mulier’s third collection for the iconic fashion house took natural fabrics and elevated them into fashion statements. Entire cowhides were shaped into skirts and lengths of boiled cashmere were transformed into cocktail dresses worn with high-heeled fur booties in a line that was equal parts raw and chic.

“It’s about taking all the codes of Azzedine and explaining them to the young generation that don’t really know it,” the designer said backstage, according to WWD. “It’s basically empowering women in a different way than other brands can do,” he added.

The Belgian designer explained that he took many cues from one of Alaia’s 1984 collections, while one design was a replica of a 1992 creation by the Tunisian creative talent that never made it onto the runway.

The glittering front row added to the glamor at the event, with Kunakey joined by her husband, French actor Vincent Cassel, as well as Naomi Campbell, Elle Macpherson, Karlie Kloss and Laura Harrier.

They took in the show in a gutted out space that is set to be a future Alaïa flagship store and offices.

Known to be a fan of the fashion house, Kunakey has showed off Alaia looks on a number of occasions, including in September 2020 when she attended a lavish Bulgari bash in Rome.

For the occasion she donned an elegant fuchsia-colored gown with a scooped, exposed back and a halter neckline. She elevated the look with a selection of sparkling Bulgari diamond rings and a serpent necklace.


Restaurateur Natasha Sideris talks Saudi plans, new dining concept in Dubai

Natasha Sideris is the founder and CEO of Tashas Group. (Supplied)
Natasha Sideris is the founder and CEO of Tashas Group. (Supplied)
Updated 04 July 2022

Restaurateur Natasha Sideris talks Saudi plans, new dining concept in Dubai

Natasha Sideris is the founder and CEO of Tashas Group. (Supplied)

DUBAI: It’s one of Dubai’s most buzzed about eateries and while the Instagram-worthy Flamingo Room readies to open its doors in Riyadh later this year, we caught up with restaurateur Natasha Sideris to find out more about her success and worldwide expansion plans.

The founder and CEO of Tashas Group, which has a portfolio of varied dining concepts, shed light on why she sees Saudi Arabia as a growing market, as well as her plans for new dining outlets.

“Our decision to expand into Saudi was informed by two things. Firstly, the location that we have found for Flamingo Room by tashas is extraordinary in Bujairi Terrace. Secondly, I think that there are wonderful opportunities in the country. It is a previously untapped market with a large population that is open to new concepts,” Sideris told Arab News.

“As with any new market, there will be challenges,” she added, explain that “we have spent eight years in the UAE forging great relationships with suppliers, shopfitters (and) photographers. It will take time to build relationships with new suppliers, but we are well on our way.”

Curating the concept specially for the Kingdom’s market, the group will open the destination restaurant in a three-storey building inspired by Najd architecture in Diriyah, on the banks of Wadi Hanifah.

The group, which was founded in South Africa and operates out of Dubai in the UAE, has seven brands under its umbrella: tashas, Le Parc by tashas, Flamingo Room by tashas, Avli by tashas, Galaxy Bar, Collective Africa, and 1701.

In addition to its expansion into Saudi Arabia, in the next six to 12 months the group plans to open five other locations, in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, South Africa and London.

“We are going to enter the UK market slowly and sensibly,” Sideris revealed. “The pandemic, as well as Brexit, have made a major impact so we want to make sure we adapt the concept to the market and, all going well, we will expand the number of locations. “

The group is also introducing a brand new concept in Dubai’s Alserkal Arts hub. Called Nala, the project will offer diners luxury quick-service, something the founder said is important to her.

“This concept is close to my heart and we have been working on it for a couple of years. So many people are strapped for time yet would like to eat beautiful food in a stunning environment. Our goal is to serve our guests freshly prepared meals quickly and provide fantastic quality at the same time.”