DJ Big Hass launches new radio show and other pop culture highlights from the region

DJ Big Hass launches new radio show and other pop culture highlights from the region
Portrait of DJ Big Hass. Supplied
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Updated 12 May 2022

DJ Big Hass launches new radio show and other pop culture highlights from the region

DJ Big Hass launches new radio show and other pop culture highlights from the region

Read on to discover some of the regional pop culture highlights you might have missed.

‘Catch A Vibe’

Saudi producer, broadcaster and DJ Big Hass launched this new weekly radio show, which highlights regional acts, on the UAE’s Pulse 95 (based in Sharjah) over Ramadan. “Catch A Vibe” is one of the few shows on mainstream radio in the region to focus on alternative acts based in or originating from the Arab world. It airs on Saturdays at 9 p.m. UAE time. 

“It showcases local, original artists,” Hass says of the show. “Now, those artists can’t say that there’s no home for their songs to be played on the radio and listeners can discover the diversity of talent in the region, whether they perform in English, Arabic, or any other language.”

The presenter hopes the show will promote a better understanding of the Arab region, particularly in the UAE, where the population is reportedly made up of more than 200 nationalities. 

“The Arab region can’t be summed up in one country, or one area. Whether it’s from North Africa, to the Levant, to the GCC, to the diaspora, that’s what the show’s all about,” he says. “So for an hour, once a week, there’s no Justin Bieber, there’s no The Weeknd, there’s no Adele. With all due respect to those artists, the whole point is to expose the world to the sounds coming out of the Arab region, which are just incredible.”

Comedy Bizarre

As part of the Dubai Comedy Festival, Comedy Bizarre will be hosted at beach club Bla Bla Dubai, with an early show and a late show every day from May 14-20. The early shows run from 8 p.m. with a different theme every day. Highlights include “Beat The Gong” on May 17, when 12 up-and-coming comics will attempt to complete their short sets before being ‘gonged’ off stage, and “She-Larious Show” on May 15, with an all-female lineup of comedians including Sameera Khan, Eman Khalouf and Imah Dumagay.

The late shows begin at 10 every night and feature more-established names, including Axis of Evil co-founder Ahmed Ahmed, Dubomedy founders Mina Liccione and Ali Al-Sayed, Palestinian-American comedian and author Nina Kharoufeh (pictured), Iraqi-American comic Paul Elia, British-Somali stand-up Prince Abdi, and UAE-based American comedian Simeon Goodson. 

Ashekman

The acclaimed Lebanese street artist created this mural, “Homage to Ziad Rahbani,” as part of “Abyat Bayn Al-Bouyout” (Verses Between Houses) — a short-film project conceived by singer-songwriter and visual artist Tania Saleh, for which this piece formed the pilot episode. 

Rahbani is one of the Arab world’s most-influential composers and writers and comes from perhaps the most significant family in the Lebanese cultural scene — his father, Assi, is considered one of the founders of modern Arabic music, while his mother, Fayrouz, is perhaps the only Arab diva who could challenge Umm Kulthum’s status as the greatest of all time.

According to a statement, Saleh’s project aims to “honor the legacy of our Arab poets, writers and thinkers and at the same time empower our youth to express themselves through drawing, painting, and Arabic calligraphy to create beautiful street art paintings on the walls of the Arab world.”

Raheed Allaf

The Saudi artist is one of eight young creatives chosen to participate in the “Youth Takeover” at Dubai’s Jameel Arts Center. The group will put on an exhibition, titled “smol,” from May 18 to June 5. The show “taps into the curiosities and transformations of being and coming of age, invoking carefree possibilities, nostalgia, new adventures, as well as feelings of powerlessness and vulnerability in today’s world,” according to a statement from the artists. Allaf contributes this installation, entitled “Shoofeeni.”

Ÿuma

The Tunisian duo — Ramy Zoghlami and Sabrine Jenhani — dropped their latest single, “Sucre,” recently. It’s the opening track from their new album “Hannet Lekloub,” and is the perfect introduction to the duo’s melancholy, evocative acoustic music. Think alt-folk with hints of traditional Arabic music. The understated vocals work beautifully with the sparse instrumentation. 


Saudi deputy culture minister assures Kingdom’s film industry of ‘brilliant future’ as he visits pavilion at Cannes

Saudi deputy culture minister assures Kingdom’s film industry of ‘brilliant future’ as he visits pavilion at Cannes
Updated 25 May 2022

Saudi deputy culture minister assures Kingdom’s film industry of ‘brilliant future’ as he visits pavilion at Cannes

Saudi deputy culture minister assures Kingdom’s film industry of ‘brilliant future’ as he visits pavilion at Cannes
  • Hollywood director Brett Ratner reveals plans to visit Saudi Arabia to scout for shoot locations

CANNES: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Culture Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez visited the Kingdom’s pavilion during the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, to show his support for the burgeoning Saudi film industry.

“Our role is to support the sector with everyone in it. God willing, we will see success soon. Thank you everyone and I wish you a happy opportunity,” he said to a crowd of Saudi and international actors as well as filmmakers who had gathered at the pavilion.

The deputy minister was accompanied by Red Sea Film Festival Foundation CEO Mohammed Al-Turki, Saudi Film Commission CEO Abdullah Al-Eyaf and US director Brett Ratner, the face behind such hits as the “Rush Hour” film series and “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Ratner also produced the “Horrible Bosses” film series, “The Revenant” and “War Dogs.”

The deputy minister praised the work being done by Saudi creatives in the Kingdom and their contribution to the expanding industry, before touring the pavilion and meeting with select industry professionals.

Following his tour, Fayez addressed the press and Saudi creatives directly, saying: “You will have a brilliant future and we are ready, present and supportive of you.

“With regional programs that will come together, there will be great opportunities for filmmakers, actors, actors and actresses,” he added.

For his part, Ratner teased a big announcement, before saying that the details were being kept under wraps.

However, he did reveal plans to visit Saudi Arabia in order to scout for shoot locations.

“I am very excited to come to your beautiful country to film. I am going to come next week with his royal highness and friends and I am going to scout the whole country,” the producer said.

“The film is going to be unbelievable. We will be able to create a big buzz,” he added.

 


Saint Laurent to reportedly present menswear show in Morocco

Saint Laurent to reportedly present menswear show in Morocco
Updated 24 May 2022

Saint Laurent to reportedly present menswear show in Morocco

Saint Laurent to reportedly present menswear show in Morocco

DUBAI: Parisian luxury label Saint Laurent is reportedly set to present its spring 2023 menswear collection in Marrakesh on July 15, according to multiple reports.

Morocco was a great source of inspiration to the late Yves Saint Laurent, and a museum dedicated to the famed fashion designer was even unveiled in Marrakesh in 2017.

The legendary couturier purchased a villa in the Moroccan city in the mid-1960s and two decades later purchased the spectacular Majorelle Gardens to save it from destruction. A mausoleum was built for the designer at the site after his death in 2008.

His years there inspired many of his collections and continue to influence the storied house that bears his name.

Although it will be the first physical show that Saint Laurent will stage in the North African country, it isn’t the first time that the brand has showcased one of its collections in Morocco.

In 2020, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and when all brands shifted to the digital world, artistic, creative and image director of Saint Laurent Anthony Vaccarello unveiled a 10-minute-long video for the spring 2021 ready-to-wear line with models seen walking on dunes in the Moroccan desert in lieu of a runway.

The men’s show in Marrakech will coincide with an exhibition focused on Saint Laurent’s longstanding relationship with Morocco. Entitled “Love,” the exhibition will run from June 5-Oct. 31 at Palácio Duques de Cadaval in Évora, Portugal.

 


Saudi pavilion hosts Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman at Cannes Film Festival

Saudi pavilion hosts Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman at Cannes Film Festival
Updated 24 May 2022

Saudi pavilion hosts Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman at Cannes Film Festival

Saudi pavilion hosts Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman at Cannes Film Festival

DUBAI: Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman jetted to Cannes this week to attend the 75th edition of the city’s renowned film festival. 

Besides walking the red carpet and attending film premieres, the singer and songwriter was spotted at the Saudi pavilion where he was welcomed with Saudi coffee. 

“Taking pride in the Kingdom’s legacy of generosity, Saudi coffee is being prepared at the Cannes Film Festival,” the Ministry of Culture in Saudi Arabia shared on Twitter, adding images of Rahman at the Saudi pavilion. 

Saudi coffee is heavily associated with generational hospitality and generosity, providing a close connection to the country’s customs and traditions.

In January, the Ministry of Commerce announced that the commercial name of Arabic coffee will be officially changed to Saudi coffee in the Kingdom’s restaurants, cafes, stores and roasters. 

The announcement, by ministry spokesman Abdulrahman Al-Hussein, is in conjunction with a Culture Ministry initiative in naming 2022 as the “Year of Saudi Coffee” as a way to strengthen the identity and culture of Saudi Arabia.

The record producer was spotted on the red carpet during Cannes Film Festival  opening ceremony. He attended the premiere of French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius’s zombie comedy “Final Cut (Coupez!)”


Gigi Hadid begins filming second season of Netflix show ‘Next in Fashion’

Gigi Hadid begins filming second season of Netflix show ‘Next in Fashion’
Updated 24 May 2022

Gigi Hadid begins filming second season of Netflix show ‘Next in Fashion’

Gigi Hadid begins filming second season of Netflix show ‘Next in Fashion’

DUBAI: Part-Palestinian catwalk star Gigi Hadid has begun filming the second season of Netflix’s “Next in Fashion” alongside British TV personality Tan France, nearly five months after the model revealed her exciting new role to fans.

Ahead of the new season, which does not have a release date, Hadid took to Instagram to share her excitement over the forthcoming episodes and gush about her co-host, calling the British reality television star her “brother” and stating that shooting the new show together has been “a joy of my life.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

The 27-year-old posted a carousel of photos on Instagram, which included a snap of her posing with France and reading the “Next in Fashion” script.

“Can’t believe we’re almost a month into making a new season of @nextinfashion. Want to say, with only a couple weeks left, that shooting this show alongside my brother @tanfrance has been a joy of my life,” the US-Dutch-Palestinian model captioned the post. “I can’t wait for you all to meet these designers — an amazing, talented, sweet, cool, deserving group of humans and for them to share themselves and their creations with the world! We have so much in store for you,” she added.

The first season of the fashion competition show, which premiered in January 2020, featured 18 designers who faced weekly design challenges to win a $250,000 prize and a chance to have their collection sold on Net-a-Porter.

France also recently lauded his “Next in Fashion” co-host and dubbed her an “amazing mom.”

In a conversation with Us Weekly, the host said he has received many parenting tips from the supermodel, who welcomed a baby girl with former One Direction star Zayn Malik, in 2020.

He told the publication: “She’s one of my closest friends. I love her so much.

“It makes the show really, really fun,” added France. “It’s probably the best time I’ve ever had on a show.”

The 39-year-old continued: “She’s an amazing mom. I’ve gotten so many tips from her,” adding that he “of course” has met her daughter Khai.


‘A Perfect Pairing’: Netflix hitches its hopes to the romance wagon

‘A Perfect Pairing’: Netflix hitches its hopes to the romance wagon
Updated 24 May 2022

‘A Perfect Pairing’: Netflix hitches its hopes to the romance wagon

‘A Perfect Pairing’: Netflix hitches its hopes to the romance wagon

CHENNAI: Netflix is once again dabbling in the romance genre with Stuart MacDonald’s “A Perfect Pairing.” Whether it’s simply the season of love or a bid to counteract a series of blows — a landslide loss of subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, for example — this rom-com does not quite get the heart racing as Netflix execs may have hoped it would.

The classic love story has all the touchpoints of a Mills and Boon book, with its ruggedly dashing heroes and attractive damsels in distress, but besides some instances of beautiful cinematography there is nothing to make this film stand out.

To be fair, Lola Alvarez (played by a feisty Victoria Justice) has a mind of her own and is no forlorn Mills and Boon heroine, although she is in a state of distress. She will not tolerate nonsense, even from her boss at a cutthroat Los Angeles-based drinks importer. When her best friend at work steals a major client, Lola quits, deciding to open her own company. She decides to visit a famed beverage manufacturer in Queensland, Australia, where she tries to win over the owner, Hazel Vaughn (Samantha Cain), by working on her farm. There she bonds with the mysterious and handsome Max (Adam Demos), who has his secrets — for this wouldn’t be a true romance story without a little heartbreak.

This rom-com does not quite get the heart racing as Netflix execs may have hoped it would. Supplied

A corporate woman, the film does feature some light-hearted moments when Lola finds herself dealing with the grime of the farm. Some of the incidents are witty, like her bonding with a sheep, nicknamed Baarbra, others a bit juvenile. Her clumsy acts can be seen as irritating, but the gradual attraction between Max and Lola is breezy and Demo’s performance is enjoyable to watch.

Some visually exciting sequences add to their romance — for instance in the taproom, where the farm staff tap their legs and dance around to “Are You Going To Be My Girl.” Equally vibrant is the sheep-shearing scene against the backdrop of Ben Nott's cinematography, which captures the lush landscape and local wildlife — a baby kangaroo hops into the screen in a delightful distraction to the tension which begins to simmer as the plot winds to a climax.

It's a comfort watch for a weekday night in, with a predictable end and all the hallmarks of a made-for-TV rom-com, but sometimes that’s just the ticket.