DUBAI: One of the oldest cultural events in the Middle East, the Baalbeck International Festival, will on Friday open with live performances for the first time in three years.
Taking place at the world-famous Roman archaeological site in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley until July 17, events will be staged between the Temple of Bacchus and Baalbeck Acropolis.
The festival program will feature local and international classical and modern performances including a night of music with Lubnan and Soumaya Baalbaki, Lebanese indie band Adonis, and appearances by Spanish guitarist Jose Quevedo Bolita, and song and dance duo Simon Ghraichy and Rana Gorgani.
A global cultural highlight for more than six decades, the event was held virtually in 2020 and 2021 because of coronavirus pandemic restrictions. This year’s lineup previews have so far attracted more than 17 million views on social media.
The festival is expected to bring in a summer influx of tourists and visitors to help boost the country’s flagging economy.
Egypt’s 19th century gift to France inspires new children’s book ‘Grace the Giraffe’
Egypt's Muhammad Ali Pasha gave female giraffe from Nubia to King Charles X
Paris-based couple Oliver Gee and Lina Nordin Gee took inspiration from the historical story for their children's tale
Updated 36 min 25 sec ago
DUBAI: In 1827, the people of Paris saw the rarest of sights. The ruler of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha, sent an unusual diplomacy gift to King Charles X of France: A female giraffe from Nubia, dubbed “la belle africaine,” that caused a sensation and set trends in French society.
This real-life and little-known story inspired Paris-based couple Oliver Gee and Lina Nordin Gee to create their third and latest children’s book, “Grace the Giraffe,” which will be released in October.
It captures a light-hearted aspect of this historical event. “A few books have been written about the giraffe, but they’re quite dry,” Oliver, an Australian, and host of The Earful Tower podcast, told Arab News.
“We thought the fun part of the story was just as much this reaction from Parisians,” he continued. “It’s a fashion story of people going crazy, where women had their hair looking like the horns or ears of the giraffe.”
Originally from southern Sudan, the giraffe was transported via the Nile and crossed the Mediterranean, landing in Marseille. “She was in a boat with a hole so her head could stick out, which is amazing,” noted Oliver.
The giraffe endured a long and arduous journey as she was walked from Marseille to Paris for weeks. She grew physically along the way, accompanied by a procession of cows that provided milk. “By the time that she was in Marseille, a giraffe hadn’t been in Europe for 300 years,” said Oliver. “So today, it would be like an alien is here.”
In Paris, the giraffe lived in a zoo for under two decades until her death. “Everybody went to see her,” said Oliver. “Even in the small cities, half the population came to see her go past. It was insane.” She achieved her own kind of celebrity, as the elegant creature appeared on fans and ceramics. Luckily, the giraffe’s body has been preserved over the years and is currently on display at a museum in La Rochelle, France.
“Grace the Giraffe” was written by Oliver and illustrated by his wife, Lina. Told in rhyming couplets with little twists in the narrative, the charming piece of work features colorful spreads of Grace’s boat journey, extraordinary procession, and whirlwind arrival in the French capital.
The news of the book’s publication has been well-received online, sparking interest from readers of all ages. “From a history perspective,” said Oliver, “it’s cool to know that children and adults will be learning about a fascinating story.”
Bahraini culinary star Tala Bashmi celebrates The Best Chef Awards ranking in Madrid
‘I always saw a gap for a different version of Middle Eastern and Khaleeji cuisine,’ Bashmi previously told Arab News
Updated 26 September 2022
DUBAI: Bahraini chef Tala Bashmi appeared in Madrid over the weekend to celebrate her ranking among the top 100 chefs in the world.
The culinary star ranked 93rd and is the only Arab on this year’s Best Chef Awards list, as well as one of just 18 women.
The gala dinner was held at the Crystal Gallery of the Palacio de Cibeles in Madrid and saw Spain’s Dabiz Muñoz named the best chef in the world for the second consecutive year.
“I do not feel like the best chef in the world, far from it. But I believe I have the best team in the world,” he said accepting the prize on the stage.
Chef patronne at Fusions by Tala in the Gulf Hotel, Manama, Tala Bashmi hit the red carpet at the event.
Bashmi grew up in Bahrain, and began her career at the Gulf Hotel, before heading to Switzerland to train at Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois and the Michelin-starred Prisma.
She returned to Bahrain in 2014 and worked her way up through the ranks at the Gulf Hotel to eventually head Fusions by Tala, where she’s determined to reinvent Gulf cuisine. She was recently named Best Female Chef in the Middle East and North Africa by 50 Best.
“I always saw a gap for a different version of Middle Eastern and Khaleeji cuisine,” Bashmi told Arab News earlier this year. “I want to compete on a global scale by elevating our cuisine technically, visually, and flavor-wise,” she said.
Actress Sofia Carson shows off Zuhair Murad look in New York
Updated 26 September 2022
DUBAI: US singer and actress Sofia Carson was spotted in New York wearing an ensemble by Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad this week.
Carson attended the Global Citizen Festival in a coordinating look from Murad’s resort 2023 collection. The outfit featured an embellished crop top and mini skirt set with matching thigh-high leather boots.
The actress was dressed by celebrity stylist Nicolas Bru.
Metallica and Mariah Carey led an A-list of musicians at the event on Saturday, and President Joe Biden made a surprise video appearance, as the Global Citizen Festival sought to mobilize action against poverty and climate change.
Marking its 10th year, the six-hour festival brought thousands to New York’s Central Park and featured a sister show in Ghana's capital Accra, where performers included American R&B great Usher and British grime icon Stormzy, AFP reported.
Global Citizen awards tickets to fans in exchange for their commitment to take action to eradicate extreme poverty — such as contacting elected representatives to encourage foreign aid — and coincides with the annual UN General Assembly in hopes of raising pressure on world leaders.
Other performers included Maneskin, the new-generation Italian glam rockers who put on an energetic set, Spanish pop star Rosalia, and the Jonas Brothers, with Nick Jonas' wife, Indian screen star Priyanka Chopra, serving as master of ceremonies.
It is not the first time Carson has attended a high profile event wearing an ensemble from the Middle East.
In July, she hit the red carpet at the premiere of Netflix movie “Purple Hearts” in a deep purple gown by Lebanese couturier Elie Saab.
The actress, who stars in the film, attended the premiere at The Bay Theater in Pacific Palisades, California, wearing a gown from Saab’s Fall 2022 collection.
The dress boasted a tightly pleated purple skirt, along with a floral-embellished bodice with a statement high collar in black.
The 68-look ready-to-wear collection from which the gown hails was unveiled in Paris in March and was “about strong women, strong characters, a little rock ‘n’ roll,” the designer told Vogue US at the time.
It’s only fitting then that the dress was shown off by singer and actress Carson, who is signed to Hollywood Records and has a number of singles under her belt.
The multi-hyphenate most recently starred in “Purple Hearts,” which tells the story of an aspiring singer-songwriter and a soldier who fall in love against all odds.
UAE artists set to exhibit at the 16th Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art in France
Wonderful talent showcase, says Noura bint Mohammad Al-Kaabi, minister of culture and youth
Hashel Al-Lamki, Mohammed Kazem, Chafa Ghaddar will work under event’s theme ‘Manifesto of Fragility’
Updated 25 September 2022
DUBAI: Three artists from the UAE are set to represent the country at the 16th edition of the Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art, which will run from Sept. 14 to Dec. 31, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Youth and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
Multi-disciplinary creator Hashel Al-Lamki, conceptual creative Mohammed Kazem and mural artist Chafa Ghaddar will present their work at the biennale, which is being held under the theme “Manifesto of Fragility.”
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the UAE to showcase its talent at such a prestigious platform. We have immense respect for the Lyon Biennale, which is marking its 16th edition this year. The UAE is making its presence felt at global art events and this is one of its significant participations,” said UAE Minister of Culture and Youth Noura bint Mohammed Al-Kaabi in a statement.
“The UAE artists exhibiting at this event are known names in the contemporary art world and they will be presenting distinctive works enriched by Middle Eastern and Arab influences. I look forward to seeing their participation in the biennale, wish them a very successful exhibition and I look forward to seeing the fruitful results of the collaboration between these artists come to life.”
Featuring 230 works by 34 artists and more than 300 archival documents from nearly 40 collections worldwide, the exhibition will showcase new creations by living artists alongside historical pieces from museums in the French city.
It will also present loaned collections from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (also known as the Met), the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and from many of Lyon’s leading cultural institutions, such as the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, the Lugdunum Museum and Roman theaters, and the Musées Gadagne.
Palestinian Dutch model Bella Hadid goes minimalist for Jil Sander in Milan
Updated 25 September 2022
DUBAI: After a hectic week walking the runways at New York Fashion Week, Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid is taking Milan Fashion Week by storm. On Saturday, the 25-year-old supermodel closed for German minimalist fashion label Jil Sander wearing their Spring-Summer 2023 ready-to-wear collection.
The collection, sporting both men’s and women’s looks, and designed by Luke and Lucie Meier for the label, featured loose, monochrome fits, embellished by beads, fringes and metallic fabrics, giving them a shiny, glam sheen. “We looked at clashing glamour into very simple workwear, our fundamental very simple pattern cutting and then doing things that are more eccentric,” Luke said backstage to Vogue about the new collection.
Hadid walked the runway wearing an oversized sleeveless black blazer and fringed cream skirt, paired with white sneakers, holding an umbrella as rain poured down on the outdoor site. “A dream of mine &an honor ... Lucie and Luke … you are so wonderful, thank you,” posted Hadid on Instagram.
Adding a pop of color to the ensemble, Hadid held a bright red bag and finished the look with silver earrings and a matching bracelet.
At Milan Fashion Week, Hadid also walked for Italian luxury label Versace, alongside other Arab models including Gigi Hadid, Imaan Hammam, Nora Attal and Loli Bahia.
“I have always loved a rebel,” Versace said in show notes. “A woman who is confident, smart and a little bit of a diva.”
While Bella was an unblushing bride in a deep purple lace corset and crinkled satin skirt, her sister Gigi wore a dark hoodie dress with a high slink factor.
Hammam, who has Dutch, Moroccan and Egyptian ancestry, wore a shiny black mini dress that featured a hood and plunging neckline. She also wore a furry coat.
British-Moroccan Attal stepped out in a form-fitting purple dress with fringe details at the hips, while Bahia, who has French and Algerian roots, graced the runway in a hot-pink dress with a short bridal veil.
Hadid also makes her TV debut next week as she stars in season three of the Emmy-nominated series, “Ramy,” premiering in the Middle East on Oct. 1 on streaming platform OSN+.
In an interview with GQ Magazine, Hadid, who stars as a “weirdo girlfriend,” recalled moments on set that made her heart full. On the first day, the crew surprised her with a shirt that stated “Free Palestine.”