Baby Groot gets ready to steal hearts in new Disney+ series

Baby Groot gets ready to steal hearts in new Disney+ series
Vin Diesel returns to voice Baby Groot in ‘I Am Groot.’ (Courtesy of Marvel Studios)
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Updated 31 July 2022

Baby Groot gets ready to steal hearts in new Disney+ series

Baby Groot gets ready to steal hearts in new Disney+ series

DUBAI: Move over, Baby Yoda! It’s time for Baby Groot to take center stage as Disney+ gives the “Guardians of the Galaxy” character his own series of five animated shorts in August.

“Groot has always been a favorite character, not just with fans of the (Marvel Cinematic Universe), but also at the studio — at Marvel and at Disney. And since ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. Two’ we’ve been thinking about ways to bring Groot back to the screen,” Brad Winderbaum, head of streaming, television and animation at Marvel Studios, told Arab News.

Groot — a sentient alien who looks like a tree — first appeared in the MCU in 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” in which the character ultimately sacrificed himself for his friends, only to be replaced by his son, Baby Groot (a sapling that grew out of his body). “I am Groot” focuses on Baby Groot’s adventures away from the Guardians. On his journey he will he meet new characters and find himself in perilous situations, according to the studio.

The series is directed by Kirsten Lepore, who also serves as an executive producer along with Marvel president Kevin Feige and “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn, among others.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Disney+ (@disneyplus)

“We were excited about making shorts (instead of full-length episodes) because of the value of shorts in the history of Disney. It’s kind of the bedrock of the studio in a lot of ways. Early on in the process, we looked at filmmakers who excelled at telling short stories magically and Kirsten really rose to the top of the list very quickly,” said Winderbaum.

Lepore, who previously worked as the animation director for the acclaimed indie movie “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On,” said, “It’s been absolutely amazing working with Disney. Just totally a dream. Everyone who I’ve gotten to work with has just been lovely. And Brad and the executives have always been super supportive of my weird ideas that I’ve wanted to inject into things.”

While the series focuses on Baby Groot (voiced by Hollywood star Vin Diesel) going solo, it still retains a distinct “Guardians” vibe. “(Gunn) was an executive producer on it. And we had several calls with him, just making sure that we were really capturing the heart and soul of this character in a way that he would want. And I feel like we pulled it off,” said Lepore.

“I am Groot,” which has already been greenlit for a second run of five shorts, premieres on Disney+ on Aug. 10.


Bella Hadid shares behind-the-scenes shots from Swarovski shoot

Bella Hadid shares behind-the-scenes shots from Swarovski shoot
Updated 28 November 2022

Bella Hadid shares behind-the-scenes shots from Swarovski shoot

Bella Hadid shares behind-the-scenes shots from Swarovski shoot

DUBAI: US Palestinian Dutch supermodel Bella Hadid has given fans a behind-the-scenes look at her latest campaign for Austrian jewelry label Swarovski.

Hadid, who was announced as the label’s brand ambassador in May, took to Instagram to share photographs from the set of her latest shoot. In the snaps, the model is dressed as a bedazzled fairy, complete with a set of delicate wings.

The 26-year-old catwalk star took to Instagram earlier this year to share the news of her brand ambassadorship with her 56.4 million followers, writing: “Extremely honored and excited to be the new face of the iconic Swarovski.”

“Bella Hadid sums up the individualistic and transformative attitude of a new global generation,” said Engelbert in a statement at the time. “She is a multifaceted character who evades the boxes of rules and conformity. She goes from sporty to glamorous while remaining the same girl — the same Bella — with confidence and authority.

“Today, crystals are a dynamic part of our everyday wardrobe: A way of accentuating your individual style in a way that can be as casual as it can be elaborate. Bella is the poster girl for this state of mind,” added Engelbert.

The model shared behind-the-scenes shots from her latest shoot for Swarovski. (Instagram)

Meanwhile, Hadid said she was “very familiar” with the “timeless and iconic brand” before the partnership.

“I love the new collections and what the brand has been doing, especially these past two years under the creative vision of Giovanna, and I really see Swarovski as the contemporary jewelry brand of the future,” she said- in a released statement. “Jewelry is about expression and celebrating individuality — Swarovski celebrates all people and the idea of modern glamour, and I love that.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by SWAROVSKI (@swarovski)

 

Hadid was recently named British GQ magazine’s “most stylish person on the planet” for 2023 in a statement that mirrored Swarovski’s sentiments regarding the model’s ability to traverse various fashion styles and pull them off with aplomb.

The magazine commended Hadid for her  “ability to make menswear, womenswear, smartwear and even wavywear work.

“Hadid does menswear better than most men — and she can still wear everything and anything else. Tailoring. Prada loafers. Big denim jackets. There was even a tie at one point. It’s wavy, classic and uncomplicated all at once,” the magazine added.


The Bicester Collection launches MENA edition of Unlock Her Future entrepreneurship prize

The Bicester Collection launches MENA edition of Unlock Her Future entrepreneurship prize
Desiree Bollier in the Chair and Global Chief Merchant of The Bicester Collection. (Getty Images)
Updated 28 November 2022

The Bicester Collection launches MENA edition of Unlock Her Future entrepreneurship prize

The Bicester Collection launches MENA edition of Unlock Her Future entrepreneurship prize

DUBAI: An international retail firm has launched the MENA edition of a prize for first-time women entrepreneurs that would allow them to set up or develop their startup businesses.

The Middle East and North Africa edition of The Bicester Collection’s “Unlock her Future Prize” was announced for enterprises that drive positive environmental, social and economic change, according to the company.

The Bicester Collection is a group of 11 open-air shopping destinations across Europe and China, which includes the Bicester Village outlet mall in Oxfordshire, UK. They launched the initiative in 2021 as part of their DO GOOD platform and have now expanded to the Middle East. 

“We’re delighted that in its inaugural year, the Unlock Her Future Prize will launch in MENA with the support of our partner Ashoka Arab World,” Chantal Khoueiry, chief culture officer for The Bicester Village, told Arab News.

“As an Arab woman, I believe I can speak for all when I say how committed we are to driving women’s empowerment and cultural progress. We recognize that if you have diverse voices, you can transcend anything. This is the essence of what we hope the Unlock Her Future Prize MENA edition 2023 will provide on behalf of Arab Women — the voice and support to build a progressive and sustainable future for people and the planet.”

Khoueiry added that applicants with an innovative idea, and those who have been operating for under five years, are invited to apply between Dec. 5 and Jan. 31, 2023.

An international committee of experts will review the applications and shortlist eight finalists who will be invited to pitch their ideas in Bicester Village, UK, to a panel of judges from the MENA region. Three winners will be announced on International Women’s Day next year.

“The winners will each receive a financial grant of up to $100,000 plus human capital support from a fantastic assembly of global experts.” They will also have access to an education and knowledge program with the prize’s regional academic partner, New York University Abu Dhabi, said Khoueiry.

  


Review: ‘The Guardians of Galaxy Holiday Special’ brings festive cheer to MCU

Review: ‘The Guardians of Galaxy Holiday Special’ brings festive cheer to MCU
Updated 28 November 2022

Review: ‘The Guardians of Galaxy Holiday Special’ brings festive cheer to MCU

Review: ‘The Guardians of Galaxy Holiday Special’ brings festive cheer to MCU

LONDON: Viewers over a certain age may find that the phrase “Holiday Special” sends a shiver down their spine, but fear not — James Gunn and the Marvel factory are here to cleanse your palette. Gunn, recently announced as the new head of the DC cinematic universe, still has one more Marvel movie on the horizon, but before “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3” hits cinemas in 2023, the director has reunited with the ragtag group of heroes for a seasonal one-shot on the Disney+ streaming platform — the latest in Marvel’s series of Special Presentations after October’s “Werewolf by Night.”

In an attempt to cheer up fellow Guardian Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Mantis and Drax (Pom Klementieff and Dave Bautista) set out to give their friend an Earth-style Christmas, complete with lights, decorations and gifts. Except that their idea for a gift is to journey to Earth and kidnap actor Kevin Bacon, star of Quill’s favorite childhood movie, “Footloose.” Cue a series of comic interactions between the superhero Guardians and Earth’s population as they chase down and abduct Bacon and whisk him into space.

Unlike the now infamous 1978 “Star Wars Holiday Special,” this festive “Guardians” installment is as slick as the wider cinematic universe. For starters, it has excellent production values, appearances from all the Guardians (including Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Vin Diesel as Groot, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, and Maria Bakalova as new member Cosmo), and a story that, while light and throwaway, still fits into the wider MCU narrative. If anything, this is more of a scene-setting exercise for “Volume 3” than a seasonal cash-in. Gunn, and his ensemble cast, have clearly grown to love these characters as much as anyone, so there’s a feeling of playful reverence about this “Holiday Special” — not to mention a welcome sense that, while it’s silly and festive, this is as important to the Marvel timeline as any of the big-screen movies.


Concert calendar: This week’s major concerts at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar 

Concert calendar: This week’s major concerts at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar 
Lil Baby will perform in Qatar on Dec. 3. (File/ AFP)
Updated 28 November 2022

Concert calendar: This week’s major concerts at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar 

Concert calendar: This week’s major concerts at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar 

DUBAI: For fans making their way to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, here are this week’s major concerts set to take place alongside the football festivities.  

Monday, Nov. 28: The ARAVIA festival will feature performances by Scooter, Vegie and Sokkary. The Arcadia Music Festival will kick off with Hernan Cattaneo, Miss Monique, Argy, Jonas Saalbach, Alfa Romero, Mark Knight, Tita Lau, Ferry Corsten, Nervo, ATB, Martin Jensen, Cedric Gervais, Burak Yeter and Joselito.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Tuesday, Nov. 29: Rae Sremmurd, Dabous and Laymoon will take to the turntables at the ARAVIA festival, while the Arcadia festival will host Gorgon City, Argy, Jonas Saalbach, Alfa Romero, Citizen Kain, Vidal Rodriguez, ATB, Nervo, Burak Yeter, Ferry Corsten, Cedric Gervais, Martin Jensen, Burak Yeter and Mark Knight. British DJ Pete Tong will meet his fans at Bud World Club, while Canadian singer Nora Fatehi will perform at the FIFA Fan Festival.

Wednesday, Nov. 30: Gordo, Dabous and Laymoon will perform at the ARAVIA festival as the Arcadia Music Festival hosts Sebastien Leger, Argy, Citizen Kain, Jonas Saalbach, Alfa Romero, Vidal Rodriguez, Nervo, Ferry Corsten, ATB, Cedric Gervais, Mark Knight, Burak Yeter, Martin Jensen, and Block & Crown. Spanish singer Omar Montes will meet his fans at the FIFA Fan Festival as Colombian singer Ryan Castro opens the Qetaifan Beach Festival on Qetaifan Island North in Lusail.

Thursday, Dec. 1: Sebastian Ingrosso, Against Celebrities and DJ Leen will take to the stage at ARAVIA, while Dmitri Vegas & Like Mike, Nervo, Ferry Corsten, Gorgon City, ATB, Cedric Gervais, Mark Knight, Burak Yeter and Block & Crown perform at Daydream Festival in the Doha Golf Club, Al-Egla. Brazilian singer Ludmilla meet her fans at Bud World Cup and US singer Trinidad Cardona’s gig will be at the FIFA Fan Festival.

Friday, Dec. 2: Against Celebrities and DJ Leen will perform again at ARAVIA along with US rapper Tyga. The Daydream Festival will feature performances by Armin Van Buuren, Sam Feldt, Ferry Corsten, ATB, Mark Knight and Burak Yeter. DJ Aseel will be at the FIFA Fan Festival.

Saturday, Dec. 3: ARAVIA will feature Benny Benassi, Sin Tek and Sheiq. Arcadia will host Sebastien Leger, Ae:ther, Armonica, Vidal Rodriguez, Joselito, ATB, Ferry Corsten, Cedric Gervais, Burak Yeter and Mark Knight. Lil Baby will perform at the Bud World Cup zone, while Gims will hit the stage at the FIFA Fan Festival.


Artist Amira Nazer celebrates Jeddah women through mermaid-inspired exhibition

Artist Amira Nazer celebrates Jeddah women through mermaid-inspired exhibition
Updated 27 November 2022

Artist Amira Nazer celebrates Jeddah women through mermaid-inspired exhibition

Artist Amira Nazer celebrates Jeddah women through mermaid-inspired exhibition
  • Home city of Jeddah provides inspiration for Amira Nazer showcase
  • Artist hopes to inspire conversation about physicality and experience through artwork

JEDDAH: Artist Amira Nazer is showcasing her first solo exhibition at Hafez Gallery in Jeddah until Dec. 24.

“Huriyyat Jeddah,” which is curated by Basma Harasani, presents a series of photo sculptures that explores the tension, freedom, and beauty present in women’s lives through the use of fabric and the metaphor of the mermaid.

Nazer, who was born and raised in the historic port city, says she is proud of her roots.

She told Arab News: “It’s the biggest influence on how I conceive the world. Everything I experience is coming through the eyes of a Saudi woman.”

Nazer’s artistic journey began while she was a student at Columbia University in New York. Her passion for art prompted her to pursue a double major in political science and the visual arts.

She became aware of the stereotypes that surround Arab women while photographing friends.

(Supplied/Yassir Alhaidari)

She said: “It was always associated very negatively, like there was this imposition of coverage.

“I’ve always been drawn to material, and growing up while expressing myself in clothes was how I chose to differentiate myself and be creative.

“It was weird for a white man to tell me I’m oppressed. No, this is my choice. And it got me thinking of fabric.”

Nazer’s dream of a beautiful mermaid emerging from the sea, the debate over freedom or restriction and its parallels with Arab women and their garments, heavily influenced her work.

And the 23-year-old draws on this visual concept to communicate the individual’s experience of being comfortable in one’s physicality in relation to the environment felt by her subjects in her photographs.

It was important to the artist not to dictate the experience of the girls, all of whom lived in Jeddah but came from diverse cultural backgrounds. 

One of Nazer's photo sculptures made of shalki cotton. (Supplied/Yassir Alhaidari)

Encouraging them to choose how they wanted to cover their body, Nazer captures various physical narratives while, working with stylist and childhood friend Latifa Bint Saad, she chose fabrics that represented her youth and the Saudi home, such as shalki and gingham. 

The earthy tones emphasize the natural environment, which is central to the series, while the use of pink introduces femininity.

The images were printed onto the fabrics in which the women were photographed to reinforce the message.

Nazer experiments with the use and meaning of “material” to represent the composition of existence and the idea of materializing photographs into reality.

(Supplied/Yassir Alhaidari)

“Hurriyat Jeddah,” which means “The Mermaids of Jeddah,” is an exhibition that reflects Nazer’s journey as a Saudi woman, and those of many around the world who are subjected to others dictating their reality.

Nazer said: “What I hope to evoke is a conversation, exactly like I had with myself when I had the dream.

“This is what this piece is about: the voices of the women of Jeddah and the beauty of the experience in all its complexity.

“Diversity within the framework is what unifies it. There’s no one way; there’s no wrong way or right way. The differences in the experience are what unites it.”