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Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 26 - 03 - 2009

Sounds of music
The United States Embassy's Cultural Office, in cooperation with the Cairo Opera House, presents BLUZAPALOOZA, a blues concert created by blues producers Steve Simon and John Hahn to be featured tomorrow, at the Open-Air Theatre of the Cairo Opera House. The concert is free and open to the public. The US Embassy in Cairo invites the Egyptian public and press to a live webchat with blues vocalist Eden Brent today, at 2pm Cairo time. Questions for the artist are welcomed at Invited by the US ambassador to Egypt and native of Memphis, Tennessee, Margaret Scobey, BLUZAPALOOZA band will bring to Cairo the music of Memphis and its famous Beale Street, a place synonymous with the blues tradition in the United States. Headlining the tour will be the "Prince of Beale Street", Billy Gibson, Brent, and the Memphis-based blues band Delta Highway. Gibson was named the Beale Street Entertainer of the Year, and is a multiple Blues Music Award nominee. Brent is a four-time Blues Music Award nominee. She is known for her piano playing and strong voice. With a vast repertoire of original and standard blues songs, Brent is one of the busiest blues artists in the country today performing throughout the USA and around the globe. Delta Highway breathes youth and energy back into the blues. With strong guitar sounds, combined with a progressive harmonica sound, this Memphis band has developed a style that is all their own and is sure to please new and veteran blues fans alike. ( see Listings p.5 )
On the occasion of celebrating Mother's Day, the Catholic Centre held an exceptionally glamorous celebration, paying tribute to a bevy of celebrities and media figures. Father Boutros Daniel and actor-cum-singer Samir Sabri distributed the awards among the honourees. Among them were veteran singer Sherifa Fadel, veteran actresses Lebleba, Nelly and Elham Shahine, actress and TV presenter Safaa Abul-Seoud, veteran radio presenter Fadila Tawfiq, writer Neam El-Baz, spouse of late scriptwriter Abdel-Hai Adib, Al-Ahram backpage editor Mona Ragab and newly appointed Minister of State for Family and Population Mushira Khattab.
Celebrating Mother's Day, a thrilling party was held at the Tayaran Club, presided over by Walid Mourad, honouring a galaxy of celebrities and media figures. Key among them were mother of late young comedian Alaa Walieddin, veteran actors Mohamed El-Dafrawi, Mohamed Abul-Hassan, Hassan Mustafa, media figure Tarek Allam as well as popular singer Hakim, who also enlivened the party with his well-known songs.
photos: Abdel-Hamid Eid
Under the auspices of the Arab League, the Arab Television Producers Forum, headed by Ibrahim Abu Zekri, honoured a number of high-profile figures, intellectuals, businessmen and celebrities at the Le Méridien Hotel. Veteran actor Mahmoud Yassin, actress Nermine El-Fiqi, veiled actress Sabrine, actors Ahmed Bedeir and Maged El-Masri, Syrian actor Gamal Suleiman, owner of Al-Mehwar channel and businessman Hassan Rateb, and media figure Tareq Allam were among the honourees.
Port Said Governor Mustafa Abdel-Latif, along with the head of the General Organisation of Culture Palaces Ahmed Megahed inaugurated the Eighth Port Said National Biennial at Al-Nasr Art Museum. The event was held under the auspices of Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni. The opening was attended by the biennial commissar, renowned artist Mohamed Abla and head of the jury committee Reda Abdel-Salam, as well as a variety of plastic artists and media figures. The event was livened up by the Port Said Folk dance troupe.
Last Monday, the Goethe Institute in Cairo held a press conference to announce its launch of the German Cultural Weeks in Egypt. German Ambassador to Egypt Bernd Erbel and Institute Director Heiko Sievers both spoke at the event and discussed the important role of this German cultural initiative, aimed towards the Middle East and North Africa. The inaugural ceremony of the event took place in Alexandria, marked by a concert featuring the youth who had won the prize of the Youth Make Music competition. In the capital, the Cairo Opera House witnessed an inaugural ceremony, featuring a duet musical performance by the Mènchener Percussion Ensemble, led by Adel Shalabi, and the Cappella choir, followed by a reception hosted by Erbel. � Tunisian Ambassador to Egypt Al-Sadek Al-Qerbi held a prestigious reception at his residence to commemorate Tunisia's Independence Day. The event was crowned by the presence of head of the National Council for Human Rights Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Moroccan Ambassador to Egypt Mohamed Farag Al-Dokali and his Algerian counterpart Abdel-Qader Al-Hagar, senior member of NDP Mohamed Abdallah, Al-Ahram Al-Arabi Editor-in-Chief Mohamed Abdel-Atti as well as media figures Alfa El-Salami, Amin Mohamed Amin, Mahmoud Sultan and Tunisian singer Hadia.
photos: Ayman Barayez
Tunisian Ambassador to Egypt Al-Sadek Al-Qerbi held a prestigious reception at his residence to commemorate Tunisia's Independence Day. The event was crowned by the presence of head of the National Council for Human Rights Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Moroccan Ambassador to Egypt Mohamed Farag Al-Dokali and his Algerian counterpart Abdel-Qader Al-Hagar, senior member of NDP Mohamed Abdallah, Al-Ahram Al-Arabi Editor-in-Chief Mohamed Abdel-Atti as well as media figures Alfa El-Salami, Amin Mohamed Amin, Mahmoud Sultan and Tunisian singer Hadia.
The Egyptian International Association for Combating Addiction, presided over by Hisham Abbas, held a celebration to mark a festival focussing on awareness-raising among mothers. Minister of Social Solidarity Ali Meselhi honoured a bevy of high-profile figures including Nisf Al-Donia magazine Editor- in-Chief Afkar El-Kharadli, as well as veteran actor Mahmoud Yassin and his wife veiled actress Shahira, actress and TV presenter Safaa Abul-Seoud and former head of the Luxor Supreme City Council Magdi Khalaf.
For the second consecutive year, the Madinaty International Sculpture Symposium has resumed to pursue its ambitions to continue proceedings for the fulfilment of its mission as an avant-guarde for urban, modern thinking. Activities of the symposium started on 15 March and will continue through 30 April. It aims at integrating the urban structure with basic cultural and aesthetic needs of the individual. In this session, 16 artists are participating -- six Egyptians and 10 foreigners -- using a variety of materials such as iron, marble, granite and steel. Among the participants are Ahmed El-Sotouhi, Ali Haebeish, Salah Hammad and Said Badr from Egypt, Piero Maspoli from Switzerland, Tobias Ahlhelm from Germany and Hori Yasushi from Japan.
Damascus is a UK play written by Scottish writer David Greig. The play highlights the impact of preconceptions and stereotypes in identifying how people interact and relate to one another. The British Council is organising a regional tour for the play, during March and April of this year, taking it to Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Palestine. The tour is organised within the framework of a broader British Council project that aims to explore the growing interest in UK theatre in the Arab culture, while providing an opportunity for the Arab audience to view plays that address their image in the UK. Cairo performances will take place at Al-Sawy Cultural Wheel, Wisdom Hall, Zamalek, on 28 and 29 March.
Volunteers In Action, a community service club at the American University in Cairo that aims to make a difference in the lives of the neediest members of society, particularly by helping orphans, organised a day of entertainment for orphans. It was a great success indeed: 500 orphans from 11 different orphanages from all over Cairo took part in the day. There were many activities for the orphans such as face painting, drawing, as well as clown and magician shows. Among the celebrities who attended the day were comedian Mohamed Lotfi.
On 31 March at 7pm, at the Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) in Safiya Zaghloul Street, Mounira, a lecture titled Beyond the Anthropological Gaze: Middle Eastern Visual Culture and Contemporary Art Criticism will be delivered by Omneya El-Shakry, an intellectual historian at the University of California, Davis. Her book, The Great Social Laboratory: Subjects of Knowledge in Colonial and Postcolonial Egypt, was published in 2007. She is currently developing her work on the history of ideas in modern Egypt to include questions of visual culture and the relationship between aesthetics and politics.
Yesterday, the Annual Conference for Engineering Students (ACES) was held at the Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University, benefiting engineering students from all the Egyptian universities. The ACES aims to integrate the academic and professional streams, having spent five years working intensively and achieving excellent quality output through the last five conferences held from 2005 until 2009. The ACES is a market-oriented human development activity. After researching the market needs of multinational companies, ACES programmes have developed training courses focussing on life- long learning skills.
Tomorrow, the Breast Cancer Foundation of Egypt (BCFE), chaired by Dr Mohamed Shaalan, is set to host the seventh annual sporting event entitled "Run for Cure" on the main track, Gezira Sporting Club, from 10.30am to 4pm. Participation in the run is not restricted to members of the Gezira Club, and everyone is strongly encouraged to take part and as such play their role in helping raise awareness regarding this dangerous threat that menaces half of Egyptian society. The day will start with Egyptians and foreigners running the tough run, followed by casual runners, then an all- women walk and a family walk. The event will include a talk show attended by a number of celebrities and experts on breast cancer and nutrition.
The inauguration ceremony of the first Cairo International Jazz Festival that took place on the grounds of Al-Sawy Cultural Wheel was hosted by Mohamed El-Sawy, Amr Salah, director of the Cairo Jazz Festival and the Jazz Society of Egypt as well as glamorous singer Anoushka. During their speech, they presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to jazz master Yehia Khalil and to the family of the late Salah Ragab, one of the leading jazz pioneers in Egypt. The festival hosted a number of top Egyptian and European jazz artists including the legendary Bulgarian artist Theodosii Spassov, who presented a professional and entertaining atmosphere with an attendance of around 5,000 guests over the course of four days, along with Eftekasat band.

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