Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sisters of Bast '07

More photos from last year's Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon. If there are photos from this year's rainy even, send them my way and I'll post.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Take the A Train: the Festival is Still On!

According to latest reports, the Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon is definitely happening as scheduled and the A train is running; it's running local after 168th St. Whoohoo! Please come by.
Here is the link for the latest weather updates: http://www.whidc.org/home.html.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park

Come join me and the Sisters of Bast at Fort Tryon Park on Sunday, Sept. 28 (rain date Oct. 5). This free event features musicians and dancers in costume and Medieval era gear performing from 11:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. at Fort Tryon, near the Cloisters Museum in the upper upper West Side. For rain date information: http://www.whidc.org/home.html.

Directions: take the A train to 190th, follow the crowd and you will find yourself at the entrance to the heather garden where the Festival begins. The bad news is: the A train is scheduled for maintainence and there will be shuttle bus service at the end. This could be amusing considering the Medieval types who will be on board, but will definitely take longer so plan accordingly.

Performance times: The Sisters of Bast will perform with me, Scheherezade, and Scott Wilson at the Riverside Market State at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. I'll also perform at the Unicorn Forum at 12:30 and the Pageant Wagon Stage at 5 p.m.

It's free and lots of fun. There are craft and supply vendors and zany food stuff and drinks. Please come and say hello!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sisters of Bast at the Medieval Faire 2007

This year's Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park (the Cloisters) is this coming weekend. To inspire this year's Sisters of Bast, I'm posting photos from last year's show. In the above photo we are waiting to go on behind Barbara Benary, Rocky Danziger, and Rami Nasser. Below are group photos featuring Carrie, Allison, Mila, Lauren, and other cats. Thank you all so much for dancing with me. More photos coming....

Dahesh Museum Collections Go West

For those missing and/or wondering about the Dahesh Museum of Art formerly located in Manhattan, two shows are on view on the west coast. In a general overiew of "Oasis: Western Dreams of the Ottoman Empire" newly opened at the Tacoma Art Museum, Dr. Flora Edouwaye S. Kaplan, Director of Dahesh Museum of Art offers this comment, “European and American painters, photographers, and sculptors of this movement represented others in Eastern settings. Their dreams, fancy, and fascination with accuracy would later be seen as ‘Orientalism,’ a relatively crude criticism for complex and unequal relationships between artists and their subjects everywhere.”

The idea of a "fascination with accuracy" as a justification for Orientalism has always interested and disturbed me. "Accuracy" certainly creates an orientalish quagmire: who defines accuracy, subject or observer, particularly when the subject is given no voice? I do miss the Dahesh Museum though. Their Napoleon exhibit is at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Mahmoud Darwich: As the Land is the Language"

Simone Bitton's documentary about Palestian poet Mahmoud Darwish offered striking photographs and film footage from throughout the late poet's life and career including the expulsion of the Palestinians in 1967, his early fame (gorgeous man, always smoking), political imprisonment, and life in exile in Russian, Tunisia and Paris (a city he claimed to love because he didn't speak French). Crowds of people attended his readings, some of the crying and mouthing the words, others sleeping. The landscape of Palestine and Jordan also takes a lead role in this documentary with sweeping shots of the Dead Sea and Galilee and closeups of Darwish's return later in life. Darwish's comments on love (he believed "institutionalized" love would interfere with his need for isolation), his poetic attraction to the sea (the first rhythm experienced by humanity), and his explanation that the word for poetry in Arabic language is equivalent to the word for "home," speak to his obsessive commitment to his art, legacy, and, perhaps, his fame. The soundtrack was mostly Marcel Khalife and included "Rita," one of Darwish's love poems to his first love.

Ghada Amer: Love Has No End

Ghada Amer's exhibit " at the Brooklyn Museum is worth the trip all of the way to Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn. This well established Egyptian born artist has been working in Paris and the US for many years. She's gained much attention for her embroidered images of women in pornographic poses with thread raked across them as well as her male and female straitjackets embroidered head to toe with "Barbie Loves Ken" and "Ken Loves Barbie"; all are on view. Drawings from her earlier works that sexualize Disney characters including Princess Jasmine and Alice in Wonderland, reminding me of my vague discomfort watching "Aladdin," glaring stereotypes and all, during one of last summer's language classes at AUC . More interesting to me were Amer's later works, also thread and text-based, such as "The Reign on Terror," showing different international emblems of power and terror and neutral toned embroidered works of Arabic script, dictionary definitions of "Peace," "Love," "Freedom," and "Security." In the midst of the bright colors of her other pieces, these works seem plain but when stepping closer to the pale thread on pale canvas are more elaborate and involved, drawing sense to the meaning of the words. Ghada Amer will give an artist's talk at the museum this Saturday, September 20, 2-4 pm. The exhibit runs through Oct. 19 (Pictured is a performance piece: I Love Paris.)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Belly Dance Class Registration Information

Belly dance classes begin next week at NYU and the CUNY-Grad Center! :
Tuesdays and Thursdays (NYU):
Beginning: 4:30-5:25 p.m.
Intermediate: 3:30-4:25 p.m.
Wednesdays (Grad Center):
Beginning: 6-7:30 p .m.
Ranya teaches Intermediate: 7:30-9 p.m.

Fridays (NYU):
Beginning: 3:30-4:25 p.m.
Intermediate: 1:30-3:25 p.m.
To register at the CUNY-Grad Center call (212) 817-8215 or email continuinged@gc.cuny.edu.
To register at NYU, go to Coles Gym, Tuesday through Thursday, Sept. 9-11. Visit the website for more information.

Email me for information on any class: jennifer@holisticbellydanceproject.com