Thursday, April 28, 2011

Democracy Now: Rula Jebreal and Issandr El Amrani

Pen America's World Voices Festival hosted a panel last night that featured both journalists featured on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now that appeared earlier the same day. Some of the issues discussed are similar. This clip focuses on Israel, Palestine, and tenuous relations between Fatah and Hamas:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thalia and the Sisters of Bast at J'Bon on May 4

D'jam at Je'Bon
Je'Bon Noodle Shop
15 St. Mark's Place
Reservations: 212-388-1313
Cover: $10; table minimum: $5.

With Kaeshi Chai and live music by Djinn.

Thanks to lovely Kaeshi Chai, we'll dance once more this semester at Je'Bon before classes end! Kaeshi will dance as well. Please come and dance or watch or both..... (Photo: Peter Turco)

Friday, April 8, 2011

PEN World Voices: Revolutionaries in the Arab World

PEN World Voices offers a panel with Abdelkader Benali, Abdellah Taia, Rula Jebreal, Ghassan Salamé, and others. Wednesday, April 27: 7:30 p.m. 92nd Street Y, Unterberg Poetry Center, 1395 Lexington Ave., New York City
Tickets: $20/$15 PEN Members, students with valid ID. Call (866) 811-4111 or visit
Co-sponsored by the 92 Street Y, Unterberg Poetry Center

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

NYC Event: Hafla Honoring Ibrahim Farrah

This weekend's show and workshop promises one of the most unique events of the season. Though these dancers from NYC are gathering to honor their late mentor, Ibrahim Farrah, they are legends on their own: Elena, Samara, Phaedra, Leila Gamal (who was my very first teacher in the late 1980s), and the list of dancers goes on. Eddie "the Sheik" Kochak is also scheduled to make an appearance. Anyone with interest in the this field should come to honor this history. And, of course, to have a great time. For more information:

Hamid Dabashi's Brown Skin, White Masks

Hamid Dabashi's Brown Skin, White Masks sounds sorely needed. I'm not a great fan of John Green's review and wondering why find no reviews here...curious.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sufism vs. Traditional Islam in The Huffington Post

As a teenager, the only Sufi order I knew of lived in a communal trailer park in western Kansas. When I moved to Boston in the early 90s, I encountered the American version of Sufism through dance mentors and poetry and used copy of Sa'adi's Rose Garden I found in a used bookstore in Davis Square. I still remember a memorable lecture on Sufism at Harvard Divinity School presented by a Sufi scholar from the American southwest. Unfortunately, his name escapes me. His main focus was that American Sufis avoid the connection between Sufism and Islam. I'd always associated both together and was surprised by this, but soon became aware of this sticky topic. Since then, I've also encountered doubt from those who follow traditional Islam toward contemporary Sufis in the US. This topic continues to interest me. Today's appearance of this column by Omid Safi "Is Islamic Mysticism Really Mysticism" showed up in The Huffington Post's Religion section. ..." The second half of the essay interests me most: So what we have had for the last few decades is a situation of Orientalists and Salafi Muslims seeking to construct a "real Islam" that is untainted by Sufi dimensions, and many new agers seek to extract a mysticism that stands above and disconnected from wider, broader and deeper aspects of Islam."

Montreal in June with SLS

I just received a fellowship to study in Montreal for two weeks this June at Concordia University with Summer Literary Seminars. This news was timed perfectly. I'm returning full attention to my novel now that I finished my yoga teacher training last weekend at YogaWorks. Yoga? Orientalism? Yes. Even more of an Orientalist than before.