January 31, 2007

IBM (Insha'allah, Bokra,Maalesh)

Egyptians have been long time using the IBM system. However IBM on the Nile does not mean Incorporated Business Machines. Old timers here know it refers to the Insha'allah (If God wills) Bokra (Tomorrow) Ma'alesh (Doesn't matter) attitude to life, specially other people lives and time.

First time I heard this interpretation was already in the late 60's, much before Big Blue. And If IBM the company is still blooming its development pales besides the complete generalization of the way of life that completely took over Egypt and Egyptians. Maybe it is just the development of the fatalistic attitude , Middle Easterners have for so long been accused of, taken to an extreme.

The reason why I state this is my complete amazement for something that happened last Tuesday. The theatre where I've been performing has been flooded on the first trial of the new anti fire dispositions, it seems no one thought that theater lights could produce heat and that the sensors heated up would start the floods.

Well now we have the experience, maybe we would learn something from it. But that is just wishful thinking.

The Theater has been closed for 2 days in order to let it dry up in the rays of our ever giving Ra. (crystalinks)

January 30, 2007

An invitation to live


This is one of the posters I find interesting. Why do I like it? maybe the title, maybe the simplicity of the design. I am not really sure. As a movie it is not a landmark. As a cast and although it features Mahmoud El Meligui (one of the giants of Egyptian cinema), Mervat Amin, Salah Zulficar, and Ashraf abdel Ghaffour, it is not one of those movies that people remember.
I just felt like showing it.

January 29, 2007

Alma Mater (We of AUC)


We of AUC Forever
Raise our voices now together
Time and place shall never sever
We of AUC






College Days and mem'ry

Games, defeat, or victory,
On and all emotions call
And bind our hearts in loyalty together,
Shoulder let us stand to shoulder
Pledge our love as life grows older
Courage ever making bolder
We of AUC




May thy torch eternal burning
Light for us the lamp of learning
That our souls, the truth discerning
Count for AUC



We thy mem'ry treasure,
strive to do thy pleasure
Causing right to conquer might
To give to thee our love in fullest measure,
Holding ever bright before us,
Those ideals our college bore us,
Raising up a mighty chorus,
To our AUC












Posted this because I had to sing it for graduation. Must still be part of the graduation ceremonies at AUC. However while in a nostalgic mood, I could not find it anywhere on the www.
So I thought maybe some AUC alumni would like to remember what they were singing out loud as a replacement to National Anthems or for some as an addenda to their own set of beliefs. I decided to go to AUC and try to find out where could I find it.
I tried the bookshop. It wasn't available. I then went to the Alumni office where I found that text I was looking for but also I found out about a story that I cannot confirm or deny. It seems the Alma mater was not part of the graduation ceremonies during some years. Could not find out the exact dates when this was not sung but it seems to me it was discarded sometime towards the end of the 50's and came back slightly changed in the mid to late 70's.
The big change was that "We" replaced "Men" in the text. There must have been some more changes, but I unfortunately could not find out anymore details.


January 28, 2007

Orandji

This little yawning kitten turned out to be the most caressing and trusting tom cat I've ever seen. He was a lovely character.
How come he got called Orandji?
Well, actually he was christened as Goldi, however a friend of mine who does not really like animals, in a moment of genius, watered down with a zist of disgust, told me: "but why do you call him Goldi, he is at best Orandji" and thus he was renamed. I believe she is somehow frightened by cats while she claims they just "disgust" her. Well she is not alone in her case, actually in Egypt, very few are animal lovers, I suppose it has to do with education and inaccurate myths that are fed to us during our infancy and even during our teens.

I would like to thank John Green for taking this video and also taking the time for editing it. When I saw it, memories of this lovely and so gentle cat submerged me. Orandji left his den last year and was never seen again. I remember Orandji fondly and actually miss him sometimes.
John is a guy who lives in Michigan but comes and visit Cairo often. He was somehow discouraged while discussing international politics whith Egyptians. According to him, Egyptians are suffering from a black out of information concerning the Iranian regime. He has another blog in which he discusses the Iranian situation. There I found this funny Iranian propaganda cartoon that somehow ridicules the American military might , strategies and the results it gets. Hope you like it.

January 27, 2007

Crazy Confessions (E3terafat Magnouna)

15 more days ... of work.
I do hate anything that has a remote connection to the concept of Work.




Well I am actually performing these days and for at least 15 more nights a play based on "Chekov's Ward No 6" adapted and directed by Samir El Asfouri.
By the end of these 15 performances we will have had a run of 75 nights.
We started actually rehearsals May last year, had 15 performances before Ramadan. Then restarted the run end of November.


Samir is a lovely gentleman. He has a strong attachment to the Taliaa Theater where this play is performed, as he has been the director there for years. In a way, he considers the place as his own.



He had already worked on an adaptation of this short story by Chekov in 1979 on the same premices. He chose to bring back as much of the original cast as he could.




I personally believe that each of the characters in the play is partly a mirror image of Samir himself. I am particularly thinking of 3am Darwish (left in the picture) who is one of the wards inmates who repetitively hammers that this place is what he loves and that he wants no changes to occur and one cannot help but think of Samir himself in one of his speeches about the importance of keeping this specific theater open and working.
Many though believe that the quarter is not anymore compatible with the existence of a theater. One has to say that in order for a member of the audience to get there, he would have to go through an amazing array of streets vendors, to try to get there by car or by taxi is quite complicated, and if you use your car then you would have to park it quite far.



But each of the other characters is also linked to the meanders of Samir's personality. For those who know him well, Samir strips his soul and underlines his frustrations. Those who are interested would be able to track down the relation between him and each of the characters in the play and would be also able to recognize his vision that is at the same time sarcastic and tender in the way he directed his actors. He is making fun of his characters but he accepts them, love them and would want to save them .


On the other hand, Samir also tries and explores the dangers of globalization and the direct danger it has on established systems of managing.



Nermine Zaazaa portrays the new doctor who is sent to the ward as an assistant but who through her becoming looks charms her colleagues and instigate a mutiny against the old director. Soon she gets in charge and the old doctor and even the colleagues who helped her find themselves in the ward. Some critics claimed that she is symbolizing the New Order.









The play is showing at 9.30 everyday but Tuesdays.

January 26, 2007

Changes are taking place

Changes are taking place... in the world, many of them, the Americans invented 2 new military technologies. One burns the enemy from as far as 500 meters and is supposed not to be lethal and the other one makes you slip on something called black ice.
Lebanon is at the brink of another civil war.
I am sure I could find many other changes taking place, however those I am referring to are those I want to make on this blog.
This is why I am apologizing in advance for any trouble accessing kikhote in the few days to come.
It is also the reason why my blog is having a slower rate of posting. I am a bit illeterate when it comes to HTML and other programing language names I can mistake for anything from jewels to military planes.
Hopefully, everything will be set by the end of February.
Posts will continue to be posted but the main look of kikhote might be changing slightly over time.

Mashrabia Kitsh

I went to an exhibition at the Mashrabia gallery . I decide to visit their website. Well their website is a joke. The only link working is the one of the website designer. It makes me wonder a bit about the whole seriousness of the gallery.

Nonetheless Mashrabia gallery is somehow one of the best private galleries in Cairo. They often have exhibitions of some of the stars of Egyptian art and their private collection is one of the most impressing in the galleries of Cairo. One of the other reasons I do have a tender spot for this gallery is my father who visited it in the late eighties and was impressed by the sweetness of the staff to the point he told me about it.

On the other hand though, the locale of the gallery is far from being perfect. Primarily, the ceilings are far too low for a gallery, and I often fear bumping my head when I go there.

They have a joint exhibition right now that shows works by artists Derno Ricci and Carmine Cartolano. They chose to name their exhibition "2kitching" or "dernocarmine". Somehow it seems thay could not translate "2kitching" so in the catalogue and in the invitation you have "2kitching" in latin letters but no equivalent in arabic.

Derno is a photographer who enjoys working in black and white. While Carmine is a teacher who seems to like using photomontages together with brightly colored stickers. I do agree that there is a big research into kitsh and that it seems to be one of the main tendancies in art nowadays, however I wonder why should we exhibit works by foreigners while many display organizers in the city of Cairo and actually all over Egypt do such amazing and naive things with the same techniques. Those at least do not think they are making art even if they actually succeed more striking effects than the intellectuals foreign or Egyptians that try their hand at it. Well, maybe it is only a matter of sponsorship. Big companies who sponsor art shows want to have artists they can show off.


January 25, 2007

A Party for Boris (2002)


is a play by Thomas Bernhard. It was produced by Al Hanager Art center in 2002 for the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theater (CIFET), directed by Mohsen Helmi and based upon a translation by Dr. Ahmad Sakhsoukh with a cast led by Raghda. We performed twice for the festival, then the run was stopped. When the time was ripe to restart our run, Raghda had gone to Iraq with a delegation of Arab intellectuals that went to witness the last days of the undemocratic regime. Actually, they were trying to be human shields in defense of the Iraqi people. The play was resumed with another "grande dame" of acting, Poussy, which involved a few changes in the set and the costumes.

During rehearsals somehow inspired or maybe disturbed by both the play and the political context I was sketching (see below). What else could I do against the obvious need the western world had to unstock their pile of arms that were becoming near obsolete and that they had to use ? Nothing. Nobody was ready to listen. Most Western deciders "believed" actually "knew" of the existence of the famous WMDs. What could anyone do?

Nowadays,

It seems to me they did not use enough of the piled stocks of arms they have against Iraq and want to enlarge the conflict even more so that they can write off the debts incurred while producing those stocks. Iran, Syria and Lebanon seem to me to be likely candidates for the wrath of the masters of the world and for nice juicy rebuilding schemes.

We have a beautiful Egyptian saying it goes "Rabena Yostor"




If you would like to see them as a slideshow then here it is

January 23, 2007

Some due explanations


This is just an explanation for those who wonder (it seems though I am the one who wonders about it the most) why do I give so much weight to the horoscopes and the personality test. Why do I think it matters, although I did underline my belief that horoscopes are crap. Why is it so important ?
Seriously, what started me on this blog was this urge of having an audience that would read or see my crap (some friends of mine would now accuse me of fishing and they know me well). Nonetheless, the truth is that my intent was that anyone who would check my blog more than 24 hours apart should find a new thing to read, or to watch, or to see, or to think about, I myself wonder if I will keep it up.
I don't really know if this is just a New Year Resolution. It could be. Yes I am the type of guy who can get passionate about somethings and then just forget them or even worse hiding them in unorganized boxes, also the kind of guy who can break his resolution 15 minutes into the New Year (I actually remember doing exactly that once. The resolution was then to quit smoking.)
All this is an introduction. (My God , how can anybody understand what I am talking about. Please help my readers.)

The Explanation

I found out that the main info about me in my profile were the Moon's whereabouts when I was born, and I thought that maybe I should give more meat to those carnivorous (some of these are vegans) of such details (it seems to be of importance, I don't remember having asked for that to be shown on my profile).

January 22, 2007

My first exhibition (1999)


(Al Ahram Weekly's Pack of Cards annoucement for my first exhibition)
Pack of Cards was a column writen by Madame Sesostris (probably a nom de plume) and it had a specific humor to it. I used to check it out when I was still buying and therefore reading newspapers.



A few of my works that were displayed



To see these and more in a slideshow

January 21, 2007

Egyptian Horoscope






I am a Thoth



Enthusiastic, enterprising, courageous, likes to take risks.

Colors: male: rose, female: white
Compatible Signs:
Bastet, Isis
Dates:
Apr 1 -Apr 19, Nov 8 - Nov 17

Role: God of wisdom, scribes, and writing
Appearance:
An ibis-headed man, or a baboon. Often seen with the moon on his head in either of these forms.
Sacred animals:
ibis, baboon



What is Your Egyptian Zodiac Sign?
Designed by CyberWarlock of Warlock's Quizzles and Quandaries




I am not a believer in horoscopes and all that crap. However we all know our Lunar horoscopes , well if we are a gemini or a leo. But vey few can say off handedly that they are Bastest or Set. Here is a chance to impress your friends.... Maybe.

January 19, 2007

Personality test


Me, an Hermit ?


Prudence, Caution, Deliberation.


The Hermit points to all things hidden, such as knowledge and inspiration,hidden enemies. The illumination is from within, and retirement from participation in current events.


The Hermit is a card of introspection, analysis and, well, virginity. You do not desire to socialize; the card indicates, instead, a desire for peace and solitude. You prefer to take the time to think, organize, ruminate, take stock. There may be feelings of frustration and discontent but these feelings eventually lead to enlightenment, illumination, clarity.


The Hermit represents a wise, inspirational person, friend, teacher, therapist. This a person who can shine a light on things that were previously mysterious and confusing.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.


Up there is my result for that test. being a hermit is not so bad when you have so many cats visiting you. I hope you all enjoy taking the test and finding out what you are.

January 18, 2007

Egyptians are No 1

The Egyptian Museum overlooking Tahrir Square traffic


We are the champions.
Well more accurately our diplomats in New York at the UN are.
It seems our diplomats there have nostalgia for our Egyptian traffic.
Home sickness? Or maybe it is just because they are working so hard.

Cairo Traffic is chaotic at best. Namely because we Egyptians have decided that one is allowed to park for a few minutes even in third row as long as the baby needs his lollipop or soft drink, or because this is the only ATM on your way to your shopping errands.

We also decided that red lights mean go upfront as much as you can without getting bumped into and then stop indecisively as maybe you can eat up a few more centimeters that would give you the advantage (when the lights you cannot see anymore turn to green). In the meantime pedestrians have to find a way to slalom between cars to cross the street. Maybe when the Global Warming will make snow fall on Cairo this slalom experience will come in handy

One has to say that pedestrians decided to fight back and are also doing the same all the time.

All this to say that we have been seriously coaching all Egyptians and the visitors for this championship that our diplomats highly earned.




BBC: Egyptian diplomats owe NY city 2 Millions US $ in parking tickets (read article)

January 17, 2007

J'ai vu des rois serviles ...



It was 7 am. The Feast prayer was still going on. Saddam had just been hanged and here on that balcony that could have suited a politician for a big speech. I saw this poor animal that was waiting for his turn to be executed. The animal's postures and bows right and left, left me wondering.

January 16, 2007

Yahia Lababidi

IF by Yahia Lababidi


If there were more than one of me
I'd shave my head and grow my beard
I'd be a Doctor of Theology

In great coat of myth, impermeable to ridicule
I'd raise my voice and sing
hymns to the Unknown god

Another me would come undone voluptuously
submit to possessions, deliriously
mate with night in vicious delight


...


Order Yahia's Book
Actually if anyone is lucky enough to be in this beautifully over polluted city of Cairo you might also find it at the AUC Bookshop

More Information and more works by Yahia

Why do I advertise Yahia. First because I like him as a person.
But also because there is a couple of photos I took with him on my mind on a trip to Syria. When I came back home from the land of the Phoenicians, Yahia had already gone to the Land of skyscrappers, and I never had the chance of showing them to him.

So here they are. He will recognize those I refer to.


There used to be a slideshow posted here but it was removed because it was causing too many browsers crashing, however you can still see it Here

January 15, 2007

More Posters

Image taken from the France Culture radio programmes




and more details about this

I will try to have the podcast available.

Nonetheless the image used on the France culture website is the Algerian version of the poster. Here is the Egyptian one.

January 14, 2007

Movie Posters ????

Another of my passions... hobbyes???.... Passe-Temps. Collectibles.

Downloadable wallpaper consisting of the Movie posters for 3 Egyptian movies.
"Crime in the quiet neighbourhood" "13and one lie" "Schoolgirl, the"




What is it really that started me collecting those?


Well it was the lobby cards, "Kartonat". I do believe that these are really interesting collectibles. They are ownable "art installations" and take so much less space than some of the monstruosities our modern artists produce. I might come back on that subject.

For the moment and if you are interested check out some Egyptian Movie Posters and a US evaluation of their commercial value.

you might even want to order some!!! They look so nice on a bathroom door!

2001: Postcards collecting

2001: article published by Al Ahram Weekly (Thanks to the editor).



I still wonder why I collect postcards. But Some Postcards do have a magical effect on me. Not so much because they are postcards. It is not really their value, if any as postal history that excites me. It is the strangeness of some of them. In the article mentioned above I try to explain this fascination , and maybe one day will you find posted here in better resolution the postcards mentioned there.
This one shown here is a gem.
It is not a true postcard, it has been printed on postcard photo paper, but is an obvious reminder of 1967 (at least it is for me).
I really find the look of the planes and the obvious photo montage quite charming, even though in certain moods it could start me on some rebuilding the world scheme.

The Global warming up is not giving me much hope.

In a way though that Global warming up could be what saves humanity from the wars for water that are also predictable in our much over heated and complex global schizophrenia.



I don't believe I am yet used to the exhibitionism on the net.



I might become used to it and maybe even enjoy it.


I need my time.


Maybe.


Qui Vivra verra.

January 13, 2007

On The Verge (Hanging on Air)

In 2003, I produced this book as part of an exhibition , today it comes to the www.


Text accompanying the pictures to be seen in the slide further down:

The truth is that in order to preserve one's sanity one has to eventually compromise oneself, or accept loneliness. If one choses to compromise then things seem to go better for sometime but soon it gets again complicated to reconcile one self with the society around. The moment comes when one has again to compromise as either part of the entity or the individual or as both.
For the individual, it is a slope that could be termed in the subtleties of the diplomatic language "a force de compromis on se compromets" some would even add "on se corrompt".
I wonder if the banned door of AUC does not within a distorted logic fit within the Cairo amazing and logically unexpected showcases. I also wonder what will happen of this banned door when the University moves away to the less polluted area where it intends to move. Will it regain its use as a door or will it be kept by the new organization as a timeless memorial of a time that used to be. What will be there ? will the Greek campus attacked by some terrorist organization will become a memorial or will it just be handed over to Halliburton to become their offices in Cairo? Maybe it should be refurbished into a research center about the effects of high level of pollution on indigenous populations, somehow one would expect some Rumsfeld at the head of such a vital research center.
Long before September 11, there was a time when one could just walk in anywhere and all gates were opened. Eventually security concerns and probably also market laws convinced societies that they needed to close doors and to refuse entrance to the possibly evil passer by . Heavily guarded and "inpenetrable" doors were built and somehow maybe September 11 was just a reaction to this "privatisation" or is it "colonization" of space.
There are so many kinds of freedom , there is the freedom for the public enemies to hide in caves and the freedom for Kubrick's schizophrenic "Dr." to pull the trigger or push the button.
Fundamental freedoms are under attack however the freedom to push the button is still allowed to some.




Slideshow had to be removed as it caused browsers to crash while loading, it can still be found here