Thursday, February 14, 2008

Upcoming...Incoming March: Brooklyn Maqam Arab Music Festival + GIRLS ROCK!: The Movie

It's not March yet, but February is slipping by, so here are a few upcoming...incomings in the NYC area.

• March 2 -30, 2008
Brooklyn Maqam Arab Music Festival
Local Arab Music Legends and Legacies

The performance schedule for BAC's Brooklyn Maqam Arab Music Festival, the first-of-its-kind month-long music festival celebrating Brooklyn's diverse Arab music scene in concerts, symposia, and workshops, from March 2-30 has been finalized! Nearly 100 local musicians and groups representing music traditions from Egypt, Yemen, Palestine, Iraq, Morocco, Israel, Syria, Tunisia, and Lebanon will perform at a range of venues including nightclubs, theaters, and coffeehouses.

Don't miss your chance to experience the sounds of the popular Moroccan and Tunisian music traditionssha'abi and rai while dancing until dawn, sip an Arabic coffee with Cardamom at a local Arab restaurant in Bay Ridge, "jam" with a Middle Eastern percussion ensemble at a workshop, discuss the history and relevance of Brooklyn's evolving Arab music traditions with scholars in the field, and more!

The festival features Arab music legends such as Simon Shaheen and Fahim Dandan as well as emerging artists in a range of pan-Arab music styles from traditional and classic to fusion and jazz-infused.
(Image Above: Zikrayat members Tareq Abboushi, Dimitri Mikelis, Bridget Robbins and Sami Abu Shumays, perform classical repertoire from the Golden Age of Egyptian cinema, photo courtesy of the artists.)


Granted I have some mixed feelings about this documentary. It focuses on the Portland, Oregon Camp that started the Rock 'n' Roll Girls Camp phenomena at in cities across the US and Canada. While I was happy to see some Asian American girls rockin' out, the trailer shows the focus to be mainly on young white girls and one Asian American teen. Granted the little girl who is featured on the poster can really rock--she's like a baby Rob Halford (lead singer: Judas Priest), but without the black leather biker imagery, and with the look of actor Julia Stiles as a brown-haired six or seven year-old girl.

Still, I wanted to see the little black and Latina girls I know are out there rockin' in Portland, Oregon (admittedly not a "Chocolate City") and elsewhere. However, I can admit that making a showing at the opening weekend of this film is really important. And if you don't blink you will see some girls of African descent in the trailer. So check out the website and see where the film is playing near you. Plus it's a chance to see guitarist Carrie Brownstein rockin' out (for all those Sleater-Kinney fans). The filmmakers Shane King and Arne Johnson have put their money where their mouth is for this film, mortgaging their homes and raiding their retirements to fund the film and numerous folks have contributed funding as well. So remember the first weekend is make-or-break. If you don't go out an see it that first weekend, you may not get a chance to, until it maybe comes out on DVD.

NY, LA, San Francisco, Berkeley, Chicago, Portland and Seattle on Opening Weekend.

"THE MOVIE (rated PG)
At Rock 'n' Roll Camp, girls ranging in age from eight to 18 are taught that it's OK to sweat like a pig, scream like a banshee, wail on their instruments with complete and utter abandon, and that "it is 100% okay to be exactly who you are." They are taught by indie rock chicks such as Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney various lessons of empowerment from self-defense to anger management. At the end of just one week, all the bands perform songs they've written with their new bandmates for over 700 people. "Girls Rock!" follows several campers: Laura, a Korean adoptee obsessed by death metal; Misty, who is emerging from a life of meth addiction and gang activity; Palace, whose heavy metal sneer belies her seven years, and Amelia, an eight-year-old who writes experimental rock songs about her dog Pipi. What happens to the girls as they are given a temporary reprieve from being sexualized, analyzed and pressured to conform is truly revolutionary."

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