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Transcending Nationalisms: International Conference and Concert UCLA

June 30 (Sat), 4-10 pm at at UCLA's Fowler Museum

Can literature, music, art bridge the Middle East and the West? Writers/editors and musicians create a culture jam to blure the divide. A public conversation with Reza Aslan, Nathalie Handal and Sholeh Wolpé, moderated by Jordan Elgrably, followed by a reception and a concert with Niyaz at UCLA's Fowler Museum.

Writers and editors of major anthologies featuring work from and about the Middle East discuss the role of literature in moving Western consciousness away from the terrorists and fanatics towards the cultural heritage of that region. To what extent can such anthologies play a role in bringing about a more balanced sense of shared humanity, and how can they contribute to the ongoing dialogue now taking place between the East and the West?

There is an emerging international literary voice that is suggestive of a powerful and sustained interest in Middle Eastern cultures, and in the culture of its worldwide diaspora. It is a voice that is diverse and complex, shaped by the forces of immigration, exile, political upheaval, and revolution. Reza Aslan, Nathalie Handal and Sholeh Wolpé present the case for culture and discuss the important conciliatory role such anthologies can play in the present political climate.

Organized and presented by Levantine Cultural Center and the Fowler Museum with the support of the Center for Near East Studies-UCLA and PEN Center West. Members of Levantine Cultural Center, the Fowler Museum, CNES and PEN, as well as students, receive a discount on event tix: Panel, reception and concert with Niyaz, general admission, $30, members/students price, $25. Panel event only, 4-6 pm, general admission $15, members/student price, $10. Purchase online below, or call 310.657.5511/657.5522:

Reza Aslan is the author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (Random House, 2005) and Editor in Chief of the upcoming Norton Anthology of Modern Literature of the Muslim World. An internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, Reza Aslan is a regular commentator for NPR's Marketplace and Middle East Analyst for CBS News and has made several appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He is a research fellow with USC's Center for Public Diplomacy and a national advisory board member of Levantine Cultural Center.

Nathalie Handal is a poet, playwright and editor of The Poetry of Arab Women and co-editor of the forthcoming Norton Anthology of The Contemporary Poetry of the Eastern World.

Sholeh Wolpé is a poet, translator and editor of the forthcoming anthology Iconoclasts and Visionaries. Her books include The Scar Saloon and Sin: The Poetry of Forough Farrokhzad.

Jordan Elgrably (moderator) is co-editor of the forthcoming anthology Iconoclasts and Visionaries and author of the forthcoming book of author interviews, Politics of the Word.

Niyaz Three prominent artists, Azam Ali, best known as the vocalist of the successful world music group Vas, Loga Ramin Torkian, the multi-instrumentalist and composer for the critically acclaimed group Axiom of Choice, and Carmen Rizzo, a two time Grammy Award nominee producer/ remixer, have joined forces to create a globe-spanning sound that the trio calls "world music for the 21st century."

Fowler Museum, UCLA.
308 Charles E Young Dr N, Los Angeles, CA 90095. [Map]

Cultures of the Middle East & Mediterranean
1012 S. Robertson Blvd., Suite C
Los Angeles CA 90035-1537


Founded in the summer of 2001 by several Americans of North African/Middle Eastern heritage, Levantine Cultural Center (LCC) has become a highly visible and prolific pan-cultural arts project for Middle Eastern cultures, producing numerous groundbreaking performances and lectures. LCC often forms cross-cultural partnerships with like-minded organizations, curates multidisciplinary programs, and regularly includes Arabs/Muslims, Christians and Jews in its outreach, attracting culturally and religiously diverse audiences. LCC celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2006 with a series of worldbeat shows, literary events in the series "Maktub: New Writing From/To the Mideast" and the monthly comedy/satire show "Sultans of Satire: Middle East Comic Relief." Info 310.657.5511.

... Payvand News - 6/13/07 ... --

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