Saturday, January 31, 2009

Guardian-Royal Court acts fast with Gaza crisis play

Caryl Churchill says her new play
is 'a political event, not just a theatre event'.

By Mark Brown, arts correspondent

The Guardian, Saturday 24 January 2009

By any theatrical standards the latest play by Caryl Churchill has been remarkably speedy, going from pen to performance on a London stage in under a month.
The reason for the speed is Gaza. Churchill was so appalled by events there that she felt compelled to write, and the Royal Court theatre in London felt a duty to quickly produce her play, titled Seven Jewish Children - A Play for Gaza.

Churchill, one of the titans of British theatre, said: "Israel has done lots of terrible things in the past, but what happened in Gaza seemed particularly extreme." The play will be performed for free with a collection afterwards for the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians. After the London run Churchill will publish it online and allow anyone, anywhere to download it. "Anyone can perform it without acquiring the rights, as long as they do a collection for people in Gaza at the end of it."

Churchill added: "I wrote it last week; by this week I was arranging it with the Royal Court; it's now being cast; rehearsals are next week; and we perform it on 6 February. It's only a small play, 10 minutes long, but it's a way of looking at what's happened and to raise money for the people who've suffered there." That tickets are free is important to Churchill. "It came out of feeling strongly about what's happening in Gaza - it's a way of helping the people there. Everyone knows about Gaza, everyone is upset about it, and this play is something they could come to. It's a political event, not just a theatre event."

The Royal Court's artistic director, Dominic Cooke, who will direct, said one of the theatre's strengths was its willingness to react to events - but this was the quickest turnaround he had known. "I hope audiences will be moved by the play," he said. "I hope they'll be provoked, that they'll be made to think about the historical circumstances that have led us to the situation in the Middle East." Cooke said that Churchill, 70, had tackled a huge subject in "an incredibly distilled and economical way". And he paid tribute to a writer who had her first play performed at the Royal Court in 1972. "Caryl is one of the reasons why I wanted to work at the Royal Court," Cooke said.

Cooke's version will have a cast of nine or 10 actors. "It might be provocative. I'm not sure. My job is to get inside the meaning of the play; and you never really know how it might be received, to be honest." Cooke said it was an important subject, not just because of the humanitarian crisis but because of the ramifications on other multicultural societies, not least the UK. He said there was a real thirst for meaty theatre. "People really want to be encouraged to think, to be challenged. There was a period five or 10 years ago when the perceived wisdom was that everything had to be apolitical and escapist, and that has definitely changed."
The Royal Court had planned a response to Gaza, said Elyse Dodgson, head of the international department: "We were talking about what we would do, and then our most committed and brilliant playwright came along with a play ... It is not an attack on anyone, it is a cry of grief."

• The play will be performed nightly at 9pm between 6 and 21 February after Marius von Mayenburg's The Stone. Tickets will be available from the box office (020 7565 5000) - not online - from Monday.

Courtesy of Prof. (Marvin) Carlson's Tipsheet...

"Time Out New York announces the revival of My Name is Rachel Corrie, whose cancellation caused such a scandal at New York Theatre Workshop in 2006, as “a timely production, given recent events in Gaza.” It is by the More Code Theatre Company at the Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th St. Tel. 868-4444, Tix. $20. Timely it may be, but if some enterprising New York theatre REALLY wanted to be timely on this matter, they would think about offering the latest dramatic work actually on this subject, Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children—A play for Gaza which is opening Feb. 6 at the Royal Court Theatre, which also premiered Rachel Corrie. Churchill wrote and is mounting the play in lesst than a month out of her concern for the recent events in Gaza It is being performed free at the Royal Court with a collection for charity medical aid for Gaza after the performance. After the London run, Churchill will publish it online free for anyone to perform so long as they include a collection for the people of Gaza at the end. New York producers note."


Friday, January 30, 2009

Artist Talk: Adila Laidi-Hanieh

ArteEast and Cabinet Magazine Present

Across Histories - Artist Talk:
Adila Laidi-Hanieh

The Palestinian Paradox: Post Modern Globalized Cultural Practices under Colonialism

When: February 6, 2009 at 7 PM

Where: Cabinet
300 Nevins St (between Sackett and Union Sts.) Brooklyn, NY, 11217

Click here for map and directions

Free and open to the public

Drawing from her recent book Palestine: We Lack for Nothing Here (Palestine rien ne nous manque ici), cultural critic Adila Laidi-Hanieh will discuss the paradoxical vitality of Palestinian culture--literature, visual arts, film, music—its "normalization", and unprecedented access to the international art circuit despite its predominantly political content. Laidi-Hanieh will conceptualize these practices as well as the related paradigms informing them, such as colonialism, post-colonialism and Arab postmodernity.

Adila Laidi-Hanieh is a cultural studies PhD candidate at George Mason University and has taught Palestinian contemporary art and modern Arab intellectual history at Birzeit University. From 1996 to 2005, she ran the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center in Ramallah and curated the 2001 memorial exhibition 100 Saheed-100 Lives. In 2008, she edited the book Palestine: We Lack for Nothing Here (Palestine: Rien ne nous Manque ici, Cercle d’Art, Paris), a cultural review of contemporary Palestine, which commissioned texts and art work from confirmed and emerging artists, critics, novelists, poets, and visual artists from Palestine and elsewhere.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Shahadat: Online Short Story Series

Shahadat is a new monthly online series at ArteEast designed to provide a platform for experimentation and promotion of short form writing on the web. These stories, vignettes, reflections and chronicles, written by young or underexposed writers from the Middle East and North Africa, are published here in translation and the original. Curator and coordinator Anna Swank writes, "Bilingual web publication opens the doors to international visibility and encourages the transcendance of cultural and linguistic boundaries in literature and other arts. Shahadat is at once an international forum for writers previously unknown outside of their communities and a window into the contemporary experience of writing and narrating in the Middle East."

This month the featured author is Nassar Abu Karsh. And his stories can be read here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Performance: The Fabrication of Blindness

The Fabrication of Blindness

An installation of embroidered detainee hoods that requires your active participation.

Think of it as a sewing circle of aesthetic action, blending craft & politics.

Thursday, January 29 from 7:30pm-10:00pm
Saturday, January 31 from 1:00pm-5:00pm

84 Havemeyer
Brooklyn, New York NY
United States
917 202 5479


a sewing circle to

embroider detainees' personal stories

led by Julia Mandle

& a discussion

led by Jeff Hnilicka, JMP Manager

Fabrication of Blindness

intends to give voice to the nearly thousand detainees who have been or or currently held at Guantanamo Bay. As the paradigm shifts in Washington, Fabrication of Blindness intends to explore the aftermath and Americans' sorting through emotions of dissent and complicity. Each participant will be given a case file and taught to hand embroider.

Sewing experience not required

Non-crafters are highly encouraged to attend.

The artist's website:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Open Call

1) The Vermont Studio Center Open Call

The Vermont Studio Center is an international residency program open to all artists and writers. Year-round, VSC hosts 50 artists and writers per month, each of whom receives an individual studio, private room, and all meals. Residencies last from 2-12 weeks and provide uninterrupted time to work, a community of creative peers, and a beautiful village setting in northern Vermont. In addition, VSC's program includes a roster of Visiting Artists and Writers (2 painters, 2 sculptors and 2 writers per month) who offer slide talks/readings and individual studio visits/conferences.

Applications and information available at

VSC Full Fellowships and a variety of special fellowships will be awarded at
the February 16th,2009 deadline, including:

VSC Fellowships: Open to all artists and writers

Zoland Poetry Fellowships (2): Open to writers of original
English-language poetry and poetry translators.

Golden Award (1): Open to all painters, merit-based

Wheels for Wheels Award (1): Open to an artist or writer who uses a
wheelchair and/or has a spinal cord injury.

For Application and Guidelines:
Vermont Studio Center / PO Box 613 / Johnson, VT 05656

DUMBO ARTS CENTER, Open Call for Exhibition Proposals


DUMBO ARTS CENTER (DAC) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit contemporary arts organization located in Dumbo, Brooklyn, New York. DAC's mission is to catalyze interaction between visual artists, the local community and the wider public, in order to preserve the neighborhood of Dumbo as a springboard for new art. DAC produces the annual multi-site D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival ®, presents a year-round program of new exhibitions in its gallery, commissions site-specific art and provides educational programs for artists and high school students.

DAC invites artists or curators (individuals or groups) from all levels of experience to submit exhibition proposals for realization in its gallery space in 2010. The 3,000 sq. ft. space is located at 30 Washington Street. Built in 1887, the site was the first of many factories to be built along the East River Waterfront between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges by cardboard box manufacturer, Robert Gair in the late 19th Century.

DAC is particularly interested in proposals, which harness and interpret the space's unique physical, spatial, historical, or psychological potential and which take an innovative, experimental approach to site-specific or site-responsive exhibition making.

Proposals must be original and conceived for the DAC space i.e. may not have been realized in any other venue.

Proposed exhibitions can be solo, two-person, or group and are open to all visual arts media.

DAC implements a two-round process in its open call:

ROUND I: requires the submission of a written statement ONLY. Whether the applicant is an artist or a curator, an exhibition must ultimately be communicated effectively to the media and public in addition to the art on display. A public talk by the curator during the show's run will be mandatory. The ability to articulate and convey an idea in writing is therefore essential for DAC to evaluate the feasibility and sound intellectual premise of a proposal.

ROUND II: DAC will select a shortlist of proposals from ROUND I and invite applicants to submit supporting visual material and resumes etc.

A final decision will be made on the basis of the material submitted in both rounds and applicants will be notified. Please note that due to the volume of work and a skeleton staff, DAC will only contact applicants whose proposals are of interest.

1. For ROUND I, proposals should not exceed 2,000 words, must include name(s) of applicant, contact information and if applicable at the time of writing, a list of artists.
2. All interested applicants are required to visit the physical gallery space and pick-up a gallery floor plan from the front desk or download from our website here .
3. Proposals must be e-mailed to no later than April 1, 2009.
4. Subject line: Exhibition Proposal 2009. Do not include attachments or support material.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gaza Fundraiser at NYU 1/27/09

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
NYU Kimmel Center
E&L Auditorium, 4th Floor
60 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

Admission: $25 per person

Guest Speakers:
Osama Abu Irshaid
Haroon Moghul
Yousef Abdullah

Performance by:
Tahani Salah
Remi Kenazi
and more to come!

Our Program includes dinner, poetry, spoken word performances, and more

Join us to help bring relief and aid to Gaza

Arab Students United at NYU
Students for Justice in Palestine at NYU
Arab American Association of New York

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Courage to Refuse

Here at Pomegranate HQ our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Gaza but we wanted take a moment to also recognize the Israeli citizens who are working against the occupation from within. These folks are the future of peace.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why The Pomegranate?

This blog is about culture and politics.

Pomegranates are a sacred symbol to Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Pagans. They represent
abundance, fertility, lusciousness, generosity, union, righteousness, blessings, suffering, birth and rebirth.

Because they are shared across cultures and traditions I am adopting the pomegranate as a symbol of peace.

Pomegranates are strange. Leathery skinned. You have to work to open them up. Inside they are beautiful and complicated.

Pomegranates originated in the Middle East (like me) but they have traveled all over the world. As food. As medicine.

And now, this.