I love Halloween and enjoy a good eerie flic. I also want to make that horror film with Suleiman some day - looks like it could be sooner rather than later ;)
YouTube has a special I've been checking out all morning. There are many vids I liked from the selection Wes Craven pulled out. Here are my favorites.... one for the obvious reasons, the second for the genius of the art of it's characters/stop motion technique, and the third coz it's visually very interesting.
Monkey-Ed Movie: Scream
Day with the devil
Black string theory
a small medium @large
I love Halloween and enjoy a good eerie flic. I also want to make that horror film with Suleiman some day - looks like it could be sooner rather than later ;)
There's a Time Travel Mart on Sunset Boulevard that's really cool. But even cooler is what happens in the back rooms. 826LA is a place of inspiration and fun and learning. It's all about writers and storytellers, curious students exploring thru words, passionate teachers and writing tutors.
If writers, stories and their tellers matter to you, and if you're looking for unique holiday gifts, you may want to spend some money at their store this season.
Once Upon a School is about the power of private tutoring - it's a wonderful program made possible by Dave Eggers.
Author: Claudia, age 12. Artist: Rama Hughes.
I'm living a challenging stage of a project that includes product development, branding and positioning, and so my censors are on alert for what's going on locally and globally. Not a space nor phase I'm particularly fond of, as in this world of clutter we are often invited to be distracted away from content, while lured by the emballage. And I live in a loud and flashy community, where exterior matters and where interior is often inferior (blanket generalization, of course there are exceptions).
On one of my pix on ikbis, I got a comment asking why I'm using the username ArabianMonkey, and if I'm not Arab requesting that the owners of the site remove my account. I found it hilarious and sad.
Why are some people focused on being defensive, and when you look around, they've built nothing of value themselves? They just want to bash things. Do they construct? No. Do they create? No. Do they imagine? No. Do they inspire? No.
So, dear defensive-bigoted-passive-aggressive-people-concerned-with-the-state-of-the-Arab-image, go create something amazing and long lasting to celebrate your pride of being Arab. And while you're at it, please stop being the no-fun-allowed-police. Stop contributing to hatred and racism and comment pollution. Nobody wins. Also, a sense of humor won't hurt. You'll see the world in a whole new light if you laugh more..... at yourself first, hopefully.
This vid is dedicated to my race and species
I got to dinner (yes late) and sat across the table from two remarkable artists. Samia Zaru and Muhanna Al-Durra. I was the luckiest person on earth for those couple of hours. It's been a hellish week, and dinner with inspiring artists just makes all the bad go away.
It was exciting to see Muhanna. I was curious to chat about his current works and his latest indulgence. We spoke of madness, kidults, and the quest towards the next obsession. I've gotten so lost in Muhanna's paintings since I don't know when. I stare into the colors and lines and faces for hours. I play around his stories on the walls. His paintings always make my heart smile. And talking to him makes my head spin in new, strange ways. I love that.
I was in awe talking to Samia Zaru. The incredible rich experiences of her life radiate. She has narrated Palestinian stories through her sculptures, murals and paintings and kept a fading spirit alive through these years. When she talks, you just want to listen. She is tireless, and sought after the world over to visit countries near and far to share her art and work with those hungry for color and texture and meaning. When she tells stories of her art programs and children, you know she's changed their lives.
Both Samia and Muhanna teach as well as create. They pass it forward. They inspire creative hearts. They empower hungry talents. They help anchor lost souls. But best of all they keep curiosity restless.
Jordan is blessed to be the home of Samia Zaru and Muhanna Al-Durra. If you know their work, go ahead, reignite your senses and look for them again. If you don't know their work, you really should. And don't forget to ask when their next exhibit is. It's important for artists to know that we're eager and want more from their generous spirits. Afterall, artists make us better people. They keep memory alive, and dreams exciting. They make us cry when it matters, and give joy when we need it. They connect us. They remind us to reflect. They change our world.
Today the world is blogging poverty.
According to the UN, about 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes.
According to me, none of these 25,000 are Jordanian.
I thought about what to blog today many times over the weeks. I finally decided that I wanted to blog about the poorest form of poverty. A poverty that destroys from the inside, no matter how rich the outside may look. It’s a poverty that suffocates and starves and blinds and deafens and impedes.
Today this blog is dedicated to Jordan - the poorest country in the world. And why getting Jordan out of poverty should be the priority of every Jordanian.
- But Jordanians are not dying of hunger.
- Jordanians are not homeless in the streets.
- Jordanian babies are not dying in the hundreds because of malnutrition.
- Jordanian kids are not walking around with bulging stomachs.
- Jordanian communities are not dying of XDR TB.
Why is Jordan one of the poorest countries in the world?
- Because we have people goals, and we are still not building people capacities.
- Because we claim huge people assets and have very little to show in intellectual and created outputs.
Because we count monuments and initiatives, and no one keeps count of the wasted, lifeless, unused spaces where nothing happens. No one tracks the initiatives that get the best kick off at the start line, but never make it to the finish line.
Because most of our Jordanian Embassies around the world are not cultural Ambassadors for the Jordanian product – neither the tangible nor the intangible, and certainly not for Brand Jordan. They do not have music libraries nor films nor books nor paintings nor sculptures nor databases of creative workers and their portfolios. The do not have an online database of updated cultural and creative products from Jordan. They do not know what gets made, they do not celebrate the makers, they do not seek. They do not tap into the riches being made, everyday, instead they choose to represent poverty.
Because our media leads with doom and gloom and news about things that go boom. But the media will not tell you about the upside of the economic down slide. They don’t tell you about how this is a great time to start your own business in Jordan. They don’t tell you about why it’s better for you to take your lunch from home to work, instead of ordering in or junking out. The media don’t encourage you to walk and car pool. The media don’t tell you soulful stories about local heroes, but will run a cold press release about nothing, anytime.
Because our media has succumbed to the poorest form of journalism which does not require investigation, nor responsibility, nor integrity, nor risk, and instead is a bad copy/paste job of sensationalized stuff on pages and screens and airwaves.
Because it’s 2008 and people living in our refugee camps live in sub human conditions. Does it make us weaker if we build camps inside Jordan with dignity? Homes and schools and streets that respect people instead of reminding them about their dead end hopelessness.
Because we don’t respect the Jordanian nationality of a woman, and we do not allow her to pass on this nationality to her children who are born in Jordan of a non-Jordanian father.
Because we are passive aggressive with our social codes thru which we are castrating our men, mutilating our women, stunting our kids, and dishonoring our elders.
Because we don’t believe that the next remarkable MP who will change the world is a sophomore at the University of Jordan right now. And the world will only discover this person if the students are helped to achieve successful student council elections this year – their first full elections since I don’t know when.
Because our streets are full of feel good ads about stuff. The signs do not include the faces and names of the mothers and sisters and daughters who were slaughtered in the name of (dis)honor. The streets do not remind us of the blood on our hands. The billboards do not tell us the dysfunctional stories of the motherless and bastard children left behind. The wallpaper does not remind us of the criminals running loose among us who take the law into their hands and dishonor, and an entire nation enjoys watching the horror scenes. One free for all reality show.
Because we don't believe in good governance, transparency, nor accountability. Because so many of our public servants do not respect themselves nor the honor of service of their posts, but they speak in the name of honor.
Because when something bad happens somewhere in Wadi Musa, and people are involved in an accident, the first question the cops ask when they arrive on the scene is: ‘fi ajanib?’
Because we spend limitless time and money and resources on being defensive when we are accused of something, instead of making the same investment in genuine, hard work that delivers great which cannot be refuted and does not need getting defensive over.
Because we do not harvest our collective expertise and experiences and build/weave/nurture. We're in some weird and perpetual reformat-with-every-sunrise mode.
I think it’s possible for Jordan to become one of the richest countries in the world. I think we are able to achieve this right now, during this economic downward spiral. And once we do, we can turn around and address our other challenges, and in the same breath look out to the world and help out there.
Imagine how fast we can inject a pick me up enema into Jordan and provide proof of hope and possibility.
Imagine how much wealth can be uncovered if we look in the right places.
Imagine if we embraced an open attitude.
Imagine if the CEOs of every single company decided to take public transportation to work next week.
Imagine if every affluent Ammani mother walked and/or used public transportation to get her kid/s to and from school for a month.
Imagine if PR agencies said no to their clients about writing and running press releases that say nothing.
Imagine if government stopped talking in press release lingo and thru band aid strategy.
Imagine if the communication around important causes and great issues was effective rather than insulting advertising.
Imagine if the ad spend of Jordan invests 10% into a couple of Jordanian athletes over the next 4 years towards getting them to the 2012 Olympics with the objective of gold. Imagine how many remarkable media-worthy stories that can be over the 4 years, which Brand X can bring to the world. Imagine how much more value that can be over the tired, painful, wasteful media spend. Imagine the 2012 Olympics, and because of Brand X, Athletes A & B gets to go with confidence, and Jordan stands as tall as the richest country on earth.
Imagine if we delivered on our heritage legacy of Arab generosity, and instead of saying, ‘you’re nothing, you’re not Jordanian’, we could ask with pride, ‘would you like to be Jordanian?’ You want social reform and social activism? People need to belong first. Once they belong, they will stand up for something.
Imagine if there was an exchange program between kids in Jordan across social groups.
Imagine if we really delivered that revolution for education.
Imagine if developers contributed a couple of high-rises for new and improved housing needs in each of our congested refugee camps.
Imagine if we believed that the soul is in the details, and worked fueled with that soul.
Imagine if the public sector had conversations with communities instead of the charade of monologue-like actions.
Imagine if low income housing was structured with soul and life and creativity and environmental sense, rather than blocks and locks. Imagine if instead of using the language ‘low income housing’ we said, ‘creating new lifestyles’? Wouldn’t that push us to design more relevantly instead of tick boxes in an excel sheet already crumbling?
Imagine how rich we can all be. And when we are, imagine the remarkable ways in which we can move on to the next level and change the world....
'Hello, this is Jordan and we're here to contribute. What can we do for you?'It's 2008, there's no excuse for poverty. It's time we pulled Jordan out of this poverty stricken rut. And as soon as we do, we will know how to contribute and turn the daily 25,000 hunger deaths into 0!
Of course it’s easy to have clarity of thought and confidence, and it’s certainly a tad out of whack that I’m blogging this as I look out over the maddening crowd on the Croisette, and in a few minutes will be getting on my way to join yet another party exploring what’s next.
1. The power of the ability to think and behave like a global village. A new tribe is emerging. It's a tribe for everybody. Feel free to join.2. Creative solutions come thru for very serious money and sense problems. Text book options said no. A bunch of people with the ability to stand up and imagine a solution said 'yes we can'. And they are.
And isn't that a constant we're used to? Yes it is.
So let's get over the price part.
The power of the global village just demonstrated its ability to deliver in the right direction in the last 24hr turnaround of global markets. Yes, there's economic adjustment the world over around the corner, but that's OK. I see it as lifestyle adjustment. Attitude adjustment. Perspective adjustment.
I think humanity just got itself one hell of a lifeboat.
Now it's about choice.
Will we choose to be less greedy?
Will we choose to be more sustainable?
Less about figures?
More about images?
Less about cold facts?
More about stories?
That second life you mock, it just got here, you're living it real time.... and it's by design.
How people react to missing the train is relative. When rail traffic delayed my train into Paris and I realized I’d miss my connecting to Cannes, I was happy. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon. Spending a couple of hours around the fall streets of Paris before catching the next train south wasn’t such a terrible option.
I had a delicious tomato salad, steak and fries with mayonnaise and mustard, pineapple juice and an espresso in the café across from the roller hockey game outside of the Gare de Lyon. The bums were bickering, the dog was playing with a tennis ball, travelers were killing time, the kids were skate boarding, les flics were patting down some dudes, and of course the smokers were hanging around the edges and ledges puffing away. The smokers were like a cult. They had a certain code of conduct. They knew who, how and when to ask others for a light or smoke or company to puff away with.
I’m amazed at how no one smokes inside anymore. Not in work places, not in bars, nor restaurants, nor hotels, nor lounges – only open air. I don’t know if this has/will cut down consumption. In Paris, it seems everyone still smokes, just like they have the past 25 years of my memory!
It got me thinking about Jordan wanting to enforce a ban on indoor smoking. That would be great for all the obvious reasons. But it would be amazing to also drive everyone into the streets to synergize in different ways. Compel people to utilize public space and create new relationships. A dynamic that gets things ticking to a different tune.
For want of a nicotine fix, a new social fabric is woven ;)
Could be a game changer.
I found this to be an interesting TEDTalk by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. She's a wonderful storyteller and talks about learnings from American presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson - and a funny personal Johnson episode. She also shares a moving memory of her own father, and of their shared love of baseball. I thought it's good timing for this talk - an example of the idea of the America I admire.
A slither of news is out that American journalists Taylor Luck and Holli Chmela are detained/arrested/held up in Syria. They've been missing for days - last heard from on the 1st in Beirut for Eid, enroute to northern Lebanon and Syria heading back to Jordan.
Blacksmith's of Lebanon
UPDATE Released to US custody
Hole. New. Meaning.
And there lies one-holey obsession.
Some day memory will tell about those peoples and the choices they made, dwelling in that damp, tight darkness.
For want of a-hole!
-Holey inspiration from here.
It's 2008 and there's a lot of proof that modern medicine has worked miracles, but there's so much disaster still looming. XDR is a strain of TB that's threatening communities, killing someone every 20 seconds! Not because there's no cure, but because of INADEQUATE TREATMENT.
Because of INADEQUATE TREATMENT.
Humanity fails itself yet again, while fully able to do better. Much better. Actually, while able to do GREAT. So what's holding us back?
Extreme drug resistant tuberculosis is touching off a medical crisis affecting 49 countries around the world. Armed with the power of spreading this story through his photographs, James Nachtwey reveals the threats of of XDR-TB.
His TED wish:
“I’m working on a story that the world needs to know about. I wish for you to help me break it, in a way that provides spectacular proof of the power of news photography in the digital age.” -James Nachtwey
It's easy to get involved, and yes it will make a difference.
Related in TIME this week
Other remarkable wishes:
Jehane Noujaim - Pangea Day
Dave Eggers - Once Upon a School
Biden vs. Palin was quite an anticipated debate. The result. Bland. Vanilla. Whatever!
Yes Biden was wonderful and relevant and eloquent and proper, but did anyone expect him not to be? Palin did her homework to pass.
The challenging, inspiring rhetoric of America has waned.
The other day over wara2 dawali among Arab Americans and Arab Canadian I said the US and its politics have become a liability on the world in very many ways. The days of America the great are gone. The times of reaching out to America for the possibility of amazing solutions have passed. The ability of America to lead with englightening prose is lost. Even with Obama, America will need some time to fix itself and catch up with other parts of the world to regain it's ability to contribute.
One guy across the table said, 'hey watch it, you're among Americans'. I replied, 'yes, and you should be thankful to have your Jordanian passports as back up'. They of course thought I was being facetious and the convo moved on as my plate was being piled with delicious koosa and cucumber yogurt on a sunny afternoon around a table of love.
But in truth I was very serious.
Time to think Arab. Time to learn Chinese.