Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre Opens

Post by Mark

culturalcenter

Earlier this morning, Andrea Bocelli performed at the opening of the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre. If this is the first you hear about it you’re not alone since the opening was only officially announced yesterday (I announced it two months ago). Now that the centre is open I figured I’d share a list of upcoming events that will be taking place there, but the only problem is, a list doesn’t exist yet.

kc1

The whole project has been shrouded in secrecy since the start. When I broke information on the Cultural Centre back in 2014, barely anyone knew about the project other than those involved in it. Now two years later the project is completed but everything is still a big secret and I can’t understand why.

Usually I wouldn’t care but this is such a great and beautiful project that it’s a shame it didn’t get so much more publicity. Hopefully things will be less secretive moving forward but for now, here are links to the cultural centre website and social media accounts.

Website: jacc-kw.com
Instagram: @jacc_kw
Twitter: @jacc_kw

cs1

I’ll also take this opportunity to thank all my sources who for the past two years have been feeding me as much information as they could on this project so I could share it with you guys. It’s because of them I’ve been able to write and share so much on the cultural centre and allowing me visit the site and take photos.

Here is a roundup of all my previous posts on the project:

List of Restaurants Opening at the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre
Latest on the Cultural Centre
Cultural Centre Opening October 31st
My Visit to the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre
Interior Shots of the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre
Drone View of the New Cultural Center
Current Status of the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre
Tour of the Kuwait Cultural Centre Construction Site
Inside the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre
Sneak Peek: Kuwait Cultural Centre
A Photographic Journey Inside Qasr Al Salam


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Kuwait Blogs List 2016

Post by Mark

kuwaitblogs

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a list of active local blogs so figured it was about time I do so. Below is a list of all the active blogs I”m aware of:

18 Seven (Arabic)
AboFlan (Arabic)
According to Mimi
Adventures of a Jersey Girl
British Girl Lost in Kuwait
Confashions from Kuwait
Danderma
Desert Girl
Diario de un Sidecar (Spanish)
Frankom
Jleeb (Arabic)
Kuwait Birding
Kuwait Chronicles
Kuwait Moms Guide
Kuwaitiful
Kuweight 64
Ladies Who Do Lunch in Kuwait
Lady B
Life in Kuwait
LuLu Loves Makeup
LSF: Kuwait City Styl
New Q8 Bride
Pink Girl Q8
Q8 Path
The Hybrids
The Urban Analyst
Wainmaaro7

I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch so if there is a local blog that is active and should be on this list, let me know about it.


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Electronic Visa Approval Speed

Post by Mark

evisa

Back in August the MOI added the ability for tourists visiting Kuwait to apply for a visa online (eVisa). Yesterday a friend of mine tried it for the first time and she got her visa in 50 minutes. I thought that was pretty impressive. If you know someone visiting, have them apply for the visa online since it will speed up their entry at the airport. Here is the link for the eVisa online application [Website]

On the other hand my post about the Dubai eVisa dating back to last year has turned into a Dubai eVisa support page for some reason. I guess people who are having trouble getting their eVisa are googling and ending up on my post. It has over 400 comments now and I think a Dubai eVisa employee keeps checking the page since there is this one guy who keeps answering everybody’s questions. You can check that post [Here]


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Giveaway: Nuqat 2016 Workshop Ticket

Post by Mark

7

Nuqat is one of the largest creative conference events in the MENA region and next month they will be holding their seventh annual conference titled “The Seventh Sense”. The week long program will take place at the Amricani Cultural Centre from the 10th to the 17th of November and include interactive talks, discussion panels, roundtable sessions, workshops, cultural tours, galleries, live performances and more.

All lectures and discussion panels are free to attend but you still need to register for a ticket [Here] or using the Nuqat app.

As an official media partner for Nuqat, I get a bunch of benefits including workshop invitations to do with as I please and I’ve decided to giveaway one of the workshop invites. Below is a list of all the paid workshops along with their prices that will be taking place at this years Nuqat event:

Designing and Producing Arabic fonts using Glyph app ($365)
Wall Tagging: Wajh Al Hurouf: Face of Calligraphy ($265)
Creative Pivoting: Your Business From New Perspectives ($365)
Food in Motion Videography ($365)
The Daily Future: Improve Everyday Objects or Problems Using Technology ($365)
Boosting Your Employability in the Creative Industry ($165)
Sadu Inspired Product Design ($280)
Creative Leadership Group A: Shifting Perspectives for Societal Impact ($220)
Creative Leadership Group B: Shifting Perspectives for Societal Impact ($220)

If you’d like a chance to win a workshop invite all you need to do is list the workshop you’d like to attend in the comments below. Please only enter this giveaway if you’re planning to attend the workshops (you won’t be able to resell the ticket). The workshops are going to be held during the middle of the week and during working hours so if you can’t get time off work you won’t be able to attend. You can get more information on the workshops and their timings by clicking [Here]

I will stop accepting entries in the comments section by tomorrow 9AM and then randomly choose one winner and notify them via email.

Rules: Only one entry per person and please make sure you use a working email since the winner will be contacted by email. If winner doesn’t respond, another winner will be randomly chosen.

Update: At 9AM I closed the post for comments and using random.org randomly selected a winner which was #13, LadyB. The winner will be contacted now, thanks to everyone who participated, I think this was my favorite giveaway yet.

random13


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Zumba Event 2016

Post by Mark

zumba

A friend is hosting a huge outdoor Zumba event this coming Tuesday. She holds a Zumba event every year and this year she’s bringing Ecem Kuntay and Didem Zeybek (pictured above) as her special guests. If you’re interested in taking part then click [Here] for more details.

As usual, I always have to link to my friends video of her impromptu dance in Japan with a bunch of strangers. You can watch that [Here]


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New Renderings of Avenues Phase 4

Post by Mark

phase4

Here are a batch of Avenues Phase IV renderings I hadn’t seen before. I love the area above which looks like a narrower cozier version of the Grand Avenues. The new phase is currently scheduled to open early 2018, to check out the previous renderings I’ve posted as well as more information on the new phase, click [Here]

Images from PACE via lovelykuwait


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark

kuwaitrising

The Kuwait Rising Music Festival takes place this weekend along with a bunch of other events. Check out the full list below:

Thursday
Exhibition: Attraction
Kuwait Open 9-Ball Championship
K’S PATH Kids Funday!

Friday
Kuwait Open 9-Ball Championship
Tai Chi in the Park
Hatha Yoga with Rosie
Lady Nigumy Yoga Workshop
Good Game: Magic – The Gathering
Kuwait Rising Music Festival
Salwa’ Walk and Socialize Meetup
Trunk Or Treat

Saturday
Kuwait Open 9-Ball Championship
Yoga with the 3
MantaqaMe x The Secret Garden
Yacht Dinner Cruise
Hala’ween

If you’d like to share an event on the blog [Email Me]
For a full list of upcoming events click [Here]

Sometimes events get canceled or have details changed so always double check with the organizers.


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Listen to This: The fruit of the Desert

Post by Amin Fari

What do you get when you put the guys from Radiohead in a gahwa, in Salmiya, watching the old Star Wars movies, drinking guava nectar instead of tea? This could take a while, but for the sake of this post, I’ll give you the answer; Galaxy Juice. That’s exactly the feeling I get when I listen to their new release single “Allokation” off of their new album Timenesia which will be released Nov 1st .

Back to my opening question, can you see it? I mean, how does one make Galaxy Juice? Aren’t you just a little bit curious? I was. So I paid them a little visit.

timenesia

Before Timenasia, there was Crystal Dunes. The story of the making of Crystal Dunes is one that plays right into last week’s post, where I talked about the difficulties artists face in trying to “make it” in the music industry in Kuwait. When Crystal Dunes was made, naturally, these guys wanted to print copies – to sell, to give out, to use as coasters or whatever else – you get the idea. But when they approached record companies here, they were told they could only print a minimum of 1000 copies. At the time, the band didn’t feel like they had the kind of demand that would require that quantity and tried to negotiate them down to about half that, but even then, the prices they were getting were obnoxious. So, the next logical step; print it outside of Kuwait – to the U.S. they went. There, they found a printing company that kept their overheads nice and low, where they were able to print 100 copies. Perfect.

Back in Kuwait, when their order arrived, and as Mohammad Al Owaisi, (Drums & Synthesizers), tells it; he’d receive online notifications that his “package has arrived” but is being… you guessed it, “held at customs”. This “hold” starts feeling more like a “keep”, and so, he heads to the Customs Department at the airport. Now, before they could get into the details of “what’s the hold up?” they first had to locate this package. And so the search begins for this box, in a room full of other boxes, in a back office in the back of this office – they never find it. They hand him a note that basically states; because of the contents of the shipment, the package has been sent for inspection, please follow up with the Office of the Ministry of Information. Still on airport premises, he makes his way to the temporary “chinko” structure that is the Office of the Ministry of Information, far out into the horizon, off the path. As he stood in a room full of more boxes waiting to talk to someone, his eye catches his box. Finally! And, as though the universe and the stars were finally aligning, a man appeared from the back. They spend a couple of minutes talking about the box, the contents of the box, the quantity of the contents of the box, the motives behind the contents of the box, all the while Mohammad trying to explain that these CD’s are for distribution purposes only, and not intended for sale. Nevertheless, it’s a no go. With one copy of Crystal Dunes in hand, he’s redirected to the Ministry of Information HQ in Shuwaikh.

Day 2, Ministry of Information HQ. Like a sad song on replay, Mohammad goes through the saga of explaining; we’re a band, we make music, we wanted to share our music, we like CD’s, we wanted to give people CD’s. “So, is it just music, or do you sing?” the lady asks. “We sing”. “Yeah, we’re going to need to see those lyrics. Can you email them to me?” Mohammad goes home and emails her the lyrics.

Day 3, Ministry of Information HQ. He heads right back to the same lady, the only released copy of Crystal Dunes still in its plastic wrapper sits on her desk, unopened. The lyrics pass the censorship requirements. It’s a go! But, not until he is made to sign a memorandum of understanding, (ta3ahud), somewhere between an apology and a promise to never do that again ie. bring in products with the intent to sell or distribute. Approval letter signed and stamped, he heads back to the customs office at the airport, ready to finally take his babies home.

But, back to the ta3ahud for a minute. I’d understand if their only concern were that of a commercial nature, but they seem to also have a problem with just plain distribution. Why is that? Is it because they’re afraid that with enough of a following, a band has the potential to create propaganda? Or, maybe they don’t want to bring outside competition inside Kuwait’s market? I mean, let’s face it, Kuwait loves to play Monopoly. But, wait, this gets tragically better. Turns out, ALL members of Galaxy Juice are Kuwaiti citizens, all working government jobs and in essence, these Kuwaiti artists made a project in Kuwait, and tried to promote it, also in Kuwait, by giving it away, and couldn’t. In their own hometown, they couldn’t. I wondered if maybe their music had been more “Kuwaiti”, if that would’ve cut the number of hoops they would’ve had to jump through; that their music being difficult to categorize made it so it required all that extra screening. And so I investigated.

bandpic

Band Members
Salem Al Salem – Lead Vocals, Guitar (Job-Accountant)
Mohammad Al Owaisi – Drums, synthesizers (Job-Mechanical Engineer)
Abdula Asem: Bass (Job-Marine Biologist)
Bader Al Salem: Drum machines, Sampler

In listening to their work, I found many elements of Kuwaiti music – an alternative rock vibe that seamlessly goes into a rhythm, or a clap, or a scale which would immediately be recognized as Arabic, or even specifically Kuwaiti. In their live show from last spring of this year at Shaheed park, they stopped mid-song to go into a full on traditional Kuwaiti clapping session, Sharbeka. So, clearly, their work is a fusion, but what I’m more interested in is, are they innovating? Are they on the brink of innovation? That begs the question, when does one know when a band is doing Kuwaiti Rock? Or, Arab Rock? When or where are the lines? Do these lines exist? Or is it up to us to create them? Listen to it and tell me what you think. You could be thinking, well, Amin, Rock is Rock. My answer to that is, there was a time when there was American Rock n’ Roll, and British Rock n’ Roll, and although distinct in their sound, they were still considered Rock n’ Roll. It’s not like British Rock had distinct British hymns or maritime stories incorporated in it, it just had a different take on an American Rock n’ Roll. Over time, and with the gaining popularity of the likes of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, British and American Rock n’ Roll meshed into one. But, there was a time when there was a division, and it was a division by geographical location. So, back to Kuwait and the possibility of music innovation, how would we recognize it? How would we recognize the emergence of Kuwaiti Rock? If it’s even possible. I know that in this coming season, many artists will be experimenting with Arabic, even Kuwaiti elements in their music, and the lines are going to start to get even more blurry. Do we call it “Kuwaiti Pop Music”? But it’s not. Do we call it “Kuwaiti Urban Music”? What are the rules? I’m sure an Ethnomusicologist could answer this quite simply, but I think we’re at a time where the lines are already blurry for artists trying to incorporate some of their roots into their work. Here is a specific part of Crystal Dunes where you can see a clear integration.

When I listen to Galaxy Juice it makes me think; are they making music for our time? There album is called Timenesia, and is somehow of the past, the future, of here and of other places. It’s like they’re this Rock group, experimenting with music of somewhere that is not of here, almost like they’re playing for outer space. With a name like Galaxy Juice, it all makes sense.

Follow them on Instagram: @galaxyjuiceband

Peace, Love and Music

Post by Amin FARI
Are you a musician looking to perform? On the flipside, are you a host looking for musicians to book? Or maybe you’ve just got an awesome idea you’d like to share? Get in touch aminfarilive@gmail.com / Instagram: @xxmrfarixx


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Movies Now Showing in Kuwait

Post by Mark

accountant

The movies below are now showing at Cinescape and Grand Cinemas:

New This Week:
Broken Vows (4.1) ♦
Ouija: Origin of Evil (6.8)
The Accountant (7.8) ★
Under the Shadow (7.5)

Other Movies Showing:
Deepwater Horizon (7.2)
Desierto (5.7)
Don’t Breathe (8.3) ♦
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (7.7) 4DX Release
Inferno (7.1) ♦
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (7.4) ★
Keeping Up with the Joneses (5.4)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (7.2)
Precious Cargo (4.6)
Storks (7.1)
Sully (7.9)
The Mermaid Princess (N/A)

Numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at time of publishing.
★ is for movies I’m interested in. ♦ implies movie might contain censorship.


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Kuwait Open 9-Ball Championship

Post by Mark

I just found out that the Kuwait Open 9-Ball Championship is currently taking place. I’m not a big fan of pool but this looks like a legit setup, no idea why it wasn’t advertised properly. The video above is from the opening day which was October 24th and its a 10 day tournament so its ongoing until November 5th.

9ball

The Kuwait Open 9-Ball Championship is sanctioned by the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) and has the highest prize money and highest ranking points. The total prize money amounts to $275,000.

If you’d like more information on this event, click [Here]

Thanks Raoul


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