Bayt Lothan is Getting Demolished

Post by Mark

Two years ago, the non-profit organization Bayt Lothan sadly closed down. The community center had become an important part of the local culture scene, hosting a variety of workshops and events, but the owners of the building decided they wanted to move on to other things.

Now the historic building that used to house Shaikh Sabah Al Salim, the former Amir of Kuwait, is getting demolished.

The odd thing is, when I passed by this morning, there were no trucks or workers. It kinda looked like a bulldozer had driven in through the main structure, turned around and then driven back out. The building was also not surrounded by any sort of fence so anyone can right now just walk in and walk around, even though the building is partially demolished and could collapse at any second. Pretty dodgy, kinda like they decided to this now quickly due to the amount of publicity the building was starting to get again on word that it was finally getting demolished.

So sad. For pictures of the location before it closed down, click [Here]

Update: I was just informed that it won’t be turned into a food complex. They might build a boutique hotel or something along those lines, they’re still undecided, but it definitely won’t be a food complex. Also a fence will be put up shortly.


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Petition: Stop the Demolition of Bayt Lothan

Post by Mark

baytlothan

Someone put up a petition in a bid to stop the demolition of Bayt Lothan. Not being pessimistic here but I highly doubt a petition will make a difference, I mean when they were going to demolish the original Chamber of Commerce and Industry building two years ago, there were protests and it was all over the media yet the building still got demolished in the end. But I guess it doesn’t hurt to at least try so here is the link to the petition [Link]


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Bayt Lothan Closing Down, Turning into Mall

Post by Mark

baytlothan1

Although the title sounds like a joke it isn’t. Bayt Lothan, the non-profit organization that has become an important community center hosting a variety of workshops and events is being evicted from their current property in Salmiya. They’ve been active from that location for the past 20 years but late last year they were told they would have to move out by the end of March.

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Even though the current Bayt Lothan house used to belong to one of the former Amirs, the current owners want the house back so they could turn it into something commercial. The rumor is that the house will be demolished and a mall will be built in it’s place although based on the land size I think it will probably be turned into a food complex.

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Q8 Books whom are located in Bayt Lothan are also being forced to leave although they don’t have anywhere to go. Q8 Books is hoping someone could provide them with space as Bayt Lothan were providing the space to them for free. So not only does it suck that Bayt Lothan is being pushed out but Q8 Books as well. Both are very important culturally and it’s sad to see this happening.

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We don’t need more malls and we definitely don’t need more food complexes.


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“A Night In” at Bayt Lothan

Post by Mark

If you want to listen to some really talented local musicians, Bayt Lothan is holding their popular “A Night In” event tomorrow. It’s going to be an open air event which is great since the weather is perfect right now.

Location: Bayt Lothan [Map]
Date: Wednesday, November 20th 2013
Time: 7PM to 9PM

You can book your seats now for KD10 by calling 25755866 or 25755877 or else you will have to pay KD12 at the door.


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“A Night In” at Bayt Lothan

Post by Mark

If you want to listen to some really talented local musicians, Bayt Lothan is holding their popular “A Night In” event tomorrow. It’s going to be an open air event which is great since the weather is perfect right now.

Location: Bayt Lothan [Map]
Date: Wednesday, October 30th 2013
Time: 7PM to 9PM

You can book your seats now for KD10 by calling 25755866 or 25755877 or else you will have to pay KD12 at the door.


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Bayt Lothan Photography Club Exhibition

Post by Mark

Me Blogging posted about the Bayt Lothan Photography Club Exhibition and going by her pictures it looks like there are some really great work. You can check out her post [Here]

If you want to check out the exhibition yourself here is where the exhibition will be on the following dates:

April 2nd and 3rd: Australian College of Kuwait Campus
April 6th and 7th: The Avenues
April 10th and 11th: American University of Kuwait


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Listen to This: Music Venues in Kuwait

Post by Amin Fari

baytlothan

A Music Column by Amin FARI

Picking up where we left off last week, talking about music project releases of this summer, let us now talk about the venues where these artist are to perform. I feel like I still want to stick with last week’s bird metaphor, so If I am flying too high with this one, making you feel lost, read the past column to catch up.

As with any animal, many factors come into play when analyzing the environment necessary for their survival, but their growth and prosperity, as well. And, as any bird-watcher would, I like to pay attention to the factors that make said birds and their nests, happy, the lack of which would be equivalent to chopping down their trees. So let’s talk venue. The venue is key – where the artists perform, how they engage, how they perform – setting the tone for what I like to call, their “Live Expression”. It’s becoming more common to see musicians play in stores and in coffee shops, but there’s also the emergence of performances in places like Shaheed Park’s outdoor stage, and other venues that support community and culture. Today, I want to focus on venues that hosted music on a weekly, or even monthly basis.

Loyac
That brings me to the “elephant in the room” (at this point, I’m committed to this animal metaphor system, but I digress). Last season, Bayt Lothan was a key venue, not only for musicians, but the local, creative community at large, and, as we all know, it closed down. This was, in a sense, a huge blow to the local music scene, leaving musicians feeling… lost, not knowing where they would now perform. The last few years of Bayt Lothan, organized by Mahmoud Kamel, a musician himself, supplied us with “Sidra Nights”, “Open Mic Jam”, and “A Night In”, thereby constantly helping the music to grow. After the shut-down, a few other entities tried to carry the torch as the music performance platform, one of which being Loyac. So, if you’re into music and youth theater programs, follow Loyac and watch to see if they’ll be organizing music events in their program for this season. [www.lapa.loyac.org]

Contemporary Art Platform
Now, there are other interesting venues to keep an eye on that cater to both Art and Music, one such venue – CAP, more precisely, their rooftop. And as the weather continues to get better, you’ll find that more events will begin to happen there. They, of course, host other kinds of events in their gallery space, the more obvious being art exhibitions, but, they do host music events, as well. [www.capkuwait.com]

Dar al Athar al Islamiyyah
Dar al Athar, Amricani Cultural Centre, and Yarmouk have always put on great cultural music shows, usually always on a Wednesday, and are considered more culturally authentic performances in the sense that their focus is either local traditional music, or traditional music from around the world. I, however, am hoping that this season, Dar al Athar and Yarmouk go a more… how can I say this; “current”, or maybe even “mainstream” music route. [www.darmuseum.org.kw]

Art Space
I can’t talk venues without mentioning Art Space. The reason I talk about Art Space is because they started small, and as they expanded, they started creating space for performances, small micro-shows, to slowly start coming in. I personally think Art Space is one of the coolest, growing creativity and community hubs in Kuwait, and are a beautiful example of a dream manifesting and coming to fruition. And, already up on their program for this season, they just got done hosting Red Bull’s Urban Culture Week, the second of its kind in Kuwait, aimed at helping individuals in learning, growing and cultivating their talents and interests around music, dance, art and fashion. I believe today is the last day of workshops. [www.artspaceq8.com]

As musicians start gearing up for the new season, and conversations about “where” and “how” start flowing, I’m noticing another interesting venue suggestion pop up; the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre. Now, we don’t know how it’s run, or where to even begin the ball rolling, but a lot of musicians have their eye on it because if they set the tone, it’ll create a ripple effect with all the other venues. If they go for a more traditional route, then Dar al Athar would have to compete, and if Dar al Athar has to compete, then maybe they would expand their program differently. As everyone seems to be looking at the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre to determine the trajectory of the upcoming music season, I recommend you keep an eye out for them because they carry the potential to open up new possibilities for performances.

Is there a birdie out there with knowledge of some of the Cultural Centre’s secrets that they can share?

That’s a wrap on venues, for now.

Love Music and Peace

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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Listen to This – A Music Column

Post by Amin Fari

aminfari

Yoo!! It’s Amin Fari, or MR.FARI, or just plain Fari. You might’ve caught a few of my shows here in Kuwait, (I’d be the one with a guitar, rocking a man-bun and a fedora), but, just in case you haven’t, I’ll do the one-liner quick intro. I’m a singer/songwriter who studied music in LA and moved to Kuwait in 2013 wanting nothing more than to see the Kuwait music industry grow. Mark has graciously allowed me to contribute to the blog to keep you posted on what’s going on in Kuwait, musically speaking, and to help get the word out. Let’s Jam!

As the temperatures in Kuwait begin to drop, and the weather starts to get better, a few things start to happen; people become friendlier, they become more outgoing, and more outdoor events start to pop up – and in those events, musicians come out to play. It’s as though musicians are birds that come out to serenade the people, making their experience of being outside all the more enjoyable.

And, like every bird-watcher, I observe, looking for new trends. I look for new musicians making their way onto the scene, possible venues where musicians can play, their social media presence, and how they’re promoting their work. This column is really about an observer of Music Culture, one who also happens to participate in the scene, giving you the inside scoop.

Now, in keeping with this bird metaphor, the summer season provides a time for birds to hideout, (I know, this is getting a little too deep with the bird metaphor, but stay with me). Given Kuwait’s scorching summer temperatures, it’s the perfect time for musicians to step back from the performing scene, work in the studio, and publish their music online. So, let’s talk about some of this summer’s latest additions to the scene.

First up, “EE LAA”, a song by Flipperachi and Daffy. Why am I talking about “EE LAA”? Because, you guys know Daffy from his other hit, “Samboosa”, and this summer he gave us “EE LAA”, which took over the Middle East. He put together a great campaign which revolved around people breakdancing to the song, got KIA and a whole bunch of others to sponsor, and it went viral. And thus, I cannot talk music in Kuwait without tipping my hat to them, and giving them props for their success. Here is the link to check out their music video “EE LAA”:

Another great upcoming musician that I highly recommend you check out is Mahmoud Kamel – you know, the guy who coordinated the music programs for Bayt Lothan. Since the closing down of Bayt Lothan, he seems to be concentrating more on his own music, and, because his role at Bayt Lothan was one of our main support systems as musicians in Kuwait, I think it’s only fair that we return the favor. Here is his cover of “ROXANNE” by The Police. Enjoy:

The next premiere I’d like to talk about is the album RUSH by Omar Afuni. I am really excited about this project because it is a great expression of Pop, and I know that he wrote himself, taking on, pretty much, all the work, with only 2 or 3 key people, putting out a really great body of music. You can check out his music video here, which is really cool because it pokes fun at all the generic ideas of what Pop is, and what makes a great video, and, you should just watch it, it really is worth it.

Next up, Adel Qattan’s Born Digital. I think it’s really interesting because he takes Omar Afuni, takes him out of Pop, and puts him in a whole different type of Rock world. Now, I’ve seen Adel work with Jazz, Reggae, Latin music, but Born Digital is really the expression that he loves the most. So, I’m excited for his project, and to see where it goes. Please check it out and let him know what you think.

Now, before I let you go, we need to talk. It’s about us. Yes, “us”. “You” the fans, and “us” the musicians. As I work in the music industry, I hear a lot of commentary from people and artists that there is no music scene in Kuwait. But, I believe, that in order to have a thriving music scene, there needs to be a loyal fan-base helping to build it. So it is important that you take the time to link up with these artists, because one cannot expect to have a strong music scene with fans only coming out to show their support at its prime. We are all used to being fans of a particular artist or venue, but what I am asking of you is a little bit different. I am asking you to be a fan of a scene. Go support all the musicians and the venues that you can, whether or not they hold a special place in your heart, that way, the whole music scene can feel that they are being heard and supported. Take the time to engage with these artists and comment on their social media, be friends with them. Follow their links and their performances because, even though without them there is no music, more importantly, without fans music doesn’t live, either. So, you guessed it, the scene needs you to survive. So go support local music.

Love, Music and Peace

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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The New Q8Books Store

Post by Mark

q8books

Last year Q8Books moved from their Bayt Lothan location in Salmiya to DAI (Dar Al Athar Alislamiyah) since Bayt Lothan closed down. This weekend I finally got to pass by and check out their new space and there were some good stuff and bad stuff.

First the good stuff. Visually I like the new space, it looks better, its spaced out nicer and it feels larger. They have over 15,000 books spread out across three different rooms and they even have a kids room and a reading room. It feels like a cozy high school library.

But there were a few things I didn’t like. The location, Yarmouk where DAI is located is just not as accessible as Salmiya is. It’s not near anything and it’s out of everyones way. DAI is also not a very inviting space, it doesn’t feel or look as casual as Bayt Lothan and you won’t find teens hanging around playing music, skateboarding or anything of the sort at DAI. There were also no Q8Books signs, not outside and not inside. I had to call Fajer who owns the place to ask her where the bookshop was since there was nobody at DAI to ask and no signs pointing towards the shop. Turns out I had to walk to the back of the building and then take the stairs one floor up.

If you’re looking to buy, donate or read books then you should pass by and check the place out. They’re open daily from 5PM to 9PM except on Saturdays when they open from 11AM to 9PM. Once you walk into DAI, walk to the back where there is a seating area and then take the stairs up and you’ll find Q8Books there at the end of the corridor on your left. Here is their location on [Google Maps] and they’re on instagram @q8bookstore


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Q8Books is Coming Back

Post by Fajer Ahmed

newbooks

A lot of people think that bookstores won’t survive, I beg to differ! Yes a lot of bookstores are losing money but I think bookstores can be a beautiful thing if they are part of the community, and Q8books was. We had book clubs, writing clubs, writing workshops, kids reading, writing competitions and more practically on a daily basis. So we are all very sad that Bayt Lothan, the generous place that provided us and other young creatives a home closed down last month.

Luckily though, DAI (Dar Al Athar Alislamiyah) is becoming the new trendy place for creatives to go to and they have been generous enough to provide us and our community with a space.

Their Yarmouk cultural center is super cool with plenty of state of the art facilities, a museum gift shop (with lovely books and gorgeous accessories), a beautiful theater, a library, an exhibition hall and so on.

Q8books will be opening at 6pm on April the 23rd (World Book Day) and we would love to see you there. Please come and show your support. Just say hi to our hard working team that wants to make a difference in Kuwait.

Posted by Fajer


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