Thursday, February 26, 2009

Arabesque in DC (warning: kufiya content)

Earlier this month I met one of the producers of PBS' The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and as a result of that meeting, I decided to give the show a second chance. For a long time I've been in agreement with what Alex Cockburn said about the show years ago, that it was the Snooze Hour, whose purpose was to present the news in so boring and stultifying a fashion that it would convince listeners that politics was both uninteresting and to be left to the oh-so-dull-and-serious pundits.

Tonight, I'm really glad I did give The News Hour a second shot. In particular, I was delighted to see Jeffrey Brown's long segment (the third of the week) on the Kennedy Center's Arabesque Festival. Tonight Brown featured three women artists, all of whom I found quite interesting, but I was particularly taken by the work of photographer and installation artist Lara Baladi. And I thought it was great that she chose to wear a blue kufiya around her neck for the interview, and at the same time, insist that she didn't like the way in which the position of artists in the Middle East gets so politicized. So, on the one hand, she refuses the notion that an artist should be a politician, and on the other, she expresses solidarity with the Palestinians by wearing the kufiya. Watch the segment--the most interesting thing about it in my opinion is the kaleidoscope installation which you can see at the Arabesque Festival. Wish I could make it!

The segment that aired tonight was originally scheduled for Wednesday; Thursday was to be a report on Marcel Khalife (who says, don't call me Bob Dylan) and Friday on Fathy Salama. Both are terrific musicians, so I hope they both get an airing tomorrow. Or maybe next week? Tune in to find out.

Until then, check out Marcel Khalife performing this gorgeous tribute to the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. (I found it courtesy of Jeffrey Brown's blog. Big up to Jeffrey.)

No comments: