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Tips from the culture desk: The Eid edition

Ramadan is now officially over, and the Eid weekend is ushering in intensifying midsummer heat and urgent desires for vacation.

The first day after the holy month was marked by long lines in front of now-reopened bottle shops, mass migrations from the city to the beach and throngs of cinema-goers crowding into theaters to catch the holiday weekend’s new releases. No matter which activity you were participating in, for this special Eid edition of leisure-time recommendations, the Mada culture desk offers a diverse bouquet of entertainment options for the coming week.

For the North Coast partiers

Saturday, July 18 – Souad Massi at Marassi, North Coast

Regional favorite Souad Massi returns to Egypt for a beach concert at the North Coast’s upscale gated compound Marassi, owned by Dubai real estate giants’ Egyptian arm Emaar Misr. The Algerian-born singer and poet was on hiatus from Egypt until April of this year, when he returned with performances in Cairo and Alexandria. The artist sings in Arabic, English and French with influences ranging from indie-folk, reggae, elements of African tunes and classical Arabic influences.

The event starts at 9:30pm at Marassi, located on the Alexandria-Matrouh Road on KM 129. Tickets are going for LE200 for standing and LE500 for the VIP lounge. Tickets are available online and through a variety of outlets with Ticketsmarche.

Saturday-Sunday, July 18-19 – ByGanz’s “Rubies Eid Weekend”

Opening this weekend in Sahel, Rubies in Marassi kicks off its summer program with a series of nightlife events featuring an eclectic list of Arabic pop stars. Widely known for his massively successful song “Habibi Dah,” Hisham Abbas will perform on Saturday July 18, followed by Maya Diab, the Lebanese pop-star, on Sunday July 19. Over the years, the ByGanz events in the North Coast have added a pop programming into their party repertoire, bringing back some of Egypt’s greatest 90s stars like Hakim, as well as more contemporary stars like Haife Wehbe. These events have a pretty remarkable way of servicing your 90s-to-Naughties nostalgia cravings, and always end up involving a lot of (belly) dancing until pretty late into the evening.

July 18,19 @ Marassi (North Coast) 10:30 pm
Reservation number: 01000001102
Event Facebook page

Sunday, July 19 – Pitcher Perfect Mornings featuring Abou Samra (North Coast)

On Sunday, July 19 the Pitcher Perfect Mornings event series will feature local DJ Abou Samra on the poolside turn tables at Bayside in Hacienda Bay. The party kicks off at 2 pm. Bring your swimsuit and your shades — you shouldn’t need much else when you’ve got a pool and Abou Samra’s playing daytime techhouse.

The event will take place at Bayside – Hacienda Bay on Sunday July 19 at 2 pm.

For the Cairo partiers

Friday-Sunday, July 17-19 – Cairo Jazz Club Eid Program

Cairo Jazz Club makes a comeback after closing its doors for Ramadan. Featuring a diverse program of artists over the three days of Eid, the weekend will kick off on Friday with a deep house session by DJ Miesh. On Saturday, Basheer and his band will present a live performance of their Upper Egyptian folkloric music, which derives inspiration from Jaafari arts with a contemporary modern twist. Finally, on Sunday singer and songwriter Michelle Rounds will perform her vocal jazz set.

The events start at 10pm from Friday till Sunday at the Cairo Jazz Club, 197 26th of July Street, Agouza, Giza. Reservations are recommended and entrance is free. Tel.: +202 3345 9939. Cairo Jazz Club are also hosting other events throughout the week.

For the cinephiles (or those going through Ramadan TV-withdrawal)

Eid marks the height of the mainstream cinema season in Egypt, and this weekend five commercial releases will premier in cinemas across the country. The line-up includes crime film Welad Rizk (Rizk’s Sons) by action film director Tarek El-Erian (Tito, Aswar El-Qamar), which stars Ahmed Ezz and Ahmed El-Fishawy. Another action-packed film Shad Agzaa (Pulling Parts), starring Mohamed Ramadan and Donia Samir Ghanem, about a policeman seeking vengeance for his wife’s kidnapping by a gang. Comedy star Mohamed Saad (El-Limby) is acting in Hayaty Metbahdela (My Life is a Mess), directed by Shady Aly. Another comedy starring actor Hany Ramzy and directed by Ehab Lamei will be on show discussing the life of a government worker.

But amid this glut of moving pictures, we particularly recommend Sukkar Mor (Sour Sugar), directed by Hani Khalifa — his first film after a 12-year hiatus followed his 2003 commercial and critical success, Sahar El-Layaly (Sleepless Nights).

The films will be available in a variety of cinemas, check the program of the one near you.

For the independent cultural connoisseur

Friday-Sunday, July 17-19: “1980 and Up” performance

“1980 and Up,” directed by Mahmoud Gabr and written by Mahmoud Kamal, captures the social, political and cultural realities of the generation born in the 1980s through 17 sketches, including monologues, dramatic scenes and musical performances. Mada Masr reviewed the play on two separate occasions. Andeel’s review said, “At the end, along with most of the audience, I stand up and salute the team behind this pathetic, cheesy, tacky, poorly made piece of theater that has, like all of us, almost nothing but hope and a sense of humor.” Amany Aly Shawky’s review, on the other hand, was more critical: “Such ‘safe-zone’ productions offer the spectator a recommended dose, a social topic, a touch of economy, a dash of politics, a comedic skit, a dance, a song and everyone comes out happy. It’s like how a plate of koshary fills you instantly, but may give you indigestion later.”

Photo by Amir Makkar

The play will be performed between Friday July 17 and Sunday July 19 at 10 pm at Hosapeer Theatre, Shonan Street, Downtown, Cairo. Tickets are available at the theatre before the performance.

Saturday-Sunday, July 18-19 – Al-Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School’s Balalika performance  

Described as a “fun performance” which includes rope walking, juggling, music, trapeze stunts by Al-Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School students. The show also includes photographs by Artellewa founder and photographer Hamdy Reda. The school was founded by Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafi in 2011 to train children and youth of the Al-Darb Al-Ahmar area in circus arts and percussion. Located in the area behind the Geneina Theatre — also previously run by Mawred, before the funding body shut down its Egypt operations and the theater reopened as a private company — the team started engaging with local children through workshops before establishing the school. The students have given several performances in Egypt and abroad, including a performance designed by STOMP, and have participated in Cairo’s circus festival, CirCairo.

(Photo courtesy of Al-Darb Al-Ahmar Art School’s Facebook page)

The event will take place on Saturday July 18 and Sunday July 19 at 8 pm at Falaki Theater, 24 Falaki Street, downtown Cairo. Tickets are going for LE30 at the door, and through through a variety of outlets with Ticketsmarche.