Wednesday, March 31, 2010

BetLZNews 3.31.2010

John Kerry arrives in Beirut

Lebanese Journalist May Chidiac Named 54th IPI Press Freedom Hero / FreeMedia

Prison-Made Handbags Prove Popular Beyond Beirut / VOA

Vignettes ramble through a wartime Beirut / Boston Globe


Trailer for the Documentary "Welcome to Beirut" released by Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and includes Nadine Labaki, Colette Naufal, and Hany Tamba among others. this movie really a documentary? That grenade shot seems a little ridiculous for it to be real--also, I don't know about you but I'm quite sick of everyone--especially foreigners--focusing on war in Lebanon..bass I can't truly give my opinion just from this trailer...


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Haifa & Fairuz

Yep, you read that right. I can't believe both Fairuz and Haifa belong in the same sentence but that's just me. I'm a music snob when it comes to classical Arabic music.

But check this out.
Don't know how old this Haifa Wehbe song is but I personally just stumbled on it.

Ya hawa Beirut is one of my absolute favorite Fairuz songs and whenever I'm feeling like I should be in a bar in Gemayze somewhere, I just listen to it. Well, guess what I found today?

Haifa sings Fairuz.

Fairuz first:

Haifa's version:

I prefer Fairuz, but that's just me.

Another favorite mixing of old and new is this graffitti frequently found on Beirut walls.
I just find it hillarious.

That would be Um Kulthum, famous Egyptian singer, shouting Bouss el Wawa, one of Haifa's most popular songs.

Picture lifted from


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Beirut in New York Times!

The New York Times seems to be a fan of Beirut! First they named it as the #1 Place to visit in 2009, and now the NYT 'T Magazine' did a photo slide show of Beirut!!
See it below:

The Scene: Beirut

Though it was once known as the Paris of the Middle East, ‘‘Beirut never truly lost its sheen,’’ says Gordon Campbell Gray, the British hotelier who finally opened Le Gray last November, having forged ahead even through the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. The Lebanese capital surely has a touch of Parisian glamour, but it also has a dash of Berlin (bullet-pocked buildings after a civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1990) and Miami (flashy night-life zones choked with Ferraris and S.U.V.’s). There’s a burgeoning gallery scene, world-class shopping — from avant-garde boutiques like IF to big-ticket designers like Marc Jacobs and Dior — and five-star hotels like the new Four Seasons and Le Gray. ‘‘The Lebanese have a spirit for living for the day, and it permeates every aspect of their life,’’ Campbell Gray says. ‘‘You really understand this when you head back to a Western city.’’

Kamal Mouzawak is Lebanon’s answer to Alice Waters. He’s hosted a macrobiotic TV show, taught local schoolchildren about organic food and spent two years touring his homeland learning about the country’s culinary traditions. In 2004 he started Souk el-Tayeb, the city’s farmers’ market. More recently he opened the popular Tawlet (‘‘table’’ in Arabic), a canteen where regional cooks prepare daily meals. Book ahead.

Naher Street, 12

The provocative, Harvard-trained architect Bernard Khoury designed this nightclub back in 1998, but it’s still the city’s favorite after-hours spot. Built on the site of a former refugee camp where many were killed during the civil war, the club is a continual source of controversy as well as an example of Koury’s brutalist architecture style, with its location in an underground parking lot and its steel retractable roof.

Lot 317, Karantina

Le Gray
Located just yards from the Mohammed al-Amin mosque, Le Gray stands out like a modernist beacon. It took five years for Gordon Campbell Gray to realize his high-design vision — infinity pool, art-filled rooms and a bar with 360-degree views — in his favorite new city. ‘‘Beirut was not a hard sell for me. The reputation, the infrastructure, the history was all there. All it needed was peace.’’ Weekending Europeans and young Saudi princesses alike are convinced.

Martyrs’ Square

Sfeir-Semler Gallery
Andrée Sfeir-Semler was born in Beirut but left for Germany in the 1970s, where she has had a gallery in Hamburg since 1998. In 2005, she established a Lebanese outpost that features many acclaimed Middle Eastern artists, including Marwan Rechmaoui and Walid Raad of the Atlas Group, who deal with the country’s geopolitical, economic, social and military conflicts in their work.

Tannous Building; Street 56, Jisr Sector 77, Karantina

Music Hall
The cabaret held in this former movie theater doesn’t really get started most weekends until 11 p.m., but that doesn’t deter the many elderly guests who join the pretty young things on the banquettes. Its founder, Michel Elefteriades, curates an eclectic program — Armenian rockers, Eastern European Gypsy performers, even girls singing ABBA songs — that, along with the bottles of whiskey and Champagne, keeps the crowd on their dancing feet until early morning. ‘‘It’s got this sexy, seedy feeling like those dance halls in Havana in the ’50s,’’ explains one guest.

Starco Center, Omar Daouk Street

The Beirut Souks
‘‘Lebanese love to shop. It’s in their DNA,’’ says the local Omar Eid. The old souks here in downtown were destroyed during the civil war and became a no man’s land. After decades of planning and building with the help of international architects like Zaha Hadid and Rafael Moneo, the development looks like a high-end Los Angeles shopping mall (if it was built on Roman ruins.) There are trendy cafes and name-brand boutiques like Calvin Klein and Chloé, and a cineplex is in the works. Rue Weygand and Rue Allenby.

This is the vast majority of the NYT T Magazine article, but to see more of it, click here!



BetLZ News 3.24.2010

Roman Ruins Hold Up Nouvels Beirut Scraper / SkyScraperNews

$1.5M dress unveiled
/ Miami Herald (Dress designed by Lebanese designer Jad Ghandour)

Sketch of the $1.5 million dress by Lebanese designer Jad Ghandour


Beirut Souks

Built on the site of an old traditional market, the new downtown Beirut Souk is a modern open-air mall that boasts European brand shops under an arched skylight.


PS: Happy birthday bb! mwa

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Déjà Vu x 4 !!!!

this is just getting ridiculous!

Early we blogged about Miley Cyrus who wore a Zuhair Murad dress that we discovered was inspired by a Christian Dior gown...

The original 1948 Dior gown

The Zuhair Murad dress worn by Miley Cyrus, inspired by the Dior gown

Then we found that Georges Chakra had copied the style as well and made dresses we saw on Jamie King and Emily Blunt

Jamie King in Georges Chakra

Emily Blunt in Georges Chakra

So just to follow in case you're as confused as I am:

Original dress: Christian Dior -->
Zuhair Murad worn by Miley Cyrus -->
Georges Chakra worn by Jamie King -->
Georges Chakra worn by Emily Blunt

And now we have a NEW addition to the chain!

Oh yes, a company known as edressme that takes celebrity styles and copies them and makes them into prom dresses has now stolen the Zuhair Murad dress--and you can buy it for $470.00; a little much for a fake dress by a company called "edressme", wouldn't you say??

This is one popular dress!

We know this chain will only get longer...


Monday, March 22, 2010

BetLZ News 3.22.2010

A Jewel of Lebanese Finance
/ Khaleej Times Online

Lebanese University Teachers Go on Strike / NaharNet

German police arrest poker tournament heist suspect
/ BBC News (turns out the mastermind was Lebanese! Of course...)

Lebanon's Liquid Treasure is Just Trickling Away
/ Naharnet (Interesting article on Lebanon's diminishing water supply)

Another article on the same subject:

Lebanon Has Lots of Water, Chronic Shortages Persist / Voice of America

Fadi Andraos, a Lebanese Boxing Champion! / Waleg (Just for laughs)

Lebanese eatery opens in Greek Astoria /


Rawi Hage book signing in NYC

Are you in NYC? Fan of Lebanese author Rawi Hage of "De Niro's Game?"

Well on March 25 (this Thursday) he will be reading his work and signing his books:

The Beirut-born novelist, a longtime resident of Canada and the 2008 winner of the world’s largest monetary prize for a work of fiction, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, for his début novel, “De Niro’s Game,” reads from his work.

Location: Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, New York University, 58 W. 10th St. 212-998-8816.

Date: March 25, 2010 at 7pm.

Source: The New Yorker

Let your friends in NYC know!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Baysour, Lebanon - The Hoax

"We should go there when we go to Lebanon this summer" my bf said via gchat as he sent me a picture of Baysour, Lebanon.

Wow, I thought--what a BEAUTIFUL place! How come I had never been there before or even heard of anyone going there before??

Now don't get me wrong, I spend my summer traveling around Lebanon visiting all the beautiful sites and I could certainly believe that this place was in Lebanon--but the fact that I had never been there before was a tad bit suspect...

Something seemed a little wasn't the first time I had seen these photos either, I had seen them in YouTube videos of Lebanon mixed in with pictures of Beirut, Byblos and the Cedars of Lebanon.

Still...something was not right...

And then I figured it out...these supposed pictures of this beautiful oasis in Baysour, Lebanon are in fact the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. what the hell happened? Go ahead and Google Image "Baysour, Lebanon" and then "Plitvice National Park." Even sites such as incorrectly show pictures of the Croatian Park and label them Baysour, Lebanon.

So unfortunately, it is undeniable that this is not Baysour, but actually Croatia--but how did this hoax begin??

I would personally like to think that it was a stroke of genius by the Tourism Board of Baysour, Lebanon--after years of extraordinarily low tourism in Baysour, the old village-people got together over Lebanese coffee and thought up this genius scheme! Perhaps they thought up the idea in 2008 after the assassination of Saleh al-Aridi, a leader of the Lebanese Democratic Party, in a carbomb in Baysour--that couldn't have been good for Baysour's image...

And I, for one, think as Lebanese citizens, it is our duty to increase tourism in Lebanon by following in the footsteps of the people from Baysour and posting picures online and labeling them as different places in Lebanon.

In fact, I have already begun this quest by posting millions of copies of the following pictures online and labeling them accordingly (The Seven Wonders of the World would be a good place to start):

Ras Osta, Lebanon

Baalchmay, Lebanon

Richmaya, Lebanon

Ghassaniyeh, Lebanon

Bahbouch, Lebanon

The Lebanese Ministry of Tourism should've employed this strategy years ago!!

For what it's worth, I do think that Baysour does have a river, and I believe that this is it:

I'm not sure though--perhaps a Baysourian could confirm??

Actually, nevermind, they're not to be trusted...



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Insane leaders "leading"

Check this out, fresh off the press, so to speak.

Turkey threatens to deport Armenians.

So, while completely sovereign and independent countries are deciding on whether to denote or call the killings of Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire genocide, Turkey clearly annoyed and dismayed at such attempts is brewing a storm of its own.

So basically this is what Turkey is saying: because we are pissed at you for naming the killings a genocide (mind you, in your own country and by your own people and your own standards), because we are pissed at you for labeling what happened to the Armenians at the hand of the Turks, we are going to basically do the same to current Armenians living in Turkey, just because we are pissed. You know to prove a point type of thing.

So to get back at you for calling it a genocide and mass deportation, we are just gonna go ahead and deport a 100,000 or so Armenians out of Turkey.

Sounds like "leader" material to me.

Erdogan was a blog favorite back when the war with Gaza was going on. He is fast slipping in our ratings.

On the subject of Insane Leaders, our favorite Qaddafi (c'mon, you didn't think I'd post a post about insane leaders and not include good old Qaddafi now did you?) is up to his old tricks again.

Libya is due to host the Arab summit this year and their is nothing anybody can do about this, it's alphabetical order for hosting, oh well. Maybe Israeltine is invited? Did anyone hear anything about that? Qaddafi has sent emissaries to deliver invitations to most heads of state. They range from his sons to ministers or important people high up in the echelon of power in Libya. We all know how important delivery methods are in the Middle East. People usually invite guest in person for weddings and baptism and the sort.

But back to subject, Libya has decided to extend Lebanon's invitation by sending it with the charge d'affair at Libya's Syrian embassy to his Lebanese counterpart in Damascus. An invite that was promptly returned to Libya with a nice and polite letter declining acceptance of the invite because the ambassador in Syria was not authorized to receive such invites and because the proper channels were not used.

Basically, signalling to the Lebanese and the Syrians and the Arab world that Libya still sees Damascus as the source of power in Lebanese politics in general and that they see the Syrians playing an increasing role in deciding what Lebanon's future will be like in particular.

A huge insult to Lebanon and a break with Arab tradition and a breach of diplomatic protocol, but I'm not surprised, it's Qaddafi we're talking about.

Lebanon was probably not going to send any important or high ranking person anyway, given the whole arrest warrant against Qaddafi and the whole Shiite disenfranchisement with Libya over the disappearance of Sadr back in the 70's.

It just remains to be seen what Libya will do to the estimated 10's of thousands of Lebanese currently living in Libya. We all remember Qaddafi's antics with France and Switzerland just recently, all because his son is outta control.

One cannot be sure what the reaction will be, but one can be sure that Qaddafi is going to put on one heck of a show at the summit!


BetLZ News 3.17.10

World's richest man visits Lebanon, ancestral home / AP

Anna Kendrick on her 'timeless' Oscar dress / OsoBlog

And this great article on Byblos from the Financial Times...for some reason the link is not working so i'll paste it here:

Byblos plays to its historic strengths

By Ferry Biedermann

Published: March 17 2010 18:18 | Last updated: March 17 2010 18:18

Byblos street

The coast road north of Beirut, the Lebanese capital, is an unlovely example of unremitting strip development. Nondescript blocks of flats set over small-scale shopping malls line a chaotic, badly marked highway that becomes traffic-choked at weekends and through most of the summer.

Only near Jbeil, the ancient port of Byblos (above), does the urban sprawl give way to a Mediterranean atmosphere, perhaps more in keeping with what visitors are expecting.

It is little surprise then that the quiet harbour and narrow old streets of this town, 40km north of the capital, have been experiencing a significant expansion in tourism. The town aims to offer a tranquil contrast to the hectic capital – while still being able to indulge in the famed Lebanese taste for parties and good food.

“It is different from Beirut. Beirut is the capital, the financial centre. Here it is for holidays, cultural and artistic activities. It is much quieter,” says Joseph Shami, mayor of Byblos. During the past two years, as Lebanon has emerged from a period of instability, he has embarked on a programme of promoting nightlife in the historic centre while also seeking to enhance the character of his town.
Lebanon aims to build on banking success - Feb-03
Beirut bomb kills militants - Dec-28
Hariri forms unity government - Nov-10
Hariri to restart negotiations - Sep-17
Hariri quits as PM-designate - Sep-10
‘Lebanese Madoff’ mystery stuns investors - Sep-09

In the small, walled old port, packed around a fishing harbour, the transformation has been dramatic. Restored and partly pedestrianised almost a decade ago, the streets were largely deserted at night until just a few years back. Now, even on a Sunday evening in March, diners spill over into the cobbled streets in front of the restaurants while bars are filled with young people.

Mr Shami says the number of visitors jumped to 800,000 last year, twice what it used to be several years ago, when Lebanon was mired in crisis. Byblos and Lebanon suffered in the aftermath of the 2005 assassination of Rafiq Hariri, the prime minister, as well as from the war with Israel in 2006. But the country’s tourism industry has bounced back and 2m visitors came last year, according to the tourism ministry.

Byblos is trying to entice a good proportion of those along with domestic visitors attracted to beach resorts, a popular summer festival and its long history.

Even before Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war, Byblos, which locals claim is the longest continuously inhabited human settlement in the world, was a tourist destination.

Pepe’s fish restaurant in the old port displays pictures of illustrious visitors, including Marlon Brando and Brigitte Bardot. But while the town was a playground for the jet set, it did not attract large numbers, says Rafael Sfeir, a former mayor who helped start development between 2000 and 2004. “Now it is much more significant in terms of visitors and the economy,” he says.

The town, lying in the Christian heartland north of Beirut with a only small Shia Muslim minority, was spared serious fighting during the civil war. Unesco designated Byblos a world heritage site in 1984, and cites its association with Phoenician history and its alphabet.

Another boost came from the relocation of a large part of the campus of the Lebanese American University from war-torn Beirut.

But unbridled development during the war means that unsightly concrete development encroaches in many places. “The old part is very small and when you walk around you very quickly bump into very dirty or ugly streets,” remarks a Canadian tourist. During the long civil war, the sandy beaches near the city were buried under piles of waste.

“We removed three metres from the top before we reached sand,” says Roger Eddé, a local businessmen and politician.

Since it opened in 2003, his sprawling Eddé Sands beach resort just south of the centre has become synonymous with Lebanon’s penchant for hedonism.

Mr Eddé and his wife Alice are pioneers in the redevelopment of Byblos. Apart from Eddé Sands, they were the first to open cafés, restaurants and upmarket shops in the old centre. Mrs Eddé says many of the products sold at the shops, such as handbags and other handicrafts, are locally made, “to encourage the local crafts industry”.

Mr Eddé’s plans for the area include a marina, a “green village” and a ski resort in the nearby mountains. Eddé Sands, which is known for its wild beach parties, now offers “wellness” weeks, a spa and an improved family area.

Mr Shami, the mayor, also hopes to enhance his town’s environmental credentials further. Unique in Lebanon, he has plans to introduce a park-and-ride scheme this year.

Visitors will be able to leave their cars at the edge of town and take free electric buses to the centre.

He acknowledges that it might be an uphill struggle to persuade Lebanese addicted to valet parking to abandon their cars. “We have to change some ingrained bad habits. But everybody agrees that it is much nicer to walk around our streets than sit in exhaust fumes.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Lebanese Photographers

A while ago we mentioned Brazilian photographer Fernando Borges and showed you our favorite shots of his taken in Lebanon (click here to see that post).

It seems Fernando, as well as Lebanon-based photographers Elias Moubarak and Matias Nordahl Carlsen have won a Photo Forum Beirut competition and will have their work on display tomorrow, Tuesday March 16th at 7pm at Zico House. To read the article, click here.

Fernando's series is on Night Workers--he is part of an ongoing project with other photographers in Beirut that go around Beirut every Tuesday night documenting workers--the group is called "Night Collective;" find out more about them here.

Our favorite Fernando pics:

Elias Moubarak takes amazing photos of Lebanon, he says "I truly believe that pictures should speak for themselves and suggest different interpretations and reactions."

Our favorites of his:

And while we're at it, another Lebanese photographer we love is Ayla Hibri, who has her own blog called Chasing Lola. A common theme of hers seems to be children and she shoots in Lebanon as well as in Chicago where she now lives.

Some of our favorites of hers: