Posts Tagged ‘Amman’

Hello all,

So according to a quick run through my WordPress stats I have 66 living and breathing beings following my blog.

I wish to thank you all for your interest in my words and false wisdom.

It has been a while since I posted anything worthwhile. In the past two years I took an oath not to partake in any political discourse or social critique.

Why? I am too busy drawing lines and chasing after my livelihood.

There are many things in life that you cannot shake off: You being a writer and a radio person.

It has been a good year – minus the French scenery in France and Marion Cotillard – if you know your cinema you will get the reference.

However, I am blessed with a woman who is as lovely as Marion. I don’t talk much about my personal life as I try to let my work talk about myself as much as I can.

So yes it has been a good year. I am now a news reader and editor at Bliss 104.3, where I find myself surrounded by creative decent people. I’ve been working on expanding my art studio F.A.D.A. 317 and a couple of other projects.

I also haven’t stopped doing graffiti. There is something liberating about spraying your lines on a wall in Amman – it cuts the middleman and places your work for observation by thousands of people.

Following an artistic cultural trip to the U.K., compliments of the British Council, I started a blog dedicated to graffiti.

I called  it Spray Rocket Ape: Graffiti JO + and even designed the banner – since my side career is now all about illustration.

Sprayrocketape banner by Mike V. Derderian

I have a thing for apes;-})

Anyway … time for me to get back to designing album art for a client.

So here is the link to Spray Rocket Ape and I hope I can get to blog a little more.

https://sprayrocketape.wordpress.com/

Stay sound and sane …

Mike V. Derderian, a.k.a. Sardine.

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Let Us Imagine

Let us imagine,

The rivers are burning afar.

We hear the silence; when suddenly,

Music comes our way, to kill us,

So that the dance may gain strength and momentum,

Under the white sun.

Many Jordanians, or at least the ones I have on my Facebook feed, for some time, have been discussing the meaning of a poem painted over Al Fuheis complex in Down Town Amman.

The poem is by Moroccan Poet Mohammad Al Baz, and the artwork is by Abdallah Al Karoom. The piece was curated by Darat Al Funun.

So what is the meaning behind this poem?

It means a lot of things for different people.

Poetry, whether induced by drugs – not that we encourage or write poetry that way – or by uninfluenced imagination, is supposed to make us think. Poets want us to take a moment, whether short or long, and contemplate our existence.

As a visual piece this poem is also an excuse for you to look up a little. Aren’t you just tired of looking at your feet as they heavily shuffle over the pavement — the result of gravity?

If every poem came with York Notes* we’d be a less civilized thinking world, but then again the ongoing wars and murder of people over thoughts that question existence, and everything else, are proof that we are far from civilized.

We are where we are because of our thoughts, words, sentences and paragraphs; written and visual.

What is nonsense to someone makes sense to someone else.

Read Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play, “Waiting for Godot“, which will probably not make much sense after the first reading.

The first time I read the “Let Us Imagine” poem I did not give it much thought either. Now that I am 37 and have a little more understanding of life and literature, or so I like to believe, I decided maybe I should try to give it my own interpretation.

Remember I am not trying to enforce this interpretation on anyone; I am merely trying to give you the approach of an English Literature student to a poem.

Let us suppose a professor came up to me and asked me to explain the poem to him.

I would first translate it into English, and then break down its imagery, similes and what have you.

So here goes!

The first line:

Let us imagine,

In the very first line the poet is inviting us to imagine. He is not asking us to believe. He just wants you to take a moment and imagine a scene with him, a scene from his own mind.

The second line:

The rivers are burning afar.

What the poet did here is he gave water, from rivers, the characteristics of a combustible substance. He gave us a supernatural setting. It is either that or someone illegally unloaded chemical waste in a river somewhere.

So where are we now? We are most probably standing on the bank of burning river –part of an apocalyptic vision.

If Adele can Set Fire to the Rain then Moroccan Poet Mohammad Al Baz most surely can set rivers on fire.

The third line and fourth line:

We hear the silence; when suddenly,

Music comes our way, to kill us,

Silence is given a voice. Giving silence a sound is not a new thing. Simon and Garfunkel would know what I am talking about. So what did the poet do by giving silence a sound? He turned him into a person.

In the fourth line we have another case of personification. Music is given a human attribute in the form of action; the ability to kill. The line also bears a symbolic connotation to the emotional effect that music can have on our minds.

The fifth line: 

In the following line:

So that the dance may gain strength and momentum,

This line tells us of the motivation behind the actions of Music, the person.

Assuming you’ve survived the attack you will find a way to grow stronger. The attack is on our senses. When hearing music our muscles – commanded by our senses – will break into dance.

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche says,” that which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”

The sixth line:

Under the white sun.

The sun in reality is the color white; and white symbolizes purity. We all end up dancing under a pure sun; in a pure world.

Remember the above is what I understood from the poem.

A poem is no different than a mirror; it only bears your own reflection, or what you choose to see, or read into that reflection.

*York Notes are a series of English literature study guides. I remember seeing many students buy them while studying English Literature in the University of Damascus in Syria. Instead of reading an entire novel or a play one could easily buy York Notes and pretend to have read a book.

Coppella Main

A Ballet with 75 Performers

By Mike V. Derderian

The hall was overflowing with people. Wherever one looked there was someone sitting on the footsteps of the carpeted aisles of the theatre at the Royal Cultural Centre.

It was a Saturday, and to be more specific the 25th of October, 2014.

A month later I decided to write a review of the wonderful ballet, choreographed by the ever glowing Rania Kamhawi; a review I was supposed to write the moment I’ve returned home.

I was there with my wife and daughter Amie and like anything you would expect from The King Hussein Foundation: The National Centre for Culture & Art it was an evening of enchantment.

If there was any shortcoming, and there was one, it was not the fault of the 75 performers, Miss Kamhawi and the artistic and technical team behind Coppélia as a production; it was that of the theatre itself: It was too small for such an unforgettable beautiful performance.

Coppélia, as a ballet transcended the boundaries of the narrow stage of the Royal Palace. It was genuine and heartfelt; performed and played out with fervor by all 75 dancers.

If it wasn’t, the theatre hall wouldn’t have been overflowing with attendees to a degree that made having such a crowd in one single space rather dangerous if a fire, God forbid, broke out.

An elderly lady and three others, younger in age, Lebanese judging by their accents, sat next to me on chairs that were placed at the last moment. Like everyone else present they were transfixed by the balanced blend of classical music, dance and acting.

Every few minutes and throughout the performance my daughter, who usually pulls a Footloose on us when we go through clothing departments in malls that play loud dance music, started swinging her arms and standing on one leg.

A sense of pride with some embarrassment swept over me as I watched her face light up to the tempo of the music to which the performers of Coppella danced.

If I was writing this piece for The Star Weekly, where I worked as a journalist for eight years, I wouldn’t have included some of the above paragraphs but since this is a personal blog I am sure you will forgive my transgression.

There are many elements that turned Coppella into a beautiful and enjoyable ballet, and as I have mentioned earlier the genuine delivery of dance and theatrics are among those elements.

Before we go into that let me list the creative team behind it:

Artistic Direction & Choregraphy …. Rania Kamhawi

Head Dance Instructors …. Rania Kamhawi & Svetlana Tahboub

Dance Instructors … Ruba Abu Sabha, Tamara Haddad and Natalie Salsa

Costume Design … Hind Dajani

Set Design … Hamada Shweini

Graphic Design … Ala Al Qaisi

Financial Administration … Mohamad Badran and Bana Wreikat

PR & Marketing … Randa Fakhoury and Nour Dirieh

Technical Staff … Jamal Masri, Mahmud Hamad, Mohannad Al-Tal, Mohammad Attiyeh, Fawaz Al Rawashdeh, Faisal Huneiti and Omar Rawashdeh

Volunteer … Zeinab Al Shrouf, Saba Obeidat, Suzan Al Banawi and Mohammed Zemirli.

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Anyone reading the program will come upon a special thanks to Ms. Lina Attel, Mr. Mohammad Abu Sumaqa, Firas Al Masri and the Royal Cutlural Center.

I would have loved to include the names of all 75 performers with the above credits but to be honest I could not for lack of time – sure if I wanted I would have asked for a soft copy of the program but I didn’t. Continue reading please!

The talented 75 performers had roles that ranged between feasting friends, giddy school children, exuberant butterfly catchers, anxious toy makers, lovely dolls, and energetic sickle dancers swaying and dancing during a wheat harvest dance.

The National Center for Culture and Art – King Hussein Foundation Coppélia is a ballet in three acts: Act I, A Ballet in Three Act; Act II, The Deception and Act III, The Wedding. It tells the story of a screwy doll maker, Coppelius, who lives in a village full of nosy life-loving people, who are constantly breaking into his toy shop out of curiosity and interest in his humanoid inventions.

Also living in the village are Swanilda and Franz, who are gradually falling in love with each other to the backdrop of a festive village.

The three main characters are performed by Natalie Salsa (Swanilda), Bijan Qutub (Franz) and Apo Yaghmourian (Coppelius).

The beautifully tailored costumes gave the performance a European production value. The set design was simple and practical – allowing quick shifts in between scenes without disrupting the flow of the story.

One of the most memorable scenes was the dolls ballet scene at Coppelius’ toy shop where the lead female character Swanilda and her friends decide to toy with the old recluse.

After breaking into the toy shop Swanilda and her friends find themselves facing colorful dolls by the dozen. The moment the eccentric toy maker walks into the room they all hide behind the dolls. A few seconds later the lifeless dolls, each representing a culture, come to life to the sound of gentle music and well-choreographed ballet movement.

The entire production seemed familiar and reminded me of a ballet performance that I saw on television 25 years ago. The distant memory of an old toy maker getting angry with young men and women, who snuck into his workshop came to my mind as the performance neared its finale.

Premiering on the 25th of May in 1870 Coppélia was choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon to a musical arrangement by of Léo Delibes. I still haven’t found the tele-ballet that I saw a couple of years ago but I will, and when I do I will share it.

What I loved most about the Coppélia choreographed by Miss Kamhawi was how all the performers, young and old, were really into their roles. The friendly smiles and the inviting hand gestures intermingled in the background adding to the movements of the graceful dancers floating in the foreground.

It was a magical night for this writer, his wife and his daughter, and I cannot wait to attend any upcoming performance by the National Center for Culture and Art – King Hussein Foundation for I know I will not be disappointed.

“Thank you for enduring with us especially with such a full stage. We truly apologize for that! Based on tonight’s attendance we are to perform the ballet for another night,” Miss Kamhawi, who was surrounded by her dancers at the end of the performance, announced to a cheering audience.

“I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is of utmost importance to us that you attend our performances. Thank you for supporting us,” Miss Kamhawi concluded.

On a final note the next time you hear of such a performance that is choreographed by the ever-passionate and gentle Rania Kamhawi make sure you buy a ticket.

About the writer/blogger:

Mike V. Derderian is a writer, a disc-jockey at Radio Jordan 96.3 FM and a journalist with 13 years of experience. At the moment he is working as an illustrator and a street artist. For writing and illustration assignments e-mail mikevderderian@yahoo.com

Hala Wain 3ami by Sardine

Celebrating Halloween in Jordan is no longer legal or so they say!

So I guess the Jordanian government now can move on to solving bigger issues!!!

Ah, well! We always need a little more backwardness with all the progress we are making.

Please note that this is coming from a man who hasn’t worn a costume for Halloween since 1990.

Another please note: This design dates back to 2 – 3 years I just re-modified it after hearing the news about the ban yesterday.

Hala Wain 3ami and welcome to Jordan :-})

Sardine

 

 

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A wasteful practice that should be banned in a country where water is scarce.

Dear St. Regis management and other establishments who waste water this way please stop!

An entire family can live for a couple of days with the amount of water that was wasted to clean these plastic banners that are placed over a 100 + construction fence.

Spread the word about this!

The above is something I posted on my Instagram account.

I am a writer, an illustrator and a journalist, who happens to have an Instagram account and that I use every now and then for journalistic purposes: @mikevderderian

Please note: A blog is all about sharing so if you wish to share the photograph make sure you always credit me.  

 

I haven’t written a movie review, or a blog post for that matter, in ages.

So here is a short one!

It would be great to do a comparative study of Kasabian’s Empire (2006) and The Charge of the Light Brigade by Tony Richardson (1968).

 

Empire’s color, light and texture is so reminiscent of the 1960s cinematography and the grainy texture that can be attributed to the manner by which a film stock is developed.

Both films, the music video and the motion picture, also present a case study of the lives of generals and soldiers in that era, in 1854, and of course the overall futility of war – I am thinking from an existential view point rather than a moral one.

Evil must be fought, however, sometimes those who give the orders are no less evil than the ones they are fighting.

Here is trailer for The Charge of the Light Brigade.

 

Guess this is my way of saying I really love Kasabian, their music and their approach to shooting music videos.

Honorable mention: Vlad The Impaler.

 

I apologize for not posting regularly but I’ve been going through a lot in terms of work and career changes.

I also been listening to more music part of my life as a radio Disc Jockey and news presenter at Radio Jordan’s 96.3 FM, The English Service.

My shows are on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Hope you are doing well in this crazy beautiful world that is plagued by blood thirsty idiots.

Good day all …

Mike V. Derderian

Writer & Illustrator

http://www.facebook.com/SardineArt

May 2014


Charon for Daily Spitpaint by Sardine

The Ferryman’s Sovereign

By Manuel V. Derida, 1950

Reach not to your pocket for I want a sovereign and no more,

With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Don’t need your name for a sovereign is the price of my Oar,

With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Many a men and women have tried to cross this path before,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

They cried and wailed, “Oh, Ferryman take us to safety’s shore”
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Away from my boat or you shall taste my oar’s sway…away,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Weep not and curse not what you have in life always yearned for,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Favoring the yearning of the flesh you’ve neglected that of the soul,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Man laments and bemoans the blows of fate only when he is forlorn,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Alas, neither I, and nor you, know what the gods for us have in store,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Without a sovereign and no more in this place you’ll toil evermore,
With a breath so old announced the Ferryman.

Art by Sardine a.k.a Mike V. Derderian (2014).