Best of Oslo: The Grønland Market In Pictures

The selection and preparation (and consumption) of food is an effort I take seriously. Making and sharing good food is a wonderful part of life.

After growing up in California for most of my life, living in Lebanon for the past few years changed my relationship to food markets. Hole in the wall fruit & vegetable shops, corner butchers and family-owned neighborhood mini-marts are preferred places to get daily ingredients. Despite the growing “green, organic, farmer’s market” movement in Southern California, massive chain stores still dominate grocery market options. There, red-tags flag the bargains of the day throughout the seemingly endless walls of stuff. The fruits and vegetables are waxed and shined imitations of themselves. They are tasteless, like the idea buying a sweatsuit, a bicycle and apples from the same place. The dull hum of the florescent lights serves as the soundtrack of the shopping experience. It’s not the tantalizing place por... [more]

By Layal
The Possibility of Warming Our Hearts An Interview with The Outpost's IBRAHIM NEHME

It’s easy to feel like the world is turning into a cold and terrible place. Just a quick look what’s happening in the Middle East is enough to dim even the brightest heart.

Since Fall 2012, Lebanon’s beautifully designed The Outpost magazine has been on a mission to incite a socio-cultural renaissance in the Middle East through the exploration of the possibilities of change.

Their previous issues have tackled the Possibility of Moving Forward, The Possibility of Living Here (in the Arab world), The Possibility of Rewriting Our Story and other monumental themes. The issues usually include a supplemental fiction text or a creative, interactive way of connecting the reader to the theme of the issue.

The latest issue – The Possibility of Warming Our Hearts – was created with the hope of making people feel a little better during these relatively unhappy times by showcasing happiness makers in the region. In the opener, The Outpost found... [more]

By Layal
WHO'S THE ANTI-SEMITE? All Palestinians are Semites And Most Israelis Are Non-Semitic Jews, maybe...

So, hating on Israel just makes you an anti-anti-semite?

We all remember the bitter Arab/Israeli wars. The record battles, the name-calling. First Israel tried to take hummus. Then it was tabbouleh, shawarmah and baklava. But was it all a cover up for the most controversial thing they took? Anti-semitism.

The fact is, Palestinians are semites! So, what’s the deal yo?

Let’s get one thing out of the way. The theories I’m about to throw down are controversial, which mostly means that no one knows for certain what they’re talking about and sometimes people lie to advance their theory, even when it’s super important to tell the truth.

One theory, the Khazar theory, states that European Jews do not have semitic origins. Arthur Koestler, a Jewish historian, published a book about the history of the Ashkenazi Jews (the ones ... [more]

By Layal
AZIZA: YA MAZAG Watch The New Music Video From Beirut's Pop Princess

Featuring Beirut’s Motorcycle Gang, The Aref Naja Crew!

Last August, when Lebanese popstar Aziza was a guest on the 2famous.TV radio show, she announced that she was recording a new album. We waited in anticipation and the time has finally come!

Watch her video featuring the bad-ass motorcycle gang of Beirut, The Aref Naja Crew! She’s such a lady!

Aziza will be debuting her album on June 7th at Beirut’s Sporting Club. For details and tickets to the event, click here.

... [more]
By Layal
When Ailin Kissed Lars A Documentary about Kindergarteners in Love

Does this tiny love story reveal the true nature of men and women in relationships?

[SPOILER ALERT: watch video first!]

Norway’s most popular publication, VG, published a short documentary featuring the tumultuous tale of kindergarteners in love. At the most basic level it’s super cute, but the story unravels to reveal the sad and awkward reality of male-female views on dating, no matter the age.

The story opens in the Spring with four-year-old Ailin and five-year-old Lars explaining their budding relationship at an Oslo kindergarten. It’s a love story like many others. Girl likes boy. Boy has no clue what’s going on. Another boy feins interest in girl. Boy suddenly realizes he must have girl. Boy makes girl his girlfriend. They are in love. They talk about moving in together.

Suddenly, fate’s cruel hand whisks the boy away. He’s a year older than Ailin and must start First grade, leaving her behind in kindergarten. She still thinks about Lars fondly but manages to snag a new boyfriend. Lars on the o... [more]

By Layal
Leila for Syria A (Brief) Interview with the Band's Frontman HAMED SINNO

Watch them in concert this Saturday
…and don’t forget your life jacket!

Ich was going to become famous by solving a world problem! But which one? Clooney’s got Darfur, Sting’s got the Amazon, and Bono’s got AIDS! Luckily, there was still one shithole left to fix: the Middle Earth. – Brüno

You know you’re a superstar when you’re asked to publicize world issues like the war in Syria. Angelina Jolie recently visited the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Kim Kardashian tweeted about Kassab, and tomorrow the Lebanese indie-pop band Mashrou’ Leila will perform at a fundraising event to raise money for Syrian refugees. Superstar status!

The Middle East is not a shithole, but there are some pretty shitty ... [more]

By Layal
#lebaneseselfie Watch the Satirical Music Video Featuring Olga Habre

2famous’ers might recognize Olga Habre’s voice from Adrian and Layal’s Radio Show! OK, fine, you might actually recognize her voice because she is the co-host of one of the most listened to morning radio shows in Lebanon, but her star shone brightest on our radio show! We swear it.

Now, she’s put her talking talents to good use in the Lebanese version of a satirical song, to make fun of the posh side of the Beirut nightlife!

We love her and now you do too!

#lebaneseselfie #alwaysgowithvalencia #forgetrami

... [more]
By Layal
Can You Make It? Redbull Challenges Students to Make it to Berlin With No Money

Were they inspired by 2famous’ Matias Nordahl Carlsen?

When I first met Matias, one of the founders of 2famous.TV, I learned that he used to make documentaries of himself hitchhiking across the world. It sounded awesome until I realized he was traveling without a krone, or dollar, in his pocket! Then I thought he was nuts!

See, here’s a clip of Matias’ documentary Cape to Cape, where he hitchhiked from the North of Norway to South Africa!

And this is him making his way from Norway to China…

People and companies are always copying superstars and Matias is no exception. The documentaries of his travels are quite popular and traveling without money has become rather mainstream…I mean, his documentaries were even televised!

Now, maybe because they were inspired by our very own Siddhartha, or at least inspired by someone who was inspired by Matias, who knows, Red Bull is challenging 100 teams to make it a... [more]

By Layal
Jorgo and Layal #WorldFamousHipster + #notamartyr = The Internet's Newest Power Odd Couple

Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, Jack White and Renee Zellweger, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito; Opposites attract, and we (Jorgo and Layal) are no exception. We’re like day (he has hair like the golden sun) and night (that’s what my name means), Evil (it’s his legal middle name) and good (I’m internet famous without a sex tape!). We’re the internet’s newest power odd couple and I’m about to ‘splain why.

Sometime last year, Jorgo was featured in Buzzfeed as one of the types of hipsters you’d likely to encounter in London. Proud/embarrassed, he posted an article apologizing to the world for starting the hipster movement, thus perpetuating the destruction of the world. Today, I found out that I was listed on Buzzfeed’s [more]

By Layal
Viking Apocalypse Is February 2014 The End of the World?

Are the Norwegians behind 2famous.TV holding out on us? What’s all this I hear about a Viking apocalypse? (Also, it’s pronounced Wiking, because even though Norwegians don’t use the letter W, they think our V is a W even though their V is a V. And really, I think it’s a bit cruel to use a W when spelling of the country’s name in English, no? It’s Norge!)

According to experts of Norse mythology, the Vikings believed that the end of the world is February, 22, 2014! That’s less than 2 months away! Is this true? Why did I have to read about this on the interwebs, boys?

A new year, a new apocalypse conspiracy: What I Know

On November 14, 2013 an ancient Viking horn was sounded to mark 100 days until the pending Viking apocalypse, also known as Ragnarök, or the Doom of the Gods (I researched this, and there are about as many interpretations of Ragnarök as there are ways of me pronou... [more]

By Layal
Do You Know Abu Sharmouta? Seriously, Do You?

When a group of students was held up at U of H (Houston, not Hijinks), one of the six of the victims was around to tell the tale to reporter Crystal Kobza. His name? Abu Sharmouta. This kid better be graduating Summa Cum Laude for this level of genius.

(For our non Arabic readers: Abu is arabic for ‘father’ while Sharmouta means ‘whore’, translated it’s ‘father of a whore’).

... [more]
By Layal
Somewhere In America A Video by #Mipsterz

Or, my lesson on #Mipsterz

As a blog brought to you by self-denying hipsters in the Middle East, you’d think 2Famous would keep up to date with the ever-changing hipster terminology, especially when it’s Middle East relevant! Imagine my surprise when I looked up what a Mipster was. Seriously, it’s a Muslim Hipster! Collectively, Mipsterz!

Unsatisfied with a simple definition, I stalked around on the interwebz a bit until I came across their Facebook page. Here is a snap of a portion of their about section.

How hipster of them! They make words, make fun of themselves and make awesome videos #Makerz

You can check out the Mipsterz Facebook page here!

... [more]
By Layal
Hiking in the Norwegian Mountains The Inner Dialogue of a Non-Trekker

Or, How the Norwegians tried to kill me and I never felt more alive!

10,000 years ago (sorry creationists) the Ice Age ended and the hunter-gatherer societies living on the edge of the ice in the Northern European regions were free to frolic into what is today known as Norway. After chasing reindeers for a while, they eventually settled in areas along the coast, but they couldn’t be held down! They hit the ground walking and have been walking ever since.

Physical activity is a big part of Norwegian culture. People walk, run, bike and roller ski around the city to get from here to there, then they can’t wait to get out of the urban jungle (the term is relative, there are more natural parks in Oslo than in all of Lebanon) to walk, run, bike or cross-country ski around the mountains. One of the most popular outdoor activities is trekking. They even do it naked.

This is the tale of a young girl’s strange erotic... [more]

By Layal
Norwegian Wood Or How to Polish it with Olive Oil --Home Hacks from the Middle East--

Chronicles of the Unofficial Ambassador of Lebanon to Norway

I’ve decided that I am the Ambassador of Lebanon to Norway. It’s not a title formally recognized by either government, but I take my job seriously nonetheless. Rather than start with more daunting tasks like promoting climate change to make this place a little warmer (a conservative government won elections recently and I may have already been influenced by them), I’ve decided to flex a bit of my soft power muscle and introduce Scandinavia to a few home hacks I’ve imported with me from the Middle East. Stuff is expensive here! Here are 8 home hacks sure to lighten the load on your wallet.

1.) Olive Oil as a wood polisher Everything is made of wood in Norway. No wonder The Beatles made a song about it and Murakami wrote a book about it. Forget the propaganda Pledge has poisoned your mind with. All you need is some cheap olive oil mixed with white vinegar... [more]

By Layal
SO, I'M MOVING FOR LOVE Who knew I had so much stuff!

4.5 years, that’s how long it’s been since my last adventure started. Alone, without a plan, and vaguely knowledgeable about the foreign place, my birthplace, which seeped its way into my American life through weekly trips to the Arabic grocery store, Sunday’s spent at the local Maronite church in Orange County and a regular diet of yakhne’s (stews) for dinner, I landed in Beirut.

Who knew this place would change my life?

4.5 days! That’s how long until my next adventure is set into motion! I’m not alone this time. My last adventure bestowed upon me the most amazing partner a girl could ask for. So amazing, in fact, that the course of my life, however uncharted, has been changed forever to include him. For me, there is no decision to be made…it’s the way things are now. I’m Norway bound and I’m not looking back.

So, it is with bittersweet sentiment that I leave my old place of adventure behind ... [more]

By Layal
Living In Lebanon A Survival Guide

Part 2: Dancing to the Beat of War Drums

Every once in a while, bored with the run-of-the-mill stress of daily life in Arabia, the Middle E Street Band gets together to bang away on the drums of war, sending everyone unacquainted with this fear-mongering power-grabbing tactic into a frenzy.

Everyone will threaten to blow everything up if someone else blows something up for blowing something up, so don’t try to figure out what’s going on; leave it to the experts. Your only decision should be: panic or poise?

To maintain your sanity during these trying times, one must learn to separate the crazies from the you-might-have-a-pointies and truly understand whether you are supposed to literally run for ze hills or party at a 72-hour festival on open grounds on the eve of WWIII.

The Out Of Towners [more]

By Layal
Living In Lebanon A Survival Guide

Part One: Family Lunches

Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and with two suitcases containing the things I then felt were most important to me, I moved to Lebanon five years ago. Before I left California, my parents briefed me on the peculiar social norms I would encounter in my new home, but my Western sensibilities wouldn’t allow me to absorb the weight of their wisdom; I had to learn the hard way. Half a decade later and ripe with knowledge but lacking the necessary offspring to pass this information down to, I offer this information to you: those considering a move back to the motherland. This is how to survive a family lunch with your ego still intact.

Growing up, my father would sometimes say to me. “Dad*, I swear to God, you are the smartest girl I know, but you’re kind of strange.” In a surprising move to protect me from those who might not find my weirdness charming, or who didn’t know that I could at least balance it with intelligence, my father called me the night bef... [more]

By Layal
Episode 13 - Meh, It's Probably Nothing...

This week we have storyteller Dana Barakat into the studio! Listen in as she shares stories about her family, especially her mother! Trust us, she’s hilarious!

Also, are we going to war? Adrian and I have no idea! Should we start getting worried? Listen in as we try to flesh out our options.

We also talk about whether we would use the mooncup, how detox is not a walk in the spa, Norwegians say LSD is good for you, how 25,000 would be freshman in Liberia failed the college entrance exam, Saudi Arabia passes its first domestic violence law and so much!

... [more]
By Layal
The Real Vigilantes Of Beirut

Episode 1: The Case of the Peeping Tom Car Thief

Sometime you have to take justice into your own hands.

I felt like Dog the Bounty Hunter. As I was running across the street aiming at jumping onto the hood of my own car, I was thinking to myself, Is this real life!? Before we get into an existential debate, hop with me into the rabbit hole and back to the beginning.

One night, while I was sitting in my room I heard a tap on glass. I had recently closed a window in the kitchen to prevent a cat from coming in, so I thought, wow, is the cat knocking?  I ignored it until I heard a louder knock, looked up and saw a man standing and staring at me in the window.  He was also touching himself. I screamed, he ran, and that was that.

Strange things started happening.  A pair of men’s shoes randomly showed up in the bushes outside my room and I would hear someone walking around near my windows in the middle of the n... [more]

By Layal
Politics of the Middle East In A Nutshell

Hizballah is calling an emergency PR meeting; how did they not make the final cut? Tell us what think of this neatly packaged run down on the current Middle Eastern ‘situation’?

... [more]
By Layal
Episode 12 - The Pop Star Among Us

This week on the ‘two girls one mic bar/studio LIVE from Beirut radio show,’ Adrian and Layal will have guest, Aziza, Lebanese Pop star and musical sensation whose album drops soon!

She also stick around to discuss other predictably scandalous things like: how the hell do people deal with long distance relationships (Jorgo and Layal have been apart for 2 weeks now!), slut-shaming and double standards, how spoons are saving women from forced marriages, sex boxes in Zurich and so so much more!

... [more]
By Layal
Dating: Lebanese Style A Crappy Tale

How A School Lunch Landed Me On A Sh*t List

Back when Lunchables were the coveted schoolyard meal, my mother, worried about cost of store-bought ready-made lunches on our health and her pocket, would wake up each morning and pack us something like a labneh and cucumber pita sandwich for first recess, leftovers from the night before for lunch, and a variety of dried Arab-style fruits and nuts as snacks. If we were lucky and Chips Ahoy was on sale that week, we would get a couple of cookies that were crushed under the impact of the Tupperware by the time we were ready to enjoy them.

Once, my mother wrapped a slice of kibbeh, a pizza-shaped slice of delicious ground meat, in aluminum foil and packed it up for lunch. Naturally, a side of yogurt mixed with garlic and cucumbers accompanied the meal. Fruity Dannon cups of sweet yogurt this was not. The Tupperware of yogurt opened mid-day in my backpack so that the smell of ra... [more]

By Layal
Episode 11 – Who's in Charge Here?

This week, we had indie music video director Noel Paul in-studio talking about a bunch of stuff he’s unsure about…maybe it’s a hipster thing. He was still awesome, especially when he turned the tables on his two unsuspecting hosts and became the interviewer!

Check out his latest video for Purple Yellow Red & Blue by Portugal. The Man here:

Our sex segment ‘Nympho Info’ made a come-back this week and we discussed squirting (yes, that kind), teenagers having sex at home and whether it’s cool or creepy for a dad to tell his daughter to have an awesome sex life.

... [more]

By Layal
Episode 10 – Spreading the Seeds of Love…and Hate

In this episode, we discuss a variety of unusual relationships and sexual behaviors. Could you be polyamorous if your partner remained monogamous? Do you think male contraceptives are a good thing? Did you know they busted a guy in Beirut who confessed to raping at least 10 kids?

We also talk about our beloved Katy Perry and her ex-husband Russell Brand’s comments about their sex life and so much more!

... [more]
By Layal
Episode 9 – Guilty Pleasures

This week, we surf the radio airwaves while discussing GUILTY PLEASURES (we all have them), the Pope and the gays, weiners (Anthony, specifically. Is it a self-fulfilling prophecy that a man with the last name Weiner likes to flaunt his own? Would you stand by your man if he repeatedly cheated on you in public?) and we take some cues on how to do interviews from Fox News

... [more]
By Layal
Episode 8 – Weird World

This episode is action packed! We discuss a lot of weird things happening in the world! Did you know a Dutch women is recruiting Jihadists? Or did you hear that a mom was secretly recruiting a hooker online for her virgin son? Did you read that a recent study on young people showed that the secret to a long lasting relationship is staying the hell away from each other (we call total bullshit on this one)? Also, in North Koreans are using their fridges as bookshelves! Apparently, the are a status symbol, ... [more]

By Layal
My Favorite Celebrity Diva Was Assaulted And I Fear the Fate of Our Newest Star Chef

Not Nigella Lawson! Who next? Adrian?!

The first time I saw Nigella Lawson on TV eating one of her savory meals like she was making sweet love to it, moans and all, I was in love. While most girls bragged about the team-flipping powers of the stick-like Angelina, it was Nigella and Nigella alone who would be able to seduce me into her luscious bosom.

You can imagine my horror upon seeing the recent photos of Nigella being choked out by her mega-rich hubby, Charles Saatchi, during an argument at a restaurant late last week. Who would do that to the person who wears sexy nighties on TV when making her ‘late-night’ snacks, the woman who has overcome so much in her life, and seemingly is a perfect angel in my eyes!? How dare he!!

Yesterday, when questioned about the event, Saatchi said that Lawson wasn’t hurt during the ‘playful tiff’ he used to make a point and that the incident ‘wasn’t that serious’.

Yeah, ok, I totally choke a bitch when I expr... [more]

By Layal
Weird NEWS

Arrogant Saudi Princes and Breast Milk Lollipops…

If I Were a Billionaire…

Old money is so lame. When I first read that Prince AlWaleed bin Talel of Saudi Arabia, one of the ballin’est people on the planet, was suing Forbes magazine for claiming his worth to be about 20 billion dollars, 10 billion less than his personal estimate, I thought to myself, rich people have a lot to learn from rappers. New Money, Baby! Where are the gold teeth and chains? Where is the gold plated jacket?

Have you seen a picture of Wally? Of course Forbes is going to underestimate his wealth. He looks like a mix of the magician David Copperfield and your family’s shady accountant circa 1980. Why so serious? You have between 20 and 30 billion dollars!

Do you have any idea what the 2famous crew would look like with that kind of money?


By Layal
American Girls Are Dirty

Growing up an immigrant kid in the United States wasn’t really that hard, especially if you were an Arab kid in the 90’s.

First, there was all the room in the world to play outside instead of being confined to riding your bike in the halls of your apartment building. The fast food and candy tasted awesome when you could get your hands on them, and Nintendo was starting to get some real competition from Sony, so both companies were stepping up their game up.

But it wasn’t all lollipops and Sonic the Hedgehog; making friends was a different story. Most girls throughout the 6th grades of America understood the hierarchical system of cliques. Though complicated and intricate, no matter where you fell on the spectrum, you could be sure you’d have a friend to hang around the mall with on Saturdays. Unfortunately for my 12-year-old self, going to the mall with your family was well-known as social suicide for a pre-teen, and I didn’t get that mem... [more]

By Layal
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