Wicker Park: A Festival for both hot birds and music nerds
This past weekend, the 3rd annual Wickerpark Music festival took place on the shores of the turquoise beaches of Batroun. The festival is a yearly showcase of some of the top acts in Lebanese rock n roll, which seeks to promote Lebanese music along with environmental causes. While many festivals in Lebanon have been cancelled in recent weeks because of ongoing political bullshit, Wickerpark with its balls-out Lebanese line-up, wasn’t going to throw in the towel so easily. As a result, all of Mar Mikhael and Gemmayze migrated north for the weekend, reportedly emptying bars along the usually messy spillover outside Radio Beirut.
The festival showcased a variety of bands of varying musical tastes. Not all of the bands necessarily complemented each other well, but the diversity kept things interesting. Every band, and I mean EVERY BAND was good….(I am exempting Wake Island from this for the simple reason that I got lazy and went home before they played, like half e... [more]
– Watch the extravagant video of the fucked up high life of the anti virus Guru
Behind every cool website, movie, and music album is a tech genius who makes all of the backend stuff happen. While they usually get little fame and glory, without them none of these projects would be what they are. 2famous is exactly the same. Jorgen Ekvoll Knut O. are the behind the scenes masters pulling all of the strings and making 2famous the sexiest, most efficient website in the Middle East. Their role is so demanding that they rarely surface in public, and if they do Knut will always be covered in a Kaffiyeh scarf and sunglasses, and Jorgen will be wearing a conspicuous neon pink jacket. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t live large. And it does not mean they are doomed to a life of data entry and celibacy (which they are not living anyway).
In fact, Jorgo and Knut’s lives probably resemble something closer to that of anti-virus software pioneer John Mcafee. In a new Youtube video posted a few days ago, 67 year old software legend John Mca... [more]
“Adventures” on the Mediterranean Island of Corsica
Corsica is one of those places that most people would never think to travel to. It’s an obscure island outpost of France in the Mediterranean Sea stereotyped for its fiercely independent people and militant separatist culture that routinely tells France to get fucked. It has the highest per-capita murder rate in Europe, has a severed head on its flag, and the mafia runs everything. It’s also relatively inaccessible and just doesn’t have the same fairytale reputation of Paris or Provence.
For me it felt like I was going somewhere obscure and unique. It was somewhere I would never have gone unless I had someone on the inside to hook me up. Let’s be honest, an isolated island in the Eurozone is not exactly a budget friendly destination. I didn’t know what to expect before going other than that the place is beautiful, drop-dead damn fucking beautiful. And people get shot the... [more]
A nostalgic homage to one of our favorite towns in the whole world
If you’re a foreigner who’s been living in Lebanon the chances are you have ventured to Syria at some point before the political situation descended into utter tragedy. For myself, and many people I know in Lebanon, Syria is not some far-flung wild country that is the center of everything wrong with humanity, no matter what people in Beirut try to tell us (history can be complicated). Instead it is a place many of us have built a lasting affection for as a beautiful, historic country with incredibly warm people. Canadian journalist Nahlah Ayed wrote in her recent book that Syria was viewed by many in the Arab world as the embodiment of hospitality and simplicity. While that may be quite generalizing (and not the case in Lebanon), I would have to agree that there is some truth in it.
During my time in Syria I paid a few visits to the village of Al-Bara, in Idlib province, about an hour outside of Aleppo. Al-Bara is home to one of the most intact of the “d... [more]
A few weeks back, Cyril from Underrated productions approached 2famousTV. He told us about a new party concept he and his crew were creating and promoting called “Stereo Club Nights.” Basically, they are the uber cool, refined, and dare I say classy club parties with an emphasis on Deep House music.They are being held on May 11, 18, 25 and June 1 at Solea V Rooftop in Beirut.
As a part of their concept they wanted to collaborate with the coolest websites, blogs, and artists in Beirut to make the parties happen. Naturally they asked 2famousTV to join the project. However, Cyril was in LA promoting parties, (yeah, he takes his shit seriously) so he wasn’t able to meet with us. Instead, he sent his two bombshell co-workers Leia and Jessica to work with us, which we were completely okay with. We finally found the time to chat with Cyril about who he is and what his vision for the Beirut music scene is.
Adrian: Who is Cyril Bitar AKA Mr. Overtime?... [more]
Time: September 2006Location: Pakistan, somewhere on the road between Peshawar and Islamabad
It was Ramadan, the Islamic holy month when the faithful fast during daylight hours. It was late afternoon and I was on a comfortable air-conditioned bus somewhere between the city of Peshawar, on the Afghan frontier, and the capital Islamabad. The luxurious bus was a chosen relief from the rather cramped conditions of more affordable Pakistani transportation. The extra legroom and air-conditioning was the perfect remedy for the past few days in the welcoming, but chaotic city of Peshawar. I had just recently hacked off the longest beard I had ever had and was still getting use to the fresh feeling of a baby face. My fellow passengers consisted mostly of polite middle class city dwelling businessmen who were a little less awestruck by a foreigner than their contemporaries in more far-flung regions of the country.[more]
Here’s a list of songs that remind me of certain places in the world at certain times. This does not mean that they are good songs or songs of my choice. It means that the songs were simply there, and usually being pounded into my aural memory at the most inconvenient of times. Enjoy…
JLO-On the Floor ft. Pitbull (and songs associated)– Iran 2011, Central Asia 2006
I have a weird relationship with this song/ripped-off a million times melody. The “Dance the night away…” melody that is the hook of the song is nothing new at all. I think it is originally from this Franco-Brazilian folk song:
I first heard this melody while travelling the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia in 2006. They had a cheap Russian-synthesizer version of the melody, which I can’t track down for the life of me (post if you know!).
In 2010/2011 the melody was then recycled into that J-Lo-Pitbull song, which I then heard... [more]
– Guns N Roses Concert + Exclusive Backstage Video!
“They didn’t play Civil War!” exclaimed a disappointed 2famousTV fan.
“You think they should’ve capitalized on the opportunity?” I asked.
“Well yeah! It’s relevant here [in Lebanon].”
My own intuition had me thinking that not playing the song Civil War was a courteous thing, but there were definitely some local fans (of Guns N Roses) who felt otherwise. I thought it was a much safer bet to bank on playing the Lebanese national anthem (which they did), than a song that relates to darker days in history. Ironically, however the loudest crowd sing-along of the night was not the Lebanese national anthem, or a Guns N Roses classic, it was Axl’s cover of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall.Regardless of what songs people did or did not want to hear, Saturday’s show at the Forum de Beyrouth was surprisingly d... [more]
-Beirut’s Mad Scientist Musicians!
Coming to Beirut I had a few vague ideas of what kind of bands I hoped to discover. While these ideas were never specific, in my own naïve romantic imagine they involved bands that took real musical risks and encouraged their audience to participate, rather than just watch. On Thursday night I saw a band at Kunkunkun’s, in Gemmayze, that fit this description. That band was The Incompetents.
After the first 3 songs of The Incomptents’ set I was giddy. I was giddy because they had this knack for taking twisted, disjointed, Tom Waits-esque melodies and them mixing with happy, loud, and danceable guitar pop tunes, a la CBGB’s. On top of that they did these intricate psychedelic prog-rock breakdowns that didn’t last too long and didn’t scare half the crowd away. Just when you were about to go, “okay this is cool, but what the fuck?” they’d hi... [more]
– LIKE and lets make Beirut come to Beirut!
Dear Beirut the band,
I am writing you from the city to which you owe your name. I am also writing you as a fan. As a fan of Beirut the band who lives in Beirut the city I feel it is long overdue that you bring your lovely music to this lovely town. In fact, I feel it is something you owe Beirut the city because you have been able to capitalize on all the images of beauty, culture, and romantic discord that Beirut the city conjures up. I actually feel you have chosen one of the coolest and vivid band names in history. However, the reason that name is so cool is because of what Beirut the city is. Therefore I repeat, you owe Beirut the city a little visit.
Another reason why you owe Beirut a visit is that you, Beirut the band, have Google eclipsed Beirut the city. If I Google “Beirut” almost all of the top search results have nothing to do with Beirut the city and everything to do ... [more]
Like we’ve been telling you for the past week, Guns N Roses is playing in Beirut this Saturday, March 30th and we’re giving away 2 Golden Ring Tickets if you like the 2famousTV Facebook page (and you win the draw http://2famous.TV/). Officially called “The Appetite for Democracy Tour”, Guns is going to rip through a classic set list of songs about jungles, cities, and yes, democracy.
As we are 2famousTV we have premium access to this most epic of Rock shows (obviously) and all of its inner workings. On Wednesday the 2famous crew ventured down to the Forum de Beyrouth, where the concert is being held, to talk with our homeboy Jean Carl Saliba of JK58, the company which is producing and promoting the show.
Now our buddy Jean Carl, who is Lebanese himself and only 29 years old, is not new to the business of epic Rock n Roll glory. He’s been doing this kind of thing for 9 years, and as recently a... [more]
Canadian low-budget TV superstars “The Trailer Park Boys” have a surprising following outside of their native Nova Scotia. No, I’m not talking about Moosomin, Saskatchewan or West Virgnia, I’m talking about Lebanon.
Much to my surprise I’ve been hearing these guys referenced by various people in Beirut. I’ve watched in amazement as some of my Lebanese friends laugh away at Bubbles, his cats, and his hookers. How far and wide this phenomenon has spread is anyone’s guess, but it’s here. Hopefully we’ll hear the song “Liquor and Whores” populate the Lebanese radio waves soon.
We’ve heard a rumor through some Lebanese-Canadian friends who claim to know the Boys that Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles might be visiting Beirut to upgrade their street credentials. We’ll keep you posted if we hear more on this…... [more]
There are two major stereotypes that exist about Iran today. One is the stereotype of the apocalyptic ‘merica hating Islamic Republic, which bears little or no semblance to reality. And the other is the stereotype of the binge drinking, designer drug using, sex crazed, %70 under the age of 30 atheist Iran, which bears way fucking more of a semblance to reality than the previous stereotype, even if it’s blown considerably out of proportion.
Like any other country there is a plethora of different lifestyles that exist in Iran, some more alcohol friendly than others. However, there is no question that a large slice of the Iranian population loves the sauce, the higher end the better (it is a country full of rock stars after all). The only problem is that alcohol is illegal in Iran. This makes life a little difficult, and expensive for Iran’s highly active party maniacs and casual Black Label conniseurs. So if you’re going to venture into Iran (which I h... [more]
Michelle and Noel Keserwany are two highly intelligent young musicians, and sisters (if I believe what they tell me), who became overnight Youtube sensations in Lebanon. Before they had ever played their first serious gig, they had over 300 000 views on their Youtube page and were being invited on major Lebanese television stations. Basically they were stars in the making. This led us to wonder what the hell their PR strategy was and how we could follow in their footsteps. I met with the Noel half of the group at an unnamed coffee shop in Kaslik to ask for her advice and talk to her about other cool things.
Following the success of their first video Jagal el Usek (2011), Michelle and Noel decided to one up themselves with their next video/song/really cool stunt called 3al Jamal bi Wasat Beirut (On a Camel in the Middle of Beirut). They went up to Baalbek to find what are probably the only two camels in all of Lebanon, and then take them down to Beirut and f... [more]
The Wanton Bishops and Guns N Roses are not just Rock n Roll bands, they’re Fuckin’ Rock N Roll bands. And they’re also casting their filthy tar-stained shadow over Beirut this month. We at 2famous.tv are so excited that we’ve all started smoking to make sure we can fit in…(sort of). [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AakYVRhNAA&w=620&h=315] Indie Swamp Blues Old-Bammer Rock n Roll band The Wanton Bishops returned home this week from a short tour of Turkey, where they played their first ever shows abroad. Back in Beirut they play to an uber-stoked crowd that knew about 97.679% of the words to all the songs. We at 2famous.tv have been hearing this constant buzz about these dudes for a while. It seems like everyone into the Beirut music scene has been going nuts for these guys and touting them as the next big thing. Naturally, we wanted to know their secret, especially when their music is quite unlike anything that has gained this much a... [more]
“Adrian, when you come to the mountain we will go shooting,” Ramzi assured me, as we blasted through the narrow streets of Beirut at a casual 90km/h. “I have a few guns, some for fun, some for hunting, you will see.”
I’m not the biggest fan of guns, but the idea of going to a mountain in Lebanon and shooting shit just had a different ring to it than say, going up a mountain in the Rockies and shooting shotguns at trees, cans, and elk.
“But, Adrian!” Ramzi continued, “be sure to remind me to invest in some bullets!”
“Sure,” I replied. “But, you wouldn’t say ‘invest’ in bullets, you would just ‘buy’ bullets,” obliging his request that I correct his English.
“But no man! Buying bullets is an investment now! It’s a time of war (in neighboring Syria). One bullet costs you $1!”
“One bullet, one dolla... [more]
Two days after my first audition with 2famous.tv, I was meeting with a friend in Hamra at the American University of Beirut when I got a call.
“Adriano, it’s the casting studio, come quickly we need you for a commercial!”
Still riding high from the first casting and being in a new city, I grabbed a taxi and manhandle my way across town to the studio. I arrived to meet the 2famous crew and the casting directors.
However, my surging ego was confronted head on when they handed me a dress to put on. I mean Jorgen had put a dress on at the previous audition, so it didn’t seem so off…
I thought I would take one for the team, after all it was just an audition…they made me wear a dress…they (Jorgen) filmed me changing…they called me “pretty”…I’ll let the video say the rest…... [more]
I thought I was doing well during my first 24 hours in Beirut when I had already managed to get a working mobile phone, free accommodation, a car tour of the city’s cultural and political landmarks, 3 meals, recover my lost airline luggage, and have a table top dancing night out (no body shots please) in Hamra, Beirut’s premier (at the time of writing) nightlife district.
This was all thanks to a person we’ll call Ramzi, the brother of a Lebanese friend back in homecountry. In true Lebanese fashion Ramzi obeyed his brother’s demands to make sure I received a proper welcome to Lebanon. According to Lebanese fashion (and Lebanese really care about fashion) this meant stopping at nothing to make sure I was sheltered, informed, bloated, and drunk. Needless to say, we all went home winners.
The only real problem with this whole scenario was that Ramzi did nothing to further my burgeoning writing and filmmaking career which I came to Beirut to fost... [more]