24 - 30 August 2000
Issue No. 496
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Pack of Cards
By Madame Sosostris
* Darlings, I've got wonderful news. My dear friend and colleague Amany Abdel-Moneim has just come back from the Oscars. The Oscar Video Clip Festival, that is, which celebrates the best in Arabic music videos. This was the first ever Oscar, and it took place last week at the Golden Five Resort in Hurghada. And what a show it was. Amany tells me that a veritable slew of famous faces were there to take part in what turned into a song and dance extravaganza. Curvaceous actress Madeleine Tabar did a great job as the MC, as did veteran actor Mahmoud Yassin, who headed the Festival's Supreme Committee. Forty-three songs from seven Arab countries were competing for LE120,000 worth of prizes. The lovely Angham won first prize for best female singer for Bet-hebaha walla (Do you love her?) while Mohamed El-Helw won best male singer for Ya Fatena (Stunner). Heartthrobs Kazem Al-Saher and Latifa, who are respectively Iraqi and Tunisian, also picked up prizes, as did Khaled Agag and Mohamed Mounir for their fantastic duet, Lay ya Donya (Why oh world). By the way, for those of you who might have read those articles in the entertainment press griping about how some of the singers didn't show up to pick up their awards, let me tell you, dearies, it certainly seems like it was their loss. And I can assure you that the same thing won't happen next year, now that the governor of Hurghada has announced three new prizes for the best video clips filmed in his governorate. Three prominent businessmen immediately chipped in LE75,000 for the prizes. I can't wait to see what all my favourite singers come up with.
photo: Abdel-Hamid Eid
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* "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?" Darlings, I am guilty of the grave mistake with which I have been charged. Last week, I attended a reception at the residence of Ecuador's Ambassador Franklin Bahamonde and his lovely wife Magdalena. In writing about the event, however, I made several mistakes, such as listing the names of the former ambassadors of Chile and Argentina as opposed to the newly appointed ones, and promoting the chargé d'affaires of Brazil to the rank of ambassador. I do consider myself an authority on a great many things, but obviously I have my shortcomings, as became amply clear last week but I hope you will forgive me my darlings. Chile's Ambassador Samuel Fernandez was posted to Cairo this July, as his secretary Dudu Gaballah kindly pointed out. He added diplomatically that this had not been my only gaffe unfortunately: Argentina's Ambassador Osvaldo Santiago Pascual replaced his predecessor some four months ago.
* Wedding bells were chiming on 16 August -- a great many bells, in fact! One wedding is enough to bring tears to my eyes, but imagine a mass wedding, to which I wore my frou-frou organza little number in pale lavender elegantly decorated with an orchid corsage. The Assembly of Sport and Challenge for the Disabled headed by Shehata Khamis had organised this wedding ceremony specially for disabled couples. Entitled "Love and Loyalty Festival," it was held in one of Mena House Oberoi's most prestigious halls under the patronage of several ministers. It made me proud that Al-Ahram Organisation was one of the main sponsors. Among those in attendance were President Hosni Mubarak's political Adviser Osama El-Baz, Health Minister Dr Ismail Sallam, Social Affairs Minister Amina Guindi and Local Development Minister Mustafa Abdel-Qader. Once the knot was tied, the blissful couples were entertained with a spectacular show performed by the Nubian Troupe. Needless to tell you, Al-Ahram Editor-in-Chief and Chairman of the Board Ibrahim Nafie and Head of Al-Ahram's Personnel Fund Hassan Halawi were thanked profusely in the course of the evening.
The close of the programme was a contribution from a number of famous artists: Medhat Saleh, Hakim, Ghada Ragab and dancer Fifi Abdou all performed.
* "To be, or not to be, that is the question..." By now you may have realised, my truffles, that I am a great theatre aficionado with a penchant for Shakespeare. In fact, many, many, many years back in my girlhood days, I was cast in the role of Gertrude in Hamlet. I would have preferred to play Ophelia, but the powers-that-be felt I was better suited to play a sinister character. Go figure! Any way, I was about to announce that Al-Hanager Theatre at the Opera House will resume its activities for the upcoming season. The head of the National Theatre and Al-Hanager Centre Hoda Wasfi told me in strictest confidence (but I will share with you) that the veteran actor and director Nour El-Sherif is preparing for his new play titled Mirath Al-Reeh (The Legacy of Wind) written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee. This will be the second play to be directed by El-Sherif for Al-Hanager Centre.
* Every so often, my rosebuds, we are reminded of that sparkling cosmopolitan quality that once was the unique characteristic of Alexandria, where different cultures interacted ever so harmoniously. It was only fitting in light of the city's legacy that the Cairo Opera House and the Cultural Development Fund choose to present the dance-show entitled "Scheherazade Korsakov" on the occasion of the inauguration of the Roman Theatre at Kom Al-Dikka. The programme organised under the auspices of Culture Minister Farouk Hosni and Alexandria Governor Abdel- Salam El-Mahgoub and will run through 26 August. It will be performed by the Cairo Modern Dance Theatre headed by director Walid Aouni. The music is a harmonious mélange of Nassir Shamma's Maqamat , which he plays on an eight-stringed lute of his own design and the Western music of Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov (1844-1908). The show was a smashing success when it was presented at Sarayat Al-Gabal open-air theatre at the Citadel. In what promises to be a spectacular experiment, the Cairo Orchestra will accompany the spectacle, the first of its kind to be introduced on the Arabic stage.
* Sherif Mohieddin love of music has taken him a step further: for those who are unable or unwilling to go to the Opera House, he has organised open air concerts at the top of the Citadel where the whole family can enjoy classical music while having a tasty picnic on the grass.
photo: Sherif Sonbol