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RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011


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out +about 162 106

A NEW LIGHT LE CERCLE SHINES RARE OLD TIME GET GLAM WITH BEIRUTRESTAURANTS.COM

eat, drink +be merry

151 151 151 151

NEW TRICKS BE A HEALTH NUT WITH BEIRUTRESTAURANTS.COM A NEW LEAF RECIPES NEW LIFE ENHANCING NUTRITION EAT RIGHT RESTAURANT REVIEW KOPANJANG

see, speak + hear no evil 76 SOUND CHECK 78 79 80

MUSIC

READ’EM AND WEEP BOOKS WATCH OUT FILM PLAY NICE GAMES

the final frontier

90 READ THE NEW WAY TECH 98 NEW PROOF FROM DNA SCIENCE

FML [F*CK MY LIFE]

102

OLDE ENGLISH IN NEW LEBANON

take me with you

142

MODERN BERLIN

brainfood

160

4

SING LIKE A BIRD

TRAVEL

QUIZZ. DINGBATS. CROSSWORD. SUDOKU.

RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011


editor’s opinion

14 SPY GAMES OLD SECRETS IN A NEW LIGHT

cultureclash 20 22 22 26 30 34 30 34 34

INTO THE BLACK MIND POETRY FUSING NEW + OLD LEBANON OLD + NEW OPPOSITES NAGY SOURATY DEFINES THEM THE FIFTH ELEMENT INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER ESTEP REINVENTING THE OLD HASSAN HAJJAJ HAYDA LEBNEN RESOLUTIONS LIGHTS + DARKS JOUMANA MEDLEJ TENSION IN THE AIR SHEILA RIBEIRO UPDATES FROM THE WORLD OF TWITTER NEW TRENDS

you + your country 82

THE NEW STATUS QUO ABDEL MENEEM IBRAHIM SETS IT

mind, body + soul

56 60 52 52 52 52

HELP ME NOUR ADVICE THE NEW BLACK IS GREEN GET ECO SMART NEW DETOX DIET GET ORGANIC THE ACHIEVABLE NEW YOU MATTHEW HUSSEY GETS REAL BUTT OUT KICK THE HABIT WINTER SPORTS GET FIT

emperor’s new clothes 108 112 116 118 118

OPPOSITES OUR FASHION SHOOT NEW BALLGAME LUISA CERANO IN BEIRUT NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK THIS GENERATION’S SUPERMODELS THE OLD GUARD THE ORIGINAL SUPERMODELS COPYCAT RUNWAY DO IT OUR WAY

mirrormirror 67 68 54 54 54 54

A NEW EQUATION FOUR SEASONS SPA NEW LOOK SPRING COLLECTIONS INSIDE + OUT FACE RESOLUTIONS THE NEW YOU DETOXIFY YOUR SKIN NEW UNDER THE SUN GET TANNED LOOK GREAT FOR LESS BEESLINE

mon amour, mon ami 36 40

for him

45

OUT WITH THE OLD MOVE ON NEW FREEDOM TAKE CHARGE THE NEW RULES ATTITUDE OVERHAUL FOR 2011

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DRINK RESPONSIBLY

JOHNNIE WALKER, tHE KEEP WALKING WORds, tHE stRIdING MAN dEvIcE ANd AssOcIAtEd LOGOs ARE tRAdEMARKs. Š JOHNNIE WALKER & sONs 2010

WWW.DRINKiQ.COM

He was told his ideas were too unconventional and that they would never see the light of day, but that never stopped him. He refused to conform and succeeded against the odds, continuously pushing forward to bring his visions to life. Walk with Bernard Khoury and discover a man whose dreams build landmarks.

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RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011

BERNARD KHOURY. THE MAN WHO BUILDS HIS DREAMS. KEEP WALKING TM

keepwalkinglebanon.com


publisher’s letter

Hi Lebanon! It seems that we have been very naughty this month. Even RAGMAG has a jealous bone somewhere. We thought that if the whole world can go 3D then so CAN WE! Odette and Christian have been showing their muscles this month, they have proved to us once again that creativity can go beyond our expectations. WE’VE MADE IT EASY FOR YOU TO DECIPHER: YOU’LL NOTICE THE SMALL 3D ICON THROUGHOUT THE ISSUE ON PAGES THAT SHOULD BE VIEWED WITH YOUR 3D GLASSES. It is art at its very best. I would

like to thank Beirut Souks for allowing us the great opportunity to shoot on their turf.

On the 7th of November, we will be walking the ‘Beirut Marathon’. Sorry no running! Walking is better than nothing. We are walking for a better future! We are walking to Stop Drug Abuse! My team and I will be walking the marathon to raise money. In the December issue we will be discussing organizations that help men and women with drug problems in Lebanon. We will be discussing the different methods and help offered. One organization will be chosen. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not aiming to raise millions here, however we are trying to show you that we are all able to do something for a better future. Every little helps. As usual please write in at publisher@ragmaglive.com

and give us your feedback. We just love hearing from you. I hope that you will enjoy this issue, just as much as I enjoyed being a part of it.

Gina Gabriel El-Fady Publisher

FASHION SHOOT MAKING OF

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SAMY HARB

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Publisher

Gina Gabriel El-Fady Editor in Chief

Fida Z Chaaban Managing Director Georges Yarack Creative Lead Odette Kahwagi Photograhers Christian Harb Odette Kahwagi Jason Zamora Teddy Habib Samy Harb Selected images Shutterstock

Stylist Jony Matta StĂŠphaine Aoun Fashion Photography Assistant Alexandra Kahwagi Public Relations Coordinator Lea El-Alam Marketing Advisor Daniella Tayar Admnisitrative Coordinator Teddy Younes Printed by Raidy Printing Group

Contributors Maher El-Alam Stephanie Aoun Elodie Barakat Bryan Borzykowski Jonathan Cainer Amal Chaaban Youmna Chagoury Alice Hlidkova Sarah Hourany Matthew Hussey Leslie Iddison Maria-Elena Kassab Imogen Kimber Chris Lambert Laurence Leigh Sabina LLewellyn-Davies Maha Majzoub J.E.N. Nour Obaji Adam Volk

Media Representative NMS Zahar Bldg., 1st Floor Elias Sarkis Avenue, Achrafieh Tel: 01 326 005 Distributor Lebanese Distributor Company Hamra, Axa Middle East bldg. Tel: 01 368 007

RAGMAG is a division of Raycon s.a.l. Copyright RAGMAG 2010 All Rights Reserved.

ON OUR COVER PHOTOGRAPHY CHRISTIAN HARB MODEL LIPS AGENCY HAIR SALON ROGER GABRIEL MAKEUP CHRISTIAN ABOU HAIDAR STYLIST JONY MATTA

Opinions expressed are based solely on personal opinion and expericence, not reflective in any way of RAGMAG, a division of Raycon s.a.l.

SUBSCRIBE TO

SPECIAL SUBSCRIPTION OFFER Per Issue 10,000 LBP 6 Issues 50,000 LBP 12 Issues 100,000 LBP

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RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011

Contact us by phone or email to arrange your subscription subscriptions@ragmaglive.com Lea El-Alam 09 916 222 / 09 913 777 RAGMAG Alex Gabriel Building, Rue Colomn de Sahel Sahel Alma, Keserwan


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RAGged Fact Odette has incorporated the NEW color of the year througout the issue.

SINCE RAGMAG HAS A FOOT ON EACH SIDE OF THE FENCE RAGMAG readers, last issue we had your bells ringing. The Silver Bells

issue was the one that received the most oohs and aahs thus far beating out even our 3-D issue. We didn’t expect that and we’re grateful for all the lovely letters. Thank you, Lebanon. This issue we wanted to explore the idea of the New Year and a chance to detox your life. We also wanted to compare + contrast things and we got pretty heavy into opposites. We’ve covered the old + new of just about everything we could think of. The thing that struck us most about this was how intertwined the two concepts were. From Hassan Hajjaj’s art that unifies both the old and new worlds to Nagy Souraty redefining the old concept of

opposites. Everything fell into place

this issue, and we couldn’t help but feel it was just a little cosmic. The fashion shoot is about evolution + association since everything old is made new again. So many concepts that we visited had a light + dark side, like Joumana Medlej, multi-medium artist. Our collaboration with BeirutRestaurants.com for eat drink + be merry got us out + about. We combined the best of both worlds and brought the party to you. It isn’t often that Gina and I get to hit up the same event (we’re spread pretty thin), but this time it was RAGMAG all the way. The new way to celebrate the oldest of holidays was certainly enough to get our Silver Bells ringing.

In you + your country this issue RAGMAG covered Ibrahim Abdel Meneem and his hunger strike to battle arbitrary detention in Lebanon. He was arrested shortly before the last issue went to print and then released. RAGMAG held the story back to watch for developments and in this issue you find the original article and the updates. I love getting your mail as much as ever. Write to me RAGMAG readers about what you liked and what you didn’t at letterstotheeditor@ragmaglive.com

Follow me on Twitter @fidachaaban

If you know of something that needs some airtime in Lebanon, you know how to reach me.

Fida Z Chaaban

Editor in Chief RAGMAG bids farewell to Beirut’s

iconic landmark Ahwet el Azaz, Gemmayzeh. One of the only original Lebanese cafés still operating after seven decades. Unfortunately a disagreement with the building owner has forced Ahwet el Azaz to close its doors as this issue is going to print. AULD LANG SYNE.

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letters to the editor RAGMAG IS HAPPIEST WHEN OUR READERS TALK BACK. WE LOVE YOUR EMAILS, YOUR FACEBOOK COMMENTS AND YOUR TWEETS ON TWITTER! SCRIBBLE ON OUR FACEBOOK WALL, EMAIL LETTERSTOTHEEDITOR@RAGMAGLIVE.COM OR TAG YOUR PICTURES HOLDING THE JANUARY NEW VS OLD ISSUE TO WIN WITH RAGMAG. RAGMAG RESERVES THE RIGHT TO EDIT FOR CLARITY AND CONTENT.

Special Mention Paola Rebeiz is a bell ringer! For catching 3 typos in the November 3-D issue and sending us an email, Paola wins a bottle of Moscato Rosé by Villa Jolanda. Enjoy responsibly!

Tweep @_Archangelus_ wins a bottle of Moscato Rosé by Villa Jolanda for being the first reader to let us know on Twitter that we were sold out at 3 locations! Follow him on Twitter and encourage him to enjoy his prize responsibly!

THE MAKING OF FROM YOUTUBE We spend a great deal of time preparing the fashion shoots each issue. Since we want RAGMAG readers to be as involved as possible, we thought we would bring you behind the scenes. Check out Samy Harb’s video montages. You can watch them on youtube.com or straight from our Facebook pages.

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RAGing Letter we Dear RAGMAG, After traveling around the world during the last 20+ years I found some interesting Lebanese patterns that I would like to share with you. 1.Chased by taxis instead of you chasing them 2.Traffic lights are used for decoration purposes (especially during the xmas holidays) 3.Lebanese version of “Don’t drink and drive” is “Drink, drive, eat, talk AND SMS” 4.Be careful when walking in doors behind others because the door might slam closed 5.Lebanese think that using their turn signals increases their utility bill so they become optional. 6.Favorite instrument is “horn honking” 7.No minimum or maximum driving age (> 1 +/- < 100) 8.They don’t know that their phones have a “silent” option especially during business meetings 9.Pedestrians are excellent moving targets for car drivers 10.”I smoke therefore I am” The bigger the cigarette (Cigar/Chicha/...) the stronger the person! Apologies if the above might be offensive but it simply reflects the iRONIc opinion of the writer. Rony

We’re loving Rony’s letter, especially since he’s so into iRONy. Rony, you win Moscato Rosé by Villa Jolanda! Enjoy responsibly!


NOW OPEN AT

, BEIRUT.

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editor’s opinion

THE

“THE QUESTION IS, DO WE CHOOSE TO IGNORE IT OR WAKE UP AND WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE AS TO WHAT’S REAL AND WHAT’S GOOD OLD 50s ERA PROPAGANDA?”

SPY WHO LOVED ME A NEW VIEW OF OLD GHOST STORIES

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There is no shortage of press dedicated to spies and their news. People love a good spy story, and I’m the first person to click on anything that remotely involves espionage. In the September issue, my Opinion Editorial was devoted to the secrets in Lebanon. That was small potatoes compared to what we’ve faced in the past few months. The spy games are becoming real, both abroad and here at home. It isn’t romantic like the Cold War stories either. It isn’t mysterious women with voluptuous lips and couture evening

gowns a la Angelina Jolie in the recent blockbuster film The Tourist. Pop culture has long thrived off of state secrets and black ops. Beginning with 007, the dashing Bond, James Bond, we’ve always loved a good secret and a good secret agent. The real thing isn’t glamorous and it often brings some unsettling information to light. Rather, it is sometimes murder most foul, and even treason. The question is, do we choose to ignore it or wake up and where do we draw the line as to what’s real and what’s good old 50s era propaganda?


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IN RECENT MEMORY, THERE ARE A FEW SECRET AGENT TYPE ASSASSINATIONS THAT HAVE KEPT THE PUBLIC EYE RIVETED. THAT’S SO SPOOKY!

A spook is another name for spy. Their ghostly appearances, sometimes only a flicker of an eye, are part fact and part fiction. Now you see them, and now you don’t. Intelligence Online, an online and print periodical dedicated to world intelligence news, makes it their business. From the United Kingdom’s MI6 (the British Secret Intelligence Service), to the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency of the United States), Intelligence Online gives you updated news about undercover agents, covert deals in the making, and “emerging conflicts”. You even have to enter your password to read the files they send out. This encryption is of course elementary, but it adds to the excitement. You are reading about secret makers and secret keepers, and those secrets need a code. But it isn’t all fun and games. They often

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print news that the mainstream media only touches on. Their number of subscribers is, of course, a secret, but again it must be widely circulated since they’ve been active for over 30 years. What else can the public access in the spook realm? Spy gear! Reputable Hammacher Schlemmer, purveyor of fine goods since 1849, gives you the option of buying any number of secret agent accessories. They’ve got a Video Camera Pen and a Voice Recording Pen for less than 100 USD. Someone out there has to be buying this stuff for it to be still in circulation. I’m always tempted to enter my credit card number and own one of these novelties myself. Other goods such as Listerine’s creepily named Agent Blue mouthwash for children is supposed to make dental care intriguing. Instead it smacks of Agent Orange, used as part of Operation Ranch Hand during

TOP TO BOTTOM: THE LATE GARETH WILLIAMS, SUSPECTED MI6 AGENT. BRITISH SECRET INTELLIGENCE SERVICE HEADQUARTERS.

the Vietnam War. Spies are also tourist draws and a source of education: The International Spy Museum in Washington, DC even has a “Spy Cam” on their website, allowing you to test your own skills, in addition to tantalizing bits of their exhibits like, “The Secret History of History”.

OPEN THE PANDORA’S BOX

The director of WikiLeaks Julian Assange, lauded as hero by some and labelled a villain by others, has turned the world on its ear with the release of nearly 400000 Iraq war documents and the recent release of classified United States diplomatic cables. WikiLeaks has taught us a few things: The line between diplomat and spy under the past few administrations has been blurred if the diplomatic cables are to be believed, and that when you blow the whistle, they will do anything to


ABOVE: THE KREMLIN. BELOW, RIGHT: BOOK COVER, DEATH OF A DISSIDENT.

stop you. Assange is currently being charged in Sweden of all places! His charge for rape is oddly timed considering the WikiLeaks uproar. It is not coincidental. Assange is being railroaded for letting out information that the powers that be do not want made public. Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s alleged Botox injections, and keeping company with a statuesque Ukrainian nurse doesn’t seem relevant, but that and “a diminished dependence on his legendary female guard force, as only one woman bodyguard accompanied him to New York” amongst other cable speculations, indicate diplomats are recording idiosyncrasies and weaknesses that could potentially be welded when and if the need arises. Fortunately, when companies like MasterCard and PayPal decided to stop accepting donations to WikiLeaks, hackers worldwide hit back with Operation Payback. Another hush-

hush subculture, hackers took matters into their own hands and wreaked havoc on websites of companies that were running for cover and trying to dissociate themselves from WikiLeaks like rats from a sinking ship.

INTRIGUES AFOOT, SIR.

In recent memory, there are a few secret agent type assassinations that have kept the public eye riveted. The late Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned mysteriously in London (widely said to be the handiwork of the FSB, Federal Security Services, formerly known as the KGB). And of course the orchestrated murder in January 2010 of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. Litvinenko’s 2006 murder spawned books such as Death of a Dissident by Alex Goldfarb and widow Marina Litvinenko, as well 2 movies currently in the works, one of which is being produced by Johnny Depp’s

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THIS PAGE: TIME MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 13, 2010, JULIAN ASSANGE.

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production company, Infinitum Nihil. The poisoning of the former Russian agent with radioactive polonium-210 was a complex affair in which the Kremlin denied all involvement. Then UK foreign secretary, David Miliband, expelled three Russian diplomats in 2007 as a result, and relations are still frosty with Britain’s government who still refrain from cooperating with the Russian Federation’s FSB. Another hot topic is the death of 31 year-old reported MI6 man Gareth Williams last summer. He and his prolictivities have made headlines with the ongoing investigation, especially since his link to the MI6 is unclear. As a young man he reportedly excelled at math and logic, and exhibited an interest in “codes and ciphers”. The circumstances of his death are considered suspicious and no conclusive cause of death has been determined. It remains to be seen if this plot shall thicken since speculation abounds as to whether or not Williams was engaged in a mission at the time of his death.

HOMELAND SECURITY

In Lebanon, we’ve had our own spy style assassinations. Recently it has been touted by certain groups as a foreign engineered black op to break Lebanese societal harmony. There’s the opposing groups of course who point to home phone networks coloured blue, pink and red. There was also the untimely death of the man who discovered that telling phone network. And finally there has been the reprimand of CBC news who chose to run the story on November 22, 2010 Lebanon’s Independence Day. Freedom of the press and the outing of clandestine information are always applauded, until the dirty laundry they are airing is yours. Then comes staunch denial and finger pointing. Where there is smoke, there is a fire, as the old adage goes. The harder you deny things, the guiltier you look. If we choose to go along with assigning blame on foreign foes (real or imaginary), we are quite possibly as guilty as the perpetrators. Everything leaves a bread crumb trail and when we choose to ignore hard evidence and instead go along with flagrant and unfounded claims, we are Hansel and

Gretel lost in the forest. But by our own hand. The so called “Israeli penetration” of our home network is ludicrous, not because it is unrealistic, but because it has been occurring for decades. It is nothing new that Israel’s advanced technology and expertly trained Mossad are capable of these things, yet only now they are being discussed? Timing is of the essence for underground operations and covert information, and the clock is ticking. The spy game is exciting when it isn’t happening in your backyard. When you’re watching it from a far, let’s face it, it seems almost like a suspense thriller and it is entertaining to follow. When it’s this close and real, it is just scary. Sometimes the spy games and the secrets divulged in black and white tell you things you already know, but didn’t want to believe. Things have been said and printed and the world is running amok, crashing down around you. How much of this do I think is true? “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.” You’d be the person who knew too much. And as for what I know about you? Well, “your secrets are safe with me”

KEEP THE INFORMATION FLOWING BY DONATING TO WIKILEAKS.

ABOVE: WIKILEAKS LOGO. RIGHT: KRYPTOS STATUE, CIA HEADQUARTERS; AGENTS OFTEN ATTEMPT TO BREAK THE CODE. OLD VS NEW ISSUE

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you + your country

NEW the

STATUS QUO Hungry for Humanity

BY IMOGEN KIMBER

A

fter 16 days on hunger strike and 20 days in hospital Abdel Meneem Ibrahim still has a sparkle in his eye and a jaunt in his step as he walks around Beirut’s Hamra district. Despite his gruelling experience his spirits are high, although perhaps this would be expected for someone who has recently won a personal battle with the Lebanese government resulting in the release of unjustly detained Sudanese. Defying his natural instinct, Ibrahim pushed himself to the brink through a hunger strike, risking his own life for the benefit of his fellow Sudanese living in Lebanon. When Ibrahim finally relented on his hunger strike it was only because almost all of his demands had been met.

A SUDANESE LAW STUDENT

Ibrahim’s story is a little different than most of the 5,000 to 6,000 Sudanese living in Lebanon: Long before the problems in Darfur began in 2000, which is when Sudanese began to come to Lebanon in greater numbers, Ibrahim came to Lebanon as a law student.

20 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011

After his studies, Ibrahim stayed on to teach Lebanese law students, as he still does now. Ibrahim will have watched the Sudanese arrive, fleeing from genocide in Sudan. Having been established here for 20 years and being highly educated and motivated as a citizen it makes sense that Ibrahim took on a role as a civil rights activist when he saw these Sudanese facing racism. Out of the approximately 6,000 Sudanese citizens in Lebanon around 4,000 are living illegally, without official papers. Most of them have travelled over land from Sudan, entering through the Syrian border. As Lebanon didn’t sign the refugee convention in 1951, they have no obligation to host refugees and can put them in prison until the UNHCR, or another NGO, deals with the issue. For those who are not detained, perhaps when the authorities ‘turn a blind eye,’ there are far more problems to come. Employment opportunities are limited and worker’s rights do not apply to illegal workers.

On top of this the Sudanese receive little support from the Sudanese Embassy. Sadly, this makes sense considering the embassy is representative of the very regime many of the Sudanese were running from.

STARVING FOR PEACE

“I needed a strong idea,” said Ibrahim when I enquired what pushed him to take a stand through starvation. “I have seen bad treatment of Sudanese and Ethiopian, etc... and so I thought I needed a strong idea. I thought; I STRIKE!” Not just settling for forgoing food, Ibrahim made up his mind to even give up water. Lying outside the Sudanese Cultural Centre, practically on the street in the centre of Hamra, Ibrahim was visible to the many passersby. As he garnered more attention, support snowballed and he soon found he had a group of international followers, including the national and international press.


Equally though, Ibrahim’s opposition grew inside the Sudanese Club and within the Lebanese Internal Security. On several occasions Ibrahim had to tolerate harassment by the Internal Security Forces but with young Sudanese, NGO workers and other supporters keeping a vigil beside him day and night he was never left alone. Harassment by the police is not an unusual occurrence for Sudanese in Lebanon to experience, with many recorded examples, but on this occasion Ibrahim says that it was a result of encouragement from the Sudanese Embassy themselves. Ibrahim says the embassy offered and the police accepted bribes to get him to move on.

WHEN CHANGE HAPPENS

What finally brought the strike to an end was Minister of Interior Ziad Baroud coming to Ibrahim’s bedside. Not willing to negotiate for anything less Ibrahim insisted he would only stopped if all of his requests were fulfilled:

•The 18 Sudanese unjustly held beyond the legal time limit were released. “Before I went on strike if they wanted to put you in jail it would be for six or seven months. Sometimes even three years. The law says only one month,” said Ibrahim. It may same strange as to why authorities who do not grant asylum would possibly want to keep refugees. The answer is supposedly because they get $10 a day from the United Nations to take care of every prisoner. •Previously refugees who were trying to leave Lebanon would be detained if they were found at the airport or the border. Thanks to Ibrahim’s campaign they are now free to leave. •For an investigation to take place into the police officers who carried out the harassment towards Ibrahim and any other police who have unlawfully harassed any Sudanese. •Another element of the protest was directly aimed at the Sudanese Cultural Centre. For Ibrahim it is a very important part of Sudanese life where they can gather to lend support or

just for food and amusement. Ibrahim wants the committee who run the centre to represent the people instead of the embassy. Since the strike there have been promises that the management will be examined.

NOT WILLING TO LEAVE

Another result of the strike was one that is personal to Ibrahim. In what is a completely illegitimate move the Sudanese Embassy declared Ibrahim no longer a Sudanese citizen. As Lebanon is not an asylum country, and coupled with Ibrahim’s reputation as an activist, there was little chance that Lebanon is about to offer Ibrahim permanent residency. So while Ibrahim was still lying in his hospital bed, weak after the strike, the UNHCR swung into action. As soon as the case was brought to the attention of the Canadian Embassy Ibrahim was quickly offered a new home country. Nevertheless Ibrahim didn’t intend on taking his new residency, at least just yet, as he has far too much work to be getting on with here in Lebanon.

DEFYING HIS NATURAL INSTINCT, IBRAHIM PUSHED HIMSELF TO THE BRINK THROUGH A HUNGER STRIKE, RISKING HIS OWN LIFE FOR THE BENEFIT OF HIS FELLOW SUDANESE LIVING IN LEBANON. OLD VS NEW ISSUE

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THE NEXT STEP

For Ibrahim the next step is widening his target group. Not just concerned with the plight of the Sudanese, Ibrahim wants to establish workers rights for all migrant workers in Lebanon. “I want to make a committee for all of the foreigners here... Like a union,” he explained. Representatives from all communities would meet and coordinate, creating negotiating power through numbers. Ibrahim wants to establish clear workers rights that the authorities will uphold and respect. Effectively Ibrahim wants to create some form of recourse; he wants to establish a system in which foreign workers actually can fight ill treatment. This is a long road and would mean constitutional change.

Editor’s Note After the article had been compiled (with a deceptively optimistic ending), we were astounded to hear that Ibrahim had been arrested. The original article ended above and what you see below are new amendments to include the most recent developments. We were forced to ask if this move was a backlash against all the support Ibrahim has received and some sort of payback measure.

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DON’T SPEAK TOO SOON

Ibrahim was called to the Mina Al Hosan police station ostensibly to help to solve the case of another Sudanese citizen. Once there Ibrahim was accused of being in Lebanon illegally and informed that his passport was no longer valid. A repercussion of being previously denounced by the Sudanese Embassy and that Lebanon does not recognize his UN granted refugee status. Ibrahim is fortunate, or clever, however you want to see it. He immediately informed friends and activists who swung into action. His years of activism on behalf of others meant that his case was instantly high profile. Already working closely with the Anti-Racism Movement, civil action and protest combined with the work of the UNCHR got Ibrahim released within 48 hours. Following his arrest Ibrahim had to go to the Karantina Hospital, because while being held in custody, as a protest, Ibrahim refused to take medication which he has been on for the past five years. He is fast on the road to recovery though thanks to his strong morale. With no legal status here in Lebanon Ibrahim is set to leave for Canada on 19th December. That is not the final twist in the tale though. Ever shrewd, Ibrahim won’t give up yet and plans to return to Lebanon ... as a Canadian citizen

IBRAHIM WANTS TO ESTABLISH CLEAR WORKERS RIGHTS THAT THE AUTHORITIES WILL UPHOLD AND RESPECT.


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cultureclash

into the black mind WORDS BY ALINE RAHBANY

I want to colour All the story boards That linger in my mind. I want to paint them Happy colours. I want to give souls To people living in my head I want them to be as alive As anyone around me.

But there is no one around me And the story boards have no story They are just torn fragments Of fucked up ideas Of gloomy hallucinations

I want to colour my emotions Make them happy emotions I want to colour my desires Make them long for something beautiful

But I am trapped in distortion. Distortion is dark.

I am drained.

Colourless. 24 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011


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fusing

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF GIORGIO GUY TARRAF

NEW +OLD

cityscapes in Beirut BY J.E.N.

I

n 2009 alone, over $1 billion went towards residential and commercial developments. As Brent Sadler describes it in his report for CCN Marketplace Middle East, Beirut is “building like there’s no tomorrow. High rise developments have mushroomed along with the cranes. It is an unprecedented building boom, reshaping the city’s skyline into a panorama of vertical living.” While this new Beirut sounds extremely promising, this building boom may come at the expense of the old Beirut, with its nostalgic ottoman buildings and distinctive architectural features. Beirut is hot stuff at the moment as proven by the plethora of articles showing that Beirut is the place to be. And this building boom is no exception. Since Beirut is an enduser market rather than a prospective market, investing in real estate is a safer bet than in say Dubai before the bubble burst. Beirut is now home (or will soon be home) to high-rise

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residential projects, several of which are envisioned by leading international architects. The city is already home to 35 storey-high Platinum Towers which embodies the creative input of award-winning architect Richard Bofill. The upcoming and highly anticipated Beirut Terraces with its 130 different apartments is the brainchild of architectural superstars Herzog & de Meuron and reflects the layers of Beirut’s history its design concept. In 2014, Beirut will see the completion of its tallest building yet: 50 storeyhigh (or 193 meters tall) Sama Beirut. This modern rebirth of Beirut has many excited. BUT WHAT ABOUT OLD

BEIRUT?

Save Beirut Heritage is a group of

concerned individuals (currently over 6,500 strong) who have rallied together to try to preserve elements of Beirut’s glorious architectural past. Affiliated with APSAD (The Association for the Protecting Natural Sites and Old

Buildings in Lebanon) and support at times by the Ministry of Culture, specifically Mr. Selim Wardeh, and the Direction Generale des Antiquités (DGA), this group’s objectives are best described by Giorgio Guy Tarraf (Save Beirut Heritage’s President and Spokesperson), “our greatest hope

is to pass a law in parliament that would once and for all protect our heritage. We are the only country in the Arab world that does not have specific legislation to preserve our national heritage. It is shameful that today, we have no way to legally protect our history. As long as parliament and its schedule are under the control of major shareholders in real estate companies, it is unlikely for a law to pass without genuine and widespread public upheaval. The protection of our memory and heritage should be a non-partisan, unifying matter that goes beyond petty political feuds.”


cultureclash

SAVE BEIRUT HERITAGE TRIES TO PRESERVE ELEMENTS OF BEIRUT’S ARCHITECTURAL PAST. Tarraf highlights the prominent architectural characteristics they are trying to save, “There is a major difference between ‘old’ and traditional homes. What we aim to preserve are traditional homes and the ones that contribute to the traditional character of the street. TRADITIONAL HOMES in Beirut fall under two major categories. First is the obvious Traditional ‘Lebanese House’ with its cubic shape, red roof tiles and triple arcades that delimit a central hall. Of course there are many…other factors that enter in the definition of these homes such as their orientation towards the sea, their high ceilings, ornamental interiors, windows, balconies and gardens. Second comes the ART DECO HOME. Most art deco architecture in Beirut is seen in the form of 3 to 4 stories high buildings. It is very difficult to define the Beiruti art deco style. It is absolutely unique in the world and very eclectic. One usually sees sharp edges and ornamental balconies, often with a touch of traditional Lebanese architecture with an adaptation of the triple arcades, but in elaborate, usually

rectangular shapes. The central hall often remained, so did the high ceilings and ornamental interiors. They are usually very sculptural; when you will see one, you will notice it. Of course, they are buildings that were built in the period of transition between the Traditional Lebanese of the late 1800s and early 1900s and the art deco period of the 1930s. It is these homes that are the most difficult to save and arguably the most valuable for our architectural heritage… Architectural influences in Beirut often originate from Ottoman, French and Italian (mostly Venetian) architecture. It is this complexity and variety that makes every one of these homes so unique and architecturally valuable and ironically, makes them also difficult to classify and preserve.” Tarraf describes the changing Beirut not as “the urbanization that real estate developers and their marketing teams are trying to sell us; it is on the contrary, an ‘URBACIDE’.” And the pace of this ‘urbacide’ is shocking. Tarraf reveals that in the 1990s “an initial census counted 1600 traditional homes and buildings in greater Beirut. Today,

we estimate the number to be close to 200 remaining standing structures. Among the 200 remaining homes, we helped save around 40 buildings that were set for demolition in the past 2 years alone.” It is important to note that Save Beirut Heritage doesn’t think that all new development is bad as the city truly needs it. But Tarraf cautions that “it doesn’t have to come at the price of our urban tissue and heritage.” The group sees a viable compromise between old and new since there are numerous areas in “dire need of development. The Qarantine or Corniche el Nahr are two such areas that can accommodate high rises. The land is cheap and minutes away from the center thanks to the newly built highways. They have excellent views over the city, the sea and the mountain, and they are rich in ground water and most importantly, they have plenty of empty space that high-rises need in order to not only be beautiful but also beneficial to their environment. We have solutions, but who’s listening?”

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evolution ALICE HLIDKOVA TALKS TO ZEINA MOUSALLI EXCLUSIVELY FOR RAGMAG IN EUROPE.

Z

eina Mousalli, the self-described colorist from Lebanon, often loses her memory as a result of two illnesses. But searching the web induces her favorite works by Russian-born abstract expressionist, Mark Rothko and Italian still life painter, Giorgio Morandi, serve as source of inspiration. Inside her Luxembourg apartment and atelier, the 44 year-old is preparing for next year’s exhibition at the city’s Belair gallery.

Tell me more about Rothko and Morandi. ‘Natura morta, 1929,’ by Morandi is one of my favorite expressionist piece while ‘Red ,Orange, Tan and Purple,1949,’ by Rothko my favorite surrealist painting. The metaphysics of Morandi and geometric shapes of Rothko inspire me. Rothko’s squares bring me closer to his painting and make me want to go LEFT TO RIGHT: NATURA MORTA, 1929 BY GIORGIO MORANDI. RED, ORANGE, TAN AND PURPLE,1949 BY MARK ROTHKO.

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inside the squares, while others make me go away. Rotkho has nothing to do with my paintings as I am not a surrealist, but they touch me in some way. Recently, I took an interest in Troy Henriksen! His paintings are full of emotions and color. Another painter who shows a lot of color, the way Van Gogh does, is my friend Roger Dixon who lives in Ibiza along with Chilean artist, Andres Monreal.

took courses to improve my painting. I remember when I painted one of my first paintings in Paris when my son was small. I took him to the park and put him in the sand to play. I took some of the sand home, stuck it on the canvas, and painted the figure of my son. Now I am painting two children--a girl and boy. The girl is giving me a hard time; I can’t draw her and she is difficult to paint.

Are you a trained artist?

Apart from people, you paint a lot of colorful boats; do they conjure up memories from your childhood, or do you spend a lot of time boating?

I have been painting for a long time and only made it my profession in 2006. I took nude figure painting courses at The École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, the largest art university in Paris. My mother would always tell me, ‘You cannot live from art.’ So, I studied to become a lawyer but stopped. I never received a diploma for art only

I am quite obsessed with boats, as I grew up near the port of Tripoli. I left at eight years old for Paris where I lived until 2006. I am working on a series of sail boats docked at ports and free-floating at sea. I paint them from


RIGHT: ITALIAN STILL LIFE PAINTER GIORGIO MOANDI. BELOW: ZEINA MOUSALLI PAINTING, OIL ON CANVAS, 70 X 50 CM.

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ABOVE: LA FOULE BY ZEINA MOUSALLI, OIL ON CANVAS, 80 X 120 CM. LEFT: RUSSIAN ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST, MARK ROTHKO.

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THIS PAGE: ZEINA MOUSALLI PAINTING, OIL ON CANVAS, 60 X 80 CM.

ROTHKO’S

SQUARES BRING ME CLOSER TO HIS PAINTING AND MAKE ME WANT TO GO INSIDE THE SQUARES, WHILE OTHERS MAKE ME GO AWAY.

sub-consciousness; they represent freedom and imprisonment. One of my first paintings from Paris was a memory I had from Lebanon with my grandmother. I remember her dry toilet and the steps in her bathroom. When I recently visited my aunt in Beirut, she told me, ‘I remember the steps, they are the same and still there.’ For a moment I thought it was my imagination. All my paintings, 2 by 2 (meters), are in oil and take on average two weeks to complete. Oil best shows light and shadow and brings out strong colors. If I want a cool painting, I use a palette knife to paint the base color blue. For hot paintings I use red or brown. I use brushes made from boar, as the color sticks better, to paint four layers to get the colors that I want.

Have you ever displayed your work in France or Lebanon, and what are your opinions on the art scene of the two? No, but in Lebanon I was approached to do so. Lebanese artists have nothing to envy from their Parisian and American counterparts. There is a lot of beauty in the Lebanese paintings.

Maybe it’s the war, which makes the art expressive. After every bad moment comes something good like snow that brings the most beautiful colors in flowers. These artists have traveled a lot and displayed diversity and openmindedness in their art. I can’t say a lot about Lebanon, as I did not spend a lot of time there.

How has your audience responded to the evolution of your work? I am trying to paint more figurative pieces; portraits of young and old people. Elder faces say a lot—a true beauty is found in them and not just in younger ones. I stop older people on the street and ask them to take their picture, then I paint their portraits. Most people like my boats, they can hang in their living rooms. More people were interested in my artwork in Luxembourg, than in Beirut. I am in a dilemma now to sell my paintings or open up a gallery; I am trying not to sell so I can finally exhibit in time for next year’s exhibition which will feature mostly boats. Hopefully, I can also exhibit in San Juan

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abayas, kohl boxes, dreadlocks, +Andy Warhol The hard-hitting humor of Moroccan-British artist HASSAN HAJJAJ

OPPOSITE PAGE: “LE SALON” AT THE V&A, JAMEEL PRIZE. BOUCHRA LAYING. THIS PAGE: HASSAN HAJJAJ BY ZAHED SULTAN.

BY MAHA MAJZOUB

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF HASSAN HAJJAJ AND ROSE ISSA PROJECTS

I

t is hard to miss a Hassan Hajjaj artwork just like it is hard to miss Hassan Hajjaj. His color-saturated, attitude-filled photographs always seem to generate buzz whether for technique, subject matter, or both while the dreadlocks the man has been growing since 1981, his warmth, and playfulness make him stand out easily in any crowd. That was my feeling when I met him at MENASART Fair in Biel in July and later at Arabicity at Beirut Exhibition Center in September. Rose Issa Projects, the gallery representing him in London, showed his triptych of veiled women perched on motorscooters at both shows. The artwork was priced at $28,000+. You must be doing something right when Lebanese-Iranian curator/ publisher/producer Rose Issa decides to take you under her wing. Issa was among the first to take notice of Hajjaj’s visual talents, particularly his portrayal of super stylish, street-savvy

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young people in Marrakesh, Morocco surrounded by wooden frames filled with soft drink cans, matchboxes, or kohl packs. Why Marrakesh? Hajjaj is originally from Morocco. He left his hometown Larache for London in 1973. But he was not drawn to the world of photography just yet. “I came to London half way through my secondary school, and not speaking English it was hard to study; in the end, I left school at 15,” Hajjaj explains. The emerging club culture in the English capital would get the young Hajjaj immersed in reggae and hip hop. Working as a DJ and promoting clubs and bands from 1981 to about 1997, “the experience from all this was my schooling”, he says. During that time, Hajjaj was also absorbed in the fashion scene and launched his own clothing and accessories label RAP, which consisted of Moroccan fashion items such as camouflage chadors and logo-drenched abayas. The restless spirit started taking

photographs in the 1990’s after working as an assistant on a fashion shoot for a European magazine. “It bothered me that art directors were always using Morocco as an exotic backdrop for beautiful Western models, but never showing the people actually living there,” he writes in his mini bio in the Arabicity catalogue. “It made me want to show the world what I saw of the country and its people – the energy, the attitude, the inventiveness and glamour of street fashion, the fantastic graphics of everyday objects and products.” The birth of his daughter in 1993 was all the more reason a homesick Hajjaj decides to visit home after a long separation. “When I got there it seemed everything I left behind had not changed, and as a 60’s child everything that I left as a teenager was still the same,” Hajjaj remarks. “I noticed things that I might not see had I been there every day, and I saw them in a new focus.”


“IT BOTHERED ME THAT ART DIRECTORS WERE ALWAYS USING MOROCCO AS AN EXOTIC BACKDROP FOR BEAUTIFUL WESTERN MODELS, BUT NEVER SHOWING THE PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIVING THERE.”

STREET ART So he would hit the streets of Marrakesh each morning in a bid to capture the sights and sounds of the Maghreb state. Attempting to zoom in on the souk but with a twist, he dressed his subjects in knockoff Louis Vuitton or Gucci, revealing them in very ingenious poses. Hajjaj wanted to show the human side of Morocco, and soon after, the West began to realize that. He was invited to do shows in both London and Morocco, and the press started following him at a time when North Africa and the Arab world in general was only celebrated for the fez and the camel. “Did you know your work will be so well received?” I ask him. “No, but I knew I had something very personal and wanted to protect all the work from

falling into the wrong hands or being misunderstood,” he replies. Luckily, different audiences understood the strength and positivity of Hajjaj’s pieces. By highlighting the streetwise attitude of the young men and women of Marrakesh with a lot of humor and attention to detail, Hajjaj was celebrating the charms of everyday objects and paying homage to those who surround him. And he took on the European stereotypes of the North African world, turning them into something positively eye-pleasing. Take his “Khadija” angel, which features a veiled woman with nude calves, wearing sunglasses and resting on a scooter. In a frame made up of Fanta cans, the artwork plays on

the vague relation between stereotypes and reality, tradition and modernity. Through “Ahmed” he casts the light on the Moroccan men wearing fezzes and traditional attire smoking cigarette at the local cafes. In the frame, the Lego toys pile up to read 1420 – the Islamic year for 2000, the date the work was completed. This is Hajjaj doing what he does best: Colorfully bringing urban culture and the old world together in Morocco. “I love all colors, but especially a mishmash of colors. I’ve learned not to be scared of mixing everything together,” he notes, adding, “Music is also very important and I listen to it while I work. The images and the handmade frames have a kind of rhythm.”

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cultureclash THIS PAGE: “LE SALON” AT THE CHAPTER GALLERY.

FRAME OF MIND Around 1996, Hajjaj starts using recycled materials as part of his design and installation projects. Anything he gets his hands on in Moroccan markets, like as industrial food packaging, matchboxes, used battery containers, or eye makeup, could be worked in his pieces. He shapes his finds into unexpectedly lively picture frames, unifying old and new elements. So how does a Hassan Hajjaj artwork come to fruition? “Once I have an idea of the shoot, it would be designing the clothes, then working out the people in the shoot, finding the locations then doing the shoot,” he says. Back in his studio, he will edit and print the image then integrate the products of choice for the frame. His assistant Josh or his

“I LOVE ALL COLORS, BUT ESPECIALLY A MISHMASH OF COLORS. I’VE LEARNED NOT TO BE SCARED OF MIXING EVERYTHING TOGETHER.”

brother help with the frame inlays. “After that we put the print into the frame and stick all products around it.” The making of one image can take about six to eight weeks.

Hajjaj’s oeuvre encompasses a wide range of techniques and fields. HE

Hajjaj’s recent shows have taken him to Berlin, Beirut, Paris, and Marrakesh. He has held numerous solo exhibitions and appeared in many group exhibitions across the world. Also represented by the third line gallery in Dubai and Galerie Matisse in Morocco, his work is in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Right now he is consumed with a shoot in the spring of superheroes on holiday, which he canceled few years ago “and it’s been eating me ever since”, he says.

done the album covers for Momo and Blur. His creative energy has also led him to design hotels such as Riad Yima in Marrakesh in 2006. Among his installations is “Hassan Hajjaj: Le Salon”, in Chapter Arts Center, Cardiff and Bluecoat Arts Center, Liverpool, both is 2009. Hajjaj is also known for designing the Andy Wahloo barrestaurant in Paris in 2003. “Andy Wahloo has been a great door opener to all my installation work and people finding out my work,” Hajjaj tells me.

Andy Wahloo acknowledges one of the pop child’s favorite artists, Andy Warhol, while referring to a slang Parisian phrase that means “I have nothing”, one of the ways Hajjaj describes his work. If you ask him, he won’t say his portraits are a cheerful celebration of culture. “I’m still trying to understand what I do; I like to think that I do what’s naturally around me…my art,” he would say. “I really admire artists who express themselves in an academic way and make references to the past and to other subjects. My work is more of an expression of what I feel. I don’t know how to be academic. So I hope my work talks for me. And I want to appeal to everyone, whether they’re a cleaner or an art critic.” www.hassanhajjaj.blogspot.com

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DESIGNS AND PRODUCES FURNITURE AS WELL AS CLOTHES FOR FASHION IN MOTION AND VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM, LONDON. He has


lights+darks the duality of JOUMANA MEDLEJ BY FIDA CHAABAN

S

itting in Café Younes with 31 year-old Joumana Medlej I immediately notice two things: first she is opinionated as all hell and second, she manages to be charming while doing so. She is a lot like Malaak, the star character of her comic series by the same name. The double sides of Malaak, the Arabic word for angel, is a complex conversation even touching on Carl Jung. “This is a Jungian conceptthe Shadow. He comes out a lot in the comic.” When asked if her readers see

the hidden layers of meaning Joumana is ambivalent, “A couple of people caught the inner meaning, but I make sure the external story works too.” Those readers that do get it are treated to a many layered tale of opposing forces. “It is very important to accept our shadow,” Joumana explains, “There’s too much judgement. You have to be yourself.”

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Joumana is herself and so is Malaak. A practitioner of Wushu and Taiji Quan (commonly known respectively as Kung Fu and Tai Chi), her penchant for martial arts influences her considerable body of work “a lot. It’s a big inspiration. It is not just a class, it is a way of life. I have a lot of Wushu in the comic.” I fall victim to my own stereotypes when I evince surprise that Joumana has an interest in swords and is able to wax eloquent about why

weapons like that shouldn’t be collected if they aren’t actually being used. The dichotomy of Joumana is again apparent here when she has practical reasons for other-worldly ideas like why she doesn’t have a tattoo, “It would have to be a cosmic reason. As a rite of passage I completely respect them, but not as a whimsy,” she says. It is immediately clear why Malaak does then have a visible tattoo of sorts. “She was marked when she got her powers.”


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“I’ve had many martial arts schools asking me to design their logos.”

Joumana is “not too invested in reactions to her work, being more interested in the quality of her production than in being the cool kid of the moment.” Her large number of both foreign and local clients and followers attest to her popularity. “I have done several exhibitions both of mixed media work and photography. Recently my comic work was exhibited at a festival in Italy. The comic was showcased and retained as Selection Officielle, Meilleur Album at the recent comic festival in Algeria.” Her icon set, MiniFu is downloadable for free on her website and has a large following. She was pleasantly surprised to see athletes at the European Wushu Championship wearing some of her t-shirts from cafepress.com

“I’ve had many martial arts schools asking me to design their logos.” One of countless icon sets, Joumana’s many layered personality is again reflected in her art: she has many intricate underlying reasons for the why and how of her work. “I like having finite sets,” she explains. One such example is that there will be exactly 52 in her Kimono icon set because of the 52 colours in Kimono. Her icon sets have business appeal as well with Le Gustav requesting her La Pâtisserie set for a collection of t-shirts. From children’s books to photography, Joumana’s work “continues to evolve. My style has matured a lot,” she says and it is apparent as we move from piece to piece. “Pencil work is the base, from there I can go into any

medium. I like inking by hand then colouring digitally.” The AUB grad of graphic design has worked in “almost every medium [she] can think of: ink, watercolor, cut-paper, beading, mixed media, clay, stamping, gold leaf, digital painting, vectors, photography...” Her world trips, often in the Euro-style of backpacking, add another element to her work. “Iceland, Reykjavik is one of my favourite places. You feel like you’re in a story. It is very special.” Joumana says her comics probably channel her personality the most, but with so many facets both to her art and her conversation, we think it will take more than a quick browse to see both the light and dark sides of this talented multi-medium artist

Read Between Joumana’s Lines Check out her website www.cedarseed.com | www.malaakonline.com OLD VS NEW ISSUE 37 Follow her on Twitter @cedarseed


5 ELEMENT cultureclash

THE

TH

BY AMAL CHAABAN

Elemental Assassins Urban Fantasy Series “Bodies litter the pages of this first entry in Estep’s engrossing Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series… Fans of Estep’s humorous paranormal romances (Jinx; Hot Mama) may be taken aback by the gritty violence and steamy sex, but urban fantasy fans will love it.“ – Publishers Weekly on Spider’s Bite

JENNIFER ESTEP IS THE AUTHOR OF ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN URBAN FANTASY SERIES FOR POCKET BOOKS. THE BOOKS FOCUS ON GIN BLANCO, AN ASSASSIN CODENAMED THE SPIDER WHO CAN CONTROL THE ELEMENTS OF ICE AND STONE. WHEN SHE’S NOT BUSY KILLING PEOPLE AND RIGHTING WRONGS, GIN RUNS A BARBECUE RESTAURANT CALLED THE PORK PIT IN THE FICTIONAL SOUTHERN METROPOLIS OF ASHLAND. THE CITY IS ALSO HOME TO GIANTS, DWARVES, VAMPIRES, AND ELEMENTALS – AIR, FIRE, ICE, AND STONE. BOOKS IN THE SERIES ARE SPIDER’S BITE (2010), WEB OF LIES (2010), AND VENOM (2010). TANGLED THREADS, THE FOURTH BOOK IN THE SERIES, WILL BE PUBLISHED IN MAY 2011, WHILE THE FIFTH BOOK (UNTITLED AT THIS POINT) WILL BE RELEASED IN OCTOBER 2011. JENNIFER ALSO WRITES THE MYTHOS ACADEMY YOUNG ADULT URBAN FANTASY SERIES.

“A raw, gritty, and compelling walk on the wild side, one that had me hooked from the first page.“ – Nalini Singh, New York Times best selling author on Spider’s Bite

AMAL CHAABAN TALKS TO JENNIFER ESTEP EXCLUSIVELY FOR RAGMAG. Why an assassin?

I always really just liked really reading about assassins. There are so many different things you can do with an assassin. You can make them cold or witty or whatever and I just thought it would be cool to write my own assassin character with my own magic and my own rules. Gin Blanco is so determinedly normal. Is she in denial of the elements she controls?

I think for Gin, a lot of it has to do with the fact that she saw Mab murder her mom as a kid. In Gin’s mind, her mother was the strongest elemental that

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she knew so to see her mom’s magic fail like that, it made an impression on Gin. She is kind of determined that that is not going to happen to her. Yes she has magic and she will use it if she has too but that’s not going to be the only thing that she relies on. Sophia Deveraux is very mysterious in a sad way; will we ever know her full story?

We got a little bit more of it in Venom and I explained a little bit about her Air magic. Book 5 is when a lot of the big reveals are coming. That will be the end of the arc with Mab and Gin and we do find out what happened to Sophia in book 5.


I would say a little bit of both. I will tell you that we learn a little bit more about Fletcher and his motives in book 4 coming out in April. After you read that one, you might say he was a guardian angel but he was an assassin for years and he turned Gin into an assassin so some might say he was the devil. You have afflicted the paranormal population of Ashland with the same problems and issues that “normal” people have. Drug addiction, gambling problems and poverty. Why?

I just think that it makes the world of Ashland a little more relatable to people, a little more real. In a lot of books magic sometimes solves the problem and sometimes it doesn’t. In my books, I wanted people to have these abilities but that doesn’t mean their lives are perfect. Like say if someone has money, they still have issues. Everyone has something going on in their lives and nobody’s life is perfect and I just wanted to incorporate that in the books.

Contrary to most other books with a paranormal bend, you have chosen to integrate your paranormals with general society. Why?

I just thought it would be a little more interesting to have the magic part of every day life and the every day world, to see how people interacted. Really, I think it would be tough to hide magic from humans. I wanted the society to be structured that way; I wanted people to know about Gin and for her to go up against some really bad guys. Donavan Caine is even less likeable than Mab Monroe, why is he so sanctimonious?

That’s just his character, this straight arrow police detective. I did think about toying around with it and making him eventually come around to Gin’s way of thinking but I really thought that would weaken him as a character and I didn’t want to do that. Then I thought, what if there was another guy out there who was not quite as sanctimonious as Donavan was, who was walking a bit on the shady side of life like Gin.

In Spider’s Bite, Alexis James is more vicious than any male killer, do you think women are crueller killers?

I don’t think so. In their cruelty, I think men and women are pretty much equal. Bria Coolidge is both the antithesis of Gin and like her in so many ways. Did you do that on purpose?

I did. I knew that I was going to bring Gin’s sister back at some point but I didn’t want her to just walk on the page and everything be hunky dory between the two of them. So I thought what should I do with Bria that would really create a lot of conflict and really show how Gin being raised an assassin made her who she is and Bria being raised more normal made her who she was. I think it is a little bit of both nature and nurture; part of it being the environment you grow up in and part of it is will. You use the back drop of the Appalachian Mountains in the US. Did you do that because of the folk tales that surround the area of people with a “knowing”?

Is Fletcher Lane a guardian angel or a devil in disguise?

I think it would be tough to hide magic from humans. I wanted the society to be structured that way

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I’m a Southern girl so that was why I chose the area. I wanted the books to have a really Southern vibe. I think there is something really dark, gothic and gritty about the South. The overall atmosphere works.

about being shameless. Finn knows exactly what he wants in life, what he likes. He likes making money, he likes spending money, he likes women and he is going to go after all these things. The pattern of paying protection money is reminiscent of modern day gangs. Did you adapt that for Ashland?

No, I’m a Southern girl so that was why I chose the area. I wanted the books to have a really Southern vibe. I think there is something really dark, gothic and gritty about the South. The overall atmosphere works. In all of your books, you talk about the elements as though they are alive. Do you think that there is some truth in that? For example, in Web of Lies, you talk about the anger and the pain of the mountain due to strip mining.

I think there could be a bit of truth to that. I do think that things can linger even if we don’t really perceive them, kind of like a sixth sense. I do think feelings and things like that can linger in a place.

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Is Gin Blanco Robin Hood with a knife?

I would say she does have some Robin Hood qualities except instead of robbing from the rich, she is killing the rich. Going in, I knew after the first book that I wanted her to retire from killing people for money and then I thought, well, why should she kill people? That is why I set up Ashland as this really dark and gritty city. Finnegan Lane is a charmer, smart, sexy and more than slightly dishonest. How does he get away with it?

He really seems to be everybody’s favourite character. For me, it is just a lot of fun to write about a character that is very open and very shameless

I kind of set Mab up as a mafia queen with her own little army that got protection money, deal drugs and everything else. Twin themes of a class war and making it despite the odds run through your books, can you speak to that?

I knew in some ways that it would be difficult, the heroine is an assassin and normally those are extremely unlikable characters. I thought that in this world where rich people have a strangle hold on the city and good honest hard working folks really just do not have a chance to get any kind of justice for themselves so Gin kind of fulfills the role of making sure that justice is done


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pure tensions

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in

DESIRE, ILLUSION, AND MANIPULATION ARE DANCE QUEEN SHEILA RIBEIRO’S MUSIC. BY MAHA MAJZOUB

S

heila Ribeiro defies the laws of physics. She can take you from Beirut to Sao Paolo to Montreal to Milan in one sitting. “My husband defines me as the most multi global person he knows,” she cracks up, referring to Italian anthropologist Massimo Canevacci. A conversation with Ribeiro is simply complicated. She operates in free associations, and you have to run to keep up. The woman likes to talk. She also likes to laugh, and she can draw many laughs out of you.

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Sheila Ribeiro is many things. On paper, she is a dancer, choreographer, and writer. But to understand what Ribeiro’s work attempts to do, you have to brush aside all reductionist descriptions and view her as a contemporary artist. “My work works around tension,” she says, a word she uses again and again to describe what she does. Her projects thrive on confusion, libido, illusion, and manipulation to approach symbolic violence, post-colonial aesthetics, new media, and body displacement.


HER PROJECTS THRIVE ON CONFUSION, LIBIDO, ILLUSION, AND MANIPULATION TO APPROACH SYMBOLIC VIOLENCE, POST-COLONIAL AESTHETICS, NEW MEDIA, AND BODY DISPLACEMENT. Under dona orpheline, which she founded in 1992, she produces contemporary choreography for video, live performance, stage, and installations. Though immersed in dance education, video, and academia, her influences are drawn from urban communication, advertisement, and human, artistic, and intellectual exchanges. A trip to her Website’s default page offers a good example of this interplay. Ribeiro, who is Brazilian-Canadian, was visiting the Malaysian National Mosque when she spotted a crowd of Chinese-Malaysian women dressed in psychiatric blue. “All of these women are non-Muslim Chinese. To visit the mosque, if you’re not veiled you are given a piece of clothing to cover your hair. But nobody knew how to wear the veil. And each was wearing it differently. Some looked so bad and yet so funny,” she explains. “Also the color is very hospital-like. So what is this? Is this a mosque, a hospital…?” she continues. “I gave the camera to one of these women’s husbands and I thrust myself in there… I am ‘disguised’ among all those Buddhist ChineseMalaysians. That woman does not look like me, but that’s the idea. I assimilate the weirdness of the context and I give you back my question,” Ribeiro goes on to say.

She refers to her choreography as “very cartoonish, absurd, sexual, violent,” but also shifting in compass. “For instance, now that I’m married to an anthropologist, I integrate anthropology into my work. Communication is at the heart of my work. But what I really study is illusion. I think all my work is around how we have the same biological body in a very changeable work field.” And sometimes, she says, she does her work without understanding that she is doing it.

WHO’S THE BABY EATER?

Ribeiro caused a stir over the heated abortion controversy during Brazil’s latest presidential election race and helped tip the vote for candidate Dilma Rousseff, who takes office on Jan. 1, beating right-wing contender Jose Serra. “To get some votes during the second election round, Sera and his wife Monica Allende, used religion and abortion, which is a crime in Brazil. But Allende was my former dance teacher and she told us that she’s once had an abortion. So I wrote an article

on Facebook about double standards and double speech, and this turned into a national scandal,” she elaborates passionately. “So if you Google my name now, you’ll find the image of a baby because of abortion, the picture of the right wing candidate and his wife, pictures of the Brazilian president and the pope as well as my name… So if I take a picture of this,” she gesticulates to the screen, “my work here is done. I don’t need to do anything else.” A rebellious soul from the beginning, Ribeiro started out as a ballerina. “That’s what my mother wanted me to be. She tried,” she laughs defiantly. “As a ballerina, I was always the one behind because I wasn’t ‘skinny enough’. But I was always doubting why we couldn’t take off our shoes, why we could play other music. But then I started belly dancing at the age of 15. It was natural because there are eight million Lebanese in Brazil. I was going to all these weddings and doing the dabkeh and also training in Japanese dance. But what I really studied was communication because while training in ballet I was living in metropolitan Sao Paulo.” Ribeiro goes on to talk about her academic studies, further demonstrating a mutinous spirit and a love-hate relationship with academia.

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WHEN I WAS INVITED TO COME TO LEBANON IN 2008 FOR A PERFORMANCE IT WAS DIFFERENT, AS AN ARTIST WROTE A VERY BEAUTIFUL ARTICLE AND I DECIDED THAT MY WORK IS FOR PERIPHERAL COUNTRIES.

She confides that she scored zero for a thesis on libido and confusion while trying to obtain a masters degree. “My professor wanted things to be very organized in my paper; first chapter libido, second confusion, third libido and confusion. I thought this can’t be done because they are related. But that’s not how an institution wants it. I got a zero because I didn’t do it like that, which was very nice as an artistic project,” she adds. “Eventually I got my diploma, and now I’m doing a PhD in communication semiotics. My thesis is around pop-ups. I take the phenomenon of the pop-up to study the contemporary world with the angle of digital culture so I look at the world as if I’m looking through the computer.” From the very beginning, Ribeiro looked at the world in a very original lens. For her very first work, “Food in the Trash” in 1993, she received a nod at home for best new choreographic language, and instantly became a recognized name in Brazil. The titles of her work are as unique as her. There is “Flea Market: We are used and cheap in 1999”. There is also “Killing an Arab”, a humorous music clip done reaction to the 9/11 attacks. Most of her work was done in collaborations that included her husband, Canadian choreographer Benoit Lachambre, Indian-Canadian

44 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011

writer Padma Wisvanathan, and Brazilian choreographer Wagner Schwartz. She has also frequently teamed up with Motaz Kabbani of QContemporary gallery in Beirut.

VERY TENTATIVE

When Kabbani invited Ribeiro to cook up something different for the gallery’s one-year anniversary in November and give the Website a reshuffle she rose to the occasion. She says, “Motaz said you can do whatever you want as long as you relate it to architecture,” which was the theme of the concurrent photography exhibition “Q Calling the shots”. Sheila was ecstatic to come here because she says “I’ve been trying to quit being an artist for 10 years,” given her disappointment with the art market. “But when I was invited to come to Lebanon in 2008 for a performance it was different, as an artist wrote a very beautiful article and I decided that my work is for peripheral countries. My work is not for Europeans because they have too many principles and believe things can work in life. I should show my work to places where things don’t work, like the electricity doesn’t work… That was the architecture for me.”

Ribeiro didn’t want to live in the gallery as originally planned “because I didn’t want to think that people are coming to my house, my room, and will see my things. It will be a bit fetishist… And I didn’t want it to become another work of art because my work works around tension. So I thought I’m going to do a tent.” She set up in the gallery’s garden a very small tent in a fake-Fendi fabric. “It’s like a sit-in in a way. But the sit-in I’m doing is mixed with the aesthetic of the Beirut Souk so it is a Fendi tent, which is like a jewel, fashion, window, handbag, dress, and architecture. So my statement is architecture is body, fashion, jewelry, beauty, window, and tension. The tent is an organic totem.” And for 48 hours, she was a live installation that raised many eyebrows and drew curiosity, and based on her interactions with visitors she built the basis of her Q-blog. “I like the idea of technology inside the tent,” says Ribeiro who returns to Beirut in March for the exhibition’s Volume 2. But right now, Ribeiro does not like the fact that she makes no money from her art. “I work a lot, but work is not money… I don’t like that I don’t make any money because I feel marginalized and I don’t like being marginalized.” www.donaorpheline.com


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FML [f*ck my life]

Olde English in

New Lebanon BY IMOGEN KIMBER

W

e are supposed to think of something that we are afraid of. FML: F&$k-My-Life. The problem was, I couldn’t think of anything. I love being afraid. Really, I thrive on adrenaline; I’m a thrill seeker to the core. So what could I possibly come up with that wasn’t merely a ploy to give me kicks? The first thing that sprung into my mind was commitment; in my mind the opposite to wild-living-pleasure-seeking. Getting married for RAGMAG quickly seemed implausible though, so I came up with something else; not being big and brave but actually exposing yourself. And what I came up with was singing.

Editor’s Note The girl is fearless. Imogen was the most difficult to assign thus far since everything seemed fun to her. After 3 phone calls we settled on singing since it seemed like the ONLY thing she was reluctant to do.

When we arrived at the Ecole de Musique Ghassan Yammine, I found out after, that our lovely photographer Chris was expecting to listen to a cat wailing. He was a little bit shocked to find the opposite. Hold on, you may be wondering, if she can sing what exactly is the big deal? The point is I was doing something personal. Something that means a lot to me and something that, if I’m honest, I’m not really sure whether I am very good at (I’m usually pretty certain either way). Editor’s Note Imogen, I too expected something akin to cats wailing in the dark! I didn’t know you actually COULD sing!

So, there I am, faced with a piano, an eccentric music teacher and a lingering photographer. Much to his enjoyment the first half of the lesson was based around me sounding out vowels in rising and falling scales. “OOooOooooOOOOOooOh.” ArrrrARrrrRRRRrrArrrr.” “EEeee.”

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A vague sense of ridiculousness enshrouded everything as I was instructed to sing from the chest, and not my stomach (no, you don’t sing from your mouth). My mouth was busy making rather dubious shapes, from puckered shapes to joker-like grins. “Never think in the throat. The note starts in the throat by itself, but place the note outside the throat,” I was told. It sounded as ambiguous to me as it does to you.

to lighten up my gravely gruff whispers: “Try not to sing dark vowels all the time,” and “It is usually men who are singing bass that drop the melody by an octave,” I was sternly informed by my teacher who wasn’t willing to see either comedy or value in my baritone tendencies. There goes my style. “How could you u-OOuu-use a poOOor maiden so?” He had got me singing love songs. How appropriate. This was

“NEVER THINK IN THE THROAT. THE NOTE STARTS IN THE THROAT BY ITSELF, BUT PLACE THE NOTE OUTSIDE THE THROAT, ” I WAS TOLD. IT SOUNDED AS AMBIGUOUS TO ME AS IT DOES TO YOU.

This is another life lesson. Breathing comes from the stomach. It goes out when you breathe in and back when you breathe out. If you can master this it helps with almost everything from exercise to your temperament. Slightly denting my alleged success was when my teacher suggested that I should sing with “more of a British diction...” Curious, as I am in fact British. What on earth does this say about my singing voice? Editor’s Note First with the olde English song, then with the British diction? Imogen the funniest part is that if our readers knew you, they would know you’re from the UK! (Her accent is definitely hard to miss!)

An integral part of my journey was the discovery that there is the head voice the middle voice and the chest voice. “Where do I find the head voice?” I asked. Following which a moment of silence rang out as I tried to locate my chest voice. Editor’s Note My head voice is telling me that Imogen sounds like a head case right about now.

I think the aim was that I would come out having at least sung one song. Sounds doable. I certainly wasn’t expecting that the song would be an olde English traditional folk song. He really knew I was coming. “EaaaRly one MoOO-rning just as the sun was ri-I-sing, ” warbled the soprano recording which I was supposed to imitate. The notion was slightly absurd. It was established pretty quickly that I effectively have a man’s voice. I thought this was my forte (apologies) but apparently not. In fact I was asked

definitely not what I was imagining. But then it struck me, it kind of was, this was the whole point. So, I did it, I threw my heart and soul in to precisely the kind of song that I never imagined would pass my lips: pitch as high as a mountain and sentiments as soppy as a wet umbrella. There is a lesson in there for everyone. If I could hit the high notes of that emotional ballad then anyone can. I was convinced that the only form of singing I could manage with a semblance of decency was a low octane growl. Actually hitting high notes is pretty easy – for everyone. The trick is to actually try and sing them with the full force of your voice. High notes are not for the shy. They are a bold assault with your vocal chords. A singer lurks inside most people. It really isn’t that hard it is about opening your lungs and unleashing them on to humanity. Another one of my problems, and this seriously affects the sound, is breathing.

Indeed there was quite a turn around. I open my lungs and (sort of) my heart for all (our photographer and the quirky piano teacher and of course all of RAGMAG) to see. It seems some of the other people in the room made a bit of a turn around too. Frankly for the first 40 minutes I was under the impression that the no messing maestro hadn’t fallen for my usually infallible boisterous charm. In fact his austere exterior had encouraged an unprecedented serious approach from myself. Yet, it was not too late, I think my efforts to apply myself were recognized, and the music teacher and I were left with mutual respect. In fact I think I could be heard singing about the love of a maiden the whole way home

Editor’s Note I think this is the part where she took her “artistic license”. Learn to Sing Your Heart Out Ecole de Musique Ghassan Yammine Beirut, Metn, Kerswan 01/202820 01/202728 www.edmgy.com

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for him

NEW RULES HOW TO BE A KING AMONGST MEN GET AN ATTITUDE DETOX. READ ON FOR RAGMAG’S LIST OF 10 EASY WAYS TO BE A BETTER MAN FOR 2011. DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT, SEE THE GREAT MEN THAT HAVE COME BEFORE YOU AND WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT OUR LIST OF MINDSET OVERHAUL.

1. KEEP YOUR WORD

Don’t say you can, if you can’t. Make it a personal goal to keep your promises and make good on your commitments. If you aren’t sure you can follow through, don’t guarantee that you can. Quote to Note “The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it.” - Napoleon Bonaparte

2. LEARN FROM MEN MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN YOURSELF

Be a sponge that absorbs the positive people and experiences you are exposed to. Look at every opportunity as a chance for you to grow and better yourself. Ask questions, and emulate good tactics that will get you further in life. Quote to Note “Failure is success if we learn from it.” - Malcolm Forbes

3. LISTEN When people speak, really listen. Give your full and undivided attention. Convey a genuine interest, and take things being said into consideration. You don’t have to agree, just treat it with the proper gravity that the situation deserves. Quote to Note “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” - Ernest Hemingway

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4. KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE Your friends are a valuable asset. Repay favors and loyalty in kind. Your buddy of 10 years will probably be around for 10 more. The girl who loves you unconditionally, even though you have screwed up a million times, is a keeper. Know the difference between an opportunist and a friend. Quote to Note “A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” - Jim Morrison


5. RESPECT Stand when you’re expected to. Respect your country and yourself. Respect your loved ones. Respect a firm handshake. Respect people who look you in the eye, and tell you the truth. Respect effort and concern. Respect your community. Respect advice and love. Quote to Note “Football is like life - it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.” - Vince Lombardi

6. RIGHT THE WRONG This entails 2 things: Firstly, take responsibility. Mea Culpa. Secondly, make an effort to correct your error, and shoulder it like a man. Righting a wrong involves admitting your mistake, and then taking real steps to rectify your actions. Be the man who is known for this and you will always come out on top. Quote to Note “I stopped living according to my core values. I knew what I was doing was wrong but thought only about myself and thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to.” - Tiger Woods

8. CONTROL YOURSELF

7. MAX OUT YOUR POTENTIAL

Control the urge to do things you will regret later. A one night stand might seem like a great idea when you’re drunk with the guys, but facing the music the Morning After with your girlfriend is like the seventh circle of hell. Control your temper. Control your mouth. Don’t say things that you wouldn’t say on an everyday basis. Quote to Note “Take control of your consistent emotions and begin to consciously and deliberately reshape your daily experience of life.” - Tony Robbins

Do everything that you are capable of doing. Push the limits. Try harder at each available opportunity. Think about making every second of your life worth it. Try everything once, and try it wholeheartedly. Quote to Note

9. PICK YOUR BATTLES

“CREATE LIKE A GOD, COMMAND LIKE A KING, WORK LIKE A SLAVE.” - Constantin Brancusi

Don’t be the guy who makes a big deal out of everything. Fight for what’s truly important, not just because you can. Arguing for the sake of arguing is for lesser men. Make your point when you need to, and not when you feel threatened. Quote to Note “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” - Muhammad Ali

10. ACCEPT LOSSES GRACEFULLY No one likes a sore loser. Up for a promotion but your much more capable co-worker got it? Sour grapes and spilled milk. Be the man in the office who doesn’t bow to his jealousy. Congratulate the deserving winner, sincerely. Quote to Note “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. ” - Bill Gates

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RAGged facts

That’s Old News The oldest “undisputed” person in the world was Jeanne Calment of France (1875–1997), who was 122 years-old (and 164 days,) at the time of her death. In addition to her advanced age, she also attracted international attention for having met Vincent van Gogh in her early teens.

NEW DEAL The name of a series of economic plans in the U.S.A. between 1933 and 1936 during the President Franklin Roosevelt’s time in office, as a response to the Great Depression. The 3 Rs (relief, recovery and reform) were the basis for these plans.

Brand Spanking New The first surgeon to give his patient a facelift, rhytidectomy (which literally means “surgical removal of wrinkles”), was Eugen Holländer in Berlin in the year 1901.

{6 50 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011

Rhytidectomy (facelift) ranking in order of popular cosmetic surgeries. It comes 6th after “liposuction, breast augmentation, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), breast reduction, and rhinoplasty (nose job)”, according to 2008 statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.


{405

The age in years of the oldest animal to have ever lived. The clam, named Ming after the Chinese Dynasty, was found by the Bangor University School of Ocean Sciences off the coast of Iceland. Ming’s age was determined by the shell which develops a layer or ring (similar to trees) for every year that it stays alive.

{

GOOD as NEW A study from the University of Waterloo in Canada suggests that men apologize far less than women if they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. This could also mean men reserve apologies for transgressions they consider bigger and may need more effort to patch up.

NEW Lease on LIFE A planet which may have earth like properties has scientists optimistic. Steven Vogt of the University of California at Santa Cruz says that the planet circles a star called Gliese 581. According to Vogt, “chances for life on this planet are 100 percent,” since the conditions are right for liquid H20.

Chip off the OLD BLOCK Built around 9200 and 8500 BC, the oldest home in the world was found in the UK by archeologists in Star Carr in North Yorkshire, a very important British archeological site. The 11000 year old home may change the way historians view the nomadic lifestyle of huntinggathering communities.

{120

The distance in trillions of miles that the new planet is from earth. At our current rate of space travel it will take several generations to get there. Vogt says to put it in perspective, compared with the vastness of the universe, this planet is “like right in our face, right next door to us”.

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mon amour, mon ami

FREEDOM

DITCH THE OLD BALL + CHAIN SO YOU’RE DATING SOMEONE. HE’S GREAT… SOMETIMES. OTHER TIMES HE IS OVERBEARING AND JUST TOO MUCH IN GENERAL. THIS CAME FROM ANOTHER READER QUESTION IN HELP ME NOUR IN WHICH WE THOUGHT OUR READER HAD A WARDEN NOT A BOYFRIEND. READ ON FOR RAGMAG’S SCENARIOS OF THE GUY YOU LOVE TO HATE AND WHAT TO DO WITH HIM. HE’S WEIGHING YOU DOWN SO IT’S TIME FOR A PRISON BREAK.

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SCENARIO

SCENARIO

This is the guy that says, “Sure honey, go out with your friends! Yi walaw, you don’t have to even mention it,” then pitches a royal fit when you do. He calls every so often interrupting your only night out with the girls, and texts for ridiculous reasons between those calls. He whines a bit when you get home and sometimes tosses a latché or 2 your way. Things like, “Yeah you were so busy with your friends you didn’t even think about me,” or the always annoying, “Well you went out without me, so I stayed home”. At this point, going clubbing feels like “dancing to the Jailhouse Rock”, cause you know you’re going to hear the same old tune after your night is over, and this guy doesn’t even resemble Elvis.

Like Johnny Cash this guy has a penchant for walking on the wild side. He’s handsome and charming and quite frankly, has a dark cast to his personality that you used to find exciting. He broods often which you found charming… at first. His regular bouts of depression and random bursts of love are like a yo-yo. He’s up today and down tomorrow and your patience is wearing thin. Why? Because his rampant mood swings are actually negatively affecting your life. He cancels plans at the last minute because he is in a bad mood (which happens to be every second day), and demands you make time for him when he’s happy. What you initially thought of as spontaneity you’ve come to realize is just sheer selfishness.

PRISON BREAK

Do the exact same thing to him. Call and call often. Text even more often. He’s having a guy’s night with his college buddies? Harass him with every possible lame thing you can think of. He’s watching sports at his cousin’s place? Perfect time to call and call... and call. When he finally cracks innocently remark, “Well, last time I was out you needed to tell me (insert nonsense here).” He’ll get the message.

PULL A JUNE CARTER CASH. TELL HIM TO SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT. ENOUGH WITH THE SUFFERING ARTIST STUFF.

PRISON BREAK

Pull a June Carter Cash. Tell him to shape up or ship out. Enough with the suffering artist stuff. (That’s if he even has the talent to begin with and this is all not just misguided self importance.) If he doesn’t put a full stop to the “I ain’t seen the sunshine” routine, hop on the Folsom train and get out.

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mon amour, mon ami

HE DOESN’T WANT TO BREAK UP? HE SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF THAT BEFORE HE COMMENTED IN ONE BREATH ABOUT YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR JEANS AND EVEN HOW YOU PEEL AN ORANGE.

SCENARIO

SCENARIO

This relationship is an S + M nightmare a la Eminem. He’s just plain old hurtful. He supposedly loves you and promises every cruelty, large and small, won’t happen again. He says he will change and he doesn’t. Unfortunately, the crazy chemistry you share seems to pull you back in after every tantrum. He’s got a mean streak that you can’t believe. When you try to disengage yourself he takes another sway of the pendulum and sweeps you off your feet. When he’s behaving, he is the man of your dreams, everything you could possibly ask for in a partner. When he is bad, he is your worst nightmare. You begin anticipating his shifts in mood with cues. Like the storm you can see it ready to turn your world upside down. At every gust you stand there and burn.

He can’t live with or without you. When you’re together he is nitpicky and unhappy with the slightest details. He doesn’t like the way you dress, “It’s not stylish,” wishes you wore makeup more often, “I like seeing you dressed up,” and hates your idiosyncrasies, “Do you have to stack your books in alphabetical order?”. You don’t want to wear stilettos, cake your face or order your books by genre. It is your wardrobe, your face and your pet habit and none of these things should be subject to his whims. For whatever reason, ostensibly because he loves you, he doesn’t want to end the relationship but is hell bent on “improving” you. This critic routine is wearing you down. You begin to question what it is about you that he even likes since all he does night and day is pick on you. U2 make it sound romantic but it isn’t. “You give it all but I want more,” sounds like the reality of your life.

PRISON BREAK

Don’t be the Rihanna of this tune. Don’t enable his cycle of breakup and makeup. It’s sick and taking a toll on you mentally and physically. Your solution is plain and simple: get out and don’t look back. Don’t respond period. Ignore the promises, the flowers, and the calls to your friends. Phase him out all together.

PRISON BREAK

Stop giving. Put your stiletto-free foot down. He doesn’t like it then he doesn’t have to be with you. He doesn’t want to break up? He should have thought of that before he commented in one breath about your friends, your jeans and even how you peel an orange. Do one final thing before you end this: Make a list of all his idiosyncrasies that irritate you and give it to him

THIS SHOULD BE HIS FINAL CURTAIN CALL. RAGMAG HAS SEEN THESE TYPES OF MEN SING THE BLUES FAR TOO OFTEN. IT’S TIME TO BREAK FREE!

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mon amour, mon ami

BY SARAH HOURANY

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YOU WAKE UP ONE MORNING WITH A DATABASE OF E-MAILS AND MESSAGES, WITH ENDLESS MEMORIES AND ONE AND ONLY BROKEN-HEART. IT’S OVER. THE TOUGH JOURNEY BEGINS: YOU CRY, YOU EAT CHOCOLATE, YOU LOOK AT YOUR CUTE PICTURES TOGETHER AND YOU ISOLATE YOURSELF FOR DAYS... GUESS WHAT? YOU ARE NOT THE FIRST WOMAN FACING THE END OF A LONG TERM RELATIONSHIP. MANY HAVE TREAD THE PATH BEFORE YOU SO BENEFIT FROM THEIR ADVICE TO MOVE ON!


EXPRESS

1.

In the first few days or weeks, it is not only normal but necessary to express all the pain you are going through. So go ahead and cry, call a friend and talk for hours about it, fantasize about all your possible revenge scenarios, throw away all his cards and gifts, but avoid doing your grieving phase publicly. Don’t call him and cry, don’t go to his place and hit him, but most importantly DON’T put one of these pathetic “broken-heart” statuses on Facebook!

GO AHEAD AND CRY, CALL A FRIEND AND TALK FOR HOURS ABOUT IT, FANTASIZE ABOUT ALL YOUR POSSIBLE REVENGE SCENARIOS, THROW AWAY ALL HIS CARDS AND GIFTS, BUT AVOID DOING YOUR GRIEVING PHASE PUBLICLY.

2.

ACCEPT

Regardless of who ended it, now that the crying phase is over, think rationally about the reasons that led to the break-up. Did someone cheat, did the love fade, were you in two different commitment places? Understand, grasp and accept the fact that it is really over. If you are not convinced by these reasons, hoping that you may be together again makes getting over him really difficult.

3.

MINIMIZE

If you decided to move on then an innocent Hi on msn, a little poke on Facebook or a midnight text message will not be helpful. If you are willing to spend your days online, turning into an obsessed stalker scanning all his wall posts, then you are participating in the problem. So minimize your time spent online and block him if necessary. After all, if there’s something he needs to tell you, he sure as hell knows your cell number. Recent studies indicate that social media such as Facebook make it more difficult to move on since you have constant access to your ex’s life. Avoid these behaviors as harmless as they may seem! The “out of sight, out of mind” strategy can really help you through the healing process.

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mon amour, mon ami 4.

INDULGE

Turn the negative thoughts and feelings you are suffering from into something productive and fun. Are you angry? Take some boxing classes. Are you eating too much? Start a healthy diet, and hit the gym! We are sure you don’t want to shed your ex and gain 20 pounds. What are the things you love to do? Discover your passion and practice it.

5.

EXPERIENCE

Even if you don’t feel like going out right after the break-up, think of it as a duty. Yes, you should see your friends and the people you love. Force yourself to see the new exhibit at Ayyam Gallery or listen to the Blues at Bar Louis. Being social keeps you busy and thus less likely overanalyze the past. Exposing yourself to new things is a constructive way to channel that free time and potentially negative energy.

Breaking up is hard to do, we know that, but how much time are you willing to stay there? Statistical and reallife analysis shows that there are a big number of potential partners for each one of us. Wash away you tears, pick up the pieces of your broken heart and move forward with a smile; count on time as a healer, but count on yourself more

MOVING ON UP

Are you part of the problem or solution? If you answer yes to 3 or more of these questions you are not participating in a constructive healing process.

1. Are you constantly comparing your new relationship to your old one?

6. Do you check your ex’s Facebook/Twitter/ASW profile on a daily basis?

2. Do you find any reason at all to contact your ex?

7. Do you plan in advance to go to your old haunts

3. Do you allow yourself to get angry or upset when you hear that your former flame is seeing someone new?

8. Do you make an effort to contact the people you spent time with as a couple that you don’t normally speak to?

4. Do you dwell on your fond memories as a couple and share them at any opportunity?

9. Do you rehash the reasons you and your ex

5. Do you waste precious time and energy

plotting grand revenge schemes like showing up with a new date?

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so you can “accidently” bump into one another?

parted ways whenever your friends discuss their relationship woes?

10. Do you constantly revisit the time you spent together lamenting it as a “waste”?


ROBIN WRIGHT PAR PETER LINDBERGH

GERARDDAREL.COM

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cultureclash

HAYDA LEBNEN

TEFYILET RASS EL SENEH BY SARAH HOURANY

The New Year: A perfect time to evaluate your past actions and plan for your future ones. A cliché? Maybe. An act of selfdelusion? Perhaps. But when the year is almost over, with all its troubles, hard-work and tumultuous break-ups, you can’t help but make a list of all the things you want to change. It’s like you are given a chance to start all over again, 365 new days, 365 new chances, and 365 new potential opportunities to realize all the crazy/beautiful things you dream about. Without you knowing, you are seduced into an unrealistic world full of illusions where you foolishly draw the perfect version of you. You want to have Gisele Bundchen’s body, play tennis like Maria Sharapova, race like Michael Schumacher, speak eloquently like Barack Obama or earn your first billion like Mark Zuckerberg. Don’t get us wrong, you have the right to dream, and dream BIG. But chances are you will fail when you set goals that are unrealistic. This year, RAGMAG does not want to see you disappointed.

Follow our 3 simple rules for a successful accomplishment of your New Year resolutions: 1. Pick one and only one resolution 2. Your chosen resolution should be conducive to changing your lifestyle 3. Your chosen resolution should be realistic. If you still don’t understand how to pick yours, check RAGMAG’s exclusive sample of the 14 most common Lebanese New Year’s resolutions and get inspired!

“I will drive slowly even if I am late”

“I will wear the same dress twice, since I realized I am neither Haifa nor Elissa”

- Mother who usually wears her 18 year-old daughter’s clothing

“Ma rah hastir iza 2ebne ma toli3 el 2awal. In life, there are more important issues than taking 20/20 3al 2imla2” - Woman who is convincing herself that she doesn’t care anymore about her son becoming a doctor so she can show off

“I will smile if someone calls me Madame/Tante. At the age of 50, mech daroure ba2a y2ouloule DAmoiselle”

- Mondanité addict

“Instead of doing anything to get a 3aris, I will do some productive activities such as reading, real books-not gossip magazines or Facebook wall posts, learn a new language, take up painting…” - 45 year old woman who thinks 2enna officially “3annassit”

“I will wear flat heels when going shopping “ - A woman who realizes that shopping means choosing clothes, not working a catwalk

“I will be ready for a long-term commitment” - 30 year-old man 2ahlo beddon yefra7ou (yokhlasou) menno

“I will do my sob7iyet in actual homes, not by screaming from one window to another” - Woman who has been cursed on a daily basis in 2010

“I will not la2li2 anymore about neighbors, coworkers, boyfriend’s ex, childhood friends, politicians, celebrities, and the whole wide world” - Woman whose La2la2a caused fights between neighbors, coworkers, boyfriend and his ex, childhood friends, politicians, celebrities, and the whole wide world

60 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011

- Person who has to do it now that there are 50000 LBP speeding tickets

“I will do less Botox injections” - Woman who overdid it

“I will arrive at work on time” - Man who lives 2 minutes away from his office

“I will spend less time on Facebook” - Young woman who realizes she has been talking to “walls” for months

“I will speak Arabic” - Woman who thought “porte-chapeau” meant “chapeau-bas”

“I will be present in conversations physically and MENTALLY” - Guy scrolling through his Blackberry while sharing his new year resolution

2011 kicks off and the resolutions are delayed, postponed and even forgotten… Ahh okay, disregard our advice above and go ahead, dream about becoming Angelina Jolie, Bill Gates or Michael Phelps. We found that becoming a worldwide celebrity turned out to be easier than changing the Lebnene’s bad habits. Ma howe ma fi achtar menna bil 7ake. Leh? Ma hayda Lebnen ya 3ayne, hal sene…w kel sene!


Pourquoi PAS chocolate for every occasion

Batroun, Lebanon | Tel +961 6 74 45 45 / +961 3 27 28 62 OLD VS NEW ISSUE

61


cultureclash

Updates from the World of @ELENAKASSAB

“When a subject gets enough hashtags, it becomes a trending topic.”

I

t was one of those hot, windy November nights when my parents came back from work with the November issue of RAGMAG and tossed it on the table in front of me. I looked up from the text I was hopelessly trying to translate and scanned the contents quickly. I, being the studious girl that I am, decided to take a couple minutes off, read Fida’s articles and then go back to my meager attempts at interpretation.

My attempts to take a tiny break, however, were completely torpedoed when I read the editor’s note. “Follow me on Twitter: @fidachaaban”. I knew she was still sort of learning the ropes of that website and chuckled at her enthusiasm. But when I read her article “Snowmen don’t always melt”, I was pleasantly surprised at her sentence “As an experiment, I searched Pablo Escobar on Twitter (…) 3 to 4 tweets in his name are commonplace”. Fida was now using Twitter for article research by looking for trending topics! Mental high-five, Elena!

62 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011

In case you don’t remember what trends are, let me refresh your memory: Topics or types of tweets can be grouped together by the use of the “hashtags” –words proceeded by the symbol #” When a subject gets enough hashtags, it becomes a trending topic. You can search for trends worldwide, near you or even specify the location. Trending topics range from news (#Kyi is a trending topic right now as Myanmar authorities sign an order to authorize the release of the Nobel Prize-winner) to entertainment (#harrypotter7premiere was hugely trending last week), from absolutely nothing (#confessiontime where Twitter users shared small confessions) to holidays (#Samhain was quite the trend at the end of October). So basically, when the world is atwitter about something, it trends on Twitter – pardon the bad pun, but I couldn’t help myself! #LOL What are your favorite trending topics? Wait, you’re not on Twitter yet? Then go ahead and join me and @fidachaaban to get #RAGMAG trending!

Here are a few trending topics that are bound to make you roar with laughter. #robotpickuplines: If a robot were to hit on another robot, what are the possible pick up lines? “Nice bolts… wanna screw?” “Was that my CPU malfunctioning or did I just feel a spark between us?” #badsongsinjail: People share what song they wouldn’t like to hear while in the slammer. “Freebird” and “Folsom Prison Blues” were quite (un)popular. #thatswhatshesaid: This popular line from the office is never untrendy: “Finished already?” and “Damn, that was fast” are some of the tame ones. #celebritytwitterpasswords: People were guessing what some celebrities might choose as their twitter password. “ImReallyHappy ForYouImGonnaLetYou FinishButI HaveTheBest PasswordOfAllTime – Kanye West” and “Password – Jessica Simpson” were priceless!


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63


BUTT OUT! BY IMOGEN KIMBER

You want to have a cigarette but you don’t want to smoke. It’s nagging away at you. The more you try to forget, the more it creeps into your thoughts. The arguments for and against bounce around your brain like a record on loop. A NICOTINE -FREE LIFE IS LIKE SOME FAR OFF DREAM AND SIMULTANEOUSLY A NIGHTMARE. EXCEPT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE. I KNOW BECAUSE I DID IT.

After a decade of smoking, in the past year I have not had one craving, let alone can I understand why I ever touched a cigarette in the first place.

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THE FEAR

Quitting smoking seems scary. You expect to feel anxious and desperate for the rest of your life. How will you deal with stressful situations? Suddenly your mind is running wild and you picture yourself as a half-crazed pale version of your former self, ten pounds heavier with nails chewed down to the bit. Allen Carr, also felt this way, until one day, after a million and one attempts, he saw smoking for what it really is: a completely pointless activity. To a smoker, this sounds ridiculous, if not incredibly patronizing. But the method he developed and shared with thousands of other smokers means that not only will you completely reject smoking, you will feel absolutely wonderful, if not exhilarated as you do. “Empowering is the word,” explains John Dicey, Worldwide Director of Allen Carr’s EasyWay, describing his own personal experience in beating a ten year, 100 cigarette a-day habit. SO WHAT IS THE SECRET?


mind, body + soul

SUB-ZERO

Allen Carr examines the reasons that we DO smoke, emphasizing the psychological component of your need for a cigarette. You know the reasons not to smoke, but that doesn’t eliminate the reasons for smoking. “What Allen does is take these presumed benefits and turn them on their head,” explains Dicey. One of the biggest illusions is that smoking makes you feel good. Smokers think that when they are stressed it relaxes them. The truth is that as an addict, and it is vital to accept that this is what you are, you feel below average when you are not smoking. When you have a cigarette you feel better because you were craving one and the cigarette fills this hole. “The addict misplaces the feeling of well being as coming from the drug, [the cigarette],” said Dicey. As a regular person who does not smoke cigarettes you will not need cigarettes to make yourself feel normal. If smoking is so beneficial why don’t therapists offer up smoking as a stress buster, Dicey asks, sarcastically. Why don’t CEOs request that their employees smoke?

LOGICAL LEAP

Using other methods, particularly ‘willpower,’ means that the smoker thinks they are entering into a battle. The smoker faces an internal struggle, thinking that they want two diametrically opposed things at the same time. This is a vital mistake. When you accept that you don’t want to smoke, and that you are simply overcoming an unwanted addiction, you see that there is no contradiction. Once you are over this hurdle the rest is easy. If by any chance you begin to think that you want a cigarette it really is as simple as reminding yourself of this. If you try and replace the cigarettes, be it with nicotine patches or with eating (this is where the gaining weight bit comes in) then you are likely to go back to smoking as you never really overcame the addiction psychologically. Following the Allen Carr method you will not be anxious or want to replace cigarettes—you will be pleased they are gone

The smoker faces an internal struggle, thinking that they want two diametrically opposed things at the same time. This is a vital mistake.

QUIZ TIME

After watching the DVD - reading the book - attending seminars you will have decided, once and for all that you do not want a cigarette as it does nothing for you. You will not ever sit in a bar wanting a cigarette while your friends are smoking. You do not need to make that wrenching decision as you have been over every silly little excuse your addict brain can think of. “Smokers are brilliant at coming up with red herrings,” said Dicey, a statement I wholeheartedly agree with, having done it myself. This is where the Allen Carr method really comes into its own. Once you have grasped this element you can see how powerful this thought process is and how it can be applied to anything: Do I really want to eat the whole packet of sweets? Will I be glad that I did it later? No. When it comes to cigarettes Dicey summarises: “Ask yourself the right question: It isn’t ‘Do you want one cigarette?’. It is ‘Do you want 10,000 cigarettes?’, as if you smoke one that’s what you will be getting.” The Allen Carr method is about setting you free to do exactly what you want.

Allen Carr’s Easy Way has clinics across the world, although not yet in Lebanon. If you want to know more please look on the website www.allencarr.com or on Facebook - Allen Carr’s EasyWay to Quit Smoking The course is now available as a webcast on the USA site.

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REVOLVING

NEW + OLD CELEB DETOX STRUGGLES THIS ISSUE WE LOOK AT A DIFFERENT KIND OF CELEB LOVE AFFAIR: THE ONE WITH ILLICIT SUBSTANCES. THIS GROUP OF CELEBS IS THE IN CROWD, OF REHAB ANYWAY. RAGMAG LOOKS AT A FEW BIG NAMES IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY AND THEIR DETOX SUCCESSES, ALBEIT TEMPORARY. TAKING A TURN AT THE REVOLVING DOOR IS WHEN THEY GET OUT, AND THEN HEAD RIGHT BACK IN AGAIN.

AMY WINEHOUSE

British Songstress Amy Winehouse was dangerously close to losing not only her career but her famous voice when an addiction to crack cocaine landed her repeatedly in Rehab and in hospital. Her then husband Blake Fielder-Civil has admitted that it was him who introduced Amy to crack cocaine and it was only after her divorce from him that her stint in rehab finally took. They were recently seen in London celebrating his birthday together so we can only assume that she’s about to take another spin in the revolving door.

EMINEM LINDSAY LOHAN

The fall from grace of this former teen star has been mercilessly documented by the paparazzi and Hollywood’s talking heads. The now infamous pictures of her drunk and passed out in a car, the multiple trips to Rehab facilities and her recent arrests for violating her probation have made this very talented actress fodder for late night comedians. This is one girl RAGMAG hopes the door stops revolving for since she is widely known to have real talent.

When Eminem entered rehab the first time in 2003 for an addiction to prescription drugs, specifically sleep meds, can anyone really say they were shocked? When he relapsed after the death of his best friend Proof in 2006, fans around the world sent him their prayers. The second (that we know of) sink into the drug lifestyle almost cost him his life. Eminem maintains that it is only his love for his 3 children that has kept him clean since. His love-hate relationship with his wife and mother don’t seem to help this complicated rapper much and probably contribute to his using as much as his music.

66 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011

BRITNEY SPEARS

Former Mouseketeer turned pop sensation Britney Spears first entered rehab for a whopping 24 hours before checking herself out. Several highly public meltdowns and two additional Rehab spells later, this star was removed by ambulance from her West Hollywood home right to the psych ward of an area hospital. 3 years down the road, she still does not have power over her own estate… her father does.


ROBERT DOWNEY JR. Widely known as one of the most talented actors of our time, Robert Downey Jr. almost threw it all away on drugs and alcohol. Arrested several times between 1996 and 2001 and locked in a game of revolving Rehab clinics, Mr. Downey Jr. finally got clean after a court-ordered Rehab stay in late 2001. He has since gone on to appear in several films and is back on track. Looks like this door is finally closed.

CHARLIE SHEEN

Recent celebrity news show all signs of Charlie Sheen not just falling off the wagon of Rehab but setting fire to it for good measure. Always a hard partier, Charlie has been in and out of rehab more times than we care to count. None of those stuck and it doesn’t look like this one has either. Considering that his highly successful career is at stake, one hopes that he will break the revolving door pattern soon.

DAVID DUCHOVNY

NICOLE RICHIE

Wild child daughter of Lionel Richie, Nicole was best known for her hard partying ways and being Paris Hilton’s best friend. After her arrest for heroin possession and DUI in 2003, Nicole checked in to rehab ostensibly for weight problems and came out clean. Two children with rocker Joel Madden have given her a new lease on life. Nicole has firmly closed the door to drugs and rehab behind her.

COURTNEY LOVE Not all addictions are to chemicals. Duchovny entered rehab in California for sex addiction. The irony lies in the fact that he plays a sex addict on the hit show “Californication”. Duchovny has said that his admittance into rehab was not in response to an affair he was caught in but in response to his addiction. There has been talk that Duchovny admitting his addiction threw open the door for other sex addicts to ask for help.

HOLE front-woman, actress and Cobain widow Courtney Love has struggled with her addictions in and out of the limelight for years. Her drug use has been so rampant that her ex-boyfriend and two assistants were able to siphon off a staggering $20 million dollars without her catching on to the heist. She also lost custody of her daughter Frances Bean Cobain with a 2009 restraining order issued against her. Love says she has returned to the practice of Buddhism and that helps keep her grounded.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR Movie star Taylor entered rehab twice for an addiction to both painkillers and alcohol. She is now clean and sober. Numerous setbacks in her health could have sent her straight back to her addictions but with the help of her 4 children and numerous grandchildren, she has stayed clean focusing her energies on her pet charity: AIDS research and her numerous business interests. This is one actress who has no desire to see the door spin again. OLD VS NEW ISSUE

67


mind, body + soul

help me

Nour BY NOUR OBAJI

“I broke up with a guy because I didn’t feel anything towards him. Unfortunately, he’s not taking it too well. He is depressed, cries, stopped eating, visits my mom, stalks my friends and generally makes me feel like I boiled a puppy -yeah, it’s that bad. What do I do?” Ayelin, 30

“I feel like maybe you’re still giving your ex hope since you and your friends keep the communication lines open. You need to tell him it’s not a good idea and fully remove yourself from the situation.”

Lorena, 29

“Send him a box of chocolates, tissues and a restraining order. It should do the trick.” Jeca, 29

“Wow, how old was this guy you just dumped? You clearly did NOT feel anything towards him because he was a boy and you were his babysitter. You need to find yourself a man. PS. Tell your friends and mom to avoid him.” Guy’s Vote

Farah, 27

“Don’t worry about men. Time (relatively short) heals all wounds. Before you know it, he’ll find himself a new girl and the situation will be reversed.” Rabih, 33

“There are two scenarios for this horror movie. 1) He’ll get over it in time. 2) He’ll kill you and your family. But really just try to steer clear from this guy. Time, as they say, heals all wounds. Remember that time when you thought you would never get over that great guy and that your life was over? You’re still here, aren’t you?”

Nour’s Vote I personally am not a big fan of the V-Man, aptly named in December’s RAGMAG by Maria Elena Kassab. He sounds like one of those, and he sounds like a sap. He also sounds like he has major trouble letting go. Who knows if it is even you he is upset about? It could be any number of ridiculous things and you are the scapegoat.

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RAGMAG BRINGS YOUR REALITY CHECK TO YOU. SEND NOUR YOUR QUESTIONS, AND EACH ISSUE SHE DOES HER BEST TO GIVE YOU SOUND ADVICE. THE ONLY INTERACTIVE ADVICE COLUMN IN LEBANON, EACH QUESTION IS ADDRESSED BY READERS BEFORE NOUR WEIGHS IN ON THE MATTER.

He’s quite likely channelling all his grief into your breakup and using it as a multi-purpose outlet. I would ask him nicely to lay off and if that doesn’t work, tell him more firmly. Also, speak to your friends and your mother and ask them to stop indulging the pity party. Enough is enough.

“My husband is old school and wants lots of kids running around. I already have two and I think I’m done. How can I convince him that two are enough?” Hana, 34

“For starters, get on birth control! You don’t need his permission for this. Then sit him down and talk to him in a rational and direct manner as to why you don’t want more children.” Rajaa, 30

“Compromise. If 2 kids aren’t enough for him maybe consider having another child. If 3 children are too much for you then tell him how strongly you feel and maybe get a dog for your husband. That should keep him busy.”


Hiba, 29

“How did you get married in the first place? Isn’t the number of children and the way you want to raise them some of the things a couple discuss before getting married? Now if one of you has changed his mind, the best way is communication. Why do you want to stop at two children? Think of the reasons, and tell them to your husband - I don’t think ‘I don’t want to get fat again’ will do it, though. You’re a couple, and this is a partnership decision. Don’t let him force you into anything, especially having another child! He should understand there is nothing worse than having an unwanted child.” Guy’s Vote

“He’s the man, he decides. Let him have what he wants. Unless you have a really valid reason – which I doubt you do.” Rabih, 33

Nour’s Vote For starters, we suggest you ignore the Guy’s Vote all together as he thinks he is Mr. Comedy this issue. The Interactive Panel is divided on this. It used to be that 5 children was the norm. That was then and this is now. You are the one who has the bulk of the work coming your way, pun intended. You are the one who puts your life on hold every time you get pregnant. There is only so much he can do to ease the situation, and as most women attest, it isn’t nearly enough. You need to explain to your husband that while you have considered the issue carefully, you are not up for a mini soccer team. Try gently at first to ease him into the reality that having less children means a better life for them and for you. The economic and emotional strain of having a large family is documented. The less children you have, the more resources you are able to devote to the existing 2. This in itself is reason enough.

“I am happily married, and I love my husband. But I feel like I have developed a romantic interest in one of my colleagues at work. I really enjoy his company. I catch myself thinking about him when I am alone and smiling to myself about things he says. He recently asked me to go for coffee. Am I considered a cheater if I go out with my friend? What is the right thing to do in my situation?” Ulita, 31

“I think you need to ask yourself the question ‘Are you REALLY happily married?’ No! Don’t go for coffee with this dude! You are only fanning the fire! Keep it formal and do not entertain any ideas of clocking in extra-time with this guy, stop daydreaming about your water cooler chit-chatty encounters and get back to work!” Noura, 27

“You wouldn’t be technically considered a cheater... perhaps emotionally cheating. If you’re starting to develop feelings for this guy and you are a ‘happily’ married woman, don’t ruin a good thing. Nothing good can come of this. You must have plenty of friends, you don’t need another one.”

Guy’s Vote

“If you truly mean what you said in the first nine words of your question, then you do not have a crush… you merely enjoy the dude’s company and its ok to go for coffee. If you’re only convincing yourself that you are happy and love your husband, then you have issues that are beyond this ‘colleague’, sort that out internally first.” Rabih, 33

Nour’s Vote You want the truth? Here it is: do not court trouble. Do not put your hand in that cookie jar. While it may seem like a harmless coffee, it is not. He is not your friend if you have developed a “romantic” interest in him. He has crossed the line from friend to grey zone. Once you have wandered into the grey zone you will only become more confused. The second part of this has Nour wondering if you are really happy in your marriage. Generally, you look elsewhere when there is something missing. Some part of you isn’t being challenged or satisfied. I don’t think going for coffee turns you into a cheater, but you are putting yourself in a position that could become a quicksand of emotional turbulence including guilt and displaced anger. Keep your colleague strictly work until you figure out what you really want from your marriage

Diana, 24

“Like you said, it’s a crush. You’re married, not dead, so you’re allowed to have feelings for the opposite sex. Perhaps there’s something missing in your marriage, or you’re feeling distant from your spouse. Your crush might be a friend, but there’s a two-way spark, hence the coffee invite. So coffee might lead to dinner and dinner might lead to condoms. So don’t go there. Such things happen. Flirting is one thing, cheating is another.”

To ask a question,

send your problems to helpmenour@ragmaglive.com

To join the reader response panel and give feedback to women across

Lebanon, send your name, age, and email address to helpmenour@ragmaglive.com subject line: Interactive Panel. We will contact you if you are chosen to participate. OLD VS NEW ISSUE 69


THE

NEW

ACHIEVABLE

YOU BY MATTHEW HUSSEY

We know that traditionally New Year goes hand in hand with an army of resolutions. Popular choices include: lose weight, start a business, strop drinking, read more books, make more money, keep in touch with friends, be successful, be happy. Basically, we try to become a perfect person overnight, vowing to change everything we don’t like about ourselves. So let me save you the bother by telling you now: It Won’t Work. The reason it won’t work is because our resolutions are unsustainable. We demand the world of ourselves, and then feel upset when we can’t live up to absurdly high expectations. The French philosopher Voltaire once said: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. Yet when we are trying to change our bad habits this is precisely what we do. We set ourselves absurdly difficult goals, and then throw in the towel when we inevitably fail to live up to these perfect standards. This year, I want to offer a different approach to changing your life. This year, if you want to create real change in your life, you’re going to have to set yourself up to win. That’s why, instead of solely focusing on eliminating our bad habits, I want to shift the focus to creating some good ones. Here are three key steps to creating great New Year habits:

1. KEEP THE PLAN SMALL AND SIMPLE

Instead of writing out a long wish list of things you’d like to have, I want you to answer a simple question:

What do I want to have achieved by this time next year? If I could snap my fingers and instantly create a new reality, how would that look?

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mind, body + soul

We tend to go crazy working hard for a month or two, and then, when we start to see some results, we take the pressure off and relax, slipping back into our old selves until next year when we realize we’re in the same position as before, only now we’re another year older. Thinking on this level is going to give you a vision of the progress you need to make to achieve your goals. Now, pick three goals out of this vision that you can use to create some great New Year habits. For example, you might decide: • Finish a first draft of my book • Create 3 new products for my business • Lose weight so I can fit into a 32 inch pair of jeans

2. BUILD A ROUTINE

Next, I want you to ask yourself this question:

What daily actions can I take right now to make my vision a reality? When we first set goals, they can look pretty intimidating. It seems like we have a mountain to climb to get to our destination. That’s why it’s so important that we now decide how we can break this down into small, daily actions, that we build into our routine, so that we can rest easy knowing that every single day that year we will be moving closer to that vision of where we want to be. So, let’s suppose your aim were to lose weight. What I want you to do is forget about weighing yourself at all. Forget the result. All I want you to go after is the habit; so all you need to promise yourself is this, “I am going to get 45 minutes of exercise in at least once a day”. That’s it. That’s all you need to think about. If you’re aim were to finish a book by the end of the year, say to

yourself “No matter what, 2,000 words per week”. Then you can rest easy safe in the knowledge that, as long as you integrate that habit into your weekly routine, you’ll have a book by the end of the year.

3. MAKE IT A CHANGE THAT EXCITES YOU

Break it down into manageable tasks Most New Year resolutions are created out of pain, for example, because we feel depressed about how we look, or because we can’t stand the thought of feeling the same way as we do now for another year. Unfortunately, this kind of resolution will only keep you going for so long. Typically this is what will happen; we tend to go crazy working hard for a month or two, and then, when we start to see some results, we take the pressure off and relax, slipping back into our old selves until next year when we realize we’re in the same position as before, only now we’re another year older! In order to keep a habit up, it has to excite you. You have to associate pleasure with the idea of achieving new goals. So pick goals that make you want to get up at 6am, goals that you cannot wait to get started on. Only this excitement and enjoyment in your habits is going to make this year the one you remember with pride

RAGMAG brings you the best in selfimprovement. Matthew Hussey is one of the leading talents in behavioral change and success. As a Life Strategist he has founded two coaching companies working with thousands of individuals across the globe to show them ways of making dramatic shifts in their lives. Matthew’s success has been built on finding out what people want, and showing them how to make it happen in the shortest time possible. He is currently a weekly columnist for Now magazine, providing expert advice on dating and relationship issues for female readers. In addition, his coaching has been featured in the London Metro, Evening Standard, The Sun, The Independent, Men’s Health, Glamour magazine, Cosmopolitan, and Elle magazine. His seminars have recently taken him to New York where he ran a live event and an interview with Sirius radio, and will be taking him to Las Vegas later this year to speak about his methods. A highly sought after public speaker and executive coach, Matthew has consulted companies including Accenture, Virgin, Morgan Stanley, Weil & Gotshal, and CB Richard Ellis, as well as over 5000 individuals and organizations ranging from directors of FTSE 100 Companies, Universities, international investment funds, artists, and royalty.

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as old the

hills WINTER SPORTS IN LEBANON BY SABINA LLEWELLYN-DAVIES

WITH SIX SKI RESORTS CATERING TO SKIERS AND SNOWBOARDERS OF ALL SKILL LEVELS, AND WITH KILOMETERS OF BACKCOUNTRY, CROSSCOUNTRY AND SNOWSHOE TRAILS WAITING TO BE EXPLORED, LEBANON HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE.

T

he pleasures of Lebanon’s ski resorts are quite simple really. You ski, dine and party. Depending on the time of day, your mood and the snow, you can change the proportion of time spent doing each. With six ski resorts catering to skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels, and with kilometers of backcountry, cross-country and snowshoe trails waiting to be explored, Lebanon has something for everyone. Each of the ski resorts features a unique local flavor. The Cedars ski resort (2,000-3,086m), is located on the highest range and offers the most scenic landscapes. Mzaar Kfardebian (1,830-2,465m) is the best resort in terms of slopes and facilities. Other resorts, such as Laqlouq (1,6501,920m) and Qanat Bakiche (1,9102,050m), feature few runs but with the advantage of less queues. The private reports of Faqra-Kfar Dibiane (1,7351,980m) and Zaarour (1,700-2,000m) are reserved for members only and their guests. LEFT + OPPOSTIE PAGE: MZAAR

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New for 2011 There are will be a few additions on the slopes this year. “In the Mzaar resort a new ski lift, the Kaoumeh, has been added at 2,000 meters altitude, which will help channel skiers towards the Mzaar slope chairlift,” says Ronald Sayegh, founder of skileb.com, an online guide about winter sports in Lebanon. Also, a new project called MzaarVille will offer fully furnished chalets with panoramic views of the ski slopes and as well as a ski-in ski-out possibility. And one the oldest hotels in Mzaar, the Auberge Suisse, has undergone room and lobby renovation. So will this season be a good one for winter sport fanatics? Sayegh is optimistic. “Pray for snow. Same as Europe, Lebanon has previously been through bad and good ski seasons. So far, this winter was not an early one, but, let’s hope for the best.” Investing into artificial snowmaking like European resorts is not feasible considering the high cost.


mind, body + soul

WILL THIS SEASON BE A GOOD ONE FOR WINTER SPORT FANATICS? Cams, Cool Boarders and Backcountry Any new trends in snow sports in Lebanon for this year? “I don’t think so. The Lebanese are not much into deploying physical efforts. Skiing and snowboarding is more suited to their mentality!” says Sayegh who is the brain behind the installation of Lebanon’s first webcam in the Mzaar resort – log on to the website for live footage of snowfall. Skileb.com is planning to install a 2nd webcam in the Mzaar resort. Location will be a surprise. Snowboarding has definitely caught on in Lebanon over the last few years. Raja Saade’s company, Thermique Esprit d’Aventure-Liban, is a leader in extreme

winter sports and organizes off piste tours. His shop, Yellow Cab Surfing, is a cool place to hang out and discover the latest trends in boards. Backcountry skiing has also experienced quite a revival in the past years. Skiers avoid the crowded slopes and head off piste, to the backcountry, in pursuit of powder and the new shorter, wider skis have made it much easier to ski in difficult snow. “Backcountry skiing is becoming more popular for those who like real adventure sport, and who love nature,” says Saade, who organizes parasailing over the snowy mountains for a chilly adrenaline thrill. He predicts that

kite surfing on snow will be the next big thing. Although relatively small, the slopes in Lebanon’s ski resorts are considerably less crowded, especially during weekdays, compared to the major European resorts. And, of course, on spring days you can ski in the morning and swim in the Med in the afternoon. Ah, the good life in the Lebanon where you can eat, drink, ski and be merry. Not necessarily in that order. Life can be so easy, really. Maybe just keep the slopes open after hours for some sunset skiing

NEW SKI RESORT IN PIPELINE Lebanon is all set to boast an eco-friendly ski resort with a project, which is being developed by Europtima, a Lebanese consulting firm. The ski resort will not be accessible by car; visitors will be taken to the resort via a cable car system that will depart from a terminal in the northern town of Ehden. The other developments in the town will include a 200-bed hotel and connecting chalets with a total of 300 beds. “Investment was in the vicinity of 80 million USD in 2001. The project is however constantly reevaluated. In all its phases now, including the two tourism resort clusters in the existing town of Ehden, (the departure cluster and Les

Parcs d’Eden), it climbs up to around 250 million USD 2010 value,” says Ghassan Tayoun, a partner in Europtima. In the pipeline since 2002, the project’s completion was originally expected for spring 2008, but the launch date still remains uncertain. Although Lebanon’s climate has been heating up over the past years, and the ski seasons are getting shorter and shorter, Tayoun remains positive. “Although we are very sensitive to global warming in general, and local environmental issues in particular, we do not believe the current weather trend to be an immediate risk.”

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mind, body + soul

breaking

NEW ground

WATER WOES IN LEBANON BY IMOGEN KIMBER

T

he rain finally lashed down on Mount Lebanon and the city of Beirut in mid December after a near straight eight months of new drought. Yet, worries about water continue to increase and shortages are not uncommon. Lebanon should not have been water short. In fact Lebanon has long been hailed as the country with the most affluent water supply in the Middle East. Unlike its neighbours, there is no desert here. There is certainly enough to go around. Or at least there was, until mismanagement, misuse and poor infrastructure has left the precious water reserves running down the drain and into the sea.

Poor Governance

As with almost every other public issue in Lebanon the basic problem comes down to poor governance. A fragmented system leads to fragmented infrastructure.

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The figures really speak for themselves: Lebanon has around 10 billion cubic meters of water a year. After run off and seepage we are left with around 3 billion cubic meters. That’s 7 billion that goes missing. You don’t need to be an expert to figure that this is a lot.

It starts underground

Ironically, heavy downpours of rain are not as helpful as you might think; rain that falls so hard cannot be absorbed and is lost as run-off water. Professor Nadim Farajallah from the American University of Beirut’s Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences said that to really replenish Lebanon’s water supplies we need snow. Snow on the mountains seeps deeply into the ground, into what should be clean natural storage systems, essentially Lebanon’s aquifers. But limited or sleeting rainfall is only the beginning of the plethora of problems.

Aquifers were and should be Lebanon’s primary water resource. Hidden underground, nature can keep the water clean and safe from contamination and sunlight. Not any more though. Not only have we been overusing the aquifers at a rate that they cannot be replenished, particularly with less and less snow and rainfall, we have also been contaminating the water that sits in them.

Contamination of the aquifers comes through industrialisation and farming methods. It also happens when people living in private homes don’t have enough water and feel forced to use illegal wells to get their own supply. The unregulated welling cracks the aquifers and they become salient. West Beirut is littered with illegal welling due to shortages and equally with salient water supplies. The problem continues to exacerbate.


Another guilty party in water contamination is sewage. Thirty five percent of people are connected to a public sewage system. The other 65% make their own arrangements. For many this means sceptic tanks, which again, end up contaminating underground aquifers as they leak into the ground.

In the deliverance

Unregulated, unreliable sewage systems not only seep into the water reserves but can even threaten the treated water that is running through pipes to your home. In some places the pipes are too old and in other places they are just inadequate. On the plus side Farajallah, is adamant that as it comes out of the treatment plant the water can be considered safe, obviously this is only a real advantage if it arrives into our homes untarnished.

It isn’t helping

Trying to help, considerable foreign aid has poured into this sector. Sadly, while obviously making some contribution experts say that this can actually hinder

overall development. As there is no overarching system to feed into foreign investors will work on segments of the water system. “We didn’t have a plan. We didn’t use it so well,” Farajallah explained. The projects are usually very regional and isolated in the sense that one NGO may make a treatment plant but not enhance the sewage system meaning the treated water, bringing us back to the problem of contamination. In such an already fragmented system this adds to the problem of it not equating to a united public water system. One area that needs to be developed is agricultural use. Farmers use about 60% of Lebanon’s water consumption. Understandably so, but it is possible that they could use it more efficiently. Archaic irrigation systems mean that considerable amounts of water go to waste. Only half even use irrigation and half of these are using furrow irrigation, which is basically digging into soil. This needs to be developed so water can be distributed fairly and so the agricultural industry can grow.

Poor Collection

In the Ministry of Energy and Water the solution seems to be dams. They appears to be a theory that the answer to the water woes are building dams, quickly, and as many as possible. Apparently though this thinking is flawed due to the nature of the rainfall and the hot summer heat which is prone to evaporate the water supplies. Essentially there is no master plan. “The government needs a plan for five years, ten years. Investment in real estate is what makes money [but] this is the silliest of ideas; we need to invest in things that give you return,” Farajallah protested. Changes need to take place in homes. The government can establish an infallible system but if people let the water run down the drain there will always be problems. Some think that things are changing. Nadim Farajallah actually has a relatively positive outlook. He thinks that Lebanon is on the right track. Let’s hope so or next summer we will all be left parched to say the least

IN SOME PLACES THE PIPES ARE TOO OLD AND IN OTHER PLACES THEY ARE JUST INADEQUATE.

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Jump on the Detox Bandwagon

NEW BLACK

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ollution, global warming, greenhouse effect… There’s a reason these expressions have become part of our daily vocabulary. Headlines all over the world are about climate change (God knows we’ve had proof in Lebanon this winter), scientists dispute theories about it, and politicians sign environmental accords by the dozen. But it’s our planet too… let’s take an eco-citizen stand, and start detoxifying planet Earth.

1. Carpool

Saving money, reducing traffic and helping the environment… Are you interested? We’re not talking walking and public transport; the first is reckless, the second is next to nonexistent in Lebanon. Why don’t you consider carpooling instead? It’s simple, really: see who lives on your way to university or work and get together for your daily rides. You can alternate cars or split the gas bill and use the same one.

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IS GREEN 2. Save paper

Saving paper equals saving trees. Cutting and processing trees release a wide range of polluting compounds into the environment. A. Think before you print: do you

really need to print this one-line email? Either don’t or compile them into one document and print many emails at once. B. Use both side of the paper. That’s 50% off. C. Send emails instead of regular mail,

and opt for e-bills when the choice is yours. D. Almost anything printed can be found on the web: newspapers, magazines, novels… If you like the printed version, it’s okay. After you buy it, just share it with your friends or donate it to charity.

3. Stop wasting stuff

Yes, it’s vague. So is our comprehension of water, power and hard waste.

Water Do you really need to hear/ watch the water running while you brush your teeth and wash your hair? You’re wasting way more than you’re actually using. If you’re a bath addict, cure yourself and take two baths a month tops. The other days, shower like everyone else. Wales and dolphins need the water too. Power A TV, computer, DVD player and basically any electronic device hibernating still uses electricity. You can have a power bar and plug all the devices in, even your cell phone charger – you just have to turn the power bar off before you go to bed. Another thing that must be turned off: lights. It’s not Christmas all year long – turn them on only in the room you’re using.


Plastic and nylon When you’re shopping, you don’t need 36 bags. This is not recycling: you don’t need to separate the wine bottles from the tuna cans – put them in the same bag. For the fearless, those who don’t mind people looking at them: use cloth bags – they’re eco-friendly, can be re-used and are available in Beirut (Waste Lb green bags). Also make a point to reuse your glitzy hard bags like the ones given at most major retailers in Lebanon.

4. “Bet 7ebb Lebnen? 7ebb sina3to”

Eat local. Buy local. Think local. The more you buy made in Lebanon products, the less you participate in shipping carbon monoxide emissions. We’re not ethnocentric, but we’re green, and we’re liking Lebanese apples, fish and cheese. Look out for Lebanese designers, whether you want to buy clothes or furnish your new living room. They’re worth it. So is our planet.

SAVING PAPER EQUALS SAVING TREES. CUTTING AND PROCESSING TREES RELEASE A WIDE RANGE OF POLLUTING COMPOUNDS INTO THE ENVIRONMENT.

5. Buy green

A. Replace your lights with fluorescent

light bulbs: they’re not a lot pricier than the regular light bulbs, yet they give better luminosity, last longer, and use less energy. End result: more bang for your buck. B. We’re not a very eco-friendly country – just look at our beautiful garbage mountain in Saida. But if you must buy imported products, pick the green labeled ones. C. Buy tree seeds. Then plant them. They take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Plus they’re pretty, and you can brag about how big it’s growing

RAGged Green Facts • A Compact Fluorescent Light bulb (CFL) uses about 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and lasts up to 10 times longer • Plastic takes 1,000 years to decompose and paper bags use 14 million trees a year For every 38,000 bills paid online, 5,058 pounds of greenhouse gases are avoided and two tons of trees are preserved • Only 1% of China’s 560 million city residents breathe air that is considered safe by the European Union • For the 2 billion people without access to electricity, it would be cheaper to install solar panels than to extend the electrical grid 90% of the cancer-causing chemicals are air pollution • 100,000 marine mammals die each year from eating or becoming entangled in plastic debris. One in four mammals is at risk of extinction Rainforest are destroyed at the rate of about 100 acres per minute, enough to fill 50 football fields • 1% of Australia’s untapped geothermal power potential could provide enough energy to last 26,000 years • If the entire world lived like the average American, we would need 5 planets to provide enough resources.

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ORGANIC BY NATURE

THE “ORGANIC SECTOR CAN BE AN INSTRUMENT FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT,” SAYS HAMADE. THIS IS A DISSEMINATION OF WEALTH; THE TRICKLE-DOWN EFFECT IN ACTION.

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rowsing the Souq el Tayeb at the Biel in Beirut, while the sun shines down, is a delightful way to spend a Saturday morning. From all over Lebanon, farmers bring their wares from olive oil to homemade goodies to delicious fruit and veg. Warm and fuzzy wholesomeness abounds. Organic food is fast growing in popularity after a century of massproduced food developing through the use of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers. This turnaround has taken place over the last few decades and Lebanon is jumping aboard - at least to some degree. The benefits of organic food are now well-known: fewer pesticides for the consumer, fewer pesticides for the earth. Besides this, though, there are other issues facing the organic food industry, hidden benefits and hidden problems:

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FROM FASHION TO FARMERS Agriculture expert Kanj Hamade, from the University of Bologna, values organic food; not for the environment, or even for the health of the consumer, but for what it can bring to the farmer. With prices at double that of mainstream fruit and vegetable, and sometimes even more, it is undeniable that organic produce is for the wealthy. In some ways this means it is just another division, another way that wealthy people benefit and poor suffer. Despite this, Hamade argues that organic food can work to the opposite effect. The wealthy are willing to pay high prices for food under the organic label. With the right set-up, this money goes straight to the farmers who did the growing and need the cash. In a perfect synergy, it is farmers of smallholdings who produce organic food. The “organic sector can be an instrument for rural development,” says Hamade. This is a dissemination of wealth; the trickle-down effect in action.


MISLABELLED, MISREPRESENTED Presentation is part of marketing and marketing is a sales tool, any fool knows that. If organic food is popular then of course greengrocers want to maximise upon that. The problem comes when labels start to be misleading. ‘Natural,’ ‘eco-friendly,’ ‘bio,’ are all labels used in conjunction with organic produce, but that actually pertains to very little. Souq el Tayeb is very guilty of this. Many believe that anything bought from the market is organic: in fact, only around 50% of the food being sold there classes as organic. In some ways this is for innocent reasons: for your food to be classed as organic, the soil you grow your vegetables in needs to have been clear

of pesticides for three years, otherwise there will still be residue in the food. The label ‘natural’ could indicate organic produce that has not yet been officially labelled as so, or it could also be an empty promise. Hamade has a sympathetic approach to addressing this issue. He argues that we should not be too hard on farmers if we want more change in favour of the organic market. Does that change need to come from regulatory bodies? Quite the opposite: he says that no change should take place without consultation of the stakeholder. “If regulations are passed now without consulting stakeholders, most of the labels would be pointless,” says Hamade, as it would not necessarily be feasible change.

An excellent example of a 100% organic health food shop is al Marej, tucked away in Achrafieh. With their own farm, Laklouk (in the Tanourrine area), in the summer 80% of their produce comes from their own farm, and the rest is sourced from organic Lebanese farms (with certificates to show for it), the two Lebanese certification bodies being Liban Cert and IMC.

‘NATURAL,’ ‘ECO-FRIENDLY,’ ‘BIO,’ ARE ALL LABELS USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH ORGANIC PRODUCE, BUT THAT ACTUALLY PERTAINS TO VERY LITTLE. WHAT’S THE REAL COST? For all of the social benefits of supporting smallholdings in this way, it remains a problem that as small enterprises the size of their yield will never be equal to that of mass-productions. This is beginning to change slightly, with larger yields possible, but not mass production on such a large scale. So the question of whether organic food would ever be a viable option to feed the majority remains unanswered. One suggestion is that if we were willing to eat indigenous seasonal food, perhaps it would be viable to feed mass populations without enhancement. Much of the push to use non-organic fertilizers is to supply the demand for out of season foods all year round. In fact, even if we could grow organic produce on a large scale, the mass farming methods could still be a strain on the environment, particularly with regards to biodiversity. The other questionable environmental practice is that of shipping organic food around the world. The energy spent on transport is enormous and lays to waste trying to save the environment by cutting down on pesticides. To ship organic rice to Lebanon from France, invariably having been grown across the other side of the world, is environmentally questionable at best and at worst downright selfish

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for less

RAGMAG GOT A LITTLE BUSY WITH THE BEESLINE COLLECTION THIS MONTH. WE DID OUR OWN ATHOME TREATMENTS WITH SOME OF THEIR BEST SELLING PRODUCTS TO SEE WHAT ALL THE BUZZ WAS ABOUT! FOR LESS THAN 50000 LBP YOU CAN GET A GREAT SKINCARE REGIME AND STILL LOOK LIKE THE QUEEN BEE.

Try RAGMAG’s at home foot treatment

Step One

Beesline Express foot sea salt scrub 4000 LBP On a dry to damp foot, gently massage this multi use exfoliator in your feet. Beginning at the heel, massage the product in firm yet gentle circular motions. Concentrate on the balls of your feet as well, they are often ignored. Gently perform the exfoliation treatment on your cuticles for a quick buff up between pedicures. Rinse well in lukewarm water.

Ingredients we love Sea salt, olive leaves and olive oil

Step Two

Beesline Foot & Heels Intensive Care Cream 10 000 LBP Pat your feet dry ensuring the moisture is gone. Begin with a dime sized amount and massage firmly into the feet again concentrating on the rough patches. Repeat as necessary.

INDUSTRY INSIDER TIP Performing the two- step treatment then insulating your feet with cotton socks creates a bandage deep soak effect. For optimal results, try this at night before going to bed.

Get the Buzz Beesline The Shop Kalaà Street LAU Lower Gate, Hamra, Beirut Tel + 01/808871 JANUARY 2011 80 RAGMAG | www.beesline-theshop.com


Beesline Lip Care 5750 LBP

100% percent fragrance free and ultra moisture!

Ingredients we love Beeswax, carrot and wheat germ oils Beesline Beeswax Ointment 14000 LBP

A must have for any medicine cabinet! Use this fragrance free product to heal, protect and soothe weak and sensitized skins.

Ingredients we love Beeswax, carrot and wheat germ oils Beesline Hygienic Hand Gel 8000 LBP

Prevent colds and flus before they start. Disinfect regularly by keeping this handy treatment in your bag and at the office. Ingredients we love

Moisturizing glycerine and olive oil

Beesline Express Facial Super Moisture Mask 4000 LBP

Get hydrated without hitting the spa. One sachet is good for two uses so buddy up.

Ingredients we love Pumpkin and cactus

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under the sun GET GLOWING IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER! BY FIDA CHAABAN

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he concept of bed tanning and spray tanning are not widely understood in Lebanon. So when RAGMAG got wind of The Tanning Salon, open since April 2010, we set up a session quicker than you can say pale. After all, the winter is long and we were feeling a little pasty. The Tanning Salon is two steps ahead of you at all times. Upon entering, the wall of tanning boosters ranging in price and your choice of Supper Sunnies (the goggles worn in tanning beds sold for only 10500 LBP), assuage your “I’m not prepared” fears. If you’ve forgotten to bring flip flops, they have those available too. And what about wet wipes? Yes, even those are on hand. It seems they think of everything. So what should I try? I explain that I’ve done both before with mixed results. Garine Torikian, a brown and beautiful employee of The Tanning Salon, lists the 3 options available, “There is Mystic Tan spray tan, and Ergoline tanning beds or a cocktail,” which is a mixture of both. “You should try the cocktail,”

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she suggests. Visions of orange splotches dance in my head. With New Year’s Eve just around the corner I am desperately in need of some colour, but I don’t want to look spotted or citrusy. “No, trust me. It will look great. Even if there is a mistake we have Vanish by Mystic Tan, it takes away anything.” The first half of the cocktail is bed tanning – Ergoline’s standup tanning bed. Ergoline, a German brand, is FDA approved and is known as the industry standard for bed tanning, with 48 lamps requiring only 6 to 10 minutes versus the normal half an hour or more to achieve the same result. There is a selector to allow you to control fan speeds and even an iPod jack inside. It’s as though they are preparing you for a vacation. “You know what it feels like? Put the fans and music on maximum. Get the breeze going in your face and feel the warm sun beating down on you like your standing on the edge of a pier in summer,” says Ziad Kamel owner of The Tanning Salon. I want to be on that pier, but I don’t like


the closed in feeling of tanning beds. So what about those who hate small spaces? “These beds are special, the doors are magnetic and they never fully close. It’s non-claustrophobic,” he says as he demonstrates.

Sunnyside Up After 10 minutes of Ergoline, I feel warm and tingly. I set the music and fans on high as Ziad suggested and put my arms into the loops. It was indeed a nice boost from the cold I’ve been feeling lately. I would do this just to counter the constant feelings of damp and chill in Beirut. Wearing The Tanning Salon robe, I pad barefoot to the second half of the cocktail the Mystic Tan Pebbles room. It has a built in shower in case you want to prepare with exfoliation so that your tan will take better. Towels and robes are already placed in each room, as is a small vanity complete with jewellery holder and mirror.

Garine asks if I prefer unscented or scented. Ahh what the heck, let’s continue the summer lovin’ feeling, I think. 3 very island type scents, Coconut Lime, Tropical Paradise and Desert Bloom, are wafted in front of me. I go with Desert Bloom and watch as Garine demonstrates where to put what. It is straightforward and easy. I have to do nothing basically but turn in a clockwise motion, as instructed by the machine. I expect a long drawn out process, but in reality was sprayed in under 2 minutes. The scent engulfs me and I am subject to a delicate misting from top to bottom. But how does this actually work? How do I know the machine won’t miss a spot? “Actually it’s the same technology used to paint in automotives. To make sure you get an even tan with no missed areas, the spray tan is negatively charged. You are standing on a plate that maintains your positive charge. It’s simple science. The product is applied evenly and looks

very natural because the mist adheres to your positively charged skin,” explains Ziad. I enter, do as I am told and leave. Now it’s the waiting game.

6 pm Slight glow to my skin. Healthy looking sheen.

8 pm “Wow, you look great. You look tanned,” comments Youmna as she picks me up. 10 pm I am bronze with a glow. The cocktail combination of spray tanning and bed tanning does make me look like I’ve been in the Caribbean. I’m bronze and after careful examination cannot find a single missed spot. It is evenly distributed and bright!

The verdict For a vacation quality tan, the cocktail at The Tanning Salon is the way to go

“GET THE BREEZE GOING IN YOUR FACE AND FEEL THE WARM SUN BEATING DOWN ON YOU” GET A PERFECT MYSTIC TAN

• Get naked (removing everything including jewellery) and put on the shower cap for your hair. • Apply the cream to hands and toes (they show you exactly how). This prevents excess darkening on knuckles and cuticles. • Step into the booth and wave your hand in front of a sensor to activate the machine. • The machine greets you and instructs you to where to stand. (Say hello back if you like) • Spray 1 commences. (15 seconds) • Turn at the machine’s command and reposition your feet. • Spray 2 commences. (15 seconds) • Another clockwise turn and easy repositioning. • Spray 3 commences. (15 seconds) • Another clockwise turn and easy repositioning. • Spray 4 commences. (15 seconds) • Exit the booth (say goodbye to the friendly machine) and gently pat away any excess moisture with the towel provided. • Stay completely dry for the next 4 to 6 hours to allow the spray tan to set correctly.

CHEAT SHEET

• When doing the Cocktail Tan, choose an accelerator that is not oil based. It hinders the spray tan from sticking. • To extend the life of any tan, spray, bed or beach, you should moisturize your skin well. • Sensitive skins can opt for the hypoallergenic Pure Karma Dark Hemp Elixir. 61 500 LBP and lasts approximately 25 uses. • If you dislike fragrance, do the spray tan unscented. No need to choose a booster fragrance. • Before committing to one accelerator, try the single use packets. The sachets are inexpensive and allow you to try a range of products. 9000 LBP to 13500 LBP • If you are fair skinned or have no base tan, you will choose a Step 1 accelerator. The Tanning Salon’s best seller is Dirty Secret by California Tan. 78000 LBP and lasts approximately 25 uses. • You can add a bronzer to your spray tan to get instantly dark. Otherwise the solution is completely clear so you can head straight out afterward. (No downtime) • Do not immerse yourself in water or sweat for 4 to 6 hours after spray tanning. Stay completely dry to allow the tan to reach its optimal level. Look like a St. Barts Sun Worshipper The Tanning Salon Alleyway Gemmayzeh, Beirut 01/560593 www.thetanningsalon.me

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BY LESLIE IDDISON IT’S THE START OF A FRESH YEAR AND IF YOUR NEW YEAR’S WAS ANYTHING LIKE OURS, YOU MIGHT BE FEELING LIKE YOU NEED A BIT OF A DETOX TO START YOU OFF RIGHT. SO WHILE YOU TRADE IN YOUR COFFEE FOR A BIG BOTTLE OF WATER AND PUT DOWN THOSE CIGARETTES (PICK UP SOME CHEWING GUM), WE URGE YOU TO REMEMBER TO DETOXIFY YOUR SKIN TOO! YOU’RE FACE WILL THANK YOU FOR IT!

If there’s one essential product that you need to start your dermal detox it’s Christian Dior’s Capture Totale One Essential Skin Boosting Super Serum. This highly concentrated serum helps to eliminate toxins, repairs the skin and corrects all signs of aging.

What It Does

When used daily with your regular skincare routine One Essential • Detoxifies your skin cells by eliminating impurities • Increases your skins luminosity and gives the skin a smoother appearance • Boosts the efficiency of the rest of your skincare routine!

How it Works

One Essential is a veritable cocktail of active ingredients that work in synergy to give you results. The key detoxifier is an exclusive ingredient called “Detoxinyle”, an algae extract that stimulates cellular regeneration and helps to flush out impurities. Detoxinyle is combined with powerful Aminolumine, another Dior exclusive found to be six times more powerful than vitamin C. Aminolumine reduces the oxidation of the skin by 85% to recreate the radiance of younger looking skin. For an added boost, the serum also contains wheat proteins that give your skin an immediate firming effect.

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How to Use It

This super silky serum slips easily under your regular nighttime skincare routine. No matter what other products you use, One Essential goes on first. One daily application is recommended until you completely finish one bottle (approximately 2 months).

Word of Warning!

This treatment is meant to be a cleanse for your skin, getting rid of all the built up impurities that hinder the effectiveness of your other products. That being said, with all that gunk being eliminated you should expect to break out a little! We know most of you would rather go barefoot for a month than face the world with a pimple, but better out than in! A few days of suffering is well worth months of gorgeous glowing skin! Time to make up for all those late night parties, days in the sun and other unspeakable skin crimes. Trust us, your skin will thank you for this one, and in no time you’ll be all fresh and fabulous, just in time for spring!


Fashion status: I Am not a Work of Art, I Wear One

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR YOUR SKIN BY LESLIE IDDISON IT’S TIME TO REFLECT ON THE YEAR THAT’S PASSED AND MAKE RESOLUTIONS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD. AND WHILE YOU SIT BACK AND PLAN TO KICK THOSE BAD HABITS, DROP THAT LAST TEN POUNDS OR FINALLY START THAT SAVINGS ACCOUNT, WE AT RAGMAG ENCOURAGE YOU TO REMEMBER THE LARGEST AND OFTEN MOST ABUSED ORGAN IN YOUR BODY: YOUR SKIN. HERE ARE FIVE SIMPLE CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE TO YOUR SKIN CARE REGIME TO KICK THE YEAR OFF IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

I WILL Wear More Sunscreen

If we can encourage you to do one thing for your skin this year it would be to choose a broad spectrum sunscreen (UVA & UVB) and be diligent in applying it. It’s not enough just to put it on; you must use the proper amount (about the size of an egg for your enitre body) and make sure you’re reapplying it frequently. Save a step by choosing a daily facial moisturizer with SPF built in. We Like Lancôme BienFait Multi-Vital SPF 30

I WILL Take My Vitamins

For your skin that is. Going hand in hand with using a sunscreen, giving your skin vitamins in the form of antioxidants is an essential step in correction damage caused by sun exposure and in delaying the first signs of aging. Antioxidants boost your skins vital radiance, improve skin clarity and make your skin more resistant to wrinkling. We recommend using an antioxidant laden serum and topping it off with your favourite moisturizer (bonus points if the moisturizer has an SPF). We Like Prevage Anti-aging Treatment

I WILL Regularly Exfoliate

The exfoliation process (the natural shedding of dead skin cells) is another step to healthy skin and an important part of any anti-aging skincare routine. As we age, the skin’s natural cellular renewal process slows down, making the skin appear dull and contributing to a rough texture. Help your skin out by using a manual exfoliating scrub once or twice a week (two to three times for an oiler skin type). Choose a fairly gentle scrub over an abrasive scrub. The rougher texture may feel more effective but you may actually be doing more damage than good. We Like Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Refiner

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I WILL NOT Go to Bed With Makeup On

Remember all those nights you came home so tired that you walk right past the bathroom and collapsed into your bed? Well kiss those nights goodbye. We guarantee you won’t turn into a pumpkin if you spend five more minutes in front of the sink. Sleeping with your makeup on is a major contributor to clogged pores and breakouts. Choose a fast-acting cleanser that requires as little effort as possible. We Like Bioderma Sensibio Cleansing Solution (You don’t even have to rinse!) Finally…

I WILL Drink More Water

We know you’ve heard it over and over again, but how many of us are actually getting enough water every day? Drinking water is essential to your overall health as it regulates your bodily fluids and eliminates toxins. The same is true for your skin. Drinking water fights dehydration in your skin, flushes out impurities and contributes to a radiant complexion. This is one resolution you can start today. Right now in fact! P.S. Coffee doesn’t equal water. If you’re a java junkie then you should actually be drinking more than the recommended 8 glasses daily.

Well we’ve given you the guide to a fresher-faced you (not just for this year but down the road), by forming good skincare habits that will last a lifetime. Happy New Year, here’s lookin’ at you!


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T H E FO U R S E A S O N S S P A A P P L I E D M A T HE M A T I C S

USES

BY FIDA CHAABAN

W

e were grateful for our sneak peek invitation to the Four Seasons Spa since they are currently accepting registered hotel guests only, and plan on opening to the public later this year. We usually request that the spa being reviewed present something unique to them. This basically gives our readers an idea of what each spa excels at and what readers should try when given the opportunity. I was told that I would be given the Sodashi Thermal Infusion Facial over a span of an hour and a half (90 minutes). Entering the spa, you are immediately greeted and attended to. Their uniforms are crisply pressed and they speak with carefully chosen words and particular sentences. There is no room for vagueness at the Four Seasons. Everything is calculated from the moment you walk in. I glance at Jason, the photographer who usually accompanies me on spa reviews, and judging by his face I see that he too notices the order. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is Charbel,

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mirrormirror T h e t r ea t m e n t i s b e i n g p e r f o r m e d b y C h a r b e l Wa t f a . He i s a c o n s t a n t s o r t o f p e r s o n a n d a g a i n I a m s t r u c k b y a m a t h c o m p a r i s o n , s o I c o n t i n u e t o t h i n k i n n u m b e r s . he will be performing your treatment,” says the Spa manager. She manages to be efficient without being abrasive. Not an easy combination to achieve. I am shown to the women’s locker room and notice that everything is placed just so. The products in the locker room are all at a thirty degree angle and I’m certain they are strategically positioned. This in itself leaves you feeling as though in the world of the Four Seasons, organization is everything. This is no chaotic place and it is certainly a refreshing change after trekking through Beirut traffic. I begin to examine the mathematical feeling behind everything at the Four Seasons as I am shown to my treatment room. I decide to inject some normalcy by Twittering from my Blackberry that RAGMAG is reviewing the Four Seasons. In less than 5 minutes my Tweet is answered by the Four Seasons Tweeting a welcome note back at me. Even in this they are exact! What is this alternate dimension? I get all Stephen Hawking as I consider space-time

fabric and if there has been a freak fold

in time, transporting me to another city. In Beirut things are not precise. They are not exact. The Four Seasons is. This doesn’t compute. I collapse into the chair offered and sip the oolong tea with energizing mint and lemon and mull over the paradox.

We begin with the Foot Washing Ritual. The copper tub and warm towels reflect engineered positioning, like everything else in the spa. The Bioessentials essential oils imported from Australia used during the ritual are intoxicating, but still I notice their careful placement in the room. The treatment is being performed by Charbel Watfa. He is a constant sort of person and again I am struck by a math comparison, so I continue to think in numbers. This may sound strange to my readers, but when faced with such attention to both movement and technique I can only compare it to a beautifully executed equation. I can compare it to nothing else as Charbel (as knowledgeable as a Professor) logically explains that all the treatments at the Four Seasons begin with the Foot Washing Ritual and use Sodashi products. I recall that my treatment will be 90 minutes. Hmm… in Chinese culture the number 9 is an auspicious (good luck) number and associated with the emperor and the number 0 is associated with nothingness and the inception. The meaning of their exclusive product line

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mirrormirror

Sodashi, according to Charbel, is “Sowholeness, da- purity, shi-radiance,”

in Sanskrit. 90 minutes divided by 3 syllables of Sodashi. 20 minutes per syllable I infer. After the Foot Washing Ritual I am shown to the treatment bed. As I lay down, I deduce that the subtle music equals the nothingness of zero. I search for more patterns as Charbel begins performing figure 8 motions and I’m gratified since the figure 8 doubles as the math symbol for infinity. He continues figure 8-ing throughout the treatment. I ask Charbel to explain the products as he removes my makeup and engages in the different preparation steps. He explains that,

“ So d a s h i i s 1 0 0 % S a n s k r i t . ” E u r e k a , Wh o l e n e s s ( W h o l e ( P u r e M a t h ) a n d R E q u a t io n o r R E Q ) .

“Sodashi is 100% natural. The words are Sanskrit.” Eureka, I see another pattern! Wholeness (Whole Numbers), Pureness (Pure Math) and Radiance (Radiance Equation or REQ). I want to share this with Charbel but I am struggling to collect my thoughts as he applies each new layer in defined motions. The figure 8s are hypnotic and I’m in my element trying to connect the patterns that I know are there. Charbel explains the methodology behind Sodashi as he goes along; it is “based on ancient philosophy and natural healing traditions”. My face feels invigorated and warm as he continues to apply products. Soon my face is completely encased in a claylike mask and I am falling asleep. The

mask in hardening so I am not able to speak very much. The Four Seasons describe this facial as nature’s face lift, no small claim to make. Charbel removes the hard shell, a cast rendition of my face, and I rush to the mirror. I am glowing and have a lively flush as though I’d just finished a yoga session. I find tautness in my cheek area and almost a plush-looking density. Charbel discourages me from touching as the products are meant to penetrate throughout the day. The mathematical precision of the Four Seasons is a force to be reckoned with. From the staff to the treatments, according to my calculations, they leave no margin for error

n a t u r a l . T h e w o r d s a r e I s e e a n o t h e r p a t t e r n ! N u m b e r s ) , P u r e n e s s a d i a n c e ( R ad i a n c e

Numbers of The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Beirut 7 Treatment rooms with a private shower. (6 single + 1 double = 7) 24 x 7 The Gym and Fitness center never close and are stocked with Life Fitness Equipment. 2 Quiet lounges used for both men and women. 4 + 1= 5 Different nurturing massages with Western to Mediterranean influenced treatments + 1 Sodashi Crystalus Massage. 5 Different facials available all using Sodashi products. 2 Eye treatments available using Sodashi products. 12 Hours of spa operation from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm daily.

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Calculate the New You The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Beirut Minet El Hosn, Beirut Tel 01/761000 www.fourseasons.com/beirut Twitter @FSBeirut


THE OUTER LAYER interior design practice & innovative inn architectural material

OLD VS NEW ISSUE 91 6th ďŹ&#x201A;oor Antelias Commercial Centre Beirut Lebanon t: +9614 521442 m: +96170 339555 www.theouterlayer.net info@theouterlayer.net


WHAT’S THE OLD SAYING? “APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS?” WELL WHATEVER BRINGS SPRING OUR WAY WE’RE READY FOR IT! ESPECIALLY AFTER GETTING A GLIMPSE OF THIS YEAR’S SPRING MAKEUP COLLECTIONS. SPRING MAKE-UP THIS YEAR IS ALL ABOUT ROMANCE. ULTRA-FEMININE, SOFT AND PRETTY SHADES GIVE WAY TO BOLD POPS OF BRIGHT COLOUR; JUST IN TIME TO BRUSH OFF THE WINTER BLUES. CHECK OUT RAGMAG’S PREVIEW OF SPRING MAKE-UP TRENDS FROM YOUR FAVORITE DESIGNERS.

BY LESLIE IDDISON

APRIL SHOWERS This look is all about monochromatic shades softly blended around the eyes. Try choosing a palette of soft blues, greys or taupes. Use a medium toned shade from lashes to brow bone and intensify the look by blending a deeper shade in the crease of your eye and along the lashline. When you apply mascara think of well- defined, lengthened feathery lashes. Try a mascara wand with tiny plastic teeth versus a traditional wire brush. This type of brush applies a clean coat of mascara while defining and separating every lash. Lips should be soft, glossy and sheer. Choose a light pink, coral or nude shade and skip your lip liner.

We love Chanel Les 4 Ombres in Lagons 29 Mascara Sublime de Chanel in Deep Black

So whether you’re in the mood for a little spring romance or if you’re getting ready for some summer lovin’ we can guarantee you won’t be disappointed for what awaits you and your makeup bag this year. Be versatile and give both looks a spin!

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mirrormirror

MAY FLOWERS Soft and romantic is good for some but you’re ready to see some colour again! You need a pop and we’ve got just the look for you this year. You’ll love sporting this trend of bright cheeks and luscious lips. Get glowing with a bright punchy blush buffed over the apples of your cheeks and pucker up with a hot fuchsia or wild orange on your lips. Go easy on the eyes with some clean eyeliner and mascara and let your lips do the talking. This look is fun and flirty.

If you’re worried about your lips looking overdone, apply your favourite vibrant shade and blot a layer off with a tissue, leaving you with a sheer wash of an intense shade.

We Can’t Wait For Guerlain Blush G Serie Noire Rouge G de Guerlain Serie Noire Lipstick in Fuchsia Delice Rouge G de Guerlain Serie Noire Lipstick Orange Euphoric Guerlain Ecrin 6 Couleurs Eyeshadow in Rue De Rivoli

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new + now

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN TRUNK SHOW IN BEIRUT

France Contact organized a Trunk Show at Alexander McQueen Boutique in Downtown Beirut on the 24th of November, 2010. Inspired by the Byzantine Art, some of the most distinguished dresses from the Autumn/Winter 2010-2011 main collection were displayed during the event. Inspirations from the carvings of Grinling Gibbons, and Old Master paintings, works by Jean Fouquet, Sandro Botticelli, Stephan Lochner, Hans Memling, Hugo van der Goes, Jean Hey and Heironymus Bosch are also part of the collection. Entire art works and/or details are captured digitally, woven into jacquards or embroidered and engineered to fit individual garments. The illusion of two pieces is achieved by the draping and folding of single garments designed to discreetly reveal delicate gold and silver bullion embroideries on sleeves. Shoes are crafted in crocodile skin with hand-carved gilded and wood soles and heels featuring tangled ivy, acorns and broken skulls. Jewel-encrusted and embroidered with hand-carved angel sculpted heels. All the patterns in this collection were cut on the stand by Lee Alexander McQueen.

FAÇONNABLE KEEPS IT UPDATED Façonnable unveiled its new Fall/Winter 2010 collection to the Lebanese market. This season the collection refocuses on its roots, genuine elegance and craftsmanship, giving to its clothes a style inspired by the French Riviera; where crossed themselves painters, writers and artists motivated by the lights and the colors of the Mediterranean. The collection includes not only men and women’s wear but also accessories for both. General Manager of Joseph Eid & Company - Façonnable Franchisee in Lebanon, Antoine Eid said, “Harmony of shapes, perfect color combinations and that undisputed touch of Façonnable creativity, all combine and enhance the style of this new collection.” The new season is available in all Façonnable boutiques and multi-brand stores.

OMAN AIR FLIES HIGH! Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, was awarded the ‘Technology Implementation of the Year’ category at the 4th Annual Aviation Business Awards 2010. The award recognised Oman Air’s pioneering introduction of in-flight mobile phone and Wi-Fi connectivity, which utilises the Airbus ALNA V2 system and Honeywell’s SwiftBroadband (SBB) solution, via OnAir and Inmarsat. Oman Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Peter Hill, said. “The introduction of this cutting-edge technology offers passengers the convenience of connecting to the Internet and any one of a range of hand-held devices from the comfort of their seat. With the ability to make phone calls, send text messages, use instant messaging, check emails, surf the web or update social media, passengers onboard Oman Air’s A330 flights need never be out of touch with the world, even as they fly.”

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MARTINI GOLD GETS OUT + ABOUT

MARTINI Gold by Dolce & Gabbana was launched at ROSÉ Gemayzeh on December 16, 2010. The guests were treated to dinner paired with MARTINI Gold drinks. Guests were elegantly dressed in black with touches of gold to match the theme of the evening. Designed by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the packaging and the MARTINI Gold bottle are the epitome of luxury. The black box is striking for the exclusive presence of the gold Dolce & Gabbana metal plaque which appears together with the famous MARTINI logo. It encases a modern design bottle made of gold satin glass with contrasting black text. MARTINI Gold is a mix of exotic and unusual flavours that combines seductive spices and Mediterranean aromas, creating contrasts and a unique taste – on the rocks or as a cocktail. The campaign features Monica Bellucci, the Italian actress and global symbol of beauty, and is directed by renowned music video director Jonas Åkerlund.

RODEO DRIVE

NOW IN BEIRUT SOUKS! Luxury Clothing Company SAL (LCC) is pleased to announce the opening of its third RODEO DRIVE boutique in Beirut. The unisex Flagship store offers an impressive selection of luxury ready-to-wear and accessories from the most exclusive fashion houses in the world. Catering to both men and women, the new RODEO DRIVE boutique offers a carefully chosen variety of iconic designs from Europe’s most well-established fashion houses such as ARMANI, VERSACE, BRIONI, GIVENCHY, LOEWE, LORO PIANA, KITON, STEFANO RICCI, TESTONI and ARTIOLI. Rodeo Drive’s staff include numerous proficient brand ambassadors that are ready to share their expertise and offer clients meticulous styling care. In store personalized services include rapid in-store tailoring, home delivery, and private home viewings of the collections.

YOUR MIRROR MIRROR LOVES

PEARLY WHITES

Smile Express is using a White Science cosmetic whitening product branded as “SpaWhite” throughout spas and “Artiste” a professional dental grade product in dental clinics. Both products have been scientifically formulated to achieve visible whitening results in as little as 15 minutes. They remove surface stains from teeth using a patented foam suspension peroxide delivery system and Daylight 5K light. Developed to combat the effects of acidic and strongly pigmented food, drink and tobacco, as well as normal aging – all of which cause discolouration. Available at select high quality locations.

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OLDIES BUT GOODIES

RAGMAG KNOWS NOT EVERYTHING NEW IS BETTER. CHECK OUT OUR HIT LIST OF SOME OF THE OLDEST AND STILL STANDING (WE HOPE FOREVER) COMPANIES!

STETSON Hats

“Stetson, it’s not just a hat, it’s the hat.” Beginning is 1865 with $100; John B. Stetson was able to rent a small room, buy tools and $10 worth of fur thus creating the John B. Stetson Hat Company. 146 years later, the Stetson hat factory is in Garland, Texas and produces hundreds of different styles and colors, and is still one of the largest in the United States.

MOLESKINE Daytimers

Used by great minds such as Van Gogh, Picasso, and Ernest Hemingway, Moleskine is still the staple of thinkers across the globe. From diaries to address books, Moleskine’s original manufacturer closed in 1986, only to be reopened in 1998. One of their cooler ideas: Partnering with Swedish vodka maker Absolut to create an art exhibition in Beijing featuring artist’s versions of their notebooks in an array of shipping containers scattered through the city.

SMYTHSON OF BOND STREET Stationary Frank Smythson opened his first shop on September 29, 1887 in London, England and holds a Royal Warrant. His address was 133 New Bond Street, and the present day flagship store stands directly across from the original location. Clients have included Queen Victoria, Winston Churchill, Jackie Onassis, Madonna, and Grace Kelly. RAGMAG still checks for the Smythson watermark on every letter we get. 96 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011


LEFT: EMPRESS SISSI OF AUSTRIA-HUNGARY

YARDLEY London soap For over 230 years Yardley soaps have been household staples. Beginning in London in 1770, lavender was the herb du jour used to scent their exclusive range of luxury soaps. English Lavender of Yardley London has become established as the international signature fragrance of Yardley closely followed by Lily of the Valley. Often mentioned in association with Twiggy (largely considered the world’s first supermodel), Yardley also has 6 Royal Warrants.

CREED Fragrance Founded in 1760, the House of Creed was created when James Henry Creed opened his first shop in London, soon after Queen Victoria appointed Creed as an official supplier to the royal household. Other courts of Europe that quickly adopted Creed include Napoléon III and Empress Eugénie of France, Emperor Franz-Joseph and Empress Sissi of Austria-Hungary and Queen Christina of Spain. Less than one hundred years later, the House of Creed relocated to Paris. Over 200 fragrances have been created to date by the House of Creed and are still worn by everyone from celebrities to royalty.

GODDARD’s polish Joseph Goddard developed his legendary silver polish in the 1830’s. Soon after, his furniture polish climbed with the popularity of Chippendale furniture and was awarded a Royal Warrant. 170 years of treating the world’s silver and fine wood is worth remembering. RAGMAG uses it on everything from Tiffany to 925 stamped silverware for the best shine possible. OLD VS NEW ISSUE

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Luisa BY YOUMNA CHAGOURY

B

anks Street, Downtown Beirut, Lebanon. This is Luisa Cerano’s newest address. With a fifth avenue-like opening bash, featuring champagne galore, canapés and lounge music, the German brand launched its new Middle Eastern boutique and presented the 2010 Autumn/Winter collection. The winter collection makes no exception to the brand’s identity: it’s classic and classy, with a very distinct style. At a time when tweed, fur and printed fabrics are thought to be out of fashion, Luisa Cerano puts them back on center stage. This season’s novelty lies in the casual yet feminine pieces of the winter collection: rolled up jeans, large blouses, slim trousers, seaman’s jerseys with a printed Luisa Cerano touch. Her simple beige shirts and pullovers are easily incorporated into any wardrobe. The new boutique offers an eclectic collection that goes from the basic black dress, to the studded printed

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sweater and the controversial real rabbit fur vest. The sequined tops and androgynous vests, the black leggings and the leather blazer give a glamorous rock style, while the tweed straight skirts and cardigans, combined with the slightly flowing blouses create a perfect Coco look. The marine line, made of long stripped sweaters, slim trousers and embroidered cardigans, mixes the cashmere luxury with the informal dressing. For a femme fatale look, velvet and warm tones accompany the signature item of this sub-line: the red dress. With its knee length and drape, the only flashy piece of the whole collection is a must-have this winter. As for fur coats, cardigans and vests, they are designed as the key pieces of the collection, to be worn with almost everything. Of different lengths and colors, they adapt to both a casual and a formal wardrobe. So what are you waiting for? Get your own Mix ‘N Match all in one place!


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emperor’s new clothes

NEW GET ORGANIZED FOR THE NEW YEAR BY YOUMNA CHAGOURY

Clutter

a. A confused or disordered state b. A disordered heap or mass of objects Do these definitions ring a bell? Decluttering may seem overwhelming, but it takes just takes a little organization and a few simple steps to get rid of unnecessary items and make room for the season’s latest must-haves

Everything in its own time Don’t plan on de-cluttering your closet Saturday at 5pm when you know you have a date on 8. Sorting needs time and focus. Choose a day you don’t feel like going out, and start in the morning. If you don’t want to miss out on friend time, invite them over to help you: the more the merrier.

The keep box

Ask yourself if you NEED this item, not if you WANT it. All the clothes you’ve worn at least once in the last 6 months and items in good condition go there. The sweater your last boyfriend gave you doesn’t: there’s your closure. The sell/donate box

Chaos before order

If you wonder where and when you bought this dress or if you haven’t worn it in a year, it goes in this pile. If those jeans haven’t fit you in 10 years, you know what to do with them. (Yes, we know you kept them for when you lose weight, but just reward yourself with a new pair.) You can sell your old high-end clothes on eBay and donate the rest to charity. One woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure. Remember that charity is not a place for garbage: if an item is very old and torn, throw it away.

Take literally everything out of the closet. You will be surprised by all the stuff you’re going to find: letters, toothpicks (true story), Game Boy games, torn shirts… all those things you weren’t supposed to put there in the first place. Place everything on your bed, and keep the hangers in the closet.

Now that you’ve de-cluttered your closet, keep it that way. Try and get rid of one item every time you buy two new ones. It may seem like a drastic measure, but it’s the only way to keep your closets clutter-free.

Slowly but Surely Start with the smallest closet in the room, or the one you know has the fewest items in it. It will avoid the what-am-I-thinking-I-can’t-do-it scenario and give you a feeling of accomplishment.

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Take the clothes one by one and put them in labeled boxes or baskets.


THERE ARE A FEW BASIC ITEMS YOU CAN’T GET RID OF WHILE DECLUTTERING YOUR CLOSETS. IF YOU DON’T HAVE THEM, FACE IT: YOUR WARDROBE IS MISSING SOMETHING. BUY THESE ITEMS THAT CAN BE WORN ALL 4 REASONS AND DRESSED UP OR DOWN.

KAREN MILLEN BLACK EVENING DRESS

THE BLACK DRESS

THE STRAIGHT CUT BLUE JEANS

Fashion brought us skinny and bellbottom, black, colored or faded jeans, but the one that will never go out of style is the one that fits any body shape: the straight-cut blue jeans. BUY IT DIESEL 140 Al Moutran Street, Beirut or at any Aïshti location. They’re expensive, but great things come at great prices.

The black dress is the staple item of the prefect wardrobe. Pick a simple classic style and customize it differently for each occasion with accessories. You can wear it for years: no one will ever notice. BUY IT The black evening dress KAREN MILLEN at ABC Dbayeh. The black casual dress CAROLL at ABC Dbayeh.

DIESEL STRAIGHT CUT BLUE JEANS

FENDI LEATHER LOGO CLUTCH

THE ALL-PURPOSE CLUTCH

It’s the one you can wear with both casual and formal clothes. You need one in a neutral color, with no designs or extra detail. BUY IT LITTLE BLACK DRESS at Abdel Aziz Street, Hamra, Beirut (They sell Lebanese designer Sandra J’s creations.). OUR PICKS The BLACK CROCO and the OFF-WHITE ELECTRICA SQUARED.

THE STILETTO PUMP

Choose the pair that goes with everything you have in your closet. They should be simple, flattering and comfortable enough for you to wear for hours. BUY IT NINE WEST at Citymall Dora. OUR PICKS The DOLLED BOUTIQUE 9 and the SYMSONE pumps.

NINE WEST ROCHA STILETTO PUMP

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VIVIENNE WESTWOOD FW 2010

COPY CAT! Mix N’ Match Real Runway RAGMAG SHOWS YOU HOW TO REPLICATE THAT RUNWAY TREND! SEE OUR TAKES ON HOW TO MAKE THE READY TO WEAR, ACTUALLY WEARABLE.

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STYLED BY STEPHANIE AOUN


emperorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new clothes

FLASHY graphic

PATTERNS

VERSACE RESORT 2011

Garden Party This Alexander McQueen replica by Belle Sauvage was spotted at Birdcage retailing at 727.000 LBP

Golden Girl

Skip the classic clutch and go for this round gold one by Mojo, Birdcage, 330.000 LBP

You Gather

Stand out from the crowd in this Lisa Jayne dress available at 768.000 LBP at Birdcage

Stained Glass Belle Sauvage, Birdcage, 504.000 LBP

Cut it Out

This chunky gold cuff adds character to every outfit. Borbonese, Taten, 327.000 LBP

Sway Me

Top it all off with these Nina Ricci platform heels available at Taten at 1.836.000LL

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emperor’s new clothes

Alexander Mcqueen Cracked Leather Skull Bracelet

Skirt Chaser

Dress Gallery skirt available at Cream at 453.000 LBP

The White T

Diesel jersey detailed print sequins t-shirt

SECOND

SKIN

Glove Life

For a small leather touch without going over the top, go for these Chantal leather gloves, Cream, 165.000 LBP

Zip it Up

This leather dress with a futuristic flair is a stunning piece by Belle Sauvage available at Birdcage for 1.148.000 LBP

Skull bag, Cream, 231.000 LBP

Leather harem pants by Jessica, Birdcage, 356.000 LBP

Must Have GUESS WOMEN’S CARRIE STILETTO PUMP $89.95

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BALMAIN SS 2011

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HEAD CASE

Headpieces have been everywhere these last few seasons. Nicole Najjar, Cream, 125.000 LBP

Zeina Tahan, Birdcage, 66.000 LBP

NARCISO RODRIGUEZ PRE-FALL 2011

parisienne

CHIC

Turn of the Century

In the Neck of Time

Look for detailing in coats like this one by Lisa Jayne available at Cream for 915.000 LBP

Add the final French touche to your outfit with these two birdcage and Carousel necklaces, Birdcage, 72.000 LBP

MCQUEEN SS 2011

Two Tone

The combination here between chiffon and silk makes this shirt very versatile and an easy shift from a day shirt to a party one. Malene, Taten, 446.000 LBP

Cuff My Life

For an elegant touch to add to your outfit go for this Kara Ross crocodile bracelet, available at Taten at 469.500 LBP

AW Gucci ‘1973’ black leather tote.

Ruffles Away This Céci Tokyo short ruffled dress has Vive la France written all over it. Birdcage, 564.000 LBP

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Smooth lines in shades of neutral are best. Vero Cuioio , Taten, 782.500 LBP


MARC JACOBS F/W 2011

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KIDS ON THE BLOCK BY STEPHANIE AOUN

LARA CATHERINA STONE

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“IF I COULD HAVE THE DISCIPLINE TO BE SUPERSKINNY, I WOULD BE. I THINK OF DIETING, THEN I EAT PIZZA. I’M A WOMAN, AND EVERY WOMAN WANTS TO BE SKINNIER — UNFORTUNATELY.” Born to a Dutch mother and an English father in the town of Geldrop, the Netherlands, Stone grew up in Mierlo. She was first approached by an agent in the Paris Metro, at age 13 and entered the Elite Model Look contest in 1999, as a 15-year-old. Although she didn’t win, she impressed Elite executives and was signed to the Elite Modeling Agency. After years of working as a struggling model, her career took a positive turn when she was signed by IMG in 2006, and she became the primary choice for editorial campaigns. TRADEMARK

The gap between her front teeth and her wobbly runway walk, which can be attributed to her size 7 feet, smaller than the regular runway shoe which are size 8-10.

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OPPOSITE PAGE, SMALL PHOTOGRAPH: LARA STONE BY HEIDI SLIMANE, VOGUE FRANCE, FEB. 2009. COURTESY OF VOGUE FR. THIS PAGE, COLOURED PHOTOGRAPHS, TOP TO BOTTOM: FREJA BY CASS BIRD, DOSSIER ISSUE 6, COURTESY OF DOSSIER MAG. FREJA BY JOSH OLINS, VOGUE UK, AUGUST 2010. COURTESY OF VOGUE UK.

FREJA BEHA ERICHSEN

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‘IF I HAD TO LIVE MY LIFE AGAIN, I’D MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES, ONLY SOONER.’ Born in Denmark, she was discovered on the streets of her native country by a modeling agent passing by in a taxi. She has walked countless fashion shows and has done numerous editorials. She has also appeared in advertising campaigns for Chanel, Gucci, H&M, Balenciaga, Chloé amongst many others and has a number of designer products named after her. Freja has 16 tattoos, even more than Abbey Lee Kershaw. Rumor has it that she made a deal with her agent that she could have as many tattoos as she wanted as long as she didn’t cut her hair. However, she did cut her hair back in 2007, after making it big in the fashion industry. TRADEMARK

Androgynous look, hair and tattoos.

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IRINA LAZAREANU BY PAUL SCHMIDT, JALOUSE NOVEMBER 2010. COURTESY OF JALOUSE MAG.

KIDS ON THE BLOCK “THE MASCULINE/ FEMININE LOOK FASCINATES ME. IT IS NOT ONLY AN ISSUE OF EMPOWERING WOMEN, BUT I THINK THE SHAPES LOOK GREAT.”

IRINA LAZAREANU

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Born in Romania, Lazareanu moved at the age of 5 together with her Romanian parents to Canada. At the age of 17, she signed a contract with Giovanni modeling, hoping that her modeling would help her pay her rent. From then on, Lazareanu did rounds of the runway occasionally in Barcelona, Madrid, Australia and London and Paris. The dark beauty later got her long awaited break when Kate Moss chose her to model for Vogue Paris. Since then, she has become quite popular in the fashion scene. Irina is also a musician and a writer, she co-wrote “La Belle et la Bete” with Pete Doherty on the Babyshambles album. TRADEMARK

Her hair and her style.

ABBEY LEE KERSHAW

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“LET’S JUST SAY, IF I WEREN’T A MODEL, I’D BE A WALKING COLLAGE. I SEE MY BODY AS A BLANK CANVAS THAT’S ACHING TO BE DECORATED; I FIND IT ALL VERY FASCINATING. ” Born in Melbourne, Australia, her career as a model began when she won the ‘Girlfriend’s 2004 Model Search’ competition. Since the contest the Aussie beauty has risen through the ranks to become one of the most coveted faces in fashion. She later appeared in advertisements for brands such as Gucci, D&G, H&M and CK Jeans. Additionally, she has graced magazine covers like ‘Nylon’ and ‘Vogue’ and has been photographed by Steven Meisel, Mario Testino and Nick Knight. TRADEMARK

Nose ring and eight tattoos. RIGHT: ABBEY LEE KERSHAW BY GREG KADEL, COURTESY OF MUSE MAGAZINE #20. COURTESY OF MUSE MAG.

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FRIDA GUSTAVSSON, LEFT TO RIGHT: PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOEL RHODIN. PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREAS SJODIN, ELLE SWEDEN, OCTOBER 2010. COURTESY OF ELLE MAG.

“MY PRIVATE MAKE UP STYLE DOESN’T REALLY EXIST, I ALMOST NEVER WEAR MAKE UP IN PRIVATE SINCE I’M BOTH SUPER BAD AT IT AND EXTREMELY UNINTERESTED IN IT.”

FRIDA GUSTAVSSON

17

Born in Sweden, she was discovered while shopping in her hometown of Stockholm by Sabina Tabakovic, a photographer who also works as a modelscout. Sabina immediately saw the potential in Frida and took photos of her. Gustavsson began modeling locally in 2008 and made her way to Japan. Her career took a positive turn when she was signed by IMG in 2009. Soon after, she opened the Fall Valentino haute couture show in Paris. Since then she has walked shows for Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Lanvin, Carolina Herrera, Fendi, Christian Dior, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and many others. TRADEMARK

Her height of 185cm.

“BY THE FIFTH SHOW OF THE DAY MY SKIN STARTS TO BURN A LITTLE, BECAUSE I’M CONSTANTLY WIPING OFF THE MAKEUP FROM THE PREVIOUS SHOW”.

JACQUELYN JABLONSKI

18

Born in New Jersey, Jablonski first started thinking about modeling in high school when a scout approached her at the café where she worked. Her mother brought her to New York City to submit pictures to modeling agencies. Ford quickly offered the 15-year-old a contract. That September Jacquelyn debuted at the Spring 2008 Brian Reyes show. After skipping a few seasons to focus on school, Jacquelyn came back full force in 2009. After landing the coveted Calvin Klein Jeans campaign, Jacquelyn had a breakout season and walked for virtually every major designer in New York, Milan and Paris, including Thakoon, Prada, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Lanvin and Yves Saint Laurent TRADEMARK

Baby blue eyes. LEFT: JABLONSKI BY GLEN LUCHFORD, ANOTHER MAGAZINE, F/W 2010. COURTESY OF ANOTHER MAGAZINE.

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BY STEPHANIE AOUN

NAOMI CAMPBELL

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At age 15 and while still a student at the Italia Conti Academy, Campbell was spotted by Beth Boldt, a former Ford model and head of the Synchro model agency, while windowshopping in Covent Garden, and signed her to the Elite model agency. Within months, Campbell was on the cover of Elle magazine. She made history in 1988 when she became the first black woman to grace the cover of the French edition of Vogue magazine after the late French fashion designer Yves SaintLaurent threatened to break all ties with the publication if Campbell was not put on the cover. Her reputation as a prima donna was enhanced over the years when a string of personal assistants accused her of abusive behavior. TRADEMARK Her catwalk and her bad temper.

RIGHT: NAOMI CAMPBELL + LINDA EVANGELISTA IN THE DSQUARED2 AD CAMPAIGN, SS 2009.

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CYNTHIA ANN CRAWFORD Crawford was discovered at the age of 16 by a newspaper photographer who met her during her summer job and took a picture of her. The photo and positive feedback Cindy Crawford received were enough to convince her to take up modeling. After working for photographer Victor Skrebneski in Chicago, Crawford moved to Manhattan and was signed with the Elite New York modeling agency. During the 1980s until 1990s, she was among the most popular supermodels, and was on almost every single major magazine cover, runways, and in fashion campaigns including those for Gianni Versace, Escada, the face of Revlon, and countless others. TRADEMARK Mole just above her lip. RIGHT: CRAWFORD FOR TSUMâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;S AD CAMPAIGN.

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CHRISTY TURLINGTON

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Christy was only 13 when she was discovered while horseback riding by photographer Dennie Cody who sent her photos to a local model agency. She signed with a small San Francisco agency and did small assignments during school holidays. She later signed with the Ford agency but decided to finish her education (at Monte Vista High School in Danville, CA) before taking up modeling full-time at age 18. Due to her perfect proportions, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art had 120 mannequins modeled after her in 1993. They also gave her the title ‘Face of the 20th Century’. TRADEMARK All American smile.

ABOVE: CHRISTY TURLINGTON IN LOUIS VUITTON’S LATEST AD CAMPAIGN.

CLAUDIA SCHIFFER

40 BELOW: CLAUDIA SCHIFFER IN CHANEL’S SS 2010 AD CAMPAIGN.

Claudia was 17 years old when she was discovered by Michel Levaton of the Metropolitan agency in a Düsseldorf nightclub where she was celebrating a friend’s birthday. Until then, she had always intended to become a lawyer like her father. Six months later, after graduating from high school, the statuesque 5ft 11 blonde, who had always considered herself too tall and too thin, made her first appearance on the cover of Elle magazine. High profile jobs with Guess Jeans and Chanel followed, with a series of long-term contracts with Revlon helping to make her one of the highest-paid models in the world, having appeared on over 500 magazine covers. TRADEMARK Resemblance to Brigitte Bardot. OLD VS NEW ISSUE

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LINDA EVANGELISTA

45

By the age of 12, Linda already knew that modeling was what she wanted. She had joined a Toronto model agency, working during school holidays. She was discovered by an Elite scout at the Miss Niagara Teen contest when she was 16 years old and signed with Elite New York, later moving to Paris to progress her career. In the late 80s she chopped off all her hair into a pageboy style haircut and was promptly cancelled from all the important runway shows that season. This was the first of her many dramatic hairstyle changes, and she revolutionized the industry. Models just didn’t have short hair until Linda Evangelista did. Within months, she appeared on magazine covers everywhere, and women all over the world copied her hairstyle. TRADEMARK(S Chameleon appeal.

BELOW: “THE BODY” IN THE MAKE MINE MILK AD, SEPT. 2010

Six-foot tall with long, honey-brown hair and legs that go on into next week, Elle Macpherson is not called ‘The Body’ for nothing. She turns heads wherever she goes. She was 16 years old when she was discovered, and modeled part-time until she moved to New York after dropping out of a law degree at university. Elle was the cover girl for the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated three years in a row, and her magazine namesake was so taken with her statuesque beauty that she was featured in its pages every month for a record breaking six years. In 2010, she became the host and executive producer of Britain’s Next Top Model TRADEMARK Body. 114 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011

ABOVE: LINDA EVANGELISTA FOR TALBOTS LATEST AD CAMPAIGN.

ELLE MACPHERSON

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RIAD TAHAN ET FILS Joailliers

Kaslik, Rue Principale - Tel: 09 639034 | Tripoli, Rue El Mina - Tel: 06 440379 | Tripoli, Rue El Tell - Tel: 06 629040

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+ PHOTOGRAPHY BY ODETTE KAHWAGI + CHRISTIAN HARB STYLIST JONY MATTA ASSISTANT PHOTOGRAPHER ALEXANDRA KAHWAGI MAKEUP ARTIST CHRISTIAN ABOU HAYDAR HAIR BY SALON ROGER GABRIEL SET DESIGN BY SANDRA + SASHA DIA FURNITURE GALLERIE MELKI

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out +about

SEE IN A NEW LIGHT

RAGMAG got out + about with Le Cercle at November 29 opening of B + B Italia Design Week. Not only were we treated to a veritable gallery of the

Le Cercle Illuminates Interiors

PHOTOGRAPHY JASON ZAMORA

RAGMAG wants to be out + about with you.

Tell RAGMAG what’s up in Lebanon. We want to hear new sounds and see new places. You know of a cool place for us to try or a show we should see? Your band, bar or event could be covered next. We just might drop in. Send us an email with the event description, location, and contact information to

outandabout@ragmaglive.com 134 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011

best and brightest in bespoke furnishings, we also enjoyed the gallery vibe of the whole event! Held at Le Cercle’s flagship location in the An Nahar Building Downtown, the launch of B + B Italia Design Week called together the best and brightest of interiors both from Lebanon and abroad. Le Cercle had initiated an active billboard campaign prior to the event with the question: What happens when furniture sleeps with art? What happens is everything Le Cerle. Their ergonomic design sensibility and art quality lines were only the beginning. RAGMAG was mesmerized by the light fixtures on display. From cocktails to canapés, RAGMAG enjoyed living it up, Le Cercle style.


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CHANGING PROCESS OF

DEDUCTION NEW VS OLD WHODUNITS? BY J.E.N.

I

“ t seemed to me that a careful examination of the room and the lawn might possibly reveal some traces of this mysterious individual. You know my methods, Watson.” While “elementary” inductive reasoning was the main way Sherlock Holmes uncovered crimes, these old schools methods have significantly changed over the years with the rise of forensics. Modern forensics started in the late 19th century but were rather basic in comparison to today. Fingerprinting, genetic profiling (DNA), graphology, blood typing, hair and fibre analysis, odontology (study of teeth), toxicology and chemistry are all part of forensics. Alphonse Bertillion, in the 1870s came up the idea that every person has distinct physical traits. And this eventually inspired William Herschel to

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use fingerprints instead of signatures and Sir Francis Galton to classifying fingerprints. This was the start of forensics. Now hair analysis can reveal if poison was used, and powerful microscopes can determine the person’s race, the location of the hair on the body and whether hair was pulled out or fell out naturally. Microscopic examination of fibers can unveil clues about the crime scene itself but the analytical methods are restricted by the sample size and suitability, laboratory equipment, and analyst talent. And the issue of variables plays a role in the accuracy of the results. Today, blood is a core starting point for forensic investigation for assaults and murders. Blood testing is done based on Karl Landsteiner’s classification of four types: A, B, AB, and O. But on a

more complex level, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) can unlock many mysteries. To date, DNA “fingerprinting” is the most effective forensic test. DNA can be extracted from body fluids (such as blood and semen), hair, and skin cells. DNA is an intricate structure of chromosomes combined in two strands of genetic material that spiral around each other (double helix). Every strand has adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine in a particular pattern, making everyone’s DNA unique. And because there are millions of base pairs on the helix, scientists only focus on a few DNA sequences known to differ among people. Statistics analysis is then used to make the match. DNA testing has the power to remove “the shadow of doubt” more than anything else. But only to a certain


the final frontier

extent. Why? Because DNA profiling is still problematic due to certain drawbacks. The frequency distributions of genetic patterns among ethnic groups arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t well known yet, there are technical issues when only a small sample is available (there might not enough sample left for further testing) and the laboratory techniques that determine the DNA fingerprint are controversial. And yet, DNA identification can be quite effective if used intelligently. There are several methods for analyzing DNA. Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) was one of the first techniques developed and analyzes the variable lengths of DNA fragments that result from digesting a DNA sample with a special kind of enzyme. This enzyme cuts DNA at a specific sequence pattern and the absence or presence of certain recognition sites in the DNA sample generates variable lengths of DNA fragments. These fragments are then separated and hybridized with DNA probes that bind

to a complementary DNA sequence in the sample. Because more accurate methods exist now, a sample the size of a coin is needed and environmental factors like dirt and mold may affect the results, RFLP isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t as commonplace as it used to be. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) makes millions of exact copies of DNA from the sample. This means that even tiny quantities of DNA can yield results and highly degraded samples can be analyzed. The downside is that contamination with other biological materials has to be avoided. Short tandem repeat (STR) evaluates specific regions within nuclear DNA to distinguish one DNA profile from another. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uses a standard set of 13 specific STR regions for CODIS, a software program that operates local, state, and national databases with DNA profiles of convicted offenders, unsolved crime scene evidence, and missing persons. The chance that two people have the same DNA profile, based on this method, is astronomical:

about one in a billion. Mitochondrial DNA analysis (mtDNA) examines DNA from older samples that cannot be analyzed by RFLP or STR and uses DNA extracted from the mitochondrion, not the nucleus. This makes mtDNA ideal for cases that have been unsolved for years. Y-Chromosome Analysis is useful for tracing family relationships among men. Thanks to these methods, there have been 261 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the USA. The first was in 1989 and since 2000 alone 194 exonerations have been won. 17 of the 261 people exonerated through DNA were on death row, thus this forensics technique literally saved their lives. Not only that, but the true suspects and/or perpetrators were identified in 116 of these DNA exoneration cases. Since 1989, DNA testing prior to conviction has proved tens of thousands of suspects to be wrongfully accused, translating into over 25% of cases. The new key to life is the new key to justice

TINY QUANTITIES OF DNA CAN YIELD RESULTS AND HIGHLY DEGRADED SAMPLES CAN BE ANALYZED.

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the final frontier

THE OLD STORY OF BOOKS HAS A NEW CHAPTER BY J.E.N.

GOOD OLD BOOKS. THEIR WORDS AND PAGES HAVE BEEN ENTERTAINING AND ENLIGHTENING US FOR CENTURIES. BUT WITH THE ADVENT OF NEW TECHNOLOGY MANY FEAR THE REIGN OF BOOKS IS DRAWING TO AN END. OR IS IT? WELCOME TO THE NEW ERA OF BOOKS (WITH A TECHNOLOGICAL TWIST). RAGMAG EXPLORES THE THEN AND NOW OF BOOKS.

E

ver since writing systems (i.e. alphabets and logograms) were developed, mankind has been developing ways to record literature and knowledge. Since dragging around huge rocks or heavy wooden blocks with carvings wasn’t exactly practical, nifty portable collections of writing and drawing were developed: books. In ancient Egypt and Greece, books were in the form of papyrus scrolls, with long content divided onto several scrolls because having seemingly endless scrolls wasn’t easy to roll up or read! The Romans called these “volumen”. Other ancient cultures also had books, like those in India from the 5th century BC made of leaves or bark tied together, or like the strips of wood, bamboo or silk tied together in China from the 2nd century. Other cultures used animal skins to create parchment and vellum books. The Greeks then invented writing tablets made of wax layered wooden boards. These could be used many

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times and parchment sheets could be sandwiched between the wooden boards, which ultimately lead to the creation of the codex: parchment sheets sewn together inside hard covers. The Romans loved the codex as did the medieval world, eventually replacing the parchment pages with paper. Up until the 15th century, books in Europe were painstakingly handcopied, making them treasured items for the elite. And wood-block printing was slow and not highly widespread. Fast and effective “movable type” inventions (using movable letters and symbols) first appeared in China in the 11th century (made of clay) and in Korea in the 15th century (made of bronze). These inspired Europeans, with their rising universities and thirst for knowledge, to create their own printing presses. One of the first and most famous books printed was the Gutenberg Bible in 1456. With the advent of the printing age, hardback books exploded onto the mainstream, reaching out to more people than ever before and switching from Latin to local languages. Books became central to entertainment, which led to the creation of the first proper novels in the 18th century. The industrial revolution, brimming with technological advances, made books more affordable, thus further increasing popularity. And the 1950s saw the

rise of paperback books and photocomposition technology, making books even more accessible for everyone, including developing countries. In the late 20th century, the electronic age paved the way for paperless, printless and coverless books. CD-ROMs with encyclopedias and dictionaries popped up in the late 1980s and suddenly searching for an entry was easier and shelf-space was no longer an issue. Encyclopedias also went on-line with timely updates. Electronic books (e-books) became available for download in the 1990s. E-books can be read on a personal computer or PDA (personal data/digital assistant), and hand-held portable book-readers. Today popular e-book readers include Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad can double as an e-book reader. Sony and other firms have jumped on the e-book reader bandwagon and prices for an e-book range between $100$500. Many websites sell e-books and the Gutenberg Project offers over 100,000 free classic e-books. Countless e-books come with audio, they’re easy to “bookmark” and thousands can be stored on a reader or your PC. Some people still prefer reading print books, but e-books are quickly gaining market share and are even presenting themselves as cost-effective textbooks options for students. This is the new chapter. What will be the next?


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CHECK BY BRYAN BORZYKOWSKI

BLACK EYED PEAS The Beginning

What can you say about the Black Eyed Peas these days? Some people continue to lament the Fergie-era — before she was around the band were actually pretty good — but the group are so far away from their pre-platinum record days that it’s no use wishing things would go back to the way they were. On the band’s latest they continue doing what they do best — write songs filled with hooks, designed to get in clubs and on the radio. They’re hit making ability is admirable, even if you can’t stand their obnoxious 2009 single I Gotta Feeling. Their latest album starts off liberally sampling Dirty Dancing’s I’ve Had The Time of My Life, which is eye-rolling in itself, but the weird electro and autotune actually make this track hard to listen to. It’s not one of their better moments, but then again, they haven’t had a good moment in a long time. If you haven’t figured it out, I can’t stand the Black Eyed Peas. Every song on this record is more annoying than the next, but I’m willing to accept that a lot of people like this band for their upbeat dance hits. I’d rather be water boarded than listen to Love You Long Time’s grating chorus, but it’s one of those tracks you know will be played endlessly in malls and bars until the world explodes.

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Someday would fit that description too. There’s just the right amount of auto-tune on the chorus to make this a big hit, while the driving bass and drums are the perfect ass-shaking combination. But there’s something about this band that makes me want to hit skip tracks after about one minute. It might be the constant repetition; the heartfelt messages or


see, speak, + hear no evil

maybe it’s the random words thrown into their songs. Whatever it is, I can’t in good conscience give this disc more than two stars. Sure, millions will buy it, more will dance to it, but the band sound like they’re phoning it. Well, they’ve been phoning it in for a while, but this one really feels like they

showed up to the studio for one day, sang their parts and left out separate doors. There’s nothing challenging or interesting. There’s a solid beat and some infectious lines, and while that’s fine for most, it is a shame they can get away with releasing something this banal.

KERI HILSON

I’D RATHER BE WATER BOARDED THAN LISTEN TO LOVE YOU LONG TIME’S GRATING CHORUS

DIDDY

Last Train To Paris

No Boys Allowed

It’s easy to forget that P.Diddy still releases music. But the one-time tabloid fixture’s latest is an intriguing collection of electronica, house and European dance music. His backup. The disc covers a lot of ground — Looking for Love is dabbles in crunk; it’s deep bass is mesmerizing, while opener Intro is a brilliantly mysterious house number.

Decatur Georgia-born Keri Hilson stormed the R&B charts in 2009 with her big hit Turnin Me On. Her debut disc though failed to go platinum. Her latest won’t either. It’s filled with generic electro R&B pop; The Way You Love Me’s aggressive chorus is obnoxiously repetitive.

DUFFY

PLAIN WHITE T’S

Soulful U.K. songstress was once the new Amy Winehouse, but her latest throws that label into the garbage. Endlessly is more forceful and aggressive than her previous effort, though she still maintains her charm. Keeping my Baby is an infectious upbeat blast of pop, while Well, Well, Well may be her first straight-up rocker.

If you like over the top pop, where every verse is equally as infectious as its chorus, then Plain White T’s is for you. The Chicago band’s latest is loaded with enough saccharine pop to last all of 2011. Some of it’s pleasant — Welcome to Mystery is a dark ballad — but most of the record is just cliché radio-friendly rock.

Wonders of the Younger

Endlessly

TAKE THAT Progress

The band’s latest is the first with Robbie Williams in 15 years. That’s big news, but the record also marks a departure for the band. Gone are the ballads that made them famous, Progress sees them banging out epic rockers on SOS, dabbling in arena rock on Kidz and Beatles-like pop on Pretty Things.

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and A World Without Bees

weep read’em BY AMAL CHAABAN

Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum Why you should read this book Forewarned is forearmed

When Honey Bees started disappearing en masse a few years ago, many thought that it might be cyclical. That train of thought stopped when the disappearances not only continued but increased in scope so that worldwide, the numbers hit the millions. Theories started pouring in about what might be the cause with a range of ideas that included cell phone emissions, pesticides, overwork and viruses. The authors start by tracing the Honey Bee in history and move us into present day where Honey Bees

are trucked around the United States and Europe to pollinate on industrial orchards that have replaced the traditional orchard. The news on the Bees is not good, over worked, carted thousands of miles, having their sense of direction skewed by the chemicals in pesticides it is no wonder that these bees are dying. A virus may be the cause but the contributing factors are unfortunately all human. Bees are our canary in the coal mine, will we heed the warning?

Thin

Lauren Greenfield

Why you should read this book

Society’s obsession with beauty can be deadly

Photographer and Documentary Director Lauren Greenfield released THIN in book form as a compliment to her award winning film. The book chronicles some of the people we meet in the documentary during their battle with eating disorders and takes it a step further with writings from those same women. The stories are at best heartbreaking and at worst, a scathing indictment of a society that values beauty and being thin above all other things. Without saying a thing and letting the people featured in the book

do all the talking, we can trace the roots of the illness in each of these women back to a doctor telling them they had too much baby fat, a mother saying that “you will never catch a good man looking like that” or to the usual suspects: the multimedia complex that makes each of us believe we are only as beautiful as we are thin. Given that the latest diet craze to hit North America is one where people are competing to see who has most svelte baby on the playground, this book serves as a bit of a wake-up call for the weight obsessed and for everyone else.

Live to Tell

Lisa Gardner

Why you should read this book

Raising children can be a dream come true or a real life nightmare

Have you ever been to a mall, seen a child having a screaming tantrum and shuddered? What if you lived that 24 hours a day seven days a week? Add homicidal and suicidal impulses into the mix and you get Live to Tell. Lisa Gardner brings us the third book in her D.D. Warren series this time set primarily in a children’s psychiatric ward, a home where the scariest thing is the eight year old boy and the police station where the answers are there but hard to believe. This book

is by turns a story of a family who desperately needs help, a spiritual healer who claims he can heal children on the “interstellar” plane of consciousness and the psychiatric staff who work with these children every day. It is to Lisa Gardner’s credit that she takes an unnoticed problem in society, turns it into a blockbuster novel and still manages to make it believable. This is one book that will have you looking at your kids in a different light... tantrums and all.

A Question of Belief

Donna Leon

Why you should read this book

You can’t get all of life’s answers from a horoscope

Donna Leon takes us back to Venice with her new book featuring Commissario Brunetti in the scorching August heat. Two mysteries abound in this book: one featuring an old woman who has suddenly started reading horoscopes then withdrawing large sums of money and giving them to a self proclaimed guide and healer and the other a judge who conveniently is able to reschedule cases that may help her profit in some obscure manner. The questions surrounding belief don’t stop there though as Commissario Brunetti and 142 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011

the ever faithful Paola continue to question their own beliefs in government and the rule of law. A particularly well written passage involves a discussion about the levels of corruption found in government and the lack of shame of those involved in that corruption. This novel is not for people who want their mysteries soaked in blood and gore; it is for the lover of mysteries of complexity that always leave some questions unanswered and some stones unturned.


see, speak, +hear no evil

watchout BY ADAM VOLK

Release dates based on amazon.co.uk

The Town

| DVD & Blu-ray | 125 mins Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall Release Date: December 17 Ah Boston, home of the Red Sox, Tea Parties and yes, Ben “Don’t Call me Bennifer” Affleck. In this smart and action-packed caper flick, Affleck stars as Doug MacRay, a bank robber with a heart of gold and an accent thicker than a bowl of clam chowder. What starts out as a routine heist, however, quickly spirals out of control when MacRay finds himself falling head over heels for a bank manager turned hostage. Before long MacRay’s loyalty is put to the test as he clashes with his fellow robbers (including his trigger happy best

friend, played by Jeremy Renner) and a determined FBI agent (a largely underutilized John Hamm). The result is a film that’s smart, action-packed and incredibly well shot, with Affleck pulling double duty as both star and director. The Town does suffer from a few minor plot holes but the sharp script, bullet-riddled action sequences and impressive performances deliver a solid one-two punch as one of 2010’s best crime dramas and a wicked-good movie that you don’t need to be from Beantown to appreciate.

The American

| DVD & Blu-ray | 103 mins George Clooney, Violante Placido, Thekla Reuten Release Date: December 28 The American is one of those rare films that mixes the familiar elements of a Hollywood thriller with European art house sensibilities. Unfortunately, it didn’t exactly win over audiences when it was first released, which is a shame since the film is both beautifully shot and exquisitely paced. George Clooney stars as Jack, a killer for hire and master gunsmith who goes into hiding after an assassination attempt in the wilds of Sweden. Taking shelter in a remote town in the Italian countryside, Jack soon befriends a local Priest and takes on a job for a beautiful woman with dubious

motives. The situation becomes even more complicated when Jack finds himself falling in love with a local prostitute while struggling to finish his lethal assignment and stay one step ahead of a team of contract killers. Clooney delivers a subdued yet impressive performance here and director Anton Corbijn does a superb job of creating a moody and atmospheric world, with explosive and almost shocking violence juxtaposed neatly against the sprawling old world architecture and subtly told story of a man struggling to escape his blood-soaked past.

Despicable Me

| DVD & Blu-ray | 95 mins Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand Release Date: December 14 These days it seems like there’s no shortage of superhero movies, with everyone from Iron Man to the Green Lantern slapping on their spandex tights to kick a little supervillain ass. Despicable Me on the other hand, looks at the other side of the battle between the forces of good and evil, telling the story of Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), the Dick Cheney of egomaniacal supervillains. Now living in secret in the suburbs and hatching plans of world domination with the help of his sidekick, Dr. Nefario, and loyal army of “minions”;

little yellow creatures who pretty much steal the show as the supervillain equivalent of oompaloompas. When Gru goes toe-to-toe with a younger criminal rival named Vector (voiced by Jason Segel), he decides to pull off the greatest caper in the history of infamy: stealing the moon. To help in his villainous quest Gru inadvertently enlists the aid of three young orphan girls. What follows is a quirky, funny and surprisingly heartfelt animated film that proves that even evil, maniacal jerk wads deserve a second chance.

Catfish | DVD & Blu-ray | 86 mins Nev Schulman, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost Release Date: January 4 In this controversial documentary, a young New York photographer begins an online flirtation with a beautiful woman over Facebook. What starts as an innocent relationship, however, quickly becomes something more and when he decides to meet her in person his older brother and an aspiring filmmaker tag along to record the event. The resulting documentary brilliantly captures the zeitgeist of social media and the realities of living in a world where reality itself is often called into question. Of course, the real thrill of Catfish comes from

the film’s surprise ending, which – without spoiling too much – is an outcome which could only be born of the digital age. Perhaps fittingly, the film has also generated scepticism, with some critics suggesting the entire thing may be a carefully staged hoax given the occasional too-perfect timing of many of the film’s dramatic beats and its twist ending. Regardless of the authenticity of Catfish, it’s a sharp and insightful commentary on today’s world and a film that may just make you think twice before accepting that next Facebook friend request. OLD VS NEW ISSUE

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see, speak, +hear no evil

playNICE BY ADAM VOLK

Epic Mickey

Publisher Disney Interactive Studios | Developer Junction Point Studios | Platforms Nintendo Wii Mickey Mouse is no stranger to video game adaptations, with Disney’s iconic cartoon rodent having appeared in everything from Castle of Illusion on the Sega Genesis to the popular Kingdom Hearts series on the PlayStation 2. Yet Epic Mickey is one foray that’s a little off the beaten path for the beloved mouse-cummascot. Developed by legendary game designer Warren Spector - a geek hero known for his gritty shooters and dystopian worlds - Epic Mickey is a strange, surreal and surprisingly dark experience that’s more post-modern meditation than cartoon ride. Players take on the role

of Mickey, now wandering a burned out Wasteland inhabited by forgotten second-string Disney characters. Players then use the Wiimote to digitally paint scenes with the option to use paint thinner to remove characters from existence. As an exercise in game design it’s innovative, if not occasionally marred by some sloppy camera controls. Gamers will likely dig the impressive Pixar-calibre storyline, weird visuals and intriguing design, but Mouseketeers expecting a happy-go-lucky adventure for Mickey may be left scratching their mouse ears and singing: M-I-C-K-E-Y... W-T-F?

Gran Turismo 5

Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment | Developer Polyphony Digital | Platforms PlayStation 3 In the immortal words of the great NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby: “I wanna go fast.” And that’s pretty much the premise behind Gran Turismo 5, the defacto grand prix champion of realistic video game racing. Car junkies will salivate over the 1,000 licensed vehicles and exhaustively detailed customization options, while those of us who don’t know a Prius from a Porsche will still enjoy driving cars at insanely fast speeds and watching them smash into things. Visually, the game is impressive and pushing both your vehicle and the PS3’s

processor is a jaw-dropping experience with the near photorealistic graphics perfectly capturing the beauty of Madrid, Rome and London as you blast through their streets at 200 miles per hour. That being said, the game is really geared more towards car buffs than casual gamers and is more about fine tuning your vehicles than pick up and play racing. Throw in the option to race online with up to 16 players though and you’ve got a slick, high-octane experience that will have even the most hardcore race fans shaking and baking.

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX

Publisher Namco Bandai | Developer Namco Bandai | Platforms Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network I know what you’re thinking: “Pac-Man? Really? Didn’t that game go out of fashion along with acid wash jeans, Sony walkmans and Duran Duran?” I’m right there with you. You’d think in today’s world of high-res graphics there wouldn’t be much room for an icon from the dusty days of 80s coin operated arcades. Yet despite the odds, everyone’s favourite anthropomorphic yellow disc is back and amazingly, he’s still got a few moves left. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original Pac-Man, the revamped Championship Edition DX is easily one of the best downloadable titles of the

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

year. Gameplay follows the same basic formula of the original but with a few twists: levels are now timed, Pac-Man can use bombs, and instead of being chased by handful of ghosts, players now have to contend with literally hundreds on screen at any given moment. The result is a frenetic action-packed game bursting with slick psychedelic visuals and a catchy electronic soundtrack. Yes, despite Pac-Man’s age and simplistic gameplay formula it’s almost shocking how addictive the game is as a pellet chomping retro blast from the past.

Publisher Ubisoft | Developer Ubisoft Montreal

| Platforms Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Move over Super Mario Bros., there’s a new Italian video game protagonist in town. Like the beloved plumbers/stereotypes, Ezio Auditore also has a way with the ladies and is pretty awesome at jumping on people’s heads. As a sequel to the popular Assassins Creed II, Brotherhood once again finds Ezio navigating the murky political waters of 15th century Italy as a member of an ancient order of assassins. Brotherhood, however, is more than just a simple expansion, with a number of solid gameplay tweaks, including a refined combat system, the

ability to purchase and upgrade an entire city’s worth of buildings and the option to build gangs of assassins. Even more impressive is a new multiplayer feature which pits players against one another through the crowded and gorgeously designed streets of Rome, with players uncertain if someone is a human player looking to stab them in the back or a computer controlled schmuck. The end result is a game that may not feature any Koopa Troopas but is as sharp and well crafted as the edge of an assassin’s blade.

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unwindinstyle

Experience leisure & relaxation in the tranquility of Lebanon, at the newly opened One to One Hotel – Dhour Choueir. Situated between the mountain valleys, designed stylishly offering breathtaking panoramic views. Treat yourself at the 4star boutique hotel this season, rates starting from $100 including bed & breakfast! * Rates are subject to 10% VAT. * Monthly & Weekly rates are available.

6 • • • • • •

easy ways to book: t: +961 4 391270 f: +961 4 391269 res.dhourchoueir@onetoonehotels.com onetoonehotels.com via your preferred travel agent gds codes: Galileo: WV97619 - Sabre: WV100304 - Worldspan: WV74447 - Amadeus: WVBEYONE

dhour choueir

hotel

Dhour Choueir Square, p.o.box 28690 Lebanon t. +961 4 391270 f. +961 4 391269 res.dhourchoueir@onetoonehotels.com onetoonehotels.com

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take me with you

modern

BERLIN BY ALICE HLIDKOVA + ERIC JOSEPH REITMEYER

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HAUPTBAHNHOF IS AN ARCHITECTURAL MARVEL; A TOWERING STRUCTURE OF GLASS AND BEAMS WITH TWO TRANSPARENT CYLINDERS SPROUTING FROM ITS SIDES. Past the empty brick factories and deserted train yards, Europe’s largest and most modern train station, the Hauptbahnhof, welcomes travelers into Berlin. Amongst the tourists, city dwellers wait on the platform with stoic faces protected beneath the collars of their leather coats. They accept the early days of autumn with resignation. For they are primed by experience; their attitude akin to the Londoner, who meets the steel landscape in stride. Hauptbahnhof is an architectural marvel; a towering structure of glass and beams with two transparent cylinders sprouting from its sides. Its modern design floods the station with light, and although its wealth of shops and eateries resembles a shopping mall, it is proudly known as Europe’s largest and most state of the art nexus of transportation, with tracks running on multiple levels and all directions. Several hundred yards away sits the Reichstag dome, another glass structure

within one of Berlin’s Parliamentary houses. It is a prominent landmark, and attracts hundreds of visitors daily. Once the top of the dome is reached tourists are granted a 360 degree view of the Berlin cityscape. A modern feature is the large mirrored cone within the dome, which directs sunlight down into Parliament’s rooms below, thereby reducing the need for energy and effectively decreasing Berlin’s carbon footprint. Many stories below, underground corridors connect the Reichstag with other Parliament houses of the Bundestag. The tunnels were constructed to ease the passage between buildings, though they are strictly for members of parliament. Guest passes are rare, but if you successfully obtain one, the reward is a remarkable journey through a sterile yet futuristic panorama of cement and steel.

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take me with you

OPPOSITE PAGE, TOP TO BOTTOM: THE HAUPTBAHNHOF, EUROPE’S LARGEST AND MOST MODERN TRAIN STATION. THE REICHSTAG DOME. THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: UNDERGROUND TUNNEL, MODERN REICHSTAG.

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TOP TO BOTTOM: THE TV TOWER, THE FAMOUS COMMUNIST KISS.

NO TRIP TO BERLIN IS COMPLETE WITHOUT VISITING THE EAST SIDE GALLERY. THE GALLERY IS A SECTION OF THE BERLIN WALL WHICH NOW SERVES AS AN INTERNATIONAL MONUMENT FOR FREEDOM. Outside the large windows is the Spree River, which brings life to Berlin as it courses through the city. Movement along the river is swift and constant, as water taxis, dinner boats, and tour vessels snake along the narrow waterway. Watching the boats navigate is an entertainment in itself, as the captains nimbly thread their way through the channel. The merriness of the Spree sweeps onto the riverbank as Berliners revel in waterside restaurants and cafes. They sit behind iron tabletops, clutching draft beers and hot cocoa, and feast on an assortment of German sausages dipped in mustard and sauerkraut. Another waterside attraction is the Badeschiff, a floating swimming pool located in the East Harbour section of the Spree. Originally started as an art project, the pool is now open during the summer months, allowing residents and tourists alike to swim in a sanitary environment along the river. Spirit remains high at Alexanderplatz, the city’s favorite public space. On weekends the flea market offers home-made goods and good German food. Its many wooden stands sell fried potato patties, baked apples, and grilled sausages. Hand woven lace handkerchiefs make great souvenirs as do the wool hats and rabbit and fox scarves on display for upcoming winter. On the fringe of the marketplace sits a small chalet – The Salzburg Restaurant – serving the best of homemade German food. Behind Alexanderplatz stands Berliner Dom, the city’s grand church of the Evangelical congregation. The aweinspiring atmosphere inside the church comes to life with a rich musical program, as numerous concerts and choirs are featured regularly. The Dom is also one of many sites for the annual Lights Festival. Light projectors all around the

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take me with you

LEFT: EAST SIDE GALLERY, USED AS A CANVAS FOR ARTISTS CALLING FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE. BELOW: BERLINER DOM.

city beam design patterns onto many city structures, including Brandenburg Gate, Victory Column, and the TV Tower. These colorful patterns flood each facade with elegance, turning the great monuments of Berlin into bright, beautiful ornaments. The compelling need for food draws visitors to Hackescher Markt, another public square lined with restaurants. Built within the brick archways of an elevated train station, the Markt is a popular destination for tourists, containing cafes, boutiques and

galleries. Outside, the courtyard is brimming with outdoor tables under bright red canopies. The cozy atmosphere is enhanced by hanging straw chairs built for two, and scores of red lantern space heaters. No trip to Berlin is complete without visiting the East Side Gallery. The Gallery is a section of the Berlin Wall which now serves as an international monument for freedom. Though it will always be a constant reminder of a tumultuous past, it is now used as a canvas for local and international

artists calling for international peace. The number of paintings now totals 106, and is the largest open air gallery in the world. Germany has evolved and developed into a dignified state, despite the blemish of history and perils of war. The architecture and attitude of Berlin symbolizes the attempt to dissociate from their dark past, and as the Berlin Wall and Hauptbahnhof suggests, to strengthen the emphasis of a united Germany and a more integrated Europe

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out +about

A Rare

Old Time TAKE US OUT +SHOW US OFF

BEIRUTRESTAURANTS.COM TOOK RAGMAG OUT IN STYLE. FOR THEIR ANNUAL HOLIDAY DINNER, BEIRUTRESTAURANTS.COM AND COUQLEY DRESSED US UP AND TOOK US OUT + ABOUT. IT GAVE RAGMAG A GOOD EXCUSE TO PUT ON A SPARKLY COCKTAIL GOWN AND ENJOY A STROLL DOWN THE RED CARPET, JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS WHEN WE WERE FEELING A LITTLE UN-PARTY LIKE. WELL THAT CERTAINLY CHANGED WHEN WE SAW THE ALLEYWAY GEMMAYZEH DONE UP IN RED CARPET SPLENDOR THAT STARTED OFF AT STREET LEVEL AND WENT ALL THE WAY UP! photography jason zamora

The full seated dinner had the bistro restaurant closed for the private inviteonly event. The seated dinner reinforced BeirutRestaurants.com’s reputation for knowing the what’s what in good food and drink. RAGMAG already knew there was something special about Couqley but this event was something else! We got lost in the taste of the Free-Range Chicken with Wild Rice, the best entrée to be had in Lebanon (but we’re not playing favourites). Guests were encouraged to choose from the delicious Couqley menu so everything from their signature Bavette to their Filet de Boeuf Prime made its way to the hungry guests. From a large range of salads to Foie Gras, Executive Chef Alexis Couquelet left RAGMAG and the 80 plus invitees with their taste buds sated. White and red French wines courtesy of Vintage Wine Cellar were served throughout the meal only to be followed by flutes of champagne, definitely spreading the festive mood. Ziad Kamel and his Couqley staff were the gentlemen to be applauded since the elegant service was swift and flawless!

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LEFT IMAGE, LEFT TO RIGHT: LEA EL-ALAM, PUBLISHER GG, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF FIDA, WRITER MAHA MAJZOUB.


After dinner, to celebrate BeirutRestaurants.com’s astounding new record, 2 million hits monthly, Badeeh Abla of NoBrand Holding (parent company of BeirutRestaurants.com) personally served a round of Ladurée macaroons, the best in Lebanon to be sure! Once the guests had their sweet tooth tickled, the sensation of the evening made its way out: Oslo’s star confection Macaron Rose Thé Vert.

Nayla Audi’s true Lebanese inspired French sweet using rose and green tea was much admired. RAGMAG was on hand to give out our Silver Bells issue and in our goodie bags were Oslo’s famous cookies. Can it get any sweeter? Apparently yes, since chocolate experts Nougatini (house of chocolate since 1938), sent each BeirutRestaurants.com guest home with a specially assembled gift box of their delectable treats.

All in all, BeirutRestaruants.com treated RAGMAG to a night of much needed festivities and fine holiday dining. From Couqley for wining + dining, to Oslo, Ladurée and Nougatini for sugar, spice and everything nice, RAGMAG can’t wait for their next big event. BeirutRestaurants.com has fine taste, and we’re the lucky benefactors!

LEFT IMAGE, LEFT TO RIGHT: RITA SAAD OF LE GRAY HOTEL, BADEEH ABLA OF NOBRAND HOLDING.

RAGMAG WAS ON HAND TO GIVE OUT OUR SILVER BELLS ISSUE AND IN OUR GOODIE BAGS WERE OSLO’S FAMOUS COOKIES.

Get Resto Smart www.BeirutRestaurants.com Wine + Dine Couqley The Alleyway Gemmayzeh, Beirut 01/442678 www.couqley.com Sweet Tooth Satisfaction www.osloicecream.com www.nougatini.com www.laduree.frOLD VS NEW ISSUE 153


eat, drink + be merry

KOPANJANG BY YOUMNA CHAGOURY

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ebanese gourmets have been waiting for a real Thai place for ages... It was about time Kopanjang opened its doors in Antelias. Showing the true colors of Thailand, the Kopanjang restaurant illustrates perfectly the elegance of this Asian traditional cuisine. Located at the end of the New Naccache Street, the place attracts attention with its large windows, its incongruous name and the entrance’s golden wrought iron stairs. Upon entering the restaurant, you are warmly welcome by a friendly 100% Lebanese waiter. If you’re wondering how a supposedly real Thai employs Lebanese waiters, take a look at the chef: he, on the other hand, is 100% Thai. Most of the ingredients, according to the Kopanjang’s manager who sometimes stops by while you’re eating to make sure everything is good, are directly imported from Thailand, in order to create an authentic taste. If you

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feel like seeing the behind the scenes of your dish, you can watch it happen through the open glass kitchen in the middle of the restaurant. Talk about transparency. The menu is limited: the Kopanjang restaurant offers a small selection of soups and salads as appetizers, meat and seafood dishes, and desserts. Each section offers 3 to 5 items only, yet it suits all tastes. It goes from lamb, to chicken, to prawns worthy of a finedining restaurant. Every dish comes with a side of steamed rice and a set of three different hot sauces. To spice things up, you can order one of their 3 rice bowls, so tasty they don’t even need a saucy dish to eat it with. Even though the restaurant is divided into two different sections, one being composed of a few small tables, perfect for a romantic quiet dinner, while the other is a private yet open room with a big 12 seat table, the whole setting is harmonious. Red and gold adorn the

dining rooms, decorated with Buddha statues. A huge engraved metal gong forms the restaurant’s centerpiece and the quiet Asian music in the background sets a serene ambiance.

The + + It

can’t be repeated enough: the taste is just amazing. + The dishes seem overpriced but the portions are big enough for sharing. + The service is great. The waiters are at your beck and call and know every item on the menu: it sure helps when you’re a Thai food new convert.

The – - The

multitude of Buddha statuettes may seem a little creepy – some people don’t like being stared at while eating. - The air-conditioning needs adjustment: it’s either too hot, or too cold.

Kopanjang Restaurant CCI BLDG, New Naccache Street (Restaurants Street) Antelias, El Metn 04/444 501 info@kopanjang.com www.kopanjang.com


Fill up your holiday spirit Heaven for connoisseurs, a unique experience for amateurs, Vintage Wine Cellar welcomes you to celebrate the festive season the finest way. Come discover the widest variety of wines and spirits from across the world… Taste. Learn. Enjoy.

• Glenfiddich • Elit • Grand Cru • Balvenie • Hendricks • Laurent Perrier Rose • etc...

December opening hours: from 10 a.m to 9 p.m including Sundays Saifi Village, Solidere, Lebanon • Tel/Fax: 01-970222 / 01-999797 • P.O. Box: 11-5026 Beirut, Lebanon.

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eat, drink + be merry

chew on

a new leaf

RAGMAG TEAMS UP WITH BEIRUTRESTAURANTS.COM TO BRING YOU THE FRESHEST FACES ON THE DINING BLOCK TO REALLY HELP YOU CHANGE YOUR EATING HABITS. FOR DINING OUT, WE’VE INCLUDED THE BEST FRESH OPTIONS TO HELP YOU EAT DRINK + BE MERRY IN THE COMING YEAR. FOR THOSE OF YOU INTERESTED IN EATING BETTER FOR HEALTHY LIVING, THERE ARE BOTH DIET CENTERS AND ORGANIC SHOPS ON THE LIST. BEIRUTRESTAURANTS.COM ALREADY DID THE FOOTWORK, SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GET DETOXED THE HEALTHY WAY!

NUTRIFIT

DIET SECRETS

DIET SHOP

KCATERIES

CENTIMEAL

DIET DELIGHTS CENTER

Achrafieh, Beirut TEL 70/145248 www.nutrifitdietcenter.com

TEL 01/209920 03/346201 www.kcateries.com www.facebook.com/Kcateries

A NEW EARTH

65 Zahret El Ihsan Street, Achrafieh, Beirut Tel 01/219920

Mar Elias Street, Beirut TEL 01/453246 01/453247 www.dietsecretskey.com

Beirut TEL 70/214171 www.centimeal.com

LE GABARIT

Mallah Center, Jel El-Dib, El Metn TEL 04/724754 03/453972 www.legabarit.info

CARLA’S FOOD Corniche al Mazraa, Beirut TEL 01/317008 01/317009 www.carlasgoodfood.com

New Green Leaf Mention RAGMAG is all about A New Earth for creating not just healthy eating options, but a healthy lifestyle group. Remo Ciucciomei, International Chairman of IMC, The Mediterranean Institute of Certification, awarded A New Earth certification of the first 100% organic store in Lebanon and the Middle East. Follow them on Facebook for information and eco-friendly everything!

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New Green Leaf Mention Carla Habib Mourad holds a masters degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics from the American University of Beirut. Carla’s Good Food don’t believe that one diet fits all, and cater to your needs. In addition to being a nutritional expert, Carla is also an author, television personality, and a lifestyle counsellor.

Achrafieh Tallet el Khayat, Beirut TEL 01/215055 01/745617

Meralco center, Zalka TEL 04/724824 70/191000 Monot Street, Achrafieh, Beirut TEL 01/325925 www.dietdelightscenter.com

GREEN CARROT SALADWORKS

Abd el Wahab Street, Achrafieh, Beirut TEL 01/333081 01/333082 www.greencarrot.com www.facebook.com/GreenCarrot

New Green Leaf Mention RAGMAG is loving Green Carrot Saladworks because their fast food is actually good for you. Choose from nearly 50 different ingredients, freshly-tossed with a choice of 15 different signature dressings available to eat in or take out! Best of all, they deliver.


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mind, body + soul

lemon bring it back BY ELODIE BARAKAT

LEMON IS A FOOD, COSMETIC, CLEANING PRODUCT... THIS LITTLE CITRUS FRUIT IS FILLED WITH PROPERTIES WE SEEM TO HAVE FORGOTTEN ABOUT! LET’S GET BACK TO BASICS! TASTY, ACIDIC, REFRESHING, SCENTED... BEFORE SCIENCE AS AN INDUSTRY CAME OUT WITH ALL THE PRODUCTS WE USE TODAY, WE USED PRODUCTS LIKE LEMON!

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emon is filled with a handful of vitamins and dietary elements. It is the fruit containing the highest level of vitamin C. It also contains vitamin B1, B2, and B6, calcium, magnesium, copper, potassium, iron, phosphor, silicon, manganese, folic acid, carotenoids, pectin, coumarin and fibers! All these components give it properties like a natural antibacterial agent, an anti-inflammatory, astringent, anticholesterol, grease-removing, digestive, diuretic... And all that for 10 calories only per fruit, and 90% of it being water! Even the rind is good! Its zest is its most perfumed part- this is where lemon’s essential oil is extracted. It can be used to fight viruses, moisturize and even purify air. Its pulp is filled with vitamin C and citric acid, used to heal, flavor or to preserve food. In other words: easier on the wallet and less damage to the environment.

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WHAT DOES LEMON DO FOR YOU?

By eating lemon, you can reduce cholesterol levels, regulate fat metabolism (reducing fat storage!) and help to eliminate retained water improving your blood flow. It is also good for digestion since it acts on bile secretion and purifies the digestive system. As an antiseptic, lemon is a good natural drug against mouth ulcers and bad breath. It is also good for the gums and acts as a mild teeth whitener! To improve this effect, you can try rinsing with lemon juice mixed with warm water one to three times daily.

IT CAN REPLACE SOME OF YOUR COSMETICS

For a fresh complexion, you can use lemon essential oil, extracted from its skin. Mixed with almond oil (count three drops of essential oil for one little spoon of oil) it gives you a healthy glow and has an anti-rosacea effect. (Be careful not to expose yourself to the sun after applying essential oil.) For a shinier, glossier mane, rinse with the juice of two lemons mixed with 1L of water after shampooing. It eliminates built up residue and strengthens your scalp (even helping to protect from dandruff).

WHAT ELSE CAN LEMON DO?

LEMON IS YOUR HANGOVER CURE!

It can clean your house and repel insects. Antiseptic, astringent, antimoisture, grease-removal... Lemon juice works on tile junctures, windows, silverware, jewelry, copper, enamel… Have your cotton laundry back to bright white by boiling it with soap and a slice of lemon! You can use lemon to keep insects away. Moths don’t like it, so add lemon juice to the water when washing your linens. To repel ants, place little pieces of peal where the ants usually enter! For flying insects, hanging a slice to a string should do the trick.

Purifying your digestive system, activating toxin elimination, and turning nausea off, lemon is useful for those after party mornings. Its vitamin C provides energy and vigor. Just drink the juice of one lemon prior to eating. This drink should make you better that the last one you had! NOT ALL LEMONS ARE CREATED EQUAL

There is no benefit in using lemon if you ingest pesticides with it, so try to choose organically grown lemons or the non-chemically treated variety.


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NEW

ENHANCING

NUTRITION BY SABINA LLEWELLYN-DAVIES

Italian chef Giancarlo Gottardo is on a culinary journey where flavor and healthconscious food go hand-in-hand.

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hose in search of delectable cuisine served up in exquisite surroundings are in for a treat. Chef Giancarlo Gottardo arrived on our shores last year to take on the position of executive chef and oversee the opening of the long awaited Four Seasons Beirut. This health conscious chef brings with him two decades of experience. After graduating from the Art Design School in Varese and the Culinary School in Milan he went on to work in several of the world’s leading kitchens: the Grand Hotel Congress Leonardo Da Vinci and the Orient Express in Milan, Zucca in Los Angeles, Ralph Lauren in Chicago and Bice in New York. Here in Beirut, at the Four Seasons, he oversees banquet and room service as well as all the hotel outlets. So, why did he come to Lebanon? “It’s a new city, new culture, new people, and a new challenge,” says Gottardo. Plus, he has the opportunity to be exposed to a totally different type of cuisine. The first job of a health conscious chef

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is to shop properly, and that’s how this chef became interested in organic food. A sure route into food grown with a conscience is to source producers who care about what they are growing and who offer decent varieties with good flavor. “Of course, you need to pick the best ingredients in the market to make the best dishes. We hunt for top quality,” says Gottardo. This chef’s approach to food is multicultural and layered with influences from all over the world. He believes in sourcing organic products and growers. Grass-fed, free range, and organic… such terms feature high on his menu and are essential in his dishes. “Throughout the past year we have spread the word in the market about the quality of food we look for and the standard we require. Now organic growers come to us, because they know we are interested in this kind of food. They present their products and we chose based on the need. And if the product was good we build a relationship with that party to insure we always get what is needed.”

So, any advice on what to whip up in the kitchen this month to detox after end of year festive excess? “Try to avoid any sweeteners and have early light meals no later than 5pm, try to avoid carbohydrates, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and most importantly avoid sugar. Eat steamed vegetables and drink lots of water.” And the last word goes to another talented Italian. “I like a quote from Leonardo da Vinci ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,’ as this is what I believe and this what my dishes reflect. They are simple in design yet sophisticated in taste.” And healthy


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Turning Over a

New Dining Leaf WITH CHEF MAHER EL-ALAM

FOR THE JANUARY ISSUE CHEF MAHER EL-ALAM AND RAGMAG BRING YOU A LUXURIOUS MEAL THAT WON’T CONTRIBUTE TO A HEFTIER WAISTLINE. TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF IN YOUR EATING HABITS DOESN’T MEAN SACRIFICING TASTE! KEEP YOUR TASTE BUDS WATERING AND YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR A HEALTHY DIET INTACT WITH THIS GREAT RECIPE SET.

Table Setting and Decoration For a light and fresh meal like this one, you’ll want to carry the theme through with your centerpiece. To echo the theme, try a spring looking daisy or gerbera arrangement in a clear vase with fresh water. If you are hoping for a more minimal setting, try bamboo shoots in slim vases with clear water. Placemats and napkin rings as well as charger plates can all be in bright tones like greens and blues. Contrast your arrangement to your table setting and voila!

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

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Large serving platter for bruschetta Large serving platter for salad Bowl for salad dressing 1 spatula 1 large serving platter for the sea bass and vegetables 1 large serving fork 1 large serving spoon 4 plates for starter course and salad 4 big plates for the main course 4 dessert bowls for the soup 4 knives 4 forks 4 teaspoons for dessert


Brown Bread

BRUSCHETTA INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR 4 SERVINGS

•2 large loaves brown bread laden with cereals •1kg red Roma tomatoes •2 large onions •1 cup balsamic vinegar •2 cups olive oil •2 tablespoons honey •2 pinches salt •1 pinch white pepper •1 pinch oregano •2 cloves garlic •8 basil leaves

PREPARATION Using a good knife, cut the bread into circle shaped sections. Crush the garlic and press onto the upward face of the circular bread sections. Place them in the oven. Remove from the oven once browned but keep warm.

Dice the tomatoes and place into a bowl. Follow by dicing the onion, garlic and basil. Combine with oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, white pepper, and honey. Mix well. Place the mixture on top of the hot bread with the dressing. Garnish with oregano and serve.

Fresh Green SALAD

INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR 4 SERVINGS

•2 green peppers •6 cucumbers •500gr fresh spinach •500gr fresh green peas •200gr green haricot beans •200gr broccoli •1 sprig thyme •15 pieces green olives •1 sprig dill

SALAD DRESSING •2 cup olive oil •1 cup lemon juice •1 pinch salt •1 pinch pepper

Salad Preparation

Dressing Preparation

Rinse the vegetables well in the water. Cut the spinach leaves in half. Chop the thyme and dill sprigs. While you are doing this, set the haricot beans and broccoli to boil. Allow them to chill. Slice the cucumber and green pepper in lengthwise segments. Add the peas and the green olives. Place the spinach on the large serving platter first, followed by the thyme and dill. Then add the green peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, haricot beans and green peas along with the green olives.

Combine the salt and pepper with the lemon. Add the olive oil and mix gently until you have a uniform and smooth mixture. Dress the salad and serve.

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SEA BASS &Vegetables

INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR 4 SERVINGS

•4 Sea bass fillet weighing from 250g to 300g each •8 section broccoli (approximately 1 head) •4 carrots •4 potatoes •8 pieces baby corn •2 lemons •1 cup olive oil •Salt to taste •White pepper to taste

PREPARATION After preparing the fish with salt, pepper and olive oil, begin by placing it in a preheated oven at 180 degrees. Check to see if it has baked correctly by using a knife and lifting small sections. Peel the potatoes and chop into circular sections. Grill the chopped potatoes on a low heat. Boil water with salt and add

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the baby corn and chopped (peeled) carrots. Finally add the broccoli leaving the sections large. When the vegetables have boiled well, drain and refrigerate with ice and water. Present the sea bass fillet with the grilled potatoes and the boiled vegetables. Garnish with half of 1 lemon on each plate.


eat, drink + be merry

Strawberry and Orange

CHILLED SOUP INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR 4 SERVINGS

•750gr strawberry •Juice of 2 oranges •150gr sugar •4 tablespoons Grand Marnier 30cl •Water •4 mint leaves

PREPARATION Rinse the strawberries well. In a small frying pan filled with water, add the sugar and the orange juice with 500gr of strawberries. Cover the pan after bringing to a boil and reduce the heat for 5 minutes. Let stand. Remove the

cover and allow the soup to cool. Once cooled, blend the soup and keep chilled in the refrigerator. To serve add the rest of strawberries and present in a dessert bowl garnished in the middle with a mint leaf.

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quizz ROUND #1

ROUND #2

Trivia

ROUND #3

1. In a US Court, what does a witness take if he/she wishes to remain silent?

1. What is the device called that produces the microwaves in a microwave oven?

2. Of what bird is it said that a sailor will have bad luck if he kills it?

2. Conduction and Radiation are two of the means of transfering heat. What is the third one called?

3. What is the circumference of a standard CD in cms? 4. How many square metres are there in a Hectare? 5. What dessert’s name, when literally translated, means “Burnt Cream”? 6. What is the National Airline of Australia? 7. What is the name of the girl who was chosen as Miss USA last year? 8. Where will you find the name “Philip Morris” displayed? 9. What is the word used to indicate that a person has been made a saint? 10. What is the largest country in the world that has only one time zone?

ROUND #4

About Movies

Science + Technology

3. Some vehicles are said to be fitted DOHC. What does it mean? 4. If something is subjected to a pressure of three bars, how many pounds per square inch is that? 5. What is the term given to the markings on a bullet that are produced by the rifling in the barrel of a gun/rifle? 6. What are the four strokes in a four stroke engine? 7. What company is now advertising as having produced the first LED 3D television?

History + Geography

1. Which group sang the title song for the film “Top Gun”?

1. What is the capital of Ethiopia?

3. Which actor played the part of Inpector Drebbin in the “Naked Gun” series of films?

4. What was the name of the North Sea Oil Rig that was completely destroyed by fire in 1998?

2. Who was the last British Prime 2. What was the name of the film Minister that did not have a wife? starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as a married couple who are both 3. The Gulf of Bothnia seperates hit men? Finland from which Country?

4. In the 1996 film “Dragonheart”, who 5. What name is shared by a provided the voice of the dragon? famous lake in Africa and a state in Australia? 5. Name two of the actresses who starred with Jack Nicholson in 6. In what year was Hong Kong “Witches of Eastwick”. returned to Chinese rule? Was it 1996, 1997 or 1998? 6. If Bruce Wayne was Batman, Clark Kent was Superman, then who was 7. What natural feature lies Wonder Woman? between the two Great Lakes of Ontario and Erie? 7. Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson were two of the original Charlie’s 8. Who deposed King Idris in Angels on TV. Who was the third? 1969?

8. Two measurements, one is 9 8. The song “I will always love you” 9. square metres and the other is 9 by Whitney Houston was the title metres square. are they the same or song for which film? is one bigger than the other? 10. 9. Which actress starred with Ralph 9. What is the name of the force Fiennes in the film “The Avengers”? produced by a rotating motion? 10. What was the name of the Steven 10. How long does it take for the blood Spielberg film starring Tom Cruise to circulate around the human and based on a book written by H.G. body? Is it 8, 23, 41 or 60 seconds? Wells?

The city of Naples is built around the base of what volcano? Which of the Queen’s children was the first to marry? Was it Prince Charles or Princess Anne?

dingbats A Good Shot!

They Look The Same

An Old Song! Given In Soccer? A Super Hero!

S E I T

A Ship Does This

Used On A Safe

Is It Fatal?

A Book About A Spy

ROUND#1 1. 5th Ammendment 2. Albatross 3. 37.7 4. 10,000 5. Creme Brulée 6. QANTAS 7. Rima Fakih 8. Marlboro, Benson & Hedges, Parliament, Virginia Slims and Merit Cigarettes 9. Canonised 10. China ROUND#2 1. Magnetron 2. Convection 3. Double Overhead Cam 4. 44.1lbs/sq.in 5. Striations 6. Induction, Compression, Ingnition/power and exhaust 7. Samsung 8. 9 metres square is biggest 9. Centrifrugal 10. 23 seconds ROUND#3 1. Berlin (Take my breath away) 2. Mr. and Mrs Smith 3. Leslie Nielson 4. Sean Connery 5. Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeifer 6. Diane Prince 7. Farah Fawcett Majors 8. The Bodyguard 9. Uma Thurman 10. War of the Worlds ROUND#4 1. Addis Ababa 2. Margaret Thatcher 3. Sweden 4. Piper Alpha 5. Victoria 6. 1997 7. Niagara Falls 8. Colonel Qaddafi 9. Vesuvius 10. Pincess Anne (1973) CLOUD NUMBER NINE - RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES - TWO PEAS IN A POD FREE KICK - SPIDER MAN - ELECTRIC CHAIR TIES UP - TIME LOCK - GOLDFINGER

166 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011


brainfood

crosswords 1

3

2

4

5

6

7 12

8

9

10

13

11

14

15

16 17

18 19

20 21

23 25 26 28

27

29

30

31 33

32

34

35

36 39

40 41

43

44

42

45

46

47 49

48

50

51

54

52

53

55

56

57

58 59

60

61

64

62

63

65

66 67 68

69

70

71

72 73

74

75 76

ACROSS

3. They ask for money. 5. A French kitchen? 6. A place to see animals. 9. Can be obtuse or acute. 12. Very hard working. 14. The living dead? 17. Put in. 18. Another word for timber. 22. Equal to. (In Golf)

23. Do drugs give you these? 24. Very big. 26. Agreed that it is correct. 28. Against? 30. One kind of boiled egg? 32. A small lump? 34. Go this route? 36. The first woman? 37. Really hate something.

sudoku 2

4 7

3 8 5 7 9

6 3 9 4 6 9 4 7 8 2 6 4 2 5 7 1 1 3 5 9 3 8

5 3 5 8 1 4 9 8 7 4 3 2 6 1 7 6

4 8 3 1 2 5 8 2 6 3 1 7 7 9 9 6 5 4

1 4

9 7 9 5 2 6

7 4 8 2 3 1 4 8 9 6 6 5 5 7 1 3 2 9

3

7 1 9 5 4 6 7 3 9 5 2 3 8 8 4 6 1

7

1 3 9 5

4 9

3 6 2 9 5 8 1 7 3 1 8 4 4 6 7 5 9 2

2 5 8 4 7 3 6 1 9

6 7 1 8 9 2 4 3 5

9 1 2 4 3 9 3 4 1 5 6 2 7 8

3 6 9 2 4 7 8 5 1

4 8 5 6 3 1 7 9 2

1 2 7 9 8 5 3 6 4

7 9 2 5 6 4 1 8 3

7 6 4 2 6 1 7 4 9 3 7 5 6

8 7 8 1 3 7 2 9 5 4 6

5 4 6 3 1 8 9 2 7

5 3

2 6 4 8 8 6 7 3

8

5

2 5 1 6 6 7 3 5 7 4 9 8 1 2 8 4 3

6

4 1 2

3

4

2 9 4 2 9 8 7 4 9 3 2 1 4 8 6 5 6 5 3 2 1 7

2 5

5 3 8

1 6 7

1 2 6 3 7 9 5 6 1 2 3 8 9 4 4 7 8 5

6 2

4

7

55. They make nice rice crispies. 57. Not an enemy. 64. This was last century. 65. List of things to be done? 66. Knights used to do this. 67. Has only one meaning. 68. Not the oldest! 69. It was Southern Rhodesia. 70. It is not good.

72. This is a type of monetary aid. 73. Not margarine. 74. Extend. 75. Completely surrounded. 76. Give up.

EASY

8 8

38. Can move quickly if you are this? 39. They say lambs do this. 40. A nautical speed. 41. Next to the last. 43. Exchange for something else? 46. Not raw. 47. No way! 53. Make a copy of. 54. Not alphabetical.

7 2 4 8 5 9 3 6 1

9 6 3 4 7 1 5 8 2

1 5 8 6 3 2 9 7 4

6 7 2 9 4 5 8 1 3

4 3 9 1 6 8 2 5 7

5 8 1 3 2 7 6 4 9

3 1 7 2 8 6 4 9 5

8 4 5 7 9 3 1 2 6

2 9 6 5 1 4 7 3 8

ACROSS 3. BEGGARS - 5. CUISINE - 6. ZOO - 9. ANGLE 12. INDUSTRIOUS - 14. ZOMBIE - 17. INSERT 18. LUMBER - 22. PAR - 23. HALLUCINATIONS 24. GIGANTIC - 26. CONFIRMED - 28. VERSUS 30. HARD - 32. BUMP - 34. VIA - 36. EVE - 37. DETEST 38. AGILE - 39. GAMBO - 40. KNOT - 41. PENULTIMATE 43. SWAP - 46. COOKED - 47. NEVER - 53. CLONE 54. NUMERICAL - 55. KELLOGS - 57. FRIEND 64. TWENTIETH - 65. AGENDA - 66. JOUST 67. UNAMBIGUOUS - 68. YOUNGEST - 69. ZIMBABWE 70. DEFECTIVE - 72. FINANCIAL - 73. BUTTER 74. ELONGATE - 75. ENGULFED - 76. QUIT

38

37

DOWN 1. HALOGEN - 2. QUENCHES - 3. BEQUEATH 4. KONTIKI - 7. SIMPLIFY - 8. JUMBLE - 10. COB 11. PERHAPS - 13. DETECTIVE - 15. BUG - 16. LUMBAR 19. KIN - 20. IRRELEVANT - 21. BITMAP - 25. GIRAFFE 27. DIM - 29. SAMPLE - 31. EVENTUALLY 32. BUTTERFLY - 33. EVENS - 35. CONNECT - 38. ASS 42. CONE - 44. WAGER - 45. OVERT - 48. YELP 49. OVERTURN - 50. AND - 51. VESUVIUS - 52. AGE 56. EFFERVESCENT - 58. HABITAT - 59. TWIST 60. HERALD - 61. MARSUPIALS - 62. INK 63. MASTICATE - 67. URGE - 71. FIND

24

DOWN 1. A bright kind of lamp bulb. 2. A drink does this to your thirst. 3. Leave to someone. 4. A famous sailing raft? 7. Make more easy. 8. It’s usually just rubbish. 10. Male swan. 11. Maybe? 13. He investigates crimes. 15. To annoy someone or a small insect. 16. Lower region of the spine. 19. Your family. 20. It has nothing to do with it. 21. What does bmp. mean on a computer? 25. It’s head is a long way from it’s body! 27. Not very bright. 29. Have a small taste? 31. It will happen sometime. 32. Papillion in French. 33. Gambling odds? 35. Join together. 38. It’s not a donkey. 42. Put ice cream in it? 44. A bet? 45. Very open. 48. A hurt dog does this. 49. Reverse a decision. 50. Also. 51. It destroyed Pompeii. 52. Do this to become old! 56. Very bubbly. 58. A natural place to live? 59. Cubby Checkers dance? 60. Announce the arrival of. 61. They carry their young in pouches. 62. Handy for writing? 63. To chew your food. 67. A need for. 71. Discover.

22

OLD VS NEW ISSUE

167


RAGMAG

astro

Zodiac forecasts FROM JONATHAN CAINER

January.2011

WE ENDED 2010 WITH A SOLSTICE SPECTACULAR; A HALF DISAPPEARING, FULLY REAPPEARING FULL MOON. ECLIPSES COME IN PAIRS. SO NOW, WE START 2011 WITH A SPLENDID SOLAR ECLIPSE. IT’S NOT TOTAL. NOR IS IT VISIBLE ALL OVER THE GLOBE. STILL, THOUGH, YOU COULD HARDLY HOPE FOR A MORE VIVID OMEN OF ‘REBIRTH’. ‘NOTHING,’ SAYS THE SKY, ‘HAS TO BE QUITE THE SAME AS IT ONCE WAS. YOU MAY THINK YOU KNOW WHAT KIND OF YEAR THIS NEEDS TO BE... BUT YOU ARE BASING YOUR EXPECTATION ON OLD INFORMATION.’ SOON WE’LL ALL HAVE REASON TO FEEL THAT AMAZING POSSIBILITIES AWAIT US.

KATE MOSS ANTHONY HOPKINS

AQUARIUS

January 21 - February 19

Here is a heavy cart. There is a steep hill. Are you ready to start pushing? Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention the raging river you must cross before you attempt that challenge. Still game? Reckon you can swim or get a boat? Fine. Off you go. Just watch for the herd of ferocious wildebeest. You can expect, in January, to feel as if you are being thwarted at every turn. You are not afraid of hard work. It takes a lot to deter you from a commitment. But you are now beginning to wonder if you have backed yourself into a corner. Just do your best. Before too long, the cavalry will ride to your rescue (just) in the nick of time. FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

CAPRICORN

December 22 - January 20 Things often go wrong. That’s why many people feel it’s appropriate to be pessimistic. Sometimes, though, things work out wonderfully well. Often we don’t notice how well the world works until it stops working the way that we want it to. Or that, at least, is what the optimists say, and they may well have a point. So, should you be optimistic or pessimistic in January? Well, actually, you can be as pessimistic as you want to be! It’s not going to make much difference. You don’t need to rely on the power of positive thought to have a positive experience. The solar eclipse in your sign insists it’s coming your way, anyway. FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

PISCES

February 20 - March 20 Jupiter remains in your sign. It won’t leave Pisces until the end of January. Planets that stick around for so long don’t tend to have a dramatic impact on your day-to-day life; mainly, they influence long-term trends and developments. If you want to see what Jupiter is doing for you now, look at the bridges that are being built, the opportunities that are being created, the discoveries that are being made... and the challenges that are starting to arise. Regardless of what’s frustrating you, you must concede that some possibilities are very hopeful. It won’t be long before 2011 starts making you feel very inspired. FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

168 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011


March 21 - April 20

April 21 - May 21

TAURUS

GEMINI

The world is full of deeply intuitive, illogical and emotional beings attempting to pretend that their actions have a perfectly rational justification. The mind is quick but the heart is quicker. First, we feel something. Nanoseconds later, we come up with a clever explanation for why we feel it. It is never the other way around. Even lifelong intellectuals are governed by this law. No matter how smart we may be, our cover stories rarely reflect the true reasons for our deeds and actions. The opening weeks of 2011 bring you an inspiring discovery about someone’s true motives and about your own deepest impulses.

You are more than capable of rising to your latest challenge. It may seem daunting but there’s nothing within it that you have not faced (and triumphed over) before. Think back over other problems that you have successfully solved. Stop referring back to your partial failures - or to decisions you now regret. January’s big issue is NOT one of those. And actually, not all your ‘mistakes’ have been as wrong as you think. Summon confidence. Ignore fear. Trust your wisest, bravest instincts. Then you won’t just start to forge a far happier future, you’ll rewrite a part of your own history so it tells a much more inspiring tale.

Success, they say, is not down to what you know, but who you know. This is not the entire formula. You have to know enough to impress the people you know - or they won’t want to know you, no matter how well you know them. This requires an ability to recognise what you don’t know. If you know what you don’t know, you can find it out. If you don’t, you will appear ignorant and arrogant in the eyes of those who might be well placed to assist you. Start 2011 by resolving to be honest and humble enough to concede some weaknesses. When you’re out of your depth, just ask for help and you’ll get all the support you need.

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

ARIES

CANCER

LEO

May 22 - June 22

VIRGO

June 23 - July 23

July 24 - August 23

August 24 - September 23

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

As we start the new year, we need to consider the difference between compromise and sacrifice. There are times when it may be appropriate to give something up and get nothing in return. Great gestures of generosity have their own reward. That, though, is not what’s being asked of you now. You simply need to reach an agreement that’s fair to everyone. Is that possible? Of course. Look at what’s being offered. If it doesn’t seem to go far enough, see if it can be stretched a little. Or consider a counter proposal. Still no joy? Then seek the advice of someone who is neutral. Somewhere, somehow, a deal can be done.

It doesn’t matter how hard you rev your engine, if you don’t take the brake off, you won’t get far. Progress, in this first month of a brand new year, does not depend on effort and determination. It requires your willingness to move on from something that has been holding you back. Why may you be reluctant? Because you like the impediment. It feels familiar. You know where you stand with it. You may even have an emotional attachment to the cause of your restriction. Summon the courage to put down whatever you have been clinging too tightly to. If you really need it, it will adapt, change and accompany you.

The world, as you may have noticed, is full of meek conformists with all the ingenuity of a small-mouth bass but less of the personality. It is also, sadly, full of arrogant oafs. Assertive, aggressive, characters who know nothing, but say everything in a tone of voice that brooks no argument. Somehow, as we start a brand new year, we find both types are in your way... right now. So it’s fortunate you are such a mellow, forgiving, sweetnatured person. Isn’t it? Make a resolution to start the new year by smiling, even when you feel somewhat more inclined to show your teeth. Charm will get you what exasperation never will!

LIBRA

SCORPIO

October 24 - November 22

November 23 - December 21

Is there an easier way to get from A to B? Are you failing to see a short-cut or expending more energy than you need to? Your ruler, Venus, spends most of January in the part of your chart that governs routes, roads, paths, tracks, aisles and avenues. Some are actual, some allegorical. The implication is that somehow, you can’t get from where you are to where you need to be. It may be a physical journey you need to take or it may be that the connection that you are not quite managing to make is an emotional or a mental link. But regardless of what’s bothering you, a brilliant new solution will soon arise.

‘Here’s a ball. Keep it in the air please. Now, here’s a beanbag. Juggle that too. OK. Ready for a flaming torch yet? Good. Now about those feet of yours. Standing still? That won’t do. Skip please, over this rope. And now, sing for us. Louder! We can’t hear.’ There’s too much on your ‘To Do’ list already now - but certain people seem to be oblivious to this. They want more from you. Worse, you feel you should supply it. Be less demanding of yourself. And relax. The new year is your opportunity to create change. Resolve to make life less complicated. What you truly need to be successful with, you WILL succeed at!

You can’t make trouble go away by closing your ears or your eyes. Nor can you avoid it by changing the subject each time it comes up. You’ve got to look at it, deal with it, do something about it. What course of action do you need to take? Well, there’s a funny thing. The further back you stand, the more daunting your challenge seems. You are steeling yourself for a stressful start to 2011. You expect to have to make complicated decisions and brave sacrifices. But Venus in your sign suggests the more you just get on with what you need to do, the less stressful everything will get. You’ll do well for yourself in January!

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

September 24 - October 23

SAGITTARIUS

OLD VS NEW ISSUE

169


cultureclash

old +new opposites

THE OPPOSITE OF WAR IS NOT PEACE THE OPPOSITE OF WAR IS LOVE

Excerpt of text by Nagy Souraty, from Dissonance of Fights.

Nagy Souraty reminds us lest we forget BY FIDA CHAABAN

Nagy Souraty brings a new light to an old battle. Redefining the notion of opposites, Souraty manages to convey that the concept of peace as we know it is not the true opposing side of the coin to war. Souraty’s opposite is love, prior to the ruin of a newly birthed people who have lost their way, gone awry and begin to seek the constant addictive adrenaline rush of power. Nasri Sayegh, Editor in Chief of Arabic daily newspaper Assafir, lends his original prose as inspiration for the experimental theatre production Dissonance of Fights. Named Takasim 3irakiyah in Arabic (also a play on words), the production was in Arabic, English and French, held at the LAU Gulbenkian theatre to soldout performances starring Hiba Saab. Souraty’s strong emphasis on non-verbal communication is effective and a great

170 RAGMAG | JANUARY 2011

deal of the plot is conveyed this way. Bernard Mallat’s set design allows the actors to engage one another and the audience simultaneously, with a creative use of both metal disc and polished board to create and destroy, another underlying theme of the production. Dissonance of Fights manages to be both poignant and angry by turns. Intended as both a cathartic experience and a reminder to the audience, Souraty explores the human condition of violence and survival. Both the musical score and lighting, by Technical Director Mona Khio, add a sometimes playful (during the opening scene) and sometimes mournful power to the six run production. Dissonance of Fights serves its purpose: illustrating the wrong path too often visited in Lebanon, and the subsequent wrong coping mechanism of

forgetfulness. “I confess that it took me years to understand the importance of forgiveness in the process of apology. We must first forgive to be able to apologize. People try to forget when they cannot forgive. I do not want to forget.” RAGMAG’s only criticism is that a six performance run is not enough for Dissonance of Fights. Souraty’s trilingual foray into experimental theatre should be shown widely, as both a cautionary tale that history could very well repeat itself and as a gentle eulogy to those that Lebanese history must honour. Only when we come to terms with the depth of wrongs committed can we move forward. Souraty’s production could be both a doorway to the prevention, understanding and healing that Lebanon desperately needs


OLD VS NEW ISSUE

171


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RAGMAG Old v/s New Issue | Jan 2011 | Issue #8 |  

www.ragmaglive.com | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @RAGMAGLebanon @fidachaaban | FACEBOOK: ragmag

RAGMAG Old v/s New Issue | Jan 2011 | Issue #8 |  

www.ragmaglive.com | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @RAGMAGLebanon @fidachaaban | FACEBOOK: ragmag

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