Celebrate Middle Eastern Heritage at the Library

August 16, 2016

Media Contact:  Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282; Michelle.Jeffers@sfpl.org

Celebrate Middle Eastern Heritage at the Library

In recognition of the cultures and peoples stemming from the Middle East who reside here in the Bay Area, a wide variety of programs for all ages and exhibitions will be presented in August, September and October.  Programs include lectures, films, cooking demonstrations, performances, music, games and more at the Main Library and branches, with select programs offered at multiple locations.

Adult Programs (selected):

You Are Under Arrest for Masterminding the Egyptian Revolution.  Ahmed Salah, co-founder and leader of street activists, discusses his book and the growth and failures of the Egyptian opposition.

Sept. 7, Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Rooms, 6 p.m.

Sept. 17, North Beach Branch, 1 p.m

Sept. 24, Parkside Branch, 2 p.m.

The History and Art of Bellydancing with the Sausan Academy of Egyptian Dance

The program explores the history and evolution of belly dance and discusses the various styles, including a live demonstration.

Sept. 10, West Portal Branch, 2 p.m.

Sept. 17, Richmond Branch, 1 p.m.

Arab Street Food by Reem

Vendor Reem’s will give a talk on Middle Eastern street food and the chefs who have inspired them, including a tasting of their breads and dips.

Sept. 25, Mission Branch, 2 p.m.

Sept. 7, Main Library, Latino/Hispanic, 6 p.m.

Sept. 17, North Beach Branch, 1 p.m.

Sept. 24, Parkside Branch, 2 p.m.

Film Screening: Caramel  – Discussion will follow this screening of Caramel (2008), in which friends and employees of a ramshackle beauty salon in Beirut look for love and romance.

Sept. 10, Golden Gate Valley Branch, 1 p.m.


Home Away from Home: Little Palestine by the Bay, curated by Najib Joe Hakim, opens in the Main Library’s Jewett Gallery on Aug. 27. The exhibition includes multimedia histories as well as black and white photo portraits of 27 individuals from the Bay Area’s Palestinian American community, the second largest community in the U.S.

Home Away from Home – Main Library, Jewett Gallery, Aug. 27 – Nov. 27

Related Programs:

Opening event:  Curator Najib Joe Hakim will discuss his work and the ties and aspirations of the Bay Area Palestinian American Community. Aug. 28, 1 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Palestinian Poetry and Music Celebration. Arabic violin virtuoso Georges Lammam and poets Elmaz Abinader, Lorene Zarou-Zouzounis and Tarik “Excentrick” Kazaleh perform their work. Oct. 25, 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: In Defense of Culture features the work of 50 artists and print makers from around the world, who created their works in commemoration and solidarity to support the booksellers in Baghdad, whose lives and others were irrevocably changed by a car bomb set off in their street in 2007.

Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here – Main Library, Skylight Gallery, Sept. 17, 2016 – Jan. 1, 2017

Related Programs:

Opening Event: Art as Activism, Art as Memorial. Five artists from the exhibition, including Art Hazelwood and Kahlil Bendib, will speak on the use of art for memorializing loss and activating resistance. Sept. 25, 1 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here – Readings and author discussions with Deema Shehabi, Art Hazelwood and others.  Main Library, Latino Hispanic Community Room, Dec. 4, 1 p.m.

Related exhibition:

Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Transcendent Hope –City College of San Francisco Library. The exhibition includes artists’ books, broadsides and prints. Oct. 24, 2016 – April 16, 2017

Additional exhibit:

Absent, I come to the home of the absent celebrates the works of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.

Absent, I come – Main Library, General Collections, 3rd Floor, Sept. 2 – Oct. 31

Children’s Programs (selected)

Alison Faith Levy Sings Shalom!

Alison Faith Levy is known for her lively and interactive program of original tunes that get young children and families dancing and singing along.

Sept. 13, Anza Branch, 10:30 a.m.

Sept. 15, Noe Valley Branch, 4 p.m.

Sept 20, Sunset, 10:30 a.m.

Sept. 24, Marina Branch, 11 a.m.

Sept. 27, North Beach Branch, 10:30 a.m.

Arabic Dance with Heaven Mousalem

Arabic dance, also known as belly dance, balady or raqs sharqi, is one of oldest dance forms in the world.

Sept. 6, Presidio Branch, 11 a.m.

Sept. 15, Eureka Valley Branch, 3 p.m.

Sept. 22, Parkside Branch, 10 a.m.

Sept. 23, Mission Bay Branch, 4 p.m.

Sept. 30, Golden Gate Valley, 3 p.m.

Middle Eastern Cooking with Arezoo Fakouri

Bay Area cook Arezoo Fakouri loves cooking with flavors and ingredients from her native Iran and experimenting with other Middle Eastern flavors as well. For children 8 and up.

Sept. 25, Ortega Branch, 3:30 p.m.

Persian Dance Performance with Shahrzad Dance Company

Join Shahrzad Dance Academy in an engaging and education program on Persian Dance, an ancient art form shrouded in mystery.

Sept. 22, Bayview Branch, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 22, Chinatown Branch, 4 p.m.

Sept. 24, Excelsior Branch, 11:30 a.m.

Sept. 24, Merced Branch, 2 p.m.

Teen Programs (selected)

Henna Garden Workshop

Henna Gardens is a Middle Eastern owned company that teaches the history and art of henna. Henna tattoos will be provided!

Sept. 10, The Mix at Main, 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 12, Portola Branch, 3:30 p.m.

Middle Eastern Snack Trials

You may know pita, hummus and baklava…now let’s try some of the other tasty snacks of the Middle East. For tweens and teens, ages 10 – 18.

Sept. 7, Western Addition Branch, 4 p.m.

Film Screening, Koran by Heart

A global contest reading of the Quran by young Muslim children that takes place in Cairo, Egypt annually during Ramadan tells a coming of age story about Muslim kids in modern times. For ages up to 18.

Sept. 16, Bayview Branch, 4 p.m.

Adult Programs (selected)

Opium Sabbah World Music

Hip hop artist Opium Sabbah was raised listening to the rich, exotic music of India and North Africa.

Sept. 3, Western Addition Branch, 2 p.m.

Sept. 24, Bernal Heights Branch, 1:30 p.m.
For additional information about Middle Eastern culture and heritage, check out our reading list on the Library’s Website, sfpl.org, under Books and Materials, Read This! These programs about Middle Eastern Culture and many other related programs can be found at sfpl.org. All programs at the Library are free. For more information, please call (415) 557-4277.