The Weekly Leaks: SkyBar is Opening THIS Thursday. Find Out Which Artist They’re Featuring!

SkyBar holds a certain swagger that every other club in the region has failed miserably in attaining. The Beirut rooftop superclub might’ve stumbled in the DJmag rankings in 2011, but that was summer 2010′s doing. Summer 2011 promises a revamped and refurbished SkyBar experience.

The club’s decor has completely changed and the construction works were clearly noticed if you passed by BIEL the past winter and spring. How it looks now is still somewhat of a mystery, but one that will be unveiled this week.

On Thursday June 16, SkyBar will officially open. But as is customary, the true opening will happen a day before with the club’s biggest fans and loyal clientele. This opening party, and the massive closing party, are unrivaled in extravagance and eccentricity with occasional surprises like all those present not being charged for the night’s reveling!

Another thing we’re used to when it comes to SkyBar is the main act of the night. Snoop Dogg, David Guetta and 50 Cent are just a glimpse of the international heavyweight artists that drop by Sky Bar and mingle with the clubbers.

This year, it’s going to be T-Pain! The god of auto-tuning with the unmistakable robotic voice, eccentric look and shiny accessories will be “On A Sky Bar” (versus “On A Boat” which I’ve taken the liberty of embedding below)

I will unfortunately not be in Lebanon on the 15th cause I’m still in Qatar! So, no review for that night =( But if you can manage to get a spot on Wednesday the 15th, I strongly recommend you wear your best outfit and go enjoy the glitz and glam for a night, away from all the underground party scene I’ve been trying to brainwash everyone with =P

Lesbian Syrian Blogger Hoax and Its Implications

First and foremost, I think it is sad and stupid that many homosexual people use their sexual preference to define them as people. For example, I don’t name my blog “A Straight Guy in Beirut” or “A Guy Who Listens to Electronic Music in Beirut”. If the LGBT community wants to be considered equals by everyone, they might wanna try to start behaving about their sexuality like everyone else: as a part of your life, not every single aspect about your life.

Second, if you didn’t hear about Amina (like me), she was supposed to be a “Gay Girl in Damascus” with a somewhat popular blog. A few weeks ago, Amina’s “cousin” posted on her blog that she was kidnapped by Syrian authorities. And from there, the usual fuss started, with the page Free Amina harvesting over 13,800 likes.

It turns out Amina does not exist and all the tshirts, banners and profile pictures were just a waste of pixels, cotton, ink and time. It turns out that the whole blog was a hoax and that the person who set it up was actually an American man (or something). Reports have also hinted that the person might be in Turkey or even Scotland. Read more about it in this article on CNN or Google it if CNN is too capitalist for you.

Here’s a picture of the dude, Tom MacMaster. Apart from the guy being extremely sexually frustrated, making people believe he was actually a lesbian syrian girl, when he looks like that, he’s very perseverant. The consistence of the posts and frequency makes one wonder about the guy’s state of mind and the degree of free time or repressed trauma he must be harboring. Most of all, the dumbass made a LOT of people look like dumbasses themselves, with activists from all over the world (mostly the unpleasant feminist kind) voicing their concern and support for the heroine who sleeps with fellow heroines.

Regardless of this prick who mobilized international organizations and wasted precious resources and time, this incident deals a mighty blow to the power of bloggers and social media. Credibility has always been the elephant in the room, especially in the recent Arab Spring. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube might’ve not catalyzed illiterate and elderly Egyptians, but it definitely showed the rest of the world what was going down. If a twitter user in Tahrir Square tweeted “nuclear explosion killing 1.1 billion by Mubarak”, CNN and BBC would’ve included it in their newscasts.

This is not a bad thing, in fact I was glad that social media have become a vital source for news. Of course, like everything awesome, attention whores and stupid people ruin it. One example is tweeting on a particular issue and providing dramatic and controversial information, which might not be really accurate, but for the sake of harvesting followers on twitter. This, to the average person like me, makes SM not really reliable and transforms what used to be historic realtime coverage, into static I block on my timeline and newsfeed (which is probably why I didn’t know about Amina, my brain tuned it out as wannabe-activist fodder).

I follow several incognito bloggers such as my dear friend Ivy from Ivy’s Blog. However, her reasons for being incognito had to do with the success of the highly acclaimed Exotica campaign with Leo Burnett a few years back. However, other bloggers remain incognito for security concerns because what they write about and who they are might not be tolerated in their conservative and backwards societies and locations. A gay zionist for example in Syria, would not be looked too kindly upon, so I’d understand why he/she would assume a mystery identity.

However, knowing a blogger is what I believe is key to credible writing and critiquing. Most aspect of my life are public and I usually do not hide much from my readers. I personally believe it is for that reason that people tend to agree with my reviews and analysis and if they don’t confront my writings openly and frankly. If I stayed incognito, I doubt the same trust would exist between myself and my beloved readers. For example, you guys sorta know me even if we never met, so if all of a sudden I sponsor or advertise a french night by communists, you’d know something was fishy =P

In Egypt’s #jan25 revolt, PLENTY of Egyptian and Arab twiteratti failed miserably. They tweeted false info, doctored images and unsubstantiated rumors. We all turned a blind eye, because there was a wealth of more reliable citizen-journalists armed with google-twitter-enabled phones. However, in Syria, where official media and news agencies are banned and where shaky YouTubes are all the photographic evidence we have, misinformation and unreliable sources destroy the Syrian opposition’s case and make observers such as myself, lose interest if not even cast doubt on the calls for freedom and reform.

So, we should take a step back for a moment and think about this. Incognito is not enough anymore. We had a taste of that in Lebanon’s Lady Gaga ban issue. After international newspapers, websites and magazines reported the ban, it is still unclear what happened and why the Gaga albums shipment was delayed. The best policy would probably be in relying on several sources, independently reporting on the same issue or event separately (not just retweeting or reposting).

And for the SM attention whores, like this dude MacMaster and all the people who blindly believe them and mobilize thousands and tens of thousands around the world, think more critically about what is tweeted and shared. I have learned to do that the hard way, after several information I shared or blogged about turned out to be inaccurate to say the least, I consider things a lot more closely than I did before. Of course, sometimes ill intentions and deception by others is strong enough to fool the best of us, but I think we’re smarter than that guys!

Anyway, I wish the people of Syria the best of luck in their struggle and hope the leadership takes the prudent and proper route to solving this crisis peacefully. I also hope we can get a more accurate picture and not allow this sad creature’s hoax to weaken our resolve in changing the world one kilobyte  at a time (phrase inspired by TrellaLB)

Doha Skyline

I promise I’ll be posting an entry about my adventures in Qatar and a LOT of other photos, but for now, this is the view from my room at The Pearl in Qatar

It was a bit hazy unfortunately, but the photos are decent enough =P