Ollie Daze: Everything You Wanna Know

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Taken by me at the last Ollie Daze event in Laqlooq

Some 18 months ago, I was sitting with Lori and Richie in Faqra listening to them talk about a new project they were thinking of starting up. If I remember correctly, the idea was a chill place for snowboarders and skiers to rest their aching feet after a day on the slopes, have a drink, listen to some music and barbecue some burgers. The outcome, was sorta like that, but vastly more awesome.

Ollie Daze. It’s in the name, “Ollie” the skateboarding trick, and “Daze” as in how you feel after a couple of drinks in nature with friends. Together, they sorta sound like “Holidays” and thus, Ollie Daze.

Ollie Daze organizes public and private events in venues that are often public spaces high up in the mountains or on out-of-the-way beaches on the shore. Their events also always have a twist. For example, when they held a snowboarding event a few months ago, instead of hitting the slopes, they found two war-torn abandoned villas in Qanat Bekish, tied a bungee rope on their balconies and jumped off the buildings into the snow. Add food, drinks and music, and you get quite the exceptionally fun day on the snow.

unnamed-7The next event was at a beach on the Batroun shore, in a truly breathtaking spot. Just take a look:

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Another intimate beach event was held in Tabarja, and their biggest event to date was the huge blob event (Aqua Park) in Laqlooq, in a lake surrounded by trees and amazing views of the nearby mountains and valleys.

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Unpleasant weather didn’t dampen the mood, and although no blob jumps took place on Saturday, Sunday was business as usual and super fun. Check out the video on their page.

It was so good, that the Ollie Daze Aqua Park happening again this weekend, same spot, bigger awesome crowd and equally beautiful music. And if you don’t wanna jump off a crane into the blob in the pond, there are plenty of less extreme games like a slip and slide and plenty of inflatables. Or you could just chill by the pond or around your tents or the DJ booth (Wrangler).

RSVP here, and see you all thereeeeeeee

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What To Do This Weekend

Wednesday

AK Presents Chyno (Album Launch) – B018

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Chyno is an amazing rapper. His lyrics are always powerful and often from a perspective never tackled before. Audio Kultur is organizing his new album launch at B018 tomorrow, and it’s not just gonna be Chyno on the ticket. Ingrid Bawad, Poly, Tarek Khuluki (Tangaret Daghet), Carl Ferneiné (Loopstache), Imad Jawad (Lazzy Lung), Philippe Dib and Ceasar K will also be performing live at b0!

It’s gonna be epic, seeing all these amazing friends and artists, under b0’s retractable roof, for just 10 dollars a pop.

RSVP Here and see you there!

Friday

Pop-Up Hotel Opening (Factory Fridays + Cotton Candy) ft. Coolio

11393214_811184518977710_3773799630124399761_nOk, this collab is MASSIVE. Factory Fridays has steadily become the ever-present, always-packed Friday night fixture. It’s time to move for the summer though, and that location is going to be the St Georges Yacht Club in Ain El Mreisseh. This time though, they’re teaming up with Cotton Candy to get you Coolio, for a true Gangsta’s Paradise on Friday.

It’s a must this Friday night, especially if you’re one of those 90s bitches!

RSVP Here

Electric Sundown Presents AUDIOFLY

11224781_780484328739520_6702043726776309096_nI love Audiofly, and when the boys come to Electric Sundown, it’s always my favorite act at Iris Beach Club. Come early so entrance is free (5-8PM), and take a dip in the sea or the pool at 3LIAS warms up for 3 hours before Audiofly take over!

RSVP Here

Saturday

The Shoreline Sessions (Radio Beirut + Colonel Beer)

11295686_945580832139600_7246884126673132029_nThis is an awesome concept that will come to you every second Saturday of the month, through September. Radio Beirut is teaming up with Colonel Beer in Batroun, to bring you the best of Arab sounds and artists right next to the Batroun shore!

The first instalment includes Acid Arab from France (WOW!), Maurice Louca from Egypt, and Aziza from Lebanon for a unique blend of Arabic Tarab, and Pop music!

It starts early, at 6:00PM, and tickets are for 25,000LBP presale and 30,000LBP at the door.

Not to be missed, looks extremely promising. RSVP here

NOIR at The Grand Factory

11330023_649765718458319_7243020899528972656_nI love Noir, and this is one of the acts I’m looking forward to most this summer! Noir’s coming to the Grand Factory on Saturday.

RSVP Here

The Garten Presents Sonja Moonear

11412364_10153080823307961_9002610667570664834_nSonja’s set are a trip, and I’m glad she’s coming to the dome this Saturday, along with my dearest Technophile and Ali Ajami. Come early and watch a movie on the grass, and see y’all in the dome!

RSVP here

AK’s Edit of Origami by Chyno ft Ingrid Bawab

I’m loving what AK’s been up to lately. From the awesome content they’re publishing, to the award-winning AK issue commemorating the Armenian Genocide and the many events they are animating.

Today, I stumbled upon this delightful 2-minute re-imagination of my boy Chyno’s Origami, along with my dearest Ingrid Bawab singing on this edit along with Arek Dakessian on cello and Karim Najem on violin. It’s awesome. Give it a listen.

If you like what you hear and see, make sure you head down next Wednesday to B018 for Chyno’s new album launch!

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What To Do This Weekend

What a massive weekend full of gigantic events and entire weekend festivals! There’s something for everyone starting tonight through Sunday, with the highlight of course being DIXON in Beirut, finally.

Thursday

Beirut Jam Sessions 3rd Anniversary at STATION!

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When it comes to Indie and Folk, no one comes close to the guys at BJS. Can’t believe it’s already been 3 years! What struck me at this event is that I saw Dualist Inquiry is on the ticket! I met Dualist Inquiry in Dubai a few years back at the Red Bull Music Academy, and asked him for a copy of his debut album. It’s a beautiful mixture of electromechanical music, with acoustic and electronic elements played live. I highly recommend you check him out, I know y’all won’t be disappointed. EVERGREEN and RAMLY are also on the ticket, local favorites doing amazing things across the world, supported by other local talents!

Tickets ate $20 with 1 drink, RSVP here

Wyclef Jean at Misk Summer Festival

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Wyclef Jean is tonight at the Summer Misk Festival in Beit Misk! Go early for the awesome sunset bar! RSVP here

Friday

Decks on the Beach Presents ZIMMER

11295887_786390548144399_5900086767917950660_n I was very late coming down to Decks last week, which was a major bummer cause the rain made everyone stop early, but the guys and gals at Decks made it up with an awesome party on Saturday to make up for everyone who showed up. Tomorrow, Decks on the Beach presents Zimmer, and the staple of Friday nights in summer is back on track! Really looking forward to this one

RSVP here, and remember, entrance is FREE before 10PM, and $20 at the door after 10PM.

Electric Sundown Presents Guti Live

11200899_777155735739046_2933286012009267053_nI love folks who start out in Rock or Jazz and switch to the dark side of Techno later in life. Imagine delicious Techno with influences of Guti’s latin roots and acoustic background. Watching him live is a treat, and what better backdrop than the sunset at Iris Beach Club on Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast!

RSVP here, and remember, entrance is free from 5-8PM, and 40,000LBP after 8PM

Personal recommendation: start off at Eelectric Sundown and head down to Decks on the Beach around midnight!

Saturday

The Garten Presents DIXON

10686705_10153068750387961_856450204365204664_nDixon in Beirut! Finally! Last year was such an unfortunate bummer, so I’m glad the guys at Uberhaus managed to get him back to Beirut! EDM aficionados need no intro about who Dixon is, and y’all know he’s RA’s number 1 artist of 2014. See you all in the dome on Saturday night ^^

RSVP here, 7-9PM $10 + 1 drink + happy hour, 9-3AM $30 + 1 drink, 3AM-morning $20 + 1 drink.

C U at THE BEACH

11020852_647476045353953_4212751081177917272_nC U NXT SAT is back to Bonita Bay for the first instalment of C U at THE BEACH this year! The lineup includes Jade, Vanclod Jandam, Alias, Dany Faddoul, Djoker, Kitchen Crowd and The Inse(k)t.

RSVP here 6-7PM free entrance, 7-8PM $10 + 1 drink, 8-9PM $20 + 2 drinks, 9-10PM $20 + 1 drink, 10PM-closing $20 no drinks

Stir It Up

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An afternoon till late night of Reggae at the beach, and Young Padawan is playing alongside Kapushka, Dao, Dub Snakkr, Yukah and RadioWeebee. It’s at White beach, and entrance is $20 plus welcome shot

RSVP Here

Beirut, The Timeless City

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Can’t believe it’s been 10 years already… Here’s the grand finale in Martyrs’ Square for the Beirut Spring Festival in memory of Samir Kassir. Experience art in all its forms, from dance to music to poetry to light and image projections

It’s free, starts 9PM. RSVP here!

CAR-FREE DAY

Badaro in Good Spirit

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Badaro, minus valets, minus cars, add music, entertainment, and you get a fun car-free day this Sunday! Audio Kultur will provide us with the music, and there will be loads to do starting 11AM till 9PM!

RSVP here, and entrance is free of course.

FESTIVALS

Akasha Festival Bzebdine

11162191_10152999256691225_8051529463212614127_nThe Akasha Festival begins tomorrow and runs through till Sunday night! It’s in Bzebdine, so, if you’re in the mood for some forest psy and many other genres of the electronic music spectrum we all adore, and reconnecting with nature, you might wanna check the lineup here!

RSVP here, and entrance is $40 at the door

Green Festival 

11265175_1111632332185325_7600302008395210050_nIf you want a more PG and family friend day out in the city, check out Green Festival starting tomorrow in the Allenby Foch district in downtown Beirut. Live entertainment, outdoor yoga, healthy food, stands and carnival games await you!

RSVP here, and it’s free!

#SATFORACHANGE C U NXT SAT Meets Caritas

11269276_644937555607802_7224433630997634690_nThe state of many domestic foreign workers in Lebanon is abysmal. The rate of abuse, lack of basic human rights and a frightening suicide and murder rate among them, is unacceptable.

Luckily, many local and international NGOs in Lebanon, as well as the domestic workers themselves, are doing something about it, and hopefully very soon, this unpleasant reality will be another victory added to human and civil rights in Lebanon!

This Saturday, Caritas is teaming up with the C U NXT SAT crew for #SATFORACHANGE, featuring JAMMIT the band LIVE (Jah!) ft. Naaman, followed by sets by my dearest Jade, Imadj and Vanclod Jandam!

The night will feature an area where food, music and cultural treasures from several countries where these migrant workers hail from. It will also have a corner for donating clothes, so don’t forget to bring an item or two you don’t really use anymore, or grab something on your way!

RSVP here, and see you all on Saturday!

Summer Clubs and Parties Opening Dates

The Garten – May 16th

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I can’t wait to get back home, to that parking lot on the Beirut Waterfront that is transformed into that magical dome and lush playground with perfect music blasting on one side, and beautiful live art being created on the other. It’s only a few weeks away, and nothing says summer like a Saturday night booked at The Garten! And the lineup this year… Akh.

SKYBAR – Early June

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I know you’re all thinking “I hope the Sunday events at Sky are happening this year too” and the answer is yes, and even better. Apart from sweethearts we’re used to like HVOB, there’s a lineup jam-packed with tasteful electronic music acts from across the world. So, get your swimsuits ready for the sunset parties overlooking the Lebanese coast and the Mediterranean Sea!

Decks on the Beach – May 29

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Nothing says Friday during the summer like Decks. The perfect melange of shades of nudisco with deeper sides of house keep feet stomping with the sea breeze till the sun starts poking its head from behind Lebanon’s snow-capped mountains. The lineup this year is starting with a massive bang, but we’ll get to that in due time. Till then, book yourselves for the 29th!

Electric Sundown – May 1

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The epic sunset parties at Iris Beach Club are back on May 1st! Massive names spinning on a stage above a pool right next to the sea, in an intimate venue with fellow music lovers. With names like Audiofly, Thugfucker and Lee Burridge among many others, you can expect this year to be just as amazing, if not more so. So, head down south after you finish work, and dance into the night, cooling off in the pool, sea or jacuzzis when you need to!

C U NXT SAT – April 30/June 13

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C U NXT SAT will be relocating to Sporting starting April 30, but the massive relaunch is happening on June 13th, and there’s a GIGANTIC act for that night, that, in all honesty, for now, is the act I’m looking forward to the most this summer! Of course, in true C U NXT fashion, the summer will also feature beach parties in different locations along the Lebanese coast, not just Sporting.

Factory Fridays – June

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Factory Fridays has gone massive. The Grand Factory is always fully booked and completely packed for these 24+ nights that cater to a flavor of electronic music hitherto untapped in Beirut. So, that’s why the boys at FF are moving to an even bigger location, somewhere by the sea, starting June. That’s all I have for now, but, hey, it was raining yesterday, so we still have time till June!

Rubik – June

Expect Rubik to be moving to an outdoors location around that time! The beauty of the illuminating LED cubes is that they can make an appearance almost anywhere across Lebanon. So, look out for where they’re gonna pop up this summer and in what format, by the folks who brought you the likes of Avatism this year!

Still Here, Still Bleeding: A Century Later [VIDEO + MAGAZINE + EVENT]

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It’s been a hundred years, an entire century since the genocide. In that century, the Armenian community in Lebanon has been an integral part of Lebanese society, and their contributions culturally, economically, politically and socially are a priceless part of Lebanon’s vastly diverse history, heritage and culture.

Lebanon has always been the place where persecuted peoples sought refuge, even though many Lebanese would like to forget that. It’s no surprise we have 18 different recognised sects, and houses and churches carved into solid rock to evade conquering and genocidal armies like the Ottomans. Perhaps the hammer strike’s full brunt was felt in Armenia and the horrors committed there are unparalleled in modern history, but Lebanon also suffered at the hands of the Ottomans, and our plight is one and the same.

Audio Kultur has dedicated its 12th issue for the celebration of Lebanese Armenians and their influence on us all. It selected five Armenians who gave the testimonies of their grandparents and ancestors who survived and made it to Lebanon or Syria. The five also donated a bit of their blood for the occasion, which was used by the AK creative team to create the red ink which AK12 was printed with. I am a huge fan of Harout Fazlian, the conductor of the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, and Angelique Sabounjian is a very dear friend of mine, and they’re just two out of dozens of Lebanese Armenian friends I love and look up to. I love the thought of using their own blood to immortalise their ancestors’ sacrifice and suffering today, a century later.

That’s not everything though, the gorgeous video below was filmed with the 5 donors, and I urge you to watch it before continuing reading.

But, that’s not all either! On Sunday April 26, Armenia Street (Mar Mikhael) will be closed down by our friends at Achrafieh 2020 for yet another amazing car-free day from 10:00AM till 7:00PM. AK will be providing the entertainment, with several stages and entertainment stations along the street we all love and spend most of our time in, showcasing Armenian music and culture. In keeping with the still bleeding theme, DSC Lebanon will also be on site, accepting blood donations that will be delivered to those who need it across Lebanon, and a chance to remember the sacrifice of the Armenian people and turn it into something that will help save many lives today.

So, pick up the AK12 issue available for free across Lebanon, check the AudioKultur.com website, RSVP to the Facebook event now, and make sure you donate blood with DSC Lebanon on that day!

See you all on Sunday for a day where we remember the bleak past, celebrate a brighter present and look for a prosperous future.

Walk A Mile in Her Shoes Beirut on April 26

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Women’s rights in Lebanon are abysmal. It’s bad across the board: whether it’s protection from domestic violence, harassment, the right to pass the Lebanese citizenship to spouses and kids and representation in government. But most importantly, a toxic macho-patriarchal mentality that has somehow survived in Lebanon into the 21st Century, despite the country dubbing itself the “Paris” and “Switzerland” of the Middle East (perhaps what they meant is how much Lebanese people love showing off they speak French, and in how good they are at the money laundering business)

Anyway, despite the efforts over the past few years to rectify this absurdly backwards, religiously-driven adherence to laws that are both putting women’s lives at risk, and fail to guarantee equal rights between genders, the Lebanese government and parts of the Lebanese society still need some help reminding them it’s 2015, not 2015 BC.

That’s why, on Sunday April 26, at 10:00AM in Waterfront City, the “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes” initiative is coming to the Middle East for the first time this year with Uf Concepts. The idea is simple: Men buy heels and walk one mile in support of women’s rights and to stand up against violence in all its forms, by raising awareness about this sensitive issue in Lebanon. All proceeds will go to support KAFA in their mission to ensure the advancement of women’s rights in Lebanon to meet our aspirations for our country.

Also, I’ll be shaving my legs and wearing heels, and for those of you who know me in real life, you know how much I dislike heels, so, turn up!

RSVP for the event here, like the FB page here and check out the countdown on the website here.

See you all there boys!

Offre Joie Color Run on Monday to Commemorate the Civil War

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We all love color runs. We’ve all seen photos of friends somewhere in Asia splashing themselves and each other with vibrant colors in a festive atmosphere. Well, this year, Offre Joie, hands-down one of the nicest, most helpful, selfless NGO I’ve seen in my life, is organizing its yearly commemoration of the start of Lebanon’s grim Civil War, on April 13th, 1975.

This year marks the 40th anniversary, yet the problems, divisions and hatred today make it seem like it was just yesterday… So, participate in their campaign, and upload a black and white photo of you or somewhere in Lebanon, and use the #OJApril13 hashtag, so on Monday, at 4:00PM in front of the National Museum, we can restore those colors with the planned color run there!

RSVP on Facebook here, and don’t forget the #OJApril13 hashtag!

Do Stuff: Awesome Skate Park in Dbayeh with Epic View

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So, I’ve been hearing about a concrete skate park somewhere in Dbayeh for a while now, and I finally got the chance to check it out, and I loved it.

For starters, entrance fee is just 10,000 LBP and you can stay as long as you like. The skate park is concrete, and includes plenty of quarter pipes, rails, benches, banks, barriers, spines, stairs and tables.

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If you’re not much of a skater and are a bit rusty on the roller blades or BMX, you can book training sessions with a trainer, and rent the gear if you can’t afford them just yet.

The nice thing about it is it’s not very far from the coast, just a 2-minute drive from Le Royal Hotel right off the highway. They have an amazing view of Beirut, the surrounding mountains (Awkar, Zouk Mosbeh) and the Mediterranean Sea. They also have a snack and a spacious seating area, to cool down after your sessions.

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Honestly, I love skating and skate parks were always fun to visit in places like LA, so, it’s kinda nice seeing a park that looks like it’s straight out of Venice Beach, right here close to home. Check out these photos I took while there.

 

I know I’ve been focusing on other countries and clubbing for a while now, but I promise the “Do Stuff” series will feature loads of cool stuff like this skate park you can do, without paying a lot of money, and right here in our beloved Lebanon.

Check them out on Facebook here.