Embrace: A Suicide Every 3 Days in Lebanon. Help Stop This!

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Mental illness is still a taboo subject in Lebanon. Mentally ill people hide it, and when they can’t, their loved ones hide it for them from the rest of society. It’s still seen as something to be ashamed of, and to some people even as something that’s a deserved “punishment” by god or whatever.

But, its impact is real, and given the striking numbers of psychoactive drug prescriptions in Lebanon: 1 million tranquilizers, 642000 anti-depressants in 2011 [source], coupled with the devastating reality that every 3 days, someone in Lebanon takes their own life, goes to show you that a LOT can and needs to be done.

That’s why I was very happy to find out about the Embrace Fund, a regional and national campaign to raise awareness and provide support for mental illness. It’s in partnership with the AUBMC’s Psychiatry Department, and earlier today, they had their “walk into the dawn” activation towards the Raouche Rock (Pigeon Rock in Beirut), which is infamous as a top choice for people committing suicide by jumping off of it into the Mediterranean Sea.

Here’s their Facebook page, so you can find out how to help. On their website, you can submit your own story about a struggle with mental illness, and read those who wrote their own and wanted it to be published. You can also sign up to become a member, or make a donation, or both! So, head to EmbraceFund.org and sign up!

What to do This Weekend: A Big One!

Friday

NRJ Music Tour

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For my younger readers, the NRJ Music Tour is an annual summer staple. On the lineup this year are the likes of Magic System, India, Graham Candy, Conor Maynard and many others. It’s under-18s friendly, and tickets are starting $50 with a split section for underage peeps.

Check out the event details here.

Future Shorts at Minus 5

10599624_746367668757405_7399212233811744876_nThe event page describes this as “the world’s largest pop-up film festival of its kind celebrates the best and most innovative short films, connecting global stories with global audiences”. I’m a movie buff, and love to see these independent kind of shorts. So, starting 9 PM, you might wanna check it out if you’re a fan of motion pictures too. You get to vote for your favorite, and it gets awarded the “Audience Choice Award” too!

Here are the event details.

Fuck Monday. Party on Friday at The Grand Factory

10425045_10154535402870472_6767763245088654304_nIt’s gonna be Jade vs DJette with a few guests too. It’s at Beirut’s hottest new venue in Karantina: The Grand Facotry, on the rooftop of a big industrial complex overlooking the Beirut Port. It’s supposed to have the awesomeness of Cotton Candy parties, which I’ve personally missed loads!

So, check it out here.

Saturday

Picnic in Horsh Beirut!

10609516_751193291606328_8232405212753308663_nHaving access to public green spaces is our right, and the continued shuttering up of the largest one: Horsh Beirut, is unacceptable. That’s why, on Saturday, from 3:00 till 6:00PM, join us in taking a walk and spending some quality time in Beirut’s green heart. Meet up at the main entrance, near Baba Sweets at 3:00PM sharp!

RSVP here.

Group Art Exhibition at IXSIR Winery

1907417_543879732406396_1042319815126660568_nIf you haven’t been to the award-winning, breathtakingly designed Ixsir winery which is around 10 minutes above where Pierre and Friends is. Bacchanalia features four Lebanese artists, two of which are good friends of mine! Yazan and Laudi!

So, if you’re into great works of art, displayed in an awesome location, with great wine at hand, then you can’t miss this. The exhibition runs till September 28, and it opens this Friday!

Details here.

Mother Mantra Followed by Gunnar Stiller at The Garten

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Mother Mantra is a brand new alternative rock band from Beirut. There music is dope from what I’ve heard so far, and show starts at 9:30PM.

Event details here.

Then, it’s Gunnar Stiller! Last year was absolutely epic, and I look forward to seeing this super energetic man back on the decks at The Garten! Details here.

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The BASEMENT Reunion at The Grand Factory

I grew up in The Basement and my musical taste was refined by Jade and Diamond Setter in that iconic underground club with the fancy chandeliers and mirrors. It’s always a special experience when a reunion goes down, so, looking forward!

Details here.

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Where to Party This Weekend: The Return

After the string of recent bombings and clashes in Aarsal, I felt it was a bit inconsiderate to keep publishing these posts as if nothing happened. But, if I’ve learned anything in all the years I’ve lived in Lebanon, is that life goes on no matter what. Bombs, assassinations, wars, natural disasters, no government, no president, no elections, no electricity, no water, unconquerable traffic, millions of refugees and still life goes on and the show must go on.

So, here’s making sure the terrorists don’t succeed in terrorizing us, and here’s a handful of stuff I think are worth you checking out over the next few days!

Massive Festival of the Weekend: Forest Frequencies.

10366188_563699313749744_6963817273110704426_nEscape to Chahtoul’s beautfiul nature and be wowed by dozens of awesome international and local talents from across the electronic music genre spectrum. This happens once a year, and it started yesterday, and looking epic already.

RSVP and details here.

Friday: Shonky at Electric Sundown (Iris Beach)

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The Friday sunset series we’ve all been loving continues, and this Friday with Shonky, supported by the awesome Tia and Vatche. It starts early, and you get in for free till 8:00PM. It’s awesome because you get to party while the sun sets to an amazing backdrop. This also means that the party starts early and you’ll get your 6-7 hour fix easy by midnight. Which means, for me at least, it’s the start of my Friday night!

Here’s the FB event for details and RSVPs

Friday: Solomun at SKYBAR

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This event is the headliner for me. I can’t believe Solomun is coming to Beirut tonight :’). I really wish it was on a Sunday though, but, I have extremely high hopes for his marathon set tonight. I’ll finish up from Iris Beach and be at Sky for the rest of the night. See y’all there!

RSVP and details here.

Saturday: MY FAVORITE ROBOT at The Garten

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Despite last week’s heartbreak with Dixon not being let into the country, it was a pretty good Garten night. I love My Favorite Robot, their sound and their remixes are always on my personal playlists, and after names like Ten Walls, NTFO, Wehbba and many others, this is a fine, fine addition to this summer’s lineup straight from Montreal!

RSVP and details here.

Saturday: Joakim at CUNXT SAT Sporting

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Despite how awesome the new venue, The Grand Factory, is, it’s nice to get a taste of the Sporting nights we all loved over the past two summers of CUNXT SAT there. This Saturday, it’s Joakim spinning the decks who wasn’t able to mak it a few weeks back! It’s right next to the sea, below the jets landing in Beirut and a stone’s throw away from Raouche!

RSVP and details here

Saturday Afterhours: B018 with Jimmy Van M, 3LIAS and Luxor T

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Jimmy, 3LIAS and Luxor T have been producing some pretty fucking insane tracks over the past few months. I’ve dropped by their studio a few times this summer, and every listening session is better than the one before it. It’s amazing to see such beautiful music being created from Lebanon by this exceptional international trio. There’s nowhere else you’d wanna be wrapping up your night on Saturday!

RSVP and details here.

Monday: Hip Hop Nights at Radio Beirut

I try to make it there as often as possible, because it’s the only place I know of that gives a platform for the many, many talented rappers and hip hop artists living in Lebanon. Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians and other artists and hip hop aficionados from around the region get together and freestyle rap live at Radio Beirut.

The flow is awesome, with a back and forth between sometimes as many as 10 and more rappers, kept going smooth by good friends and veteran rappers Double A The Preacherman and Chyno and many others.

If you like rap, you need to be there Monday nights. You have rapping in English as well as different dialects in Arabic. The Arabic ones are the real gem, since we’re not so used to freestyle rap in dialects such Lebanese with a “Baalbek” or “Tripoli” accent, you’ll really enjoy that ride. It also gets really deep on a political, socio-economic level, but still has some “gangsta rap” with a Lebanese twist aspects in it too.

So, check it out!

SOLOMUN This Friday at SKYBAR

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I still can’t process how fucking epic this summer was for the underground electronic music scene. Between all the clubs and promoters, the entire world’s absolute best current talents are making their way to Beirut’s hottest venues and party crews. Whether its The Garten, CUNXTSAT, MixFM or one of the many other awesome organizers, they’ve successfully managed to educate the typical Lebanese clubber, transforming them from heels, plastic, cigar and too much gel, into electronic music connoisseurs in their own right.

SKYBAR’s foray into the underground world is good for many reasons. For one, it allowed me to go back after almost 3 years away. It also means that budgets skyrocketed for events we like. Solomun is very hot right now, which unfortunately put him at a bracket many in Lebanese nightlife can’t risk with the situation. Luckily, SKYBAR is going all out in the EDM scene this year, with their SUN.DAYS series with heavyweight names like HVOB becoming permanent residents!

Anyway, it’s SOLOMUN! And it’s this Friday. Be careful though, it’s not like Sundays, so you might wanna abide by the dress code and make sure you reserve. Here’s the Facebook event, and I’ve embedded two of my favorite reworks by Solomun.

Super heartfelt track

Reworked Lana Del Rey’s “West Coast”

and my absolute favorite Solomun remix

Where To Party This 3eed El Saydeh

So, over the past few years, 3eed el sayde has become a hotbed for large-scale parties in areas outside of Beirut. Of course, Faraya and Faqra come to mind, with 3-day long exhibitions and festivals all over the place, which I do recommend you check out (Faqra Club, Jardin du Mzaar) because the weather is awesome and there’ll be a lot of people enjoying their time there in the day. But, this post is about the nighttime parties, and here are the ones I’m going to be at and feel are worth going to!

Rikky’z Goes Deep – Wednesday August 13th ($25-50)

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I mean, I’m not really a Rikky’z type of person (in that I never wear cowboy hats and denim shorts with a lot of makeup), but this night is exceptional and the only Rikky’z thing about it is the venue. The lineup is insane, with Jimmy Van M and 3LIAS (Stamina) from b018, Jade, Fady Ferraye (I miss this man!), Ronin and Nesta from Beirut in the Mix and The Garten, Cottonmouth, Ralph and Hicham, Soul Kitche, Subliminal and Monokultur!

The lineup pretty much gathers together the best artists in the scene, from every major club and party crew, with oldschool heavyweights like Jimmy, Jade and Fady,with skyrocketing fresh acts too like Cottonmouth and Subliminal.

RSVP here and get ticket info.

Decadance with MixFM – Thursday Augsut 14th ($45-75)

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This is by far the biggest party anywhere in Lebanon on the night. There’s already one hundred and thirty tables booked, so you can imagine how awesome the vibe is going to be. Last year was killer! MixFM’s Decadance blends all the hits from different decades starting all the way back from the 80s and working their way up till today. It’s a fast-paced, ever-changing, super-fun vibe on the Jonction piste at the Mzaar Terrace. You don’t have to reserve a table of course, walk-ins are welcome ($45) and I’m not sure if you can still reserve a table, but for that it’s ($70 per person).

Other Cool Things To Do/See

Apart from the parties, you should go check out all the cool exhibitions and festivals happening. Also, in the Jardins du Mzaar, Red Bull Music Academy’s QTF Stage is gonna host awesome local acts: Loopstache, Safar, Ruby Road, Zeid and the Wings from 7:00 to 10:00PM, which would be cool to check out! There’s also Mza’art by Afkaart there, so you’ll have plenty to do! Don’t forget Faqra Club’s festival too!

If you don’t want to go to Faraya/Faqra, there’s Ain Ebel in Southern Lebanon. This charming town takes Eid El Saydeh seriously, and celebrations are always huge there. After the religious ceremonies and practices, it’s party all night. Although, if you’re not lucky enough to have friends from there you can crash at, I wouldn’t recommend going down all the way and back! But, it’s definitely a “less-trodden” awesome option to celebrate!

FLOAT on Monday!

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So, Float has been one of the highlights of the past 3 summers in Beirut. First year we were like 50, then the second year like 150 and last year more than 400 folks showed up. It all started with the guys at Beirut in the Mix, and at first it was just friends and friends of friends, and it still is!

It starts at noon in the lovely Camping Amchit venue, perched on top of the Mediterranean sea overlooking a gorgeous 40 meter cliff. Come in your beachwear, dance dance dance, then go down for a dip in the cool sea, tan a little, then come back up, dance dance dance, then repeat a few times over the 15 hours you’ll be there!

As for the lineup, it’s all the boys we love coming together from different parts of Lebanese nightlife for this one day dedicated to beautiful music, beautiful venue and a super chill crowd.

If you come early (2-3PM), you get in for free (that’s why I’m not giving away any tix =P). Then it’s $15 with one drink till 8PM, and after that it’s for 30 bucks with 2 drinks. So, get your asses down there early. Oh, you can also get discounted tickets from our friends at Presella.

So, RSVP here, and see you all on the dancefloor =D

Forest Frequencies 2014!

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Imagine this: a venue located in a gorgeous green area surrounded by mountains on three sides, and a view to the Mediterranean on the fourth. Two large stages with dancefloors. A chillout area. A market. Dozens of tents. Away from the bustling city and coastal heat. All that, for four days brought to life by over 50 local and international talents that span the spectrum of mainly electronic music.

Chillout, IDM & Downtempo, Dub, House, Deep House, Techno, Drum n Bass & PsyTrance and everything in between with names you’ve grown to love like Gunther, 3LIAS (Stamina), Jade, Ronin and Nesta, Ziad Ghosn, Cotton Mouth, Jay K, Moudy, Kacelogic & Lio, Codeface, Ralph and Hicham, Geara and many, many more (those are the ones I personally know and am very good friends with).

Couple the above with 7 acts from abroad, and you have a the perfect extended weekend up in the mountains of Chahtoul.

Last year, I had a blast when I went up with Ronin and Nadine, but was unable to stay the entire time. This year, I’m definitely planning on sleeping there and escaping everything for a few days.

Tickets are super cheap, $70 if you buy them before the event, and $80 at the door, and $40 for a one-day pass. Get your own tent and set it up wherever you want. There’s free parking, and if you wanna take a break from the partying, there’s a lot of workshops and classes also happening in Forest Frequencies, like daily yoga sessions, circus juggling and more. Check out the full details here.

Oh, and to sweeten the deal, I’m giving away two tickets to y’all. All you need to do is Instagram a photo of a forest, and make it trippy and tag it #ForestFrequencies and mention me @GinoRaidy. I’ll announce the two winners on August 5th!

Here’s an awesome video about what to expect, and below that is a promo mix Ralph and Hicham cooked up!

#OnlyTheLonely: Awesome Stuff

I absolutely loved the videos. They capture life in Beirut so perfectly, and in a visually yummy way.

Here’s a few cool videos of theirs:

Anyone who’s ever fought for a noble cause in Lebanon know they’re going to feel lonely while the rest are just stupidly chanting for some political crap.

FUCK DA VALET! Park in parkings. Stop making us feel lonely for not blocking the roads while waiting for thugish valets.

Just obey the damn lights, come on. We can start a conversation maybe at a red light!

But, videos aren’t the only thing that’s happening. Volvo has also put cool booths for both crosswalks and taxi stations. Unfortunately, people don’t seem to be getting the idea, and cars park on clearly marked “NO PARKING” and pedestrians are puzzled when they see it. The few people who are actually trying to use it, really are lonely, sadly.

I’m gonna try it myself next time I’m in Mar Mikhael, and tell y’all how it goes. Till then, check out my dear friend Xriss trying to use it, and being lonely…

And don’t forget to check their website for an awesome map, more videos and all the action on the #OnlyTheLonely hashtag.

This Weekend’s Party Schedule

Thursday – B 018 with MixFM’s 80’s Night

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If there is only one constant in Lebanese nightlife that has been going strong for almost a decade, it’s the 80’s  night at b0. It’ll always be packed, and the vibes will always be nice. The props and decorations are always awesome and go with the theme, and Rodge’s pretty energetic on the DJ booth, so even if you don’t like the song, you’ll find yourself dancing and waving your arms in the air most of the night. So, take a break from our electronic world, and have some fun at the 80’s night tonight.

Friday – Electric Sundown at Iris Beach Then Decks on the Beach at Sporting

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Last Friday’s Electric Sundown opening was epic. Sunset views of the Lebanese coast. A nice pool. Two big bars. Plenty of comfy beds and smaller pools. Grass. Sand. And the sound of waves crashing below you every time the music is about to drop. Audiofly were magical, and this week, it’s none other than LEE BURRIDGE, in the flesh! Supported by Majid and Diamond Setter.

So, come early and get in for free, and if you’re late you’ll pay 20$ at the door. Come early because the main act starts at 10, so you do not want to miss their sets.

I’d recommend you go Decks on the Beach after Iris Beach. It ends by 1:00AM at Iris, which is the prefect time to switch over to Sporting. But, then again, I also recommend you’re very well-rested for Saturday…

Saturday – THE GARTEN OPENING

Fina-fucking-lly! The place that was the absolute it-place last year every single Saturday, is back this weekend. It’s bigger, better and they have a couple of new tricks up their sleeve. You do not want to miss this. Come as early as you can to avoid the lines. See you all at the dome people!

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Ellie Goulding in Beirut this Summer!

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This summer is gonna be big. That’s what we keep hearing, and what we all hope for. But, all the big festivals’ acts seem mediocre compared to other years. The massive acts we’re used to seeing gracing Lebanese stages have shrunken down to more niche, less mainstream acts, which is of course great, but then again, it shows a somewhat lack of confidence in how great the summer will be.

From chart-toppers like Lana Del Rey and the Petshop Boyz, to acts from decades ago and more indie acts, there is much less star power this summer.

Ellie Goulding is arguably the biggest, with over 10 top hits to her name in the last couple of years, and a very versatile discography ranging from deep electronic dance music, to radio-invading pop, she’s never really sold out. Proof? Listen to her epic acoustic versions to know she does have quite the voice. Then, listen to her chart-topping collabs with folks like Tinie Tempah. And then, watch her pull off covers of indie acts every hipster in Beirut adores (I’ll admit I love them too) Alt-J and The Weeknd.

So, if you’re looking for the summer’s biggest concert, with an artist that’s in now, whose songs most of you can sing along to, and in a large venue like BIEL, y’all know where to be on July 23rd (and tickets are already running out). RSVP Here

Acoustic

Alt-J

The Weeknd