PINDOLL Music Video Debut + Album Launch This Saturday

1779351_10153862158455472_785161748_nI first saw Pindoll perform live a the RHCP concert a couple of years ago, and since then, I’ve become good friends with Miran who’s been keeping me in the loop of what they’re cooking up, getting me all excited to see what’s gonna happen.

Soooo, it is with great pleasure that I share with you guys their first music video, which I loved and was worth the wait. It starts off deliciously morbid and macabre and transitions into a faster and faster uplifting pace that ends the song with awesome guitar riffs and drums that make you wanna almost head-bang and stomp. It’s also beautifully shot in black and white in places I’m sure you might find familiar, and others quite cool (Instagram photo opp?)

Anyway, when you watch the video and love what you see, you might want to check out their album launch this Saturday in Beirut. Here’s the event link, and bummed I won’t be in town!

Rapping from a Suicide Bomber’s Mindset: Chyno Hits The Nail On Its Head

First, I don’t know how I missed this epic video and song last month, especially since almost every single person in it is a friend (bad friends who didn’t tip me off about this btw =P) but I loved it (Thanks Tara). It’s an extremely insightful, hard-hitting song and video clip that attempts to go through the thought process and emotional state of a would-be suicide bomber.

Suicide bombers are a nightmare for most human beings, that’s a given. But, they’re also very intriguing. Like violent serial killers, they scare us, they haunt us, but at the same time we want to know the why and how and who and what. Chyno (from Fareeq El Atrash) tries to fill the shoes of the disgruntled, hopeless, indoctrinated young men who eventually become suicide bombers for lack of a better option, and for the supposed fame it provides, the alleged glory it wins, and the very real infamy it generates. Not to mention the stable income the “martyr’s” family will get from the “sheikh”. Brilliant. Summed up so much in so little about an extremely convoluted and complex issue, and it packed quite the punch coupled with Pedros Temizian’s direction.

Here’s an excerpt of the lyrics, so you get an idea of how… ballsy this song is

- They fucking with O.P.P.
that’s Other People’s Property
how they gonna promise me peace,
when freedom a monopoly?
– They sell me my house to the highest bidder,
walls outside but the spies within us,
i can’t cry gotta hide these rivers,
show my wife there’s still life within us,
– Cold inside, just like our winters,
Cold inside, how we like our winners,
martyrs, widows, armies, militias,
friendly, malicious, blind by killing,
– You idolize sinners, i’ll take a ride with ‘em,
to symbolize freedom, i’ll dive into hell,
with all the fire there, i’ll find some light in it,
strap it to my chest, light the dynamite in us,
– BOOM, i’m taking my life away,
they tryna take it anyway, right?
Sheikh gonna pay my family
more than my job’ll ever pay, right?
– Modern day hero, pictures up on
Martyr day, see my self on heaven’s gate,
don’t see a better way to die!
might as well be today, right?

[Read more...]

Poll: Are You For Legalizing Marijuana in Lebanon?

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I’ve asked you in the past about if you smoke weed/hash or not, and the results were surprising, with 40% regular smokers, 19% occasional, and only 27% vehemently opposed.

Recently, the FBI-style mass-arrests of kids and university students in Lebanon, and the controversy it has created, brings many things to light.

  1. Should we really be spending all that money and effort to bust kids smoking a joint and ruin their lives in Lebanon’s catastrophically managed “justice” system?
  2. Is it that important for MTV’s “Bil Jirm El Mashooud”? Do we ruin people’s reputations and give them the scare of their life and do virtually nothing to hide their identities? So that we get good TV and give the Lebanese an illusion that the police actually do something?
  3. Is it acceptable that mass murderers, rapists, child molesters and virtually every kind of scum on earth can roam freely in Lebanon, unabated, but an 18-year-old gets strip-searched and urine-tested for weed?
  4. Can we keep letting the drug cartels in the Bekaa become more and more powerful? With outlaws proudly going on TV and calling themselves “Robin Hoods” and challenging the government to try and catch them if they can?
  5. Shouldn’t we legalize and tax it, allowing for increased revenue that would hopefully lessen the back-breaking tax on gas and telecom?
  6. Shouldn’t we recognize how important a historical and cultural component Cannabis plants in the Bekaa were and still are for Lebanon since ancient times?
  7. Don’t you think we need to catch up with the rest of the developed world, and legalize personal use for all the positive effects it has on an individual?
  8. Don’t you think people with chronic illnesses and those undergoing chemotherapy deserve to have their pain and nausea alleviated?
  9. Would you really prefer violent drunk people and drivers instead of docile, peaceful stoners? Then how can you be OK with alcohol being legal and not marijuana?

Let’s settle this, and see how many of you folks are actually with legalization, or at least decriminalization. We’ll go from there, and next week, I’ll post the scientific evidence pro-legalization and some historical background about cannabis and Lebanon.

Lazzy Lung’s Settle It Out

All the artists I’ve featured on the blog so far have been extremely talented Lebanese producers like Rashid Ajami, Technophile and AudioLab. It’s time to branch out a little into the other genres, especially after I’ve begun delving deeper and deeper into the scenes I had never ventured into.

Naturally, Lazzy Lung were an obvious choice, given that Imad, their bassist and vocalist, as well as Alan, their guitarist and vocalist and loops man, are both very good friends. They released a single from their upcoming album, Sailor’s Delight, called “Settle It Out”

I loved the track. It’s fast and energetic, with vocals and lyrics that blend seamlessly with the music. It had a nice RHCP-feel to it, only more potent in the punch it packs, both with its words and roller-coaster ride of sounds that blend in some tasteful electronic elements with the traditional ones.

Give it a listen, and I’ve embedded it on the right of the blog, so you can listen to it as you read the blog. Like them on Facebook here.

2 Tracks I Loved This Summer

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I enjoy good electronic music, in all its flavors, but there are a few tracks that really get into your brain and do good things. These are 2 tracks I managed to Shazam successfully at several parties, tracks that if we’re talking, or doing something else and they come on, I’d pause and make sure I dance to it before continuing whatever was happening =P

1- Gotham – Ten Walls

Forward to 1 minute if you’re impatient! This song drives me crazy. I love that singular, airhorn-like melody’s mesmerizing effect and how it unexpectedly wraps itself up towards the end of that loop. It gets a wee bit funky sometimes, but it’s a solid track that has made many moments awesome this summer at places like The Garten.

2- This Charming Man (Leon Luis Bootleg) – The Smiths

This song is weird, but good weird, the kind that makes you want to hop up and down. The vocals aren’t the kind I’d usually like, but they fit in perfectly in this track. I loved this track’s ability to keep the stamina going, and I honestly believe if you drop it at 6:00AM when everyone’s exhausted, they’ll be jumping up and down again immediately.

Semitic Genetic’s Awesome “Botox” Animated Video Clip

“Electro Rock” is on the rise, with band equipment teaming up with synths and keyboards to create a mutant genre of electronic-ish music, performed live.

Semitic Genetic teeters more to the Rock side of this budding genre, and thus are nowhere near my musical expertise. However, their awesome video clip caught my attention, and I believe every “Ashrafieh tante” deserves to see this and weep over the thousands and tens of thousands they spend trying to look like each other with the bloated breasts, plump hideous lips and other obvious body augmentations or reductions that make it hard not to stare.

The animator is young Lebanese Xavier Baghdadi.

This band based between New York and Beirut will be performing acoustic versions of their originals in Dany’s Hamra this Friday the 13th at 9:30PM before they split up over two continents again, so if you like what you see and hear, you know where to be this Friday.

Check out their Facebook page here

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Lebanese “Amtel” And Their Literal Translations and Actual Meanings

Someone always lets one of those slip. They come out of nowhere, no one really thinks twice about them, but many of them have really profound meanings. Others are just WTF. I asked folks on Twitter to hit me up with some, and here are a handful of them:

1- Ma Beyis Temma Gher Emma

mom-kissing-her-cute-daughterThis literally means: “no one’s kissed her mouth but her mother”

It’s homosexual-incest-pedophile disturbing at first, but its real meaning is even worse. It means that the girl mentioned is “innocent” and “pure” just the way our Arab macho societies like them (for marriage at least). I mean, who would want to marry a woman who doesn’t know how to kiss, or even worse, only kisses her mother on the lips. I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but I’d much rather be with a woman who knows what she’s doing. The silly obsession of finding a “clean virgin” is so passe, grow up, and don’t use this unless you’re being sarcastic =P Thanks Ismail!

2- Rijjel Bala Kiresh, Ma Bysewa 2iresh

This literally means: “A man without a potbelly, isn’t worth a penny” (it actually keeps its rhyme when translated!)

I love this one. It’s no secret I have a “kiresh” and using that is both funny and lets people move on from discussing your weight in-depth =P It’s of course silly, and another example of how it’s not really important what men look like, as long as the girl is “hot”. I guess its roots lie somewhere when being fat was just for rich people, but then again, don’t believe them guys. Lose the belly, it’s healthier. Plus, unless you have lots of “2iresh”, the “kiresh” won’t really help you. Thanks Paula!

3- Mish Ma3roof Air Min Bi Tiz Min

This literally means: “It’s unknown who’s dick is in who’s ass” (sorry for the dirty language)

This might be a bit too much, but no one can disagree that it is quite appropriate to describe a really screwed up situation. One of complete confusion, where no one really understands what’s happening, who’s on who’s side and what it’s going to lead to. This one perhaps describes our sociopolitical situation in Lebanon best. Thanks Hagop!

4- Yalli Byebzo2 B Wejj El Ri7, Bterja2 El Baz2a 3ala Wejjo

download (1)This literally means: “The one who spits in the face of the wind, gets the spit back on his face”

This is also one of the graphic ones, and one would think old Arabs could have chosen anything else, you know, like “he who sprays pesticide into the wind, gets in in his eyes” but no, it had to be something more dramatic than that: spit. It does serve its purpose aptly though, for it is often used to describe something bad or low someone does onto others. I guess you could say, this is a warped version of “what goes around, comes around.” Thanks Sarah!

5- El Erd Bi 3ayn Immo Ghazel

This literally means: “A monkey is a gazelle in his mother’s eyes”

Again, mothers are brought into this. And even though it’s sorta WTF does that mean, gazelles are seen as really beautiful animals, and monkeys as more “wretched” ones. So, this is a more incestuous version of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. So, don’t believe your moms, you’re all monkeys and they just see you as gazelles!

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6- 3ala 2add Bsatak Med Ejrek

This literally means: “Stretch your legs as long as your carpet”

This is of course figurative, and I guess it means don’t over do it, or bypass your jurisdiction or what’s right, since you’ll get your legs all dirty if you try to spread them beyond your carpet. Thanks Natalia!

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7- Tibb El Jara 3a Temma, Btotla3 El Bint La Imma

This literally means: “turn the jar on its mouth, the girl turns out like her mother”

Now, again, mothers are back in the picture. The only way this can ever make sense, is if the jar-turning is one of those folk remedies to try to determine the sex of the expected baby. It’s usually used in the context of “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, meaning the offspring is very similar to their parent.

8- La Tesra3 Ya Baba, El Mama Btekhod Ghayrak

This literally means: “Don’t speed dad, your mom will marry another man”

This is hilarious, and you see it on many trucks and buses. It’s hilarious because the crazed drivers real fear isn’t of dying or killing other motorists or pedestrians, but the horrific thought that their wife might move on and find someone else if they do get killed… Another brilliant example of healthy gender relations in our societies =P

These are the ones that I could put (others were way too inappropriate =P) But, I’m thinking of starting a series on this blog, similar to Fashal for example, featuring one of those lovely folk sayings you often see on truck crosseries in Lebanon, or on cabs! So, whenever you have a good one, and can explain it to me, send it over! Let’s catalog the awesome stuff that make Lebanon Lebanon.

Should I Add “Tfeh” A New Category Written by Guest Writers?

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On this blog, I barely ever write something I wasn’t there for. If I’m not there, or someone I truly trust wasn’t there, I don’t write about it. Why? Because people always lie and have hidden agendas, and the responsibility I take on when I write about this is too much to bare, and quite frankly, it’s not my problem to accept the harassment and even lawsuits for that.

However, the blog’s heavy circulation has made a lot of people send me their horrifying stories of mistreatment, corruption, malpractice and even violence sometimes. This has made me seriously consider lending the blog’s platform to you, anyone who reads this blog, to share a story,to name and shame, or protest something that happened to you in hopes others won’t fall into the same mistake/trap/etc.

However, as always, I value what you guys think, and before I take the plunge and start this new category, I am setting up the poll below to see if you guys think it’s a good idea and if it’s something you’d wanna read or maybe even write for.

Much Love,
Gino

Olympic Gym: A Gemmayzeh Landmark to be Destroyed

20130702_160822If you’re driving on Pasteur St looking for a spot to park to go up to Gouraud St, chances are you’ve given a small dead-end road a glance or two and dismissed it as such: a dead end with no parking spots. But, in that tiny street, is a landmark many people today have no clue about: The Olympic Club Gym.

During World War 2, a young Lebanese man called Khalil Abboud enlisted in the French Foreign Legion. He quickly began to master various forms of physical training like weightlifting, boxing and wrestling. Soon enough, he was climbing through the ranks and began training legions from Tunisia and Libya and other parts of the world who had enlisted in the French Foreign Legion.

When World War 2 drew to an end, Khalil was offered a chance to stay with the French Armed Forces and move to France. He refused because he wanted to stay in his country, where he came back, bought a shabby military tent and began his gym not far away from the current location.

Inside the tent

Inside the tent

The success of the gym caught the attention of the Kataeb party. They offered to build him a more permanent structure, and he happily agreed. However, as the Civil War approached and sectarian tensions started to flare, the Kataeb party started harassing Khalil because his gym members included Lebanese folks from all sects without discrimination. That’s when he decided to leave the location the Kataeb had partnered up with him for and found that location in Gemmayzeh, where Muslim and Christian alike were welcome.

During the bitterest years of the war, from 1978 to 1983, The Olympic Club was shut down, but reopened and has been open ever since. Unfortunately, like many of Beirut’s old gems, it’s going to be demolished this year or the next. Bechara, Kahlil’s son, an extremely gracious, kind and unbelievably fit man, who doesn’t look a day over 30 and whose handshake nearly broke my hand, plans to reopen somewhere else though. He was kind enough to show us around and gives us a history of the place.

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It’s like walking into a time machine, with Rambo posters on the walls, old-school training manuals between the machine, iron-cast dumbbells and other equipment and decorations that are still in service after 60 years of continuous use. It’s also very affordable, and while I was there with Thomas, a half-dozen men were busy working on their sets. I really recommend you look through the photos, I tried to take as many as possible of everything interesting.

Also, if you wanna check out the place yourselves, FERN and 961 Beer are having a special celebration tonight there to launch the new 961 Beer flavor in honor of the 4th of July! Check out the event here, it starts at 6:00PM and tickets are for 25$ also available on Presella.com.

The Garten Mix: Something To Keep You Going Till the 22nd

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If you were at Uberhaus the past weekend, chances are you got the special The Garten CD. Needless to say, it’s on endless loop in my car ever since. If you weren’t though, the guys have uploaded it on SoundCloud for you to enjoy, remember the awesome Uber nights and what to expect in The Garten. If you haven’t seen the plans yet, check them out here. The lineup is also looking divine, but won’t divulge any secrets yet =P